Come to Ekshärad and see this pillar and learn about the history of the area.
The Ekshärad pillar created by wood sculptor Lasse Kuparinen tells about the history of the area:
1. FINNISH COTTAGE. A symbol for the Finnish culture with ancient roots in the area, especially in the villages of Brunnberg and Solberg which were built up by the Savolax Finns at the beginning of the seventeenth century
2. THE VÄRMLAND WOLVES. Alfa and Beta founded a small wolf-pack which roamed an area also encompassing Ekshärad. The wolf-duo is an “extra picture” donated to the area by wood sculptor Lasse Kuparinen.
3. JOHAN TINGLÖF. Legendary clockmaker born 1751, died 1812. Tinglöf was said to be imbued with supernatural powers which gave him ascendancy over human-beings and animals. He built the church´s steeple clock at the age of 21 years and put his signature to over 400 preserved grandfather clocks. As a result of his defiance against the parish overlords, he was banished from the village and died impoverished in Stakberg cottage in the forest. According to legend he was quoted to have said about the steeple clock “when I die, it will stop”. Despite several attempts following Tinglöf´s death, nobody has succeeded in re-starting the clock.
4. CEDERCRONA´S HORSE. Johan Ulrik Cedercrona, nicknamed the “Strong Major”, was commander of Älvdal´s Company in 1815. Cedercrona´s white horse was reputed to possess supernatural powers. With the assistance of this “magical horse”, Cedercrona succeeded in dragging home an “immovable” stone which the giant of Ekesberget had cast on the giant of Aurena. The stone can be seen today at Hjeltin, the major´s place of residence.
5. THE ARCHER. Legend has it that when the area was consumed by the devastating Black Death of the 1350´s, the medieval church in the village of Hara was left abandoned and overgrown. The church was rediscovered by an archer who had shot an arrow at the church´s weathercock believing it to be game.
6. THE BEAR. Until as late as the 1860´s, bears flourished amidst the wild berries and game in the Ekshärad forest. The renowned English bear-hunter Llewellyn Lloyd established his headquarters in the village of Skoga. The legend of Ekesberget would be incomplete without mention of the bear who could only be slain with a silver bullet. 7. OLAV THE PIOUS, christened during his lifetime as Olav Haraldsson. He was a Norwegian viking christened in France and slain at Stiklastad in 1030 during a struggle for the Norwegian crown. Miracles were supposed to have transpired at his graveside in Nidaros (now Trondheim) and Olav became known as a Norwegian-Swedish saint. Followed by his supporters who were recruited in Sweden, he marched through Klarälv-valley towards Stiklastad, and from that time on, pilgrims covered the same route in his wake.
8. THE BEAVER. A creature which was previously scarce in Ekshärad, is now more evident and has become increasingly numerous in the many watercourses.
9. THE MOOSE. A symbolic animal for Ekshärad where the moose hunt is something of a ritual. Game preservation has deep traditional roots in the area.
10. PILGRIMS. Ekshärad became a resting-place for Pilgrims passing through the “Klarälvsleden”. Names such as “Munkberg” and “Långrösta” indicate this. Ekshärads church was tended by Cisterciens monks from the monastery at Riseberga, who owned the farmlands in Skoga village. Hence, the church naturally became a pilgrim church.
11. HAWK THE GIANT. Probably an immensely-built tribal chief who was killed in the 1000´s by Norwegians at “Gutedalen” outside Ekesberget, who subsequently became a mythological figure. Hawk was buried at the top of the mountain where a mound of stones arranged around his burial site are still in place today. He is depicted in the picture holding the stone which he according to the saga cast on the Aurena giant.
12. KLARÄLV-RIVER (on the rear side of the pillar). Known in older days as “the great river”. Beside the name “Clara älv”, one can also see “Maria älv”. Rafts of timber floating down the river bring to mind the ancient log-driving tradition in the area.
TEXT: Gunnar Lindberg
Klarälvsvägen, 6, 683 61 Ekshärad