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    Ch. 3 - Kinnakulla

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    Chapter 3
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    Kinnakulla, Sweden's hanging gardens! Thee will we visit. We stand by
    the lowest terrace in a plenitude of flowers and verdure; the ancient
    village church leans its grey pointed wooden tower, as if it would
    fall; it produces an effect in the landscape: we would not even be
    without that large flock of birds, which just now chance to fly away
    over the mountain forest.

    The high road leads up the mountain with short palings on either side,
    between which we see extensive plains with hops, wild roses,
    corn-fields, and delightful beech woods, such as are not to be found
    in any other place in Sweden. The ivy winds itself around old trees
    and stones--even to the withered trunk green leaves are lent. We look
    out over the flat, extended woody plain, to the sunlit church-tower of
    Maristad, which shines like a white sail on the dark green sea: we
    look out over the Venern Lake, but cannot see its further shore.
    Skjärgaardens' wood-crowned rocks lie like a wreath down in the lake;
    the steam-boat comes--see! down by the cliff under the red-roofed
    mansions, where the beech and walnut trees grow in the garden.

    The travellers land; they wander under shady trees away over that
    pretty light green meadow, which is enwreathed by gardens and woods:
    no English park has a finer verdure than the meadows near Hellekis.
    They go up to "the grottos," as they call the projecting masses of red
    stone higher up, which, being thoroughly kneaded with petrifactions,
    project from the declivity of the earth, and remind one of the
    mouldering colossal tombs in the Campagna of Rome. Some are smooth and
    rounded off by the streaming of the water, others bear the moss of
    ages, grass and flowers, nay, even tall trees.

    The travellers go from the forest road up to the top of Kinnakulla,
    where a stone is raised as the goal of their wanderings. The traveller
    reads in his guide-book about the rocky strata of Kinnakulla: "At the
    bottom is found sandstone, then alum-stone, then limestone, and above
    this red-stone, higher still slate, and lastly, trap." And, now that
    he has seen this, he descends again, and goes on board. He has seen
    Kinnakulla:--yes, the stony rock here, amidst the swelling verdure,
    showed him one heavy, thick stone finger, and most of the travellers
    think that they are like the devil, if they lay hold upon one finger,
    they have the body--but it is not always so. The least visited side of
    Kinnakulla is just the most characteristic, and thither will we go.

    The road still leads us a long way on this side of the mountain, step
    by step downwards, in long terraces of rich fields: further down, the
    slate-stone peers forth in flat layers, a green moss upon it, and it
    looks like threadbare patches in the green velvet carpet. The high
    road leads over an extent of ground where the slate-stone lies like a
    firm floor. In the Campagna of Rome, one would say it is a piece of
    _via appia_, or antique road; but it is Kinnakulla's naked skin and
    bones that we pass over. The peasant's house is composed of large
    slate-stones, and the roof is covered with them; one sees nothing of
    wood except that of the door, and above it, of the large painted
    shield, which states to what regiment the soldier belongs who got this
    house and plot of ground in lieu of pay.

    We cast another glance over Venern, to Lockö's old palace, to the town
    of Lendkjobing, and are again near verdant fields and noble trees,
    that cast their shadows over Blomberg, where, in the garden, the poet
    Geier's spirit seeks the flower of Kinnakulla in his grand-daughter,
    little Anna.

    The plain expands here behind Kinnakulla; it extends for miles around,
    towards the horizon. A shower stands in the heavens; the wind has
    increased: see how the rain falls to the ground like a darkening veil.
    The branches of the trees lash one another like penitential dryades.
    Old Husaby church lies near us, yonder; though the shower lashes the
    high walls, which alone stand, of the old Catholic Bishop's palace.
    Crows and ravens fly through the long glass-less windows, which time
    has made larger; the rain pours down the crevices in the old grey
    walls, as if they were now to be loosened stone from stone: but the
    church stands--old Husaby church--so grey and venerable, with its
    thick walls, its small windows, and its three spires stuck against
    each other, and standing, like nuts, in a cluster.

    The old trees in the churchyard cast their shade over ancient graves.
    Where is the district's "Old Mortality," who weeds the grass, and
    explains the ancient memorials? Large granite stones are laid here in
    the form of coffins, ornamented with rude carvings from the times of
    Catholicism. The old church-door creaks in the hinges. We stand within
    its walls, where the vaulted roof was filled for centuries with the
    fragrance of incense, with monks, and with the song of the choristers.
    Now it is still and mute here: the old men in their monastic dresses
    have passed into their graves; the blooming boys that swung the censer
    are in their graves; the congregation--many generations--all in their
    graves; but the church still stands the same. The moth-eaten, dusty
    cowls, and the bishops' mantle, from the days of the cloister, hang in
    the old oak presses; and old manuscripts, half eaten up by the rats,
    lie strewed about on the shelves in the sacristy.

    In the left aisle of the church there still stands, and has stood time
    out of mind, a carved image of wood, painted in various colours which
    are still strong: it is the Virgin Mary with the child Jesus. Fresh
    flower wreaths are hung around hers and the child's head; fragrant
    garlands are twined around the pedestal, as festive as on Madonna's
    birthday feast in the times of Popery. The young folks who have been
    confirmed, have this day, on receiving the sacrament for the first
    time, ornamented this old image--nay, even set the priest's name in
    flowers upon the altar; and he has, to our astonishment, let it remain

    The image of Madonna seems to have become young by the fresh wreaths:
    the fragrant flowers here have a power like that of poetry--they bring
    back the days of past centuries to our own times. It is as if the
    extinguished glory around the head shone again; the flowers exhale
    perfume: it is as if incense again streamed through the aisles of the
    church--it shines around the altar as if the consecrated tapers were
    lighted--it is a sunbeam through the window.

    The sky without has become clear: we drive again in under Cleven, the
    barren side of Kinnakulla: it is a rocky wall, different from almost
    all the others. The red stone blocks lie, strata on strata, forming
    fortifications with embrasures, projecting wings and round towers; but
    shaken, split and fallen in ruins--it is an architectural fantastic
    freak of nature. A brook falls gushing down from one of the highest
    points of the Cleven, and drives a little mill. It looks like a
    plaything which the mountain sprite had placed there and forgotten.

    Large masses of fallen stone blocks lie dispersed round about; nature
    has spread them in the forms of carved cornices. The most significant
    way of describing Kinnakulla's rocky wall is to call it the ruins of a
    mile-long Hindostanee temple: these rocks might be easily transformed
    by the hammer into sacred places like the Ghaut mountains at Ellara.
    If a Brahmin were to come to Kinnakulla's rocky wall, he would
    recognise the temple of Cailasa, and find in the clefts and crevices
    whole representations from Ramagena and Mahabharata. If one should
    then speak to him in a sort of gibberish--no matter what, only that,
    by the help of Brockhaus's "Conversation-Lexicon" one might mingle
    therein the names of some of the Indian spectacles:--Sakantala,
    Vikramerivati, Uttaram Ramatscheritram, &c.--the Brahmin would be
    completely mystified, and write in his note-book: "Kinnakulla is the
    remains of a temple, like those we have in Ellara; and the inhabitants
    themselves know the most considerable works in our oldest Sanscrit
    literature, and speak in an extremely spiritual manner about them."
    But no Brahmin comes to the high rocky walls--not to speak of the
    company from the steam-boat, who are already far over the lake Venern.
    They have seen wood-crowned Kinnakulla, Sweden's hanging gardens--and
    we also have now seen them.
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