The Long Journey

by Johannes V. Jensen

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Characters Discussed

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Fyr, a man living before the glacial age. He brings fire from a volcano and learns to use it for personal warmth, for cooking, and as a god. A band of human beings gathers about him, and he teaches them many primitive arts. Fyr is made a sacrifice to the fire god he created, and he is cooked and eaten by his people.


Carl, a typical man of the glacial age. An outcast for letting his tribe’s fire go out, he flees to the north and learns to live with the cold, protecting himself against the elements in the early Stone Age.


Mam, Carl’s mate, who brings new ideas, such as using vegetables for food and keeping a permanent home.

White Bear

White Bear, a late Stone Age man. He becomes an outcast after killing a priest in a dispute over a woman. Becoming a builder of boats, he travels over the seas. He also learns to tame horses and use them with a chariot.


May, White Bear’s mate. While her husband and son are at sea, she and her daughters take care of the crops and animals.


Wolf, White Bear’s son. He learns how to sit astride a horse and becomes a nomad.

Norna Gest

Norna Gest, a strange mortal who lives so long as he keeps a partially burned candle. He brings techniques of smelting and forging metals. He also becomes a wandering skald. He helps create a bronze bull to serve as an idol for the Jutlanders.


Gro, Norna Gest’s mother.


Tole, a leader in Jutland who, with Norna Gest’s help, casts a bronze idol.

Christopher Columbus

Christopher Columbus, who is portrayed as carrying man’s long journey from Europe to the West Indies.


Cortés, the European who defeats the Stone Age people of Mexico and thus extends man’s journey from Europe to the American continent.

Charles Darwin

Charles Darwin, a modern man whose new weapon is science.

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