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RING! RING! RING! RING! Listen to the Living Speaking Kantele!

In the land where the sea shines white in the twilight of midnight, where the Kantele sighs and breathes the sweetest music, there stands an ancient Castle. Its frowning massive walls rise from an island. Around the walls flows a strong current of water, so deep that it looks inky black. Icy cold is the water and swift of current. There never was a swimmer who could swim through that current guarding the Castle.

Fiercely frowns the Castle, for it knows many a terrible secret. Its thick walls are silent, and they are blind for they have no outside windows.

Once, long ago, the brave Finns held the Castle against the attacking Russian foe. They were defending a lovely Swedish Maiden from the enemy who wished to seize her. At last, just as the Russians were taking the Castle, the girl's brave defenders hid her away in a secret place. With great difficulty the Russians scaled the walls. One by one, they killed the Finns. At last there was no one left to tell where the Maiden was.

The Russian soldiers entered the great hall, grand and gloomy, where the flare of torches fell upon the armor. But no Maiden was there. They rushed up the stairway, they searched the round tower, they climbed deep down into the hollow vaults, but the Maiden was not there. In vain they searched in every corner, room, and dungeon, the lovely Swedish Maiden was never found.

Time went by, high up on the wall an ash-tree, delicate and graceful, grew up out of the stones. Then men knew where the Maiden was. Her defenders, rather than let her fall into the hands of the foe, had sealed her close in the wall, where her shrieks and moans could not betray her. Then all had died defending her, and no one was left to tell where she was hidden.

And there the ash-tree hangs to-day. So rings and sings the sweet sad music of the Kantele!

Next: The Rainbow Maiden