Maahinen, a protector of land


Maahinen in mythology

A maahinen or maahiainen, a protector or keeper of land, is a type of wight in the Torne valley folklore. For example the tracks in the woods often belonged to theese keepers and maps of their tracks were kept to make shure you didn’t go and build something on one of them, or you could get in trouble.

Children were warned not to go alone into the woods because they were easily fooled by the forest keepers and got lost or dissapeared. You could also invoke the wrath of the forest keepers by pooping in the woods, unaware of the spot beeing the home or nest of the forest keepers.

Keepers often kept cows, who like them, were invisible most of the time. Their cows gave a lot of milk and one way to get one was to marry a keeper woman. To get her everlasting love you had to throw a knife over her. You could also just throw a knife or a pair of scissors over the cow itself if you wanted it (I don’t know if you also got everlasting love from the cow).

Maahinen in the film

In the film Who can love Pikku Iso? maahinen have been a bit modernized . Piku lives in a house and has no cows. He still have a duty to protect a certain piece of land though, a duty he inherited from his father, the well known and respected keeper of land, Iso Iso.

If you want to read more about the Torne valley folklore and can read either Swedish or Meänkieli there is a book called Manalaisitten Kirja/Andarnas Bok by Birger Winsa (I wil give the book back to you Anton, I promise).