This carving is of the famous painting that shows the Birkebeiners
saving the baby, Hakon Hakonsson, the future king
of Norway. The Birkebeiner ski races in Norway and America are to commemorate this historic event.
Around 1200 AD, Norway was in a state of civil war, with many
rivals fighting for the control of the country.
The two main factions were the Baglers, a powerful dynasty from Osterdalen, and the Birkebeiners, who were courageous,
but very poor. The word Birke-Beiner (Birch-Leg) came from those people being so poor they had to tie bark of the birch
trees around their legs as foot-wear.
Birkebeiner king Hakon III Sverresson died in 1204 leaving only
one baby son, Hakon Hakonsson, as the heir to his throne.
The Baglers just needed to get rid of that baby and the whole Norway would belong to them.
The Birkebeiners needed to save baby Haakon Haakonsson. On Christmas
Day in 1205 the two best Birkebeiner skiers,
Thorstein Skevla and Skervald Skrukka, set off from Toten with the baby prince on a dangerous voyage through the
Norwegian mountains to escape from the Baglers and take the young prince to safety in the city of Trondheim.
Thanks to the Birkebeiner's bravery, the baby survived and became
King Hakon Hakonsson IV of Norway. During his reign,
King Hakon ended the period of civil wars in Norway in 1240 and brought stability to the country. Hakon Hakonsson died in
December 1263 leading a large expedition in Kirkwall, the Orkney Islands, and was taken back to Norway in 1264.
The carving is done in Basswood, 24" x 21" and was sold before it was completed.