Address: Heddalsvegen 412, 3678 Notodden

(+47) 922 04 435

The fairytale of
Heddal Stave Church

Five farmers, Raud Rygi, Stebbe Straand, Kjeik Sem, Grut Grene and Vrang Stivi from Heddal had made plans for a church, and they decided to have it built.

One day, Raud Rygi met a stranger who was willing to build the church. However, the stranger, set three conditions for doing the job, one of which must be fulfilled before the church was finished:

Raud had three options: fetch the sun and the moon from the sky, forfeit his life-blood, or guess the name of the stranger. Raud thought the last would not prove too difficult, so he agreed to the terms.

But time began to run out. All of the building materials had arrived during the first night, and remarkably, the spire was built during the second. It became clear to Raud that the church would be finished on the third day.

Down at heart and fearing for his life, Raud took a walk around in the fields trying to figure out what the stranger’s name could be. Still wandering about he had unconsciously arrived at Svintruberget, a rocky hill southeast of the church site, when he suddenly heard a strange but most beautiful and clearly audible female song:

Hush – hush – little child!
Tomorrow Finn will bring us the Moon.
Where he goes, the sun and christian blood perish.
he brings children to song and play.
But now my children, sleep safe and sound.

Now Raud knew what to do, as the stranger was a mountain troll. As expected, the stranger visited Raud the next day, to present the church. Together they walk over to the church, and Raud walks up to one of the pillars, hugs it as if to straighten it, and says, “Hey Finn, this pillar isn’t straight!” Finn snaps back, “It could be even more bent!” and then hastily leaves the church. 

Raud had solved the riddle after all. The stranger’s name was Finn and he lived in the Svintru Mountain. Finn, also known as Finn Fairhair, or Finn Fagerlokk, a troll, could not ever after stand the sound of church bells, so he moved along with his family to the mountain Himingen (Lifjell).