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About the Author: Selma Lagerlöf

Selma Ottilia Lovisa Lagerlöf was a Swedish author. In 1909 she became the first woman to ever receive the Nobel Prize in Literature, "in appreciation of the lofty idealism, vivid imagination and spiritual perception that characterize her writings". She later also became the first female member of the Swedish Academy.

Born in the forested countryside of Sweden she was told many of the classic Swedish fairytales, which she would later use as inspiration in her magic realist writings. Since she for some of her early years had problems with her legs (she was born with a faulty hip) she would also spend a lot of time reading books such as the Bible.

As a young woman she was a teacher in the southern parts of Sweden for ten years before her first novel Gösta Berling's Saga was published. As her writer career progressed she would keep up a correspondance with some of her former female collegues for almost her entire life.

Lagerlöf never married and was almost certainly a lesbian (she never officially stated that she was, but most later researchers believe this to be the case). For many years her constant companion was fellow writer Sophie Elkan, with whom she traveled to Italy and the Middle East. Her visit to Palestine and a colony of Christians there, would inspire her to write Jerusalem, her story of Swedish farmers converting into a evangelical Christian group and travelling to "The American Colony" in Jerusalem.

Lagerlöf was involved in both women issues as well as politics. She would among other things help the Jewish writer Nelly Sachs to come to Sweden and donated her Nobel medal to the Finnish war effort against the Soviet union.

Outside of Sweden she's perhaps most widely known for her children's book Nils Holgerssons underbara resa genom Sverige (The Wonderful Adventures of Nils).

The Legend Of The Sacred Image Cover Image

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Goodreads rating: 4.50

Paperback, Published in Aug 2008 by Milward Press

ISBN10: 1443714917 | ISBN13: 9781443714914

Page count: 48

The Legend Of The Sacred Image. Along the main street of the city of Palermo, leading a donkey that was laden with two baskets filled with garden truck. Behind them strode her husband, who occasionally prodded the animal with his staff. At a corner they came upon a jeering throng of people who had surrounded a monk, and who seemed to be convulsed with laughter at, what he was saying. The two came to a halt, attracted by the unusual sight. Husband, dear, the woman said, let us stop and hear what the holy man is saying. He seems to be a jolly friar and I wouldnt mind closing the day with a good laugh. Nor should I, in faith, the man replied. The days work is ended, so why deny ourselves a little fun, particularly as it costs nothing. They elbowed their way into the crowd and when they were near enough to the speaker to distinguish his features they were utterly amazed. He was certainly no jester, as they had thought him. He stood there talking with the most solemn countenance. This fact, however, seemed only to add to the amusement of his hearers. How can this be the old woman exclaimed. That monk looks most devout, yet why do all these people laugh at him You mustnt marvel at our laughter, said a man in the throng who overheard her remark. This monk comes from Lucca, in Italy, and is begging donations for a sacred image which, it appears, is to be found in a church of that city. He asserts that the image has the power to increase a hundredfold all offerings made to it. Can you imagine anything more ab- surd Im only an ignorant farmer, may- be thats why I dont understand how he can find this so very absurd, the old man whispered to his wife. They kept crowding nearer and near- er that they might hear with their own ears the monk declare that anyone who would make an offering, big or little, to the sacred image of the Crucified One which had been preserved in the Lucca Cathedral, would be repaid a hundred- fold. The monk gave his assurance in a most convincing manner, but the populace seemed tb regard it as a joke. For every word that he uttered the laughter grew louder and the jests more familiar. I cant understand these city folk, said the simple old peasant woman. Dont they consider this a great offer I only wish I had something to give to that Sacred Image You are quite right, the man agreed. Look at the monk He is an honest and trustworthy man who knows what hes talking about. Were I one of these rich townspeople shouldnt hesitate to give him my entire fortune, to get it back a hundredfold Dearly beloved husband cried the woman, make your words good Were not so very poor ourselves. Have we not our truck-garden, our hut, and our old donkey True, they wouldnt bring any great sum if sold but just consider that all at once it would become a hundred times greater Then we should never lack for bread to the end of our days. You take the words out of my mouth exclaimed the husband. All our lives long we have toiled and striven without being the richer for it. The time is nearing when we can no longer work and we must not miss this chances of providing for a comfortable old age.

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