Kullervo as a Boydetails

[Picture: Kullervo as a Boy]
previous image

Image title:

Kullervo as a Boy

Taken from


Out of copyright (called public domain in the USA), hence royalty-free stock image for all purposes usage credit requested
Please do not redistribute without permission, since running this site is expensive.


Kullervo is a character from the Finnish epic poem, the Kalevala. Here he is shown as a naked boy, fair-haired and strong, in a forest, drawing pictures on the trunk of an oak tree; there are cows in the background, perhaps foreshadowing later events.

In the section (chapter 31, called Rune XXXI) Untamo has ordered the wizard-boy Kullervo to be burned alive, which he survived unharmed; enratged, Untamo then ordered him to be crucified; after three days they come to see if he is dead and find the boy happily playing in the forest.

The extract below is from a translation into English, rather than being a translation of the German printed in this issue of Jugend magazine.

Note, the picture is screened, but should reproduce well both on screen and in print. The original painting by Väinö Alfred Blonstedt (credited as Väinö Blomsted in the magazine) was in colour (tempura on canvas) but I think I actually prefer this version.

The story is a cautionary tale against child abuse; my own take is that the youth is not so much evil as amoral.

Then Untamo, evil-humored,

Thus addressed his trusted heralds:

“Whither shall the boy be taken,

To what place this thing of evil,

That destruction may o’ertake him.

That the boy may sink and perish?”

Then they hung him to an oak-tree,

Crucified him in the branches,

That the wizard there might perish.

When three days and nights had ended,

Untamoinen spake as follows:

“It is time to send my heralds

To inspect the mighty oak-tree,

There to learn if young Kullervo

Lives or dies among the branches.”

Thereupon he sent his servants,

And the heralds brought this message:

“Young Kullervo has not perished,

Has not died among the branches

Of the oak-tree where we hung him.

In the oak he maketh pictures

With a wand between his fingers;

Pictures hang from all the branches,

Carved and painted by Kullervo;

And the heroes, thick as acorns,

With their swords and spears waving

Fill the branches of the oak-tree,

Every leaf becomes a soldier.”


Place shown:




Scanner dpi:

23149 dots per inch (approximately)



Similar images: