The lost treasure of Lake Möckeln

Lake Möckeln in Stensbrohult
1926: View of Lake Möckeln from Stenbrohult's rectory. Photo: Assar M Lindberg / Upplandsmuseet (CC BY-NC-ND)

A tale of hostile invasions and two lost treasures in Stenbrohults parish in Småland, Carl Linnaeus' home town. Text from Herman Hofberg's Swedish folk tales from 1882.

Many hundreds of years ago, when the enemy was in the country, the people of Stenbrohult parish gathered their money and valuables and hid them in a large copper cauldron, which they lowered into the lake Möckeln. There he still lies, and remains well for all time, though many have known him with the "pulse-rod" when they "shot-net". However, every time he has been touched, he has moved farther away, so that he is now said to lie near the outlet of the lake, but there is so deep that no one "reaches" him.

The treasure in Lake Möckeln
1747: Older map of Lake Möckeln in southern Småland. Lantmäteriet.

When the other inhabitants of Stenbrohult hid their possessions in the lake, it was a rich farmer who buried his two silversmiths at Kalfhagsberget. Shortly thereafter he died without having had the opportunity to dig them up. Then two candles began to burn at night over the place where the treasure was hidden, a sure sign that the "rotten spirit" or "dragon" had taken it in hand.

A poor man heard this. As he knew that one could get hold of landed property if one dug it up on a Thursday night and carried it home without looking back or uttering a word to any human being, he already considered himself as good as the owner of the treasure.

So he set off and managed to get the jugs out of the mountain. But as he went home, he met one after another of the neighbours, who asked him where he had been.

The old man understood what kind of people they were, - that they were nothing but people who had "created" (re-created) themselves, and therefore stubbornly maintained their silence. But at last he met the priest, who stopped on the road and saluted him: "good evening!" - Then the old man was not silent, but took off his hat and saluted, "Good evening!" .

At once he stumbled against a wooden root and dropped the jugs; when he went to pick them up, a couple of old beaked canes lay on the ground, and the old man had to go home with unfinished business.

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