A plant and a legend; Bug blood

Distance: 6.30 Km

One winter day more than 600 years ago, three knights were murdered in Middelfart. It was an outrage that went down in history because the three had dared to speak to a powerful king opposite.

When it then became spring, the blood of the slain sprang forth from the black earth where the outrage had been carried out. It has been repeated every spring ever since. Bug blood is the plant that otherwise bears other names such as Red Horsetail, Pestilence and Thunder. Incidentally, it was introduced as a medicinal plant - perhaps during the black plague of the 1300th century. In Middelfart, it is named after the most famous of the murdered.

In December 1358, Niels Bugge rode to Hald, Uffe Stigsen to Eskebjerg and Peder Andersen to Margård to negotiate with Valdemar Atterdag in Nyborg. Their intention was to get along with the ambitious king who poured large war expenses on them. But the king arrogantly goes to Zealand and lets his son negotiate with them. However, the three knights subsequently manage to have a meeting with the king in Slagelse. They get nothing out of it, and embittered, they have to travel home for eight days free rent, while the royal couple goes to Copenhagen to celebrate Christmas with the Swedish royal couple.
The three knights, on the other hand, only reach Middelfart, where they are reportedly murdered by local fishermen. Behind is the king's hand. The blame is thrown on the fishermen, who escaped surprisingly cheaply. Three houses in the town's Vestergade were forever fined, the so-called Buggespenge, which the town paid until 1874, when the Riksdag abolished the fine.

Niels Bugge is the most powerful of the three. He had fought his way up from a simple weapon to a respected knight who had a seat at the castle Hald near Viborg. His name has remained in history. In Middelfart, a street is named after him, a folk song is about him and an IC3 train bears his name. He's still a legend. We remember this when the blood-red sprouts burst forth from the bare ground.

Text by Peter Storm

Updated by: VisitMiddelfart | mail@visitmiddelfart.dk
Photographer: Peter Storm Copyright: VisitMiddelfart