- She is coming, mum…
In Norwegian folklore Pesta was the evil personification of the Black Plague. She was an old, ugly woman, dressed in black and she went from cottages to castles, to farms and small cabins, everywhere. If she used the rake, someone could survive. If she used the broom, everyone was going to die.
Norway lost 2/3 of its population, 80 % of the nobility perished. The survivors lived all over the country, often isolated in narrow valleys. The population was small and did not recover to a normal level until the potato was introduced 150 years ago.
Norway lost its indepence and was ruled by Denmark until 1814, and by Sweden until 1905. The poor, defiant, isolated and independent peasant was the seed for the very typical egalitarian Norwegian who lives in this frozen land of the North up to this day.
Drawing by Theodor Kittelsen, 1896