He held his arm around his shoulder. It was strong and heavy over his small shoulders. It was an unusual closeness he showed him. As he stood there he realized that it was the closest to a hug he could remember. A cool breeze came from the southwest on this late summers day. The smell of sweat as they stood there looking. He looked up at his fathers face. He was pleased, proud even. How many times had he not felt the pain from his open hand hitting him in the neck. Accused of showing pride. A mortal sin for his strictly religious father.

You know son, his father said while pulling him even closer. This will stand a hundred years from now. Long after both you and me are gone. Our great grand children will live here. This foundation is as solid as the Lord. As if that statement got him to realize what sin he was committing, he let go of his embrace by pushing his son hard forward. The boy could barely keep the balance when he landed two meters away. Now let us start with the floor frame, he said in a harsh voice.

Little did he know that day that the foundation would stand almost completely intact hundred fifty years later. Even if it was unprotected by a house for over a hundred years.

The foundation and food cellar. Photo by Ulle Haddock ©

Weakened by the fever he tried to pray. Pray for forgiveness for his and his fathers pride that day. That blessed and cursed day when the foundation was completed and again when the house was done. Together with his father they built a house stronger and higher than the neighbors. Now God was punishing them by taking his entire family in this flu. This terrible flu they said came from Spain.

Trough foggy eyes he saw them take away his wife and two daughters to be buried on that island. He hoped that the priest had consecrated the ground so they could go to heaven. He was convinced to go the other direction even if he tried to convince the Lord to accept him in his prayers. After all he had worked hard from dusk to dawn. He had never missed a Church day and spent the evenings in prayer together with his family.

A few days later the two poor peasants tossed him over the other bodies in the boat. They rowed with tired strokes the short distance to the island. He was dropped with the others in the large grave. While some other poor boys covered the bodies with the sandy soil they drank their Scandinavian vodka and smoked their pipes. Where is the priest, one of them asked with a faint smile. The other frowned and looked at him with misstrust. He has bolted himself inside the chapel. Some say has gone mad. They can hear him scream inside. You’ll see, soon we will toss him in the same pit as these.


This story is inspired by the foundation you see in the pictures. We don’t really know what happened to the family but the house construction made of wood was dimanteled and moved fifty kilometer inland for almost hundred years ago. The Churches in this area had a very strict interpretation of the bible in this period around 1900. This trend in the Church was called Schartauanism after the priest Henric Schartau.

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Categories: History, WritingTags: , , ,

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