illustrated by Auvo Taivalvuo 1982
The children are working indoors when they hear crying. They go out and see and old man crying in the ground. The man introduces himself as Christmas man, do the children not know him? The kids say they only have heard of him, never met him. The children take him inside and give him blueberry porridge and the Christmas man tells him why he is so upset.
The Christmas man had been taking a nap outside his cave, when the forest devil had taken his boot. Christmas man needs his boot, because they are magic.
|The Forestdevil takes Christmasman's boot.|
They take their dog with them and soon they see the forest devil. But the forest devil is too fast and even the dog can’t catch him. The kids do not know what to do. A woodpecker hears the kids talking and promises to help them. After all the Christmas man has been very kind to the bird.
The woodpecker finds a hole in the forest devil’s cave and sees that the devil is napping without the boot and that the boot is hanging on the wall. The woodpecker hides inside the boot. When the forest devil wakes up, he decides to go and steel the Christmas man’s other boot, too. The forest devil puts on the boot and starts screaming. The woodpecker pecks the forest devil’s sole. The forest devil is bleeding and he throws the boot away.
The woodpecker comes out and the kids take the boot back to the Christmas man. The Christmas man is very happy and thanks the kids.
Christmas comes and the family is eating Christmas porridge, when the Christmas man knocks on the door. He has gifts for everyone: they boys get a book and skies, the mother gets a scarf.
The Story was first published in 1933 in a collection of Anni Swan's fairy tales. Anni Swan is considered the mother of Finnish children's literature and she was the first to write books for girls.
I read this book as a child and I thought it was the scariest book ever. The foresdevil looks so evil. Even today I vividly remember what I felt the first time I read this book. Needless to say that I cannot see any modern horror stories, because they haunt me several days afterwards.