from Wonder Tales from Baltic Wizards from the German and English by Francis Jenkins Olcott
“LISTEN now, O ye Lapp People!” cried the Red-Haired Wizard of Finland finishing this story. “Later I shall tell you another tale:
Tell you all of Ilmarinen,
Mighty Blacksmith, mighty forger,
Who could wield the Magic Hammer,
Weld the wondrous Magic Sampo,
Woo the mocking Rainbow Maiden.
Ilmarinen, strongest Wizard!
CLING! CLING! CLING! CLANG! CLING! Listen to the Red-Haired Wizard of the Land of a Thousand Lakes!
In those first Golden Days, Vainamoinen, thinking bitterly on the Rainbow Maiden and her mocking, snapped his whip adorned with jewels, urged on his racing steed so that the snow-sledge creaked and rattled, and sped like lightning through fens and forests, over hills, through valleys, over marshes and mountains, over plains and meads, till at last he came to the Land of Heroes.
Then the Great Wizard began his Magic Incantations. He sang till a giant Fir Tree wondrous tall, grew up and pierced the clouds with its golden branches. Its shining limbs spread far and wide.
Then Vainamoinen sang again; sang the moon into the tree-top, sang the Great Bear’s Stars entangled in its branches. Then he urged on his steed and hastened home to the heather-clad meadow in the Land of Heroes. He raced his steed up to Ilmarinen’s smithy, and halted his sledge. He heard the breaking of coal, the roar of the bellows, and the blows of the Heavy Magic Hammer. The Great Wizard entered, and found Ilmarinen beating with his copper hammer on his forge.
“Welcome, Brother Wizard!” said Ilmarinen. “Why have you been gone so long? Where have you been hiding?”
“Many dreary days have I been wandering,” answered Vainamoinen, “floating on the opal sea, and weeping in fens and woodlands. I have been visiting the Lapland folk, who are full of Magic. There I saw a lovely Maiden, who has refused the hand of many Heroes. All Lapland sings her praises. From her temples streams the moonlight, from her breast the sunshine, from her forehead shines a rainbow. On her neck sparkles a circlet of stars. Ilmarinen, go and see her! See her robes of silver and gold! See her seated on a bright rainbow and walking on purple clouds! If you will forge the Sampo for her, with its lid of many colors, you can win her and bring home a bride to your smithy.”
“I know you, cunning, crafty Vainamoinen!” shouted Ilmarinen. “You have already promised me to the Lapland Witch to get yourself out of trouble! I will not go to see the Maiden. I will never go to dreary Lapland, where they eat one another.”
“O, I can tell you of even a greater wonder!” said the crafty Vainamoinen. “I have seen a lofty wondrous Fir Tree with golden summit piercing the clouds. The moon and the Great Bear’s stars are entangled in its branches.”
“I won’t believe your story,” cried Ilmarinen, “unless I see the tree!”
“Come with me, and I will show it to you,” said Vainamoinen.
Quickly they went to view the tree. Ilmarinen strode on before. He spied the glittering stars and gleaming moonlight entangled in its branches.
“Climb the tree, O Ilmarinen!” called Vainamoinen. “Bring down the golden moonshine and the Bear!”
And Ilmarinen straightway climbed and climbed and climbed the golden Fir Tree to the clouds.
Then quickly the Great Wizard began his Magic Incantations, sang a Magic Song of power, and summoned the Storm Wind to his help. He sang the Storm Wind blowing fiercely through the sky, sang:
Take, O Storm Wind, Ilmarinen!
In thy boat, O Wind, convey him,
In thy skiff, O Wind, remove him,
Quickly carry hence the Wizard,
To the very dreary Lapland,
To the gloomy Land of Witches.
And the Storm Wind darkened and made a boat of its clouds. It enfolded Ilmarinen, and sailed with him through the air to Lapland. Fast and furious travelled Ilmarinen in his cloud-boat, sweeping
onward ever northward, till he alighted near the house of Louhi, the Old Witch.
Overjoyed she came out to meet him. She led him inside, and seated him at a well-filled table, that groaned with good things to eat. After she had fed him, she said:
“O Wizard Blacksmith, Ilmarinen, master of all forges and smithies! Can you forge the Magic Sampo with its lid of many colors and its many many pictures, from the tips of the white swan’s wingplumes, from the magic milk of virtue, from a single grain of barley, from the finest wool of lambkins? If so, I will give you my lovely daughter the Rainbow Maiden.”
“Yes!” replied Ilmarinen. “I will forge the Magic Sampo with its lid of many colors and its many many pictures.”
Then Ilmarinen, the mighty smith, hastened to set up his smithy on a large, colored rock. He built a fire and made a chimney. He laid his bellows and built a furnace.
Into the furnace he put the tips of a white swan’s wing-plumes, the magic milk of virtue, a single grain of barley, and the finest wool of lambkins. Many wondrous forms, from day to day, these took within the furnace– first a golden crossbow with the brightness of moonbeams, then a purple skiff with copper oars, then a heifer with golden horns, then a beautiful plow, with handles of molten silver. But each was evil and did great mischief, till Ilmarinen broke them up and cast them back into the fire.
Then on the third day, Ilmarinen bending low, looked into the glowing furnace and saw the Magic Sampo rising with its lid of many colors. Quickly with tongs he drew it from the fire, and beat and forged it on his anvil, beat it with his Magic Hammer.
So was forged the wondrous Magic Sampo. And it began to grind out treasures, wealth for the old Witch Louhi. From one side, it ground out fine flour; from its other side, flowed salt; from its third side, gushed glittering money.
Joyfully the old Witch grasped the Magic Sampo, and watched it grind and grind and grind. She took it far away and hid it in a copper-bearing mountain, and laid nine locks upon it.
Then Ilmarinen claimed his bride, the lovely Rainbow Maiden, saying:
“I have forged the Sampo. Will you come with me, my dear one?”
But she mocked him with songs and laughter, till he stood with bowed head, dejected, full of shame. And then the crafty old Witch, her Mother, put him in a copper boat. She sang the North Wind to her help. The North Wind came roaring furiously, and blew the copper boat to the Land of Heroes, to the smithy on the heather-clad meadow.
LISTEN to the Red-Haired Wizard of the Land of a Thousand Lakes!
“Hear, O you Lapland people:
If you’d know how Ilmarinen
Gained the Rainbow Maiden scornful,
Set her on his Sledge of Magic,
Bore her off unto his smithy–
Read and sing the Kalevala;
Hero song of Finland’s Wizards,
Magic Song from Land of Heroes!
If you’d know about the Sampo,
Magic Sampo, grinding ever,
Grinding treasures, grinding riches;
Know about the mighty battles,
Heroes’ battles for the Sampo–
Read and sing the Kalevala,
Hero Song of Finland’s Wizards,
Magic Song of Land of Heroes!