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8.660122-23 - PACIUS: Kaarle Kuninkaan Metsastys (The Hunt of King Charles)

Pacius: Kaarle kuninkaan matsästys (The Hunt of King Charles)


Act I
King Charles XI of Sweden has arrived in the Åland Islands for a hunt. It is not a hunt in the usual sense of the word, however, since by law only the King is allowed to kill elk. While the hunters strike up a drinking song, the noblemen in the King's entourage plot a coup. The year is 1671, and the King is only 16 years old, Supplanting him also requires the elimination of the true rulers, the King's guardian and his mother, Queen Eleonora the Queen Mother. Then, something incredible happens: a poacher has shot an elk. This is a crime which carries the death penalty. It is not yet known who the marksman was, but his belt has been found.

Act II
Leonora, a fisherman's daughter, sings of the young King. She had been involved in rescuing him when his boat had capsized at sea the previous summer. Reutercrantz, the King's stable master, begins to flirt with Leonora. Leonora notices Reutercrantz holding a belt that belongs to her fiancé Jonathan. Reutercrantz realizes with satisfaction that he now knows who the culprit is and leaves. Jonathan arrives and hears from Leonora to his horror that he has just shot the King's elk. The lovers decide to run away together.

Jonathan tries to find a boat to escape in, but Reutercrantz captures him. Leonora goes to the ruins of Kastelholma Castle, where she has hidden her inheritance. She unwittingly hears the scheming of the noblemen plotting against the King. She resolves to thwart their plans.

The market provides an excellent opportunity for abducting the King. As the conspirators go to work, Leonora entraps their ringleader, Gyllenstjerna. Leonora then summons the people to help her and releases the captive King. As her reward, she requests that Jonathan be pardoned. The King grants this. The good people of Åland, who have helped free their King, are given exemption from taxes for ten years. The King, grown into a mature monarch, bids farewell to Finland.

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