Ahlswede roughly translates to eel tribesman or eel hunter. For millennia, Ahlswedes have fished eel from Northern Europe.
Eels are a “soft-finned osseous fish, strongly resembling snakes in external appearance.” (OED) Living in bogs, rivers, lakes, and seas, the eel is the aquatic doppelganger to the snake, the Biblical symbol of evil. The eel skims the earth’s alien aquatic ecosystem, where life lives by different laws, and an Ahlswede hunts the delectable, mysterious myth.
Etymology of “ahl:”
Common Germanic: Old English ǽl = Middle Dutch ael (Dutch aal), Old High German âl (German aal), Old Norse áll (Danish aal, Swedish ål) < Old Germanic *æ̂lo-z. The ultimate etymology is unknown; the hypothesis that the word is cognate with the synonymous Latin anguilla, Greek ἔγχελυς, is untenable.
Etymology of “Swede:”
< Middle Low German, Middle Dutch Swede (modern Zweed ), = High German Schwede native of Sweden n., q.v.
The Old English name was Swéon (plural), in Old Norse Svíar (Swedish Svear ), whence Latin Suiones (see Suiogothic adj. and n.), medieval Latin Swei; also Old English Swéoþéod (Swáþéod in the Peterborough Chron. ann. 1025), Old Norse Svíþjóð (= lit. Swede-people), whence, it has been conjectured, arose the forms from which Swede and Sweden are derived.
The medieval Latin forms for the name of the country are Suecia (whence Italian Svezia, Spanish Suecia, Portuguese Suecia), Suedia, and Sueonia; for the adjective of nationality Suecus (whence Spanish Sueco, Portuguese Sueco), Suecicus, and Suedus.
OED Online. June 2004. Oxford University Press. 26 January 2014.