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The Story Behind The Mysterious Woodsman In Skyrim

The Elder Scrolls 5: Skyrim is one of the bigger open-world games from the last console generation, and it's easy to sink a few hundred hours into it. The main story takes about 33 hours, but getting 100% completion can take upwards of 223 hours. The game debuted in 2011, but even the most diehard Skyrim players still may not have seen everything yet.


Oftentimes, the best content in Skyrim (and many open-world games) isn't the main questline, but rather the smaller curiosities that Bethesda has scattered throughout the game world. Pick a waypoint on the map and start walking and you'll most likely stumble on something memorable. And since Skyrim is a grim game, it'll most likely be something kind of disturbing.

One of the creepiest of Skyrim's unsolved mysteries is the unfortunate woodsman in the forest near Falkreath. Here's how to find the ill-fated wood cutter, and how he may tie into the game lore. 

The doomed woodcutter of Falkreath

Most players stumble on the woodsman while looking for The Woodsman's Friend, a two-handed battle axe that does extra damage but takes longer to swing. Head to the pine forest northeast of Falkreath and south of Lake Ilinalta. Look for a pile of felled trees, and locate one still standing. The Woodsman's Friend can be found in the foliage alongside the corpse of its former owner. 


There are no apparent clues to indicate how the wood cutter died, but the answer may be found in one of the in-game books, The Woodcutter's Wife. It tells the story of a woodcutter and his family who lived in a pine forest. One winter, a traveling mage rescued them from starvation by conjuring a large feast. But the woodcutter's wife feared there was a catch to the mage's generosity and preemptively beheaded him. The mage cursed the wife with his final breath, and she wandered the woods as a ghost with her axe in hand. 

Did the woodcutter meet his end at the hands of his ghostly wife? Possibly. Then again, between bears, spriggans, and dragon priests, there's no shortage of deadly things in Skyrim's woods.