Read by Marie Brennan
Originally published in Abyss & Apex
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.
Rated PG: Contains Charmers, and Charming Singing Fish (Naturally)
Read the text here
EDITORS’ NOTE: When this episode was originally posted, there was an audio issue within the file. The audio file is now corrected, and available for you to download. We apologize for the inconvenience and appreciate your patience. Hope you enjoy the story!