About a man in Stens
The village Stens consists of six farms and houses, and the local folklore tells of a colourful village life with smuggling and physical neighbour disputes - particularly in Bonde Poulsen’s time.
Smuggling and fights
In around 1820, two farmers lived next to each other in Sten. It was at the time when there was plenty of smuggling along the Kongeå, which represented the trade border between the Kingdom of Denmark and the duchies. One of the farmers, Josras Elrassen, helped with the smuggling, while the other, Bonde Poulsen reported any smuggling he discovered to the customs officials.
One day he saw Josras Elrassen drive down towards the Kongeå with a big pile of straw in his cart. Bonde Poulsen immediately concluded that there must be something hidden in the straw, and it was going to be rushed across to the other side of the Kongeå. Bonde Poulsen got on a horse and rode after Josras. But he was vigilant too and so he saw Bonde come trotting behind him.
So Josras stopped at the river bank, released the horses from the cart and set them to the plough as if it was meant to look like they should plough that day. Now Bonde come to the cart, and they most probably got into a heated discussion, as in the middle of the argument Josras asked if Bonde wanted see his bottom (at that time this question was not so common), to which Bonde replied: ”Unbutton your dirty trousers!” He did so, immediately after which Bonde planted his teeth in his bottom. After this incident several local sayings came about referring to being “as crazy the mouth as a Stens man” or “ as crazy as the teeth of a Harreby dog”, rather leading one to believe that Bonde must have left a large set of tooth marks in Josra’s buttocks!
Swedish blood in the veins
The same Bonde Poulsen said that there was Swedish blood in his veins, which was probably true. During the Swedish war 1657-1660, people fled from the farms. In 1658 there was only one maid left in Stens; the other two farms were deserted. Then one day a Swedish officer arrived, who took up residence with this maid. They got married and the descendants lived on the farm for about 300 years, and the family still live in the area. A brother to the Swedish officer came at a later date and took another farm, but this generation apparently died out many years ago.
Author: Truels Truelsen, Hjortlund Sognearkiv
Sources and literature:
Hjortlund Parish archives, see www.hjortlundsognearkiv.dk
1. Om en mand i Stens
a. Filnavn: 15. januar 2008
Tekst: The river Kongeå with Hjortlundgård in the background in around 1900.
Foto: Jernved Sognearkiv