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The Enigmatic One

«Near a small hill crowned with trees, at the foot of which a small river meandered across the lovely meadow, was a handsome farmhouse. It belonged to the richest man in town, Ole Aae.»

1877
2017-04-2608:42 Marianne Gjelseth

The Enigmatic One (1877) is a love story with a country setting.

A young newcomer, Rolf Andersen, comes to live on one of the tenant farms belonging to the local squire, Ole Aa. Rolf falls in love with Aa’s daughter, Rønnaug, and his feelings are reciprocated. However, Rønnaug’s father withholds his blessings until he finds out that the young man’s real name is Knud Sonnenfield, and that he is from an affluent background.

The Enigmatic One is much influenced by Bjørnstjerne Bjørnson both in language and theme. Along with his two other pieces of juvenilia, Hamsun did not allow this to be included among the Collected Works.

Many years later, in a letter to his publisher, Harald Grieg, he wrote: "I would never have published things like 'A Reconciliation', 'The Enigmatic One' and 'Bjørger' had it not been, each time, to show my brothers and sisters that I was not to be made fun of."