AMBER: A storm on the Baltic! Tangled seaweed tossed upon the shore! And in the seaweed, lumps of yellow amber! That is what happens, and has happened for thousands of years. Amber is the fossil gum from extinct trees long buried under Baltic waters. And deep in the shore itself, lie rich deposits of the honey-colored substance. Most of the amber comes from the Baltic Sea. From amber, are made beads, mouth-pieces for pipes, cigar-holders, trays, cups, penholders, knife-handles, and incense. The fishing and digging for amber is an important Baltic industry. If you visit Lithuania and walk along the seashore, you may pick up handfuls of raw amber-lumps!
AMBER ROAD: The great amber-beds of the Baltic lie east of Danzig, and extend along the coast of Lithuania to Latvia. This region is called the Amber Coast. On page 217 you may read how the ancient Phoenicians procured amber. In later days, the Greeks and Romans traded for amber through merchants who travelled to and fro along a trade-route running from Latvia southward. This trade-route was the Amber Road.
AURORA BOREALIS: The Latin name for the Northern Dawn, beautiful Northern Lights flaming and flashing through the Polar Night. They are thought to be caused by magnetism from the earth's surface.
BALTIC PROVINCES: Before the World War, the three countries, Courland, Livland, and Estland, were called the Baltic Provinces of Russia, the country that ruled them then. After the War, these Provinces became Independent Republics--Courland and Livland formed the Republic of Latvia, while Estland became the Republic of Estonia.
BALTIC SEA: The Amber Sea.
ESTONIA: Also spelled Esthonia. Estonia is the officially recognized name of this Republic. In days unknown, before the Birth of Christ, strange heathen Tribes migrated, probably from the Ural Mountains, to the Baltic shore. These Tribes were different in language and race from the folks of Western Europe. About the ninth century, a part of these Tribes wandered to Hungary; they are called Magyars. A large division of these strange people had settled earlier on the Estonian peninsula, before the seventh century. They are the Estonians. Then a part of these Estonian settlers moved northward and made homes in the land of a Thousand Lakes; they are called Finns. These people, the Finns, the Estonians, and Hungarians, brought a wonderful gift to the other peoples of Europe--the love of rich colors and exquisite design, and of deep sad music. in the thirteenth century, the Sword-Brothers, the Order of German Knights, overran Estonia, subjugated her, introduced Christianity, and became the noble ruling class of that country. Later Sweden conquered Estonia, and ruled for about a hundred years, till Russia took Estonia and annexed her to the Russian Empire. She then became one of the three Baltic Provinces. After the World War the Estonian farmers and workers declared their Independence. February 24, 1918. Estonia is now a Democratic Republic.
ESTONIAN REPUBLIC: This new Republic is developing a trade along modern lines. Reval, its capital city, lies at the gateway of East Baltic commerce. The Estonian farmers raise rye, oats, barley, and potatoes. Much of the country's wealth is in live stock, and the principal exports are flax, paper, and timber. Estonia has ancient cities and towns, an educational system, and a system of railroads. The University of Dorpat is renowned for its learning. Estonians are music-lovers, and have produced some of the most beautiful poesy of Europe. Estonia is larger than Belgium or Denmark.
FINLAND: "The Land of a Thousand Lakes!" On a large map of Finland you can count many thousands of beautiful lakes and many many thousands of islands, whole archipelagos of them along the coast, and isles and islets dotting the lakes large and small on which float in the summer the wild, golden water-lilies. Swami is what the Finns call their land, which means Marsh Land. And Suomi is also a land of waterfalls, cataracts, and streams; dense forests of birch, pine, fir, alder, and aspen. The coastline is jagged, for the Baltic has carved out many a bay and sound. In winter the days are short and cold, long and bitter, but there is moonshine at night and the Northern Lights flash in the sky. There are winter picnics, sledging, skating, and skiing. "A meadow of wild flowers," is Finland in the spring and summer, and the "land of strawberries," and also of luscious raspberries, huckleberries, cloudberries, and clotted cream. A happy land for children!
FINN FOLK: The Finns, like the Estonians and Hungarians, are different in language and race from the peoples of Western Europe. The Finns are a vigorous people, with blue eyes, reddish hair, and high cheek-bones. They are a patient people, faithful, honest, thrifty, and most hospitable. They are freedom-loving and patriotic. Like the Estonians, they delight in music; and like the Estonians they came under the rule of Sweden and Russia. During hundreds of years past, Swedes have settled in Finland, and form an important part of the population. The descendants of Swedish settlers are called Finlanders. Finlanders, though Swedish in blood, belong to Finland heart and soul. Both Finnish and Swedish are spoken. Finland is larger than the British Isles.
FINNISH REPUBLIC: After the World War the people of Finland, both Finns and Finlanders, declared their Independence from Russian oppression and together with Finnish Lapland, set up a Republic, December 6, 1917. Today, Finland is one of the most progressive States in Europe. Her ancient city of Abo, is called "the cradle of Finnish culture," while her capital, Helsingfors, is the seat of a progressive government, and of a University of high standing. Finland's agricultural and manufacturing industries contribute richly to the world's supply of dairy products, fish, paper, wood-pulp, and timber. The factories and sawmills are run by Finland's "white coal," which means the rushing waters of her streams, yielding electricity for her engines and steam for her boilers. And Finland has her own art and literature. Her native rugs, hand-woven of old in rich colors and delicate designs, are the envy of art collectors. As for the Kalevala, the Finnish national poem, it expresses the deep, melancholy, mystic soul of the Finnish people.
KALEVALA: A long, wonderfully musical Finnish poem about Wizards and Magic. It is composed of ancient heathen songs called runos, never written down, but sung from memory, by one generation to another. In latter times, some Christian ideas have been added to the runos. These native songs were being forgotten and lost till a few years ago, when Elias Lonnrot, a patriotic author of Finland, went about among the Finnish peasants listening to their songs. In this way he saved a large number of the songs, and published many of them in the Kalevala. Kalevala means the Land of Heroes. Longfellow so liked the Kalevala, that he modelled his Hiawatha on it.
KANTULE: Waterfalls, streams, and rivers murmur, tinkle, and sing the summer through in the Land of a Thousand lakes. The Finns speak a soft musical language. Is it a wonder then, that the Finns of old delighted to make sweet sad music on the kantele, and sing their mystic runos? The kastele, still used in Finland, is a small flat stringed instrument something like a little harp, held on the lap while the player draws his hand across it, and accompanies the wild, weird songs of the runo-singers. Two runo-singers sit facing each other, clasp hands, and sway rhythmically as they chant. First one sings a line, then the other repeats its meaning in different words. You will find this repetition in the Kalevala and in Hiawatha; also in the little verses in this book, which have the Kalevala rhythm.
LAPLAND: See "the Dancing Woman" on your map of Europe. She is Finland. Her tossing arms, head, and the upper part of her body, are Finnish Lapland. Lapland, as a whole, is a vast area, a section of which belongs to Sweden, and another section to Norway; but the largest section of all forms a part of the Republic of Finland. And what a desolate barren place Lapland would seem, were it not for the white beauty of the snow, and for the moonshine of the Long Nights, and the flaming of the Aurora splendor. The short summer, very hot, when the sun never sets, or sets for a brief while only, is made lovely with flowers and birds, and hideous with shaking bogs and clouds of thirsty mosquitoes. "Immense are the stretches of forest there, mighty are the rivers, and the mountains are higher than in the rest of Finland." Trees do not grow in the far North and the wild tundra stretches over great barren tracts. Lapland is a mighty and somber land. Its products are reindeer meat, skins, and cheese.
LAPPS: The short, nimble, dark-skinned people of Lapland, with triangular faces, flat noses, and high cheekbones, call themselves the Sameh or Samelats. We call them Lapps, which means wanderer or nomad. The Lapps, in race, are like some Arctic Tribes of Asia. Their language is something like Finnish. In the dim past, the Lapps probably wandered from Asia into Northern Europe. Over the vast area of Lapland, are scattered about 30,000 Lapps. Some live by fishing in the Arctic Sea and Lapland's rivers; they are called Coast Lapps, and dwell in villages or in lonely shack. Others who live by reindeer herding, must follow the reindeer herds from grazing ground to grazing ground, and move their tents and goods along with them. These tent-dwelling nomads are called Mountain Lapps, for some of the best pasturage lies in the mountain valleys. Many Finnish Lapps are farmers, dwelling in little farm-houses. The Lapp loves bright colors, and his reindeer skin clothes are gaily embroidered. He hangs little tinkling bells on the shaft of his sledge, and drives his reindeer furiously over the snowy tundra, while the bells jingle merrily. He likes weird stories, and is easily frightened and becomes angry over very little. Though a Christian, he still believes in strange heathen things, like Magic Spells. But he is kindly, and hospitable.
LATVIA: Also called Lettland. Here is another new Baltic Republic, neighbor of Estonia. In early days some folk of the same race as the Estonians, dwelt in this land, but they have nearly died out. The present leading people are descendants of Lettish settlers, and are not of the same race as that of the Finns, Estonians, and Hungarians. The Letts and the Lithuanians belong to a mysterious European race living from ancient times on the Baltic. The Letts, or, as we call them now, the Latvians, have a most interesting language, while the history of their country is much like that of Estonia. Before the World War, the two countries, Courland and Livland, were Baltic Provinces of Russia. After the World War, the poeple of Courland and Livland united, declared their Independence, November 18, 1918, and set up the Republic of Latvia. The united people are now called Latvians.
LATVIAN REPUBLIC: Because of the charming, romantic scenery in some parts of Latvia, the country is called, "the Baltic Riviera." Another section of the country is known as "the Livonian Switzerland." Picturesque scenery, castle ruins, lakes, and lovely landscapes delight the traveller. In other sections, are forests and peat bogs, while farms dot the country, for Latvia is an agricultural land. Her capital city, Riga, is a railway centre for traffic from Estonia, Lithuania, Russia, Poland, and Germany. Through Riga's sea-port passes a world commerce. Latvia exports qauntities of flax, butter, poultry, eggs, honey, preserved fruits, fruit juices, paper and lumber. Latvia is spending large sums to educate her people, and there are a national museum, a state art museum, a national opera, and modern progress along many lines.
LETTS AND LETTLAND: See, LATVIA.
LITHUANIA: A living language, much like the ancient Sanscrit, that dead language of India, spoken today by a European people! What a marvel! Such is the language of Lithuania. Since long before the Seventh century, the Lithuanians have lived on the Baltic Coast. The Roman author, Tacitus, in the second century wrote of their "amber land." The Lithuanians are a fair-haired, fair-skinned race, a quiet agricultural people. But this quiet people have a remarkable history. Like the Estonians, they suffered under the scourge of the Sword Brothers. But unlike their Baltic neighbors, they were once mighty warriors. Indeed, Lithuania, about 1400, was the leading Ruling Power of eastern Europe. Since then she has suffered oppression under both Poland and Russia. After the World War, she declared her Independence, February 16, 1918, and set up a Republic.
LITHUANIA REPUBLIC: Lithuania is still hard pressed by her neighbor Poland. But she is brave and determined, and is peaceably defending herself from aggression. Meanwhile she is developing her trade and industries, organizing a school system, encouraging her national theatre, art, and literature. Lithuania's chief exports are live stock, eggs, poultry, meat, dairy products, and amber.
LIVONIA: Also called Livland. It is now a part of Latvia.
MIDNIGHT SUN: The farther North one goes in winter, the longer the night and the shorter the day, till beyond the Arctic Circle, there is a winter period during which the sun never rises. The farther North one goes in summer, the longer the day and the shorter the night, till beyond the Arctic Circle, there is a summer period during which the sun never sets. Now below the Arctic Circle, in the lower latitude, the sun just before midnight, in midsummer, sets for a few minutes, then rises again in brilliant splendor. This midsummer rising and setting of the sun is called the Midnight Sun. Read the lovely story of two children who saw the Midnight Sun; "When the Bright Sun Rises," in Canute Whistlewinks, by Finland's great author, Topelius.
MIDSUMMER NIGHT: Midsummer Day, is June 24. On Midsummer Eve, all fairies and elves are supposed to be playing about and witches to be flying round. In ancient days, the pagan folk used to worship the sun on Midsummer Night. They built bonfires and danced, leaped and howled round them, and jumped through the flames. Many peasants in Europe still build these bonfires, and dance and sing round them, and even leap through the flames. They say that they do this in honor of Saint John the Baptist. But they are really keeping up the old pagan rite of adoring the sun-god Baal. Baal-fires these bonfires are called. In Finland thousands of bonfires are kindled on Midsummer Night. In Latvia, besides building fires, a pretty flower festival is kept, which used to be held in honor of the Lettish cupid. In Finland there is a legend explaining these fires: The Sunset and the Sunrise begged the Lord of the sky to let them wed. So once a year, on Midsummer Night, at midnight, they clasp each other in glowing arms.
MOSQUITOES: In all Northern countries where there are bogs and swamps, mosquitoes are a terrible pest. In Finland and Lapland, in hot weather, mosquitoes swarm in clouds.
NAIL OF THE NORTH: A Lappish name for the Pole Star.
NORTHERN LIGHTS: See, AURORA BOREALIS.
PEIPIS LAKE: A large lake between Estonia and Russia.
REINDEER: A wonderful sight is a great gray herd of reindeer galloping over the hills, their bells tingling, their many branched antlers tossing. In winter they dig deep in the snow with their forelegs to get at their favorite food, reindeer moss. When a reindeer is harnessed to a sledge and is speeding over the snowy tundra, his spreading hoofs keep him from sinking into the snow. In winter tha wandering Mountain Lapp moves his goods by sledge. But in summer, when the tundra is wet and boggy, he loads his pack reindeer and leads them along in a string. The reindeer herds supply the Lapps with meat, milk, cheese, and skins to use instead of cloth.
REINDEER KINGS: A rich Lapp counts his wealth by the number of reindeer he owns. Poor Lapps have only a few deer. Rich Lapps have large herds of sometimes a thousand or two thousand deer. Very rich Lapps are called Lapp Kings.
SAINT JOHN'S NIGHT: June 24 is supposed to be the birthday of Saint John the Baptist. An old pagan festival is still celebrated on this day.
SEITE: Lappish idol made of a huge stone found in some strange shape.
SKIS: A pair of long slender runners usually of birchwood, to bind to the feet, so that one may easily run over the snow or leap down hillsides.
SLEDGE: The Lapp sledge is called a pulka. It is boat-shaped, and when drawn rapidly over the snow by the swift reindeer, it rocks violently from side to side. But if it had runners, it could not pass so easily over all kinds of ground, bumpy, hilly, and flat.
STALLO: A man-eating Giant in Lapp stories, who is so stupid that any bright Lapp can easily outwit him.
SUOMI: See, FINLAND.
TUNDRA: The wide treeless plain near the Arctic Sea. In winter it is frozen. In summer it is wet and boggy. Reindeer moss grows on the tundra.
ULDAS: A kind of fairy folk in Lapp stories, man-size, and usually invisible.
VIKING: This word means sea-rover, sea-robber, pirate. It does not mean a King of any kind.
WIZARDS: The Red Indian has his Medicine Man, the Eskimo has Shamans, the African Negro has Witch Doctors, and the Lapp has his Wizards--and all of these magicians are supposed to control bad and good spirits, and to be able to throw spells on folk. They are usually great rogues and practice trick magic. The Lapp Wizards used to be very powerful men keeping the poor people in great fear of their spells. They used to beat magic drums pretending to call upon spirits for help and advice. Christian teaching has done away with much of this superstition, and the magic drum is no longer used.