Trafika Europe 1 - Northern Idyll

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


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