Söderslätt: Burial Mound Folklore


Last summer we often indulged ourselves with late afternoon rides around south-west Skåne. Whenever we rode, I’ve always noticed a mound with a lone tree in the distance. It always popped up over the fields and then quickly dipped again only to reemerge again few moments later. It didn’t matter from which direction we approached it; unconsciously we always ended up on the road that passed it.

We never stopped to investigate or to take any photos. That one evening though, during the harvest, seemed like a good opportunity to do so. Harvest dust and setting sun made the fields look like they were on fire.

Brytestuhög can be found just outside Hammarlöv on the road towards Östra Värlinge. The mound is not that impressive in size, but since an old oak grows on it, it’s easy to spot from a great distance.

Locals say that the place is haunted; there’s a folktale about a calf that sometimes comes to the farm next door and likes to help women who live there. Around Christmas time people light candles by the mound too.

Steglarps gravfält

Spetshög, Grefvie hög, Lille hög, Store hög, Sandhög, Grytehög and Melenhög are some of the names of twelve Bronze Age burial mounds found north of Steglarp in Skåne.

This grave field is one of the best preserved burial mound complexes in the Nordic region. The mounds are around 15-20 meters in diameter, while the two most prominent ones, named Bolmers Högar, are 25 meters wide. Twenty church towers can be observed from the mounds and an ancient dirt road still runs among them.

A local tale says that during Christmas Eve trolls can be seen dancing under the three golden pillars on the biggest mound. Another folktale mentions a supernatural hare, högfellaharen (the mound-trap hare), that lives among the mounds and drives hunters into their demise.

Once the hare appeared in a potato field and a farmer, protective of his crops, fired two shots at it. The man clearly saw that the hare got shot, but it continued to run as if nothing had happened. The farmer decided to follow through and fired twice more at the hare. Yet again the hare continued to run unharmed. The farmer got frightened and went home. Shortly afterwards he fell ill and died six months later. Another young man discovered that it was the högfellaharen that the late farmer tried to hunt down. He wanted to try his luck with the trickster hare too, so he tore off one of the silver buttons from his shirt and loaded the rifle with it. He succeeded and the hare was finally killed. When the man approached to examine it closely, he saw that it was just three wooden sticks and an old boot.


Classon C., Duner A., Fornminen i Skåne. En vägvisare, Corona Förlag, Malmö 2001.