Avoid the River at Midsummer Eve!

The river winds its way through the forest. It is Midsummer Eve. It’s not really dark, which make the trees stand in gloomy gray silhouettes.

No wind, no birdsong, only an eternal sound from the river.

This part of the forest has always seemed alarming and eerie.
In some places the trees are felled, some even broken.

Panic rises, he shouldn’t have mocked the water sprite, and now he has to cross the last bridge before he’s safe.

Suddenly the river is silent too! Only dark and smooth on the surface and without a sound –

This is how Selma Lagerlöf, the famous Swedish author, tells the story about the fiddler who meets Näcken in the forest.

I remembered the unhappy fiddler when I passed a house in the Swedish countryside on a quiet midsummer evening. From an open window, beautiful tones flowed from a violin and forced me to listen.

Midsummer Eve in particular is hazardous since it’s there, Näcken plays his violin, trying to lure people down into the rushing river…

Happy Midsummer 😃

American painter, Thomas B. Griffin.

Floden snor sig mellem træerne. Det er midsommeraften. Det er ikke rigtig mørkt. Det får træerne til at stå i dystre grå silhuetter.

Ingen vind, ingen fuglesang, kun den evige lyd af strømmende vand.

Denne del af skoven har altid virket alarmerende og uhyggelig.
Nogle steder er træerne væltede, og nogle er endda knust.

Panikken stiger, han skulle ikke have hånet Nøkken, og nu skal han krydse den sidste bro, før han er i sikkerhed.

Nu er floden også stille! Kun mørkt strømmende vand uden lyd –

Sådan fortæller Selma Lagerlöf om den populære spillemand, som møder Näcken i skoven en midsommeraften.

Jeg kom i tanke om historien, da jeg gik forbi et hus i Halland en midsommeraften. Fra et åbent vindue strømmede vidunderlige toner fra en violin, og tvang mig til at lytte.

Især midsommeraften er farlig, når Näcken spiller sin violin og forsøger at lokke menneskene ned i den strømmende flod.

God midsommer – Trevlig Midsommar Sverige 😀

Note

Midsummer evening Friday 25.6.2021

Spillemanden af Selma Lagerlöf

The Painting Thomas: B. Griffin (American, died 1918). Moonlight on the Delaware River, ca. 1896-1915. Oil on canvas, 29 15/16 x 40 1/16 in. (76 x 101.8 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Gift of Mrs. Alfred T. Dillhoff in memory of Rosamund E. Lafferty, 54.104 (Photo: Brooklyn Museum, 54.104.jpg)

Darkness is rising

This is one of my old stories but very appropriate for Halloween 🎃😊

Someone had the decency to unlock the sun for an hour yesterday.
It is hard to imagine now when rain and hail are tumbling down. I was about to end my walk as the sun went down and dusk took over. I had some concerns because of the growing darkness.
Should I walk through the bog in the darkness or across the cemetery? Strange stories passed through me as I thought of the cemetery.

Once my brother took a short-cut across a cemetery late at night:

He entered our living room, pale with fear. His age in mind the experience must have been fierce. He was a teenager, and at that age it is inappropriate to be afraid. He was sure that he had stumbled upon a corpse on a small church path. My parents were sure that there was another explanation and they calmed him down so he was able to fall asleep.

Early the next morning my father went to the cemetery with my brother, and they did find a man. He wasn’t dead, but lacked a place to sleep. That finding brought my brother’s mind in a state of relief, but the cemetery was no longer an option for a short-cut.

An artist I once knew worked in a cemetery where he used an old gate house as a studio. He told me lots of stories one evening over a bottle of wine. I have never been able to forget this one in particular.
We sat by the fireplace and actually the weather outside was very similar to the weather in his story. He began the story describing how terrible tired and exhausted he was:

I’d been working late every night with the aim to get my last painting done for the opening. One night it became very late. Sometimes I get so tired that I have to pull myself together to go to bed, and I wasn’t even home yet.
So I turned off the lights and locked the door. When I went out in the storm and rain to find the car, I almost lost my breath, for it was bitterly cold.

A short stay in the wind combined with a break caused me to listen more attentively. Yes, there it was again! Help me, help !!!

It was difficult to determine the direction. The rain, the darkness and the wind created shadows where there usually were open spaces. After a while I decided to walk into the darker section of the cemetery until suddenly I saw a strange thing.
From one of the open graves prepared for the next day funeral I sensed a movement. Carefully approaching I could see two hands cling to the edge of an open grave.

At this point in his storytelling, he made a little stay and I could swear that there was a shiver running through him. He continued: I found myself in a state where my adrenaline whizz around in my body. I didn’t know whether I should turn and run, or just let myself be completely frozen with fear because I was nearly there already.

The rough terrifying voice tore me out of my trance by screaming in my ears: Heeeelp! Help me! I saw the man down in the grave. Two big scared eyes midst of all the mud, and a pair of hands which reached out like a child who wants to be lifted up.
I stood and gazed at him. It felt like hours. Then I recognised him. He was a slightly tipsy gentleman who often take his lunch on one of the benches, if not every day and in a liquid form.

Close to the grave hang a water hose. I tied the hose onto an iron pipe and handed the other end to the man in the grave.
The exhausted man was rescued from the cold grave, and after a drink and some dry clothes, he told his story about how he fell down in the grave by an accident.

But I was still considering which way to choose. I looked at the bog and the growing darkness and my thoughts went to Frodo, Sam, and Gollum when they went through the Dead Marshes on the way to Mordor.
I chose the cemetery 🤞😊

The Dark Forests

The trees stand menacing like tall dark figures in the gloomy forest.

Forest lakes that seem abysmal when I try to glimpse the bottom.

A daunting silence –

The smooth surface of the rivers, which are torn by rocks.

Wasn’t that a shadow on the rock?

Didn’t you hear the fiddle?