#FolkloreThursday: Palakainen

My Finnish murder ballad-based story ‘Palakainen’ first appeared in the Mythic Journeys magazine. It’s included in the Dream Book collection from Fox Spirit Books. Like all the tales in Dream Book I wanted to keep the original well in mind; I tried to capture the feel of the Kanteletar in the language, giving it something of a lyrical, almost circular style.

He came with raven feathers. He came to woo our daughter. Had the wind whispered her secrets into his ear? For she would not have become the wife of any ordinary man, Kommi stubbornness made sure of that. Swanlike she was born, swanlike did she grow, with white hands and a graceful neck and eyes that looked unblinking at you. The servants, who all grumbled day and night about their work, would give her the best of the cream, the finest weaving, the sweetest olut brewed for her. Her brothers and sisters too, who should be jealous of the attention our little star received, instead protected her, coddled her. Her sisters did the mending rather than let her prick her fingers. Her brothers gathered kindling, which should be her job, carried hay to the cows in winter, rather than let her chap her hands. Swanlike they stayed, white.

Palakainen she was named, our little tidbit, our little treat…

Read it in full here.

raven2man

Image from the original printing (wish I knew the artist!)