Bee! thou little mundane bird!
Fly away to where I bid thee;
O'er the moon, beneath the sun,
Behind the lofty heaven's stars,
Close by the Wain's axle--fly
To the great Creator's court.
OF the mythology of the Finnish race, the first possibly that appeared in Europe, and. one of the most widely spread in the world, our knowledge, as we have just stated, is very slight. It appears, however, either to have influenced that of the Gothic race, or to have been affected by it.
The Finlanders, Laplanders, and other nations of this race, who are neighbours of the Scandinavians and Germans, believe, like them, in Dwarfs and Kobolds. The former they describe as having a magnificent region under the ground, to which mortals are sometimes admitted and are there sumptuously entertained, getting plenty of tobacco and brandy, and other things esteemed by them delicious.
It is an article of faith with the Finns that there dwell under the altar in every church little misshapen beings which they call Kirkonwaki, i. e., Church-folk. When the wives of these little people have a difficult labour they are relieved if a Christian woman visits them and lays her hand upon them. Such service is always rewarded by a gift of gold and silver. [a]
The Kobold of Finland is called Para (from the Swedish Bjära); he steals the milk from other people's cows, carries and coagulates it in his stomach, and then disgorges it into the churn of his mistress. There is a species of mushroom, which if it be fried with tar, salt and sulphur, and then beaten with a rod, the woman who owns the Kobold will quickly appear, and entreat to spare him.
The Alp, or nightmare, is called Painajainen, i. e., Presser. It resembles a white maid, and its brightness illumines the whole room. It causes people to scream out wofully; it also hurts young children, and' makes them squint. The remedy against it is steel or a broom placed under the pillow. The House-spirit named Touttu (the Swedish Tomtegubbe) is also common in Finland. [b] The Esthonians believe that the Neck has fish's teeth.
An Esthonian legend relates that one time a girl was stopt by a pretty boy that had on him a handsome peasant's belt and forced to scratch his head a little. She did so, and while she was so engaged she was, without her knowledge, fastened to him by his belt, but the rubbing of her hand set him to sleep. Meanwhile a woman passed by, who came up and asked the girl what she was doing there. She told her the whole matter, and as she was speaking she freed herself from the belt. The boy, however, slept sounder than ever and his mouth was wide open. The woman who had come nearer cried at once, Ha! that's a Näkki (Neck,) see his fish's teeth! The Neck instantly vanished. [c]
The following Esthonian legend, though the Devil is the subject, strongly resembles some of those of France and Great Britain:
A man who had charge of the granary of a farm-house was sitting one day moulding buttons in lead. The Devil came by, saluted him, and said, "What are you doing there?" "I am moulding eyes." "Eyes! could you make me new ones?" "To be sure I could; but I have none by me at present." "Will you then do it another time?" "That will I." "When shall I come again?" "Whenever you please." Next day the Devil came to get his new eyes. "Will you have them large or small?" said the man. "Very large." The man then put a large quantity of lead down to melt, and said, "I cannot make them for you, unless you first let me tie you fast." He then made him lie on his back on a bench and tied him down with good strong thick ropes. When the Devil was thus fast bound he asked the man what his name was. "My name is Myself (Issi)," replied he. "That's a good name, I know none better." The lead was now melted; the Devil opened his eyes as wide as he could, expecting to get the new ones. "Now, I'm going to pour it out," said the. man, and he poured the melting lead into the eyes of the Devil, who jumped up with the bench on his back, and ran away. As he passed by some people who were ploughing, they asked him "Who did that to you?" "Myself did it (Issi teggi)," replied the Devil. The people laughed and said, "If you did it yourself; keep it yourself." The Devil died of his new eyes, and since then no one has seen the Devil any more. [d]
The Hungarians or Madyars (Magyars) as they call them-selves, are, as we have seen, a portion of the Finnish race, Two collections of their popular tales have been published of late years. The editor of one of them which we have read, [e] assures us that he took them from the lips of an old Hungarian soldier, who knew no language but his own, We therefore cannot but regard the tales as genuine, though the mode and tone in which they are narrated by the editor are not always the best. They contain no traits of popular mythology,--a circumstance not a little remarkable, rather resembling the French and Italian Fairy tales. Several of them, however, are very pleasing. We regret that we have not seen the other collection, which is apparently of greater value. [f]
[a] Mnemosyne, Abo 1821, ap. Giimm, Deut. Mytbo]. p. 426.
[b] Ruhs, Finlund und seine Bewohner.
[c] Grimm, Deut. Mythol. p. 459.
[d] Grimm, Deut. Mythol. p. 979. This is the fourth place where we have met this story. Could they have all come from the Odyssey, the hero of which tells the Cyclops, whom he blinds, that his name is Nobody?
[e] Gaal, Märchen der Magyaren. Wien, 1822.
[f] Mailath, Magyarische Sagen Mährchen, etc., 2 vols, 8vo. Stutg. 1837.