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In Lapland when the Arctic Storm Wind roars down from the mountains and blows through the valleys and over the tundra, comes the call of the Magic Drum.

Do you hear it on the wind? Do you hear its beat! beat! beat! and the grinding of the Wizard's teeth as he beats! beats! beats!

Long, long ago, with chanting and magic and drum-beating came the Great Wizard Nischergurje down from the mountains. Tree-tall, tree-straight was he, clad in the softest skins of the white reindeer. He was girded with the Wizard Belt of Might, and on his feet were soft-soled shoes. From his right wrist hung his gold drum-hammer, and his left hand held the Magic Drum. Beat! Beat! Beat!

Down from the everlasting snow-peaks he came to visit the Lapp people. He saw smoke curling up from their tents in the valley, where reindeer were digging moss out of the snow, with their hoofs.

And the Lapp people--little children, men, and women--ran and thronged about him in welcome. The finest reindeer-skins they spread for his seat in front of their tents, and the choicest reindeer flesh they dipped from their cooking pots to feast the Great Wizard.

And he sang to the people his Magic Words of the days when stones were gold and silver, and he sang:

"I have learned the secret of the foxes. I have the strength of Honey-Paw the bear, of Thick-Pelt-Old-Man-of-the-Forest. Fleeter am I than the snarling wolf. I know the place of hidden treasures. I know the secret of the Forest.

"Now will I send forth my Magic Call to summon my Comrades, the Four Ancient Wizards of the South Baltic Lands!"

And see! As the great Wizard Nischergurgje beat! beat! beat! on his Magic Drum, and tapped! tapped! tapped! on his Magic Drum, the Storm Wind blew fiercer. On its flapping wings came riding the Four Ancient Wizards!

Kauko, Red-Haired Wizard of Finland of the Thousand Lakes and Thousand Isles:

Sarvik with woolly white hair, back like an oak and lolling red tongue--from Estonia's rocky coast:

Kurbads giant-strong, with yellow eyeballs and green hair from Latvia of the crystal streams:

Jakamas with bushy golden head, pointed eyes, and apple-red cheeks--from Lithuania of the fragrant amber.

And each carried his own Magic Drum. Beat! Beat! Beat!

And the Four Ancient Wizards, grinding their teeth, whistling, and howling, seated themselves on the snow before the Chief Wizard of them all, the great Nischergurgje.

And he, the tree-tall, tree-straight one, struck his Drum with a rolling and a roaring, and bade the Four Ancient Wizards be still, so that the Lapp people might listen to his Tales of Wonder.

And the Four Ancient Wizards were still, and the people waited. Listen to Nischergurgje!



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