Finnish Legends for English Children | Annotated Tale

COMPLETE! Entered into SurLaLune Database in July 2018 with all known ATU Classifications.

Lemminkainen's Second Wooing

AFTER this Lemminkainen travelled on through dismal Pohjola until he came to the home of aged Louhi. He went in to Louhi and begged her to give him one of her daughters in marriage, but Louhi refused, saying: 'Thou hast already taken one wife from Lapland, the fair Kyllikki, and I will give thee neither the loveliest nor yet the ugliest of my daughters.'

               Still Lemminkainen kept urging her, and at last, to get rid of him, she said: 'I will never give one of my daughters to a worthless man. Thou mayst not ask me again until thou bringest me the Hisi-reindeer.'

               Then Lemminkainen set to work to make his arrows and his darts. When these were done he went to Lylikki, the great snow-shoe maker, and bade him make a huge pair of snow-shoes, as he was going to hunt the Hisi-reindeer. At first Lylikki tried to dissuade him, telling him he could never succeed, but perhaps would die in the forest. But Lemminkainen ordered him again to make the snow-shoes, and Lylikki set to work. He made them of wood, only a few inches wide, but longer than Lemminkainen was tall, and with straps in the middle to fasten them on to the feet; and he also made a staff for Lemminkainen to push himself along with, or to keep his balance with when he slid down the hills.

               At length they were finished, and Lemminkainen put them on, and his quiver on his back, and took his snow-staff in his hand, and as he set off he cried out: 'There is no living thing in all the forest that can escape me now, when I take my mighty strides in Lylikki's snow-shoes.'

               But the evil spirit Hisi overheard him as he boasted thus, and Hisi set to work to make an enchanted reindeer, that Lemminkainen would never be able to catch. So he took bare willow branches to make the horns, and wood for the head, the feet and legs were made of reeds, and the veins from withered grass, the eyes were made from daisies, the ears from flowers, and the skin of the rough fir-bark, and the muscles from strong, sappy wood. When this magic reindeer was completed it was the swiftest and the finest-looking of all reindeer. And Hisi sent it off to Pohjola, telling it to lure Lemminkainen into the snow-covered mountains and there to wear him out with the cold and the fatigue of the chase. So the reindeer went forth to dismal Pohjola, and there it ran through the courtyards and the outhouses, overturning tubs of water, throwing the kettles from their hooks, and upsetting the dishes that were cooking before the fires. There was a frightful noise there, for all the dogs began to bark, and the children to cry, and the women to laugh, and the men to shout. And then the magic reindeer went on its way.

               Now Lemminkainen had set out, as soon as his snow-shoes were ready, and had hunted the whole world over for a trace of the Hisi-reindeer, rushing like the wind over mountains and valleys, until the fire shot from his snow-shoes, and his snow-staff smoked. But after he had wandered over the whole world and still had found no trace of the Hisi-reindeer, he came at last to the corner of Northland where the magic animal had just run through the courts upsetting everything, and the children were still crying and the women laughing when he arrived. Lemminkainen asked what the cause was of their uproar, and they told him how the reindeer had been there.

               No sooner had he heard this than off he flew over the snow, and as he went he sang a spell, calling on the powers of Pohjola to enable him to catch the Hisi-beast. After he had sung, he gave three huge strides with his snow-shoes, and at the end of the third he caught up with the Hisi-reindeer, and in another moment had it bound fast. Then he spoke to the reindeer and patted it on the head, and bade it come with him to Louhi. But suddenly the animal made a mighty rush, snapped his bonds in two, and sprang away over the hills and valleys out of sight.

               Lemminkainen started off after it, but at the first step his snow-shoes broke right in two and threw him down, breaking his arrows and his snow-staff in his fall. Then he arose and looked sadly at his broken shoes and arrows and stick, and said to himself: 'How shall I ever succeed in my hunt, now that my shoes are broken, and the reindeer is once more free?'

Bibliographic Information

Tale Title: Lemminkainen's Second Wooing
Tale Author/Editor: Eivind, R.
Book Title: Finnish Legends for English Children
Book Author/Editor: Eivind, R.
Publisher: T. Fisher Unwin
Publication City: London
Year of Publication: 1893
Country of Origin: Finland
Classification: unclassified

Back to Top