In my final minutes with the Nisse, I apologized again for destroying his house. Then thanked him you for sharing his story with me.”
He paused. Then told me, “I talk to you because you are like the lumberjack”
I was the first “høye folk” or “tall person” he had spoken with since the Swede. He had watched me since I bought the resort four years ago. According to the Nisse, the Swede and I have “Filuftsliv” “a love of the outdoors”. He said we follow the proverb “Berre den som vandrar, finn nye vegar.” which translates to “Only those who wander find new paths.”
He also let me know that I often, “Der er ugler i mosen”, “I put owls in the moss.” Meaning “Do mysterious or strange things”. It happens because he told me, “You were born behind a brown cheese” meaning, “I am not smart.” He was kidding. But he wasn’t wrong.
I apologized again, offered to build him another house and asked him to stay.
“You could watch over everyone in the forest and at the Resort.” I added, “Even though Rabarbra can throws acorns better than you, I am sure you could be useful.”
My attempt at humor drew a small chuckle, a sparkle in his eye, and a shake of the head.
He accepted my apologies, but would not stay. Now was the time to gather his “Kulturminne” and continue his search for his family.
Resigned, I asked, “How can I help?”
“Move things tonight. Set there.” pointing to a shelf near the garage door.
“Everything here? Do you want it in a bag?” I wondered.
“Not all. Wooden box with things inside and coin in your pocket is my Kulturminne.”
I had forgotten the coin. I reached into my pocket and pulled it out. I took a chance. “May I keep this? It is Kulturminne to me.”
The Nisse paused and asked “Why Kulturminne for you?”
“My grandfather, William Benjamin Williams, was born in Norway. In 1885 – the year of this coin.”
The Nisse froze and asked. “Si på norsk?” “Say in Norwegian?” now looking at me with great intensity.
“My grandfather was christened, Wilhem, Berntsen Vatland”. His stare was piercing. I stared back. It was becoming uncomfortable.
Then I looked down and noticed the rabbit . Rhubarb had moved closer and was now focused on me and the Nisse.
The Nisse shrugged to Rhubarb, looked back to me, smiled and introduced himself. “Jeg heter Eiketre.” “My name is Eiketre.” (Pronounced Ike a tree) “Vi er familie” “We are family.”
He gave me the coin but it wasn’t a gift. I was to build him a new home at the resort. The coin was my payment. It turns out my grandfather had given him the coin before the left Norway, in 1919.
Looking satisfied, Eiketre moved very close and said, “Å være midt i smørøyet”. Another unique saying that translates to “be in middle of the butter eye”. Norwegians love their warm porridge. It’s served with generous helping of sugar and cinnamon. A large pat of melting butter right in the middle being the best part. It means “To be in a great place.”
Rhubarb came close too. Eiketre jumped on his back. They bolted out the garage door and turned toward the 60-acre wood.
Believe or not, that’s how Eiketre, became the forest spirit or Skogsånd of Evergreen Bay Resort.
When staying at the resort, you will never see him, but you can check out his house located near the lodge. He won’t talk to you -unless your related, but you can ask him a question. He MAY respond. It MUST have your name, the cabin you are staying in, and you must write it in English – he’s working on his English. Tape a penny to your question and leave the note in his shed, beside his house. IF he responds, he delivers them to me in a sealed envelope.
When hiking the forest and if you are very observant you might see signs of Eiketre the Nisse. Look for markings on trees, rocks and in the woods. I am pretty sure in you’ll see some of his forest friends. If you have sharp eyes, you might even recognize Rhubarb the Rabbit.