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What Happened to Inger Johanne

As Told by Herself

100 pages
Library of Alexandria
There are four brothers and sisters of us at home, and as I am the eldest, it is natural that I should describe myself first. I am very tall and slim (Mother calls it "long and lanky"); and, sad to say, I have very large hands and very large feet. "My, what big feet!" our horrid old shoemaker always says when he measures me for a pair of new shoes. I feel like punching his tousled head for him as he kneels there taking my measure; for he has said that so often now that I am sick and tired of it. My hair is in two long brown braids down my back. That is well enough, but my nose is too broad, I think; so sometimes when I sit and study I put a doll's clothespin on it to make it smaller; but when I take the clothespin off, my nose springs right out again; so there is no help for it, probably. Why people say such a thing is a puzzle; but they all, especially the boys, do say that I am so self-important. I say I am not—not in the least—and I must surely know best about myself, now that I am as old as I am. But I ask you girls whether it is pleasant to have boys pull your braids, or call you "Ginger," or to have them stand and whistle and give cat-calls down by the garden wall, when they want you to come out. I have said that they must once for all understand that my braids must be let alone, that I will not be whistled for in that manner, and that I will come out when I am ready and not before. And then they call me self-important! After me comes Karsten. He has a large, fair face, light hair, and big sticking-out ears. It is a shame to tease any one, but I do love to tease Karsten, for he gets so excited that he flushes scarlet out to the tips of his ears and looks awfully funny! Then he runs after me—which is, of course, just what I want—and if he catches me, gives me one or two good whacks; but usually we are the best of friends. Karsten likes to talk about wonderfully strong men and how much they can lift on their little finger with their arm stretched out; and he is great at exaggeration. People say I exaggerate and add a sauce to everything, but they ought to hear Karsten! Anyway, I don't exaggerate,—I only have a lively imagination.