Table of Contents Table of Contents
Previous Page  127 / 238 Next Page
Show Menu
Previous Page 127 / 238 Next Page
Page Background


of it for themselves. This is Hans’s idea. They use it in their

own duvets like the genteel folk in towns, or they store it in

the driest loft above the barn, until prices pick up and they

can sell it for twice as much as they get on the market in

the summertime, or from Tommesen at Bruket, since the

price of down is lowest when people want to sell and

highest when only Hans wants to sell. He is the sole

islander to have any success with this policy. This may be

because the Barrøy islanders are a tiny bit better off than

others, as Hans has a full catch share in Lofoten, but it

might also be due to his family being more patient.

Islanders need to be more patient than other people.

Barbro doesn’t like carding down, her hands are not nimble

enough, so from the summer when she turned four Ingrid

had to pitch in and help her mother. Ingrid loves down, at

first she just wants to play with it, and makes a mess on the

tiny bench where they are sitting. But then she discovers

that if you hold a ball of uncarded down in one hand and a

ball of carded down in the other you can’t abide the

thought of not cleaning it all, it would drive you mad if you

didn’t remove the twigs and the grass and the small bits of

shell, it is so awful.

It was her mother who made her aware of this. She tells her

to sit still with her eyes closed and feel the two fistfuls of

down, one carded and one uncarded, while she counts

aloud and only gets to ten or eleven before she sees from

her daughter’s smile that she has realised what this is all