Description of Figure/Doll

Hand made figurine from the culture of Estonia. She has a wood ball for a head and wood torso and extremities. Her hair is fine white silk, reflective of the number of blondes in Estonia. She has a blue ribbon on her head and sequins on the bodice of her white cotton blouse. Her skirt is woven from many colors, and she is holding a small wool bag in one hand. Her face is painted, and she has blue eyes.

Estonia

Location: Eastern Europe

Capital: Tallinn

Main language: Estonian

Currency: Euro

Figure/Doll

Construction: wood, cloth

Height in Centimeters: 20

Height in Inches: 8

The Maiden of the Milky Way: An Estonian Folktale

Reading Level: 4.30

My name is Kristina, and I live in Estonia. Estonia is a country in northern Europe. It is close to Finland and Russia. We have lots of snow in the winter.

Every night the sky in Estonia is full of millions of bright, white stars, known as the Milky Way. And sometimes, if you are very lucky, you can see the Northern Lights, which appear as ribbons of color in the sky. I asked my mother where the Milky Way came from. Here is the story she told me.


Linda, the lovely daughter of Uko, was very beautiful. She loved being outside and taking care of the birds. She cared as gently and tenderly for the little birds, as a mother cares for her children.

Everyone loved Linda. All of the young men wanted her for his bride, and crowds of suitors came to woo her.

In a handsome coach with six brown horses, the North Star drove up, and brought ten gifts. But Linda sent him away, with hurried words: “You always have to stay in the same place. You cannot move about,” said Linda.

Then came the Moon in a silver coach drawn by ten brown horses. He brought her twenty gifts. But Linda refused the Moon, saying: “You change your looks too often. You do not suit me.

Hardly had the Moon driven sorrowfully off, before the Sun drove up. In a golden coach with twenty red-gold horses, he rattled up to the door. He brought thirty presents with him. But all his pomp, shining splendor, and fine gifts did not help him. Linda said, “I do not want you. You are like the Moon. Day after day you follow the same path.”

So the Sun went away very sad.

Then at midnight, in a diamond coach drawn by a thousand white horses, came the Northern Lights. His coming was so magnificent, that Linda ran to the door to meet him. He brought a whole coach-load of gold, silver, pearls and jeweled ornaments. The servants of the Northern Lights carried the gifts into house and his gifts pleased her.

“You do not always travel in the same course,” said Linda. “You flash where you will, and stop when you please. Each time you appear, you are robed in new beauty and richness. Each time you wear a different garment with different colors. You are the true bridegroom!”

Then they got engaged to be married. The Sun, Moon, and North Star looked sadly on. They envied the Northern Lights his happiness.

The Northern Lights could not stay long in the bride’s house, for he had to hurry back to the sky. When he said farewell, he promised to return soon for the wedding, and to drive Linda back with him to his home in the North. Meanwhile, they were to prepare Linda’s wedding dress.

Linda made her wedding dress, and waited and waited. One day followed the other, but the bridegroom did not come to hold the joyous wedding with Linda. The winter passed, and the lovely spring adorned the earth with fresh beauty, while Linda waited in vain for her bridegroom. Nothing was seen of him!

Then she began to grieve bitterly and lament, and to cry day and night. She put on her wedding dress and white veil, and sat down in a meadow by a river. From her thousand tears, little brooks ran into the valleys. In her deep sorrow, she thought only of her bridegroom, the Northern Lights.

The little birds flew tenderly about her head, brushing her with their soft wings, to comfort her. But she did not see them, nor did she take care of them any more. So the little birds wandered about, flying here, flying there, for they did not know what to do or where to go.

Uko, Linda’s father, heard of her sorrow and how the little birds were untended. He ordered his Winds to fetch his daughter to him, to rescue her from such deep grief. And while Linda was sitting alone in the meadow weeping, the Winds sank softly down beside her, and gently lifting her, bore her up and away. They laid her down in the blue sky.

And there is Linda now, living in the sky. Her white wedding veil spread round her. And if you look up at the Milky Way, you will see Linda in her wedding dress. There she is, showing the way to little birds who wander.

Linda is happy! In winter she gazes towards the North. She waves her hand at the Northern Lights flashing nearer and nearer, then he again asks her to be his bride.

But though he flashes very close to Linda, heart to heart, he cannot carry her off. She must stay forever in the sky, robed in white, and must spread out her veil to make the Milky Way.


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