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Wikipedia - The Sampo: an endless source of fortune and greed.

Ted Talks - talk about the Sampo.

Original Text of the Sampo

After a savage seafaring skirmish
and eight long days of being battered by waves,
Väinämöinen— a powerful bard and sage as old as the world itself—
washed up on the shores of distant Pohjola.
Unlike his home Kalevala, Pohjola was a dark and frozen land,
ruled by Louhi, “the gap-tooth hag of the North."
The cunning witch nursed Väinämöinen back to health
but demanded a reward for returning him home.
Not content with mere gold or silver,
Louhi wanted what did not yet exist— the Sampo.
To be forged from “the tips of white-swan feathers," “the milk of greatest virtue,"
“a single grain of barley," and “the finest wool of lambskins,"
this artifact was said to be an endless font of wealth.
But Väinämöinen knew that only Seppo Ilmarinen,
the Eternal Hammerer who forged the sky-dome itself,
could craft such an object.
So he convinced Louhi to send him home and fetch the smith.
Though the journey was far from easy, the bard finally made it back to Kalevala.
But Ilmarinen refused to go to the gloomy North— a land of witches and man-eaters.
But keeping true to his word,
Väinämöinen tricked Ilmarinen into climbing a giant tree,
before summoning a mighty storm to carry the smith all the way to Pohjola.
Ilmarinen was well received in the North.
Louhi lavished her guest with extravagant hospitality
and promised him the hand of her beautiful daughter—
if he could craft what she wished.
When she finally asked if Ilmarinen was capable of forging the Sampo,
the powerful smith declared he could indeed accomplish the task.
But try as he might to bend the forge to his will,
its fires only produced other artifacts—
beautiful in appearance but ill-mannered in nature.
An elegant crossbow that thirsted for blood
and a gleaming plow that ruined cultivated fields among others.
Finally, Ilmarinen summoned the winds themselves to work the bellows,
and in three days time he pulled the Sampo,
with its lid of many colors from the forge's flames.
On its sides the smith carefully crafted a grain mill, a salt mill,
and a money mill.
Louhi was so delighted with the object's limitless productive power
that she ran off to lock her treasure inside a mountain.
But when Ilmarinen tried to claim his prize,
the promised maiden refused to marry him, and the smith had to return home alone.
Years passed, and while Pohjola prospered,
Ilmarinen and Väinämöinen were without wives or great wealth.
Bitter about this injustice, the bard proposed a quest to retrieve the Sampo,
and the two sailed north with the help of Lemminkäinen—
a beautiful young man with a history of starting trouble.
Upon arrival, Väinämöinen requested half the Sampo's profits as compensation—
or they'd take the artifact by force.
Outraged at this request, Louhi summoned her forces to fight the heroes.
But as her army readied for war, the bard played his magic harp, Kantele,
entrancing all who heard it and sending Pohjola into a deep slumber.
Unimpeded, the three men took the Sampo and quietly made their escape.
Lemminkäinen was ecstatic at their success,
and demanded that Väinämöinen sing of their triumph.
The bard refused, knowing the dangers of celebrating too early.
But after three days of traveling, Lemminkäinen's excitement overwhelmed him,
and he recklessly broke out in song.
His awful singing voice woke a nearby crane,
whose screeching cries roused the Pohjolan horde.
The army made chase.
As their warship closed in, Väinämöinen raised a rock to breach their hull.
Undeterred, Louhi transformed into a giant eagle,
carrying her army on her back as they attacked the heroes’ vessel.
She managed to grab the Sampo in her claw,
but just as quickly, it dropped into the sea, shattering into pieces
and sinking deep beyond her talon's reach.
Buried on the ocean floor,
the remnants of this powerful device remain in the realm of Ahti, god of water—
where they grind salt for the seas to this very day.

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