The mythology out of which the Finnish stories come belonged to the Finno-Ugric stock which includes the Finns and their near relations the Esthonians, and the more remotely related Lapps and Hungarians.
[paragraph continues] We know this mythology through the folk-epic of Finland, the Kalevala, and the Magic Songs of the Finns and the Esthonians. As we have them now, the Finno-Ugric traditions reflect a definite locale--the land of forests and lakes of North Europe. Until the last century these traditions existed in peasant memory and speech. Scattered parts of the poem that is now known as the Kalevala were published in 1822 by Zacharias Topelius. Elias Lönnrot collected the remainder and arranged the twenty-two or twenty-three thousand verses into fifty runes. The metrical form in which the Kalevala has come down has been imitated by Longfellow in Hiawatha.
It is startling to realize that a mythology existed on the lips of a European people in our time. There has been, of course, a Christian influence on the traditions out of which the folk-songs that make the Kalevala have come. A large part of this poetry had its rise in the Middle Ages and Catholicism had an influence on a few incidents.
The episode given here is from the Kalevala, W. F. Kirby's translation, Runo XIII and XIV. John Abercromby's "The pre- and proto-historic Finns with the Magic Songs of the West Finns" has also been used.