HANNA'S WALK

Sometimes special stories stick to you.
I fell for this story when I was a child and my family keeps the memory alive with small selected figures of frogs.
Not often, but with love 🙂

Once upon a time there was a tiny frog, who loved marmalade.
One day the frog was in a brilliant chatty mood, so it told all the other animals, who were passing by, how high it cherished marmalade.
A pig went by the pond where the frog looked up with big eyes.
What is your favourite food, asked the frog.
I love truffles, said the pig. What is your favourite food?
I love marmalade, said the frog with a broad smile.
A moment later a sheep went by the pond.
What is your favourite food, asked the frog. I love grass, said the sheep.
The frog was on the strain of eagerness to talk about his favourite food.
Thus went the whole day to tell the other animals about the lovely marmalade.
A stork heard the little frog talk about his favourite food.
He flew down to the frog looking him in the eyes.
What is your favourite food, asked the little frog.
I love the small wide-mouthed frogs, said the stork.
What is your favourite food, asked the stork.
I love “SYLTETØJ”, said the little wide-mouthed frog
By pronunciation the Danish word SYLTETØJ the mouth is pursed and thereby the little frog was rescued by a synonym for marmalade 🙂

The Death and the Hawthorn

I do not consider myself superstitious, but a week ago I was susceptible to the bizarre entertainment.

It all began with a stroll in the Deer Park on a field where Hawthorn represents itself in a large number. It was an amazing sight. Starry flowers gathered in endless white dome-shaped clouds buoyed by the ancient gnarled and wrinkled trunks.

The Eremitage Hawthorn

I Goggled the Hawthorn, when I got home. I found that the Hawthorn on that particularly field is unique. It has crossed spontaneously with the single-seeded Hawthorn one and a half kilometre away at the gate down to Taarbæk. The trees stand close here. and they grow on a mass grave. Yes, you got it right.

People died during the cholera epidemic in Copenhagen in 1853, 4750 humans to be precise. Those who weren’t infected yet drove the victims on carts from Copenhagen to Taarbæk. They built a chapel and buried the poor people in a mass grave inside the Deer Park. To prevent the spread of infection from the graves the single-seeded Hawthorn, with its needle-sharp long thorns kept people and animals away from the graves.
It aroused my curiosity and imagination. It was fascinating, and at the same time it also gave pause for thought. It is only a short time ago an Ebola epidemic was raging in Africa. Epidemics are always to be taken seriously.

The other day I visited the burial site. I went there on a late afternoon. It had just rained, it was cloudy and there was a sombre atmosphere about the place. Maybe I needed a rest, or maybe it was my encounter with the woman that influenced me.
She was suddenly in front of me. Where did she come from? She was white-haired and pale. Eyes were dark and odd tinned at the same time. She looked right through me, and I made way, otherwise she had walked into me on the narrow path.
Some hours earlier, I had read several stories of peasants who constantly prohibit felling the hawthorn. Felling a hawthorn means disaster on animals and humans, and the old superstition is alive and well.
I wondered how far photography was included in the many legends and myths that exist around the trees. I took the chance and found several motifs, after which I gladly left the burial site. I was unusually tired when I got home, and I attributed it to the long day I had.

At night I woke up with severe pain in the stomach. Yet I managed to fall asleep again.
Next morning I had fever and abdominal cramps something that is quite unfamiliar to me. I was very tired and slept all the time. When the illness was at it’s worst I thought of the cholera victims and the woman I had met. I had to pull myself together, luckily I had a very plausible explanation for my illness.

At long last, my health improved and I have been out there again. The sun was shining through the trees, and tourists walked down from the cozy Taarbæk. There were no trace of the woman I met the last time. Maybe I exaggerated her strange appearance a bit just to cheer myself up 🙂

The pictures ended with that warm evening light they deserve.
Despite my story I will always think of the field with the Eremitage-Hawthorn as the romantic harbinger of spring ❤

Eremitage Hawthorn

Hvidtjørnen og Døden

Jeg anser ikke mig selv for overtroisk, men for en uge siden var jeg alligevel modtagelig for den bizarre underholdning.

Det hele begyndte med en vandring på Hvidtjørnesletten i Jægersborg Dyrehave i maj måned. Det var et fantastisk syn, der mødte mig. Stjerneklare blomster samlede sig i endeløse hvide kuppelformede skyer holdt oppe af de ældgamle krogede og furede træstrammer.

Jeg googlede hvidtjørnen, da jeg kom hjem. Det viste sig, at hvidtjørnen på Sletten er unik. Den har krydset spontant med engriflet tjørn, der står halvanden kilometer væk ved porten ned til Taarbæk. Træerne står tæt her. og de er plantet på en massegrav. Ja, I læste rigtigt.

Der døde 4750 mennesker under koleraepedimien i København i 1853. En stor del af dem blev kørt på kærrer fra København op til Taarbæk. Her byggede man et kapel og begravede de mange mennesker i en massegrav inde i Jægersborg Dyrehave. For at undgå spredning af smitte fra gravene plantede man den engriflede tjørn, der med sine sylespidse lange torne holdt folk og dyr væk fra gravene.

Det vækkede min nysgerrighed og fantasi. Det var fascinerende, og på samme tid gav det også stof til eftertanke. Det er kun kort tid siden en Ebola epidemi rasede i Afrika. Epidemier skal tages alvorligt.

Forleden besøgte jeg gravpladsen. Jeg tog derud en sen eftermiddag. Det havde lige regnet, det var overskyet, og der herskede en dyster atmosfære over stedet.

Måske var jeg træt, eller også var det mit møde med kvinden, der påvirkede mig.

Hun stod pludselig foran mig. Hvor kom hun fra? Hun var helt hvidhåret og meget bleg. Øjnene var mørke og sært fortinnede på samme tid. Hun så ret igennem mig, og jeg veg til side, ellers var hun gået ind i mig på den smalle sti.

Nogle timer forinden havde jeg læst adskillige historier om bondemænd, som til stadighed forbyder at fælde hvidtjørnen. Det betyder ulykke over dyr og mennesker, og den gamle overtro lever i bedste velgående.

Jeg spekulerede over, hvor vidt fotografering indgik i de mange sagn og myter, der eksisterer omkring træerne.

Eremitage- Hvidtjørn

Jeg tog chancen og fandt flere motiver, hvorefter jeg med glæde forlod gravpladsen. Jeg var ualmindelig træt, da jeg kom hjem, og jeg tilskrev det den lange dag, jeg havde haft.

Om natten vågnede jeg med stærke smerter i maven. Det lykkedes mig dog at falde i søvn igen.

Næste morgen havde jeg feber og mavekramper noget, der er ganske uvant for mig. Jeg var meget træt og sov hele tiden. Da det var værst et par dage senere, tænkte jeg på koleraofrene og kvinden, jeg havde mødt. Jeg måtte tage mig selv i nakken, for heldigvis havde jeg en meget plausibel forklaring på min sygdom.

Nu har jeg fået det så godt, at jeg har været derude igen. Solen skinnede varmt mellem træerne, og turister kom gående nede fra det hyggelige Taarbæk.

Kvinden, jeg mødte den forrige gang, var der intet spor af. Måske har jeg også overdrevet hendes besynderlige fremtoning en smule bare for at muntre mig selv op 🙂

Billederne er gjort om med det varme aftenlys, de fortjener. Jeg vil altid tænke på Eremitagetjørnen, som den romantiske forårsbebuder den er, fornyelsen efter vinterens endeligt.

Hvidtjørnen blev også brugt, da pesten hærgede Danmark af flere omgange. Sidste gang i 1711.

”Kirkegårdenes indviede jord kunne ikke rumme de døde, og man slæbte dem derfor ud på marken i store dynger for at begrave dem dér, og oven på en sådan grav plantede man en hvidtjørn for at advare efterslægten fra at røre ved dette sted. Endnu efter 500 års forløb står trindt omkring på vore marker nogle mærkværdige gamle hvidtorn under navn af »pesttorn«; de fredes af bønderne, thi de står på vore forfædres grave. Hele det vestlige Fyn er rigt på sådanne enkeltstående gamle hvidtorn.” Danske Studier 1970.

Eremitage-Hvidtjørn

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God tur i den dejlige sommer!

The Hawthorn

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