Question About the "Kahlevalla" (Finnish epic Poem)

I read this many years ago, so my memory may be bad.
But anyways, the epic Finnish poem talks about a famous blacksmith, who forges the “Sampo”-which is some kind of machine?
All I remember is that the “Sampo” had a lid of many colors, and that making/forging it was a great achievement.
any Finnish dopers care to enlighten me?

I’ve always interpreted the Sampo (forged by Ilmarinen) to be a mythological MacGuffin. It has no stated purpose, other than to bring its owner prosperity. It seems to be there more to provide the impetus for a story than as an important object in itself.

Not Finnish, but I have my copy to hand

The smith is Ilmarinen and he crafts the Sampo to win the hand of the Maid of the North. The Sampo grinds out corn from one side, salt from a second, and money from the third the third.

Flour, I would imagine, rather than corn, since the ancient Finnish would not have known corn.

Corn in the sense of grain, not maize. In another translation gold is used instead of money. Since I don’t read Finnish, I have to rely on translators.

That’s something I believe was Elias Lönnrot own interpretation of what the Sampo was. The original oral poems were a lot more vauge or conflicting in description of what the Sampo was if I recall correctly.

Wasn’t it the machine the ended up under the sea with two giants turning it an that’s why the sea is salty?

The Sampo was a mythical machine/object known in Finnish mythology, often connected to the land of Pohjola (“The North”). Elias Lönnrot, who wrote the Kalevala based on old folk songs and poems he collected during his trips around mostly Eastern Finland, did quite a lot of interpreting and rewriting of the original collected poems, splitting up tales and reorganizing them and even writing his own material in places where he thought it would make a better story. In the Kalevala, the Sampo is a mythical machine that grinds out salt, gold/money and grain, but apparently in the original oral tradition, the name Sampo (also e.g. sampa, sammus, or sammut) has been used to describe any amount of mythical things or objects. You’re right that in the Kalevala, it’s also described as “kirjokansi”, meaning “lid of many colors”.

Not in any version of the Kalevala I’ve read.

Basically, the Kalevala story of the Sampo goes like so: Väinämöinen, the mighty sorcerer/wordsmith, hailed from the land of Kalevala. He wound up in neighboring/rival Pohjola after an episode with a certain young lady went tits up. In Pohjola, he saw the beautiful daughter of Louhi, the Mistress of Pohjola, and made her a promise that he would deliver them a blacksmith who could forge them a machine that would bring them prosperity if, in turn, she gave him her daughter in marriage. Väinämöinen then sent over Seppo Ilmarinen the smith by tricking him into the top of a fir tree and then shooting the fir tree over into Pohjola. Louhi promised her daughter to Ilmarinen if he would forge this mystical machine, which he then did. However, once the Sampo was forged, Louhi locked it up and then told Ilmarinen and Väinämöinen that they would have to compete for her daughter’s hand. Ilmarinen eventually won this competition because the daughter helped him (she obviously preferred a hunky blacksmith to an old bearded geezer).

Ilmarinen and the daughter of Pohjola were married, but she was later killed by an angry young man in another story which doesn’t really pertain to this one. Ilmarinen forged himself a woman out of silver and gold but she wasn’t really up to scratch, so he went over to Pohjola and stole another one of their daughters as his wife. However, she insulted him so he turned her into a seagull. At this point, Väinämöinen told Ilmarinen about the happy-go-lucky life that people in Pohjola were leading due to the Sampo churning out riches every day. This was maybe the last straw.

Ilmarinen, Väinämöinen and their friends set off to Pohjola to steal the Sampo. They carried it away in the dead of night when everyone in Pohjola was sleeping, but a crane screeching woke them up and the chase was on. Eventually, Louhi turned herself into a giant bird and did battle with Väinämöinen and his crew; during this battle, the Sampo fell into the ocean and was broken into pieces, some of which later washed ashore onto the beaches of Kalevala and made the land richer. Louhi got the lid. Then there was a whole Pohjola-Kalevala feud with Louhi stealing the sun and the moon as revenge and Väinämöinen & co. going to get them back, but the Sampo’s story ends there.

Be a Finn, be exposed to the Kalevala constantly from early childhood on. Apparently it gets retained fairly well. :slight_smile:

I’ll add two cents in honour of Kalevala Day.
The mill that makes the seas salty belongs in the Norse myths, where two giantesses ground out wealth to a greedy king until they revolted and made the mill grind out an army of enemies instead. They were taken as spoils by another king, taken out to sea and asked to produce salt, which they did in enormous amounts. Ship sank, everyone drowned, and the mill sank to the bottom of the sea, where it still grinds salt. And that, oh my best beloved, is why the sea is salty.
Today being Kalevala Day, BTW, my local newspaper has celebrated the occasion with a page-long re-telling of the central parts in evening tabloid style:
Gruesome Murder Shakes Kalevala Village!
“He threw me into the sled” says kidnapped bride
Lemminkainen: “I’ve slept with thousands of women”
Lemminkainen’s mother: “My son’s not dead”
Police: Lemminkainen’s body still missing

Funny stuff.

Sorry auRa, my bad and thanks to **vifslan **for getting it right. Magical mills confuse me.

Thread necro but: in Finnish mythology the Sampo is often depicted as the world pillar.