The legend of Blända & Blodberget

Blodberget’s name can be traced back to an ancient legend of a woman named Blända. The legend was written down and told by Huseby’s Ironmaster Peter Rudebeck, who lived between 1660-1710. The story is set in ancient times when Danish troops attacked the Åsnen area. Blända gathered local women to fight back. The place where they met was named Skäggalösa (directly translated, ”no beards”), which remains the name of the village on Skatelövsfjorden’s western shore, to this day.


The battle happened at Dansjön. When the women arrived, they served the Danish food and drink. The soldiers drank freely of beer and mead and fell asleep. Shortly thereafter, the women snuck up, armed with sickles, and cut the throat of every Dane. Following the bloodbath, the women washed themselves clean in a place later named Blotviken.


For her achievement, Blända was given a banner by God. The banner lives on in the red belt that is part of the traditional garment Värendsdräkten. The women of Värend were also promised inheritance equal to that of men. This is confirmed by medieval inheritance distribution letters. However, in the late 17th century, King Charles XI campaigned for a new Church Law, with changes to the marriage and inheritance codes. Peter Rudebeck then turned to the king’s friend Erik Dahlberg and told him to inform the monarch of the legend of Blända. Because of this, the equal inheritance rights of the women in Värend remained in force.


Today, the legend of Blända lives on in the names and places Blodberget and Blodviken. At Småland’s Museum in Växjö there is a painting by August Malmström, showing how Blända encouraged the women to fight the Danish army. The Blodberget area has plenty of history. Its peak holds a majestic Iron Age grave site. Beneath it lies a meadow barn, more than 200 years old, built with Viking Age techniques.


Text from ”ÅSNEN Nature, National Park and Wildlife in South Sweden – a Travel Guide”


Once upon a time, more than a thousand years ago, there were giants and trolls living on the islands in Åsnen. In the 12th century, when Hwam’s church (Vemboö Old Church) was built and its church bells began to call to Christian worship service over Åsnen’s islands, the sound made the giants and trolls very angry. On Slungö lived a giant woman, who became angrier than all other giants by the ringing bells. She thought: I shall show them! I shall remove the bells’ ringing from Åsnen’s islands! On Slungö there was a giant stone. She lifted it up and used her garter as a kind of slingshot or catapult, calculated the distance to the church, and hurled the large stone. But just as she threw the stone she lost her foothold. When she violently put down her giant foot again, the cliff underneath her was split, and the stone she had thrown did not reach all the way to Hwam’s church. That is how the church in Hwam was saved from destruction and could continue to ring its bells to gather the people. The island Slungö was split, and so, even today, there are Stora and Lilla Slungö. The stone, Slungestenen, ended up in a place known as Knallehall, where it still remains today!


Original text from Hembygdsföreningen Gamla Urshult


In the beech forest by Åsnen’s beach, lies Trollberget with its exciting caves and crevices. High above the forest floor in Trollberget’s leafy canopy, wood warblers still sing about how the trolls’ golden coins rolled away and disappeared into the greenery. The downy emerald dragonfly swooped down and plucked up the treasure and fled with its body bedecked with glinting gold. As the darkness fell, both the dragonfly and the stolen riches disappeared into the dusky twilight.


The tawny owl’s troll children searched in vain for the treasure in the soft Goldilocks moss. It seemed that all was lost – but then the forest’s sharpest pairs of eyes joined the search party. The lynx prowled over Trollberget’s boulders and cliffs and discovered the coins at the bottom of a deep crevice. From his perch atop a tall spruce fir, the song thrush eagerly repeated his jubilant call: The treasure is here! The treasure is found! Since then, the troll mother has kept her precious treasure in a safe place. The little beech gall midge fashioned a magical pouch for her on the beech leaf. Perhaps you can find the very leaf that now holds the gold coins?


Or can you find the iron door in Trollberget that hides the large hall that holds the troll’s silver and gold? Up to now, no one has been able to find said door.


Text from one of the information signs in Åsnen National Park. More stories on Trollberget are available at Sagobygden/The Land of Legends