This engraved stone in Old Flåm, about 100 metres past the church (heading out of the village up the valley), is a one of a number of memorials in Norway to Per Sivle a famous Norwegian writer, poet, journalist and a passionate nationalist.
Sivle was born in Flåm, of farming stock, on April 6th 1857 and died, or rather committed suicide, in Oslo on 6 September 1904 – sadly never getting to experience the Norwegian Independence he had so strongly yearned for.
Norway got its independence from Sweden a year later, in 1905.
While he barely knew her, Per’s mother was a major influence on his short life. Less than two years after he was born his mother died, aged only 38 years of age. By then she held the dubious honour of having given birth to three pair of twins in two and a half years. His mother’s death played heavily on him right to the end. Shortly before his death he penned a poem entitled “Hide me, Mother!” wherein he revealed his longing for his mother:
“The lad is resting on his Mother’s arm, unfearing, warm, and for ever calm”.
The other great influence on his life, and undoubtedly the source of his national pride, was his love for his beloved fjord lands where he was born and grew up. After spending only a couple of days in the Flåm area I can easily see why he would have fallen in love with this area. Again shortly before taking his life, he asked a visitor to his home in Drammen (not far from Oslo and through which we actually passed on our train trip to Flåm from Oslo) to take a greeting ‘home’ from a distraught writer:
“When you get home, walk down to the pier, put your hand in the waters of the Sognefjord, close your hand, and say: Greetings from Sivle”.
While we stopped at the jetty in Aurlandsvangen, a short distance from Flåm along the Aurlandsfjord, on our trip to Gudvangen through the spectacular Nærøyfjord, we were not able to disembark. Had we been, we could have visited the Per Sivle exhibition in the local history centre. On display there is a collection of around 100 items including books, photographs and other memorabilia commemorating the life of Per Sivle.
Address: Old Flåm
Directions: A walk of around 3.5kms from Flåm