Trafika Europe 1 - Northern Idyll

HEY DON’T EAT EIDER DUCKS, either, but then the eider isn’t a domestic bird, even though they build small stone houses for it, in order to collect the down, and for years they have had one nesting under the porch steps. So the cat has been kept inside for weeks. It doesn’t like that because it is only allowed to be in Martin’s room where there are no curtains to be torn to shreds. The cat is called Bonken, it is a tom because they can’t have a cat that keeps having kittens, they say, which Hans would have to kill, but it is the same with cats as it is with all other animals on an island, how can they have young if there is only one of them? In late spring when the weather is so bad that you can’t do anything outside, Barbro and Maria set to work on cleaning the down with their carding tools. Down is the most valuable and mysterious material they handle. You can touch it and put it to your face and feel a distant, hallowed warmth. You can compress it in your hand and experience the intimate sensation it is no more than air, and then open your palms and watch it swell into a grey cloud once more, as though nothing had happened. When it is time to sell the down they stuff it into canvas sacks, attach a label to a cord and tie up the sack. On the label they write the year the down was collected, the name of the island and 1 kilo. A kilo of down is amazingly voluminous and extremely light. So even the high price it commands is ridiculously low. That is why they keep most T


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