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Tapio depicted by Kirkeart

Tapio, also known as Kuippana, was the Finnish god or head spirit of the forests, tree and the hunt.

Tapio ruled over a kingdom called Tapiola, a possibly spiritual realm, and was married to the goddess Mielikki and is the father of AnnikkiTellervoTuulikkiTyytikki and Nyyrikki, all lesser gods of the nature, forests and the hunt. Besides them he ruled over the race of lesser spirits, who served as his messengers. The god is sometimes described as a man whose beard is of wood and eyes resemble two deep lakes.

His nature was unpredictable and capricious: sometimes he would aid hunters and wanderers within the forests, while sometimes he would intentional hurt humans, even killing them by either tickling or smothering them to death. Tapio and the other spirts of the forest had to constantly placated by sacrifices from hunters and his taboos (such as too much noise or the killing of unique birds, who might spirits in disguise) were not be broken.

With the arrival of Christianity in Finland during the Middle Ages reduced the worship of Tapio, who alongside most other polytheistic deities, was demonised. Mikael Agricola, an important protestant theologian and the bishop of Turku, demonised the deity, and mocked him in his catalogue of false gods: Many false gods are here, that were worshipped far and near in the ancient times. Tavastians bowed down to them both men and women. Tapio bestowed traps from forest and Ahti brought fish from the water.

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