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The cradle of the dachshund

The cradle of the dachshund

From the Sunday supplement of the Social-Demokrat, March 2 and 9, 1930.

Of all the things that have gone wrong in our country, history writing has been the most wrong. Regarding Odhner it may well be said to have been a pure zealotry, aiming at the education of a spiritual snob. Only in recent decades have we had a Deerand Collijnand S. A. Tunbergand Gottfrid Carlssonand Ahnlud, a Boëthius [Ed: Probably Månsson refers to Axel Boëthius or Bertil Boëthius. ] and a few others, who devote themselves more seriously to their important task, not forgetting the greatest of all, the Archives Council Johan Axel Almquist, among whose works The civil local government in Sweden 1523-1630 is such a feat of scholarship that its author may well be counted as one of the greatest men Sweden has ever produced.

It sounds like a paradox, but it is unfortunately true that the main reason for such systematic and sometimes planned mismanagement is that, despite times of pitiful regimental system, it is nevertheless fundamentally so grand that it was not considered useful for the ruling clique of feudal lords and courtiers that this history should come unadulterated into the hands of the common man.

After all, the common people are without question the most important element of the nation. Its history is also the most important part of the nation's history. But it is this part of history that is most falsified, where it has been allowed to emerge at all, and otherwise untold. Allmogens the proud old collectivist social clique, born of man's need for mutual aid, has never been mentioned in a word, nor has this universal endeavour to return to this social clique after it has once crumbled and fallen out of the hands of the people, succeeded by a degenerate individualistic feudal regiment and finally by the one-world empire. The peasants' attempts to turn the ruined thing right again are everywhere in our history branded as the outcome of the zeal, lawlessness and dislike of all social order by wildlings and forest thieves, whereas the opposite has been the true case. The common people have reacted against the disintegration of society, the theft of salvation and the madness of envy. The exact opposite of what our history teaches.

Not least has The Dackefejden been the subject of outrageous treatment in our history. The regiment of terror, which Gustav Vasa after their victory over the Smålanders, naturally made any impartial account of the origin and course of the conflict impossible through intimidation. Even more violent was the regiment introduced in Småland by the saints and their lackeys after the victory. It seems that even the name of the once numerous Dackes family and its place of origin have disappeared from the memory of the living as far as the writers of history are concerned. Only those who took part in the feud still bore the name Dacke in their lifetime. Since then the name seems to have been dropped altogether by the family.

The common people down in Småland, however, keep track of those who are of Dachshund lineage and who carry their distinctive family traits even today - the set figure, the dark, slightly knotty hair above the bull's neck and the impulsive temper, which manifests itself whether its bearer turns religious or the opposite way. But none of these Dacke descendants bear the name Dacke, but call themselves Johansson, Persson, and many other names. The few persons who now bear the name Dacke do not seem to belong to the Dacke family, but the name is said to have been adopted in later times, assigned to a soldier by some gallows-humoured company commander, if the rumour is true.

During my travels on the farms of the Dacke farmers, I have been amazed in several places at how rock-solid the local tradition is to build on. It practically never fails.

Take for example Gudmund Fössing, Dacke's well-known chieftain, who was executed and had his estate despoiled after the feud. Knowing that the old odalmanna families were distinguished from others by their family names such as Fössing and others like that, I searched in vain at Fössingsmåla and other such places for the home of this farmer leader. But then one day a Småland parliamentarian said: 'Gudmund Fössing did not live at Fössingsmåla but at Knapanäs in Linneryd parish. This gave us a clue, and when we searched the registers it was found to be correct. Gudmund Fössing did indeed live at Knapanäs during the time he fought at Dacke's side against Gustav Vasa's troops.

Another example, an even stranger one. It was before Mr Hafström made his epoch-making discovery in the Dacke research in the chamber archives. I knew that the murder of Inge Arvidsson had taken place on Norra Lindö because the bailiff had taken over the Norra Lindögården by alleged or real acquisition from Tyge Krabbe, the Danish Marshal of the Realm. Therefore I went from Vissefjärda station to Norra Lindö, a mile away, and looked at the farm more closely, without knowing that Olof Dacke lived there. There I was told: It is said that Nils Dacke lived in Södra Lindö. But I was so taken by the old historical information that Hensemåla or as it is also called Dackemåla, in Södra Sandsjö parish of Konga härad, was Nils Dackes home and that he after the defeat was kept hidden in a cellar, that I did not attach myself much to it. Now one is, stupidly enough, a little hardened against information about Nils Dacke. Wherever you go in Småland there is always a story that Nils Dacke was there, which stories of course have a kernel of truth, for an agitator, who for years devoted himself to gather and raise the peasants and later for a year and a half waged open war against the king, must of course have been little anywhere in such a limited area as Småland. In addition, it is very obvious that wherever Dack troops operated during the war, it will be said that Nils Dacke was there, even if he himself was not personally present, but represented by sub-chiefs, of which he had a teeming and varied crowd.

But since I was so close, I went down to Södra Lindö, once an outpost of Norra Lindö, but nowadays, with the increasing crowding, expanded to a small village. I went into the middle farm, which looked the most archaic, and there I met the present owner of the farm, Mr. Karl Andersson, and his wife, and an old man of about 80 years and his wife, who was also elderly. In the pleasant garden I was offered coffee. During the conversation, the old man pointed with his thumb over his left shoulder to the eastern farm occupied by Mr Karl Svensson and said:

- They say Nils Dacke lived in there.

Karl Svensson's farm in Södra Lindön, now owned by Harald Svensson. Nils Dacke's farm buildings were located on the farm's property. (Photo: E Gantelius)
Karl Svensson's farm in Södra Lindön, now owned by Harald Svensson. Nils Dacke's farm buildings were located on the farm's property. (Photo: E Gantelius)

The speech was delivered in a tone almost inaudible, not without a certain embarrassment, apparently inherited from centuries of contempt for the roof. It was as if he had quietly hinted that there was something inside that could not stand the light of day and the eye of the law. But at the same time as something of this marked his tone, there was a touch of self-consciousness about the old giant's glorious beastly face, something that suggested a certain secret personal satisfaction that once upon a time down here in the backwoods there lived a farmer who meant something and put the ruling ants in their heads.

Despite this firm assertion, however, I was so taken by the old legend that Hensmåla was Dacke's home that I included even this old man's statement among the countless Dacke tales I had heard elsewhere in Småland.

I didn't even bother to go into the historic courtyard and talk to the people there. That spring Sunday, July 15, 1928.

Some month later Mr Hafström found the Dackes family in Torsås and Vissefjärda land books. A year later I therefore had to make the journey again.

For centuries, the crown manor of a quarter of a mantal Henstorp in Södra Sandsjö parish has been pointed out by the general public and portrayed by historians as Nils Dackes property. It has been commonly called Dackemåla, but retains its name in the land book, which seems to show that the land book name is older than the Dacke name. A walled cellar is shown as the place where he lived in hiding as a refugee. Hensmåla is situated between two lakes, which form a natural fence around three quarters of the farm's property, and is the most ideal home imaginable for a medieval farmer, who engaged in pig breeding and oxen rearing, the most important industries of the time.

However, it is now proven that Dacke did not live at Hensemåla in the years before the feud. However, he may have lived there earlier, perhaps with in-laws. It is clear that Dacke was not so simple-minded that he, after he lost the feud, hid in his own farm.

Thanks to Hafström, we now know exactly where Dacke lived, as well as some of his relatives. Last year he found a large part of the family in the land register of Torsås parish in Södra Möre and in Vissefjärda.

When Nils Dacke himself first appears in the land book in 1539, it is under the name of Nils Dacke in Lindö, Torsås parish. He was then a crown farmer and paid half a penny in taxes and was exempt from innkeeping. But if the tax was small, the farm was also miserable from a purely agricultural point of view and is still today, at least from the point of view of Östgöta and Skåne, a poor farm. Today Karl Svensson's farm in Lindö has twelve hectares of cultivated land, but now Dackegården is divided into three farms, of which Klaes Augustson has the third.

The enormous cairns around the field lobes and the countless earth-bound stones in them still bear witness today to the horrific struggle that has been waged there for centuries for every foot of cultivated land. Many times more stones than the cubic volume of the soil have had to be removed to make the land suitable for sowing grain or fodder crops. But agriculture was not the main thing in Dacke's time either. It was cattle-herding, hunting and fishing that kept people alive in this beautiful but barren landscape. It is uncertain whether Södra Lindö already consisted of one or two farms at that time.

The hop, which grows over the stone, is according to legend planted by Nils Dacke. (Photo: E Gantelius)
The hop, which grows over the stone, is according to legend planted by Nils Dacke. (Photo: E Gantelius)

If only Nils Dacke has lived on the farm, he has had quite a considerable area at his disposal. It must have been about 700 or 800 acres. But only a few acres were cultivated at that time, and the rest consisted of pasture and natural meadows as well as oak and beech forests. These forests would have been valuable at that time, if they could have been fully exploited, which the bailiffs, however, tried to prevent. The many thousands of fishing boats and their crews, from the northern tip of Dland around Skåne to the Bohusskären, were voracious buyers of letter or so-called clappholt, large quantities of which were used to bind barrels. Similarly, it is clear that oak, cut for table wood and ribs for boats, was in great demand. But since the heather it had been forbidden to cut oak and beech and so-called bearing trees at all, whose oaks and nuts were used for swine manure in the winters. When the spiritual and secular saints took power from the peasants, the prohibition was repeated from time to time, but it meant prohibition only for the peasants, while the saints, bishops and monastic abbots considered themselves above it and unrestrained from cutting and selling the wood of the bearing trees. The ravages of the Lund bishops in the forests of Skåne, Blekinge and Bornholm were not least the seeds of dispute between them and the Danish kings.

But not only saviours and bishops, but even more their bailiffs and the crown's bailiffs ravaged the deciduous forest. Since the peasants never acknowledged the feudal society which, in spite of their resistance, had risen above their old social order and destroyed it, it is clear that they did not submit to the edicts and decrees of the hated saviour society either. So long as any cohesion of the peasantry remained, they took the liberty, in spite of all prohibitions, of roaming the forests as freely as the serf, and certainly in quite superior competition with the latter. Even in Svante Sture's time, there must not have been many tax farms in the southern border regions where they did not saw table wood and clapperwood in the winters. But as the feudal system grew in strength while the power of the peasant weakened, this handling must have become more and more impossible for feudal farmers and finally also for crown farmers, although there should be no doubt that the tax farmers long into Gustav Vasa's time considered themselves entitled to operate such traffic, despite all the tightened prohibitions.

However, that down in southern Småland and on the eastern coast of Småland, both commoners and crown farmers still had a strong enough cohesion and mostly lived far enough away from the control of the guardians to trade in table wood and clappholt, should be beyond doubt. It is probably not a bad guess to assume that both Dacke and his family were engaged in this trade as a very good secondary service. Bergkvara harbour, however, was barely three miles away and was very busy at the time. If one wanted to be even more uncontrolled, three miles to the south were the ports of Lyckå, Nättraby, Hjortahammar and several other places of relief on the Blekinge coast. It goes without saying that there was a lively timber trade there at the time.

The fact that Lindögården had a weak agricultural sector was by no means the same as it is today. The owner did not live on the edge of starvation. There was game in the woods, deer, elk and many other kinds, and the bow in a practised hand was a fearsome weapon. Those animals that were so timid that they could not be approached at the 200-step distance that was then considered a good arrow-shooting distance, were skillfully caught in traps, snares and snares. In addition, there were fish in the Lyckeby River as well as in the lakes.

The second Nils Dacke best known leader in the Dackefejden, his uncle Olof Dacke, lived with his son Åke Dacke a short distance to the north at Norra Lindögården, the farm that can well be described as the cradle of the Dackefejden, at least as far as the Dacke family's involvement in the feud is concerned. In contrast to Södra Lindö, which was a crown manor, Norra Lindö was of a feudal nature at the time of the outbreak of the Dackefejdens. It had just become a manor and had previously been monastic land, subject to Skänninge monastery. But when the land of the church and the monastery was withdrawn to the crown by the recess of the Västerås parliament in 1527, this farm, like tens of thousands of others, ended up in the hands of the saints by virtue of the additional provision in the recess which said that the land which the saints had sold, given or exchanged to the church since the reign of King Karl Knutsson and which the saints could prove had previously been in their possession, could be recovered. A fundamentally horrific decision, which turned everything upside down in thousands of peasant homes.

It is clear that the whole of Lindögården, both the northern and southern parts, was once a single farm with between 2000 and 3000 acres of land. It is located one mile from Vissefjärda church village and was probably originally occupied outside the actual farming community, i.e. on no man's land or the reserve land of the people's parish, as it is now called. That is to say, it has been occupied by the kind of peasants who formerly went under the name of serfs, which in general originally meant that they did not belong to the odalmana families or could not enter their häradsorganisation. However, after the decline of peasant society and the crystallization of the great man families, the servant could also mean a kind of servant. The location of the farm suggests this. It was then enough and provided the people with land. The need to tame the wilderness and eradicate wild animals had been strong. The saying: man is man's vulture, was well coined at that time. It was not considered necessary to scrutinize what each person put under him in the wilderness.

When the peasantry collapsed before feudalism and the great states were formed on the ruins of the small kingdoms, the day came when the bailiffs of the new monarchy sought to make even these remote farms taxable under them. That the task was not easy is well understood when one learns of the ways in which the peasants of Småland were accustomed even in the days of Sten Sture the Elder.

All the same, part of North Lindö had fallen into the hands of the saints, while the more remote, inferior part remained under the crown. What tragedies are hidden under this change we do not know. That it went for nothing less than blood and tears is fairly clear. But the main farm, which, by the way, was at that time the only one that was inhabited, ended up as a reward for some service rendered in the hands of some bailiff, who knew how to get along so well with the bailiff that he was struck off the tax list of the peasants and was thus free, free from tax, which eventually came to mean the same thing as feoffee, although it was by no means originally intended that feoffee rights should have this meaning. For fealty originally meant only the right of a peasant to exchange his then tax payment in tar, bark, bast, pork, butter, grain, for another tax payment, namely that he undertook to appear himself or by proxy armed when the king called him to his service.

Let us guess that it was no easier for the bailiff to claim the tax from Lindö than it had been for him to claim it from the king. Some son or grandson therefore donated it to the church and received bliss in payment or intercession.

So it came into the hands of Skänninge monastery. Now it was under God and the saints, and they could refuse the treasure, just as they had refused it to the king and the saviour. But they were cruel avengers, sending drought and rain at inopportune times, letting the pigs die of sickness, the moth kill the pigs, and the cows go hungry or calve to death, besides that the official deputies of the saints on earth could refuse the lactating farmer to attend Mass, enjoy the Eucharist and last rites, and let him be tormented after death in purgatory until the eighth day of judgment. Their treasury screw was of surer effect than the king's, but they generally handled it with more understanding of peasant nature. The peasants had little to complain of under their yoke. On the contrary, to become a peasant of the church was a piece of bread by no means despised by the heirs of the priest condemned by law to celibacy and of his household servants.

But then came the fateful Västerås Riksdag in 1527 with the aforementioned gruesome addition about the saviour's right to get his land back. Danish Marshal Tyge Krabbe, the Danish king's lieutenant in Hälsingborg, demanded homestead on a number of farms and got Lindögården condemned to him. However, Krabbe was in the financial position that he neither needed, wanted nor wanted to fight with a farmer in the primeval forests of Småland for a side of pork or two in landgille, except that it was doubtless quite impossible for him to get it. He entrusted the farm to Inge Arvidsson, one of Södra Møre's bailiffs, for the time being acting bailiff over the farms taken from the church in the area, who in this capacity was supposed to guard the crown's right but according to the custom of bailiffs therefore by no means neglected to weaken the crown's right and guard the foreign savior's right to his farms for some extra hand pressure.

While this happened since the decision of the Parliament of Västerås, about eight years should have passed. Olof Dacke has certainly believed himself to be the owner of a masterless farm.

For just as it had been one of the main reasons for the Kalmar Union that the inter-Scandinavian intermarried and otherwise united councils of the three Nordic countries should be able to keep and enjoy the yields of their farms in all three kingdoms without difficulty, so too the result was the opposite when the union broke up. And when King Hans was driven out of the kingdom by Sten Sture dä's reign of Vadsten in 1501, the Danish crown also withheld from Swedish commoners the income from their farms in Denmark. The Swedish government behaved in a similar way towards Danish saints, who were denied the right to the income from their farms in Sweden.

This had been the situation for 26 years, when the Västerås parliamentary decision came, and for at least 33 years, when the battle over Norra Lindö flared up. What is clear, as I said, is that Olof Dacke considered Norra Lindögården to be practically his own under such circumstances. However, one monkey got in the way. Gustav Vasa had inherited from a relative a large number of farms located in Halland, i.e. in the Danish country. From these he could receive no income as long as the old system existed that the feudal lords of the different kingdoms were denied the right to their farms located in the other kingdom. Gustav Vasa did try to sell some of them, among others and mainly to the lord of Torup in Skåne, Ulfstrand, the Danish king's lieutenant at Varberg's house. But Gustav felt that the farms had been undervalued and that he had been shamefully cheated.

In order to get full value for his farms down there and also for other reasons, his brother-in-law Kristian III was now king in Denmark and a certain albeit shaky and mistrusted alliance with the Danish government had been practiced by Gustavus since quite soon after he became king, Gustavus turned to a new tactic - that of conciliation. Gustav Vasa was a man who could make money out of anything for his inheritance and his own, that is, his private fortune, which he always sharply distinguished from that of the crown. He now found that if he allowed the Danish monarchy to acquire rights to his farms in Sweden, he could both have free disposal of his Danish properties and add to his private fortune a large number of farms, which he intended to take in compensation from the Danish monarchy for its access to his Swedish farms.

This is what happened. Krabbe in Hälsingborg paid for his right to come to his Swedish farms by ceding to the king no less than fourteen farms in Kalmar County, which were added to the king's inheritance and his own. The Swedish-born Gjörvel Fadersdotter Sparre from Hjulsta in Enköping-Näs parish near Enköping, daughter of the old governor Svante Sture's stepdaughter, had to pay her right to her Swedish farms by surrendering twenty-three of her farms to the king, for she was married to the above-mentioned Trued Gregorsson Ulfstrand at Torup in Skåne. Even those who no longer had such claims he squeezed. Thus Anna Josefsdotter had to pay him six farms because her long-dead husband, the Danish-born Baltzar Göranson, once had farms in Sweden during his lifetime.

In this way, Krabbe of Hälsingborg Castle returned to his Swedish farms.

Krabbe was, however, as mentioned above, a man who apparently neither needed nor wanted to break with some hard-line farmers in Kalmar County. He therefore ceded his right to the bailiff Inge Arvidsson. The latter came both for this reason and for others into conflict with the Dackes family and its acquaintances. Inge went up in 1535 to take possession of Lindögården, but during the following fight he was first shot with an arrow by Nils Dacke and then killed by the well-known farmer Jon Andersson from Flakamåla or Flaken in Torsås parish on the banks of the Lyckeby River. It was Jon Andersson's third sergeant killing in a row, but Nils Dacke's first. Thus the Dackes were now also drawn into a feud with the king. Jon Andersson had previously been the leader of the opposition among the peasants, and by many accounts a capable one. Why Dacke now soon began to overtake him and take the lead is a mystery, which history cannot fully explain.

Olof Dacke later became one of the more important leaders of the Dackefejden and after its end was captured, beheaded and stoned in Stockholm. His son Åke Dacke, reportedly a young man in his 20s, became Nils Dacke's bailiff in Sunnerbo and Västbo härader during Dacke's period of victory, and was later captured and beheaded in Sunnerbo.

Apart from these three members of the Dachshunds who are prominent in the feud, a number of others are now known. Among them may be mentioned Gisse Dacke in Djuramåla in Vissefjärda parish, who belonged to the numerous peasant sons, who after the feud had to take an oath and serve the king. The married of these had to stay at home on their farms, while the unmarried were taken up to Stockholm for education and further dispatch upcountry or to Finland. Gisse Dacke later became the king's root master, i.e. the commander of a force of drivers.

Lasse Dacke in Lönnbomåla in Torsås parish was still alive in 1550, when Elin på Hult took over the farm. Elin Dacke on Hult in Vissefjärda is probably the mother of Lasse and Gisse.

Another woman is Mariet Dacke, probably the wife of Olof Dacke. For she cannot very well be the "sorceress's wife" so eagerly sought by Gustav Vasa, it is Nils Dacke's mother, whose name we do not know. We only know that Gustav Vasa was eagerly looking for her and she might have played some driving role.

The tradition further mentions a Peter Dacke, who is not found in the land book but who is said to have been Nils Dacke's brother and for some time held Flakamåla at Lyckebyån.

Of Dacke's Bleking family, which the king always talks about and claims that Dacke is a Blekinge farmer, "that one has his whole family in Blekinge", we know nothing but a Jon Dacke, who in 1548 was fined two oxen "for killing some in Vissefjärda". So it was someone who continued his revenge long after the feud was over. Possibly he could be a younger son of Olof Dacke, but he could also be a nephew, for according to the old peasant view, male nephews were also bound by the old ommogemoral commandment to avenge wronged kinsmen.

The same may be the case with the bleaching Erik Dacke, who seems to have continued his act of revenge at least until 1552, when he stabbed a servant sent against him from Kronoberg Castle at Växjö, who of course according to custom after the Dacke feud was sent out to assassinate him.

Acquaintances are Nils Dacke's brothers-in-law Holme and Sven Gertormsson, according to the king's information about their names, according to another spelling they are called Gertronsson. They were both murdered by the brothers Karl and Pelle Humpe in the autumn of 1542 and Karl Humpe therefore received Emmaboda farm as a reward from the king, while both he and his brother received three years tax exemption. Pelle Humpe was always on the trail of assassins, both during and after the Dackefejden. It was a wide-eyed man, who had pieces of land in many parishes of Kalmar County.

Close ally of the Dackes was apparently also the above mentioned Jon Andersson.

Among the outlaws, Jon Andersson and Nils Dacke apparently occupy a place among the aforementioned refugees, whom the bailiffs thought it wise not to persecute too harshly.

Jon Andersson is seen for posterity as the more powerful of the two. It is likely, however, that in reality Nils Dacke was, although for lack of sufficient material we cannot now fully understand what his greatness consisted of. Dacke has in the feud possibly in much against his will had to stand for the undeniable abuses that were then committed.

It would appear that Jon Andersson has been a Vissefjärdabonde from the beginning. "For Vissefjärdakarlarna keep us gentle lord God!" was still in my childhood a proverb among the wayfarers in Blekinge. The parish lies on the border of Blekinge and was then certainly one of the parishes in Småland least tamed by the sovereignty.

From the king's statement we know that Jon Andersson was from Södra Möre and he also had a large family in Blekinge. 1 October 1537 in a letter from Borgholm Gustav Vasa calls him "a desperate scalawag, who along with others two years ago brought our bailiff Matts Mose (Månsson) by the neck and before that killed even his father." In the letter, which is addressed to the Danish king's confidants in Blekinge, the commandant Axel Ugerup at Sölvesborg Castle and the county governor Mauritz Olsson Krognos in Blekinge. The king requests that such shells be taken by the throat and not housed. For occasionally Jon Andersson crosses the line and commits robbery and forgery.

A Peder scribe, who was a friend of Axel Ugerup, was the king's postman with the letters. Axel Ugerup had excused himself to him by saying that Jon Andersson was a farmer under the old owner of Laxmans-Åkarpsgården's daughter Karin on Lagnö, and that she had provided him with a lease.

Gustav Vasa, however, did not accept the apology of the Danish bailiff, whom he did not believe more than evenly, but later once accused of having practised drinking and slamming with at least one of the outlaws. He asks Ugerup to keep his word to strike at Jon Andersson in Blekinge, "for there lives a scalawag, who stands against the welfare of both the Swedish and the Danish king".

On May 14, 1520, at Hjortsberga ting, a mile northeast of Ronneby, a peace treaty was concluded between Blekinge, Värend and Möre, where they pledged to help each other as honest men of honor and faith, if in the war between Sweden and Denmark any kingdom should invade and attack them, which covenant since ancient times was concluded by their fathers. Even Finnveden had once had a separate peace in the time of Valdemar 111. In 1525 Blekinge and Småland had treaties with each other in the same way. More than a hundred years later, in 1643, during the war between Sweden and Denmark, Vissefjärda parish in Småland and Frillestad in Blekinge had an alliance with each other.

Since about 1533 Inge Arvidsson had belonged to the cavalry under Kalmar Castle. He seems to have been assigned to the group, which followed Nils Andersson, Södra Möres crown bailiff. It is clear that he was among the tax claimants, who in 1535 demanded the war dowry, which the king requested from Småland to cover the costs of the count's feud, which war dowry the Småland peasants of course wanted as little to know about as they wanted to know about the count's feud in general. Obviously, they did not want to bear the costs of the Danish and Swedish kings' destruction of the peasantry in Denmark, Skåne and Halland.

Around this time, a Jakob clerk was beaten to death, apparently by some Torsås farmers, although the fine for the murder was not paid until 1540.In 1536, before the Lars fair, the bailiff Inge Arvidsson caught three "forest thieves", i.e. outlaw farmers, in Mortorp's woods, from whom he ordered six marks and two pence. He then seems to have followed their paths down into Blekinge, for it was undoubtedly at the instigation of him and his master Nils Andersson at Värnanäs that the Danish king's chief of the district and lieutenant in Blekinge, Mauritz Olsson Krognos at Lyckå Castle, came across the forest streams and executed them.

It is probable, not to say certain, although it cannot now be proved by written documents, that the outlaws captured in Blekinge were relatives of Jon Andersson and that he was thus drawn into the feud in the most common way this happened. For most of the outlaws had by no means been dragged into the ranks of the outlaws because of their own direct conflicts with the bailiffs. If they had, their numbers would certainly not have been so large, despite all the abuses. But it was to avenge wrongs committed against relatives that they joined the game. In doing so, they had no choice to act or not to act. They were heirs to a thousand-year-old self-cleansing society, in which each landowner, by virtue of his possession of the land, and at the risk of the continued possession of his land, had, within certain limits, a certain duty of cleanliness transferred to him. If this obligation was not fulfilled, social morality ensured that he was no longer counted among the peasants. From the peasant's point of view, the advent of the new sovereign state had changed nothing in this respect. This sovereign state represented for the peasant the scalawag and the unjust, while his own conscience categorically pointed out to him the path of righteousness. If he did not avenge a wronged relative, he would find out at the next guild or at the church guildhall on Sunday. It was a test of how many inches of cold steel he could stand. If he did not accept the challenge, the challenger put the knife in him anyway and freed the family and the community from his presence. Therefore, when the relative was wronged, it was no longer a question of the possibility or impossibility of non-retaliation, not of life or death. Revenge was the sacred emotion, all-consuming, the legacy of the fathers in the self-cleansing society.

Such was the position of Jon Andersson even before the killing of Inge Arvidsson took place on Norra Lindö in Vissefjärda, through which his third bailiff's killing Nils Dacke also came to increase the number of outlaws and thus the great feud got a leader, who in due course at least gave it its name and certainly also a clever head.

It should be noted that the killing of Inge Arvidsson took place during a particularly heated political period. Gustav Vasa and his Danish brother-in-law, King Kristian III, were at the time using a joint fleet and here in the count's feud to crush the peasants of Skåne, Halland and Denmark. The Smålanders brought their produce to the Scanian towns, which were the helpers and supporters of the old King Kristian. For two years Småland had refused to pay both the crown's dues and the land guild to the saviour, killed the king's and the nobility's bailiffs, subdued the saviour's farms and shouted that they wanted to kill all the red-clad, i.e. saviour's men. In addition, the Smålanders behaved hostile to Gustav Vasa's warriors, who went down to Skåne.

It is also likely that Lubeck's circulating buyers had a hand in the agitation. For after the beginning of the feud, Gustav Vasa had revoked Lubeck's privileges in Sweden, so that the Hanseatic League had to pay customs duties here, contrary to the wording of the trade treaty Gustav had previously issued. Whereas they had previously been promised exemption from customs duties and other advantages for helping Gustav Vasa to the kingdom in Strängnäs in 1523 and previously giving him credit for the war of liberation, they now had to pay every eighth, tenth or twelfth penny, differently for different types of goods. In 1535 the king increased the customs duty to fifteen pennies on the value of the mark, i.e. eight per cent ad valorem duty. As a result, Lubeck's tools organised an assassination attempt against the king in Stockholm. It failed and the authors were executed. Olaus Petri, who was no doubt falsely suspected by the king of being part of the plot, was sentenced to death and fell into eternal disgrace; although he was pardoned for life, he was nevertheless put on the rack. For he had, under the seal of confession, informed Iran, one of the conspirators, of the plot without disclosing it to the king, which, as confessor, he did not think he had the right to do without the confessor's permission, which, of course, was not given.

At Christmas 1536, Gustav Vasa made a wiser marriage proposal than his first German one. With the first, he had evidently intended to break the haughty Swedish royal family, but with little success. With his second marriage, he adopted a completely opposite tactic: to unite with the more important families. He took Margareta Lejonhufvud of Ekeberg in Närke as his wife. The wedding was celebrated in Uppsala with a kind of small lord's day, at which it was agreed to break the Smålanders. On New Year's Day, therefore, a meeting of arms was held in Linköping with the assembled Swedish saints, who now, together with groups of German servants and others under the name of kings, descended on Småland, harassing and plundering after judgments pronounced at the palace and the taking of hostages.

Småland was divided into two parcels and treated differently in the refectory, in which the king was represented by his youthful friend and right-hand man, Lasse Siggesson Sparre of Örebro Castle. Northern Småland, which was further away from the influence of the Blekingians, and more under the pressure of the feudal lords in Östergötland, had, with the exception of the Nydalaupprädet in 1529 and the Tveta peasants' revolt against the king at the same time, not dared to stand up against the feudal lords and the king in the same way as those in Värend and Möre. Northern Småland therefore got off rather lightly. Each farmer was sentenced to pay a quarter of an ox and some silver over law.

It was different in Värend, Möre and Konga härad, where in the vsakören was taken by the peasants and they had to put the high castle for the fines and hostages until the fines were recovered. Jon Andersson and his party went into Blekinge to their relatives and friends while the storm passed. Later in the year Gustav Vasa was in Kalmar and stayed at the Kungsladugården in Borgholm, and it was during this time that he sent the above-mentioned letter carriers to the Danish bailiff at Sölvesborg Castle to persuade him to capture Jon Andersson and his party.

That the peasants in Blekinge and Småland did not rest the summer after Lasse Siggesson's raid is understandable from the fact that such powerful organizations had already been formed that Jon Andersson during Lent 1538 could send out a messenger in Konga Härad with orders to the peasants to meet on the Blekinge border. Ture Trolle at Bergkvara, the local lawman, set up a motagitation and made the common people stay at home, because the king had many warriors gathered in Kalmar and Möre and elsewhere in Småland. The peasants who went around with the messenger murdered Ture Trolles servant in Bergkvara.

The king now began to use a different tactic with regard to the murders of his servants. He advocated no longer fining the offenders, but beating their heads off. He wanted to avoid that through fines several members of impoverished families joined the numerous outlaws in the forests and helped them in their revenge. But even the decapitated man cried out for revenge.

While in Borgholm, the king received messages from Elector John Frederick of Saxony, Landgrave Philip of Hesse and several other German princes that he should join the Schmalkaldic League. But this could mean for him that he would interfere in a possible war between the Evangelicals and Catholics in Germany, send troops from here or at least money to recruit troops in Germany. Clearly, such an offer was not welcome to Gustav Vasa, for he had enough expenses beforehand and enemies enough within the country to feud with. He therefore asked for time to consider.

On Trinity Sunday 1538, Jon Andersson travelled from Blekinge to Liibeck to meet the king's German enemies, including the king's own nephew Count Erik of Hoya, Berend von Mehlen, who was also a member of Gustav's family, and Brockenhausen. They gave him seven hornbows, a suit of clothes and six half cartauer (a kind of cannon with a projectile weight of 24 skålpunds [10.3 kilos] to be used against fortifications).

The evangelical prince's meeting took place in the spring of 1538 in Braunsweig. Berend von Mehlen, who was a high hen in their confederation and had powerful supporters among the princes of the confederation, spoke at the meeting and persuaded a number of the princes to influence Christian III of Denmark not to help his brother-in-law Gustav Vasa if Mehlen were to make any attack against Sweden with the help of Duke Albrekt of Mecklenburg. King Kristian III then left Braunsweig. On the way he was intercepted by a horseman, who joined him, followed the king's retinue to Luneburg and said that he intended to go to Liibeck. King Christian suspected that von Mehlen was on his way to Liibeck to prepare a revolt in Sweden against Gustav Vasa with the help of the Lybians. The suspicions were also correct. Berend von Mehlen was on his way to Liibeck to meet Jon Andersson, the Southern-Mörebonden.

When Jon Andersson returned to Blekinge on a journey from the enemies of both the Danish and Swedish kings, Axel Ugerup at Sölvesborg Castle dared not turn a blind eye any longer and struck after him when he landed at Bodakull (now Karlshamn). Jon Andersson lost his weapons but saved himself in Konga Härad. Probably Ugerup was not so anxious to seize his person, only he could show that he had been on the move on behalf of the kings.

Now comes an unanswered question: was Nils Dacke in Liibeck or was he among the hostages at Kalmar Castle? The King says that he was imprisoned at Kalmar Castle but was released after he promised to repent. On the other hand, it is difficult to explain Dacke's taste for and ability to move with foreign connections if he had not, together with Jon Andersson, as it were, undergone a course in this art at Liibeck. For he has had no first-hand instruction in this art, as is evident from the behaviour of the simple peasant in the feud.

In any case, after Jon Andersson's return from Germany, Nils Dacke stayed in his company. It goes without saying that two such peasant chiefs as Jon Andersson and Nils Dacke, who had an alliance with Berend von Mehlen and Erik of Hoya, could not be treated as air. The two outlaws, who had now been outlaws for three years, wrote to the king through the bailiff Ernst Joensson at Kalmar Castle and asked for a settlement. But this was only to be done on the condition that ten peasants implicated in the murder of the bailiffs would be settled at once. The king was to settle with all of them or with none. This happened in August 1538. It was not now some insignificant Småland peasants, whom the first best bailiff could treat anyway, but they stood with German powers behind them. And their relatives could signal a rebellion if they were not given peace.

It is probable that Dacke on this occasion went to Kalmar as a conciliator, something for which he now had little to fear after Liibeck's journey, and that he remained there for some time with a few others as hostages until bail bonds came from the outlaws' relatives for the fine to be paid. So he has been released. This view may well be consistent with the king's statement that he had been in Kalmar Castle but was released again.

However, there is a report that the bailiff in Möre, Nils Andersson, would have prevented the settlement and that Dacke's enmity against him, he was later in the beginning of the feud killed by Dacke, derives from this. It is hardly likely. The Soningsböden to the king would probably go through the castle bailiff at Kalmar Castle Ernst Joensson's hands in this particular case, and hardly through the crown bailiff Nils Andersson's at Värnanäs, but it may also be that the crown bailiff would collect the amount and speculated on narrative the king on it according to the custom of the time bailiffs. On this I do not want to express any opinion now. However, it is said that Ernst Joensson, the king's bailiff in Kalmar, "gave them day and rent" on behalf of the king and friendship against paying a handsome sum in silver, money and oxen. The silver was well paid in cash, the oxen would always come later. It is apparently on this occasion that Dacke was released.

It is clear that both Ernst Joensson and the king were afraid of these ten adopted peasants and their relatives. From Rasmus Ludvigsen's chronicle it appeared that the ten pledged themselves not to engage in any further treachery but to be obedient and upright to the king as long as they lived. They were to pay the fine the following year. For it was the custom at that time that for the sake of the pauper's poverty the fine was levied a year or two later. Although the oxen were branded on behalf of the king, the peasants were allowed to keep them to work with in return for a legacy. Dacke would therefore hand over the oxen the following year or in the autumn of 1539. Dacke's share of the fine was two hundred Danish marks, about 3,600 kronor in today's purchasing power (in 1930), at that time calculated at the value of forty oxen. Jon Andersson was separated from the case by a crown peasant, Hermod Elofsson of Stora Ebbehult in Madesjö parish, presenting him with the fine, apparently the result of a collection among Madesjö farmers. Nils Dacke, on the other hand, paid slightly more than half the fine, reportedly thirty-two pounds of silver out of a fine of sixty, according to another report twenty-three oxen worth out of a fine of forty. He was thus still in debt to the king and could, if the bailiff so wished, be considered an outlaw.

During this time Dacke lives first on Södra Lindö and then on Flakamålagården, at least the outland of crown land nature, which is called Södra Lindö and originally belonged to the former total farm Lindö in Vissefjärda parish, then counted to Torsås parish.

Olof Dacke on Norra Lindö is shown in the bailiwick records from 1535. He was a farmer, as was Elin Dacke in Hult in Vissefjärda under the Danish Marshal Tyge Krabbe in Hälsingborg, who died in 1541.

In 1539 Dacke moves from Lindö to the small crown farm Flaken or Flakamåla in the same parish, for which taxes were paid in the guardianship. Olof has thus previously either held it or been forced by the bailiff to pay for it. He must have had it as pasture. If so, he undoubtedly traded in grazing oxen, otherwise it was not needed.

The farm Flaken, where Nils Dacke lived for three years. 1539-1541. (Photo: E Gantelius)
The farm Flaken, where Nils Dacke lived for three years. 1539-1541. (Photo: E Gantelius)

After the county records for Torsås parish 1539 - 1341 it says (Småland 1539:4. Register of the county governorship, p. 14): "Crown farmers who keep no horse are: Nils Dacke in Lindö, Olof Dacke in Flaka." In the land book page 7 and a half it says: "Nils Dacke in Flaka, Olof Dacke in Lindö." Further it says (in Smålands Handlingar 1540:1, the land book): "Nils Dacke in Flaka four whites. Olof Dacke in Lindö four quarts." Skatteboken page 47: "Nils Dacke in Flaka half a penny, no guestage. Olof Dacke in Lindö half a penny, no guestage."

Småland 1541:3 a. Skatteboken page 17, possibly misspelling for Flaka, but he may then have already left Flaken: "Penningar två fyrkar. Olof Dacke on Lindö, pennies two quarts."

Jon Andersson was also living at Flaken when the fine was paid for him, which Hafström rightly finds shows that close connections existed between the two. However, Jon Andersson moved at this time or earlier to the crown farm Lilla Tordahult, or in any case a Jon Andersson, who paid two pence in taxes and paid for a feed horse for the king and two bailiff's horses. I fully share Mr Hafström's opinion that it must be the rebel with the same name. That Jon Andersson got Tordahult indicates that the bailiff either tried to win Jon Andersson for himself or wanted to have him well under his eyes, probably both.

Dacke lived at Flaken for about three years, 1539-1541, and by some accounts also on the spring side in 1542. The tax was four whites or half a penny in pennies. The farm was poor, and no guest-tax, either king's or bailiff's, was imposed on it.

Flaken, or as it is sometimes called Flakamåla, still exists today as a farm on the same site as then, although the dwelling house is built some twenty steps further up the hill and to the southeast than where the old house was. Its foundations are still marked out on a small hill. It lies on the east bank of the Lyckebyån, where the road from Vissefjärda and Norra and Södra Lindö now crosses the river on a bridge to the village of Ledja on the west bank of the Lyckebyån. The farm is, at least that which is visible in front of the houses, poor with a lot of earthy stone but must once have had lovely oak and beech woods. The farm's most valuable asset, apart from woodland and pasture, appeared to have been the eel fishing in Lyckebyån. There was a so-called eel pond, which was the subject of a dispute.

The Blekinge border was a bit shaky that time. It could sometimes be considered to be half a mile or more further north than otherwise, probably depending on the energy of the Danish king's temporary bailiff or the private economic interests of the peasants on either side of the border. In general, the boundary in the middle of Flakamåla was considered to run from the crossroads of Lake Flaka past the farm in the middle of the river down into the extension of the same, which was called Lake Ledja.

In Lake Ledja, the Swedes had had free fishing since the Arilds, i.e. ancient times. The fishing water had since ancient times belonged half to Sweden and half to Denmark, and the farmers, who lived around it both on the Danish and Swedish side, had been farmers under Mrs Märtha at Värnanäs, whom Mr Hafström says he has vainly looked after. It may have been a widow of some higher bailiff - her husband must have been a knight, since she was titled wife - who had the peasants in this gruesome oblivion in fief. This Mrs Märtha or her bailiff in her name and place had decorated a large oak stick, which had been ironed and placed in the lake as a landmark between the kingdoms, so that no dispute would arise about the fishing. The farmers on the Danish side of Lyckebyån, however, took up the log and cut it up in order to be able to fish in Swedish waters - probably also to get their hands on the iron, which was so precious at the time. At the same time, they had managed to get the Swedish part of the fishing water pledged to them.

Lyckebyån at Flaken, where the eel pond was located. (Photo: E Gantelius)
Lyckebyån at Flaken, where the eel pond was located. (Photo: E Gantelius)

Hafström describes how this pledge was made in Personhistorisk Tidskrift last year after a testimony, which was held in Rödeby parish cottage some ten years later. A testimony was recorded in Rödeby parish fifteen years later or in 1555, on the Thursday after the fourth Sunday of Lent in connection with the Danish-Swedish border settlement. Among others present were Sven Jonsson in Ledja, Ingevald Persson on Långemåla and Mattis Olsson on Täbbamåla, who swore a their previous statement concerning the border mark and added among other things the following:

The Swedes had had free fishing since time immemorial in Lake Ledja, as well as in the "varman", i.e. a fishing farm in the stream. However, the four whites therefore gave to the land guild in Lyckeby. The Swedes had received it in mortgage from the Blekingbonden Nils Stolpasson, who lived in Fur, which seems to have been the aforementioned Mrs Martha's landlord. This now came in damage for a man in Blekinge and put the same fishing water in pledge for the man's fine, and since then the dead man's relatives used the fishing water. The one who had killed the Bleking could not enjoy peace unless he left fishing water to the dead man's relatives in lieu of the man's fine and in that respect it first came away from the crown of Sweden, they said.

Mårten Olsson in Fagerek, who later received a dressing of the chosen king Erik in Sweden for his story deviating from this, also cited this and said secondly that Nils Dacke of Germund Svensson Some in Kalmar, the king's steward, had a cottage called Flakamåla, located at the said fishing waters. When he lived there for some time he took the fishing water to himself and brought it under Sweden, as it had been before. But the time he set himself up as a processor against royal majesty, he sold both Flakemåla and the fishing water to a farmer in Blekinge, named Sven in Ledja. Both the homestead, the fishing water and an oak and beech forest, called Seffjehult, came for the second time away from Sweden.

However, the story originating in Denmark is quite different.

According to it, Dacke's neighbour on the other side of Lyckebyån, Sven Jonsson in Ledja, came to Dacke and complained about Dacke's encroachment on Flakamåla and especially on the eel fishery. He said that both the fishing water and Flaken belonged to him and Flaken was his parent farm. He went down to Mauritz Olsson of Lyckeby, the Danish king's bailiff at Lyckå Castle, and complained that Nils Dacke was still sitting on Flaken. There was a sighting of four Swedish and four Danish old men, who went around examining and inquiring about where the limit of age was considered to lie. When it had been examined and properly proceeded, Flaken was found to lie half a mile into Blekinge in Rödeby parish. Then Sven in Ledja went to Kalmar castle and asked the lord of the castle if it was with his advice and consent that his bailiff (Nils Andersson at Värnanäs) cleaned Flaka to Nils Dacke. The lord of the castle (Germund Svensson Some) replied that he had never known about this and "he asked Sven Jonsson in Ledja to tell Nils Dacke that he would not bother with the aforementioned Flakamåla".

This is what happened. After some exchange of words with Dacke, he finally left the scene. Sven in Ledja, who did not want to meet Nils Dacke, removed him from Flaka and the fishing. Dacke left the place saying, "If the bailiff has lied to me, I will tell him the truth!" He then shot dead the bailiff, from whom he had cleaned Flaka, gathered several and went to the forest.

From this or rather these accounts it appears that Dacke during the time he had a settlement with the king in a truly legal order of Nils Andersson at Värnanäs received instructions on the crown manor Flaken and promised to settle there.

Why Dacke was pushed away from Södra Lindö is more mysterious. It may have been one of Olof Dacke's sons, e.g. Åke, who was considered closer in turn than Nils to this old actual outland under North Lindö. But it may also be that Flakamåla with its eel fishing was considered more profitable. In addition, one could probably more unabashedly cut and sell oak and beech wood to the Blekinge coast, where it was hardly more than two miles.

Concerning Jon Andersson it must be said that he survived the Dackefejden for many years and would certainly have died a most natural death if he had not been bold and careless enough to interfere in the border settlements between Sweden and Denmark in the 1550s. Probably it was so that he acquired some homestead in Rödeby or Frillestads parishes in the Danish area so close to the border that he feared to have it incorporated into Sweden, where the bailiffs since old had much quarrel with him.

In 1553, the king writes from Stockholm on 20 April, that is, on 2 May according to our present era, to the bailiff of Möre, Joen skrivare, regarding the border regulations and other matters. The king writes in the letter among other things:

"In addition, we do not want to hide from you, that our bailiff in Kronoberg, Nils Birgersson (Rosenqvist) has let us understand, that the Jon Andersson who killed Inge Arvidsson, is the greatest captain of the pale-borne to all scaleness against us and our kingdom. So it would not be unprofitable that the same Jon Andersson should come out of the way. Nils Birgersson has also written us a report, how to kill the same Jon Andersson, which report we herewith send and can well like, that you and Germund (Svensson Some stadtholder at Kalmar castle) would arrange that with the same Jon as stated in the report may be negotiated."

The situation in Småland is described by Nils Birgersson Rosenqvist in two successive letters, one dated Kronoberg, 28 March 1553, and contains a number of things. From the letter it appears that the Smålanders who fled to Blekinge generally eagerly assisted the Danish governor Verner Parsberg's bailiff Rasmus Finnbo and worked for the Blekinge border to be pushed further than a quarter of a mile further up north, apparently according to some expressions in the letter to get some ollon forests included within their possessions. It also appears that they have killed one in Möre for an eelwood and a beech forest, which a Swedish farmer wanted to claim for himself (no doubt it is Flakamåla which is on the move again and that a fight has broken out again about eelwood outside). In addition, some ble- kings had shot a man named Hakan in the Spjutatången with a steel bow, when he went to flay grass inside the Swedish land-mark. The perpetrators were three brothers, Nils, Sven and Olof Ulff, who lived on a farm right in the border area. Nils Birgersson wants to exchange ten or fifteen Finns for the Smålanders he has and who go under the protection of relatives' wings there in Smaland. In addition, he wants half a dozen faikons and three barrels of gunpowder for them, because "you don't know what's coming up", and he "needed something to defend himself with".

The letter, with its descriptions of fights and murders, shows that ten years after the end of the Dackefejden the calm was not as great as is generally assumed. The second letter, which particularly concerns Jon Andersson, is dated 8 April 1553, i.e. 20 April. Here he writes, among other things:

"Most gracious lord, the traitor Jon Andersson, who killed Inge Arvidsson and since always has been under the eyes of your grace and the kingdom here, he is one of their chiefest, who puts himself most against your grace's high power about the boundary mark and runs here along the boundary mark with a bunch of bleachers, berserkers and trowsers and says: up there goes the boundary mark, and thereby gets into more trouble than they have been any time before. How your royal majesty was persuaded that it was best to deal with him, that he came out of the way. He is a good man. And if by some secret stamps both in Germund and Joen the scribe had with some, those that were faithful, put him to death? He and two of his sons have lately been in the parish of Visse- fjärda in Möre and maimed and badly cut a servant of your lordship. That he (i.e. the maltreated bailiff) with some of his relatives ordered themselves afterwards to shoot him dead and by Germunds council and Joens scribes, that they could order it, may then by their regulations be sent to your royal majesty in Uppland, or wherever your grace covered, so long that it could be charred and forgotten. (I.e. the offenders should be sent to Uppland to avoid revenge down there.) Gracious lord, if anything happens here, then the thief with four of his sons, which he has, will be their captain down here, he knows the ways and paths out over the common Småland here. Moreover, my lord, it is known to me that Mr. Rolff, the Dacke traitor, has all his riches there at home, and besides, he is so big and rich, that he is scarcely allowed to be his equal."

In a letter from Stockholm on 22 April, now 4 May, the King writes to Nils Birgersson, who seems to have once again reminded the King of the importance of separating Jon Andersson from this world:

"What your report says about Jon Andersson will and will be intended and we have all already let Germund and Joen write about it understand our will and meaning."

Later, on 20 May, the bailiff at Kalmar Castle and the bailiff at Möre would have had in his hand the order for Jon Andersson's killing. And between then and some day in early June, the writer of Jon Andersson's biography should be able to safely date his death, probably along with those of his four sons. The names of the perpetrators should not be difficult to elicit for those who have time to fish in the chamber archives. They certainly got a farm somewhere and so late such were distributed sparingly.

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