Not to split hairs even finer, but in Denmark
, the Wild Hunt is also associated with the legendary
(although there were several historical Kings of Denmark
by that name, this appears to be a mythical
version, only broadly related to the historical kings).
The legend of King Valdemar and his Hunt is most common on southern Sjælland (known to English speakers as Zealand, and not to be confused with the Dutch location of similar name). The poet Bernhard Severin Ingemann (1789-1862) wrote a poem, Kong Valdemars Jagt ("King Valdemar's Hunt", set to music by Niels W. Gade) on the subject, the final stanza of which depicts the posthumous activities of the mythical king:
I muld for længe siden
Kong Valdemar er lagt
Men sælsomt gennem tiden
Går sagnet om hans jagt
Tit korser arme bonde
Sig end på natlig sti
Når jægere og hunde
Ham suse vildt forbi
("In the ground so long ago
King Valdemar was laid
Yet strangely across the years
Goes the legend of his hunt
Often, a poor peasant may cross himself
As he walks abroad at night
When huntsmen and their dogs
Go rushing wildly past")
- my translation, not intended to scan or rhyme
The most detailed version of the myth would have it that King Valdemar IV of Denmark claimed that he loved hunting at his castle at Gurre more than anything else, preferring it even over Paradise. As punishment for his hubris, he haunts the lands around Gurre, to this day, with his huntsmen. Woven into this is an anachronism, confusing this Valdemar with an earlier one, whose mourning for his murdered mistress was supposedly the reason for his haunting.
Like Ingemann, Hans Christian Andersen wrote a poem, Hvor Nilen vander ægypterens jord ("Where the Nile waters the Egyptian's soil", 1842, set to music by Henrik Rung) on the subject of King Valdemar. Andersen's poem specifically uses this scrambled version of the myth.
See also: Danish Myths and Legends.