Author: Toivo Pekkanen

The faraway island

Issue 1/2007 | Archives online, Fiction, Prose

Kaukainen saari, a short story from the collection Elämän ja kuoleman pidot (‘The feast of life and death’, 1945). Introduction by Juhani Niemi

For as long as they could remember, Hannes and Pekka had felt a great fascination for the lonely little island out in the open sea, clearly visible from the shore at home. Thickly overgrown with unusually tall pines, the island was like a wondrous bouquet in a great vase of sea. It was in sunshine from morning till night. At the very instant that the tip of the sun peeped up over the horizon, its rays were already caressing the tops of the little island’s tallest trees, and when the sun set behind the blackness of the islands to the west, those same treetops were tinged with a bright, hot glow. The winds and storms touched it more vehemently than any other place. No matter which direction the wind came from, the island was always defenseless, but, happily, ready for anything. In stormy weather the waves flung themselves against its stony shore and sometimes nearly as high as the treetops. The wind roared in the dense branches of its trees more wildly and violently than anywhere else. When it rained, it was as if the island were hiding among the grey curtains of mist, looming dimly and secretly. In the autumn, when all the other woods were splashed along their flanks with yellow and russet, and gradually undressed until they were half-naked, the little island’s tall pine trees rose up from the grim autumn surf as lush and green as always. And in the winter, when the sea froze and snow covered everything in a mantle of white, the island dressed itself in ice and rimy frost like royal robes covered in millions of sparkling diamonds. More…