Heddal stavkirke - Heddal stavkyrkje Heddal Stave Church Stabkirche in Heddal
Heddal stavkirke - Heddal stavkyrkje
Heddal stavkirke - Heddal stavkyrkje

Heddalsvegen 412
N-3676 Notodden
Tlf: +47 92204435
Epost: post@heddalstavkyrkje.no

 

The legend of Heddal stave church

The legend of Heddal stave church is a “wandering” legend, one you will find in many parts of Norway and even in far-away countries!

A very long time ago, in the olden days, there lived five grand farmers in Heddal.  They all had nick names, depending on their looks or their character. One was called “Red” because of his red hair and beard, one was called Silent, because he did not talk much, one was difficult to deal with….. , but all were important.

At the time when Christianity started to spread into the countryside these five giants agreed that they also wanted to build a church. The story goes that “Red” got chosen to do the work. Red worried if he was up to it, he had never built a church before, don’t ya know.                                                                                                                                       While he was pondering the task before him, a stranger came and asked what he was wondering about. “That is none of your business”, said Red. “Well, I think I know what you are wondering about” said the Stranger. “Well, if you know that, why are you asking”, said Red. The Stranger then told Red that he, Red, was thinking about building a church and that he, the Stranger, could help.

They agreed on how the church should be and what Red had to do to repay the Stranger. He had to fulfil one of three conditions: either bring the sun or the moon down from the sky, or find out the Stranger’s name. If Red could not do one of these things then the Stranger had the right to cut out Red’s heart! Red thought that it could not be that difficult to figure out the Stranger’s name. Besides, he had plenty of time to find it while they were busy building the big church.

The first day all the stone and timber were brought to the sight.   The second day the frame was finished, all the way up to the steeple.                                                                        

Red was in his field, worrying. He knew he most likely would have to loose his life, since he always kept his word. As he was walking he heard like a song, something coming from a rocky knoll nearby. He walked closer, listening. A mother was singing a lullaby and he could make out the words:                                                                                                                

So row my child’, Tomorrow your father Finn will come                                                                                 

With sun and moon                                                                                                                                                 Or a Christian man's heart                                                                                                                                       As fun and games for my baby                                                 

Aha, thought Red, the Stranger is a troll who lives in the rock, and his name is Finn!

The church was finished, just as they had agreed. There were five doors, one for each of the five grand farmers. There were 64 small roofs and not one nail was used!                                                                                                               

The day came when Red and the Stranger were to meet. They walked into the church and Red stopped and leaned against one of the big pillars. He said, “This pillar my good Finn, is not straight”. When the troll heard his name he got mad and he punched the same pillar so hard it nearly broke. He then ran out of the church and up a hill. From there he threw three huge boulders aimed at the church. One fell to the left and one to the right and the third one fell just outside the gate to the grave yard. They were ringing the church bells when it happened, and that is why the third boulder did not hit the church, thank God!