Week 19

Main Buildings Tools At home Aftermath

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In 1895 there were 35 residents of Äskhult. Ten years later over half, 20, had emigrated to the United States. About half of Sweden's population emigrated to the US around that time and the same goes for Norway. Times were hard.

Walking back home, after a day's work in the fields, this is the sight that would greet you. Äskhult is a unique village in Sweden. A major land reform was implemented in the early 1800's. People lived in small "hamlets" like this and the fields were spread out around them. Eventually, because of land passing from one generation to another, the plots got all split up and if you were unlucky, your share might have just been a strip of granite. All the small strips of farmland were collected and redistributed so that that everyone got a fair share of good and less good farmland. As a consequence, the hamlets were broken up and the houses were moved out to land that became your share. In Äskhult the redistribution was made in such a way that it was not necessary to break up the little society. It still looks much the way it did in the 1600's.

The rocks? Where do they come from?

This part of Sweden is where the glaciers from the ice age stopped. As they glided across the land, they shoved piles and piles of stones in front of them This part of Sweden is full of stones. The fields "grow" them. No matter how many you clear out of your fields one year, the next year a new crop will pop up like mushrooms and you'll have to start all over again.

Powerful rivers of rushing water were built under the glaciers as they melted. One of the boulders could get stuck one way or another and then the currents would keep it tumbling around. As the boulder tumbled, it dug a hole through the granite.

Many folktales were created to explain these creations. Were they kettles for trolls? Footprints left after giants?

It's only been a couple of years since a young child disappeared in the woods. The search team tried for days to find him. They more or less gave up when they investigated one of these holes a little closer. He was on the bottom; had fallen in and couldn't get turned around and pull himself up again. They can be treacherous.