Olsen letter #4b

Here is the second part of the letter written by my great-great-grandfather to my great grandfather, whose beginning I posted on Tuesday. The previous letters are posted here, here, here, here, and here.

I also want to tell you that I have been fishing this winter too with our seine; ja, thanks be to the Lord who gave to us out of His blessing this year also. We got ourselves a nice little share, but we haven’t gotten it settled yet, for the berth-holders have postponed it until the first of April. We had our berth on an island called Hovring—that is right across from Kopervik, and we were there a month. There hasn’t been such a great herring catch in 35 years as this year, for imagine, the herring have been all around Karmøy this year. There was no renting of berths here this year. There was plenty of herring, but no seines at home then. There has also been good codfishing here for those who have been at it, but I for my part have not taken part in it, so that there is no fish to be found in my house now, and I haven’t gotten a herring home this year either, but that will have to be as it may be. We were so far away that we couldn’t bring herring home, and when I got home Mother was so unwell that I couldn’t go away codfishing.

But the worst of all for me was that she could not talk with me. You can believe that we had much to talk of together, but it was impossible for me to understand her, other than yes and no. I went home every single Sunday to her, if I was away. The last evening I was home with her, she could not talk any more, but she got up to prepare something for me to take with me. The next Friday I came home, and then I ran home from the valley, because I heard there that she was now worse than before.

Berta and her children are now home with me for a while, and on Sunday Marta and Ole and Andrias and Berta were all home with me.

Jan, you should see the pretty casket I bought for her in Haugesund, and this Wednesday she will go into it. I go to the room every morning and look at her. Would God that you were home now, but no, I am here alone.

I probably had much more to write, but I can’t manage it right now. Write back to me just as soon as you read it. I haven’t written yet to the other children, but you write them right away about what has happened. Greetings from a weeping father at home.

Ole Olsen Kvalevaag

[Marginal notes:]

All the tears which lie on the table while I sit and write to you, I am not very careful now.

I will probably manage the farm myself this year, although I am alone. I will probably hire a maid and a farm hand, for I cannot be alone, and it’s too late in the year to sell right now.

It’s hopeless for me to wait any longer for you to come home and take it over.

Every time I have said that we should sell the farm, your mother said, “You mustn’t do that, for Jan should have it after us.”

I have seen her today also; it is as if she said, “Greet Jan for me.”

I have heard that a nephew of Lava’s is going to see you after Easter. I don’t know if I can get south now and talk to him before he goes. I would really like to have talked with him before he goes to see you. Ja, best wishes to you.

I wish you all a joyful Easter, but myself a sorrowful Easter.

Lava, many thanks to you for your precious little letter to me. Ja, it means so much when I get letters from you. We have never seen each other, which would be difficult to do too.


Write soon. Now every one I get helps.

One thought on “Olsen letter #4b”

  1. “All the tears which lie on the table…”

    Wow! What a fantastic line! That could even inspire some great writing from someone…. (No name dropping please…..)

    It is also so touching… sounds like my dad if he ever showed any emotion besides anger………..:>)

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