Holmtjärn, a woodland lake, could be found near Björksele. It was an excellent fishing spot and only a few of the locals knew about it. In the middle of the depths of the forest – in no man’s land – the woodland lake lay still with its clear green water next to the low mountains. The water became lukewarm as the sparkling sunshine arched over the forest landscape. The spring sun woke the surrounding forest from its slumber and it was crowded and teeming with newborn and powerful life. The trees and greenery were freshly green and rose stately from the cold of winter.
Next to the woodland lake, in the adjoining forest, was a red cabin with white knots. It was well-kept and shone at sunrise. The greenery was lush and green around the cabin.
Inside the cabin Erik Daniels woke up that morning with a relief in his chest. The frost had gone out of the earth and spring was bursting with renewal. The forests of northern Sweden woke up slowly from the prolonged hibernation of winter.
He sat up in bed, pulled his hand to his face and felt the stubble of his beard scratch in his hand. He was old but strong in mind. He was small and lively, dark-skinned by the sun, with sharp blue eyes. Hans was a man of the forest with small, strong hands, narrow and sinewy arms and a thin nose. Slowly he got up and went to the fireplace to start a fire. He was wearing blue cotton trousers, a flannel shirt and an unbuttoned vest. It was a simple cabin with a fireplace, bed, kitchen table and two kitchen chairs. It was a spartan and frugal life he lived.
After breakfast he went outside in the yard and fell deep into his thoughts and studied the still water in the woodland lake. He turned his head and could see night tracks and paw prints of the forest fox and rabbits from the surrounding forest. He noticed split hoof stamps of deer that had come down to eat insatiably and partake of his vegetables in the garden. He shook his head and stared bitterly at the half-eaten vegetables in the garden. They had almost completely destroyed the whole garden with their insatiable hunger. To his anger, he went into the cabin and found his rifle. He took out a cartridge box but discovered it was empty. He needed to buy more cartridges. It would take about half an hour on foot to get to the store up by the country road.
Erik got ready and then booted off with his backpack. A forest path, trampled by Erik, ran through the thickets and the forest towards the country road. The forest smelled fresh from the warming of the spring sun.
In the depths of the forest he could hear a black woodpecker hammering against a dry branch. Some rabbits sought shelter in the bushes when they heard Erik’s muffled footsteps on the path. He knew the area very well and kept to the path because he knew how easy it could be to get lost in the wilderness.