Α Very Scandinavian Christmas

46000807. sy475

Title: A Very Scandinavian Christmas

Writer: Various

Publishing House: New Vessel Press

Date of Publication: September 17th 2019

Rating: 5 stars

‘’He saw a lowly stable behind a steep rock wall, and in the open doorway a few shepherds kneeling. Within the stable, he saw a young mother on her knees before a little child, who lay upon a bundle of straw on the floor.

  And the sibyl’s big, knotty fingers pointed towards the poor babe. ‘Hail, Ceasar!’’ cried the sibyl, in a burst of scornful laughter. ‘There is the god who shall be worshipped on Capitol Hill!’

The Fur Coat – Hjalmar Soderberg (Sweden): How sad that a human being’s worth should be measured by a fur coat…

The Fir Tree – Hans Christian Andersen (Denmark): One of the most famous, most moving tales by the great Dane. A fir tree longs for adventure and its wish is granted. But humans are cruel and the tree will come to know all about the ruthless circle of life…

‘’Who’s expecting everyday events on Christmas Eve itself?’’

Another Star – Ingvar Ambjørnsen (Norway): A tale of Christmas escapades, LSD and the kindness of strangers.

The Stronger – August Strindberg (Sweden): One of the finest short plays in the History of Theatre and a unique example of dramatic monologue. A woman meets the young actress who tried to steal her husband and courageously throws the traces of betrayal and injustice in her face. Madam X is one of the strongest roles for an actress, created by a writer whose insight into female nature was outstanding.

The Forest Witch – Johan Krohn (Denmark): An evil forest witch makes a devious pact with a girl. But little did she know about the Christmas Rose…

Father Christmas – Karl Ove Knausgaard (Norway): A gritty, realistic Christmas story about the loneliness that becomes unbearable during the long winter nights.

The Little Match Girl – Hans Christian Andersen (Denmark): Does it even need an introduction? Possibly the saddest story written by the great Master, a classic that exposes the cruelty of Fate and the blessings that come disguised.

The Legend of the Christmas Rose – Selma Lagerlof (Sweden): The family of an outlaw and an honest monk come together to witness a miracle.

The Bird Catchers – JHans Aanrud (Norway): Two young bird-catchers decide to change their ways on Christmas Eve. The reader can almost smell the distinct odour of the mountains and see the Northern mist.

‘’Tin soldier’’, said the goblin, ‘’don’t wish for what does not belong to you.’’

The Brave Tin Soldier – Hans Christian Andersen (Denmark): This tale of tragic, unrequited love was one of my favourite stories when I was a child and its powers still persists. The volume – dating all the way back to 1992- containing Andersen’s tales still graces my bookshelves, with its vivid illustrations of the Tin Soldier and the Ballerina, the toys that come alive and the heart lying among the ashes…

‘’All this is as true, as true as that I see you and you see me.’’

The Holy Night – Selma Lagerlof (Sweden): A tender story about the Holy Night when Jesus came into the world and the indescribable joy of listening to the stories of your beloved grandmother.

Christmas Eve – Vigdis Hjorth (Norway): Christmas isn’t all joy and merriment. In this story, a mother tries to cope with alcoholism while her adult children are struggling to protect her.

Giants in the Earth – O.E.Rolvaag (Norway): A young man spends Christmas Eve in agony as his wife is fighting to survive a difficult birth. A story about the immense courage that is required to bring a child into the world and the strong bonds that used to define the communities of the past.

Round the Yule Log – Peter Christen Asbjørnsen (Norway): A whimsical tale of troll and brownies and Christmas nights.

The Cat on the Dovrefjell – Peter Christen Asbjørnsen and Jørgen Moe (Norway): If you want to get rid of Christmas -time trolls, have a cat at the ready…

A Legend of Mercy – Zachris Topelius (Finland): A lovely tale about heart-warming kindness during the darkest wintry days.

A Christmas Guest – Selma Lagerlof (Sweden): The kindness of children can save us all…

‘’You thought to bind me, but you must forge new fetters. You thought to make me as small-minded as yourselves, but I turn to larger things, to the open.’’