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'Pesta's house'

Type:Historical monument

3780, Skåtøy

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About

'Pestas house' is located on the beautiful island of Skåtøy, only 10 minutes by ferry from Kragerø town centre.

Hiking from the ferry doc to 'Petas house' is a nice walk and should take approximately 30 mins. You can find it on this map, (you can also pick up a map of Skåtøy at the ferry). This old wooden house is by a trail in the woods, and if you keep following the trail you will end up by the main road not fra from Skåtøy cafe (open in high season) and Skåtøy church. 

So who was this 'Pesta' character that is supposed to have lived in this old cottage?

The story starst witht the Norwegian artist Theodor Kittelsen, who was born in Kragerø (his childhood home is now a museum located in Kragerø town). Kittelsen lived in Kragerø for the first years of hi life, and when he was newly married he rented a house at Skåtøy wher he and his wife Inga had theri first child together. The house still exists today, but is privately owned. 

'Pesta' is generally described as a 'personification' of the Black Death/plague in Norwegian folklore. An old, gusty faced woman with black eyes that bought disease with her wherever she went. She wold carry a broom and a rake, and if she swept with her broom everyone living in tthat house would die, whereas if she used her rake some would survive.

In the book 'People and trolls, memories and dreams' written by Kittelsen himself, he describes meeting a woman at Skåtøy who he felt was 'worse than Pesta herself'. He later made many illustrations of 'Pesta' based on his encounters with this woman. In the book he also describes secretly following 'Pesta' into the woods to find out where she lived. The house is supposed to be what the locals call 'Pestas house', and that you can see close up from the trail. 

 

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