Estonian Giants and Meteorite Craters: Suur Toll’s Real World Connection

Dragon Removal Service is on sale today for $2.99, that's a penny per laugh for the fantasy book reviewers are calling "imaginative, funny and weird".

I'm always interested in the real world application of myths. That is: what role do these myths play in a society, and why did they form in that particular way? I use the word form, rather than create, because I don't believe anyone creates a myth. Myths form around a need.

In Estonia I noticed there were many myths about giants, and as I drove around the country I saw many large boulders just sitting in fields (Estonia is a flat country, so this is odd). These erratics (as my geologist wife tells me) were formed from the last ice age, and are often considered sacred. They certainly get your attention when you come across them.

 

A statue of Suur Toll and his wife Piret. He's a fun loving guy!   [By Carstenwilms - Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=42075197]
 

Given the prevalence of these boulders, it's no surprise that Suur Toll is a mythological giant in Estonia who throws rocks at his enemies. That's a handy way to explain what these rocks are doing here. So that's one of the needs that Suur Toll satisfies. But there's a lot more to it.

Suur Toll is a cultural hero (not a god) who protects Estonia from enemies. He's not particularly kind or level-headed; he is definitely a "live for the moment" kind of guy. During the many decades of Soviet occupation, Estonia rallied around him as a symbol of cultural pride.

I think that is his central role. In Sons of Kalev and other retellings, Suur Toll always states that he will return when he is most needed. I believe Arthur of Camelot states the same thing, and many other myths have heroes who will return when they are needed. They are essentially, the fighting spirit of the culture.

The Suur Toll myth is also related to the prevalence of meteorite craters in Estonia. For such a small country, Estonia has a tremendous number of known impact craters. It almost seems unnatural. I'm certain the craters played into the rock-throwing part of the myth, since Suur Toll's enemies were also throwing rocks at him. There is something sacred and awe inspiring about these meteorite craters on the island of Saaremaa. And it's a mystery even today, why there are so many.

Well this visit certainly got my brain thinking about writing a fantasy novel set in Estonia. Which is exactly what I did! Dragon Removal Service a humorous fantasy novel set in Estonia, comes out today.

This myth of Suur Toll is central to my next book. The second book in my Dragon Removal Service series takes place on the Western Island, loosely based on the real island of Saaremaa (Estonia) where Suur Toll lives. Should you visit Estonia and do more than one thing (everyone goes to Tallinn's old town), I truly suggest spending a few days at Saaremaa. There is tons to do there and you won't be disappointed. Especially by the Kuressaare Castle, the dark bread, the mystical oak tree, and the meteorite craters. I wish I had a few more days to spend there to be honest, but that's travelling for you.

 

The war is over, but with all the silly left-over magic running around the kingdom of Baltica, things are worser-than-worse. Who's going to clean it all up?

Eleven-year-old Gulchima Brixby thinks she's the girl for the job. She's just inherited a failing construction company, and they need the work. Lunkers under the bridge? Singing Swan-Maidens? Fairy poo in the factory? How hard could it be? It's only magic...

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Copyright (c) 2019 E.C. Stever. Please don't reproduce without author's permission.

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