Modern literature is full of stories about boys and girls of all ages who abandon home in exchange for a life of fun, glory and adventure. It makes sense, as there can be no real adventure when a mom or dad is popping their head around the corner to see what type of mischief is being cooked up.
Not all runaways have that status by choice. Some are orphans, forced into adult situations too early, while others have been sent away by parents who are just too busy to take care of their adventure seeking needs.
Still, kids in literature seem to love ducking down rabbit holes or going beyond the confines of a wardrobe in order to explore a world without parents. Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn are two of literatures most loved characters, yet they were openly rebellious boys who chose a life of thrill and danger over a mundane life full of school, friends, and GASP! authority figures.
An interesting literature discovery that we recently made was a Finnish version of the good boy gone bad theme. Published in 1870, “Seven Brothers” is the only novel to ever have been published by Aleksis Kivi, who is considered the national author of Finland. Not well received at first, it is now considered to be one of the best Finnish novels ever written.
The Premise of Seven Brothers
The novel begins with seven brothers (two sets of twins) who are basically the misfits of the town they live in. With no hopes of finding wives without first learning how to read, the seven decide to try their luck in a distant town. The novel covers ten years of their struggles in the wilderness, culminating in them learning how to read on their own and returning to their home town to take wives and begin to lead respectable lives.
One of the more enduring scenes in the book, and an insight into Finnish culture even today, is the brothers use of a makeshift sauna to help recover from wounds of the body and mind. The ensuing dialogue along with the references to throwing water on a hot stove to create steam are engaging, and show how the brothers struggled between morality and wanting to lead a life of freedom.
Wouldn’t it be nice if our own portable saunas (or sauna blankets, which are more like the makeshift one’s they would use) could provide the same types of thoughts into our young people today? The combination of heat, companionship and soul cleansing from a portable infrared sauna may just be the ticket towards a more peaceful future.
Like all stories of kids gone rogue, “Seven Brothers” does not miss any marks when it comes to teaching young kids to learn to appreciate what they have rather than always searching for something better. The language may seem strange at first, but invest in this book and you won’t be disappointed.