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Finnish Folk Tale Ingenuity Saves The Day.

Many years ago my wife and I had a small weekend cottage in southeastern Vermont. One Saturday I stopped by the West Brattleboro Library and checked out a book of Finnish folk tales by General Kurt M. Wallenius.

The tale I liked best told of two young fishermen who skied north for a few days ice fishing in winter. They separated one day, agreeing to meet up early evening at camp. One of the fellows snagged a good haul of fish, put them in a sack, and headed back to base. As he was skiing along, he realized he was being stalked by a wolf. He skied faster, but the wolf was closing on him. So, he skied up a small incline, turned abruptly, and skied at the wolf. The wolf leaped to attack him. At the same time, the fisherman leaped, pointing his skis at the oncoming beast. He stabbed it with both skis, killing it but breaking his equipment. So, he sat down, built a fire out of the broken skis, and waited. Sure enough, an hour or so later, his companion saw the firelight and found him. They knew exactly what to do. The fisherman with two good skis gave one to his friend, and they skied back to camp that way, pushing with one leg, skiing on the other. And they brought back all the fish and the wolf’s skin as well.

Not long after I read this story my wife and I were out cross country skiing on a primitive trail. We went fairly far from our cottage when the wet snow started to adhere to the base  of her waxless skis, impeding her progress. I had old-fashioned wax skis and was not having a problem. It started to get late and my wife, making very slow progress, got spooked. She told me to go on without her. She told me that if she did not get back, I had to remember to buy our two boys new shoes every six months, since they were growing quickly.

Remembering General Wallenius’ story, I traded one of my wax skis for one of her useless, waxless skis. Fortunately, we used the same bindings back then. The trick worked. We pushed with the waxless ski, glided on the wax ski, and got back home safely. For many years afterward I made sure we had the same bindings.


One Comment

  1. Delightful story, glad you’re still having lots of fun, makes me wish I had grandkids!

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