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The Draugr of Fjelkinge

During the earlier half of the 1600's many of the best estates in Skåne belonged to the Family Barkenow, always overseen by the chief representative at any given time, who happened to be Madame Margaretta Barkenow, the daughter of the renowned general, Count Rutger Von Ascheberg, and the wife of the governor-general, Colonel Kjell Kristofer Barkenow.

She became a widow at the age of twenty-nine and took it upon herself to manage the many estates within her control, in the conduct of which she ever manifested an indomitable, indefatigable energy, and a never-ceasing care for her numerous dependants.

Whilst journeying over her estates one evening, she happened upon Fjelkinge's inn. As it was dusk, and not a time for traveling, she persisted in sleeping in a room which was called the "ghost's room." A traveler had, a few years before, slept in this very room, and as it was supposed had been murdered, at least the man and his belongings had disappeared, leaving no trace of what might have become of either him or his effects. A short time after this, his ghost appeared in this same room nightly, and those who were acquainted with the circumstance, traveled to the next post, in the dark, rather than choose such quarters for the night. Lady Margaretta was, however, not among this number. She possessed greater courage than those before her, and without fear chose the chamber for her sleeping room.

After her evening Troth, she retired to bed whilst leaving a light burning, and sleep soon overtook her. At twelve o'clock she was awakened by the lifting up of two boards in the floor, and from out of the opening a bloody form appeared, with a cloven head hanging wildly upon its shoulders.

"Noble Lady" whispered the apparition, "I beg of you to prepare, for a murdered man, a resting place which lies in consecrated ground, and speed the murderer to his just punishment."

Pure in heart, and therefore not alarmed, Lady Margaretta beckoned the apparition to come nearer, which it did, informing her that it had entreated others, who after the murder had slept in this same room, but that none had had the courage to comply, runnng off instead. Then Lady Margaretta took from her finger a gold band, laid it in the gaping wound, and bound the apparition's head up with her pocket kerchief. With a glance of unspeakable thankfullness the ghost revealed the name of the murderer and then disappeared noiselessly beneath the floor.

The following morn the Lady instructed the baliff of the estate to assemble the people at the post house, where she then informed them as to what had happened during the night, and commanded that the planks of the floor be taken up. Here, under the ground, was discovered a half decomposed corpse, with the countess' ring within the hole in its skull, and her kerchief bound around its head.

At sight of this, one of those present grew pale and fainted to the ground. Upon being revived he then confessed that it was he who had murdered the traveler and robbed him of his goods. He was condemed to death for his crime, and the murdered man received burial in hallowed ground.

The ring, which is peculiarly formed and set with a large grayish chased stone, remains even now in the keeping of the Family Barkenow, and is believed to possess miraculous powers in sickness, against evil spirits and other misfortunes. When one of the family dies it is said that a red, bloodlike spot appears upon the stone.

Source: Scandinavian Folk and Fairy Tales


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