As the sound of exploding steam told Laetitia that the coffee pot’s brew cycle was nearly finished, she was deep in thought in the library of the Emerald Victorian about the day’s tour. She thought she might visit a typical Scandinavian community, based on the common assumption that most Minnesotans are of Scandinavian descent. When she checked the year 2010 census results, she found that, indeed, 16.8 percent reported Norwegian ancestry and 9.5 percent reported Swedish ancestry. There are smaller percentages of Danish, Finish, and Icelandic, bringing the total Scandinavian population to 32.1 percent.
Laetitia decided to check the Bailey and Hurst books to see if there were any Minnesota communities with Scandinavian names in Rude World. She didn’t find any. What she did find, however, was a place in Ekerö, near Stockholm, Sweden called Slut. She poured a cup of coffee and returned to the library to plan the day’s tour.
Laetitia met her group in Skandihoovia, Minnesota, a town of about 2,000 inhabitants, mostly of Scandinavian descent. The town’s ethnic heritage was evident in its five churches, the Finnish Lutheran, the Norwegian Lutheran, the Swedish Lutheran, the Danish Lutheran, and the Icelandic Lutheran. She and her group toured the town, with its picturesque buildings decorated with traditional Scandinavian facades and murals from fables of Hans Christian Anderson. On the courthouse square was an old-fashioned office where the county newspaper, The Skandihoovian Sun, was published. Near the town there was a replica of a typical Scandinavian village, featuring a stave church, dancing in costume, and a staged wedding where lefse, lutefisk, and aquavit were served as refreshments.
After wandering through the town with her group, Laetitia stopped at a local drinking establishment, where the bartender told her an interesting story about Sven, who came to Skandihoovia from Slut in Sweden. He had broken up with his Swedish girlfriend before he came here looking for work. He found a job and a wife in Skandihoovia, but things didn’t work out, and he returned to Sweden and his erstwhile girlfriend. His former wife, who was a bit vengeful, faked a newspaper headline in the style of the local paper and sent a copy to Sven. The bartender also had a framed copy on the wall. The story became the limerick of the day.
When Sven was young, there was a glut
Of men in the place known as Slut
Making jobs hard to find
And a financial bind
That made his life seem in a rut.
So he left Sweden on one fine day
And moved to the U. S. of A.
Where he had a few kin
In the State of M. N.
And he married a wife on the way.
Soon a column appeared in The Sun
That said that the two were now one
At the start, things were bright
But then they would fight
And their marriage was no longer fun.
But alas, as a matter of course
Their quarrels led to divorce
And a court case ensued
That was nasty and rude
Leaving Sven feeling only remorse.
So he quit his new job in M. N.
And he went back to Sweden again
Where to his enjoyment
He soon found employment
And made up with his former girlfriend.
Sven’s new life was wonderful, but
His ex, who is kind of a nut
Faked a headline for fun
In the style of The Sun
Saying, “SWEDE DUMPS WIFE; RETURNS TO SLUT.”