Finland celebrates Kalevala Day today, to honour Finnish culture and the old folk poetry recorded in Kalevala by Elias Lönnrot on his collecting journeys in Karelia. The stories these songs tell are swollen with magic. There's the story about Ilmatar (the Virgin of the Air) who descends to the waters. A pochard lays its eggs on her knee and when the eggs break, the world is formed from their pieces.
Also, there's Marjatta who conceives a child from a red whortleberry. Being fatherless, her son is condemned to death, but the child speaks out against the sentence and is christened King of Karelia. And the whereabouts of the miracle mill Sampo are fascinating as well. A national epic truly worthwhile reading. For a resumé of the poems in English, go here.