Stories from the Finnish Epic: The Kalevala
Chapter 12 - The Trials of Lemminkäinen as told by Allison Cox.
as told at the Seattle Storytellers Guild Epic Event
at the Nordic Heritage Museum on March 25th, 2017.
(Click to listen: 10.5 Minutes)
Allison Cox, inspired by epic storytelling gatherings in BC, organized this event. She has been a storyteller for 35 years, edited the Healing Heart books and coordinates the Healing Story Alliance.
Find out more at www.dancingleaves.com
Louhi’s first task she assigns is for Lemminkainen to catch the elk of Hiisi. With much difficulty he succeeds, only to find out the old woman wants Hiisi’s horse now too, which he succeeds in bringing back, but now there's a third task - to shoot the Swan of Tuonela in the land of the dead. When he gets close to the river it is very hard to see in the half-light. But not so for his enemy - the blind wizard he had scorned, who may be blind, but he can hear fine. He sends a serpent to sting Lemminkainen. Tuoni's son cuts his body in pieces.
Lemminkainen's mother notices the comb of Lemminkäinen is oozing blood and sets off to Pohjola, when she arrives she demands of Louhi the location of her son, Louhi proceeds to tell her several lies, each time Lemminkäinen's mother replies with anger until Louhi tells her the truth.
The aged mother goes in search of her son’s body, she asks the trees, the path and the moon but none can help until she asks the sun, the sun tells her that he perished on the banks of the Tuoni river. She hastens to the forge of Ilmarinen and gets him to build her a giant rake of copper and steel. Lemminkäinen's mother—after getting further help from the sun—dredges the river and recovers the remains of her son. The aged mother reassembles her son and reconnects all of the parts into a complete man. She asks a tiny bee to bring her honey from heaven itself with which she salves her son and coaxes him back to life. She manages to dissuade him from continuing his ridiculous quest and they return home.
© 2017 - Barry McWilliams and Seattle Storytellers Guild