The Woman Who Was So Beautiful She Was Literally Arrested For Stopping Traffic
A 19th century Swedish milkmaid caused a great uproar in Stockholm one summer because of her unbelievable beauty
In society, people of great physical beauty; those whose visage is so pleasing it’s impossible to look away, often become icons of great renown. Their physical attractiveness can gain a lot of attention, although much of it may be unwanted. Consider the case of Pilt Carin Ersdotter, a modest 19th century milkmaid who was considered so beautiful that she literally turned heads everywhere she went. Her appearance was considered so distracting that she was even once arrested for stopping traffic.
Born in 1814, Ersdotter was from Djura in Dalarna County, Sweden. Between 1833–1834, she made a living selling milk on the streets of Stockholm. It was there that she became notorious around the country for her incredible beauty. Many people of the time suffered physical scarring due to the ravages of smallpox, but milk maids often escaped this disease because they were more susceptible to the much milder cowpox from their work milking. In any case, she was considered a great beauty with few flaws although we don’t know exactly what she looked like.
She came to Stockholm as was the common practice of the time for young women to find seasonal employment there in jobs such as rowing boats. However, Ersdotter, who was slight of build, didn’t have the physicality to work on the boats and found alternative work delivering milk to the city’s public square.
The longer Ersdotter sold milk in the center of the city, the more notoriety she gained for her beauty. It got to the point that people would show up to simply gawk at her as she worked. One anecdote even claimed that Oscar I, the crown Prince of Sweden, showed up to see what the buzz was all about. He reportedly was also dazed before finally blurting out, “Well, I suppose I should buy some milk for you.” The maid, not knowing who was speaking to her, was curious where the man wanted the milk since he had no container, and replied, “Well, where would he like the milk? In his hat?”
One day, a large enough crowd gathered to ogle Ersdotter, making her more uncomfortable than…