‘Mother, I have seen such a wonderful man,’ said a little boy one day, as he entered a hut in Lapland, bearing in his arms the bundle of sticks he had been sent out to gather.
‘Have you, my son; and what was he like?’ asked the mother, as she took off the child’s sheepskin coat and shook it on the doorstep.
‘Well, I was tired of stooping for the sticks, and was leaning against a tree to rest, when I heard a noise of ‘sh-‘sh, among the dead leaves. I thought perhaps it was a wolf, so I stood very still. But soon there came past a tall man–oh! twice as tall as father–with a long red beard and a red tunic fastened with a silver girdle, from which hung a silver-handled knife. Behind him followed a great dog, which looked stronger than any wolf, or even a bear. But why are you so pale, mother?’
‘It was the Stalo,’ replied she, her voice trembling; ‘Stalo the man-eater! You did well to hide, or you might never had come back. But, remember that, though he is so tall and strong, he is very stupid, and many a Lapp has escaped from his clutches by playing him some clever trick.’