The legend of Álda Áhkku and the swapping of the islands

This legend is told by Ole Aikio from Juvravoutna/Gandvik. In old times in Varanger there lived a female noaidi named Álda Áhkku. She wanted to make the people in the inner Varanger as well off as possible. On the Russian side of the border she knew of some islands called Ainaisullok. These were rich on angelica,seals, egg and down.

In the Varangerfjord they had an island called Várjavuonsoulu – which is probably Skjåholmen outside of the Nesseby church site, but was nowhere near as rich as Ainaisullok. One day the woman decided to move Ainaisullok into the Varangerfjord. She was planning to replace it with Várjavuonsoulu. She climbed up a mountain near Gandvik and placed her dog out at Davvenjárga so it could sit and watch as the islands came drifting in from Russia. Up on the mountain Álda Áhkku began to joik and do different magic tricks. Ainaisullok began to shake and slowly move. The birds took to their wings and there was shrieking and commotion.

Now on the Russian side there also lived a noaidi, who woke up from all the commotion and understood what was going on. This noaidi was not prepared to let go of the rich islands, and so he began counter measures. The Russian noaidi proved stronger than Álda Áhkku. At the same time as he stopped the moving of the islands, he killed Álda Áhkku and her dog and they turned to stone. In the mountain above Gandvik we can see Álda Áhkku today. She has turned into a block of stone that stands out from the mountain, and it is not difficult to see that it is a female shape. Out on Davvenjárga there is a stone that resembles a dog´s head. It is named Benekoiave, which literally means dog´s head in Sami, and is supposedly the remains of Álda Áhkku´s dog.

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