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Heroes of the Kalevala

Heroes of the Kalevala

Finland’s Saga

By Babette Deutsch

242 pp

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About the Book

The stories contained within this volume were composed centuries ago in a strange and distant place, which we now call Finland. As traveling bards sang tales of ancient legends and great heroes, a rich Finnish mythology was formed and passed down through generations.

The original epic is to the culture of Finland what the Iliad is to that of Greece. Here are the exploits of brave men, the wonders of strange journeys, the thrills of tremendous sea-fights, and the fun of wooings and weddings and festivities. The book gathers into one absorbing narrative the tales that were recited before the chiefs of clans and among the farmers and fishermen of the far north. Wild fantasy mingles with homely realism and the fascinating details of a simple way of life.

Babette Deutsch’s rendering of the epic for younger readers tells the story of the fantastical adventures and mishaps of Vainamoinen, the greatest of the legendary bards and heroes. His feats are scarcely more wonderful than those of his brother, the mighty smith, forger of the magic Sampo, which is the source of endless conflict. Together with a third hero, the mischievous Lemminkainen, they must strive against the malicious Mistress of the North Country, who owns the Sampo and the great power that comes with it.

These tales have been retold many times and in many languages, but seldom with such gusto. Here is exciting adventure, challenging courage, and the enduring spell of a great story beautifully told, a vivid recreation of the Finnish saga for young readers.

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