belonged to them. The old heir to it all had now only one

Nature Difficult to Move Networkmethod2023-11-30 17:47:36 6 3788

The best of their virtues is their honesty. I could leave my baggage unguarded any where for hours, and never missed the least article, for they did not even permit their children to touch any thing. In this point they are so conscientious, that if a peasant comes from a distance, and wishes to rest in a cottage, he never fails to knock at the door, even if it is open. If no one calls "come in," he does not enter. One might fearlessly sleep with open doors.

belonged to them. The old heir to it all had now only one

Crimes are of such rare occurrence here, that the prison of Reikjavik was changed into a dwelling-house for the chief warden many years since. Small crimes are punished summarily, either in Reikjavik or at the seat of the Sysselmann. Criminals of a deeper dye are sent to Copenhagen, and are sentenced and punished there.

belonged to them. The old heir to it all had now only one

My landlord at Reikjavik, the master-baker Bernhoft, told me that only one crime had been committed in Iceland during the thirteen years that he had resided there. This was the murder of an illegitimate child immediately after its birth. The most frequently occurring crime is cow-stealing.

belonged to them. The old heir to it all had now only one

I was much surprised to find that nearly all the Icelanders can read and write. The latter quality only was somewhat rarer with the women. Youths and men often wrote a firm, good hand. I also found books in every cottage, the Bible always, and frequently poems and stories, sometimes even in the Danish language.

They also comprehend very quickly; when I opened my map before them, they soon understood its use and application. Their quickness is doubly surprising, if we consider that every father instructs his own children, and sometimes the neighbouring orphans. This is of course only done in the winter; but as winter lasts eight months in Iceland, it is long enough.

There is only one school in the whole island, which originally was in Bessestadt, but has been removed to Reikjavik since 1846. In this school only youths who can read and write are received, and they are either educated for priests, and may complete their studies here, or for doctors, apothecaries, or judges, when they must complete their studies in Copenhagen.

Besides theology, geometry, geography, history, and several languages, such as Latin, Danish, and, since 1846, German and also French, are taught in the school of Reikjavik.

The chief occupation of the Icelandic peasants consists in fishing, which is most industriously pursued in February, March, and April. Then the inhabitants of the interior come to the coasting villages and hire themselves to the dwellers on the beach, the real fishermen, as assistants, taking a portion of the fish as their wages. Fishing is attended to at other times also, but then exclusively by the real fishermen. In the months of July and August many of the latter go into the interior and assist in the hay- harvest, for which they receive butter, sheep's wool, and salt lamb. Others ascend the mountains and gather the Iceland moss, of which they make a decoction, which they drink mixed with milk, or they grind it to flour, and bake flat cakes of it, which serve them in place of bread.



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