This post is the second chapter of Olaf Jansen journey to the Under World. Read the first chapter here.
Life in Under World
Both Olaf and Jens learned that, the males do not marry, before they are from 75 to 100 years old. The age at which women enter wedlock is only a little less. Both men and women frequently live to be from 600 to 800 years old, and in some instances much older.
During the following year, Olaf and Jens visited many villages and towns, prominent among them being the cities of Nigi, Delfi, and Hectea. Olaf remember hearing his father remark that, the giant race of people in the land of The Smoky God, had almost as accurate an idea of the geography of the outside surface of the Earth, as had the average college professor in Stockholm.
In their travels, they came to a forest of gigantic trees, near the City of Delfi. Had the Bible said, there were trees towering over 300 feet in height, and more than 30 feet in diameter, growing in the Garden of Eden. The Ingersolls, the Tom Paines and Voltaires, would doubtless have pronounced the statement a myth.
The description of the California sequoia gigantea, pale into insignificance, when compared with the forest Goliaths, found in the Under World Continent. Where abound mighty trees from 800 to 1,000 feet in height. From 100 to 120 feet in diameter. Countless in numbers, and forming forests extending hundreds of miles back from the sea.
The children are not supposed to attend institutions of learning, before they are 20 years old. Their school life begins, and continues for 30 years. Ten years are uniformly devoted, by both sexes to the study of music.
The Under World people principal vocations are architecture, agriculture, horticulture, the raising of vast herds of cattle, and the building of conveyances peculiar to that country, for travel on land, and water. By some device, they hold communion with one another, between the most distant parts of their country, on air currents.
All buildings are erected with special regard to strength, durability, beauty and symmetry. A style of architecture vastly more attractive to the eye, than any Olaf had ever observed elsewhere.
About three fourths of the Under World is land, and about one fourth is water. There are numerous rivers of tremendous size, flowing in a northerly and southerly direction. Some of these rivers are 30 miles in width.
Olaf and Jens saw innumerable specimens of bird life, no larger than those encountered, in the forests of Europe, or America. Whether inland among the mountains, or along the seashore, they found bird life prolific. When some the birds spread their great wings, appeared to measure 30 feet from tip to tip, with great variety and many colors.
When Olaf and Jens were permitted to climb up on the edge of a rock, to examine a nest of eggs. There were five in the nest, each of which was at least two feet in length, and 15 inches in diameter.
After a week in the City of Hectea, Jules Galdea took Olaf and Jens to an inlet, where they saw thousands of tortoises along the sandy shore. These great creatures were from 25 to 30 feet in length, from 15 to 20 feet in width, and fully seven feet in height. When one of tortoises projected its head, it had the appearance of some hideous sea monster.
The strange conditions are favorable not only for vast meadows of luxuriant grasses, forests of giant trees, all manner of vegetable life, and wonderful animal life as well.
One day, Olaf and Jens saw a great herd of elephants. There must have been 500 of these thunder throated monsters, with their restlessly waving trunks. They were tearing huge boughs from the trees, and trampling smaller growth into dust like so much hazel brush. They would average over 100 feet in length, and from 75 to 85 in height.
There is a hazy mist that goes up from the land each evening, and it invariably rains, once every 24 hours. This great moisture, the invigorating electrical light, and warmth account perhaps for the luxuriant vegetation. While the highly charged electrical air, and the evenness of climatic conditions, may have much to do with the giant growth, and longevity of all animal life.
In places the level valleys stretched away for many miles in every direction. The Smoky God, in its clear white light, looked calmly down. There was an intoxication, in the electrically surcharged air, that fanned the cheek, as softly as a vanishing whisper. Nature chanted a lullaby, in the faint murmur of winds, whose breath was sweet with the fragrance of bud and blossom.
A Journey Home
After having spent considerably more than a year, in visiting several of the many cities of the Under World. And more than two years had passed, from the time Olaf and Jens had been picked up by the great excursion ship on the river. They decided to cast their fortunes once more upon the sea, and endeavor to regain the outside surface of the Earth.
The Under World people also generously offered to give Olaf and Jens, bags of gold nuggets, which some of them as large as a goose's egg. In due time, Olaf and Jens returned to Jehu, at which place they spent one month in fixing up, and overhauling their little fishing sloop.
After all was in readiness, using the same ship, the Naz, took Olaf and Jens along with their little craft on board, and sailed to the mouth of the river Hiddekel. The giant people were most cordially regretful at parting, and evinced much solicitude for Olaf and Jens's safety.
Jens swore by the Gods Odin, and Thor that, he would surely return again, within a year, or two, to pay them another visit.
Olaf and Jens were becalmed within an hour, after their giant friends had left them to return home. The winds were constantly blowing South, from the northern opening of the Earth toward, that which Olaf and Jens knew to be South, but according to their compass's pointing finger, was directly North.
For three days they tried to sail, and to beat against the wind, but to no avail. Whereupon Jens said,
My son, to return by the same route as we came in is impossible at this time of year. I wonder why we did not think of this before. We have been here almost two and a half years, therefore, this is the season, when the Sun is beginning to shine in, at the southern opening of the Earth. The long cold night is on, in the Spitzbergen country.
What shall we do? Olaf inquired.
There is only one thing we can do, Jens replied,
And that is to go South.
Accordingly, Jens turned the craft about, gave it full reef, and started by the compass North but, in fact, directly South. The wind was strong, and they seemed to have struck a current, that was running with remarkable swiftness, in the same direction.
Forty days later, they arrived at Delfi, a city they had visited, in company with Jules Galdea and his wife, near the mouth of the Gihon River. They rested for two days, and were most hospitably entertained by the same people who had welcomed them before.
They laid in some additional provisions and again set sail, following the needle due North. On their outward trip, they came through a narrow channel, which appeared to be a separating body of water, between two considerable bodies of land.
There was a beautiful beach, and they decided to reconnoiter. Casting anchor, they waded ashore to rest up for a day, before continuing the outward hazardous undertaking. They built a fire, and threw on some sticks of dry driftwood. While Jens was walking along the shore, Olaf prepared a tempting repast from supplies they had provided.
After breakfast, they started out, on an inland tour of discovery, but had not gone far, when they saw some birds, which they recognized at once as belonging to the penguin family. Flightless birds, excellent swimmers, with white breast, short wings, black head, and long peaked bills, but, tremendous in size
They stand fully nine feet high. A giant penguin looked at Olaf and Jens with little surprise, and presently waddled. Rather than walked toward the water, and swam away in a northerly direction.
When Olaf and Jens were on an open, and iceless sea. They knew the so called South Pole was turned toward the Sun. Passing out, away from the internal electrical light of The Smoky God, and its genial warmth. They would be met by the light, and warmth of the Sun, shining in through the South opening of the Earth, and they were not mistaken.
Among The Ice Packs
Along the way, they encountered a hidden rock, or obstacle. The little vessel would have been crushed into kindling wood. At their consciousness, the atmosphere was growing decidedly colder. Few days later, icebergs were sighted far to the left. Jens argued, and correctly, that the winds which filled their sails came from the warm climate of the Under World.
They were soon amid the ice packs, and narrow channels. The compass behaved in the same drunken, and unreliable fashion in passing over the southern curve, or edge of the Earth's shell, as it had done on their inbound trip, at the northern entrance. It gyrated, dipped, and seemed like a thing possessed.
Suddenly, Jens shouted,
Breakers ahead! Looking up, Olaf saw through a lifting mist, a white object that towered several hundred feet high, completely shutting off their advance. They lowered sail immediately, and none too soon.
They found theirselves wedged between two monstrous icebergs. Each was crowding, and grinding against its fellow mountain of ice, like two gods of war contending for supremacy.
Olaf and Jens were between the lines of a battle royal, the sonorous thunder of the grinding ice, was like the continued volleys of artillery. Blocks of ice larger than a house were frequently lifted up a hundred feet, by the mighty force of lateral pressure.
For more than two hours, the contest of the icy giants continued. It seemed as if the end had come. The ice pressure was terrific. They were not caught in the dangerous part of the jam, and were safe for the time being. Finally, the grinding of the ice ceased, and within a few hours the great mass slowly divided, and right before them lay an open channel.
For the next 45 days of their time was employed, in dodging icebergs, and hunting channels. At last, there came a morning when Jens said,
My son, I think we are to see home. We are almost through the ice. See! the open water lies before us.
There were a few icebergs, that had floated far northward, into the open water, still ahead of them on either side, stretching away for many miles. Directly in front of them, and by the compass, which had now righted itself, due North, there was an open sea.
What a wonderful story we have to tell to the people of Stockholm, continued Jens, while a look of pardonable elation lighted up his honest face.
And think of the gold nuggets stowed away in the hold!, Olaf spoke kind words of praise to his father, for his fortitude, endurance, for his courageous daring as a discoverer, and for having made the voyage that now promised a successful end.
Olaf was grateful with the wealth of gold, they were carrying home. While congratulating theirselves, on the goodly supply of provisions, water they still had on hand, and on the dangers they had escaped. They were startled by hearing a most terrific explosion, caused by the tearing apart of a huge mountain of ice.
It was a deafening roar like the firing of a thousand cannon. They were sailing at the time with great speed, and happened to be near a monstrous iceberg which to all appearances was as immovable as a rockbound island. It seemed that, the iceberg had split and was breaking apart, and it began dipping from them.
Jens quickly anticipated the danger, before Olaf realized its awful possibilities. The iceberg extended down into the water, many hundreds of feet. As it tipped over, the portion coming up out of the water, caught their fishing craft like a lever on a fulcrum. Threw it into the air as if it had been a football.
Their boat fell back on the iceberg, that by this time had changed the side next to them, for the top. Jens was still in the boat, having become entangled in the rigging, while Olaf was thrown some 20 feet away.
Olaf quickly scrambled to his feet and shouted to his father, who answered,
All is well.
Horror upon horror! The blood froze in Olaf veins. The iceberg was still in motion, its great weight, and force in toppling over would cause it to submerge temporarily. Olaf fully realized what a sucking maelstrom, it would produce amid the worlds of water on every side.
Was this the end of our struggles and adventures? Was this death? All these questions flashed through Olaf's mind in the fraction of a second. A moment later, Olaf was engaged in a life and death struggle.
The ponderous monolith of ice sank below the surface, and the frigid waters gurgled around him in frenzied anger. He was in a saucer, with the waters pouring in on every side. Olaf lost consciousness.
When he partially recovered his senses, and roused from the swoon of a half drowned man. Olaf found himself wet, stiff, and almost frozen, lying on the iceberg. But, there was no sign of his father, and their little fishing sloop.
The monster berg had recovered itself, and, with its new balance, lifted its head, perhaps 50 feet above the waves. The top of this island of ice was a plateau, perhaps half an acre in extent.
Olaf loved his father well, and was grief stricken at the awfulness of his death. He railed at fate, that he had not been permitted to sleep with him, in the depths of the ocean. Finally, Olaf climbed to his feet. The purple domed sky above, the shoreless green ocean beneath, and only an occasional iceberg discernible.
His heart sank in hopeless despair. Olaf cautiously picked a way across the berg, toward the other side, hoping that their fishing craft had righted itself. Dared, Olaf think it possible that his father still lived? It was but a ray of hope that flamed up in his heart.
But, the anticipation warmed the blood in his veins, and started it rushing like some rare stimulant through every fiber of his body. Olaf crept close to the precipitous side of the iceberg, and peered far down, hoping, still hoping.
Olaf made a circle of the berg, scanning every foot of the way, and he kept going around, and around. A part of his brain was certainly becoming maniacal, while the other part, was perfectly rational. Olaf was conscious of having made the circuit, a dozen times.
While one part of his intelligence knew, in all reason, there was not a vestige of hope. Some strange fascinating aberration bewitched, and compelled him still to beguile himself with expectation. The other part of his brain seemed to tell him that, while there was no possibility of his father being alive. If Olaf quitted making the circuitous pilgrimage, if he paused for a single moment, it would be acknowledgment of defeat, and he felt that he should go mad.
Hour after hour, Olaf walked around, and around, afraid to stop and rest, yet physically powerless to continue much longer.
Horror of horrors! To be cast away in this wide expanse of waters, without food or drink, and only a treacherous iceberg, for an abiding place. His heart sank within him, and all semblance of hope was fading into black despair. Then the hand of the Deliverer was extended, and the death like stillness of a solitude, rapidly becoming unbearable, was suddenly broken by the firing of a signal gun.
Olaf looked up in startled amazement. When he saw less than a half mile away, a whaling vessel bearing down toward him. Evidently, his continued activity on the iceberg had attracted their attention. On drawing near, they put out a boat, and descending cautiously to the water's edge. Olaf was rescued, and lifted on board the whaling ship, a Scotch whaler, The Arlington, which had cleared from Dundee, in September, and started immediately for the Antarctic, in search of whales.
The captain, Angus MacPherson, seemed kindly disposed, and possessed of an iron will. When Olaf attempted to tell the captain, that he had come from the Under World. The captain and mate looked at each other, shook their heads, and insisted to put Olaf, in a bunk under strict surveillance of the ship's physician.
Olaf was very weak for want of food, and had not slept for many hours. After a few days rest, he got up one morning, and dressed himself. Without asking permission of the physician, or anyone else, and told them that he was as sane as anyone.
The captain again questioned Olaf concerning where he had come from, and how he came to be alone on an iceberg, in the far off Antarctic Ocean. Olaf replied that he had just come from the Under World, with proceeded to tell how his father and himself had gone in by way of Spitzbergen. Which later come out by way of the South Pole country, whereupon Olaf was put in irons.
Olaf heard the captain tell the mate that, he was as crazy as a March hare. Also that Olaf must remain in confinement, until he was rational enough, to give a truthful account of himself. Finally, after much pleading and many promises, Olaf was released from irons.
Olaf then decided to invent some story, that would satisfy the captain, and never again refer to his trip to the land of The Smoky God, at least until he was safe among friends. Within a fortnight I was permitted to go about and take my place as one of the seamen.
Later, the captain asked Olaf for an explanation. He told the captain that his experience had been so horrible, that he was fearful of his memory, and begged the captain to permit him, to leave the question unanswered, until some time in the future.
I think you are recovering considerably, the captain said,
but you are not sane yet by a good deal.
Permit me to do such work as you may assign, Olaf replied,
And if it does not compensate you sufficiently, I will pay you immediately after I reach Stockholm, to the last penny.
Olaf finally reaching Stockholm, after four years, and eight months of journey. He found that his mother had died the previous year. One day, Olaf told the story, in detail to his uncle, Gustaf Osterlind, who later landed him, in a mad house, where he remained there, for 28 years.
In October 17, 1862, Olaf was released, and became a man over fifty years old, whose only known record, of a madman with no friends. Olaf returned to the life of a fisherman, for the next 27 years.
In 1889, he came to America, and settled in Illinois, near Batavia, for 12 years. He later moved to Los Angeles, in March 4, 1901, and became new acquaintance of Willis George Emerson, who should be the one to edit his story, a disbeliever of Hollow Earth Theory.
For Olaf Jansen himself, the climax of his wonderful travels, and strange adventures was reached, when the Scotch sailing vessel took him, from an iceberg on the Antarctic Ocean.
~ THE END ~