From his Nobel Prize novel Growth of the Soil, Knut Hamsun selected as representative of his work that chapter from his saga of the northern soil in which Isak, the pioneer settler in the northern wilderness, now a settled farmer, brings home from a distant village not only a new horse, but a wonderful new machine.
ISAK came back from the village with a horse.
Ay, it had come to that; he had bought the horse from the Lensmand's* assistant; the animal was for sale, as Lensmand Geissler had said, but it cost two hundred and forty Kroner--that was sixty Daler. The price of horseflesh had gone up beyond all bounds: when Isak was a boy the best horse could be bought for fifty Daler.
But why had he never raised a horse himself? He had thought of it, had imagined a nice little foal--that he had been waiting for these two years past. That was a business for folk who could spare the time from their land, could leave waste patches lying waste till they got a horse to carry home the crop. The Lensmand's assistant had said: "I don't care about paying for a horse's keep myself; I've no more hay than my womenfolk can get in by themselves while I'm away on duty."
The new horse was an old idea of Isak's, he had been thinking of it for years; it was not Geissler who had put him up to it. And he had also made preparations such as he could; a new stall, a new rope for tethering it in the summer; as for carts, he had some already, he must make some more for the autumn. Most important of all was the fodder, and he had not forgotten that, of course; or why should he have thought it so important to get that last patch broken up last year if it hadn't been to save getting rid of one of____________________