Where there is presently a forest, there was once a large village. People lived their lives there, and fields and meadows were lush and green with happy sounds of human voices and timbre from the bells of grazing cattle. Then, one day an ugly old hag came along, carrying with her a rake and a broom. Far, far from a distant land she came, and wherever she set foot, every soul perished within days.
Not before long, only spirits of darkness were to remain in these cold, lonely lands. The 'Draugr' howled and screamed at sea, 'Nøkken' wailed in every tarn, and through the forests and from deep underground, the fairy folk came with laughter and dance, and then disappeared.
But in the evening, when darkness fell, the mighty gates of the high mountain opened, and out trudged the large and shaggy trolls. High up in the spruce top the wood grouse sits attentive, listening in on the fairy tale. The evening turns to pitch-black night and the slumbering bird vanishes into darkness - only a great black canvas prevails, with the moon's yellow, wondering face, peering down onto the scenery. Yet, at the first break of dawn, the great bird fluffs its feathers and bellows out its wild song, above this solitary landscape with all its mysterious tales.
Then, the wood grouse makes merry.
Illustration to The Black Plague (1894-1896).
Wash technique, pencil, pen and black crayon on papir.
The National Museum of Art, Oslo