Feb 24, 2011
Erik the Finn at Roids and Rants is posting some iconic Finnish art on his blog (NSFW). Here is Lemminkäinen's mother, an 1897 painting by Akseli Gallen-Kallela.
Lemminkäinen's mother, having searched heaven and earth for her missing son, finally discovers that he has drowned in the River of Underworld, in the realm of the dead. But she doesn't give up...
In one myth he drowns in the river of Tuonela (the underworld) in trying to capture or kill the black swan that lives there as part of an attempt, as Ilmarinen once made, to win a daughter of Louhi as his wife. In a tale somewhat reminiscent of Isis' search for Osiris, Lemminkäinen's mother searches heaven and earth to find her son. Finally, she learns of his fate and asks Ilmarinen to fashion her a rake of copper with which to dredge her son's body from the river of Tuonela. Thus equipped, she descends into the underworld in search of her son. On the banks of the river of the underworld, she rakes up first Lemminkäinen's tunic and shoes, and then, his maimed and broken body. Unrelenting, she continues her work until every piece of Lemminkäinen's body is recovered. Sewing the parts together and offering prayers to the gods, the mother tries to restore Lemminkäinen to life, but succeeds only in remaking his body, life is still absent. Then, she entreats a bee to ascend to the halls of the over-god Ukko and fetch from there a drop of honey as ointment that would bring Lemminkäinen back to life. Only with such a potent remedy is the hero finally restored.
Posted by Mike at 9:42 PM