"My father is Mr. Hoyer, of Solheim," said the boy, not without some pride in the announcement.
"What--you rascal, you! Are you trying to, play pranks on an old man?" cried the officer of the law, grasping Ralph cordially by the hand. "You've grown to be quite a man, since I saw you last. Pardon me for not recognizing the son of an old neighbor."
"Allow me to introduce to you my friend, Mr. Biceps--I mean, Mr. Albert Grimlund."
"Happy to make your acquaintance, Mr. Biceps Albert; and now you must both come and eat the Christmas porridge with us. I'll send a messenger to Mr. Hoyer without delay."
The sheriff, in a jolly mood, and happy to have added to the number of his Christmas guests, took each of the two young men by the arm, as if he were going to arrest them, and conducted them through the spacious front hall into a large cosey room, where, having divested themselves of their wraps, they told the story of their adventure.
"But, my dear sir," Mr. Bjornerud exclaimed, "I don't see how you managed to go beyond your father's preserves. You know he bought of me the whole forest tract, adjoining his own on the south, about three months ago. So you were perfectly within your rights; for your father hasn't killed an elk on his land for three years."
"If that is the case, Mr. Sheriff," said Ralph, "I must beg of you to release the poor fellow who chased us. I don't wish any informer's fee, nor have I any desire to get him into trouble."
"I am sorry to say I can't accommodate you," Bjornerud replied. "This man is a notorious poacher and trespasser, whom my deputies have long been tracking in vain. Now that I have him I shall keep him. There's no elk safe in Odalen so long as that rascal is at large."