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In the Bailiwick of Holbek, between the towns of Mamp and Aagerup, there once was a castle, the ruins of which still remain, near the Strand. In this place, as the story goes, are immense treasures concealed; and a dragon broods over as much gold as would ransom three kings. Here the subterraneans (Elves) are often seen, especially at festival times. One Christmas-eve, a ploughman in Aagerup went to his master, and asked his permission to ride down and take a peep at the elfbanquet. The farmer gave him leave to go, and take with him the best horse in the stable. When the fellow came to the place, he stopped his horse for some time, to view the entertainment, astonished at the agility with which the little dapper folks were linking away" in the dance. At last an elf-mannikin came to him and begged him to dismount, and take part in their merriment. Another elf skipped up and held his horse, while he danced with them the whole night. As morning approached, he thanked them for his entertainment, and mounted his horse, to ride back to Aagerup. They then invited him to come again next new year's night, to share their jollity; and a young lady offered him the stirrupdraught in a gold cup. But as he mistrusted their courtesy, he cast the liquor over his shoulder, which, falling on the back of his horse, singed off the hair. He then clapped spurs to his horse, and set off at full gallop, with the cup in his hand, over a field of ploughed land. The whole posse of the elves immediately gave chase ; but found such difficulty in scrambling over the heavy deep furrows, that they ever and anon screamed out,
"Ride on the sod,
As the adventurer approached the town, he was obliged to take to the open road, which brought him in great jeopardy, as the elves were every instant gaining ground on him. In this extremity he prayed to God, and vowed, if he escaped, to give the cup to the church. As he rode past the churchyard, he threw the cup over the wall
into the consecrated ground, that it at least might be secured. At last he reached the town; and just as they had almost got hold of him, his horse made a spring in at his master's gate, which the fellow shut after him. He was now secure; but the elves were so exasperated, that they threw a stone at the gate with such force, that it knocked four planks out of it.
No traces of the house now remain; but the stone still lies in Aagerup. The cup was presented to the church; and the ploughman got as a reward the best house upon Ericksholme estate.
Between Jerslöise and Sobierg, lies Sobierg bank, which is the richest knoll in the land, and no tongue can tell what fine things it contains. In this knoll lived an elf-lady, on whose account a splendid cavalcade once proceeded from Steen-lille Mark, on the occasion of her being married to the elf of Gultebierg.
It often happens, when people are passing the knoll in fine weather, that they see the most curious copper utensils, and the most beautiful cushions, laid out upon the ridge of the knoll to be sunned; and, if they approach nearer, they can see the hurry and bustle of the little folks removing them as fast as possible into the hill.
THE ALDERMAN'S FUNERAL.
Stranger. WHOм are they ushering from the world, with all
This pageantry and long parade of death?
Townsman. A long parade indeed, sir, and yet here You see but half; round yonder bend it reaches A furlong farther, carriage behind carriage.
S. 'Tis but a mournful sight, and yet the pomp Tempts me to stand a gazer.
T. Yonder schoolboy,
The chairing of the members at election
S. Then he was born
Under a lucky planet, who to-day
T. When first I heard his death, that very wish
S. The camel and the needle,Is that then in your mind?
T. Even so.
S. Your pardon, sir,
T. Your pardon too, sir,
When the axe is laid unto the root, and they
S. Was his wealth
S. Why judge you then
So hardly of the dead?
T. For what he left
T. As all men know
T. We track the streamlet by the brighter green
S. Yet even these
T. Now, sir,
His alms were money put to interest
S. I must needs
How can this man have lived, that thus his death
T. Who should lament for him, sir, in whose heart
When yet he was a boy, and should have breathed
Smoke-dried, and seared, and shrivelled up his heart.