The legend of Huskahinni the ogre


Long, long ago in Stockholm there was an ogre called Huskahinni. Huskahinni was a friendly but rather arrogant ogre with one eye in the middle of his forehead. But Huskahinni thought, quite simply, that he was the best ogre in the whole of the land of Norden.

Huskahinni lived in the tower that stretched above the city hall. From his viewpoint, he could look out over the whole city, the waterways and the islands. Every morning, he would lean out of the tower and shout out over the city, ‘I am Huskahinni, King of the Mountain!’

Now, at that time, the land of Norden had a real King and he didn’t take at all kindly to the ogre’s claim. He called his advisors to him and aksed how to stop Huskahinni’s jeering from the top of the city hall.

‘We could shoot him’, said one advisor. The King said no.
‘We could send soldiers up and bring him down’. The King said no,no.
‘We could burn down the tower’, said another. No, said the King, no, no, no.

Finally, a fourth advisor stepped forward. Clearing his throat, he announced that the best way to silence the offensive ogre was to ridicule him into silence. To make fun of him. The King seemed interested in this idea. Yes, the best way to shut someone up is to make them feel silly.

‘Quite right,’ he said. ‘If he claims to be the king, let’s make him the king’.

The next day, the King called to him the city’s goldsmith. He ordered him to forge three large crowns out of gold.

The weeks went by, the goldsmith forged, the King waited and Huskahinni kept peering out from his tower and claiming he was the king of the mountain.

Finally, the day arrived when the three golden crowns were ready. The King arranged for the goldsmith, and the rest of the townspeople, to meet him by the city hall. When everyone was gathered the King looked up at the enormous tower, and shouted, ‘Huskahinni, Huskahinni, who are you?’. The ogre popped his head over the edge of the tower and shouted ‘I am the king of the mountain!’. ‘Well’. said the King, ‘you deserve a crown’. At this moment, the King signalled to his soldiers to catapult one of the crowns up to the top of the tower. Hitting Huskahinni in the head, the ogre yelped and fell backwards. And the townspeople laughed and laughed and laughed.

The next day, the crowd gathered again at the base of the city hall tower. And once again, the King called, ‘Huskahinni, Huskahinni, who are you?’. The ogre popped his head over the edge of the tower again and shouted ‘I am the king of the mountain!’. ‘Well’. said the King, ‘then you deserve another crown’. Once again the soldiers catapulted the second of the crowns up to the top of the tower. Hitting Huskahinni in the eye, the ogre screamed in pain and fell backwards. And the townspeople laughed and laughed and laughed.

The third day came and the King shouted for the ogre again.’Huskahinni, Huskahinni, who are you?’. ‘I am the king of the mountain!’. ‘Well’. said the King, ‘a king should have a crown’. And yet again, a golden crown was catapulted one to the top of the tower. Hitting Huskahinni in the neck, the ogre fell backwards, bleeding. And the townspeople laughed and laughed and laughed and laughed.

‘That should do it,’ thought the King, ‘that stupid ogre’.

The townspeople danced back to their homes laughing at the hilarious way in which the King had tricked the ogre. High up in the tower, Huskahinni looked down. His head and his eye were hurting and his neck was bleeding. And all alone, at the top of the city hall, he started to cry.

The next day, the townspeople went about their work as usual, laughing at the memory of what had happened to the stupid ogre the days before. Suddenly a little girl pointed to the top of the tower – ‘Look!’ she shouted. The townspeople looked up and couldn’t believe their eyes. High up at the top of the tower, there was a golden pole. And stuck to the top of the pole were the three shiny golden crowns, glistening in the sun for all to see.

Today, Huskahinni is long gone. But his crowns are still there, perched on the top of the city hall.

A reminder to us all that, once up on a time, Huskahinni was king of the mountain.

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