Stories from the Finnish Epic: The Kalevala
Chapter 6 - The Search For Three Magic Words as told by Cathryn Fairlee.
as told at the Seattle Storytellers Guild Epic Event
at the Nordic Heritage Museum on March 25th, 2017.
(Click to listen: 12 Minutes)
Cathryn Fairlee, a northern Californian, has been performing nationally and internationally
since 1982. She founded Epic Day and served the boards of National Storytelling Network.
Find out more at www.sonic.net/~cfair
(Part of XVI and XVII)
Vainämöinen goes to Tuonela (the realm of the dead ) to find the words. Tuonetar (The daughter of Tuoni) is washing her clothes by the river and asks Väinämöinen why he wishes to travel to Tuonela, he lies at first but finally tells the truth. Tuonetar warns him that he is foolish and advises him to return home, but Väinämöinen does not listen. Then old Väinämöinen slips into death’s domain but does not find the magic words he seeks and through his own magic, he manages to escape and warns all never to go willingly to Tuonela.
Väinämöinen on his return visits the ancient smith Ilmarinen to find where the old giant Antero Vipunen is. Ilmarinen tells him not to go but Väinämöinen goes looking anyway.
Väinämöinen finds the location of Vipunen, who is now covered in trees and other plant life. He forces his strong steel stake into Vipunen's mouth which wakes him and Väinämöinen is swallowed whole by the giant. Väinämöinen crafts a skiff and sails end to end in Vipunen's body and begins to work metal in the stomach of the giant. Vipunen grows concerned and tries to rid his body of Väinämöinen but the ancient wizard will only leave when he has the ancient words he requires.
Vipunen recites ancient spells and incantations from the dawn of the world and when he had finished Väinämöinen leaves Vipunen's body and continues on home, he completes his grand boat with no assistance from hammer or saw. Väinämöinen sets off to Pohjola to woo the beauteous Northland maiden.