Ulf is born on September 20th 1952 in Solna. Son of Erik and May Niskanen, nephew of Onni.

My Uncle from Africa

I remember when I was a little boy, at the end of the 1950s, we lived in Erik Sandbergsgatan in Solna. In the autumn, just in time for my birthday in September, Onni, my Uncle, used to come home and live with us for a while. He used to do magic tricks at my birthday parties. He was fantastic!

He could swallow cigarette butts, burning matches, cotton wool and all sorts of things, and then wash it down with a glass of water. After that, he would pull a thread, which was many metres long, out of his mouth.

He could eat glass, too, but the best part was in the evenings, when I lay in bed, and he would come in, sit on the end of my bed and tell me about his adventures in Ethiopia. What stories! Emergency landings with airplanes, hunting stories, crocodiles oh, how I loved his tales. The best part is that now I get to hear the same stories again from people who were his friends, with only slight differences and variations. That shows that he was telling it how it was. He did not have to fantasize or lie about his adventures.

One story that is stuck in my head is when he was out hunting with some other people. I believe one of them was Karl-Gustav Forsmark. They had not shot anything and they decided to sleep over in a little hut without a door. At early dawn, Onni woke up with a nasty feeling and when he looked up, he saw a lioness standing in the doorway, staring at him. The rifle was leaning against the wall outside and out of reach. The seconds seemed many and long to Onni before the lioness turned and left.

I can remember another story in the same spirit, about Onni and two of his friends out on a hunting trip, when they stopped to cool off with a swim in a river. Onni and one of the other men got up and dried off, when the third guy was attacked by a crocodile. Fortunately, not a fully-grown croc, but not good! They reached for their guns, but did not dare to shoot for fear of hitting their friend. Their friend got out with the help of his knife

Another story I have heard from other people as well, is when he was out flying with a friend and they collided with a bird. The tip of one of the propellers broke off, and they were forced to do an emergency landing in the bush. They had to walk for three days to get to a village where they could get help. They were so dehydrated, they could not speak, but had to point to their mouths to show that they were thirsty. After getting supplies, they walked back to the plane and managed to file the propeller back in shape to get the balance right. I do not remember how long it took, but it must have been days before they could fly on to new adventures.

Well, that is the kind of stories I was brought up with, and this website is in memory of Onni, so I hope you can contribute to the development of it. Remember that no story is too insignificant, so grab your pens and write!