”You know the place on the Bäck farm that is called
Barnsängsbråten. It got that name during the times of mother Annicka.
It was summertime. Mother Annicka was on the doorstep
squinting at the sun. She was big and fine-looking, standing with the firewood
basket on her arm. Everybody else was out and mother Annicka was going to cook
dinner. She was standing listening to “helingers”
birch-bark horn. Funny, how hard he was blowing that horn. Was there a wolf
around in mid-day? Mother Annicka had let Johannes go alone with the cows today,
because they needed Kersti at home raking on the meadow. As she was standing
there she heard Johannes sings:
“Little Kersti, little Kari is crying.”
Immediately there was a reply from the meadow
“I can’t go
But take off your shoe
What’s going on here, mother Annicka thought. “I
have to find out”. She went for the fire-wood and started cooking on the stove.
When she came out again she heard Johannes sings:
“The wind is blowing and the wind is going
Mother Annicka went up to the “bråte” where the
cows were grazing. There was Johannes, gazing up a birch tree. When he saw mother
Annicka he hurried over to the cows. He jumped when mother Annicka ordered him
“What funny business are you having over at that
birch-tree?” she asked. “Well, we use to sit up there when it’s raining,
the boy replied. He was a big, strong 17-year-old boy. Because of the wolves
they needed to have fully grown people to watch the cows.
“Then I think I’m going to have a look up there
myself” said mother Annicka.
“Oh no, please don’t, you might fall down”.
“Well, in that case you’d better go up there
yourself and bring down what’s up there” said mother Annicka.
The boy hesitated, but a look from mother Annicka made
him climb up the tree. And down he came again with a new-born baby wrapped in on
of Kersti’s skirts. Annicka took the baby without a word and went back home.
Dinner had to be ready when the people came back from today’s labour. Nothing
was to be wasted, that was the ways of mother Annicka. There would be time later
to call the guilty ones to account.
She put the baby in the big bed with curtains and when
the people came back, dinner was on the table. After the meal she told Kersti to
stay inside and help with the piece of dough mother Annicka had prepared in the
“I put the trough in the bed for the dough to rise
better. You may bring it out here.”
Kersti went over to the bed and almost fainted when she
saw the baby. Kersti was 16 years old. She told mother Annicka the baby had been
born on the “bråte” and that she and Johannes had set up the place in the
birch-tree, where the baby had slept at night. Mother Annicka took care of the
child, who was a girl and was named Maja.
Maja was the one who married Anders and lived in Stenkas. Kersti and Johannes married a couple of years later, when mother Annicka had taught her to take care of a house.”