This video from the series “Alda’s World” tells the tragic story of an unlucky family that lived in a little village amidst deep forests at the border to Lapland. The time this true story happened is around 1735. It is narrated and painted by the Swedish artist Alda Boström, who grew up in the same village and has gathered many stories of the region.
Here’s the full transcript of the story:
Here, now there are a lot of pine trees here, but then there were no pine trees here, here lived Jon Eliasson Björn with his wife and his children. Imagine: it was evening, in winter, it was cold, and little Elias, three years old, needed to pee. “Ah, go out and do what you have to do” said mother Ingeborg.
He went out but came immediately back in: “Mum, there are two eyes that shine out there by the porch!” “Eh, don’t fuss, take a light stick” – cut a wood-stick that is full with tar – “light it, light it at the fireplace and then go out.” He did so, he went out, the mother went on bathing her baby in the tub, but then she heard a terrible cry from outside! She hastened out, only to see a big wolf running away with her small son in his jaws. She tried to hurry on through the snow drifts and into the forest. She ran after, helpless, only to see how the light disappeared into the dark forest…
She staggered back to the house, only to meet an ill-fated silence. What had happened? The little baby had drowned in the tub… She fell in despair. Her husband, and their oldest girl Karin – who was to be my ancestress eventually – they were down there in the village, near the farmhouses there, this farm lay isolated – there, where you can see the roofs, there lay the rest of the houses.
Ojojojoj – when the father came home he was desperate. They searched, but – they found nothing. In the church records it was only written when he was born, but not when he died – there was nothing to bury. Probably it was so.
But the father – it was written that Jon Eliasson Björn was able to read, which was unusual at this time in 1735. He went feeble-minded, he was seen chasing through the forest, searching after his missing child. And he was never the same again.
But – in the year after they became a daughter, Segrid – and her life became also dramatic, at the same place here. Per Kristofferson from Hädanberg married Karin, who was to be my ancestress, Segrid married a farm-hand. She became two children. So it was when she was twenty-five years old. She had went out for some business, and the children stayed at home, Ingeborg and Erik, they were in the house, four and two years old. When she came home, the house stood in flames, something had happened, maybe a wad of wool had come too near the fire and fallen on the floor where it began to burn. She hastened in, had apparently embraced the children, but she went down in the smoke, together with her two children. One of the children seemed to have been blooding.
The neighbors saw it and came and tried to slack the fire. They were not much injured, they didn’t burn up, so to say, but the mother embraced them, the boy and the girl. And that stood in the church records, this happened in November 1761: Here rests Segrid Jonsdotter, who lived her young life beautiful, together with her children Ingeborg and Erik at the easten church wall.