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Growth of the Soil, by Knut Hamsun

on the first child The rugged man stood there with a miracle before him; a thing created first of all in a sacred mist, showing forth now in life with a little face like an allegory. Days and years, and the miracle would be a human being.
"Come and have your food," said Inger...
on a father's love "Aye, that's just it," said Isak harshly. "A daler now and a daler then..." But his harshness was all because he missed Eleseus himself, and wanted him home. "It makes too many daler in the long run," said he.
on humanity Generation after generation, breeding ever anew; and when you die, the new stock goes on. That's the meaning of eternal life. What do you get out of it? An existence innocently and properly set towards all.
on time 'Twas rarely he knew the day of the month--what need had he of that? He had no bills to be met on a certain date; the marks of his almanac were to show the time when each of the cows should bear. But he knew St Olaf's Day in the autumn, that by then his hay must be in, and he knew Candlemas in the spring, and that three weeks after then the bears came out of their winter quarters; all seed must be in the earth by then. He knew what was needful.

A tiller of the ground, body and soul; a worker on the land without respite. A ghost risen out of the past to point to the future, a man from the earliest days of cultivation, a settler in the wilds, nine hundred years old, and, withal, a man of the day.