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Main > Sweden folktales > Fairy tale "The Lady of Pintorp"

The Lady of Pintorp

Where to-day a castellate building towers between spreading parks and gardens on the noble estate of Eriksberg, there lay in ancient times a holding known as Pintorp; with which legend has associated the gruesome tale of the lady of Pintorp.

In Pintorp—so the legend says—there dwelt a nobleman who, dying in his youth, left all his goods and gear to his widow. Yet instead of being a kind mistress to her many dependents, she exploited them in every way, and ill-treated them shamefully. Beneath her castle she had deep subterranean dungeons, in which languished many innocent people. She set vicious dogs at children and beggars, and if any one did not come to work at the right time, he was sure to go home in the evening with weals on his back.

Once, early in the morning, when the men came to work, the Lady of Pintorp was standing on the castle steps, and saw a poor farm-hand belonging to the estate come too late. Foaming with rage, she overwhelmed him with abuse and reproaches, and ordered him to chop down the largest oak on the whole estate, and bring it, crown foremost, to the castle court before evening. And if he did not carry out her command to the very letter—so she said—she would drive him from his hut without mercy, and all that he had should fall to the estate.

With heavy thoughts of the severe judgment passed upon him, the farm-hand went to the wood; and there he met an old man who asked him why he was so unhappy.

"Because it is all up with me, if our Lord in His mercy do not help me," sighed the unfortunate man, and told of the task his mistress had imposed on him.

"Do not worry," said the unknown, "Chop down this oak, seat yourself on the trunk, and Erik Gyllenstjerna and Svante Banér will take it to the castle."

The farm hand did as the old man told him, began to hew to the line, and sure enough, at the third stroke the tree fell with a tremendous crash. Then he seated himself on the trunk, facing the crown, and at once the tree began to move, as though drawn by horses.

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