In the Finnish epic Kalevala, the old magic singer Väinämöinen made the first kantele from the jawbone of a giant pike. The vertebrae were made from the teeth and for the strings horse hair were used. When he played, all the animals of the forest came together and listened; people could rest their work and were moved by the sound. The second Kantele he made later from a birch.
The kantele is eponymous for the collection of poems Kanteletar ("kantele-player"), such as the Kalevala was also compiled by Elias Lönnrot.
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