Road Trip 2018, Part 7
Our next stop between Växjö and Kalmar involved a little detour that took us off the main roads and out into the rural countryside – to an old farmhouse which has been kept as a museum, and also offers a charming garden café.
It was here, at Duvemåla, that the author Vilhelm Moberg got much of his inspiration for his Emigrant Novels (previously introduced in the post including our visit to the House of Emigrants in Växjö).
Moberg’s grandmother Johanna was born in Duvemåla in 1833. At the age of 43, Johanna was left a widow with seven children. She never emigrated to America, but six of her children did (and she never saw them again). The only one who remained in Sweden was her daughter Ida; who in turn also had seven children. One of those was Vilhelm Moberg - 13 years old when his grandmother died in 1912. Later in life, he paid tribute to her in his novels by letting the main female character in the Emigrants series, Kristina, come from Duvemåla (and when Kristina and Karl-Oskar emigrated to Minnesota, they called their new home over there New Duvemåla).
The house where Johanna was born was torn down in the 1930s. But another farmhouse in the little village still stands pretty much as it would have been in the mid 1800s. The people who used to live here were four siblings born in the early 1900s – two sisters and two brothers. Neither of them ever got married, and they kept running the farm just as it had been done in their parents’ day. They never introduced electricity or running water or any kind of modern machinery. No telephone, no TV, etc. They let the forest grow; and saved their money. They did all the farmwork the old-fashioned way (using horses etc), and they were the last farm in the village to keep livestock. The last of the four siblings died in 1989. And as there was no will and no immediate heir, the whole estate then went to the Swedish Inheritance Fund*, which in this case granted an application from the municipality to take over the property and keep it as a cultural heritage.
*[Allmänna arvsfonden - When a person in Sweden dies without a written will and no living spouse or close family, his or her property is transferred to this fund, which in turn supports various charities etc.]
We finished off our visit with delicious home-made apple cake and vanilla custard out in the garden, under an apple tree… (In Moberg’s books, Kristina brings apple seeds from Sweden and plants them – eventually – at their new home in Minnesota…)