Kontokki and Kostamus
Kuivajärvi and Hietajärvi

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The poetry collectors did not fare especially well in Pistojärvi, although the village certainly received many visits from folklorists.

Lönnrot stopped in Pistojärvi in November 1836 for several days during the first stage of his seventh field trip, when he was investigating the extent of poem-singing to the north:

I spent the night in Ohta and left there the day before yesterday (the 26th) for Pistojärvi, 15 km away. There I spent that day and the next, which was Sunday. My host thought that I would easily get as far as Suvanto on the Monday, since he himself had to go there on horseback then. Thus I decided to stay and ask if there were any poem-singers in the village. As it turned out, there were none, nor anything else worth recording.

Almost ten years later, Europaeus met a bard named Iivana but could not get him to sing. Homa, the Shaman of Vuosma, was equally reluctant to perform and dictated a single "witch tale."

Inha set out for Pistojärvi in search of Homa's songs early in the spring of 1894:

I came from Salmi to Pistojärvi on horseback. I suggested that we ride along the ridge, because Lakes Ohtajärvi and Pistojärvi were connected on the map. But they told me the map was wrong, so we went across a narrow strip of land between them. Lake Pistojärvi is a big, upland lake full of points and coves and with heavily wooded shores. It was there that I started looking for the songs of Homa again. But I soon reached the village without getting a single line of poetry that had been passed down from Homa. Not even from his relatives, who were still living on the other side of the lake. They were so "stiff", as Europaeus put it, that there was no point even bringing up the subject of poetry.

The mistress of the house in which Inha was staying was the sister of Hökkä-Petri of Venehjärvi. The household was deeply religious "Old Believers", like many others in the area, which in turn explains why people were reluctant to sing even though they had the talent. As Inha tells us about his hostess: "although she most certainly knew some poems, she would not sing them, because she felt they were sinful. She gave me a sermon for even wanting to write down such pathetic jingles."

Before Inha came to Pistojärvi, Borenius, Genetz and Berner had combed the area for poems in late July and early August 1872 without much success.

Pistojärvi is about average in size for the villages in Viena. At the beginning of the century, it had over 25 houses and some 175 inhabitants.


What to see