Finnish Legends for English Children | Annotated Tale

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Restoration of the Sun and Moon, The

THOUGH the Fire had been restored to Kalevala, still the golden Moon and the silver Sun were lost, and the frost came and killed the crops, and the cattle began to die of hunger. Every living thing felt sick and faint in the dark, dreary world. Then one of the maidens of Kalevala suggested to Ilmarinen to make a moon of gold and a sun of silver, and to hang them up in the heavens; so Ilmarinen set to work. While he was forging them, Wainamoinen came and asked what he was working at, and so Ilmarinen told him that he was going to make a new sun and moon. But Wainamoinen said: 'This is mere folly, for silver and gold will not shine like the sun and moon.' Still Ilmarinen worked on, and at length he had forged a moon of gold and a sun of silver, and hung them in their places in the sky. But they gave no light, as Wainamoinen had said.

               Then Wainamoinen determined to find out where the sun and moon had gone. So he cut three chips from an alder-tree, and laying them on the ground before him, he cast many magic spells over them. Then when all was ready, he asked the alder-chips to tell him truly where the sun and moon were hid. The alder-chips then answered, that they were hidden in the caverns of the mountains of Pohjola.

               No sooner had Wainamoinen heard this, than he made ready for a journey and started off for the dismal Northland. When he had travelled three days and was come to the borders of Pohjola, he found a wide river in the road and no boat to cross over in. So he built a huge fire on the shore, and soon such a dense column of smoke arose that Louhi sent some one to see what was the matter. But when Wainamoinen called to the messenger to bring him a boat, the man made no reply, but hurried back to Louhi and told her that it was Wainamoinen, who was coming to her house.

               Then Wainamoinen saw that he could never get across in that way, so he changed himself into a pike and swam over very easily, and then changed back to his own shape when he had reached the opposite shore. He hastened on with mighty strides, and soon reached Louhi's dwelling. There he was met as if he were a most honoured guest, and they invited him into the hall. Wainamoinen went in unsuspectingly, but no sooner was he inside than he found himself surrounded by crowds of armed warriors.

               The warriors asked him in a threatening tone why he had come thither. But Wainamoinen was not frightened, but answered boldly that he had come to seek the Sun and the Moon. Then the chief of the warriors replied: 'We have the Sun and Moon safe in a mountain cavern, and thou shalt never get them back, nor shalt thou leave this hall alive.' No sooner had he finished speaking than Wainamoinen drew his magic sword, and fell upon those that stood between him and the door. They gave way before him, and in a moment he was out in the courtyard, where he could have room to fight fairly. All the warriors rushed at him with drawn swords and lifted spears, and the fire flashed from their weapons. But Wainamoinen was more than a match for all of them, and in a very short time he had stretched them all lifeless on the ground.

               Then he left the court and hastened on to find the Sun and Moon. Soon he came to a solitary birch-tree, and beside the tree stood a carved pillar of stone, which concealed an opening in the rocks. Wainamoinen gave three blows with his magic sword, and the pillar broke in pieces, showing behind it an entrance into the rock; but the entrance was shut by a massive door, and there was only a little crack through which he could peep. Inside he saw the Sun and Moon prisoners, but though he tried with all his strength and all his magic spells to open the door, it still remained tightly shut, and he could not budge it so much as an inch.

               Wainamoinen began to despair of ever succeeding in liberating the Sun and Moon, and he hastened off home to ask for Ilmarinen's help. He directed him to forge a whole set of skeleton-keys, so that some one of them would fit the lock of the door to the Sun's prison. Ilmarinen went to work and soon his anvil was ringing merrily to the blows of his hammer.

               Now Louhi had grown very much alarmed after Wainamoinen had slain all her warriors, and so she assumed the shape of an eagle and flew away to Kalevala to see what was going on there. She heard the merry ring of Ilmarinen's work and flew down and lit in the window of the smithy. There she asked what he was doing, and the cunning Ilmarinen replied: 'I am forging a collar of steel for the neck of evil Louhi, and with it I shall bind her fast to the rocks.'

               Louhi was terribly alarmed at this, so she flew off to Pohjola and released the Sun and Moon from prison immediately, and sent them up to their places in the heavens. Then the silver sunlight and the golden moonlight returned once more to Kalevala, and Ilmarinen, and Wainamoinen, and all the people offered up a prayer that they might never again be deprived of the blessed Sun and Moon.

               'It would have served old Louhi right if Ilmarinen had made a steel collar and put it round her neck,' said Mimi. 'But I'm so glad that Wainamoinen always got the best of it,' she added.

               'There was one time when he was defeated, however,' said Father Mikko, 'and now I shall tell it you. It is the last story, and is about Wainamoinen's departure from Kalevala.' So he began.

Bibliographic Information

Tale Title: Restoration of the Sun and Moon, 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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