Monday, November 2, 2009

An American Saga

Carl Christian Jensen, was born a Danish peasant in 1888, and ran away to sea at age 12. Eventually arriving in New York, then setting out for the western frontier in Minnesota he joined a Doomsday Religion and then studied physics. An American Saga, published in 1927, is a one-of-a-kind autobiography, only possible in America.

A brief excerpt:

"During the mackeral season I hired out in Bette-Fanden's cutter...Late at night we put to sea...The silence of night was broken by the splash of mackeral upon the surface, by the cutter, creaking under the weight of fish, and by the distant shoal waters...The nets were like bundles of silk, dyed in gorgeous tints and hues. The glazed eyes of themackeral glowed like heaps of pearls. Their scales glittered like diamonds.

"During dark nights and during moonlight nights, while we waited to heave the nets aboard, the sea was like a magic crystal ...There was one sea, but nine varieties of tides and winds to change the sea. When a storm chased the surges into the bowlders' arms, they laughed and wept in their first love.

"At the age of sixteen I began to live on the high seas in a small room with two potholes on the hull side...whatever I possessed I kept in my bunk. At dawn a sunbeam stole through the porthole...atnight I lay awake, gazing down into the magic depth...The starry sky twinkled above;pitch darkness ahead."

An American Saga, Carl Christian Jensen, Offered for sale, as of November 2, 2009, by Chewybooks.

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