"The Kalevala" is a collection of Finnish and Karelian poetry, compiled by Elias Lönnrot from oral folklore and mythology. Lönnrot was a physician, botanist and linguist, who in 1828 began collecting folk songs and poetry of Finland, travelling extensively in order to obtain his sources. "The Kalevala", first published in 1835, is considered to be one of the most important works of Finnish literature, and regarded as the national epic of Finland. The most commonly read version was published in 1849, and is comprised of 22,795 verses. It begins, like most cultural mythologies, with traditional creation stories that delve into the creation of the earth, flora and fauna, accompanied by characters who serve to narrate the tales. Other stories include themes of magic, romance, lust and seduction, as well as human vulnerability or mortality. The most significant element of the whole work is The Sampo, a magical talisman that brings good fortune to its holder.