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That summer Per Hansa was transported, was carried farther and ever farther away on the wings of a wondrous fairy tale—a romance in which he was both prince and king, sole possessor of countless treasures.

As the first paragraph of the chapter "What the Waving Grass Revealed," the passage conveys Per's euphoric vision of building a successful life in America for his family. He even daydreams about being a hero in a Norwegian fairy tale in which he defeats obstacles, represented by trolls, in order to reach the castle of Soria Moria, which, in Norwegian folklore, symbolizes perfect happiness. In fact, the reference to fairy tales and Scandinavian folk tales becomes a major motif of the novel. Per imagines himself not only as a hero, but also as a prince and a king; he regards being a landowner as the noblest pursuit of man. In the first few chapters of the novel, Per's optimistic tone dominates while Beret's fears only occasionally interrupt her husband's euphoric vision. As the novel progresses, it increasingly focuses on Beret as the main character. At this point in the novel, however, Per is still the main character, and his optimism still dominates.