sunnuntai 28. helmikuuta 2016

Finnish Mythology: Fox

"Fox of the purple season"
(c) Niina Niskanen

In Finnish fairy tales fox is usually animal that starts and ends the fairy tale. Fox hasn't that big part in folklore like the bear and wolf has but still it is an essential animal in the stories. Many times described to be cunning, clever, smart and careful. 

In ancient Finland fox was hunted for it's fur but hunting foxes wasn't easy. Fox has excellent sense of smell and because of this fox traps had to be kept extremely clean. Sometimes hunters rubbed pine cones to get rid of the human scent.

As a smart animal many times fox managed to escape from the traps. Man who managed to hunt foxes was believed to have great shaman and witch skills.

In Finnish and Karelian mythology all animals and plants are believed to have their own Emuu (coming from ancient Finnish word Emo meaning mother). Emuu's are said to be the very first and oldest specimens of their species. 

In old Finnish poems there are two candidates for foxes Emuu. Käreitär and Lukutar. Käreitär is  spirit of burning flames (when you read the myth of the fire fox this makes sense). Lukutar is earth spirit of sandbanks and jagged rocks, all  places where foxes prefer to live. 

In folklore of eastern, northern Finland and mythologies of the sami people there is legend of the great Firefox. Firefox was a mythical giant fox. Hunter who would capture the Firefox would be a wealthy and happy man for the rest of his life. Just seeing glimpse of Firefox would be a very good omen.

It was believed that when Firefox ran across the snowy hills and it's fur touched the snow magical sparkling lights were born and reflected to the sky and that is how northern lights were born.
This story has it's base on real science. Fur has electric magnetism in it so it really sparkles in cold dry air. 

Finnish word Revontulet (northern lights) is directly translated as foxe's fires. Revontulet comes from the word Repo which is an old Finnish word for fox. 

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