Once on a time there was a hare who was frisking up and down under the greenwood tree.
"Oh! Hurrah! Hip, hip, hurrah!" he cried, and leapt and sprang, and all at once he threw a somersault and stood on his hind-legs. Just then a fox came slouching by.
"Good day, good day," said the hare; "I'm so merry today, for you must know I was married this morning."
"Lucky fellow you," said the fox.
"Ah, no! Not so lucky after all," said the hare, "for she was very heavy-handed, and it was an old witch I got to wife."
"Then you were an unlucky fellow," said the fox.
"Oh, not so unlucky either," said the hare, "for she was an heiress. She had a cottage of her own."
"Then you were lucky after all," said the fox.
"No, no! Not so lucky either," said the hare, "for the cottage caught fire and was burnt, and all we had with it."
"That I call downright unlucky," said the fox.
"Oh, no; not so very unlucky after all," said the hare, "for my witch of a wife was burnt along with her cottage."
A man named Ole lived on Hefre Farm in Heddal, Telemark. Ole owned a couple of other farms, too. He married a girl from Leine farm in Sauland. One Saturday evening, before he was married, he was on his way over to Sauland to go courting. Late in the evening he came to a mound right alongside the road, way up in the parish. There he heard singing and music inside the mound, and sounds of dancing and gaiety and merriment.
Ole was not afraid, and stood there listening for a while. When he was about to go on, he said aloud, "There's little use for you to be so happy. You won't share in the glory of God all the same!"
Then they replied from inside the mound, "We hope to share in the glory of God, we too."
But Ole replied, "It's just as impossible for you to share in the glory of God as it is for flowers and leaves to grow on this dry staff I'm holding in my hand!"
Then at once it became silent in there, the dancing and music stopped, and instead he heard them begin to cry and wail. But Ole did not think any more about it. He was completely taken up by the thought that he would soon meet his sweetheart. It was late at night before he came to Leine, and when he went in he left his staff on the porch. He did not tell his sweetheart anything about such experiences. Only after a night's sleep it could fit. Otherwise the one who had met the little people might get ill, it was told.
When Ole was to go home in the morning, there stood his staff completely covered with flowers and leaves that had grown on it. Then he remembered what had happened the evening before, and he walked as fast as he could to get to the mound. When he came to it, he heard them still crying and wailing inside there. Then he shouted to them as loud as he could:
"Don't cry and wail any more. You can be happy now, for you too will share in the glory of God. Last night leaves and flowers grew out on my staff!"
When he had said that, he heard great rejoicing inside the mound, and they started playing again and shouting to one another. Ole went home and pondered over what he had experienced, and with quite different thoughts from those he had had the evening before.