King Gustav Vasastenen, 1910s.

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This monument seen above marks the spot where two village messengers caught up with the fleeing Gustaf Eriksson Vasa, next in line for the throne of Sweden…next in line because the king of Denmark has the rest of Sweden’s royalty executed in what is known as the Stolkholm Bloodbath. Gustaf had skiied to Dalarna to try and raise an army, but the locals were hesitant. The Danish army was close behind, so Gustaf left without a positive answer, headed for the safety of Norway. The residents of Dalarna soon changed their minds to conspire with Gustaf, and sent out two swift skiiers to catch the future king of Sweden to let him know they would support his rebellion. That wilderness meeting, marked by the ‘Vasastanen’ above, is also the premise for the Vasaloppet, a cross-country skiing event held in Dalarna, whose 2009 events begin today. The photo appears to have been taken in the 1910s, possibly earlier.