During @WorldCon75 I played hookey for a day to go to Suomenlinna, the island in Helsinki’s harbour with my friend and ‘borrowed cousin’ Laura. It was a beautiful day, but as I got to the harbour I saw there was a thick bank of fog over the water. It made the day a little more magical. Here are a few pictures (more in the album on FB). Magpies, white cheek geese, wild flowers, cake, and the Toy Museum, which veered from interesting nostalgia to outright nightmarish!

Louhi at @FolkloreThursday

Dream Book

My introduction to Louhi, witch of the north in The Kalevala, appears at @FolkloreThursday today. Folk familiar with my work know that she appears in my stories in Dream Book which were inspired by Finnish mythology in both The Kalevala and The Kanteletar.

Some helpful links: The best translation of The Kalevala; the only English version I know of The Kanteletar; here’s me playing a kantele so you know what the traditional Finnish lap harp sounds like and here’s a fantastic classical piece inspired by Louhi from Tomi Räisänen.

Of course you can get my collection Dream Book thanks to Fox Spirit Books. Stories, poems and a play inspired by the Finnish mythology and music that fills my head. Oh, and ancient rock paintings, too!

Hang around Twitter and see all the fun: @FolkloreThursday is a great opportunity to learn and share.

#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.


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

Finns in Edinburgh: St Giles

2015-07-14 13.34.00 2015-07-14 13.35.38 2015-07-14 13.37.33 2015-07-14 13.42.25 2015-07-14 13.43.57 2015-07-14 13.49.35 2015-07-14 13.49.42 2015-07-14 13.50.03 2015-07-14 13.51.20 2015-07-14 13.52.22 2015-07-14 13.54.10 2015-07-14 13.57.52 2015-07-14 14.04.50Laura and I wandered in to see the Thistle Chapel at St Giles and managed to catch one of the tours. Chivalry at its most ceremonial. And I couldn’t resist a chuckle at the Albany Aisle. Silence please!

Finns in Edinburgh: Canongate Kirk

Of course I was mostly interested in the cemetery — me and the magpies! The poet Robert Fergusson is buried there. While Laura and Risto looked around the church, I wandered among the gravestones. Lots of history here.

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Finns in Edinburgh: Part 2

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Finns in Edinburgh, Part 1

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