This is Karl’s story beginning when he was 26 years old and on the property his mother had bought him in 1872 before she died. he was 12 years old and he and his brother lived with their mother’s uncle and Ane lived with Johanne their older cousin. he had invited family and friends to an evening of music, good food and camaraderie before he embarked on his journey to Australia.
Karl was standing at his front door waiting to welcome his soon to be arriving guest From the elevation of his house he could see the carriages coming-all had lanterns on the sides which would be needed when they travelled home.
As he waited Karl’s thoughts went back to the previous afternoon when he and Mathias had stood here looking at the mountains, the wind blowing off those mountains whispering through the pine trees behind the house and as it touched their faces they felt the first icy fingers of winter.
Mathias murmured ‘it won’t be long before snow will cover our fields’
Karl replied ‘yes, you can feel it in the wind’.
They continued looking at the scene before them, each with his own thoughts. Karl was thinking ‘ Soon these green fields will be covered in snow but I won’t be here to see it’. Mathias was thinking ‘ Soon my brother will leave to go on his journey to the other side of the world, how am I going to bear it’. Karl seeing his face put his arm around his shoulder and as he did so , horse hooves could be heard on the road and they turned to see their cousin, Ole Arneig coming at speed. On arrival he jumped off the horse and hugged his cousins- Ole was always demonstrative and was welcomed with affection by his family and the wider community, and now he said to Karl
‘I am here cousin, to party with you before you set off on your great journey and I will be staying the night as well’
Karl smiled, and said’, you are welcome and we will be the happier for your company’
Mathias took the horse around to the stable and Ole catching Karl’s look said ‘You are worried about Mathias and how he will cope?’
Karl replied ‘yes, he will be by himself, Ane is married and does not live close by’.
Ole replied’ He will be but I and the uncles will look out for him’ he went on to say ‘ in a few years I will be leaving to join the Merchant Navy to get some experience before heading to America to join the Revenue Cutters out of Baltimore. Now my mother has passed I will give Torres and our sisters’ time to adjust before heading off. Brother Torres is the farmer anyway and he will support father’.
Now, from the arriving guests, he could hear cheery greetings, firstly from his Uncle Ole Midstue Naerbo, his mother’s brother and his wife Johanne, his father’s sister. They had always been important people in Karl’s life (especially after his father died when he was 11 and his mother followed him the next year) and he moved to greet them, they would be the ones he was relying on to care for Mathias.
His uncle clasped him on the shoulder and his aunt with her twinkling blue eyes gave him a kiss as well as a hug said ‘You are a naughty boy going away and we will miss you terribly, but we wish you well’.