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A drawn picture, where a man is dropping coins to a small bag. Beside him there is a shovel and small holes in the ground.

The names of Urposuo and Urpolampi derive from the story of Urpo, a man famous for his wealth, who once lived in the area. Urpo was afraid of robbers and had therefore hidden some of his money in the swamp. Urpo’s fear of thieves was not unfounded, as once, on his way to the Savitaipale church village, robbers murdered him at Kenkäkaivo by Urpokivi rock, took the money he was carrying, and hid the body in the swamp on the right-hand side of the road. The details of where the buried cash was hidden Urpo took to his grave.

No-one quite knew where and how Urpo had acquired his money, but he was hell-bent on keeping guard over it. It was said he stroked it through the nights, and it is not known whether or not he dared to sleep. But in his fear of thieves he hid his money here and there, some at the foot of the tallest spruce tree in the forest near his cabin, even more in the ponds of the wet swamp. In the end he had so many hiding places that he had trouble keeping track of them.

Well – Urpo was once on his way to the Savitaipale church, and the weather was either very wet and windy or sunny and hot, so that Urpo took to wiping the sweat or rain off his skin. To keep him company, he had taken a small amount of his beloved money, stuffed in a pouch hung from his belt and lightly swinging in time with his steps. The codger had got as far as Kenkäkaivo, when suddenly, out of the blue or straight out of hell, a bellowing bunch of louts had appeared. They had started to bait and shove Urpo, knowing that he was rich, demanding that he gives them the pouch and tells them where he keeps the rest of the cash. Urpo was a scowling, tight-lipped and awkward curmudgeon, so he kept his mouth shut, certainly not saying a word about the whereabouts of his coins. He even tried to protect his money pouch, furiously swinging his rugged stick. His eyebrows were like brooms, but did not worry the louts. The villains’ leader took a large sledgehammer to Urpo’s head.

The force of the strike detached the front of Urpo’s skull from the rest of his head. The man, soon sprawled out stiffened by death, was sunk by the robbers in the nearby swamp. But they only got a small pittance of all Urpo’s money. The rest remained, scattered here and there, steeping in the lap of the damp swamp together with its owner.

We were very upset by Urpo’s fate. From then on, the places were known as Urpo’s Swamp and Urpo’s Pond, Urposuo and Urpolampi.

Some respect in any event to the man who was careful with his money.

Text: Pekka Vartiainen
Picture: Anni Jokitalo
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.