Rated PG: Contains Charmers, and Charming Singing Fish (Naturally)
Väinämöinen and the Singing Fish
by Marissa K. Lingen
Whenever a foreigner came to the district, all of the neighbors would
tell him how lucky he was to be in the home of the legendary
Joukahainen, charmer for the ages. But the foreigners would squint
and say, “Joukahainen? Never heard of him. Is he as good as
Väinämöinen?” And Joukahainen would seethe.
Then he would do all of his best charms. The birds would sing an
invocation to the spirits of the forest in such piercing beauty that
any man would weep to hear it, and the fire would glow white and blue
and paint pictures of splendor, and the flowers would all
spontaneously bloom, even if it was in the middle of the long night
and snow covered them all.
And then the foreigners would clap Joukahainen on the shoulder and
say, “Keep at it, lad, and someday you’ll be as great as Väinämöinen!”
Or, “When Väinämöinen’s not around, by the gods, you’ll do!” They
meant to be kindly, but every time he heard the name Väinämöinen,
Joukahainen’s blood boiled.
About the Author
Marissa Lingen is a freelance writer who lives in Minnesota with two large men and one small dog.
About the Narrator
Marie Brennan is a former anthropologist and folklorist who shamelessly pillages her academic fields for material. She most recently misapplied her professors’ hard work to the Hugo Award-nominated Victorian adventure series The Memoirs of Lady Trent; the first book of that series, A Natural History of Dragons, was a finalist for the World Fantasy Award and won the Prix Imaginales for Best Translated Novel. Her collaborative novel Born to the Blade, written with Michael R. Underwood, Malka Older, and Cassandra Khaw, was recently published by Serial Box. For more information, visit www.swantower.com or her worldbuilding Patreon at https://www.patreon.com/swan_tower.