Friday, June 1, 2007

The letter to Norway

This is a letter Knute wrote to his friend after hearing that his father, Niels Knudsen had died.

Dear Friend,
After given time and leisure I will take my pen in hand to send you a few lines as answer to your long awaited letter. So will I try to answer it as soon as possible. I heard from your letter that my mother has become widowed. That I could not believe that she should outlive my father.
Also I heard that you have bought the farm for $200 daler and also shall give my mother care that you talked about, but there is no mention of clothes, coffee, sugar, but do you mean that she should work for you? Do not be hard against my mother because she has been too good, and I think it is shameful to buy the farm for $200 daler after the times it is in Norway now. As I am hearing the times are better there than here. Because you think that here it is God's cabbage patch, but there you take it wrong.
I have now decided to try to get myself a piece of land, but my strength is too small yet. So I also need my part as well as anybody else. That if you would like to make it right and be good to my mother, and give for the farm what it is worth, so shall we that are here wait for the money as interest so we will not tear you up by the roots. You can be there unless you try something false. Because there are so many that come to America that they will not need any of the world's goods, but that is not true, because they don't have pigs with knife and fork in their backs here either. One must regard his money here too. Before long I think it will be worse here than in Norway. Because here comes people by the hundreds from all parts of the world by the day. So your day's wage is used up if you need money for clothes, too.
This winter I worked in the woods for $26 daler a month that is good pay. I froze myself to death three times and worked for my life. Spring came I bought myself clothes and traveled to Minnesota. After that I had $10 daler left from winter.
Then I today have many letters to write back to Norway and to other different places, so I will stop my simple writing with a heartfelt greeting to all of you. But first and last are you my loving and often remembered Mother, greetings from you long lost far away son.
Dear Engebret you must finally write back to me as soon as you can then I shall more give you explanation after I have called to my sister. It is far for me to travel there to find her, but I will go anyway. My address is Mr. K Ranum, Wahalan, Fillmore County, Minnesota, North America.

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