Setesdal Stories

Plutselig!  Suddenly!  Annemor was gone as quickly as she arrived ten days before.  It was a great visit, especially because Mike was around too, this time.  I couldn’t possibly remember all the stories she related over our many dinners and rides in the car and visiting with friends.  Thursday morning we drank coffee and waited for her knitting friend to take her down to her next destination, a weekend knitting camp in Ames, Iowa.    Mike noted that it’s always fun to get away from home, where people appreciate you.  That’s true, she agreed.  When she came to visit several years ago, and we went to northern Minnesota, she said she went home with many stories about the Minnesota relatives of her neighbors.  It was so exciting; she could hardly wait to impart all the greetings and news.  She was a bit deflated when the neighbors seemed to have only one concern – who had been feeding her ducks?

This led to stories of the ducks she used to have.  Once an eagle killed her female duck, and managed to hold on to it all the way to the other side of the river.  It was just before the duck’s eggs hatched.  The ducklings hatched and the dutiful father duck took them out to swim.  However, because there was only one parent duck, there wasn’t a partner to distract the returning eagle, and the ducklings became easy pickings in the water.  Another time when a female duck was killed before her eggs hatched, Annemor made a warm nest on the stove for the eggs.  The ducklings were raised in a pen in her shop.  But because they didn’t have a mother to teach them to swim, at first they seemed to almost drown in a small pool of water.  Later they swam, but always rode a bit low in the water, never swam as cleverly as the wild ducks.  Again, the eagle had an easier time with them.

Eagles are protected birds, of course, but one Easter vacation Annemor’s neighbor took matters into his own hands, literally, when an eagle walked right into Annemor’s chicken house.  He came face to face with the eagle, holding it by its outspread wings.  He twisted its neck, and when Annemor returned there was a eagle nailed to the wall.

There are lynx in Bygland; Annemor has seen one twice.  They can be legally hunted.  Each year the limit for the valley is just a couple of lynx.  People believe the lynx kill lambs, but when a study was done with radio-tags put in lamb’s ears, they discovered that it is more often eagles that took the tiny lambs.  Also, lynx stay further down in the valley, not higher in the mountains where the sheep usually are.  Lynx are a danger to neighborhood cats.

More bothersome to wildlife in the valley are badgers – fat, mean badgers.  They eat chickens. Badgers have enormously strong jaws, and a supposed danger to humans is that a badger will bite your leg and not let go.   Annemor said there is a legend that in the old days people in the valley put charcoal in their boots, so when a badger heard the crunching sound, it would let go, thinking it had scored a leg bone.  Annemor trapped a badger once, right by her chicken.  She put a cream cake in a live trap, as badgers are fond of rich cakes, and waited.  The badger came to eat, was scared off, but returned fifteen minutes later.  It is illegal to capture badgers in traps that might injure them, but once the badger was in the live trap, she got her gun and killed it.  Chicken saved.

This post had little to do with weaving, but sheep were mentioned!

Leave a Reply