Kalevala — 1996 (and 2005)

This Jack o’ Lantern illustrates a scene from the Finnish epic, the Kalevala, in which Ilmarinen, a blacksmith of great skill and cunning, tricks Louhi the witch queen into releasing the sun and the moon from their prison in the iron mountain.  For the details of the story, I can’t do better than the original epic — I’ve pasted in the relevant stanzas below the photos. 

I created this design in 1996, the first time the Washington Revels (http://RevelsDC.org)presented their Northlands show. I re-used the design nine years later when Revels brought the show back. 
I used the face Jean Sibelius, the great Finnish composer, for my Ilmarinen, and made reference to the style of the Norwegian painter Edvard Munch in the reflection on the water. The design of the floor of the forge, and Ilmarinen’s knife and armlet, are based on traditional Lapp patterns.

Ilmarinen Forging a Magic Key

The smith, Il Marinen, is forging a magic key to release the sun and moon from their prison in the Iron Mountain across the water
The smith convinces the witch (who has come spying in the guise of an eagle) that he can trap her in an iron collar. In fear, she releases the sun and moon.

The Story as Told in The Kalevala, Finland’s National Epic

Louhi, hostess of Pohyola,
Northland’s old and toothless wizard,
Makes the Sun and Moon her captives;
In her arms she takes fair Luna
From her cradle in the birch-tree,
Calls the Sun down from his station,
From the fir-tree’s bending branches,
Carries them to upper Northland,
To the darksome Sariola;
Hides the Moon, no more to glimmer,
In a rock of many colors;
Hides the Sun, to shine no longer,
In the iron-banded mountain;
Thereupon these words she utters:
“Moon of gold and Sun of silver,
Hide your faces in the caverns
Of Pohyola’s dismal mountain;
Shine no more to gladden Northland,
Till I come to give ye freedom,
Drawn by coursers nine in number,
Sable coursers of one mother!”

When the golden Moon had vanished,
And the silver Sun had hidden
In the iron-banded caverns,
Louhi stole the fire from Northland,
From the regions of Wainola,
Left the mansions cold and cheerless,
And the cabins full of darkness.
Night was king and reigned unbroken,
Darkness ruled in Kalevala,
Darkness in the home of Ukko.
Hard to live without the moonlight,
Harder still without the sunshine;
Ukko’s life is dark and dismal,
When the Sun and Moon desert him.

So the gold Moon is not shining,
Neither gleams the silver sunlight
In the chambers of Wainola,
On the plains of Kalevala.
On the crops the white-frost settled,
And the cattle died of hunger,
Even birds grew sick and perished.
Men and maidens, faint and famished,
Perished in the cold and darkness,
From the absence of the sunshine,
From the absence of the moonlight.
Knew the pike his holes and hollows,
And the eagle knew his highway,
Knew the winds the times for sailing;
But the wise men of the Northland
Could not know the dawn of morning,
On the fog-point in the ocean,
On the islands forest-covered.

Spake a maid to Ilmarinen,
Running to the blacksmith’s furnace:
“Rise, O artist, from thy slumbers,
Hasten from thy couch unworthy;
Forge from gold the Moon for Northland,
Forge anew the Sun from silver
Cannot live without the moonlight,
Nor without the silver sunshine!”

From his couch arose the artist,
From his couch of stone, the blacksmith,
And began his work of forging,
Forging Sun and Moon for Northland.

Came the ancient Wainamoinen,
In the doorway sat and lingered,
Spake, these Words to Ilmarinen:
“Blacksmith, my beloved brother,
Thou the only metal-worker,
Tell me why thy magic hammer
Falls so heavy on thine anvil?”
Spake the youthful Ilmarinen:
“Moon of gold and Sun of silver,
I am forging for Wainola;
I shall swing them into ether,
Plant them in the starry heavens.”
Spake the wise, old Wainamoinen:
“Senseless blacksmith of the ages,
Vainly dost thou swing thy hammer,
Vainly rings thy mighty anvil;
Silver will not gleam as sunshine,
Not of gold is born the moonlight.

Then the blacksmith, Ilmarinen,
The eternal metal-worker,
Forged the needs of Wainamoinen,
Forged for him the magic trident,
Forged from steel a dozen stout-rings,
Master-keys a goodly number,
Iron bars and heavy hammers,
Not the largest, nor the smallest,
Forged them of the right dimensions.

Louhi, hostess of the Northland,
Hastened to her chamber window,
Looked upon the bay and river,
Spake these words to her attendants:
“Why the fire across the river
Where the current meets the deep-sea,
Smaller than the fires of foemen,
Larger than the flames of hunters?”

Louhi, hostess of Pohyola,
Northland’s old and toothless wizard,
Fastened wings upon her shoulders,
As an eagle, sailed the heavens,
Over field, and fen, and forest,
Over Pohya’s many, waters,
To the hamlets of Wainola,
To the forge of Ilmarinen.

Quick the famous metal-worker
Went to see if winds were blowing;
Found the winds at peace and silent,
Found an eagle, sable-colored,
Perched upon his window-casement.
Spake the artist, Ilmarinen:
“Magic bird, whom art thou seeking,
Why art sitting at my window?”
This the answer of the eagle:
“Art thou blacksmith, Ilmarinen,
The eternal iron-forger,
Master of the magic metals,
Northland’s wonder-working artist?”
Why this ringing of thine anvil,
Why this knocking of thy hammer,
Tell me what thy hands are forging?”
This the answer of the blacksmith:
“‘Tis a collar I am forging
For the neck of wicked Louhi,
Toothless witch of Sariola,
Stealer of the silver sunshine,
Stealer of the golden moonlight;
With this collar I shall bind her
To the iron-rock of Ehstland!”

Louhi, hostess of Pohyola,
Saw misfortune fast approaching,
Saw destruction flying over,
Saw the signs of bad-luck lower;
Quickly winged her way through ether
To her native halls and chambers,
To the darksome Sariola,
There unlocked the massive portals
Where the Sun and Moon were hidden,
In the rock of many colors,
In the cavern iron-banded,
In the copper-bearing mountain.

Then again the wicked Louhi
Changed her withered form and features,
And became a dove of good-luck;
Straightway winged the starry heavens,
Over field, and fen, and forest,
To the meadows of Wainola,
To the plains of Kalevala,
To the forge of Ilmarinen.
This the question of the blacksmith
“Wherefore comest, dove of good-luck,
What the tidings that thou bringest?”
Thus the magic bird made answer:
“Wherefore come I to thy smithy?
Come to bring the joyful tidings
That the Sun has left his cavern,
Left the rock of many colors,
Left the stone-berg of Pohyola;
That the Moon no more is hidden
In the copper-bearing mountains,
In the caverns iron-banded.”