Anders Huitlok’s interpretation of his own drum (c. 1642)

This interpretation survives in two manuscripts with similar texts, both mainly consisting of description of numbered symbols on a drawing of a drum accompanying one of the texts. The two are seemingly from the same hand and clearly go back to a common source; one may be a conscious reworking of the other.

One of the texts is dated to 1642; the other is undated, but claims that the description was made in 1645. It is noteworthy that the former text claims to be written after some Sami’s (i. e., plural) report, and several of its entries refer to the source with plural expressions, while the latter ascribes the interpretation to a single named Sami man, and all of these entries and several others are revised to refer to a single man as their source. This version is cut short after entry number 38, and thus lacks the final eleven entries.

Ernst Manker has identified the scribe as the German-born Swedish civil servant and mine manager in the Nasa silver mine, Hans Philip Lybecker the older (1608–1671/2). The ultimate source is named in the introduction to the second text, the Pite Sami Anders Huitlok who worked for Lybecker. He is siad to have made a drawing of his own drum on paper, presumably from memory, and provided the explanation of its symbols. It is not possible to tell if the surviving drawing which accompanies the first text on the same type of paper is his original drawing or a copy of it. The drawing looks much more similar to surviving drums than most other drawings from the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries; so although the drum itself does not survive, the drawing can be assumed to be a fair representation of it. To make it easier to distinguish between the design itself and the numbering of the figures, I have coloured all the numbers red in the reproduction here.

I have not been able to locate scans of either manuscript, so I reproduce Ernst Mankers transcription here, with the two versions aligned side by side.

Kungliga Vitterhets Historie och Antikvitets Akademiens Bibliotek, Rosenhanska samling, Norrl. III. 33. d: Uppsala universitetsbibliotek, handlingar rörande Norrland, S 162: a:

Dischription. öffuer laptromans figurers betydningh. Kort författat effter några lappers berättelse, .1642.

Anno: 1645: den 25. februarj, Kiöpte Jagh een laptroma aff Siurdh Jacobsen Simes Järfzlappen, widh Silboiock, och på det at Jagh måtte förnima om det een laptroma war, sadhe Jag först til een p . . . . een lap J min stuua, benempt Anders huittlok, och badh hono[m], at han min troma will besee, och migh berätta om hon war Een fulkomlig troma heller eij, Derpå swarade lapen detta,

Nemligen at min tromma war inthet mehr än een half tromma, och bruckttes allenast at sökia godh lÿcka dermedh, effter fisk, fogler, Rener och andra shogz diurer, slogh och på min troma J fleres Närwaro, och när Jagh honom tillfragade, huru dhe andra rätta tromer wore giorde, afreet han på papier een, så som alldeles shulle sin egen troma lijk wara, huilken han kort på efftershrefne sätt för mig uttÿdhe, Nl.

Denn stora runda ringen som går kringom alt det andra, Såde han förstodz hella werlden medh, sedan bemärckte huar och et, så som hereffter förmälless

Numra: 1. den sama heter, Jutte, eller Satan, och är höfdingsman öfuer dhe andra .4. figurer som äro teknade medh Numra .2. huilke shulle wara denne Juten Supiect, No: 1: Den samma heter Jutte, det ähr så mÿcket som Satahn, Denna beräter han shall war, den förnempste af dhe 11. troll, och hålla laperna honom, lijcksom een höfdingzman för dhe andra, huilken hafuer och störste machtten och Mÿndigheeten,
No: 2: Desse .4. troll, medh Nomra .2. ähro lijk, som Juttens nästa tiennare och huad han befaller, Det måste dhe 4. igenom bref heller Mundtlig befalningh, til seija Nomra .3. och den kalles een brefdragare,
No: 3: ähr dese åfuen shrefnes brefdragare, No: 3: den samme, när han bref heller Muntlig befalning får, så måste han fort lijck som een post, och lefuera sit besheedh til No: 4.
No: 4: ähr och een höfdingzman, öffuer dem som äre Numererat medh .5. No: 4: Kallade lapen den Mindra Juten, huilkens Embete shulle wara, at han dhe .3. trollen som No: 5. på står, shulle förmina låtta at besheedh heller befalningh ifrån den stora Juten wore til honom komna,
No: 5. ähro .3. troll, och Kallade lapen honom den Mindre Juttens tiener, huadh Numra .4. befaller. Nomra .5. dhet shall No: 6. Exsiquera, antigen det ähr då om fisk heller om andra diur, heller at förgöra, heller til foga någon Meniskia ont, heller och bestella om spådom, lapen berätter, att No: 6. Nampn ähr, pahan perckla, det shall wara, stÿggfannen,
No: 6. ähr densama, som shall Exsiquera, deth onda, som dese nestöfuer shrefne befallat hafuer, som een eller anan shall wederfahres, och hetter, pahan perkla,
No: 7. denna seija laperna, at han är een Engel. huilken shall bedhie hos gudh, at när någen menisha ware nogot ondt af een lap til fogat, at den sama måtte blifua godh igen, No: 7. Kaller han een engel, som shall bedie gudh, at han bewarer folket, och om någon Menishia bliffuer förtrollat, at då den englen, shall gudh bedie, at samma Menishia må blifua better igen,
No. 8. denna figuren seija the, shall betyda gudh, huilken de till tro, at han giör alla menishar gott, No: 8. Shall wara gudh, när Jagh lappen frågade, huad lapperna aff honom hölle, Swarade han, at dhe trode honom derom at han dem till alt got sholle hielpa, och at dhe mente, när Lasarus, hade hielptt dem från heluittiss, at de sedan wenta at komma till gudh
Men huad thet shulle betÿda, at komma til gudh, sadhe han föga förstodh sigh, uthan så som för dhe andra kuna till gå, det sama wente han och, honom shulle öffuer gå,
No. 9. shall wara rijdare Sancte Jören, huilken shall rijda om Kringh och bewara hella werlden, No: 9: Sade han shulle wara rijdare Sancta Geörgen, huilkenss Embete war, at han effter gusz befalningh shulle utrijda J werlden och bewara folket för ont,
No: 10. ähr rijdhar Sante Jörens förnempsta drengh, honom till hielph at reesa ährender, No: 10: ähr Engell som rijdare Sancta gören hafuer till hielph.
No: 11. denna shall rådha om got wädher, och heter, Talke Tackie, No: 11. hetter, Dalckie tackie, och rådher om wädret, at göre det ont och got
No: 12. är een räf och räfjern at fånga räfuen medh, No: 12. ähr een räff och et räfjern,
No: 13. ähr rijdher S. georgens mindare tienare, No: 13. Rijdare Sancte Geörgens Drengh, som shall reessa hans ärender J werlden,
No: 14. är een Biörn, No: 14. ähr een biörn,
No: 15. denna shall Jaga will renerna uthur stora shogar, och dit som laperna boo, at dhe Kuna dem des better bekoma, och heter Gumell Sendingz olm, No: 15. hetter, Gumel Sendigz olm, det ähr gudhz utskikade drengh. hans Embete ähr, at han shall Jagha wijll Reenerna och andra diur, uthur öcknen, och drifua dem till den orten, Der lapperna boo och wistas, på det dhe kunna få them,
No: 16: är een lap som shiutar medh een bössa, åt een will reen diur, No: 16: ähr een lap, som shiutter medh een bössa effter en Wijlreen,
No: 17. detta är een will reen, No: 17. ähr een will reen,
No: 18. är een stor Steen, No: 18. ähr een steen,
No: 19. är een wargh, No: 19. ähr een wargh,
No: 20: är een laph som shiutar medh een handhboga åt een biörn, No: 20: ähr een lap som shiutter medh een handhboga, åth een Biörn,
No: 21. är och een biörn, 21 ähr een biörn,
No: 22: är wargens och biörsens mat, Nembligen Kråk bär, 22. wargens och Biörns maat, Nemlig Kråka bähr,
No: 23: är een lap som Köhr medh sin reen till sin Stabur, eller Mathuss, eller wisthuss, 23. ähr een lap som Khör medh sin reen, till sin Stabuur,
No: 24. är sama Stabur eller wisthus, huar utj lapen hafuer sin torfish, tort kiöt, och reen oster, 24 ähr een Stabuur, heller deres stolbhärber,
No: 25. ähr deras hus som de bo utj, och kalles lapkåtta, 25. ähr een lapkotta medh lapper utj,
No: 26: är deres Kÿrkio gårdh som dhe begrafua de dödhe uthj, 26, ähr kÿrkio gården
No: 27. är de dödhes graffuar, 27. ähr dhe dödhes gräffter, och när dhe slå på tromen, at dheras mässingz Jnstramenter löpper derpå, berätter han at dhe då kunna fånga dens dödes siel, Medh huilken De kuna sedan förgöra androm,
No: 28. är wåken huset på Kÿrkian, 28 ähr wååckna huset i Kÿrkien,
No: 29: shall wara folket J Kÿrkian, 29. ähr folket J Kÿrkien,
No: 30: är presten, som står i Kÿrkian och predikar, 30. ähr presten J Kÿrken som predicker för folket,
No: 31: shall wara heluitis Kijtlar, 31. ähro heluitiss Kijttlar,
No: 32. shall wara een menisha som pinas i heluitis och slår armarna öfuer hufudh på sigh, detta fattiga folk, är i den troen, att Jngen lap kan koma till himlen, uthan han shall först koma i shers elden, eller fegefeir, gudh beter, deth ähr ike många af dem, som weetta talla om himel rijkie, Jagh hafuer ofta frågat, åtshillige lapar, om han weet, huart hans krop och siell eftter detta timelige lijf shall taga wägen, Så haffua dhe migh suarat, at de Jnthet weetta kuna, uthi huilket landh dhe koma, där som deres peningar kuna gella, sådant är beklagligen, 32. Een Meniskia som pinnas J heluittiss, dit han och sadhe alla laper måste till een tidh, till dess Lasarus hielper dem dedan, som han mente, måste somblige, 3. och somblige 4. wijkor wara där, sedan fölga Lasarus, till Månen, och sollen, och sedan J himblan,
No: 33. dhe seija at denna figuren betÿdder, Laserus. och at dhe tro, at han shall bedie för dem hos gudh, at laperna ike lenggie sholla piinas i shers elden, 33. ähr Lasarus,
No: 34: Skall wara Sohlen på himlen, huilken dhe bedie, at han Jngen Mollen shall låtta komma på himelen, 34 ähr Sollen, huilken, den lapperna bedie, at han ingen Moollen hell[er] elakt wäder will låtta på himblen koma,
No: 35. är et giller eller et tingh som är bygdh i shogen at fånga älger medh. 35. ähr et giller, som dhe gillra effter älger medh,
N:o 36: En älgh är detta, eller Elendh, som det heter på tÿsha, 36. ähr een älgh,
No: 37. dhe .4. strek som stå i quadrat, betÿda den liusnan eller sheen som sÿnnes om wintran på himalen, 37. dhe 4 strek ähr liussnan på himblan,
No: 38. shall betÿda rengen bogan 38. ähr Regna bogen,
No: 39: betÿder den, som shall gifua rengn,
No: 40: shall wara waten eller sielfua rengnen,
No: 41: shall wara een Siö,
No: 42: shall wara een stor fish, som heeter, Jösha, huilken har et been fram i bröstet och et baak under lifuet, och har fiel som een annan fish, stor Mun och stor ögen, och fås i hella laplandh af detta slagh, Inthet mehra än utj een siö, som hetter horn afuen, siöen är långh. 18. Miler, och der som han bredast är, är han .2. och högst. 2½. Mill. Många gånger hafuer iagh reest bådhe winter och somar öfr denna siö, men Inthet har iagh någen gångh seet af detta fishe slagh. dhe få honom selden, och der för, när dhe få een sådan fish under tijden, så holla dhe deth för Ett serdels underteken,
No: 43. är een annan gemehn fish,
No: 44. är een both med folk uthj, som äre på siön och fisha,
No: 45. är een holma utj een siö,
No: 46: är deras noth, eller nät,
No: 47. är een uther,
No: 48: är Månen på himalen,
No: 49. är et trä som sitter een fogel utj,

In order to preserve the consciously made distinction between the two text versions, I use Samis as the plural of Sami in the translation below, rather than just Sami as elsewhere. Names where a modern form exists have been normalised to this; other names have been kept in the original’s varying spelling with the exception of the removal of the suffixed definite article in some cases.

The Library of The Royal Academy of Letters History and Antiquities, Norrl. III. 33. d: Uppsala University Library, S 162: a:

Description of the meaning of the Sami drum’s symbols, concisely written after some Samis’ explanation, 1642.

In the year 1645, on the 25th of February, I bought a Sami drum from Sigurd Jakobsen, a Semisjaur Sami at Silbojokk. In order to find out if it was indeed a Sami drum, I first told a . . . ., a Sami in my house called Anders Huitlok, and asked him to inspect my drum and tell me if it was a proper drum or not, to which the Sami answered thus.

Namely, that my drum was not more than half a drum, and was only used to seek good fortune getting fish, fowl, reindeer and other forest animals. He also beat my drum in the presence of several others, and when I asked him how the proper drums were made, he drew on paper one which should be just like his own, which he interpreted in the following way.

The large round circle running around everything else, he understood as the entire world, then he remarked on each as described below.

Number 1: this is called Jutte, or Satan, and is the chieftain over the other four figures marked No. 2, which should be the subjects of this Jute. No. 1: this is called Jutte, that is the same as Satan. This he says is supposed to be the foremost of the eleven trolls, and is regarded by the Samis as a chieftain over the others and the one with the greatest might and esteem.
No. 2: these four trolls marked with the number 2 are the closest servants of this Jutte; and what he commands, the four must by letter or spoken command instruct number 3, which is called a letter carrier.

No. 3: is the letter carrier of the abovementioned. No. 3: this, when he receives letters or spoken commands, must quickly like a postman deliver his message to no. 4.
No. 4: is also a chieftain, over the ones numbered 5. No. 4: the Sami called the lesser Jute, whose office should be to pass on to the three trolls marked no. 5 messages or commands that he received from the greater Jute.

No. 5: are three trolls; the Sami called them the servants of the lesser Jutte. What number 4 commands number 5, no. 6 shall execute, be it about fish or other animals, or to destroy or harm any person, or concerning prophecy. The Sami states that the name of no. 6 is Pahan Perckla, that is the devil.

No. 6: is the one who shall execute the evil that the abovementioned have commanded, and which shall befall somebody, and is called Pahan Perkla.
No. 7: this the Samis say is an angel, who shall entreat God that when a person have been harmed by a Sami, that he shall recover from it. No. 7: he calls an angel, who shall entreat God that he preserves the people, and if any person is subjected to sorcery, that he shall recover from it.
No. 8: this figure they say represents God, who they believe benefits all persons. No: 8: is supposed to be God. When I asked the Sami how the Samis regarded him, he aswered that he would help them for every good purpose; and that they believed that when Lasarus had helped them out of Hell, they expected to come to God.
But what coming to God meant, he said he hardly understood; but what might happen to others, he expected would happen to him too.
No. 9: is supposed to be the knight St. George, who is supposed to ride around and protect the whole world. No. 9: he said is supposed to be the knight St. George, whose office it was, to ride out in the world according to God’s command and protect the people from evil.
No. 10: is the knight St. George’s chief servant, aiding him in his errands. No. 10: is an angel aiding the knight St. George.
No. 11: this shall administer good weather, and is called Talke Tackie. No. 11: is called Dalckie Tackie, and rules the weather, making it good and bad.
No. 12: is a fox and an iron fox trap to catch the fox with. No. 12: is a fox and an iron fox trap.
No. 13: is the knight St. George’s lesser servant. No. 13: the knight St. George’s servant, who goes on errands for him in the world.
No. 14: is a bear. No. 14: is a bear.
No. 15: this shall drive the reindeer out of great forests, to where the Samis live, so that they might better get them, and is called Gumell Sendingz Olm. No. 15: is called Gumel Sendigz Olm, that is a servant sent by God. His office is to drive the reindeer and other animals out of the wilderness and to the place the Samis live and are staying, so that they may get them.
No. 16: is a Sami who shoots with a gun as a wild reindeer. No. 16: is a Sami who shoots with a gun as a wild reindeer.
No. 17: this is a wild reindeer. No. 17: is a wild reindeer.
No. 18: is a large rock. No. 18: is a rock.
No. 19: is a wolf. No. 19: is a wolf.
No. 20: is a Sami who shoots with a handbow as a bear. No. 20: is a Sami who shoots with a handbow as a bear.
No. 21: is also a bear. No. 21: is a bear.
No. 22: is the food of the wolf and the bear, namely crowberries. No. 22: the food of the wolf and the bear, namely crowberries.
No. 23: is a Sami driving with his reindeer to his larder, or provisions, or storehouse. No. 23: is a Sami driving with his reindeer to his larder.
No. 24: is the same larder or storehouse, in which the Sami has his dried fish, dried meat and reindeer cheese. No. 24: is a larder, or their pillar-storehouse.
No. 25: is their house which they live in, and which is called a Sami hut. No. 25: is a Sami hut with Samis in it.
No. 26: is their churchyard, where they bury their dead. No. 26: is the churchyard.
No. 27: are the graves of the dead. No. 27: are the graves of the dead, and when they beat the drum so that their brass instruments rund onto it, he tells that they then can catch the soul of the dead, with which they may later harm others.
No. 28: is the porch of the church. No. 28: is the porch of the church.
No. 29: is supposed to be the people in the church. No. 29: is the people in the church.
No. 30: is the priest, who stands in the church and preaches. No. 30: is the priest in the church who preaches to the people.
No. 31: is supposed to be the cauldrons of Hell. No. 31: are the cauldrons of Hell.
No. 32: is supposed to be a person tormented in Hell, and throws the arms above his head. This poor people believes, that no Sami may come to heaven without first going through Purgatory, ot the fire of fate. God knows, there are not many of them that knows about the heavenly kingdom. I have often asked several Samis if he knows where his body and soul will go after this earthly life. They have answered that they know nothing, to which land they shall come, where their coins are valid. Such things are regrettable. No. 32: a person tormented in Hell, where he also said every Sami must go for a while, until Lasarus helps them thence; he believes some had to stay there for three weeks and some for four, and then they follow Lasarus to the moon, to the sun and then into heaven.
No. 33: they say that this figure represents Lasarus, and they believe that he shall intercede for them with God, so that they should not suffer long in Purgatory. No. 33: is Lasarus.
No. 34: is supposed to be the sun in the sky, to which they pray that he will not allow any clouds to appear in the sky. No. 34: is the sun, to which the Samis pray that he will not allow any clouds or ill weather to appear in the sky.
No. 35: is a trap or a thing that is built in the forest to catch elks with. No. 35: is a trap, which they catch elks with.
No. 36: this is an elk, or Elend as it is called in German. No. 36: is an elk.
No. 37: the four lines forming a square represents the light or sheen that is visible in the sky in winter. No. 37: the four lines are lights in the sky.
No. 38: is supposed to signify the rainbow. No. 38: is the rainbow.
No. 39: signifies the one that shall give rain.
No. 40: is supposed to be water or the rain itself.
No. 41: is supposed to be a lake.
No. 42: is supposed to be a large fish called Jösha, which has a bone in front in the chest and one behind in the waist, and has scales like other fishes, a large mouth and large eyes. It is found in all of Lapponia, nowhere more than in a lake called Hornavan. This lake is 18 miles¹ long, and where it is broadest it is two and at most two and a half miles. I have travelled over this lake many times, both in the winter and in the summer, but have never seen this kind of fish. They seldom catch it, so when they once in a while do, they consider it a special wonder.
No. 43: is another common fish.
No. 44: is a boat with people in it, who are fishing on the lake.
No. 45: is an island in a lake.
No. 46: is their seine or net.
No. 47: is an otter.
No. 48: is the moon in the sky.
No. 49: is a tree in which a bird sits.

¹) Prior to 1649 the different regions of Sweden used different wildly varying miles, ranging from 6 to 15 kilometers, and for added confusion inland measurements such as this were often made in forest miles half the length of a normal mile without denoting the distinction. As the lake is around 70 km long, it seems that the measurement must have been in such half-miles.

The deliberate differences demonstrate clearly that at least one of the accounts is deceptive with regards to the author’s source. Does the first version invent a nameless group of Sami informants in order to protect the real source from repercussions, and for the same reason push the dating back to before the author’s association with him; or does the second spuriously ascribe the account to a named person in order to bolster the narrative’s credibility?