Ilmarinen was one of the main heroes in the epic of Finnish mythology, the Kalevala.
Ilmarinen was a wonder-working smith and the trusted friend of the wizard Vainamoinen. Ilmarinen’s talent in metalworking was so amazing that he held the title of master smith.
It was for Vainamoinen that Ilmarinen forged the sampo, the magic mill that ground corn, money, and salt. This was to help Vainamoinen to win the Maiden of Pohjola, who lived in a cold northern realm.
The sampo was stolen by Louhi, ruler of Pohjola. Ilmarinen and Vainamoinen recovered the sampo, but it was lost in the sea, where it continued to grind out salt forever.
Ilmarinen eventually won the Maiden of Pohjola for himself, but he failed to wed or keep her. Vainamoinen abandoned his courtship. When the hero thereafter failed to win any other mortal bride for himself, the master smith forged a wife out of gold.
In another dispute with Louhi, Ilmarinen took part in freeing the Sun and the Moon, which Louhi had imprisoned.