Swedish Wooden Dala Horse - Red - 7" - Made by Nils Olsson Hemslojd AB in Nusnas, Sweden
The Dala Horse (Dalahast) story dates back many hundreds of years to an area in central Sweden. In the Dalarna region, somewhere between Borlanga/Falun and Mora, the tales and historical significance of our little wooden friend exists. Carved out of scraps of wood by tradesmen, the Dala Horse embodies a part of Sweden's National heritage and is one of the symbols of Sweden.
There is legend that th Dalhorse became the National toy in 1716 after Swedish soldiers fighting under King Charles XII were forced to seek quarters in the homes in the Dalarna region. The winter months were brutal in central Sweden and food was limited. Many of the men had left their vocation (wood craftsmen) to take part in war throughout Europe. The nights were cold and long and to pass the time, many of them would carve animals out of wood. They carved many types of animal figures including roosters and pigs but the most notable was the horse. The horse became the sign of good luck and these carvings were often given as gifts for their hosts for food or payment for room and board.