Saturday, October 26, 2013


Jens Nielsen story by Anni Damkjaer Herning, Denmark

Jens worked at the roads. He sat every day – summer and winter – behind a windbreak, where he hammered stone into small pieces, so they could use them as filling on the roads.

A couple of years after Jens died in 1901 a young (now famous) poet Jeppe Aakjær came to the place, where Jens had been working, and Jeppe started a talk with the new road worker. 
He told Jeppe about the hard working Jens, who had worked there before and told him, too that the family didn’t have had money to buy a tombstone to his grave. There was just a decayed piece of board with his name on. (The board is saved and stills stand on the graveyard today). 
Jeppe Aakjær felt sorry for the poor late road worker and wrote a song about him.  

JENS NIELSEN the road worker
Here is the song in Danish. The real name at the song is: Hvem sidder der bag skærmen”. (Who is sitting behind the windbreaker), but no one calls the song the right name. It’s always called Jens Vejmand.

Hvem sidder der bag skærmen
Tekst: Jeppe Aakjær, 1905

Melodi: Carl Nielsen, 1907
Hvem sidder der bag skærmen med klude om sin hånd,
med læderlap for øjet og om sin sko et bånd,
det er såmænd Jens Vejmand, der af sin sure nød
med hamren må forvandle de hårde sten til brød.

Jeppe Aakjær field sorry for the poor late road worker and wrote a song about him. The song is called "Jens Vejmand", som means "Jens Road Worker".
Today it's one of the most popular old songs in Denmark known by botheration grownups and children and pupils still sing it in the school.
On the place, where Jens worked, they have put a monument for him, made ​​as a windbreaker.
The last verse in the song is the best. I'll try to translate it.
On the graveyard there is an old decayed piece of board
It rake til side and the paint is almost missing
It was John the Roadman, his whole life was full of stones
But on his grave da han died they could not provide him anyone (stone / tombstone)

Found and written by Jeppe Aakjær in 1905
Made into a Danish National song by Carl Nielsenin 1907

Who sits behind the screen with the cloth on his hand ,
with leather patch on the eye and on his shoes a tape
That is indeed Jens Vejmand that its acidic enjoyed
with hammering must transform the hard stones into bread .

And you wake one morning in the very first dawn
and hear hammering blade again , again , again ,
That is indeed Jens Vejmand in his old legs,
as chipper wild sparks of morning wet stone .

And you ride to town behind the peasant fat bucket
and you will meet an old man whose eyes are flooded -
That is indeed Jens Vejmand with straw on the legs and knees ,
hardly finding Against the frost a shelter.

And you will return in showers and wind,
while the evening star tremble with cold in the southwest ,
and blades hammer behind the wagon near , -
That is indeed Jens Vejmand which still sitting there.

So he smoothed for others the difficult path ,
but when he suffered on Christmas when said arm no;
it was indeed Jens Vejmand , he lost his hammer and board,
They carried him across the heath a cold December night .

an old rotten board stands in the churchyard
leaning badly to one side, and the paint is bad.
It is indeed Jens Vejmands . His life was full of stones ,

but on his grave - in death, we never gave him a one.

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