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Three Comedies by Bjørnstjerne Bjørnson
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BJORNSTJERNE BJORNSON--poet, dramatist, novelist, and politician,
and the most notable figure in contemporary Norwegian history--
was born, in December 1832, at Kvikne in the north of Norway. His
father was pastor at Kvikne, a remote village in the Osterdal
district, some sixty miles south of Trondhjem; a lonely spot,
whose atmosphere and surroundings Bjornson afterwards described
in one of his short sketches ("Blakken"). The pastor's house lay
so high up on the "fjeld" that corn would not grow on its
meadows, where the relentless northern winter seemed to begin so
early and end so late. The Osterdal folk were a wild, turbulent
lot in those days--so much so, that his predecessor (who had
never ventured into the church without his pistol in his pocket)
had eventually run away and flatly refused to return, with the
result that the district was pastorless for some years until the
elder Bjornson came to it.

It was in surroundings such as this, and with scarcely any
playfellows, that Bjornstjerne Bjornson spent the first six years
of his life; and the sturdy independence of his nature may have
owed something to the unaccommodating life of his earliest days,
just as the poetical impulse that was so strong in his developed
character probably had its beginnings in the impressions of
beauty he received in the years that immediately followed. For,
when he was six, a welcome change came. His father was transferred
to the tranquil pastorate of Naes, at the mouth of the Romsdal,
one of the fairest spots in Norway. Here Bjornson spent the rest
of his childhood, in surroundings of beauty and peacefulness,
going to school first at Molde and afterwards at Christiania, to