Alla silkkaa ja suoraa lainausta kirjasta Georges-Bernard Depping: Depping's evening entertainments: comprising delineations of the manners and customs of various nations. Second series. 1833 . Wikipedian mukaan kirjoittaja on saksalais-ranskalainen eli kyseessä ilmeisesti käännös.
The Finlanders had formely the same advantages as the Norvegians; immense forests occupied that part of their country which was not occupied by lakes or morasses; but the ill judged conduct of the inhabitants have nearly destroyed them. Instead of economizing this precious gift, they set large portions of it on fire; and, when the soil is covered with ashes, they sow it with seed.
Gustav. How can they be so imprudent?
Mr. O. Having discovered that the fresh ashes rendered the earth very fertile, they destroy their woods in order to reap speedily the fruits of their labour. If they cleared the marshy lands, their work would be longer and more painful; they love to labour little and reap much. In this they act like all people who think but little, and who sacrifice their brightest hopes to the enjoyment of the present moment. It is true, that the Finlanders could never reap profit to the same extent as the Norwegians; because their country is so intersected by fens and marshes that commercial intercourse is difficult. Every household depends upon itself for the gratification of its wants. The master of the cottage is tailor, miller, weaver, &c. They are contented with their miserable huts because they are ignorant of better; they are bigoted to their ancient customs, and, although oftentimes distressed for provision, they receive coldly that valuable vegetable, the potatoe, and the bread made from the reindeer moss. It is with nations as with individuals ; a solitary life renders us self opinionated; by depending constantly upon ourselves, we imagine that we are all-sufficient, and need not the advise of others ; we become mistrustful and obstinate. By associating with others, we naturally profit by their knowledge and experience.
Yet the Finlander is not without advantages which result from his isolated situation; he is not exposed to the temptation and bad examples of cities; and with the rudeness of uncultivated life, he has also preserved its simplicity. In his intercourse with strangers he is exceedingly reserved and not unfrequently gloomy.
Notwithstanding the efforts which have been made to enlighten them, they are exceedingly superstitious. Their magicians who are now, however, compelled by the vigilance of their magistrates to resort to secrecy, in order to carry on their pretended arts, bear about in a bag all they consider necessary for their magical delusions. They have many old songs which they teach as a shield or remedy against evils. The Finlanders have always loved singing, and they possess a talent you would little suspect, that of poetry. They compose songs and long poems, in which, though many of the ideas are whimsical, the sentiments they contain are noble and strongly expressed. These poems become oral traditions, for they know not how to preserve them in writing. Some of the peasants will repeat a thousand lines, which they have either heard or composed. Sometimes these verses are sung, accompanied by a stringed instrument, called kandele, which, according to their mythology, was invented by a god.
At the feasts of the interior Finlanders, an old poet, having chosen a helpmate, places himself opposite to him, so that their knees touch; he then recites a couplet, to which his companion adds another, and so till the poem is finished. A pot of beer is the only recompense for this rustic effusion of the muses. When the in-peasants travel towards the coast, in companies of forty or fifty, they cheer the way by song. The women too, when turning the grindstone and performing other offices equally hard, beguile the hours with historic or romantic ballads. The women are very industrious and exact in the performance of their household duties.