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Bath dictionary

Gnome of the bath

sauna vaim ET, Saunanisse DA, Saunatonttu FI, Банник RU

Sauna gnomes/elfs/fairies are an essential role in Finnish folklore. Their role is to protect and watch over the sauna while ensuring that sauna etiquette is followed. For example, they will warn bathers if the sauna is in danger of catching fire, and they will keep it clean. If etiquette is not followed, the gnome becomes angry and may cause trouble or leave. To encourage the gnome to stay a fire is lit and food is offered. According to Juho Tyyska (1909), the sauna gnome was black and had one eye.

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