1936 novelist Gro Holm published the novel The White Coals, which describes how some smart merchants robbed the local landowners in Odda. Gro Holm gives a harsh depiction of how the acquisition of waterfalls could take place, how farmers allowed themselves to cheat to sell waterfalls for next to nothing. Solicitor Våtemyrs acquisition of Skjeggedal waterfall might seem like a caricature, but it is true. A journalist who questioned the sales price of one hundred crowns, was told by the author that she had set up the sum to be believed.
Andersen: "There seems to be competition for the waterfalls. One waterfall after another is sold. I do not understand what will happen, there will be a setback, there is no need for all these waterfalls. At least not for a long time yet. It's as if people do not see the difference between good and bad waterfalls. When only it’s named waterfall. But this looks good. We'll ask Hjort, and hear what he believes and if he thinks it's good we will write to Paris and ask what they will give."
Dahl took the letter up and looked at it.
"Two hundred thousand. Yes that might be. The construction of facilities would cost millions. We shall write to Hegrenes and get a printout of the deed. This can become a pretty business. This one speaks against; what speaks for, is the waterfall itself and it’s undeniable advantages. But as you in the price you asked for has gone from 200 000 horsepower, what do you say about an offer from us of 150 000 crowns? It might still be the one crown per horsepower."
"No, there can be no question of that," replied Våtemyr quickly. "I was not determining the price by a crown per horsepower. And that is 200 000 crowns for such waterways? The development will the nevertheless cost millions. It cannot at all be calculated on millions exactitude."
"Excuse me, is it not the case that the sollicitor has given the seller one hundred crowns for the property?"
It was quiet around the table. Where the heck would he go now, Rolf thought and began to draw figures in the margin of the calculations.
"Yes, that is correct, the previous owner has even received it as a gift."
"Yes, gift." Våtemyr was visibly pleased, he will not get me angry, if that's what he wants. "But I do not understand what this has to do with the business. My title to the property is in good order."
"We who are informed, know that there is no need for all this hydroelectric power that is now on the market. There is only need for a small part, the very best."
Våtemyr and Seljevik said goodbye and when they were gone Dahl said:
"You can never restrain yourself! What would be good to mention the hundred crowns? "
"But dear, one must be allowed to amuse oneself a little now and again. Good for him, the damn fool. Sitting and keeping the secret for 3 years until the inheritance deadline had expired, and come with their offer the same day he was safe! Yes, I have seen on the registration date. What a vile guy! Gift! Did you hear that? Yes, I said gift. Not because I believe that the farmer shall have one hundred and fifty thousand of the falls. He's probably happier without, but something shall have."
Samuel stood in the woodshed when his brother came. He was surprised by Anders who looked so out of breath. He stood with the piece of wood in hand and wondered what could now be wrong. Something was wrong.
"When did you sell the waterfall," Anders blurted out without introduction.
"Sell? I have not sold anyone waterfall."
"You have sold, how have you sold ? You have sold Long Valley and the falls."
Samuel put away his wood . "Oh, Long Valley," he said. "Yes, Våtemyr, the solicitor, would be able to buy fishing rights in Long Valley. He and certain other fellows would give the right to the Crown Prince, you know . "
"And how it went? He bought it then?"
"Yes , he did."
"Do you have the papers?"
"No, I do not have the papers."
"But what was in the paper, I suppose he read something for you before you signed."
"Yes, he read it."
"But what was it then?"
"No, I do not remember now, it's so long ago. He did not care about it, because I have not seen him later."
"What did you get then?"
"To have a man like that visiting us you know it was an honor to have him here . I got a hundred Crowns. "
Anders trembled where he stood. "And Våtemyr has sold . He has received 150 000 for the valley and the falls," he screamed.
"No, he has?" Samuel said quietly and took up the wood and lifted the ax. "So he might come then, the Crown Prince?"
Up on Rokkejuv Samuel went in the same days and was moping around more than usual. He had probably been too sloppy with Long Valley. If not Anders would not have been so angry. There had to be something he did not understand. Waterfall? Yes, tourists came and looked at the waterfall. The waterfall was magnificent, it was impressive, one might be purely dizzy when standing up there staring down at it, and both he and Anders had a small profit by it. But he had never heard of a waterfall that could be sold or used for something, it might then be to drive a mill shell or a saw. But then it should not embarrass Anders.
"Is there somehing that bothers you," Sigrid asked, "you go here so dismal."
"Oh not at all," he replied.
Lisa sat down . "It cannot be true," she said. "They must be wrong."
"No, unfortunately, we are not wrong. You've talked with Hansen?"
"Hansen yes, he said he only would chart the landscape. I thought it was the state that would have maps of the mountain. But what do they want with it, what will they use it for?"
"Ay, they will build factories and power stations. Electric power they say. It's so new, that we in here do not know what electric power anyway. And what they are to fabricate Hansen will not tell us."
"However, the pasture and farm paddocks! Has Samuel really sold the farm?"
"No, pasture and farm paddocks were excepted, Våtemyr had done it anyway. Anders has got hold of the paper and we have read it many times."
When Lisa heard that the farm was excepted she became relieved and she said: "Thank God" and she said that maybe it was not a big deal anyway, they could then go on living as they had done, for she knew nothing about dams and tunnels and cableways.
"There 's nobody here," said Berta, "who knows how bad this can become, but we have at least read so much newspapers that we know that there will be a change. If this is new, it is although not the first facility in the country."
But he continued in the same manner and for long periods he could be standing and staring straight before him, and then he could start to shake his head and mutter something. "There must be contained somewhat below," he muttered.