Mark and the Devil

May, 2018

They say when God created Sweden, he began with the south, and so it became fertile and good in every way. The Devil, meanwhile, ran farther north, where he created the district of Mark.  On the surface it was deceptively beautiful: rounded mountains in a bluish distance, dark forests with caves for the wild animals, deep valleys with shimmering rivers and lakes. But underneath the land was harsh and stony, designed to break the backs of those who tried to farm it.  When God saw what the Devil had done, he frowned. “You have created the land,” he said. “Now I shall create the people.”  And so he made the people strong and industrious — and almost invincible.

 

Journal

by Birgitta Hjalmarson

Man, Woman, or Both?

This essay was first published by Women Writers, Women's Books in July 2019.  Garbo portrayed you in Queen Christina, beautiful, when you, in fact, were not. These days you’re celebrated as an early feminist, although you, of course, would have sneered. And to be...

Crayfish Rhapsody

When I was young, I went crayfishing with my father in Sweden. Although I can’t remember the exact year, it must have been on August 7, for that was the day the season began. My father and his brothers were fortunate enough to have their own fishing waters. They had...

Before Fylgia (6)

Before Fylgia, there was another story, told by the villagers themselves. Many of my readers have asked about it, and so I decided to post it here. This is the sixth installment. Not yet fiction, it occupies a realm of its own.      Carl Fredrik Lundgren was a man...