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“Sure thing,” Nils answered.

There were not many days that the corporal and the priest

did not cross paths, and one day hr. Hans asked why Nils

was so infatuated with the Muslim faith.

Nils responded that faith in general did not really interest

him. Neither the Muslim nor the Christian faith, nor

Judaism for that matter. But last year a man had died whom

he had greatly respected, the editor Henrik Wergeland. Nils

said that he had not read his poetry, but the things he had

written about religious freedom – those were manly words

indeed. It was Wergeland who had opened his eyes to

Muhammed, or the great Desert Captain, as Nils tended to

call him. Since then he had tried as much as possible to

follow the Muslim way of life. He knew that the Muslim

people lived next to the high mountain where Noah’s ark

was stranded, and that their cities spread all the way down

to the Persian Gulf. There were also Muslims along the

entire North African coast. They were not so close-fisted as

to refuse charity to the poor, but they were also fearless


It was the general state of emergency that prompted hr.

Hans to make an unusual decision. Since the church only

had room for the dead, he decided to bring hymns and

prayers out to his fellow townsfolk.