The Son of Magnus

The Son of Magnus
By Paul Harboe, first edition, 1902.

I kept this book because of the beautiful cover but to my astonishment, it has recently been reprinted as “Culturally important.”  It tells the story of some Norwegians and their struggles.  I haven’t read it yet, but perhaps I should!

It belonged to my grandfather who wrote his name on the front page; his hand is still childish.  I doubt he ever read it.  Or if he did, he was fiendishly careful.  Although he put great emphasis on school for his children, he only completed grade school.  He was gruff spoken and rugged; I remember cringing at his “whiskery kisses” when I was young.

The famous story about Granddaddy concerns a roof repair.  They lived in a small Kansas town and their house was on a corner close to downtown.  There was always a lot of foot traffic.  One Saturday he was up on the roof, fixing the shingles.  He lost his balance and fell, landing in the yard.

Several people saw the fall and concerned, they stopped.

Granddaddy got up, dusted himself off, and said to the gawkers, “You can git on your way.  I ain’t going to do it again.”