Seite:Marsh Hallig 1856.djvu/28

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28

THE HALLIG.

tenance involve a greater expenditure than the cost
of the simple dwellings which crown them. On the
plain below, the frequent overflows forbid the growth
of every pleasant shrub or nutritious fruit. It is a
waste whose pale green sod, often interrupted by
patches of gray slime, shows that the frugal sheep
may find here a scanty sustenance, but nowhere affords
the fresh and fragrant pasture where the thriving cow
revels, and the spirited horse prances. No bubbling
springs offer a refreshing draught on these thin mead-
ows burned by the direct rays of the sun, which no
shady foliage intercepts. You find indeed shores torn
by the waves, deep sea-creeks penetrating with winding
course far into the land, as if seeking to divide it into
smaller portions, in order to master it the more easily,
many standing pools left behind by the last inunda-
tion, as a token that the land already belongs half to
the ocean, and will soon be wholly his own ; but fresh
water is found only in reservoirs excavated upon the
wharves, and lined with sods. Into these the rain-
water falls and leaks through their sides, and this
water serves for the sheep and the tea-kettles of their
owners, though it derives from the salt earth a nau-
seously brackish taste, which renders it altogether un-
drinkable to the stranger. Sometimes a boat brings
off a keg of fresh water from the mainland, and in
seasons of drought it becomes necessary to fetch thence
the supply.
  But doubtless the inhabitant of the hallig enjoys the
advantage of a constant and abundant fishery ? No ;
he has not even the view of a clear green sea. A im-
pulsive turbid yellowish gray is the usual color of the