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In the most southern part of the parish of Särna, right at the foot of Fulufjället, where the small place Morbäcksätern is located, occurred the event which would give life to the popular children's song about Olle, who fearlessly faced the bears.
Olles name was in fact Jon Ersson. He was born in the small village Hägnåsen the first of April, 1849, as the eldest son of Erik Jonsson from Hägnåsen and his wife Martha, born Jonsdotter, from Lillhärdal. Jon had two older sisters, Kristina and Margareta.
The children, along wih the mother and an aunt, were in late summer 1850 out on the pasture, the special Swedish way of living. The place where you would take your livestock to roam free and eat, generally small houses gathered together near a stream, without running water or electricity. The adult women asked the girls to keep an eye on Jon as they went to look for a sheep who had not come home for the evening with the other animals.
Suddenly a female bear came with her cub onto the pasture. Jon immediately went up to them, started throwing sticks and cones on the animals and picked some berries as he tried to feed them. When he finally made his way quite close to the soft bear fur, the girls probably thought, who had stayed at a save distance, it went a little too far and called on the mother, who immediately rushed to the scene. The bears found fit to quickly leave Jon, to his great grief.
The event attracted much attention of course and was described in "Fahlu County Newspapers" and was read by many, including the poet Wilhelm von Braun, who with twelve verses described the bear meeting with the poem "A small boy in the mountain forest went, rosy cheeks and angelic gleam in his eyes..."
44 years later, in 1895, Alice Tegner found the poem, rewrote it in her own way and so was the song "Mother's little Olle" born. By then Jon was long ago dead.
Jon married the Särna born girl Elia Simonsson, they emigrated as many of their relatives from Hägnåsen, to the large country in the west, built a farm in Gaylord, Minnesota, and had nine children. Jon died in 1887, only 38 years old.
During his time as a farmer in the U.S.A., he received several commissions of trust, amoung other things to pick up the heavy cream from the farmers by horse and wagon in the area to the collectively-owned dairy, and was therefore called "Gräddkusken" by the neighbors. His life was portrayed by the writer and television producer Björn Fontander in the book "Gräddkusken which was Mother's little Olle".
Wat een interessant verhaal over het ontstaan van een bekend Zweeds kinderliedje. Het liedje Mors lilla Olle is hieronder te horen.
Informatie over Olle/John:
- Het graf van John H. Erickson.
- Historien om Mors lilla Olle.
- Een ander beeld van Olle en de beer in Sörsjön.
- Dagens Nyheter.