The year was 1808, Arn was three years old, His father was an old man, a farmer on the Baltic coast of what is now Finland, then part of Sweden.
He, Arn was the youngest of four brothers, Alfrick, the eldest age 19, Carl 17, and Keil 15. Russia invaded Finland.
Alfrick, Carl and Keil, thought this was their chance to see some excitement, to prove they were men, to revive the Glory of Sweden, so they took the best horses their father had and rode off to throw the Russians out.
No experience of war, nothing but their youth and itâ€™s enthusiasm.
Two days later they came flying back, â€œCome on father fly, the Russians are just behind usâ€
â€œNo my sons, you have fought and lost, now you must payâ€ and he made them sit down and eat.
Eventually the Russians arrived.
The officer in command entered, â€œYou have been defeated in the field, Now you will obey Russian laws, and pay your tax to Russiaâ€
The old man got up to his feet, â€œI was born a Swede, I will die a Swedeâ€
â€œThen come outside and dig your graveâ€
The old man went out, followed by all his family,
All he said was â€œDig my Graveâ€ which his sons did, and when they thought it was enough they stopped, but the old man said â€œIt is not deep enough, It must hold us allâ€
Without a murmur, the lads did so and when the old man was satisfied he said â€œenoughâ€
And stood at the foot of the grave.
The officer had his men lined up ready.
â€œYou have your last chanceâ€
â€œI will die a Swedeâ€
Into the grave he went
Alfrick, with teeth clenched, instantly stepped into his fathers footprints.
â€œI cannot be less a man than my fatherâ€ and he too went into the grave,
Carl followed saying â€œMurder me tooâ€
The Russian was human too and was badly affected, he said â€œWe are not thieves, What was yours is still yours, Give in and do not force me to do thisâ€
Young Keil, crying his eyes outran to his mother, who held him close in her arms, until he broke away, and ran to the foot of the grave.
â€œ I too must be as good a man as my father and brothers, Were I less I could not liveâ€
So he too went into the grave.
The Russian, now nearly beyond himself, turned to the mother, â€œThis babe is now the rightful owner, I hold you his regent, and responsible for him, and hurried off, to carry on with his duty.
That night, after filling in the grave, the woman fled across the Baltic, taking Arn and what wealth they could carry with them in an open boat to Sweden proper.
In those days in Sweden, a man was not a member of the state unless he was born in wedlock, baptized, passed his schooling, and had been confirmed in his church, and have the certificates of all this. Arn had all these, and he was my Great, Grandfather, so too had his son, my grandfather, and his son my father, and so had I.
More of them later.
I first learned of my history at my fathers knee as a boy of three.
Who said â€œGive me that child from one to three, You will not alter him in all his lifeâ€
In the telling of that story I went through all the emotions a human can feel, fear, love, hate, admiration and pride.
Consider the picture, only the light of a coal fire, one oâ€™clock in the morning, Mam in bed with the rest of the family,
My father in his wooden arm chair, and myself on a cracket at his feet.
Mam came out of her bedroom, â€œHarry, what are you doing, heâ€™s only a bairn, and it is one oâ€™clockâ€
I was enthralled with the story, the wonder of it never left me, I have told to my son.
I had the great pride and pleasure, to hear him say once, â€œI am proud to be an Englishman and proud to be of Scandinavian stockâ€ amongst a group of gentlemen.
Anyway back to the story, Dad got out of his chair, â€œNever mind son if you have lost a few hours sleep. You have tonight learnt who you are and what you came from and who and what your forefathers where and you can be proud of them.
This story has been passed down our family and was probably written by Anders Arvidson born Abt. 16 Sep 1865 in Walby Village, Near Gothenborg, Sweden and died on 18 Jul 1932 in Northumberland, England. His Father Harry Arvidson died 1905 in Sweden. Arn was born in 1805 as the story says. Anders Arvidson was my Great Grandfather. If anyone is related to these people, please contact me or if anyone wants anymore information about the story please Contact Me.