Image © 12019

Foxes in Finnish Mythology and Folklore

Image © Linnea Sandbakk

In Finnish folk tales, the fox is described to be cunning, smart, and careful. These attributes fit into real-life foxes as well. In ancient Finland, foxes were hunted because of their precious fur. Foxes have a highly developed sense of smell all and fox traps were kept extremely clean. People used to scrub them with pine cones to get rid of the human scent. Foxes were (and are) very smart animals and people had difficulties catching them. It was believed that the person who managed to catch foxes had strong shamanistic powers. According to folklore fox´s emuu (the creator spirit) in Finnish mythology is Käreitär goddess of the flame or goddess called Lukutar. Her name is derived from the word lukka meaning sand bench which are common places for fox’s dens.

Image © Zdenek Machacek

​In northern Finland and in Lapland there is a legend told about Tulikettu the firefox. Tulikettu was a magical giant fox who lived in the snowy hills in the far north. It was every hunter's dream to catch the firefox for it was believed that the hunter who would catch it would be a wealthy man for the rest of their life. Tulikettu was a little bit like the Phoenix bird. There could only be one Tulikettu at a time. No one could ever catch the firefox because it was as fast as the wind. There is a story told in northern Finland and Lapland about the birth of the northern lights. When firefox runs fast in the snowy hills its fur touches the snow and creates magical sparkles to the skies. Still today Finnish word for northern lights is revontulet which literally means the fox´s fires. This story is based on reality because in dry freezing cold air fur becomes electric and can create tiny sparkles.

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Niina's Fairychamber

Niina's Fairychamber

Illustrator, writer and a folklorist. Likes cats, tea and period dramas. Currently writing a book about Finnish mythology. A host of the Little Women Podcast.

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