Stalo: The Giants of Sami Legend

Ancient giants - their stories come from nearly every native culture around the globe. But, what cultures might tell us the most about these globe-trotting people? I tend to look at the Northern and Eastern European regions where we had Homo sapiens, Neanderthals and Denisovans cloistered in caves. These giants appear to have been a hearty bunch, likely having evolved outside of Africa for hundreds of thousands of years before we left the continent below. To adapt to these harsh climates, one would need to be powerful, perhaps hair, certainly meat-eating, as plant matter in colder climes was not like it was in Africa where fruits and veggies abounded. 

The Sami people of Lapland (arctic circle in Norway, Sweden, Finland, and Russia), are a culture that was almost completely obliterated by the Scandinavian countries who did not value their religion, art, culture and more. They were assimilated in a way that whitewashed their vast knowledge. Still, there are sources that give us great insight before total destruction, such as the book Lapland Legends: Tales of an Ancient Race and Its Great Gods by Leonne de Cambray (translated).

P175:  "The Stallo and Potto-Podnie" 
This time she sent a horde of powerful strangers with sharp weapons to make an end of the happy people. These men were tall in stature, strong, cruel, and greedy for gold, and their weapons were like those of the Roiters, were made of a shining, biting substance which was hard and cold and gleamed like moonbeams upon ice (Giants showed Norse how to craft swords with advanced knowledge?) Against these weapons, the Kobdas' magic seemed powerless. Once more, the sun-children sought shelter in the forests and among the mountains.

One has to wonder about the all-consuming search for how old Norse made such amazingly honed swords. Was this is a skill passed down from observation or training by the giants? 

Interestingly, this site (above) was said by the Sami to be an old settlement of the Stallo (giants). Looks familiar, hmm?  

Here's one from Sudan (above). These mounds are all over the world! 

Serpent mound (above) Ohio

Azraq Oasis (above) Middle East 

Source:  The Stallo were portrayed as big stupid giants who caused trouble, ate the people and tormented them, but through good behavior, bravery, and intelligence, the Sami could survive. 

Many think this is an archetype from time immemorial, such as David and Goliath. The question is, was this a real theme played out in the reality if the ancients' lives in dealing with giants and proudly told by the victors who obliterated the race of troublesome cannibals? 

(SOURCE LINK): According to Johan Turi, “Stallos are those folk who are half human and half troll or devil” (Turi, 1931: 173). I found it quite interesting that Turi’s explanation of the origin of the stallos parallels a story depicted in the Bible in the Book of Genesis. The biblical account states that there were giants in the land and this had occurred “when the sons of God came in to the daughters of men and they bore children to them” (The Holy Bible, Genesis 6:4). The “sons of God” referred to in this verse are the angels that fell with Lucifer (Pember, 1876: 133). These fallen angels are then the fathers of giants the “the mighty men who were of old, men of renown” (The Holy Bible, Genesis 6:4).

When David faces Goliath we see a story unfold that sounds similar to a Sámi stallo tale. A young boy, armed only with the tools of a herdsman, outsmarts and kills the giant. By Goliath’s description we see the indicators that he is in part the devil. His armor is described as scaled, like that of a snake (The Holy Bible, 1 Samuel 17). In Lapland Legends, Potto-Podnie beheads Stallo with his own sword (Cambrey, 1926: 183). This is reminiscent of David’s act in cutting off Goliath’s head with his own sword.

Is this just an archetypal account that was utilized by man around the globe - a theme to teach a lesson? Were cannibalistic giants and villagers battling told by indigenous people around the world, just a natural evolution of man's process of storytelling? 

To dismiss these running themes and "coincidences" as unrelated but happening simultaneously is to believe in magic. 

Interestingly, Inari Lake has a peculiarly large high island with a sacrificial cave that was considered sacred to the Sami people. (source) In ancient times, animal sacrifices were performed inside the cave on the island and over 400 bones of animals have been found. In fact, the cave was used for this purpose for pagan practices by the Sami up until the 19th Century, they believe.


It's interesting to note that a very isolated arctic culture managed to have the same themes of giants eating their people, having advanced tools, being stupid and outsmarted by trickery, and the David and Goliath theme portrayed. For cultures with no exposure to each other in ancient times, these legends say something about a true environment of giants and the running themes of dealing with them. This is much like legends around the world of harpooning whales. Man in boats, came upon whales, and mastered them with harpoons. This was a universal experience, so they wrote of it, sometimes in epic explanations of bravery.

More info:
More on Stalo Giants 

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