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"Den syvende far i huset" is a Norwegian fairy tale. It is part of Asbjørnsen and Moe's Norwegian Folk Tales, collected in 1841-1844. The original text was found at Project Runeberg and translated to English by me for E2.

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There was once a man who was travelling. After a long time, he came to a large and beautiful farm; it was a mansion so great that it might as well have been a small palace. "It will be good to rest here,"1 he said to himself, when he came inside the gate. Nearby, an old man with grey hair and beard was chopping wood. "Good evening, father," said the traveller; "do you have shelter for me tonight?"

"I am not the father of the house," said the old man; "go into the kitchen and talk to my father!"

The traveller entered the kitchen; there he met an even older man who was kneeling in front of the fireplace, blowing into the fire.

"Good evening, father, do you have shelter for me tonight?" said the traveller.

"I am not the father of the house," said the old one; but go in and talk to my father; he's sitting by the table in the living room."

So the traveller entered the living room and talked to the person by the table; he was much older than the other ones, annd he sat there shivering and shaking, teeth clattering, reading a book, almost like a small child.

"Good evening, father, will you lend me shelter tonight?" said the man.

"I am not the father of the house; but talk to my father, the man sitting on the bench over there," said the man by the table, still shivering from age.

So the traveller went to the person on the bench. He was trying to get himself a pipe of tobacco; but he was so hunched over and his hands were shaking so much that he could hardly hold the pipe.

"Good evening, father," said the traveller again. "Do you have shelter for me tonight?"

"I am not the father of the house," answered the old, hunched geezer; "but talk to my father, who is lying in bed."

The traveller went over to the bed, and a really old, old guy was lying there, with nearly nothing left but a couple of big eyes.

"Good evening, father, do you have shelter for me tonight?" said the traveller.

"I am not the father of the house; but talk to my father in the cradle," said the old man with the large eyes.

Well, the traveller went over to the cradle; an ancient guy was lying there, so curled up that he wasn't larger than a baby, and he wouldn't know that he was alive if it wasn't for a sound in his throat now and then.

"Good evening, father, will you lend me shelter tonight?" said the man.

A long time passed before an answer came, and even longer before the answer was done; he said, like the others, that he wasn't the father of the house, "but talk to my father, he's hanging in the horn on the wall."

The traveller stared up the walls, and finally noticed a horn hanging there, and when he looked closer he saw a tiny, human face sticking out of it.

He shouted as loudly as he could: "Good evening, father! Will you lend me shelter tonight?"

A squeak came from the horn, just loud enough for him to make out: "Yes, my child!"

And now a table was brought in, covered with the most expensive courses and with beer and liquor, and when he had eaten and drunk, a good bed was brought in, covered with reindeer pelts, and the traveller was quite happy that he had finally found the right father of the house.

Notes:
1. Norway being a country with much wilderness and few settlements, it was traditional to give strangers food and shelter.

More fairy tales, please!

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