The title of this volume refers to the tradition of rune singing which was the foundation for Elias Lonnrot's compilation of the Kalevala epic. The interest in the epic poetry chosen as the basis for the 'Kalevala' both gave birth to Finnish folkloristics as well as constituted its most important area from the 18th to the beginning of the 20th century. The comparative research method created by Julius Krohn, which was perfected and formulated into the historical geographical method by his son Kaarle Krohn, formed the foundation for Kalevala poetry research in the beginning of the last century. A research method derived from evolutionist and diffusionist cultural theories sought answers to questions concerning the age and character of the poetry. These questions had a central importance in the creation of the young nation-state's cultural capital.The typological research established in the 1930s and the textual critique of the 1950s did not question these basic premises, although the theoretical centres of attention had shifted. Historical types of examination preserved their status because a rune-tradition which contained pre-Christian mythology and ancient ethnographic elements was considered to provide a glimpse into the past of the non-literate Finnish-Karelian culture.