“Above all, do not lose your desire to walk. Everyday, I walk myself into a state of well-being & walk away from every illness. I have walked myself into my best thoughts, and I know of no thought so burdensome that one cannot walk away from it. But by sitting still, & the more one […]

“The native Härjaborna [Härja-born] speaks Härjadialekt [Härja dialect]. It is of course a form of Västgöta Dialect, about which much is written and preserved. I remember that it was a difficult experience in the big world when as a 12-year-old came to attend Daretorp school [in the neighboring parish] and was teased for my Härjadialekt.” –Per-Göran […]

Studying the family tree is such an interesting exercise in kinship math. For example, I have focused much of my story on my great, great, great grandmother Maja Lisa Magnusdotter, the wonderfully named farfarsmormorsmor (father’s father’s mother’s mother’s mother). She is only one of 32 third great grandmothers I have. Each generation effectively doubles. If […]

Det angår jord og gror av alt ditt hold – Eg ligg i armen din og drikk meg ør og varm går under i deg som ein død i mold og søv ei vårnatt vekk innved din barm. Eg sansar deg igjennom alt eg drøymer, til glade fuglerøyster bryt min blund og morgonsola gjennom ruta […]

The belief that a promiscuous maiden, just by looking at a child with her onda öga (evil eye), praising it with her onda tunga (evil tongue) or touching it with her onda hand (evil hand) could cause a painful encounter, made her a walking hazard. –Jonas Frykman, Om Kvinnors ondska (On the Evil of Women) […]

A woman who gives birth can never imagine What she is rocking her daughter for: A man with his own cottage Or a man without a dwelling A man with plenty of bread Or a man of no means. –A Finnish lullaby, from Sorrow and Bitterness, a review of Nordic women’s oral literature in 19th […]

And when next his bow he drew, It was forest birds that flew it was pair on pair that danced with lovers’ joy–oh my Then up the daughter sprung, On the stranger’s neck she clung And a pretty maiden’s kisses gave the fiddler his reply. –The Misjudged Fiddler, Erik Axel Karlfeldt, Translated by Charles Wharton […]

“Nevertheless, the village formed a landscape where people knew their ways and whereabouts. There were norms and rules implicitly known by everybody on how the village life was to be lived.” –Stig Welinder, The Ethnoarchaeology of a Swedish Village When I was young my parents took us to the Episcopal church on Sundays. I loved the […]

In the cell close by sat a child’s murderess. I saw her only through the little glass in the door. She had had heard our footsteps; heard us speak; but she sat still, squeezed up into the corner by the door, as if she would hide herself as much as possible: her back was bent, […]

Now my mind is filled with sorrow, Wanders though the bog and stubble, Wanders weary through the brambles, Roams throughout the dismal forest, Till my life is filled with darkness, And my spirit white with anguish. —-Kalevala Rune 1V (Crawford translation) What happened next to our ancestor, in brief but brutal detail, was recorded in […]