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In Finnish mythology, a mysterious object that has been variously identified but is typically believed to be a cosmological pillar that supports the vault of heaven. Because it is the axis around which the heavens revolve, all life depends on it as the source of all good. In one legend, the creator-smith Ilmarinen forged the sampo for Louhi, the hag-goddess of the underworld, and then stole it back, resulting in its near-destruction. In the Kalevala, sampo is a magic mill that grinds out an endless supply of salt, gold, and meal for its possessor.
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise. For the full entry on sampo, visit Britannica.com.
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