OUTSIDE the factory lay heaps of clouts piled up in stacks，gathered together from far and wide ;every raghad its story， every one was telling his own tale， but onecannot listen to them altogether. Some rage were native，others came from foreign countries.
Here a Danish rag lay close to a Norwegian rag; realDanish was the one， and thoroughly Norwegian the other，and that was the amusing thing about the two of them， every sensible Norwegian and Dane will say. They knew each other by their speech， although each of these，saidthe Norwegian， was as different as French and Hebrew.
" We do our best to get ours raw and original， while theDane makes his sickly-sweet flavourless language for him-self."
The rags talked， and a rag is a rag in every country;they only count for something in the cloth-heap.
" I am Norwegian，" said the Norwegian rag，"and when I say I am Norwegian， I think I have said enough!Iam of firm stuff， like the ancient hills in old Norway， thecountry which has a constitution like free America! It tickles me in my threads， to think what I am， and to letmy thoughts ring out in granite words."
" But we have a literature，" said the Danish rag." Do you understand what that is?"
" Understand!" repeated the Norwegian."Inhabitantof a flat land， shall I lift him to the mountains and let theNorthern lights shine on him， rag that he is!When the ice melts before the Norwegian sun， then Danish fruit-boats come up to us with butter and cheese， very appetiz-ing wares! and there comes as ballast Danish literatrue.We do not need it! one prefers to dispense with flat alewhere the fresh spring bubbles， and here it is a well whichis not bored， not gossipped into European fame by newspa- pers and authors' travels in foreign countries. I speak freely from the lungs，and the Dane must accustom himself to the free sound， and that he will do in his Scandinavianclinging to our proud， rocky country， the primaeval clump of the world."
"A Danish rag could never talk like that，"said the Danish rag." It is not our nature. I know myself，and all our rags are like me; we are so good-natured， so modest;
we have too little confidence in ourselves， and one gains nothing by that， but I like it all the same， I think it socharming! As a matter of fact， I can assure you I know to the full my own good qualities，but I do not talk about them， no one shall be able to blame me for such a mis- take. I am soft and tractable， bear with everything， envy none， speak good of all， although there is not much good to be said of most of the others， but let that be their affair.I only laugh at it all，being so gifted as I am."
" Don't speak that flat-land's soft pasty language tome， it makes me sick，" said the Norwegian rag，and lifted itself in the wind from the heap and went over into another one.
Both of them were made into paper， and as chance would have it，the Norwegian rag became paper，on which a Norwegian wrote a faithful love-letter to a Danish girl，and the Danish rag became the manuscript for a Danish ode in praise of Norway's strength and grandeur.
Something good can come even out of rags， when they have been on the clothes-heap and the transformation into truth and beauty has taken place; then they shine in goodunderstanding， and in that there is blessing.
That is the story; it is quite enjoyable， and needoffend no one except—the rags.