Og nissen bøyer hodet for sola. Gro Dahle

gard

Din volumul „Hvem som helst, hvor som helst”.

And the gnome bows his head for the sun

Day after day he goes through the thicket to feed the deer. He counts the birds and makes a note in a small yellow book. He pats the fox on its back, he sings to the hare. Night after night he sits under the spruce tree to hear the cones fall. He is inside a big lung. Everything fits together, the gnome thinks and leans back against the tree trunk. A back support. And the moon kisses him on the forehead.

When he comes home, there is steam on the windows. The gnome takes off the wet jacket and hangs it over by the stove. The floor is covered with dry pine needles and heather and white moss. And the little son has locked himself in again.

„You get to talk to him, you” says the wife with raisins between her teeth.

„Which one?” asks the gnome, „The fifth?”

„Who else” answers the wife.

The gnome goes up the narrow staircase, while the wife hauls the cat out from the oven by the tail. He knocks on the little door.

No one answers.

„My little fay” says the father.

No one answers. But with his ear against the door, he hears the chugging inside. Then he lures him as skilfully as he can, with cream porridge in his voice and butter islands and cinnamon and sugar. He lures him with Christmas and bells and a great gift waiting for him in the closet. But his son still does not open the door. Then, the father begins to threaten. He says:

„If you don’t come out now, we’ll send you to the humans. And you’ll have to sit all night long in a room that smells like smoke. And you’ll have to drink tainted water, drink juice that sticks in your mouth. You’ll have to wash your hair twice a day with soap that burns your eyes,” says the gnome and peeks through the keyhole.

He sees nothing but the key. He goes on: „And you’ll live so tightly packed in the tower that you hear the neighbors crying through the walls and there is a foul smell in the stairwell and if someone cries for help, no one comes running. And you’ll have to sit inside days in a row under a blue light that stings your eyes. And it is not allowed to speak, it is not allowed to walk around, it is not allowed to sing and certainly not allowed to dance, says the gnome. And your bones will wither under you because you are just sitting and sitting all day, trapped at a square table, all day in a room with almost no air. And if you don’t come out now, we have to send you there”, threatens the gnome, „and the others will push you so you would fall and hit your front teeth. And when you’ll fall, you’ll fall hard. If you run, your knees and back will hurt. And your arms will fall asleep in your pockets. And your eyes will be nearsighted and confined never to see far and wide.”

Thus says the gnome and listens with his ear to the keyhole. It’s quiet in there. Very quiet. He may be asleep, thinks the gnome. He is hungry for porridge. Hungry for his wife that smells of vanilla and cardamom, cinnamon and brown sugar, flesh and coffee and diesel. The day has started to roll. The darkness presses in from the corners. Soon he must light the lamps. „Come out, then,” he says to the door. „Come forward, then,” he says. „Otherwise we have to send you to the humans. And once there, you’ll start to cough,” he says. „For the air is not to breathe in. You will begin to cough, my young boy,” says the gnome. „And the cough is going to settle deep in your throat. And when you breathe, you’ll feel like you never get enough. And you will hear strange noises in your throat. And there are diseases there. And they have wild animals in the house. And if they do not hold them in place with chains, the animals will bite. And they eat happy food while watching kicking and fighting. And they scare the birds out of the woods and they shoot for the foxes. And they catch the hares in snares,” says the gnome. „And the smoke from the garbage dumps darkens the sky and soot gets stuck in the mouth. And everything they touch, it turns to poison. And the poison flows into the ground, into the rivers, into the sea. And the fish die. And everything dies. They whale stock routes through the woods. Build cities, raise factories. Wipe out all in large areas, bushes, grass, trees. Then the air is gone,” says the gnome and kneels next to the door. Then the son unlocks it. And the gnome gets up and smiles. And the son is small and pale.

„How do humans look like?” asks the son, „Are they big?”. „Yes, big, huge,” says the father, „with long fingers and tall, pointy boots. And they have black in their teeth.”

„I don’t believe in humans, I,” says the boy. „I don’t believe in either humans, or trolls or black holes,” he says with filled eyes.

„No, then,” says the gnome and twists his beard. „But you do believe in porridge, is that right?”

Yes, the son believes in that. And in fudge and gingerbread and donuts and almonds and kinks. The food is ready. Everyone sits around the table. And the room glows with porridge. And it is almost Christmas. Almost Christmas. And the warmth spreads through the room like warm milk with honey. And the gnome says loud and clear so everyone can hear it, that this year the fifth one will join the Christmas round through the forest with food for animals and bells and lights.

Later, when the house is caught in slumber’s grasp, then the gnome and his wife pair up next to the wall. And the short, broad wife stands on all fours like a badger. And they are so quiet, so quiet in the dim light. In all directions, as far as the eye can see, there is the dark brown wood with heavy shoulders. And everything is both beautiful and ugly.

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