The Tusse Folk Help with the Harvest

Collected by Kjetil A. Flatin in Norway (1930).
From Scandinavian Folk Belief and Legend, edited by Reimund Kvideland and Henning Sehmsdorf.

It was sometime during the eighteenth century. One autumn Old Tore and Marte, who lived on Austaana in Kvitseid, had much trouble gEting help to bring in the harvest. Their big, beautiful field was so ripe that the grain was dropping to the ground, and there was not a single person they could hire to do the mowing. They thought they might have to ask their neighbors for help, as they often did in those days whevenever they were in a hurry with a job.

So Tore and Marte brewed and baked, as if they were preparing for a great feast. They brewed in the workhouse, and the evening before the neighbors were expected to come and help, the beer stood ready in a vat. But during the night, they heard the sound of cutting and tying in the field, and the sound of many feet shuffling and walking in the workhouse. And they heard voices mumbling and talking:

Everybody can mow,
but nobody can tie the cross.
We tie it straight,
And soon we can quit.

The next morning the folk on Austaana got a big surprise--the whole big field had been cut. But the sheaves had been tied in a way that no one in the village had seen before. Ever since that time, it has been called a "straight tie". The usual tie was in the shape of a cross, but the tusse would not tie that way.

When Tore and Marte went into the workhouse to fetch the beer, they found it was all gone except for a little bit of the dregs. The tusse had drunk the beer in payment for their labor. But when Marte flushed the dregs from the vat, she found three or four silver spoons on the bottom, which the tusse had left there. The spoons have been passed down on the farm from generation to generation, and they are engraved with Tore's name.