In the early 19th century, a young milkmaid captivated Stockholm, Sweden. Her name was Pitt Carin Ersdotter, and, like many girls from the Dalarna region of Sweden, Ersdotter spent the winter of 1883 working in the capital.
Ersdotter quickly drew attention in the city for her beauty. Numerous people came to the city square where she worked just to look at her. Her beauty became so well-known that the crown prince even came to visit her incognito. When the disguised prince asked for milk, Ersdotter scolded him for not having anything to put it in.
Not long after this encounter, Ersdotter’s admirers grew so numerous that she was arrested for causing a traffic jam. Eventually, she was let go, as it was decided that she “was found innocent and allowed to return to her milk bottles—be it said to reassure the beautiful—as although there is said that some should be fined for being ugly, no one should be denied the right to be as beautiful as possible,” according to an 1833 article in the local paper Aftonbladet.
After the episode, Ersdotter spent the rest of the winter visiting various homes and establishments where members of Swedish high society marveled at her beauty, earning her a small fortune.
When Ersdotter finally returned to her small village of Djura, many of her neighbors didn’t believe her story—despite the fact that she had a certificate corroborating her tale signed by various members of the upper class. Instead, many villagers suspected she had become a prostitute to earn her savings.
Ersdotter eventually appealed to her former employer, a well-respected lawyer, to further confirm her story. This second verification convinced the people of Djura that Ersdotter hadn’t become a sex worker. With the village’s support, Ersdotter was able to marry her fiancee, Margites Daniel Andersson.
A statue of Ersdotter now stands at the square where she used to work in Stockholm—a testament to a bizarre bit of history.