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Svenska sägner by Ebbe Schön
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Svenska sägner

by Ebbe Schön

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Recently added byBrogars, GingerbreadMan

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Another really good collection of folk tales, by the nestor of Swedish folklore. Here, besides tons of examples and stories, he also puts focus on the mechanics of the tale, how motives wander and morph, and the role of folklore in everyday life. A rich part is also devoted to stories that don’t deal with supernatural beings – stories about heroes, mythical kings and queens, wars and actual historical figures. This was a new field for me, and was particularly interesting.

I was also pleased to see that Dalsland, the region where I grew up, is richly represented, often with unique tales and a few beings that aren’t found anywhere else.

For me, the coolest thing of all in here however, deals with my own childhood. My paternal grandfather was from Västergötland. He had scraps of old beliefs left in him from when he grew up. He used to tell stories about seeing the resident ghost in the mansion where he was born, and also had memories of trying to find Glosons (a giant demon pig) treasure at full moon. When we went to visit my grandparents in the fall, we always went walking in the forest to pick mushrooms. During these expeditions, it was inevitable that people got spread out. From early age, we got taught that if our name was called in the forest, we were to respond not with “Yes!” but with “Hoj!”. In fact, usually “Hoj!” was all that was shouted, back and forth. I vividly recall the safety I felt, when finding myself alone among the trees and calling out, getting “Hoj!” responses from all directions. We still practice this in my own family, when we take the kids into the forest. I always assumed “Hoj!” was chosen sort of randomly, a nonsense word that carried well over distance, even in a child’s voice.

But yesterday I read that, according to old beliefs in Västergötland, calling your name in the forest was one of the tricks trolls used to take you under the mountain. Therefore, if you heard someone call your name among the trees you should never ever respond with a “yes”. Guess which word was recommended instead? ( )
  GingerbreadMan | Aug 14, 2014 |
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