Finnish Legends for English Children | Annotated Tale

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Sampo Is Lost in the Sea, The

BUT when Louhi found that all her magic had failed, she assembled all her warriors, and embarked them in her largest ship, and herself sailed off to recapture the Sampo by force of arms. Before long they came in sight of Wainamoinen's vessel, and when he saw that Louhi was pursuing him with such a mighty host of warriors, he cried out to Ilmarinen and Lemminkainen to row with all their might, in order to escape from their pursuers. So all the rowers rowed until the vessel fairly trembled, and the foam was tossed up from the bow as high as the clouds, but still they could not gain on their pursuers.

               Then Wainamoinen saw that he must use some other means, so he took out a piece of flint from his tinder-box and dropped it into the water, saying as he did so: 'Rise up from the bottom of the sea into a mighty mountain, so that Louhi's ship may be dashed to pieces.' And suddenly a mountain of rock sprang up out of the water, and before Louhi could stop her ship it had hit upon the rocks and was wrecked.

               But Louhi was not to be outdone in magic, so she took the timbers of the ship and made from them a magic eagle, using the rudder for its tail and five sharp iron scythes for its talons. And on his wings and back she posted all her warriors, and then the magic eagle rose up into the air. It made one circle round the heavens, and then lit upon the mast of Wainamoinen's vessel, almost overturning it by its weight. Wainamoinen first prayed to Ukko for aid, and then he asked Louhi if she would consent now to divide the Sampo between them. But she scorned his offer, and the eagle made a swoop downward to pick up the Sampo in its talons. But Lemminkainen raised his sword, and no sooner had the eagle grasped the Sampo than he brought down his sword with such force that every talon was cut off but one.

               Then the eagle flew up on to the mast once more, and upbraided Lemminkainen because he had broken his promise to his mother that he would not go to war for sixty years. But Wainamoinen, believing that his last hour was come, took the rudder in his hand and struck the eagle such a mighty blow that all the warriors fell from its wings and back into the water. Then the eagle made one more swoop down upon the vessel, and, with the one talon it had left, it dragged the Sampo over the side of the ship so that it fell to the bottom of the ocean and was broken to pieces. And it is this that has brought so much wealth to the sea, for where the Sampo is there will always be wealth also. But a few pieces of the lid floated ashore to Kalevala, and it is therefore that our country has now the harvests that before that grew in the dismal Northland.

               But Louhi threatened Wainamoinen, saying: 'I will steal away thy silver moonlight and thy golden sunlight. I will send the frost and hail to kill thy crops, and will send the bear--Otso--from the forests to kill thy cattle and sheep. I will send upon thy people nine diseases, each one of them more fatal than the one before.' Then Wainamoinen replied: 'No one from dismal Northland can harm us of Kalevala, Only Ukko rules the fate of peoples, and he will guard my crops from frost and hail, and my cattle from the bear, Otso. Thou mayst hide evil people in thy Northland caverns, but thou canst never steal the Sun and Moon, and all thy frosts and plagues and bears may turn against thyself.'

               And then Louhi departed to her home, weeping for the loss of the magic Sampo, and ever since that time there have been famines and poverty in gloomy Pohjola. But Wainamoinen and the other heroes returned home rejoicing, and on the shore they found fragments of the Sampo's lid. Then Wainamoinen prayed to Ukko to be merciful and kind to them, and to protect them from frost and hail and bears, and to let the golden light of the Moon and Sun shine for ever on the plains of Kalevala.

               'Ah!' said Erik, half smiling, 'it's a great pity that the whole Sampo didn't float ashore to our country, for perhaps then there would never have been any famines in our land at all,' and he sighed as he thought of some of the hard winters in years past.

               'All is in God's hands,' said Father Mikko reverently, 'and we must take both good and ill as they come to us--it is not for us to say what we would wish. Let us be thankful that even a part of the Sampo floated hither,' he added, smiling.

               There was a few moments' silence, and then Mimi asked what Wainamoinen had done about his lost kantele, so Father Mikko went on.

Bibliographic Information

Tale Title: Sampo Is Lost in the Sea, The
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

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