His grave lays in the shadow of the large ash tree almost hidden by the nettles and blackberry scrub. The wood from the house that once stood there has gone back to the earth and a half-rusted oil barrel lays near its companion in the watery soil. 

Around new year in 1931, Jørgen Buer and his father were moving a fence at their farm, near the Buer glacier in Hardanger. The snow was falling heavily and had done so for several days. Suddenly they spotted tracks in the glacier. It did not make any sense that anyone could have been on the glacier under these conditions. But unbelievably they saw a man emerge wading in the snow carrying a bike on his back. He was fisherman from Borgundøy he told them, and he had biked across the glacier from Rosendal on his way to Odda. They took him inside, gave him some coffee and let him dry his boots. 

Tjerand Aske was 24 years old and strong as a bull. He had biked 8 kilometers across the glacier and stayed overnight halfway. It was so cold and he had to cut off his frozen socks with a knife. 

Although he made the same glacier journey a year earlier, under easier conditions it was this journey which remained his milestone. A symbol of a individualism. Aske lived in a world where the dream was more important than reality, where the next day had enough of its own aliments. A dreamer- a man who chose a different life, and didn't need the gravestone he got at the end. Tjerand Aske is a legend who lives through the tales that people tell now, and for many generations to come. 

The people at Borgundøy where Aske lived, still speak about him. To this day no one has ever done the same as Tjerand Aske, and his life stands a symbol of survival like the single ash tree that marks his grave. 

This is just one story of many about Tjerand Aske that inspired Dreamarchers song Aske from their EP Harding; drawn from the stories of local historian Jan Gravdal. Stories of individual strength, courage and innovation that run through the isolated communities of Hardangerfjorden where Dreamarcher comes from.


The story was first published in Gravdal's book "Den første Harding"  in 1994.

Read the original story on Gravdals blog here.

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