Moose

Walking to school in Sweden was a dangerous activity. In the winter there were the blizzard and frozen nostril hairs to worry about. In summer and autumn there were the moose. I remember moose bulls to be unpredictable at the best of times, all legs and horns and not enough common sense. During breeding season all bets were off. The cows were not much better, a moody lot who – when in the company of a calf – became outright belligerent. Cows, bulls, calves, they were all a worry to us kids, walking through the woods towards class. These particular woods were also the home of one, lone flasher, allegedly armed with a crossbow (probably to protect himself from the moose) but in truth he didn’t really seem like a threat compared to half a tonne of irate mammal. On a recent trip to Sweden my other half and I visited a moose farm. We turned up to find eight moose waiting patiently by the fence. They stood serenely while we stroked their weird muzzles. Husband was mesmerized. ‘What are they waiting for?’ He soon had his answer, when a massive hamper was brought out by the farm owners. Much to husband’s amusement, this was filled with Polarkaka, which is exactly the same bread that he gorges on during his visits to the country. Mixed in with the bread was a handful of bananas. ‘The bananas are for Gustav.’ The owner explained, pointing to one of the bulls. ‘He was bottle fed and we think that maybe the bananas remind him of that.’ And with that, my childhood fears dispersed. Because who can feel threatened by a 2-metre-tall softie merely looking for his bottle?

moose

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