I recently held a story walk in the woods – sagovandring i trollskogen – sharing stories about the huldra, guardian spirit of the woods. Skogsrå, skogsfru, huldra, vittra – the woodswoman of Nordic folklore is known by many names throughout Sweden. Some describe her as a part of the forest itself, with the ability to change into the shape of a tree, a stone or an animal. Sometimes she appears as an old crone and other times as a young maiden. But despite her beautiful appearance, there is always something amiss – be it her back, covered with bark or hollow like a rotten tree trunk, or be it the long tail sticking out from under her skirt.
So what exactly is a story walk, perhaps you're wondering? Well, the story walks that I hold are basically a combination of storytelling and walking in the woods. The walk can consist of several short stories or a long story unravelled in portions along the way, stopping at certain places along the forest path where the audience can sit down on a fallen log or soft patch of moss and listen to the story.
Trollskogen (the troll woods) is a forest close to where I live in Järna, Sweden, and I first got the idea to hold a story walk here three years ago. It really is the perfect forest for story walks and easy to get to for people in town. As a storyteller, I love bridging the gap between the woods and town.
So, why not go on a story walk in the woods and wild places close to where you live? I find that when we share songs and stories in nature, we are not only sharing something wonderful for the people present, but also for the place present – the land, the trees and all the creatures seen and unseen. So gather your friends and share your stories! And remember, the trolls are listening too.
Thanks to Emma Wägbring for the photos!