Log, the Hero Who Released the Sun
Once a poor couple had no children. Their neighbours all had boys and
girls in plenty but for some reason God did not send them even one.
"If I cannot have a flesh and blood baby," the woman said one day, "I'm going to have a wooden baby."
She went to the woods and cut a log of alder just the size of a nice
fat baby. She dressed the log in baby clothes and put it in a cradle.
Then for three whole years she and her husband rocked the cradle and
sang lullabies to the log baby.
At the end of three years one afternoon, when the man was out chopping
wood and the woman was driving the cows home from pasture, the log baby
turned into a real baby! It was so strong and hearty that by the time
its parents got home it had crawled out of the cradle and was sitting
on the floor yelling lustily for food. It ate and ate and ate and the
more it ate the faster it grew. It was not any time at all in passing
from babyhood to childhood, from childhood to youth, and from youth to
manhood. From the start, people of the village knew it as Log, and Log
never got any other name.
Log's parents knew from the start that Log was destined to be a great
hero. That was why he was so strong and so good. There was no one in
the village as strong as he was, or anyone as kind and gentle.
Now just at this time a great calamity overtook the world. The sun, the
moon, and the dawn disappeared from the sky and as a result the earth
was left in darkness.
"Who have taken from us the sun and the moon and the dawn?" the people cried in terror.
"Whoever they are, "the king said, "they shall have to restore them!
Where, O where are the heroes that will undertake to find the sun and
the moon and the dawn and return them to their places in the sky?"
There were many men willing to offer themselves for the great adventure
but the king realized that, something more was needed than willingness.
"It is only heroes of unusual strength and endurance," he said, "who should risk the dangers of so perilous an undertaking."
So he called together all the valiant youths of the kingdom and tested
them one by one. He had some waters of great strength and it was his
hope to find three heroes: one who could drink three bottles of the
strong waters, a second that could drink six bottles, and a third one
to drink nine bottles.
Hundreds of youths presented themselves and out of them all the king
found at last two: one was able to take three bottles of the strong
waters, the other six bottles.
"But we need three heroes!" the king cried. "Is there no one in this entire kingdom strong enough to drink nine bottles?"
"Try Log!" someone shouted.
All the youths present at once took up the cry, "Log! Log! Send for Log!"
So the king sent for Log and sure enough, when Log came he was able to
drink down nine bottles of the strong waters without any trouble at all.
"Here now," the king proclaimed, "are the three heroes who are to
release the sun and the moon and the dawn from whoever are holding them
in captivity and restore them to their places in the sky!"
He equipped the three heroes for a long journey furnishing them money
and food and drink of the strong waters, each according to his
strength. He mounted them each on a mighty horse with sword and arrow
So the three heroes rode off in the dark and the women of the kingdom
wept to see them go and the men cheered and wished that they, too, were
They rode on and on for many days that seemed like nights till they had
crossed the confines of their own country and entered the boundaries of
an unknown kingdom beyond. Here the darkness was less dense. There was
no actual daylight but a faint greyness as of approaching dawn.
They rode on until they saw looming up before them the towers of a
mighty castle. They dismounted near the castle at the door of a little
hut where they found an old woman.
"Good day to you, granny!" Log called out.
"Good day, indeed!" the old woman said. "It's little enough we see of
the day since the Evil One cursed the sun and handed it over to
Suyettar's wicked offspring, the nine-headed serpent!"
"The Evil One!" Log exclaimed. "Tell me, granny, why did the Evil One curse the sun?"
"Because he's evil, my son, that's why! He said the sun's rays
blistered him, so he cursed the sun and gave him over to the
nine-headed serpent. And he cursed the moon, too, because at night when
the moon shone he could not steal. Yes, my son, he cursed the moon and
handed her over to Suyettar's second offspring, the six-headed serpent.
Then he cursed the dawn because he said he couldn't sleep in the
morning because of the dawn. So he cursed the dawn and gave her over to
Suyettar's third offspring, the three-headed serpent."
"Tell me, granny," Log said, "where do the three serpents keep prisoner the sun and the moon and the dawn?"
"Listen, my son, and I will tell you: When they go far out in the sea
they carry with them the sun and the moon and the dawn. The
three-headed serpent stays out there one day and then returns at night.
The six-headed serpent stays two days and then returns, and the mighty
nine- headed monster does not return until the third night. As each
returns a faint glow spreads over the land. That is why we are not in
Log thanked the old woman and then he and his companions pushed on
towards the castle. As they neared it, they saw a strange sight that
they could not understand. One half of the great castle was laughing
and rocking as if in merriment and the other half was weeping as if in
"What can this mean?" Log cried out. "We had better ask the old woman before we go on."
So they went back to the hut and the old woman told them all she knew.
"It is on account of the dreadful fate that is hanging over the king's
three daughters," she said. "Those three evil monsters are demanding
them one by one. Tonight when the three-headed serpent comes back from
the sea he expects to devour the eldest. If the king refuses to give
her up, then Suyettar's evil son will devour half the kingdom, half of
the castle itself, and half the shining stones. O, that some hero would
kill the monster and save the princess and at the same time release the
dawn that it might again steal over the world!"
Log and his fellows conferred together and the one they called Three
Bottles, because his strength was equal to three bottles of the strong
waters, declared that it was his task to fight and conquer the
Meanwhile, in the castle preparations for the sacrifice of the oldest
princess were going forward. As the king sewed the poor girl into a
great leather sack, his tears fell so fast that he could scarcely see
what he was doing.
"My dear child," he said, "it should comfort you greatly to think that
the monster is going to eat you instead of half the kingdom! Not many
princesses are considered as important as half the kingdom!"
The princess knew that what her father said must be true, and she did
her best to look cheerful as they slipped the sack over her head. Once
inside, however, she allowed herself to cry for she knew that no one
could see her.
The sack with the princess inside was carried down to the beach and put
on a high rock near the place where Suyettar's sons were wont to come
up out of the water.
"Don't be frightened, my daughter!" the king called out as he and all
the court started back to the castle. "You will not have to wait for
long, for it will soon be evening."
Log and his companions watched the king's party disappear and then
Three Bottles solemnly drank down the three bottles of strong waters
with which his own King had equipped him. As he was ready to mount his
horse, he handed Log the leash to which his dog was attached.
"If I need help," he said, "I'll throw back my shoe and then you then release my dog."
With that he rode boldly down to the beach, dismounted, and climbed up
the rock where the unfortunate princess lay in a sack. With one slash
of the sword he ripped open the sack and dragged the princess out. She
supposed of course that he was the three-headed serpent and at first
was so frightened that she kept her eyes tightly shut not daring to
look at him. She expected every minute to have him take a first bite
and, when minutes and more minutes and more minutes still went by and
he did not, she opened her eyes a little crack to see what was the
"Oh!" the princess said. She was so surprised that for a long time she did not dare to take another peep.
"You thought I was the three-headed serpent, did not you?" a pleasant
voice asked. "But I'm not. I'm only a young man who has come to rescue
The princess murmured, "Oh!" again, but this time the "Oh!" expressed happy relief.
"Yes," repeated the young man, "I am the hero who has come to rescue
you. My comrades call me Three Bottles. And while we are waiting for
the serpent to come in from the sea I wish you would scratch my head."
The princess was not in the least surprised at this request. Heroes and
monsters and fathers seemed always to want their heads scratched.
So Three Bottles stretched himself at the princess' feet and put his
head in her lap. He settled himself comfortably and she scratched his
head while he gazed out over the dark sea waiting for the serpent to
At first there was nothing to break the glassy surface of the water.
They waited, and at last far out they saw three swirling masses rolling
"Quick, princess!" Three Bottles cried. "There comes the monster now!
Get down behind the rock and hide there while I meet the creature and
chop off his ugly heads!"
The princess, quivering with fright, crouched down behind the rock and
Three Bottles, mounting his horse, rode boldly down to the water's edge
awaiting the serpent's coming.
It came nearer and nearer in long easy swirls, slowly lifting its three
scaly heads one after another. As it approached shore it sniffed the
air hungrily. "Fee, fi, fo, fum!" it muttered in a deep voice,
repeating the magic rime it had learned from its evil mother, Suyettar,
"Fee, fi, fo, fum!
I smell some yum, yum!
I'll fall on him with a thud!
I'll pick his bones and drink his blood!
Fee,fi, fo, fum! Yum! Yum!"
"Stop boasting, son of Suyettar!" Three Bottles cried. "You'll have time enough to boast after you fight."
"Fight?" repeated the serpent as if in surprise. "Shall we fight,
pretty boy, you and I? Very well! Blow then with your sweet breath,
blow out a long level platform of red copper whereon we can meet and
try our strength each with the other!"'
"Nay," answered Three Bottles. "You blow, and instead of red copper we shall have a platform of black iron."
So the serpent blew and on the iron platform that came of his breath
Three Bottles met him in combat. Back and forth they raged, Three
Bottles striking right and left with his mighty sword, the serpent
hitting at Three Bottles with all his scaly heads and belching forth
fire and smoke from all his mouths. Three Bottles whacked off one scaly
head and at last a second one, but he was unable to touch the third.
"I shall have to have help," he acknowledged to himself finally, and
reaching down he took one of his shoes and threw it over his shoulder
back to his comrades who were awaiting the outcome of the struggle. At
once they loosed the dog which bounded forward to its master's
assistance, and soon with the dog's help Three Bottles was able to
dispatch the last head.
He was faint now with weariness and his comrades had to help him back to the old woman's hut where he soon fell asleep.
Night passed and dawn appeared. A great cry of relief and thanksgiving went up from all the earth.
"The dawn! The dawn!" people cried. "God bless the man who has released the dawn!"
Only at the castle was there sorrow still.
"My poor oldest daughter!" the king cried with tears in his eyes. "It was my sacrifice of her that has released the dawn!"
Then he called his servants and gave them orders to gather up his daughter's bones and to bring back the leather sack.
"We shall need it again tonight,"he said. He wiped his eyes and for a
moment could say no more. "Yes, tonight we shall have to sew up my
second daughter and offer her to the six-headed serpent, him that holds
captive the moon. Otherwise the monster will devour half my kingdom,
half the castle, and half the shining stones. Ail Ail Ail"
But the servants when they went to the high rock on the seashore found,
not the princess' bones, but the princess herself, sitting there with
her chin in her hand, gazing down on the beach which was strewn with
the fragments of the three-headed serpent.
They led her back to her father and reported the marvel they had seen.
"There, king, lies the monster on the sand with all his heads severed!
So huge are the heads that it would need three men with derricks to
move one of them!"
"Some unknown hero has rescued my oldest daughter!" the king cried.
"Would that another might come tonight to rescue my second child
likewise! But, alas! what hero is strong enough to destroy the
So when evening came they sewed the second princess in the sack and
carried her out to the rock. Log and his companions saw the procession
move down from the castle and they saw that the castle was again
disturbed, one half of it laughing and one half weeping.
"It's the second princess tonight," the old woman told them. "Unless
her father, the king, gives her to the six-headed serpent, the monster
will come and eat half the kingdom, half the castle, and half the
shining stones. He it is that holds the moon captive and the hero that
slays him will release the moon."
Then he whom his comrades called Six Bottles cried out, "Here is work for me!"
He drank bottle after bottle of the strong waters until he had emptied six. "Now I am ready!" he shouted.
He mounted his mighty horse and as he rode off he called to his
comrades, "If I need help I'll throw back a shoe and then you unleash
He rode to the rock on the shore and dismounted. Then he climbed the
rock and released the second princess. He told her who he was and as
they awaited the arrival of the six-headed serpent he lay at the
princess' feet and she scratched his head.
This time the serpent came in six mighty swirls with six awful heads
that reared up one after another. In terror the second princess hid
behind the rock while Six Bottles, mounting his horse, rode boldly down
to the water's edge.
Like his brother serpent this one, too, came sniffing the air hungrily,
muttering the magic rime he had learned from his mother, wicked
"Fee, fi, fo, fum!
I smell some yum, yum!
I'll fall on him with a thud!
I'll pick his bones and drink his blood!
Fee,fi, fo, fum! Yum! Yum!"
"Stop boasting!" Six Bottles cried. "You will have time enough to boast after you fight!"
"Fight?" repeated the serpent scornfully. "Shall we fight, little one,
you and I? Very well! Blow then with your sweet breath, blow out a long
level platform of white silver whereon we can meet and try our strength
one with the other."
"No," answered Six Bottles. "You blow instead, and let it be a platform of red copper,"
So the serpent blew and on the copper platform that came of his breath
Six Bottles met him in combat. Back and forth they raged, Six Bottles
striking left and right with his mighty sword, the serpent hitting at
Six Bottles with every one of his six scaly heads and belching forth
fire and smoke from all his mouths. Six Bottles whacked off one head,
then another, then another. At last he had disposed of five heads. He
tried hard to strike the last, but by this time the serpent had grown
wary and Six Bottles' own strength was waning. So he reached down and
took one of his shoes and threw it over his shoulder back to his
comrades who were awaiting the outcome of the struggle. At once they
loosed the dog which bounded forward to its master's assistance. Soon,
with the dog's help Six Bottles was able to dispatch the last head.
Then his comrades led him, weary from the fight, to the old woman's hut, and soon he fell asleep.
While he slept, the moon appeared in the sky and a great cry of relief
and thanksgiving went up from all the world, "The moon! The moon! God
bless the man who has released the moon!"
The king was awakened by the sound and looked out the castle window.
When he saw the moon had returned to its place in the sky, his eyes
overflowed with grief. "My poor second daughter!" he cried. "It was my
sacrifice of her that has released the moon! Tomorrow morning I will
send the servants to gather up her bones and to bring back the leather
sack into which, alas! I must then sew my youngest daughter for the
nine-headed serpent. Ai! Ai! Ai! How sad it is to be a father!"
But on the morrow when the servants went to the rock they found the
second princess sitting there alone gazing down on the scattered
fragments of the six-headed serpent.
"Here she is, safe and sound!" they reported to the king as they led
the second princess to him. And, marvel of marvels! on the beach below
the rock lies the body of the six-headed serpent torn to pieces! Its
heads, king, are so monstrous that six men with derricks could scarcely
move one of them!"
"God be praised!" the king cried. "Another unknown hero has come and
saved the life of my second child! Would that a third might come
tonight and rescue my youngest child! Alas, she is dearer to me than
both the others, but I fear me that even if there be heroes who could
dispatch the first two serpents, there is never one who can touch him
of the nine heads that holds the mighty sun a captive!"
And the poor king wept, so sure was he that nothing could save the life of his youngest child.
When Log and his companions heard of the king's grief, Log at once
stood forth and said, "This last and mightiest battle is for me!" He
opened the strong waters and drank bottle after bottle till he had
emptied nine. "Now let night come as soon as it will!" he cried. "I am
ready for the monster!"
He started forth, telling his comrades he would throw back a shoe if he needed help from his dog.
So it was Log himself who slashed open the sack for the third time and
released the youngest princess who was much more beautiful than her
sisters. She fell in love with the mighty hero on first sight and was
so thrilled with his godlike beauty that when he put his head in her
lap she hardly knew what to do although her father always declared that
she scratched his head much better than either of her sisters.
They had not long to wait for soon all the sea was a glitter with the
swirls of the ninefold monster who was coming to shore with the captive
sun in his keeping.
"Wait for me behind the rock!" Log cried to the princess as he leapt on
his horse and started forward. "Be careful!" the princess cried after
Nearer and nearer came the swirls of the nine-coiled monster. One after
another of his nine heads rose and fell as he approached, and every
head sniffed more hungrily as it came nearer, and each head rumbled as
"Fee, fi, fo, fum!
I smell some yum, yum!
I'll fall on him with a thud!
I'll pick his bones and drink his blood!
Fee,fi, fo, fum! Yum! Yum!"
"Stop boasting!" Log cried. "You will have time enough to boast after you fight!"
"Fight?" roared the awful monster. "Shall we fight, poor infant, you
and I? Very well! Then blow out a long level platform of shining gold.
On it, we can meet and try our strength each with the other!"
"No!" Log answered. "You blow. And instead of shining gold we shall have a platform of white silver."
So the monster blew and on the silver platform that came of his breath
Log met him in combat. Back and forth they raged, Log striking right
and left with his mighty sword, the serpent hitting at Log with all his
nine scaly heads and belching forth fire and smoke from all his nine
mouths. Log whacked off head after head until six lay gaping on the
sand. But the last three he could not get.
Suddenly he pointed behind the serpent and cried, "Quick! Quick! The sun!"
The serpent looked around and Log whacked off a head. Now only two
remained, but try as he would Log could get neither of them. Again he
tried a subterfuge.
"Your wife! See, over there, they're abusing her!"
The monster looked and Log whacked off another head. But one now
remained and as usual it was the hardest of them all to get. Log felt
his strength waning while the monster seemed more nimble than ever.
"I shall have to have help," Log thought.
He threw back his shoe to his comrades and they at once loosed his dog.
With the dog's help Log was soon able to dispatch the last head. Then
Three Bottles and Six Bottles helped him off his horse and supported
him to the old woman's hut where he soon fell into a deep sleep.
The next morning the blessed sun rose at his proper time and people all
over the world fell on their knees with thanksgiving, and weeping with
joy they cried out, "The sun! The sun! God bless the man who has
released the sun!"
At the castle they woke up the king with the good news but the king
only shook his head and murmured in grief, "Yes, the sun is released
but what do I care now that my youngest daughter has been sacrificed!"
He dispatched the servants to gather up her bones. They returned
bringing the princess herself and telling a marvelous tale of the beach
littered with nine severed heads so huge that it would need nine men
with derricks to move one of them.
"What manner of heroes are these who have rescued my daughters!" cried
the king. "Let them come forth and I will give them my daughters for
wives and half my riches for dowry! But they will have to prove
themselves the actual heroes by bringing to the castle the heavy heads
of the monsters they have slain."
When Log and his fellows heard this, they laughed with happiness and,
strengthening themselves with deep draughts of the strong waters, they
gathered together the many heads of the mighty serpents, bore them to
the castle, and piled them up at the king's feet. Then Log stepped
forward and said: "Here we are, come to claim our reward!"
The king, true to his promise, gave them his daughters in marriage, the
oldest to Three Bottles, the second to Six Bottles, and the youngest to
Log. Then he apportioned them the half of his riches and, after much
feasting and merrymaking, the heroes took their brides and their riches
and bidding the king farewell started homewards.
As they rode through a great forest, they sighted a tiny hut. Log
motioned his comrades to wait for him quietly, as he crept forward to
see who was in the hut. It was well he was cautious for inside the hut
was Suyettar herself talking to two other old hags.
"Ay," she was saying, "they have slain my three beautiful sons, my
mighty offspring that held captive the sun and the moon and the dawn!
But I tell you, sisters, they will pay the penalty. . . ."
To hear better, Log changed himself into a piece of firewood and
slipping inside the hut hid himself in the woodpile near the stove.
"Ay, they will pay the penalty!" Suyettar repeated. "I shall have my
revenge on them! A fine supper Suyettar shall soon have, yum, yum!
I'll fall on them with a thud!
I'll pick their bones and drink their blood!
Fools, fools, to think they can escape Suyettar's anger!"
"But sister, sister," the two old hags asked, "how will you get them?"
Suyettar looked this way and that to make sure that no one was
listening. Then she whispered, "This is how I shall get them: As they
come through this forest, the three men with their brides, I. shall
send on them a terrible hunger. Then they shall come suddenly on a
table spread with tempting food. One bite of that food and they are in
my power, he-he! Ay, sisters, tonight Suyettar will have a fine supper!
Nothing can save them unless, before they touch the food, someone make
the sign of the moss three times over the table. Then table and food
would disappear and also the ravening hunger. But even if that happens,
Suyettar shall still get them!"
"How, sister, how?" the other two asked.
"Then I should send on them consuming thirst, and then put in their
pathway a spring of cold sparkling water. One drop of that water and
they are in my power, he-he! Nothing can save them from me unless,
before their lips touch the water, someone make the sign of the bark
three times over the spring. At that the spring would disappear and
also their thirst.
But even if they escape the spring, I shall still get them. I shall
send great heaviness on them and a longing for sleep, then let them
come on a row of soft inviting feather beds. If they cast themselves on
the beds, they are mine, he-he! to feast on as I will! Nothing can save
them but that someone make the sign of the tree-top three times over
the beds before they touch them.
Oh, sisters, I shall get them one way or another for there is no one to
warn them. If there was anyone to warn them, he wouldn't dare tell them
what he knows, for he would also know that if he told them he would
himself be turned into a blue cross and have to stand forever in the
As Log knew now all the dangers that threatened, he slipped away from
the woodpile and, when he was outside, took his own shape and hurried
back to his comrades.
"Away!" he cried. "We are in great danger!" They all spurred their
horses and rode swiftly on until Three Bottles suddenly cried, "Hold,
comrades, hold! I am faint with hunger!"
"Me, too!" cried Six Bottles.
At that instant a great table, laden with delicious food, appeared before them.
"Look!" cried the one of them.
"Food!" cried the other.
They flung themselves from their horses and ran towards the table; But
quick as they were, Log was quicker. He reached the table first and,
raising his hand, made the sign of the moss three times. The table
disappeared as suddenly as it had come and with it the strange hunger
that had but now consumed them.
"Strange!" Three Bottles exclaimed. "I thought I was hungry, but I'm not!"
"I thought I saw food just now," Six Bottles said. "I must have been dreaming."
So they mounted again and pushed on.
"Danger threatens us," said Log. "We must hurry and not dismount no matter what the temptation."
They agreed, but then one of them cried out, and then the other, "Water! Water! We shall soon perish unless we have water!"
At once by the wayside appeared a spring of cool sparkling water and it
was all Log could do to reach it before his fellows. He did get there
first and made the sign of the bark three times, so that the spring
disappeared and with it the thirst which had but now consumed them all.
"I thought I was thirsty," Three Bottles said, "but I'm not!"
"Why did we dismount?" Six Bottles asked. "There's no water here."
So again they mounted and went forward, and Log, warning them again
that danger threatened, begged them not to dismount a third time no
matter what the temptation.
They promised they would not, but soon, complaining of fatigue, they
wanted to. Their brides, too, swayed in the saddle, overcome with
weariness and sleep.
"Dear Log," they said, "let us rest for an hour. See, our brides are
drooping with fatigue! One hour's sleep and we shall all be refreshed!"
At once beside them on the forest floor they saw three soft white
feather beds. Log leaped to the ground, but before he was able to make
the sign of the tree-top over more than one of the beds, his comrades
and their brides had fallen headlong on the other two.
And that was the end of poor Three Bottles and Six Bottles and their
two lovely brides. There was no way now of saving them from Suyettar.
She had them in her power and nothing would induce her to give them up.
As Log and his bride sadly mounted their horse and rode on they heard
an evil voice chanting out in triumph, "I'll fall on them with a thud,
he-he! I'll pick their bones and drink their blood, he-he!"
"Poor fellows! Poor fellows!" Log said, and the princess wept to think of the awful fate that had overtaken her two sisters.
Well, Log and his bride reached home without further adventure and were received by the king with great honors.
"I knew my heroes were succeeding," the king said, "when first the dawn
appeared again, and then the moon, and last the mighty sun. All hail to
you, Log, and to your two comrades! But, by the way, where are Three
Bottles and Six Bottles?"
"Your Majesty," Log said, "Three Bottles and Six Bottles were brave men
both. By their prowess they released the one the dawn, the other the
moon. Then in an evil adventure on the way home they perished. I can
tell you no more."
"You can tell me no more?" the king said. "Why can you tell me no more? What was the evil adventure in which they perished?"
"If I told you, king, then I, too, should perish, for I should be turned into a blue cross and stood forever in the cemetery!"
"What nonsense!" the king exclaimed. "Who would turn you into a blue cross and stand you forever in the cemetery?"
"That is what I cannot tell you," Log said.
The king laughed and pressed Log no further, but the people of the
kingdom, scenting a mystery, insisted on knowing in detail what had
happened the other two heroes. So the rumor began to spread that Log
himself had done away with them in order that he might gather to
himself all the glory of the undertaking.
The king was forced at last to send for him again and to demand a full account of everything.
Log realized that his end was near. He met it bravely. Commending to
the king's protection his lovely princess, Log related how the three
mighty serpents whom they had killed were sons of Suyettar, and how in
revenge Suyettar had succeeded in destroying Three Bottles and Six
Bottles together with their brides. Then he told the fate about to
He finished speaking and as the king and the court looked at him, to their amazement he disappeared.
"To the cemetery!" someone cried.
They all went to the cemetery where at once they found a fresh blue
cross that had come there nobody knew how. There it stands to this day,
a reminder of the life and deeds of the mighty hero Log.
The king was overcome with sorrow at losing such a hero. He took Log's
bride under his protection and he found her so beautiful and so gentle
that soon he fell in love with her and married her.