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The ring rock

A big rock in a forest.

This is the rock. The one that marks the boundary between the East and West. The rock that the Tsar of Russia and the King of Sweden determined should be closer to St Petersburg than to Stockholm, hundreds of years ago. The same rock the builders of the Saimaa Canal later did not dare break up, but built some stairs on its low side. The gentlefolk climbed up them to the level top of the rock to admire the lake view opening up from there. The stairs remained in place until a farmer, well drunk and egged on by others, drove his horse to the top of the rock. After many attempts he pulled off his feat, and the beast was even brought back down off the boulder. But the authorities got to hear of the incident, there was a court hearing, and the stairs were ordered to be removed.

That was the ring rock. One of the first times anyone climbed atop the rock, they found a finger with a shining ring still on it. Nobody knew from whose body the finger had become detached. Had a bird picked it up somewhere and dropped it on the rock while flying by? Or had there been a fierce fight on the rock between the ring wearer and some other person?

They were troubled times. The rock became a meeting place, a place for celebrations, and a place of muster when men had to go to war. Near it rose a church, its excellence over-enthusiastically proclaimed by the sexton, who rang the bells so often as to severely jar the nerves of people living nearby. The sexton’s love for his church was so great that he would not come down from his bell tower even when nature called. Many stories of the ’shit church’ were told in Joutseno at the time.

A grand cross adorned by a diamond was erected on the church roof. In the latest war, the church tower was smashed, and the cross with its treasure vanished with it. People have dug around the nearby military section of the cemetery looking for it, but to no avail. The diamond has faded into the mists of memory.

But the legend has it that one day the diamond will turn up again, together with the ring. Perhaps, like by magic, on the finger of some living person.

Text: Pekka Vartiainen
Picture: Anu Nuutinen
Translation: Annira Silver
Location on map

The story and the picture are a part of Tarinajoki book (River of Stories), made in Rural Explorer project. As part of a culture tourism project, stories arising from the body of folk narratives and history also have a function in relation to the productisation of tourism. The stories are linked to real locations.