Such happened to Väinämöinen, The Eternal Sage, who when making a boat hit his knee with the axe. This slip of the hand was caused by the Evil.

The myth of the great flood, of water or in some myths of blood, and making of a boat is a very ancient one and of worldwide spread.

The oldest flood myth is from the ancient city of Sumer and dates about 2000 BC. Also from Babylonia comes a very old flood myth, about 1600BC. Other old flood myths are from Assyria (600BC), Greece, India, Africa, South-America, Siberia etc. One version of them we meet in the Bible.

The reason to this world wide spread of the flood myth has aroused much speculation among scholars. According to some there must have been a real world wide flood in the ancient times. This has been connected to the melting of the ice caps during the last Ice Age and also by some to the continent of Atlantis sinking in the ocean.

Sometimes it is water that covers the earth, sometimes it is blood (Scandinavia, Samoyeds etc.), often connected with fire (cosmic fire). This blood is considered to be the first blood sacrifice which had to happen to connect together all the people on the earth.

In the flood myth the main theme is: the earth is flooded by the god and so all the life, and evel, on it is destroyed. Only one wise and good man is spared in a boat. In this process the world is reborn and what is more, often also the god is reborn. The universe goes from precosmos to the present day Cosmos, to the arousal of the consciousness from under the waters of the chaos.

In the Scandinavian and Finnish myths this death of the old world is also connected to the death of the giants, Ymir in Scandinavia, Kaleva in Finland. Only one giant is saved (in Jotunheim=Finland) and so all the mankind is descendants of him. Some writers have connected these giants of the pre-flood era to the subconsciously oriented mind of the early palaeolithic man.

In some mythologies it is the killing of the primordial beast (a wild boar) that causes the blood flood, for instance in the Greece mythology. The blood may also flow from the roots of a gigantic fallen tree (Siberia).

In the Finnish myth Väinämöinen builds the boat on a mountain. He does it secretly with the help of a god who makes the axe strokes silent. Then the Devil (Hiisi) makes the axe hit Väinämöinen`s knee and the blood starts to flow. However due to his magic skills the blood is stopped and the boat is finished. In the search of the magical blood stopping words Väinämöinen also learns the spell with which he is able to finish the building of the boat. Seal grease was used for caulking and a canopy was made from fish hide. However this boat was not used to save the mankind but to take Väinämöinen to Pohjola.

One recollection of the flood myth we meet in the Finnish cosmogony. There Väinämöinen floats in the primordial ocean and after creating the world finally lands on a new shore, the Land of Pohjola where the culture starts again.


Like a river now runs the blood

like a stream is the bleeding

covering the berry twigs

hiding all the heathers