Look Back on Happiness

Look Back on Happiness

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Look Back on Happiness by Knut Hamsun

Published:

1913

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Look Back on Happiness

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Translated by Paula Wiking.

Book Excerpt

ought pityingly of his sordid little theft. Stealing because he was needy--a side of bacon and a length of cloth which he was trying to sell in the forest! Theft has indeed ceased to be a matter of great moment. This is because legal punishment for misdemeanors of all kinds has also ceased to be of great moment. It is only a dull, human punishment; the religious element has been removed from the law, and a local magistrate is no longer a man of mystic power.

I well remember the last time I heard a judge explain the meaning of the oath as it should be explained. It chilled us all to the bone to hear him. We need some witchcraft again, and the Sixth Book of Moses, and the sin against the Holy Ghost, and signing your name in the blood of a newly baptized child! Steal a sack of money and silver treasure, if you like, and hide the sack in the hills where on autumn evenings a blue flame will hover over the spot. But don't come to me with three pairs of mittens and a side of household bacon!

The man no longer

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