Traditional Finnish Instrument
Audio file of the Kantele
The story about how Väinämöinen made the first kantele from a pike
The three Kalevala heroes Väinämöinen, Ilmarinen and Lemminkäinen were on a trip up north to Pohjola to take back the lucky mill Sampo that Ilmarinen hade made for the mean Louhi. They were travelling in a big boat. When they came out on open water something strange happened. The boat suddenly stopped. The boat was stuck on shore. Lemminkäinen saw to his surprise that they were stuck on a large pike. Lemminkäinen fell in the water as he tried to remove the pike with his sword. Then it was Ilmarinen´s turn to try , but his attempt led to the sword shattering and was broken into small pieces. Then Väinämöinen took his sword and stabbed it in the pike, but when he was going to lift the pike up into the boat, it broke in two pieces. The tail fell into the ocean and the frontpart fell into the boat.
They went to an island where they cooked the pike for food to eveyone. When they were finished eating Väinämöinen wondered what he could do with the leftovers. Since he was a very skillful singer, he wanted very much to make a music instrument. He made the framework from the pike`s jaw, the tuningscrews from the teeth and for the strings he used hair from a horse that he had captured on one of his earlier adventures to Pohjola.
And that is the legend about how the first kantele was made.
You can dowload the children story here: