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Thread: Swedish Folk Tales

  1. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by Marzipan View Post
    From Västerbotten



    The Bad Stepmother

    Once the father of a girl whose mother had died remarried, and so she got a stepmother. The stepmother also had a daughter, whose name was Malena. But the stepmother wanted to get rid of her stepdaughter, so one day she put a lot of good things into a heavy chest and told her, "This is all for you, if you get in with it." When the girl got in, the stepmother dropped the lid of the chest and squeezed the girl to death. Afterward, she cooked the girl and gave her to her father to eat. Malena collected all the bones and carried them outside.

    A few days passed. One day, when the father was walking home from the forest, he saw a bird sitting on the roof, singing. The bird sang as people speak. It sang:

    "My mother set a trap for me,

    My father ate me up,

    My sister Malena

    Collected my bones

    And put them in a silk scarf

    And carried them under the juniper bush."

    Then the bird threw a gold bell down to the father and flew away. When the stepsister went outside, the bird sang the same song, and it threw down a gold chain for her.

    When the stepmother saw the fine presents, she too went outside, but this time the bird threw down a rock and killed her.

    However it happened, the dead girl came back to life again, and afterward the family lived together in peace and harmony.
    I have heard that one before The storytelling tradition was (and is) strong in many parts of Sweden. Especially in rural parts of the north, where the winter was long and many nights was spent inside telling stories, many of them horror stories. I read the one you posted from Medelpad about the forest sprite, my grandmother heard many similar stories when she was young. How these forest sprites (in the north called Vittra) could kidnap kids. She told me how scared she was as a kid when she was going to milk the cows, she always ran back to the house.



    I have some stories I have heard that I can write down later. We had a funny teacher in the carpenting class of my middle school, everytime someone mentioned "can't you tell us about tap-dancing Jerker today?" he would stop the class and gather everyone. Take up some papers with the story written in it and tell the story for us.

  2. #22
    Senior Member Marzipan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mazik View Post
    I have heard that one before The storytelling tradition was (and is) strong in many parts of Sweden. Especially in rural parts of the north, where the winter was long and many nights was spent inside telling stories, many of them horror stories. I read the one you posted from Medelpad about the forest sprite, my grandmother heard many similar stories when she was young. How these forest sprites (in the north called Vittra) could kidnap kids. She told me how scared she was as a kid when she was going to milk the cows, she always ran back to the house.

    I have some stories I have heard that I can write down later. We had a funny teacher in the carpenting class of my middle school, everytime someone mentioned "can't you tell us about tap-dancing Jerker today?" he would stop the class and gather everyone. Take up some papers with the story written in it and tell the story for us.
    Yes,feel free to contribute. I love this idea and appreciate it.
    Many stories are well spread out and may originate from different places and then officially collected elsewhere. Different variants occur not only by region but by the storyteller as well.

    This region, I have found my sources are scarce and I have yet to locate some for Norrbotten. Perhaps the stories have been swallowed by Lappland. The collectors some times make mistakes in labelling and judgment assessment when collecting. Perhaps all stories collected were too similar to separate. But I will be mindful for them.

    If a place is isolated enough which is difficult to be now, the beliefs are very much alive. I don't know how much things have changed in certain places but I have grandparents and have heard from older folk who have crossed paths with individuals and families claiming they are part troll and etc. This was a while ago and with so many unwarranted changes, I'm not sure how much if any is still true.

    Even my father has stories of lost children being cared for by elves until they were found during his childhood.

  3. #23
    Senior Member Marzipan's Avatar
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    From Västerbotten



    The Biggest Stable And The Biggest Pot

    Up in Great Juktan in Sorsele lived some people who were so wealthy and their stable so large that if a cow got impregnated by the stable door, she'd give birth before they had time to lead her into her stall at the opposite end. The kettle in that stable was so large that when it boiled on one side, there was ice for skating on the other!

  4. #24
    Senior Member Marzipan's Avatar
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    From Lappland



    They Danced To Their Death

    In a village in Dalarna both the young and the old folk were always dancing on a mountain. Once when they were dancing, a stranger came with a fiddle under his arm and asked them whether he might play for them. He said that he was a good fiddler. The dancers happily invited him to play.

    But when he played, they became as if possessed and started dancing wildly. They danced over sticks and stones and over holes in the ground at great speed, so that they soon got tired and wanted to rest. But it was impossible to stop. The fiddler played faster and faster, and before long, they had worn out their shoes ad danced on their bare feet. They shouted to the fiddler to stop, but he pretended not to hear them and played even faster. Finally they had worn down their legs to their knees, but still they had to dance. They did not even get t to stop when all that was left were their skulls jumping and dancing to the rhythm.

    Finally a minister heard about the dancing on the mountain, and when he commanded the fiddler to stop, the man had to obey. But the folks who had followed the minister saw that it was Old Nick himself who sat there and played. He used his ass as a fiddle and worked it with a bow.

  5. #25
    Senior Member Marzipan's Avatar
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    From Västerbotten





    The Fox And The Rowanberries


    A bear was eating rowanberries when the fox came by to visit. The bear asked, "Brother, would you like some rowanberries to eat? "

    "No," answered the fox, "they're too sour."

    "They're not too sour," said the bear.

    "Then let me taste," said the fox.

    "Very Well," said the bear, and he bent the rowanberry tree down to the ground, saying, "Now bite hard into the branch over there!"

    When the fox had sunk his teeth into the branch, the bear asked, "Do you have a good grip on it? "

    "Yes," said the fox. The bear let go of the tree and the fox flew up into the air, yelling, "Please, dear friend, help me down!"

    "All you have to do is let go, " said the bear. "I'll catch you! "

    The fox let g of the branch, fell to the ground, and was knocked senseless. Then the bear told him, "Now I've finally paid you back for the time you fooled me into losing my tail!"

  6. #26
    Senior Member Marzipan's Avatar
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    From Jämtland




    The Lapp Carried A Belt Under His Skin


    A man went hunting one autumn, after it ha snowed. He came across a bear track leading straight to the door of a Lapp hut. When he peered into the hut, he saw an old Lapp sitting there, smoking his pipe. The hunter got scared and ran. But when he looked back, he saw a bear trotting after him. He knew right away that it was the old Lapp who had changed into a bear. He climbed up into a tree, and when the bear came after him, he fired. The bear said: "Oh, drat!" and then he was silent. He was dead.

    When the hunter flayed his prey, he found a tin belt and a pouch with tinderbox under the bear's skin.

  7. #27
    Senior Member Marzipan's Avatar
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    Welcome to a New Year! And so I have decided to do this a little different.
    This story is longer and instead of posting the whole story at once, I have decided to post it in pieces.
    Hopefully, this will make it easier on the eyes, not so overwhelming on the mind, and bring a little anticipation for the rest of the story.

    All in good fun, and feel free to leave feedback on this method if you like it or not and why.



    From Närke





    Master Pär And The Rag Jan's Boy


    Part I


    Once there was a man who was so terribly rich that no one could say how rich he was. He owned large farms here and there, and some were almost as large as a palace. People called this man Master Pär - for master is what he wanted to be, and one of the finest too. There was a poor tenant farmer who lived next to Master Pär. He had nothing but his wife and their many children. They called him Rag Jan.

    Now this Master Pär was terribly stingy and conceited, and the poorer people were, the worse he treated them. But when he was with noblemen or other fine folk, he did it up in style and the drink flowed, lest it be said that anyone entertained better than Master Pär.

    Even though he was so rich, he still was never satisfied. He envied Rag Jan all his many children - for he himself had no one who could take over all his farms and feed him when he wasn't able to manage any longer. His wife talked to all the wise men and women, and even the doctors, but no one could help her.

    "Things always go wrong for me, " Master Pär said. Every time Rag Jan had another child, he sang the same old song.

    One evening a poor old crone came to Master Pär asking for a roof over her head for the night. "Impossible! " he said. "I don't run an almshouse. " And he shut the door in her face.

    Then the old crone came to Rag Jan's with the same request. Yes, she was very welcome, Rag Jan said, but his wife had just given birth to a boy, so he didn't know where to put her.

    "So that's what going on," the old crone said. "Then I've come at the right moment. I know how to take care of such things, " she said as she came into the cottage.

    "You know, that's just the nicest boy I've ever seen, " she said. "Nice deserves nice, so what you've got to do is invite Master Pär to be his godfather. "

    Rag Jan and his wife looked at each other. The sun would sooner turn black than Master Pär agree to be the godfather of a poor farmer's boy.

    "Well, he may be poor now," said the crone, "but he'll be rich by and by. Master Pär, however grand a fellow he may think himself to be, didn't exactly come into the world with clothes on his back either. So, Jan my friend, I think you should do as I say.

    Rag Jan pulled his ear and scratched his head, but the old crone was stubborn, and since she was the sort of person who knows more than other people - she was one of the Finn people she was - Rag Jan went to Master Pär and told him what was on his mind. P

    "Have you gone stark raving mad?" he said. "Do you think that I want to be the godfather of a beggar's child? Be gone, and do it quickly if you want to stay in one piece, " he said, slamming the door with a crash.

    "No matter, " said the crone when Jan returned, it's still your boy who will be his heir. All the wealth Master Pär is scraping together will someday be his. But you'll have to keep your mouths shut about it. Otherwise it might not work. "

    Yes, they'd keep their mouths shut - that was certain.

    Out of her birch-bark knapsack the old crone pulled fancy clothes for the baby. Then she carried him to the parson and had him christened Pär.

    Master Pär continued to moan and groan about not having any children, and since his wife couldn't give him any, they agreed to buy themselves a foster child. It had to be a nice child, of course - and not too expensive; so Master Pär went to Rag Jan.

    "You've got so many children, " he said.

    "Yes, I have children the way you have farms: you can hardly count them," Rag Jan said.

    "But I have none at all," said Master Pär. "Let me buy your smallest boy."

  8. #28
    Senior Member Marzipan's Avatar
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    There are quite a few parts and it hadn't occurred to me some may wonder how they know for certain when the story has ended, so I will title the last part as Final or Finale, I haven't decided but I will let it be known it is the last.

    Part II

    Rag Jan was no business man - at least not with that kind of merchandise - he remembered what the old Finn crone foretold, and agreed upon a Christian exchange: Jan got a barrel of oats and Master Pär got the boy, and he promised to feed the boy until he died, and swore to it.

    After some time, Master Pär began to sing his song once again. The boy was not his own flesh and blood, so once again his wife spoke with doctors and the wise folk. This time, Master Pär and his wife were blessed with a little girl of their own. He was pleased and could now do without the boy, however, he had already taken him, and obliged to keep him until he was older and he could figure out what to do.

    Naturally, Rag Jan and his wfe were overjoyed that the circumstance had played out in their favour. They saw fate when they saw the boy playing with the sweet, beautiful girl, as it be, they saw bride and groom. What they saw was as real as if the old Finn crone's prediction had already come to pass and Master Pär's money was in their hands.

    But we all know what womenfolk are like: they can't keep a secret.

    And so it was; one day, Rag Jan's wife disclosed the old Finn crone's prediction. She regretted what she had done as fast as the moment had passed but words don't come back - and these words flew throughout the countryside until they reached Master Pär's ears. By then he'd forgotten that the boy was nothing but the son of a peasant. But now he knew better; the boy played so innocently with the girl now, but one day he'd want to marry her! Master Pär was a nervous man now and began plotting to rid himself of the boy.

    Master Pär had a sister who lived north of the mountains, west of the lake, south of the waterfall. One day he told the boy to take her a letter, and to guard it well. He didn't tell him te contents of the letter - to take the boy to the dock above the great waterfall and push him into the river!

    The boy went on his way and when evening fell upon him, he found himself in the middle of the forest without shelter. There he met an old Finn Crone - yes the same crone, his godmother, who had brought him to the parson.

    "Where are you going? " she asked.

    "I'm taking a letter to Master Pär's sister who lives north of the mountains, west of the lake, and south of the great waterfall," he answered. "Could I please stay at your house for the night?"

    "Yes, I live nearby," she said.

    The boy fell asleep, and she took the letter to a school teacher who lived in the Finn forest. She asked him to read the letter to her. "Quite villainous this Master Pär," she said. "Unable to do it himself, he will fail."

    She asked the the school teacher to write another letter in its place. This letter told Master Pär's sister to raise the boy as if he was her own flesh and blood until Master Pär came for him. Then the old crone hurried to replace the letter. The boy woke up, thanked her for the night and continued on.

    Master Pär's sister read the letter, and cared for the boy as her flesh and blood. As she got know the boy, the more she like him, for he was kind, obedient, and had great spirit.

    The boy's time with Master Pär's sister was wonderful but no matter how good it was, he was still homesick. Homesick for the playmate he left behind with Maste Pär.

    The years went by and the boy grew into a young man. A young man that had not heard a word from Master Pär all these years. Master Pär without any thoughts for what has become of the boy was at home, thinking about marrying off his daughter. Though she was now old enough to have a suitor and marry, she wouldn't budge. she did however ask when to expect the boy's return every now and then. And so, she got older and the older she grew, the more she asked, and Master Pär began to think of the boy once again. What if he was alive! This possibility troubled him deeply, so one day he rode to his sister's to see for himself.

    When he arrived, there stood the boy in the yard. Master Pär exploded!

  9. #29
    Senior Member Marzipan's Avatar
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    Part III


    "You didn't do as I said in the letter!" Master Pär scolded.

    "Didn't I bring him up as though he was my own child?" she asked, handing him the letter. Master Pär read, he filled up with anger until his eyes almost popped from his skull. Though the letter looked identical to the one he'd written himself, it was not.

    "Why do things always go wrong for me?" he said. As before, he hadn't the courage to kill the boy himself. So he wrote another letter, this time to his wife, to take the boy to the blast furnace and push him in. If she didn't do as the letter says he would push her into the furnace instead. Once again, he handed the boy the letter and told him to hurry home as fast as he knew how.

    When evening began to fall, the boy once again found himself in the middle of the Finn forest, where he met the old Finn crone.

    "Where are you coming from now?" asked the old Finn crone.

    "I'm coming from Master Pär, who's at his sister's. I'm on my way home with a letter for his wife," he said to the old crone."Could I please stay with you for the night?"

    "Yes, you are welcome tonight," said the old Finn crone. And when the boy fell asleep the old Finn crone once again brought the letter to the school teacher and he read her the letter.

    "He's at it again this Master Pär but this time he wants his wife to do it for him!" said the school teacher.

    "He failed the first time and he will fail again," said the old crone.

    She had the school teacher once again write a replacement telling the wife to take the girl and the foster son immediately to the parson and have the banns posted for their marriage; if she didn't do this, she'd have to jump into the blast furnace. The old crone hurried back to replace the letter. The boy woke up in the morning, thanked her and continued on.

    The boy arrived home, Master Pär's wife was in shock, and could not trust her eyes or her mind when she read the letter. This couldn't have possibly be written by her husband but she didn't want to be pushed into the blast furnace, so she called for her daughter, who now suddenly did want to be married. They did as the letter said and went to the parson to post the banns.

    One the dy the first banns were posted, Master Pär's wife arranged a great party. There was a bright light burning in the windows when Master Pär arrived he thought a fire was raging.

    When he found out what was going on, he could barely restrain himself as the raging fire he thought he saw.

    He found his wife and began to reprimand her: "What is this madness? What have you done, this is not what was asked of you. Why didn't you do as the letter said?"

    "Didn't I go to the parson and post marriage banns for our daughter and Rag Jan's boy, and make a real party? " she said, handing him the letter.

    Master Pär read the letter until his face changed colours; the letter looked as he had written it himself.

    "I think Old Erik is up to his tricks again, " said Master Pär and called for the boy. "So, you think you're good enough to be my son in law? Marrying my daughter will not be so simple. First you must go to the giant at the end of the world who can answer all questions. Ask him why things always go wrong for me. If you complete this task and bring back an answer, you can have my daughter, but not before then."

    Rag Jan's boy was not plased with the thought of such a journey. Master Pär's daughter begged and pleaded to her father and cried a flood of tear, but it didn't work. Master Pär did not give in to his daughter's request and so the boy had to make the journey after all. And Master Pär was delighted for he thought victory was finally his, he knew the giant was a man-eater.

  10. #30
    Senior Member Marzipan's Avatar
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    Part IV


    It was along trip to the end of the world. The boy had to pass through three kingdoms before he got there. When he arrived at the first kingdom, the boy found the king standing at the entrance of his castle.

    "Where are you going? " asked the king.

    "I'm going to the end of the world to ask why things always go wrong for Master Pär," said the boy.

    "If you're going to the end of the world, you might ask a question for me as well. In my garden there's a strange apple tree; on one side the apples are red, and on the other they're white. Couldn't you find out why?"

    "I'll try," said the boy. "If I can get one question answered, I don't see why I can't get two questions answered." The king fed the boy and gave him a sack of food to take on his journey. The boy thanked the king and continued on.

    He walked for a long while then he arrived at the castle of the second kingdom. The boy decided to take rest there and upon his arrival, there stood the king at the castle's entrance.

    "Where are you going? " asked the king.

    "I'm going to the end of the world, " said the boy, "to ask why things always go wrong for Master Pär."

    "If you're going to the end of the world, you might ask a question for me as well. On my land is a spring that once had the most wonderful water; it was almost like wine. But now, in spite of all the digging I've done, it's nothing but a muddy puddle. Please, my friend, ask why it is so."

    "I'll try, "said the boy. "If I can get one question answered, I don't see why I can't get more questions answered." The king fed and supplied the boy a sack of food and the boy thanked the king and continued on.

    The boy journeyed farther and farther, closer and closer to the end of the world. He arrived at the castle of the third kingdom. There stood the king at the entrance of the castle.

    "Where are you going? " asked the king.

    "I'm going to the end of the world," said the boy, "to ask why things always go wrong for Master Pär."

    "If you're going to the giant at the end of the world, then will you ask him what happened to my daughter, who was lost seven years ago?"

    "I'll try," said the boy. "If I get one question answered, I don't see why I can't other questions answered." The king fed him and gave him of sack of food to take on his trip. The boy thanked him and continued on.

    He walked on until he came to the tallest mountain in the world. The giant who could answer all questions lived in the tallest mountain ithe world.

    To get to the mountain one had to cross a great river. In the river there was a ferryboat, and in the boat sat an ugly old woman. The boy asked her to ferry him across.

    "So you're going to the giant, are you? " asked the old woman.

    "Yes, I am. I'm going to ask the giant why things always go wrong for Master Pär," said the boy.

    "Oh my dear, would you please ask him how long I have to sit here? I've been sitting here for three hundred years," said the old woman.

    "I'll try," said the boy. The old wonan ferried him across the river. And there he stood at the entrance of the mountain.

    In the mountain was a door, and in the lock was a key.He gathered courage and turned the key. He walked inside a large roon where the walls shone with the purest gold, and in that room sat a lovely maiden, spinning the finest gold thread on a distaff.

    "It's been a long time since I've seen a Christian, " she said. "Dear friend, how do you happen to come here, and what do you want? "

    "Well, I came with many greetings to the giant from Master Pär, and ask why him why things always go wrong for Master Pär," said the boy.

    "The giant? Oh, my dear child," said the maiden, "you don't know what you are saying. He's gone for the moment, but when he gets back, he'll eat you in one gulp."

    "That's too bad," said the boy.

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