In memory of Sissel Skramstad

When Worlds Collide

Last night a new star was lit in the heavens above us. It is a black day for us here at Volcanocafé.

A few weeks ago one of us suffered a major heart attack and had to be put in induced coma. After weeks of struggle Sissel Skramstads big warm heart lost the struggle and we are left without her kindness, wisdom and fortitude.

For those who did not know her Sissel was one of the people who helped to create this place and she is the one who helped to administrate the site from the humble beginning. She helped to make this place into what it is today.

She chose to mostly toil away quietly in the background, cleaning up the place and keeping the rest of us in line. In a way she was always our moral compass, and the one who gave us all the sheep.

Sissel was always there for her friends, many a good night we have spent chatting away on various silly and serious subjects. We at Volcanocafé will forever miss her.

Below is a repost of our favourite article from her, it is also the only one we have posted that was not about volcanoes. It perfectly sums up our Sissel.

We kindly ask that everyone keep this missive for messages of condolence and that the regular comments be kept to the Update-article.



The Little Prince


This is a small temporary post meant to inspire and amuse us as we are waiting for Carl to return from his journey. It is about the three smallest volcanoes ever discovered and the asteroid (small planet) where they are situated, as well as the young boy who owns it – and about friendship.

“The Little Prince” was written by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry and first published in 1943.

The boys little planet is as big as a house and has the name B-612. He spends the day caring for his planet, like cleaning his volcanos. He falls in love with a rose with four thorns but gets disappointed because she does not answer his love.
Still loving her he eventually decides to leave his home to find out what the rest of the
universe is like. After visiting six other asteroids he goes to Earth where he meets the
Narrator who wrote it all down.

“On the morning of his departure he put his planet in perfect order. He carefully cleaned out his active volcanoes. He possessed two active volcanoes; and they were very convenient for heating his breakfast in the morning. He also had one volcano that was extinct. But, as he said, “One never knows!” So he cleaned out the extinct volcano, too. If they are well cleaned out, volcanoes burn slowly and steadily, without any eruptions. Volcanic eruptions are like fires in a chimney.
On our earth we are obviously much too small to clean out our volcanoes.
That is why they bring no end of trouble upon us.”

To the Narrators surprise, the first thing the boy asks him is to draw a sheep. The
Narrator fails, and at last draws a box. But to his surprise, the boy is delighted with the

This is only his box. The sheep you asked for is inside.”                   littleprincesheep3
I was very surprised to see a light break over the face of my
young judge:

“That is exactly the way I wanted it! Do you think that this
sheep  will have to have a
great deal of grass?”
“Because where I live everything is very small. . . ”
“There will surely be enough grass for him,” I said. “It is a very small sheep that I have given you.”
He bent his head over the drawing: “Not so small that– Look! He has gone to sleep. . .

On Earth the boy meets the Fox, which asks the boy to tame it in order to be his friend:

“One only understands the things that one tames,” said the fox. “Men have no more time to understand anything. They buy things all ready made at the shops. But there is no shop anywhere where one can buy friendship, and so men have no friends any more. If you want a friend, tame me. . ”

The fox shares his wisdom with the Prince before the two separate.

“And now here is my secret, a very simple secret: It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye.” “Men have forgotten this truth,” said the fox. “But you must not forget it. You become responsible, forever, for what you have tamed. You are responsible for your rose. . . ”

The inevitable moment comes that the Prince goes back to his asteroid, leaving the
Narrator behind in deep grief. To read the whole story, get the book.
A pdf version (source of the italic quotes) can be found at:

At the first glance this book seems to be written for children, but I think it was even
more meant for adults. The message to all who live in the vicinity of a volcano and
especially to their authorities:
Be cautious, because: “One never knows!”

Sissel Skramstad

The link Sissel gave for the book is no longer active. The book can now be found here

26 thoughts on “In memory of Sissel Skramstad

    • Sleep well and I hope you will dream beautifully. We shall miss you, dear friend.

      (Thank you Carl for your beautiful words.)

  1. Well, that explains the ducks.

    Somewhere off in the distance I can hear a lot of them chattering back and forth, partially masked by the wind in the trees. They are a bit more talkative than normal, and it makes for a very calm and peaceful setting as my dog wanders around the yard looking for something to sniff. It reminds me of home.

    Best wishes in your new travels Sissel. Take care.

  2. Rest in peace. Always interesting , positive and engaging.
    I don’t comment much – I soak up the knowledge and atmosphere.
    Sissel is a presence that will be missed

  3. Sleep well Sissel, and when the time comes, make some room on that little asteroid of yours, Who knows, you might have some visitors. 🙂

  4. We will miss you. Rest in Peace Your many contributions have left us a sweet memory.

  5. Sissel was part of our family of volcanoholics, I hope her other family gets to see that her contribution here will remain as a layer in the sediments of the volcanocafe, and will not be forgotten until the cafe itself subducts and becomes melt.

  6. It is with a heavy heart and a tearful eye that I learn this sad news. Maybe she is now in a higher place where she has gained the knowedge of volcanoes that we all seek. Wouldn’t she have fun laughing at our speculations and guesses! My condolences to her family and friends. I raise my glass, dear Sissel, In memory of good times in the Cafe. Shleep well.

  7. Godspeed Sissel! I love the notion of a new star shining down upon us!

  8. Oh how sad. I shall miss Sissel greatly. My best wishes to her family and I’ll remember her always as a central part of Volcanocafe.

    • A central volcano… I like that.

      She did dominate our intellectual fissure swarm. 🙂

  9. Sissel’s spirit will always be with us. I admire her fight against environmentally disastrous uses of pesticides and her wicked sense of humour. I like to believe that her spirit will not be resting in peace but peacefully being very busy whispering into the minds of environmental decision makers around the world. I also would like to name the next Little Black Swan that erupts surprisingly wherever……… Sissel.

    • I second that, Sissel’s spirit will always be part of all of us on VC, sleeping, I think not, being busy cleaning up volcanoes and giving us a heads up more likely, R.I.P.

  10. A sad time for us all. Good to know Sissel’s spirit will live on within the warm embrace of the VC community.

  11. A lady of grace, charm and friendship. Godspeed on your new journey. You touched a lot of lives on this side. Prayers for you and your loved ones. Regards –

  12. When I was oh, 8 years old I and my Auntie were out in the back yard of our old NE Oregon farm house. It was a warm august night and the
    milky way was hovering over us like a great starry, blanket.
    Auntie said “I am so afraid of that immense, unknown universe.!”
    “Aren’t you afraid ?” “No.” I replied, “That is home.” “I want to go
    out there. ”
    Well Sissel , Prayers to your family, and remember: “first star to the
    right, straight on ’til morning.” “Engage.”

  13. Very sad news. I shall fondly remember Sissel for those the late night, erm all weekenders, when desperately trying to solve those pesky Friday riddles. A companion in exasperation and in laughter.Thank you Sissel.

  14. This is indeed very sad news.

    Sissel and I had many an email on things other than comments herein, especially on wildlife matters. I’ll never forget – and have saved – Sissel’s pictures of red squirrels running round her garden, when she first said there were Eekhoorns in her garden, I had no idea what they were!
    May we meet I the next life, there to continue our ‘chats’.

    To our Queen of the Riddles, may you rest in peace

    God bless

    Alan C

    (released from the dungeon /Hobbes)

  15. I just read of Sissel’s passing. I’ve enjoyed her writings since the beginning. R.I.P., friend.

  16. Really sad news. Don’t post much but read a lot. Sissel was always there and will be missed by me and many others. My very best wishes to her family at this sad time.

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