Stories from the Finnish Epic: The Kalevala
Chapter 15 - The Destruction Of The Sampo as told by Ingrid Nixon.
as told at the Seattle Storytellers Guild Epic Event
at the Nordic Heritage Museum on March 25th, 2017.
(Click to listen: 10 Minutes)
Ingrid Nixon is an award-winning, world traveling storyteller
celebrating her Finnish roots and sisu in today's performance.
Find out more at www.IngridNixon.com
(Runos XLIII and XLIV)
Louhi, filled with rage, prepares her army for battle, she loads a great warship and sets sail to find and take the Sampo. Väinämöinen asks Lemminkäinen to climb the mast of the ship and check for anything out of the ordinary, Lemminkäinen sees nothing but a dark horizon behind the ship to the north. Väinämöinen asks again for Lemminkäinen to check the situation, he reports of a vast forest to the north and an island to the south, Väinämöinen states there is no forest to the north and asks Lemminkäinen to check again this time he spies a ship making chase. Väinämöinen orders Ilmarinen and Lemminkäinen to row with the other oarsmen as hard as they can to escape their pursuers, but they could not widen the distance.
Väinämöinen casts a spark from his flint to the sea and utters words of magic to create a huge mountain in the sea to sink the boat of Pohja, this effort works and the boat and its crew are dragged to the bottom of the ocean. Louhi however changes form into a giant eagle made from the remains of the boat, she seats a hundred swordsmen on her back and continues the pursuit of Väinämöinen and his heroes.
Louhi the eagle lands on the highest mast of Väinämöinen's ship, Ilmarinen prays to Ukko for help and protection while Väinämöinen asks Louhi once again if she will share the Sampo however she refuses again. She then attacks and swoops down to steal the Sampo in her talons but Lemminkäinen draws his sword and injures her. Väinämöinen fearing the worst may happen tears the rudder from the ship and strikes Louhi, striking her army from her back and causing her to fall, she takes one more grab at the Sampo and drops it into the sea where it sinks and breaks into pieces.
Louhi still furious warns Väinämöinen that she seek revenge against his people and flies away weeping, to return to Pohjola. Väinämöinen rejoices when he returns home, takes the pieces of the Sampo which washed up on his beaches and prays to Ukko to always protect his people from evil and famine and disease and to protect them from Louhi and her armies.
Väinämöinen wishes to sing again, but laments that his harp is lost to the kingdom of Vellamo. He goes to Ilmarinen and asks him to forge him a giant rake to dredge the sea bed. Väinämöinen goes to a boat shed and addresses the younger of the two boats housed there, he commands the young boat to go to the place where his harp was lost, he begins to search for his lost harp, but to no avail.
Väinämöinen makes his way home and meets a weeping birch tree, he asks why it is weeping and the birch replies that it is sad because it is treated badly by the people, it is stripped of its bark and leaves and never feels safe to settle. Väinämöi
nen proceeds to make a new kantele from the wood of the sacred birch and strings of golden hair from a joyful maiden.
Väinämöinen proceeds to play the new harp which sounds so beautiful it causes the people of Kalevala to leave whatever they are doing and come to hear, old and young, male and female, they all listen and weep with joy. The same happens with the folk of Northland. The music is so fantastic even the animals themselves come to hear. Väinämöinen plays for three solid days.
© 2017 - Barry McWilliams and Seattle Storytellers Guild