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Horses in Finnish Mythology

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"Kullervo departs for the wa"r by Akseli Gallen-Kallela

“Kullervo departs for the war” (1901) by Akseli Gallen-Kallela

“Finns have the power of darkness, Finns are wizards”

This was the cry of the Viking warriors who feared nothing…

nothing but the power of the Finns in their dark forests.

Finnish mythology most often sums up to Kalevala, the Finnish national saga constructed by Elias Lönnrot in the 19th century. He travelled  around gathering poems sung by storytellers and combined them in one book which later on became the national saga of Finland.

Horses were featured in the saga most often as quiet servants and tools of transportation, rarely starring in a poem. But there was a time when Lemminkäinen wanted to marry the maid of Pohjola, and Louhi, hostess of the Pohjola, ordered him to do tasks to prove his worthiness -one of these was to harness the fierce horse of Hiisi.

Horse of Hisi by Zaronen on Deviantart

Horse of Hiisi by Zaronen on Deviantart

Then the hero went a victor
To the dwellings of Pohyola,
And addressed these words to Louhi:
“I have caught the moose of Hisi,
In the Metsola-dominions,
Give, O hostess, give thy daughter,
Give to me thy fairest virgin,
Bride of mine to be hereafter.”
Louhi, hostess of the Northland,
Gave this answer to the suitor:
“I will give to thee my daughter,
For thy wife my fairest maiden,
When for me thou’lt put a bridle
On the flaming horse of Hisi,
Rapid messenger of Lempo,
On the Hisi-plains and pastures.”Source

You can read the entire Kalevala in English here. More about ancient Finnish mythology prior to Christianisation on Wikipedia and


One thought on “Horses in Finnish Mythology

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