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The Treasure is a 1904 novel by the Swedish writer Selma Lagerlof. Its original Swedish title is Herr Arnes penningar, which means "Mr. Arne's money". It has also been published in English as Herr Arne's Hoard. Set in Bohuslän in the 16th century, it tells the story of a group of Scottish mercenaries who escape from prison; they go on to murder a family to steal a treasure chest, after which one of them falls in love with the family's sole survivor.

Genre: Romance

II At Solberga parsonage the priest, Herr Arne, sat at supper surrounded by all his household. There was no stranger present but Torarin. Herr Arne was an old white-haired man, but he was still powerful and erect. His wife sat beside him. To her the years had been unkind; her head and her hands trembled, and she was nearly deaf. On Herr Arne's other side sat his curate. He was a pale young man with a look of trouble in his face, as though he was unable to support all the learning he had gathered in during his years of study at Wittenberg. These three sat at the head of the table, a little apart from the rest. Below them sat Torarin, and then the servants, who were old like their master. There were three serving-men; their heads were bald, their backs bent, and their eyes blinked and watered. Of women there were but two. They were somewhat younger and more able-bodied than the men, yet they too had a fragile look and were afflicted with the infirmities of age. At the farthest end of the table sat two children. One of them was Herr Arne's niece, a child of no more than fourteen years. She was fair-haired and of delicate build; her face had not yet reached its fullness, but had a promise of beauty in it. She had another little maid sitting beside her, a poor orphan without father or mother, who had been given a home at the parsonage. The two sat close together on the bench, and it could be seen that there was great friendship between them. All these folk sat at meat in the deepest silence. Torarin looked from one to another, but none was disposed to talk during the meal. All the old servants thought to themselves: "It is a goodly thing to be given food and to be spared the sufferings of want and hunger, which we have known so often in our lives. While we are eating we ought to have no thought but of giving thanks to God for His goodness." Since Torarin found no one to talk to, his glance wandered up and down the room. He turned his eyes from the great stove, built up in many stages beside the entrance door, to the lofty four-post bed which stood in the farthest corner of the room. He looked from the fixed benches that ran round the room to the hole in the roof, through which the smoke escaped and wintry air poured in. As Torarin the fish hawker, who lived in the smallest and poorest cabin on the outer isles, looked upon all these things, he thought: "Were I a great man like Herr Arne I would not be content to live in an ancient homestead with only one room. I should build myself a house with high gables and many chambers, like those of the burgomasters and aldermen of Marstrand." But more often than not Torarin's eyes rested upon a great oaken chest which stood at the foot of the four-post bed. And he looked at it so long because he knew that in it Herr Arne kept all his silver moneys, and he had heard they were so many that they filled the chest to the very lid. And Torarin, who was so poor that he hardly ever had a silver piece in his pocket, said to himself: "And yet I would not have all that money. They say Herr Arne took it from the great convents that were in the land in former days, and that the old monks foretold that this money would bring him misfortune."
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Selma Lagerlof

Selma Ottilia Lovisa Lagerlof (20 November 1858 – 16 March 1940) was a Swedish author and teacher. She was the first female writer to win the Nobel Prize in Literature. more…

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