The Rafter of Pyhäkoski* (Faravid I)

When the time of giants ends and humans begins.

“Who would not have heard about Pyhäkoski, the largest and mightiest of the Oulu river rapids that splits the ground with its falls and pools like a diamond belt with silvery foam?

The ominous roaring rapids cast their froth high into the air as to show that no one else but the rapids themselves are their masters. The mighty flood rushes through the way that it has cleared for itself through the banks and rocks during centuries. With its foamy tongue it licks the steep rocky walls that silently acknowledge the monumental majesty of the rapid.

Running the great Pyhäkoski rapid has always been considered as perilous. Now as the rapid has been cleared to some extent, it is easier to run it. But even now it is rather dangerous and often leads to loss of lives. People firmly believe that even today the spirit of the Pyhäkoski rapid takes a toll of life annually.

If one asketh a reason for this annual toll, one will hear the story of the first Rafter of Pyhäkoski.”

– Johan Wiktor Calamnius (1873)
The First Rafter of Pyhäkoski. Folktale from Ostrobothnia.

Trans. Laura Siitonen

What happens when a Wagnerian Gesamtkunstwerk, a total work of art, is shrunk into as small and local as possible? Can there be light after all on a path with no electricity? The Rafter of Pyhäkoski takes place in the authentic scene of the folktale, in Leppiniemi, Muhos.

“You see, in the old times Pyhäkoski was not run. It was, as its name suggests, Holy, and no one dared to run the rapids. But now they say this strange man was going to do it.”


* direct translation: Holy Rapid