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  • After a savage seafaring skirmish

  • and eight long days of being battered by waves,

  • inämöinen— a powerful bard and sage as old as the world itself

  • washed up on the shores of distant Pohjola.

  • Unlike his home Kalevala, Pohjola was a dark and frozen land,

  • ruled by Louhi, “the gap-tooth hag of the North."

  • The cunning witch nursedinämöinen back to health

  • but demanded a reward for returning him home.

  • Not content with mere gold or silver,

  • Louhi wanted what did not yet existthe Sampo.

  • To be forged fromthe tips of white-swan feathers," “the milk of greatest virtue,"

  • “a single grain of barley," andthe finest wool of lambskins,"

  • this artifact was said to be an endless font of wealth.

  • Butinämöinen knew that only Seppo Ilmarinen,

  • the Eternal Hammerer who forged the sky-dome itself,

  • could craft such an object.

  • So he convinced Louhi to send him home and fetch the smith.

  • Though the journey was far from easy, the bard finally made it back to Kalevala.

  • But Ilmarinen refused to go to the gloomy North— a land of witches and man-eaters.

  • But keeping true to his word,

  • inämöinen tricked Ilmarinen into climbing a giant tree,

  • before summoning a mighty storm to carry the smith all the way to Pohjola.

  • Ilmarinen was well received in the North.

  • Louhi lavished her guest with extravagant hospitality

  • and promised him the hand of her beautiful daughter

  • if he could craft what she wished.

  • When she finally asked if Ilmarinen was capable of forging the Sampo,

  • the powerful smith declared he could indeed accomplish the task.

  • But try as he might to bend the forge to his will,

  • its fires only produced other artifacts

  • beautiful in appearance but ill-mannered in nature.

  • An elegant crossbow that thirsted for blood

  • and a gleaming plow that ruined cultivated fields among others.

  • Finally, Ilmarinen summoned the winds themselves to work the bellows,

  • and in three days time he pulled the Sampo,

  • with its lid of many colors from the forge’s flames.

  • On its sides the smith carefully crafted a grain mill, a salt mill,

  • and a money mill.

  • Louhi was so delighted with the object’s limitless productive power

  • that she ran off to lock her treasure inside a mountain.

  • But when Ilmarinen tried to claim his prize,

  • the promised maiden refused to marry him, and the smith had to return home alone.

  • Years passed, and while Pohjola prospered,

  • Ilmarinen andinämöinen were without wives or great wealth.

  • Bitter about this injustice, the bard proposed a quest to retrieve the Sampo,

  • and the two sailed north with the help of Lemminkäinen

  • a beautiful young man with a history of starting trouble.

  • Upon arrival, Väinämöinen requested half the Sampo’s profits as compensation

  • or they’d take the artifact by force.

  • Outraged at this request, Louhi summoned her forces to fight the heroes.

  • But as her army readied for war, the bard played his magic harp, Kantele,

  • entrancing all who heard it and sending Pohjola into a deep slumber.

  • Unimpeded, the three men took the Sampo and quietly made their escape.

  • Lemminkäinen was ecstatic at their success,

  • and demanded thatinämöinen sing of their triumph.

  • The bard refused, knowing the dangers of celebrating too early.

  • But after three days of traveling, Lemminkäinen’s excitement overwhelmed him,

  • and he recklessly broke out in song.

  • His awful singing voice woke a nearby crane,

  • whose screeching cries roused the Pohjolan horde.

  • The army made chase.

  • As their warship closed in, Väinämöinen raised a rock to breach their hull.

  • Undeterred, Louhi transformed into a giant eagle,

  • carrying her army on her back as they attacked the heroesvessel.

  • She managed to grab the Sampo in her claw,

  • but just as quickly, it dropped into the sea, shattering into pieces

  • and sinking deep beyond her talon’s reach.

  • Buried on the ocean floor,

  • the remnants of this powerful device remain in the realm of Ahti, god of water

  • where they grind salt for the seas to this very day.

After a savage seafaring skirmish

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B2 TED-Ed bard smith mill refused north

The myth of the Sampo— an infinite source of fortune and greed - Hanna-Ilona Härmävaara

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    林宜悉 posted on 2020/03/21
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