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Revontulet - Fox Fires

In Finnish Lapland, where the Northern Lights are seen in the sky up to 200 nights per year, they are called "revontulet", which means "fox fires".

An ancient Finnish folk fable tells of an Arctic fox that started fires by running on the snow - its brush-like tail spraying up the crystals so that sparks flew off into the sky.

There are many different folk tales in Finland about the origin of the auroras, including several different versions of the "fox fire" story.

One story tells of the Arctic Seas being so full of fish that the light that fell on the water was reflected back into the sky by the shiny scales of the fishes. The old Finnish language had a word that resembled the modern word "fox", but it really referred to making magic. This suggests that ancient Finns really meant "magic lights" when they used such a word, and not a fox running on the snow.

But we all know how stories and legends change as they are told... and retold... and retold...

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A Guide to Arctic Sunrise and Sunset GUIDE TO ARCTIC SUNRISE & SUNSET: How much sunlight or darkness is there in the Arctic on each day of the year?

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