Get to know the mythological characters and order

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Ante Aikio
Goranus Oy
Hillatie 1 E 31
99130 Levi, Finland

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Hahtezan

There once lived a man named Ahcis, who married the passionate and haughty daughter of Mannu (Moon) himself. The girl was called Hahtezan. After a time, Hahtezan became pregnant to Ahcis, but her husband was tragically murdered together with the husband of Njavezan, daughter of the Sun, before the child was born. Njavezan was pregnant at the same time as Hahtezan, and around the same time they both had their babies – Hahtezan a daughter and Njavezan a son. Njavezan’s father, Beaivi (Sun) was sorry for the widowed friends, so decided to give them wild mountain reindeer for taming. So they trained their wild reindeer, turning them into biddable beasts, and each began to tend her own herd. But Hahtezan became embittered towards Njavezan, because she had had a beautiful son and Hahtezan only a plain-looking girl. A cunning woman, Hahtezan managed to kidnap Njavezan’s child and left her own daughter in his place. Years passed, and the boy grew up into a skilled hunter and wise man. At long last, he managed to uncover his real origin, and he also revealed his knowledge to his real mother, Njavezan. The boy was so angry with his foster mother that he decided to kill both Hahtezan and her daughter. In his rage, he burned their bodies. Then, all kinds of animals began to spawn from Hahtezan’s ashes. From them arose frogs, toads, hawkmoths and other troublesome insects, like mosquitoes, warble flies and midges. The reindeer Hahtezan had domesticated also turned into these creatures after she died. She herself became an evil guardian spirit of darkness, who still rules the night side of the fells, evil spirits, and kaamos, the dark season of the year. Her most faithful friend is a big dung beetle, which is constantly by her side. She sends her nasty insects to sleep under the snow for the winter, but when the next summer comes, these pests are again eagerly sucking the blood out of humans, reindeer, and other inhabitants of the land of the Living. The spots seen on the Moon are said to depict Hahtezan and her dead daughter.

© Goranus Oy 2013. All rights reserved

 

Njavezan

There once lived a man named Njavvis, who managed to marry the beautiful daughter of Beaivi (Sun) himself. The girl was called Njavezan. After a time, Njavezan became pregnant to Njavvis, but her husband was tragically murdered together with the husband of Hahtezan, daughter of the Moon, before the child was born. Hahtezan was pregnant at the same time as Njavezan, and around the same time they both had their babies – Njavezan a son and Hahtezan a daughter. Njavezan’s father, Beaivi, was sorry for the widowed friends, so decided to give them wild mountain reindeer for taming. So they trained their wild reindeer, turning them into biddable beasts, and each began to tend her own herd. But Hahtezan became embittered towards Njavezan, because she had had a beautiful son and Hahtezan only a plain-looking girl. A cunning woman, Hahtezan managed to kidnap Njavezan’s child and left her own daughter in his place. Years passed, and the boy grew up into a skilled hunter and wise man. At long last, he managed to uncover his real origin, and he also revealed his knowledge to his real mother, Njavezan. The boy was so angry with his foster mother that he decided to kill both Hahtezan and her daughter. In his rage, he burned their bodies. Then, all kinds of animals began to spawn from Hahtezan’s ashes. Later, Hahtezan became a malevolent guardian spirit, and Njavezan after her death became a mild and bright female guardian spirit – Hahtezan’s counterpart. Njavezan created hoverflies and other pollinating insects, to provide people and wild animals with an abundance of cloudberries, lingonberries and other soft fruit to eat and even to preserve for winter. As the guardian of light, Njavezan rules the sunny side of the fells, good spirits, and the light season of the year. Her most faithful friend is a little butterfly, which always flutters at her side. Njavezan loves best of all to wander on the summery fells of the nightless night, when she can see her father, Beaivi, always in the sky giving light.

© Goranus Oy 2013. All rights reserved

 

Stallu

Stallus are big, strong creatures. They are incorrigible gluttons, who love the dishes conjured up by their wives. Their favourite meal is a soup made from human children, but they may even snack on their own animals that pull their sleds, including bears, wolves, foxes, wolverines, and even little tundra voles. As well as food, Stallus adore gold and silver, and anything else that is fine and shiny. They decorate their clothes with ornaments made from animal skulls and bones. Their long knives, leuku, are silver, and they use them to slaughter their victims ready for cooking.

Stallus have no sympathy for their victims. They cannot understand why the children they have captured cry so much when they are put in the pot. Nor do they feel pity for the daughters of humans they kidnap for their wives. Indeed, men are often forced to save their family members from Stallus' claws. It is said that whistling is heard from the depths of the forest before meeting a Stallu. On hearing that sound, the wanderer had best make a quick getaway.

Sometimes Stallus challenge men to wrestle with them, and on losing, they ask their opponent to kill them with their own knife. One should not comply with this request, however, as Stallus do not meet their ultimate death by their own blade. It is also said that some Stallus have an invisible dog, which a human must kill, having killed its master. If not, the dog will lick the Stallu’s wounds, and it will come back to life many times stronger than it was before it died.

Stallus occupied their habitats before people arrived, and perhaps that is why they are so difficult to live with. They had lived peacefully with no interference from anyone, until, after the appearance of humans, the Stallus began to cause trouble by stealing and killing their reindeer. Mannu (Moon) is said to be their father. That is why they prefer winter to summer and like night-time better than the light of day.


© Goranus Oy 2013. All rights reserved

 

Water Draug

Water Draug is the ghost of a drowned person. It is embittered towards humans for its fate and wants to avenge its death to all the Living it happens to come across. That is why people and animals are best keeping as far as possible away from its habitat. It often tries to lure people to drown into its underwater realm. It is especially interested in children, who would otherwise have a long life ahead of them. The children’s parents must instruct them and take care that they do not go alone to swim or play by the water, as then the Draug could snatch them and take them to the depths. All in all, Water Draug is a very gloomy, bored and desolate creature that has no mercy. Never again can it regain the life of a Living being, therefore it feels that no other beings deserve to live normal lives either. The creature lives in rivers, lakes, seas and even in smaller waters, such as ponds and wells. It is often heard to call from the water, but catching sight of it is very much rarer. Those who have seen Water Draug say that it has the naked body of a man or a woman, with a long nose, big mouth, or long hair. Some speak of water weeds growing on its body. The sightings differ greatly from each other, and nobody has got to eye Water Draug very closely. One time, a Water Draug heard a man asking his fishing cronies for a knife to gut his fish. It heard the request word-for-word, and began to repeat the man’s question from the lake. The man got fed up with listening to the Draug’s repeating and decided to take action. He boiled a potful of water and hid behind boulders on the shore, waiting for the caller to come. At last Water Draug came ashore, and the man poured the boiling water from the rock over the creature. It ran screaming back into the water and was never again heard calling from the lake.

© Goranus Oy 2013. All rights reserved

 

Skaimmadas

The Skaimmadas are supernatural guardians of the water and at the same time elders of their fish tribes. Each fish species, such as lavaret, pike, trout and perch, has its own elders, watching over their smaller kin and at the same time regulating their fishing. These fish rulers are much bigger than humans. It is said that specimens the length of boats have been seen. Consequently, many have suspected that the creature swimming around the lake is not a fish at all, but a whale, familiar from the seas. Skaimmadas may be met in all kinds of lakes, both smaller and larger, but they seem to particularly inhabit the depths of ‘double-bottomed’ Saivo lakes. By nature, they are cruel, quick to anger, and at times pretty vengeful. If fishermen overfish their lakes, the revenge may be pretty ferocious. They can raise a wind on the open lake and whip it up into a storm that tosses boats around until they sink. And even when fishermen have honoured Skaimmadas and caught fish for food, keeping to its rules, it may have surfaced to give them a fright. Some believe that the mere sight of it portends disaster. The Skaimmadas value peace and quiet above all else and become cross if they hear people making a racket and yelling on their lake shores. Therefore, people must move quietly and remain silent near lakes where they know these beasts lurk. Sometimes, the Skaimmadas listen carefully to what people say about their home lake. There was one pike-elder, said to have a disproportionately large head and a pair of backwards-slanting antlers upon it, that heard fishermen call the pike in its lake skinny rubbish fish. As soon as it heard the insults, it had ferociously attacked the nets set by the men and torn them to shreds. Sometimes, all the fish vanish from Skaimmadas’s lakes into thin air. Then people say they have either eaten all the fish in their lake or taken them far into the depths. But fishermen have found a way of buttering up the Skaimmadas. They trap a really juicy bird and throw it into the lake, feathers and all. Poultry is said to be the Skaimmadas’s favourite snack. Not one fish-elder has ever been heard to get caught in fishermen’s traps. Indeed, few would dare to try to catch them…

© Goranus Oy 2013. All rights reserved

 

Gufittar

Gufittars are a mythical people, often talked about around eveningtime campfires and at bedtime. They live unseen by humans in the Saivo world, which is an inverse world beneath our feet. Only a few people have had the opportunity of meeting them. Tales are often spun about handsome reindeer and beautiful Gufittar maidens, compared to whom human girls look something like the creations carved with an axe by Stallu. The ‘earthly’ wealth of the Gufittars is an object of fascination for people, as they have all heard about their treasure, fur coats made from snow-white reindeer skins, enormous reindeer herds, and jewellery that sparkles as brightly as the starry sky and northern lights.

It is even rumoured that a human has once or twice managed to steal some of the Gufittars’ reindeer, when they and their herds have strayed to graze in the land of the Living. Gufittars’ reindeer can be stolen by throwing a leuku or some other bladed object over their backs, whereupon they become the property of the human. The stolen reindeer are usually spotted by other people, and that is the reason why the tales of the Gufittars' existence persist; everybody knows that reindeer of such noble bearing and unusual colouring are never found in reindeer herds in the world of the Living. Gufittars are a little smaller than humans, but so much the prettier, although in other respects they are like humans. They have a tendency for extravagant lifestyles with frequent feasts, where the tables groan with the finest fare: roast smoked reindeer, black puddings made with reindeer stomachs, reindeer brain cakes, cloudberry jam, fried spring geese and meat stew containing various kinds of wild berries, like bilberries and crowberries. Some Gufittars are very fine joiku-singers, and many humans have learned impressive joikus when staying with them.

© Goranus Oy 2013. All rights reserved

 

Lihatontta

People tell a Stallu and Tontta apart because Stallus are pretty much like humans, with a pair of eyes. A Tontta only has one eye. Tonttas have been described as very malevolent spirit folk, but in fact they, too, are guardian spirits of sorts. In fact, they take good care of the things they have taken upon themselves to look after. They do serious harm to strangers in order to bring good things to those they have decided to guard. However, Tonttas have their superior: their supreme god Olle Tontta, who can be an extremely unpleasant being towards those he does not consider his own. The character of these elf-beings has been exploited through all time by the most mischievous of witches and sorcerers. They have created a Lihatontta as their helper, fashioning it from clay or cloth, or carved it from wood. This way, they have made themselves a Tontta effigy to help them, used it to protect them and to do their evil deeds to their enemies. But creating a Lihatontta is not easy or without danger for sorcerers. They must shed half their blood and half their soul into their work of art, before the creature is ready to come to life. The sorcerer might send Lihatontta after his enemy, but if it does not find its victim within the year, the creation returns to capture its creator. And if a person succeeds in killing a Lihatontta sent after him, the sorcerer who created it is faced with mortal danger. After all, he has given it half his soul, so death throes loom as a distinct possibility.

© Goranus Oy 2013. All rights reserved

 

Ulda

The Ulda folk live in the Saivo world underground. They are noisy and lively creatures – who can also be quiet, timid and retiring, depending on the situation. They live in the inverse world, so their dwellings are topsy-turvy compared to human homes. The Ulda are a human-like people, but much smaller. They are invisible beings, who may nevertheless show themselves to people they favour. So, not all people are able to see the Ulda, but most are able to hear the sounds of their living. Animals do see them, and people may be puzzled by the behaviour of their domestic animals, if they themselves see nothing unusual in their surroundings. Uldas occasionally visit the surface of the Earth or the world of the Living, and from time to time, the odd human may stray to drop in on them. In such an event, they are hospitable and generous, if they happen to like their guest. If the visitor has helped them in some way, the Ulda will reward him handsomely and treat him well. They are not entirely harmless to humans. There is talk of Uldas who have managed to change a human baby for one of their old wrinklies, to save them the bother of caring for them as they grow aged. Then human mothers wonder why their good babies have suddenly become ugly and crotchety mock-ups of children. It is also said that some people have made the mistake of setting up their kota dwelling in a spot where the Ulda have their underground homes. Then an old Ulda woman has appeared from the depths of the forest and asked the people to move elsewhere. If they have failed to comply, the Uldas have brought all kinds of disruptions on the people, in any which way they could think of.

© Goranus Oy 2013. All rights reserved

 

Zarahus

Zarahus is a spirit being that torments people while they sleep. It is a pest plaguing them in every imaginable way in their dreams. Its intention is to create both trouble and embarrassment. Zarahus appears in many guises. Men might see and experience it as an alluring female figure, who sends them into a shameful state. For young children, it may appear as a shrieking and scary ‘little devil’ that makes them wet their beds. Sometimes it does not appear at all, but merely makes frightening and weird noises that people hear through their dreams. It may rattle about by the bed or knock on the kota door, making people puzzled. Zarahus can also heighten a person’s mistaken assumptions about something. It might make believe that a wife has another man, and so cause jealousy. Sometimes it points a finger at someone having stolen a sleeping person’s possessions, even though this is not the case. It convinces people that their worst fears are true, making a lot of trouble for its victims. Zarahus might also occasionally get up to quite funny tricks. It makes a person talk and call out embarrassing things while asleep. This causes much mortification, when the sleeper is forced to explain his nocturnal utterances in the morning. It might also mock and jeer at a person who has had severe bad luck and sadness in his life.

© Goranus Oy 2013. All rights reserved