The Kalevala - Rune XIII

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Spake the ancient Lemminkainen
To the hostess of Pohyola:
"Give to me thy lovely daughter,
Bring me now thy winsome maiden,
Bring the best of Lapland virgins,
Fairest virgin of the Northland."
Louhi, hostess of Pohyola,
Answered thus the wild magician:
"I shall never give my daughter,
Never give my fairest maiden,
Not the best one, nor the worst one,
Not the largest, nor the smallest;
Thou hast now one wife-companion,
Thou has taken hence one hostess,
Carried off the fair Kyllikki."
This is Lemminkainen's answer:
To my home I took Kyllikki,
To my cottage on the island,
To my entry-gates and kindred;
Now I wish a better hostess,
Straightway bring thy fairest daughter,
Worthiest of all thy virgins,
Fairest maid with sable tresses."
Spake the hostess of Pohyola:
"Never will I give my daughter
To a hero false and worthless,
To a minstrel vain and evil;
Therefore, pray thou for my maiden,
Therefore, woo the sweet-faced flower,
When thou bringest me the wild-moose
From the Hisi fields and forests."
Then the artful Lemminkainen
Deftly whittled out his javelins,
Quickly made his leathern bow-string,
And prepared his bow and arrows,
And soliloquized as follows:
"Now my javelins are made ready,
All my arrows too are ready,
And my oaken cross-bow bended,
But my snow-shoes are not builded,
Who will make me worthy snow-shoes?"
Lemminkainen, grave and thoughtful,
Long reflected, well considered,
Where the snow-shoes could be fashioned,
Who the artist that could make them;
Hastened to the Kauppi-smithy,
To the smithy of Lylikki,
Thus addressed the snow-shoe artist:
"O thou skilful Woyalander,
Kauppi, ablest smith of Lapland,
Make me quick two worthy snow-shoes,
Smooth them well and make them hardy,
That in Tapio the wild-moose,
Roaming through the Hisi-forests,
I may catch and bring to Louhi,
As a dowry for her daughter."
Then Lylikki thus made answer,
Kauppi gave this prompt decision:
"Lemminkainen, reckless minstrel,
Thou wilt hunt in vain the wild-moose,
Thou wilt catch but pain and torture,
In the Hisi fens and forests."
Little heeding, Lemminkainen
Spake these measures to Lylikki
"Make for me the worthy snow-shoes,
Quickly work and make them ready;
Go I will and catch the blue-moose
Where in Tapio it browses,
In the Hisi woods and snow-fields."
Then Lylikki, snow-shoe-maker,
Ancient Kauppi, master artist,
Whittled in the fall his show-shoes,
Smoothed them in the winter evenings,
One day working on the runners,
All the next day making stick-rings,
Till at last the shoes were finished,
And the workmanship was perfect.
Then he fastened well the shoe-straps,
Smooth as adder's skin the woodwork,
Soft as fox-fur were the stick-rings;
Oiled he well his wondrous snow-shoes
With the tallow of the reindeer;
When he thus soliloquizes,
These the accents of Lylikki:
"Is there any youth in Lapland,
Any in this generation,
That can travel in these snow-shoes,
That can move the lower sections?"
Spake the reckless Lemminkainen,
Full of hope, and life, and vigor:
Surely there is one in Lapland.
In this rising generation,
That can travel in these snow-shoes,
That the right and left can manage."
To his back he tied the quiver,
Placed the bow upon his shoulder,
With both hands he grasped his snow-cane,
Speaking meanwhile words as follow:
"There is nothing in the woodlands,
Nothing in the world of Ukko,
Nothing underneath the heavens,
In the uplands, in the lowlands,
Nothing in the snow-fields running,
Not a fleet deer of the forest,
That could not be overtaken
With the snow-shoes of Lylikki,
With the strides of Lemminkainen."
Wicked Hisi heard these measures,
Juntas listened to their echoes;
Straightway Hisi called the wild-moose,
Juutas fashioned soon a reindeer,
And the head was made of punk-wood,
Horns of naked willow branches,
Feet were furnished by the rushes,
And the legs, by reeds aquatic,
Veins were made of withered grasses,
Eyes, from daisies of the meadows,
Ears were formed of water-flowers,
And the skin of tawny fir-bark,
Out of sappy wood, the muscles,
Fair and fleet, the magic reindeer.
Juutas thus instructs the wild-moose,
These the words of wicked Hisi:
Flee away, thou moose of Juutas,
Flee away, thou Hisi-reindeer,
Like the winds, thou rapid courser,
To the snow-homes of the ranger,
To the ridges of the mountains,
To the snow-capped hills of Lapland,
That thy hunter may be worn out,
Thy pursuer be tormented,
Lemminkainen be exhausted."
Thereupon the Hisi-reindeer,
Juutas-moose with branching antlers,
Fleetly ran through fen and forest,
Over Lapland's hills and valleys,
Through the open fields and court-yards,
Through the penthouse doors and gate-ways,
Turning over tubs of water,
Threw the kettles from the fire-pole,
And upset the dishes cooking.
Then arose a fearful uproar,
In the court-yards of Pohyola,
Lapland-dogs began their barking,
Lapland-children cried in terror,
Lapland-women roared with laughter,
And the Lapland-heroes shouted.
Fleetly followed Lemminkainen,
Followed fast, and followed faster,
Hastened on behind the wild-moose,
Over swamps and through the woodlands,
Over snow-fields vast and pathless,
Over high uprising mountains,
Fire out-shooting from his runners,
Smoke arising from his snow-cane:
Could not hear the wild-moose bounding,
Could not sight the flying fleet-foot;
Glided on through field and forest,
Glided over lakes and rivers,
Over lands beyond the smooth-sea,
Through the desert plains of Hisi,
Glided o'er the plains of Kalma,
Through the kingdom of Tuoni,
To the end of Kalma's empire,
Where the jaws of Death stand open,
Where the head of Kalma lowers,
Ready to devour the stranger,
To devour wild Lemminkainen;
But Tuoni cannot reach him,
Kalma cannot overtake him.
Distant woods are yet untraveled,
Far away a woodland corner
Stands unsearched by Kaukomieli,
In the North's extensive, borders,
In the realm of dreary Lapland.
Now the hero, on his snow-shoes,
Hastens to the distant woodlands,
There to hunt the moose of Piru.
As he nears the woodland corner,
There he bears a frightful uproar,
From the Northland's distant borders,
From the dreary fields of Lapland,
Hears the dogs as they are barking,
Hears the children loudly screaming,
Hears the laughter or the women,
Hears the shouting of the heroes.
Thereupon wild Lemminkainen
Hastens forward on his snow-shoes,
To the place where dogs are barking,
To the distant woods of Lapland.
When the reckless Kaukomieli
Had approached this Hisi corner,
Straightway he began to question:
"Why this laughter or the women,
Why the screaming of the children,
Why the shouting of the heroes,
Why this barking of the watch-dogs?
This reply was promptly given:
"This the reason for this uproar,
Women laughing, children screaming,
Heroes shouting, watch-dogs barking
Hisi's moose came running hither,
Hither came the Piru-Reindeer,
Hither came with hoofs of silver,
Through the open fields and court-yards,
Through the penthouse doors and gate-ways,
Turning over tubs or water,
Threw the kettles from the fire-pole,
And upset the dishes cooking."
Then the hero, Lemminkainen,
Straightway summoned all his courage,
Pushed ahead his mighty snow-shoes,
Swift as adders in the stubble,
Levelled bushes in the marshes,
Like the swift and fiery serpents,
Spake these words of magic import,
Keeping balance with his snow-staff:
Come thou might of Lapland heroes,
Bring to me the moose of Juutas;
Come thou strength of Lapland-women,
And prepare the boiling caldron;
Come, thou might of Lapland children,
Bring together fire and fuel;
Come, thou strength of Lapland-kettles,
Help to boil the Hisi wild-moose."
Then with mighty force and courage,
Lemminkainen hastened onward,
Striking backward, shooting forward;
With a long sweep of his snow-shoe,
Disappeared from view the hero;
With the second, shooting further,
Was the hunter out of hearing,
With the third the hero glided
On the shoulders of the wild-moose;
Took a pole of stoutest oak-wood,
Took some bark-strings from the willow,
Wherewithal to bind the moose-deer,
Bind him to his oaken hurdle.
To the moose he spake as follows:
"Here remain, thou moose of Juutas
Skip about, my bounding courser,
In my hurdle jump and frolic,
Captive from the fields of Piru,
From the Hisi glens and mountains."
Then he stroked the captured wild-moose,
Patted him upon his forehead,
Spake again in measured accents:
"I would like awhile to linger,
I would love to rest a moment
In the cottage of my maiden,
With my virgin, young and lovely."
Then the Hisi-moose grew angry,
Stamped his feet and shook his antlers,
Spake these words to Lemminkainen:
"Surely Lempo soon will got thee,
Shouldst thou sit beside the maiden,
Shouldst thou linger by the virgin."
Now the wild-moose stamps and rushes,
Tears in two the bands of willow,
Breaks the oak-wood pole in pieces,
And upturns the hunter's hurdle,
Quickly leaping from his captor,
Bounds away with strength of freedom,
Over hills and over lowlands,
Over swamps and over snow-fields,
Over mountains clothed in heather,
That the eye may not behold him,
Nor the hero's ear detect him.
Thereupon the mighty hunter
Angry grows, and much disheartened,
Starts again the moose to capture,
Gliding off behind the courser.
With his might he plunges forward;
At the instep breaks his snow-shoe,
Breaks the runners into fragments,
On the mountings breaks his javelins,
In the centre breaks his snow-staff,
And the moose bounds on before him,
Through the Hisi-woods and snow-fields,
Out of reach of Lemminkainen.
Then the reckless Kaukomieli
Looked with bended head, ill-humored,
One by one upon the fragments,
Speaking words of ancient wisdom:
"Northland hunters, never, never,
Go defiant to thy forests,
In the Hisi vales and mountains,
There to hunt the moose of Juutas,
Like this senseless, reckless hero;
I have wrecked my magic snow-shoes,
Ruined too my useful snow-staff,
And my javelins I have broken,
While the wild-moose runs in safety
Through the Hisi fields and forests."

© Elias Lönnrot