It’s been a quiet evening, cooking and watching Swedish history documentaries with Sebastian. They are all in Swedish, like many of the Astrid Lindgren based films he loves to watch. Right now we are watching the infinitely fascinating stories about Charles XII of Sweden, a king who started his reign at the tender age of 14, with the royal palace Tre Kronor (Three Crowns – our National Coat of Arms) burning down. From there on Sweden came to play a defensive role as it’s arch rivals – Denmark, Poland and Russia – all declared war. Although eventually loosing most of the territories of the then Swedish Empire (yes google that one!), except for Finland, I can’t help but admire this war king, who refused baroque wigs and fine clothes, slept along side his men when on campaigns, refused alcohol since the day his grand-mother had scolded him for drinking – mathematician, a skilled tactician and by all accounts living celibate his whole life (he never married and there are no accounts of any lovers or illegitimate children either). I always admired him and his men for taking on this prodigious task of defending Sweden and the privation they were subjected to through endless marches and elven battles, from Narva to Fredriksten.

As a true patriot I add here an English discourse on the king, and below my all time favourite (in Swedish however – by Herman Lindkvist)