This volume of tales from the north concentrates on Finland. Many of these stories have their roots in the folklore of Finnish paganism, and they have many features shared with fellow Finnic Estonian mythology and other Uralic fables. Finnish folklore also shares some similarities with neighbouring Baltic, Slavic and to a lesser extent, Norse mythologies.
Much of Finnish mythology survived within an oral tradition of mythical poem-singing and folklore well into the 19th century. One of my favourite aspects of Finnish mythology is the wonderful sense of darkness at its heart.
These stories come from collectors such as Andrew Lang and his Coloured Fairy Books, the elusive R. Eivind’s Finnish Legends for English Children and Zacharias Topelius and The Birch and the Star, and Other Stories. Most derive from legendary cycles such as the Song of the Kalevala and earlier collections such as the Lapplandische Märchen. As ever, my voyage of discovery through these stories has been a delight.
Clive, Bath, 2018