Jenni Rutonen Design

Shopping cart

Your cart


The Story of a Little Girl

Merry Christmas and happy holidays! I wanted to share a story that I wrote that gets it inspiration from Finnish folklore and old ways of the Finns before Christianity. It´s a mix of old beliefs, real and imagined characters, bit of truth, a bit of fantasy and a bit of Finnish history. You can find some of my jewelry in there too and something that is coming next summer as a part of my jewelry line. Enjoy.

The Story of a Little Girl

Once upon a time, a girl was born in a cold, frozen land in the north. She grew up in a fair abode, on long-stretching summers. Her soul was born of a tit egg, tiny and speckled. Her heart fluttering like a little flame, a beat of a bird’s wings. Her soul chirping, singing to the world, the brightest song, a sign of joy. The girl was like any little girl, full of pure joy and excitement, and wonder with the world. Radiating energy, a glow of embers in her heart, she walked through forests, sang to meadows, swam in lakes and streams of mermen. Chasing shy dragonflies and falling asleep on water meadows to wake up to the wings of a dragonfly gently sweeping on her nose. With a floral wreath on her head, enjoying life and summer warmth, looking at the wings of summer, chubby caterpillars as they shed their chrysalises and took to their wings like the soul of the girl.

As the summer turned to autumn, her skin was copper like a forest creature’s. She could only be distinguished from a forest creature by her blond hair and blue eyes. Cold weather made the tit ruffle its feathers as it accompanied the girl in the humid terrain. In a rain of colourful leaves on long trips picking mushrooms, the girl left some of her haul on a table-top spruce to make sure the forest dwellers had something nice to eat. She brought berries by the water for lake dwellers, to prevent shallow ice.

Winters felt long, but the girl had company in rabbit tracks on snowdrifts, the strikes of owl wings, the moon and the stars - the Milky Way where crows rose with their messages, migratory birds moved, to their bird home high up in the southern sky. Winters were a time of pause, the wilderness and forests in their winter slumber, bears turning on their sides. Only soul birds stayed for the winter, following the living. At nights, they flew freely with their brothers and sisters high up on the Milky Way, until returning to the land of the living, their earthly abodes, as the morning came along.

Dreams of winter took the girl back into the forest, lounging on moss, following the march of a toad in a blueberry forest. Running with leverets, watching the frolic of squirrels. In favour of the Forest Dwellers, with no need to fear the forest cover. At nights, her soul returned to the forest, hopping from one branch to another, walking in the dusk with the Forest Shadow, resting in the crown of hair of the Forest Mother. The Light of Life flickering stronger and stronger on the wings of the bird, finding a hiding place in the girl's heart by day. Christmas came and the scent of the forest was brought indoors and shared with the animals in the house. Sacred groves filled with candles, songs sang of sparrow-souled little brothers. Not even crows were shooed from the yard at Christmas; after all, even birds of ill omen have to eat.

Years went by and the girl was gradually growing. The crows came to visit more and more often, one day bringing a message to the girl. Sorrow took over the little bird’s heart, the flicker of the light grew dim. The bright gossamer of days of joy was covered by the dew of a fog, and air was standing still. At night, the soul-bird flew to seek the Protector of the Light of Life. The crow let the girl’s bird-soul inside from a gate and showed her its golden knitting needles. There, the tit could see all stages of its life embroidered on a tapestry, a small flame running on the thread.

“Will the crows still come?” tweeted the tit. “The crows go everywhere”, said the Protector. “They bring messages and fly between the living and the great beyond. Your flame is so clear and so pure, and no one knows what is to come. You must let your flame light the way as you have done thus far. I will follow you on your journey, you will always see me when you look up at the Northern Star.” Before the dawn, the flaming bird-soul returned to the girl’s heart. In the morning, the girl felt lighter, and the fog had begun to clear.

The girl was now old enough to go to school, and her days were filled with rush and noise and things to do. Her soul chirped with joy as the girl met others, frolicked around and felt glad. But the chirping of her soul was bothering others and so it was silenced. The other birds picked at it and plucked its feathers. The girl was crying and missing the forest. Joy was summers, meadows, forests. Her bird-soul had made a nest in the forest, among the trees, its joy leaving marks on the annual rings of the trees, on the roofs of nature spirit dwellings. But another autumn always came.

The girl learned about other worlds, she learned to read and write, learned about life. Her bird-soul was muted by sorrow and fear, she was often rejected and left alone. Many times, she was told she was different, her soul wrong, her body wrong, her hair wrong, her mind wrong. The fluttering of the flame was subdued, the girl was crying and falling deeper into the northern darkness. The heavy fog had made its return, and it was cold, always so cold. The bird soil hibernated and shrivelled into a tiny ball, becoming encased. As the bird retrieved back into its shell, a shadow soul, Self, awakened in the girl. Like a ghost, it walked along her, at times in front of her, at others behind her, but never far away.

Years went by and the girl kept growing. She was often mistaken for a forest maiden with her sweeping long hair as she was walking in the woods with forest creatures. One day, she felt a shift in her chest, as the encased bird-soul hatched out. But the bird was no longer a colourful tit but as black as a crow and as slender as the girl who had now grown into a beautiful maiden. As it sang with vibrancy and strength, the girl’s soul reawakened as a blackbird. The shadow soul retreated, and the girl, now a young maiden, felt alive again. The strikes of the wings of the soul grew stronger, and the voice carried far away, as the flame flickered with more vigour in the maiden’s heart. Her tormentors had withdrawn, they had lost their power, and the shadow soul had shrunk down to inhibit a tiny, dark corner between her ribs. Spring had come.

A southern wind blew against the maiden’s face and took her by the hair, enfolding it into a braid around her head. The spirit of the wind brought stories from far-away lands and made her dreamy. She dreamt of a handsome forest youngster and wished to see a primeval oak supporting the firmament on its branches. But the maiden was so afraid that the fragile strings of her dreams could snap at any time. The spirit of the wind stroked her cheek and whispered to her ear: “Dare.”

With her eyes close, the maiden saw all the worlds and times the wind had travelled, ancient spirits at the gates of the heavens and the underworld, skeins of birds flying north and south, and the great bear in the sky that fell on earth in ancient times. Strong dwellers of the forest, nature spreading to every living creature. She saw how her soul bird had hatched the first time and how her grandmother, for whom the crows had come years ago, had taught her to make cone cows as ants were gathering up needles. As the maiden opened her eyes, she was in the here and now. The soul of the blackbird began to sing, shaking her into motion. Now, it was time for her to dare to set forth and live.

Written and copyright: Jenni Rutonen
Translation: Elisa Wulff

More news