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."
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
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