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MPLS: By the Fire: Sami Folktales and Legends

  • American Swedish Institute 2600 Park Avenue Minneapolis, MN, 55407 United States (map)

Although versions of tales about wizards and magical reindeer from northern Scandinavia are commonly found in European folk and fairytale collections, stories told by the indigenous Nordic Sami themselves are rare in English translation. Yet the stories in By the Fire, collected by Danish artist and ethnographer Emilie Demant Hatt (1873–1958) during her travels among the nomadic Sami in Swedish Sápmi in the early twentieth century, are the exception – and a matchless pleasure, granting entry to a fascinating world of wonder and peril, of nature imbued with spirits and strangers to be outwitted with gumption and craft.

The book's translator Barbara Sjoholm, along with Minneapolis resident Tanley Lego (whose mother is from northern Norway), will be at ASI to read some of the stories in By the Fire. They'll also discuss the history of Sami folktales and the time that Demant Hatt spent traveling and living with these nomadic herders. 

By the Fire: Sami Folktales and Legends (UofM Press) will be available for purchase in the ASI Museum Store. With Demant Hatt’s field notes and commentary and translator Barbara Sjoholm’s Afterword (accompanied by photographs), this first English publication of By the Fireis at once a significant contribution to the canon of world literature, a unique glimpse into Sami culture, and a testament to the enduring art of storytelling.

Cost of admission to the museum:
$12 adults
$8 seniors ages 62 and above
$6 ages 6-18 and full-time students with ID
FREE for ASI members and children under 6