Friday, March 08, 2002

Vi ses på Nangijala, Astrid...*

They held the funeral for Astrid Lindgren today in the Great Church. All day the streets of the old town have been swarming with children holding bouquets of flowers and little old ladies in black. Lindgren's funeral cortege - four stallions drawing an antique carriage holding her coffin, a young girl leading a riderless, unsaddled white horse - wound through Stockholm from Adolf Fredrik's Church and ended at the Great Church next to the Royal Palace, which just happens to be directly outside my office. She was buried in the church, witnessed by the king, the queen and the crown princess, as well as numerous dignitaries and friends.

The frustrating thing of it all, however, was that the journey from church to church took about half the time expected, so I missed it, horses and all. As I was walking up Bollhusgränd with a sandwich, an old woman came from the other direction and said to me "förbi" - past. The cortege had gone ïnto the church already, a full 20 minutes before they said it would.

I didn't get a chance to pay my respects. So here they are.

- by Francis S.

* We'll see each other in Nangijala... A phrase on everyone's lips in Sweden today. Nangijala is the name of the land after death in Astrid Lindgren's Bröderna Lejonhjärta or The Brothers Lionheart, which happens to be one of the two books I've read in the original Swedish.

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