The Kalevala - Rune XLVI

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Came the tidings to Pohyola,
To the village of the Northland,
That Wainola had recovered
From her troubles and misfortunes,
From her sicknesses and sorrows.
Louhi, hostess of the Northland,
Toothless dame of Sariola,
Envy-laden, spake these measures:
"Know I other means of trouble,
I have many more resources;
I will drive the bear before me,
From the heather and the mountain,
Drive him from the fen and forest,
Drive great Otso from the glen-wood
On the cattle of Wainola,
On the flocks of Kalevala."
Thereupon the Northland hostess
Drove the hungry bear of Pohya
From his cavern to the meadows,
To Wainola's plains and pastures.
Wainamoinen, ancient minstrel,
To his brother spake as follows:
"O thou blacksmith, Ilmarinen,
Forge a spear from magic metals,
Forge a lancet triple-pointed,
Forge the handle out of copper,
That I may destroy great Otso,
Slay the mighty bear of Northland,
That he may not eat my horses,
Nor destroy my herds of cattle,
Nor the flocks upon my pastures."
Thereupon the skillful blacksmith
Forged a spear from magic metals,
Forged a lancet triple-pointed,
Not the longest, nor the shortest,
Forged the spear in wondrous beauty.
On one side a bear was sitting,
Sat a wolf upon the other,
On the blade an elk lay sleeping,
On the shaft a colt was running,
Near the hilt a roebuck bounding.
Snows had fallen from the heavens,
Made the flocks as white as ermine
Or the hare, in days of winter,
And the minstrel sang these measures:
"My desire impels me onward
To the Metsola-dominions,
To the homes of forest-maidens,
To the courts of the white virgins;
I will hasten to the forest,
Labor with the woodland-forces.
"Ruler of the Tapio-forests,
Make of me a conquering hero,
Help me clear these boundless woodlands.
O Mielikki, forest-hostess,
Tapio's wife, thou fair Tellervo,
Call thy dogs and well enchain them,
Set in readiness thy hunters,
Let them wait within their kennels.
"Otso, thou O Forest-apple,
Bear of honey-paws and fur-robes,
Learn that Wainamoinen follows,
That the singer comes to meet thee;
Hide thy claws within thy mittens,
Let thy teeth remain in darkness,
That they may not harm the minstrel,
May be powerless in battle.
Mighty Otso, much beloved,
Honey-eater of the mountains,
Settle on the rocks in slumber,
On the turf and in thy caverns;
Let the aspen wave above thee,
Let the merry birch-tree rustle
O'er thy head for thy protection.
Rest in peace, thou much-loved Otso,
Turn about within thy thickets,
Like the partridge at her brooding,
In the spring-time like the wild-goose."
When the ancient Wainamoinen
Heard his dog bark in the forest,
Heard his hunter's call and echo,
He addressed the words that follow:
"Thought it was the cuckoo calling,
Thought the pretty bird was singing;
It was not the sacred cuckoo,
Not the liquid notes of songsters,
'Twas my dog that called and murmured,
'Twas the echo of my hunter
At the cavern-doors of Otso,
On the border of the woodlands."
Wainamoinen, old and trusty,
Finds the mighty bear in waiting,
Lifts in joy the golden covers,
Well inspects his shining fur-robes;
Lifts his honey-paws in wonder,
Then addresses his Creator:
"Be thou praised, O mighty Ukko,
As thou givest me great Otso,
Givest me the Forest-apple,
Thanks be paid to thee unending."
To the bear he spake these measures:
"Otso, thou my well beloved,
Honey-eater of the woodlands,
Let not anger swell thy bosom;
I have not the force to slay thee,
Willingly thy life thou givest
As a sacrifice to Northland.
Thou hast from the tree descended,
Glided from the aspen branches,
Slippery the trunks in autumn,
In the fog-days, smooth the branches.
Golden friend of fen and forest,
In thy fur-robes rich and beauteous,
Pride of woodlands, famous Light-foot,
Leave thy cold and cheerless dwelling,
Leave thy home within the alders,
Leave thy couch among the willows,
Hasten in thy purple stockings,
Hasten from thy walks restricted,
Come among the haunts of heroes,
Join thy friends in Kalevala.
We shall never treat thee evil,
Thou shalt dwell in peace and plenty,
Thou shalt feed on milk and honey,
Honey is the food of strangers.
Haste away from this thy covert,
From the couch of the unworthy,
To a couch beneath the rafters
Of Wainola's ancient dwellings.
Haste thee onward o'er the snow-plain,
As a leaflet in the autumn;
Skip beneath these birchen branches,
As a squirrel in the summer,
As a cuckoo in the spring-time."
Wainamoinen, the magician,
The eternal wisdom-singer,
O'er the snow-fields hastened homeward,
Singing o'er the hills and mountains,
With his guest, the ancient Otso,
With his friend, the, famous Light-foot,
With the Honey-paw of Northland.
Far away was heard the singing,
Heard the playing of the hunter,
Heard the songs of Wainamoinen;
All the people heard and wondered,
Men and maidens, young and aged,
From their cabins spake as follows:
"Hear the echoes from the woodlands,
Hear the bugle from the forest,
Hear the flute-notes of the songsters,
Hear the pipes of forest-maidens!"
Wainamoinen, old and trusty,
Soon appears within the court-yard.
Rush the people from their cabins,
And the heroes ask these questions:
"Has a mine of gold been opened,
Hast thou found a vein of silver,
Precious jewels in thy pathway?
Does the forest yield her treasures,
Give to thee the Honey-eater?
Does the hostess of the woodlands,
Give to thee the lynx and adder,
Since thou comest home rejoicing,
Playing, singing, on thy snow-shoes?"
Wainamoinen, ancient minstrel,
Gave this answer to his people:
"For his songs I caught the adder,
Caught the serpent for his wisdom;
Therefore do I come rejoicing,
Singing, playing, on my snow-shoes.
Not the mountain lynx, nor serpent,
Comes, however, to our dwellings;
The Illustrious is coming,
Pride and beauty of the forest,
'Tis the Master comes among us,
Covered with his friendly fur-robe.
Welcome, Otso, welcome, Light-foot,
Welcome, Loved-one from the glenwood!
If the mountain guest is welcome,
Open wide the gates of entry;
If the bear is thought unworthy,
Bar the doors against the stranger."
This the answer of the tribe-folk:
"We salute thee, mighty Otso,
Honey-paw, we bid thee welcome,
Welcome to our courts and cabins,
Welcome, Light-foot, to our tables
Decorated for thy coming!
We have wished for thee for ages,
Waiting since the days of childhood,
For the notes of Tapio's bugle,
For the singing of the wood-nymphs,
For the coming of dear Otso,
For the forest gold and silver,
Waiting for the year of plenty,
Longing for it as for summer,
As the shoe waits for the snow-fields,
As the sledge for beaten highways,
As the, maiden for her suitor,
And the wife her husband's coming;
Sat at evening by the windows,
At the gates have, sat at morning,
Sat for ages at the portals,
Near the granaries in winter, Vanished,
Till the snow-fields warmed and
Till the sails unfurled in joyance,
Till the earth grew green and blossomed,
Thinking all the while as follows:
"Where is our beloved Otso,
Why delays our forest-treasure?
Has he gone to distant Ehstland,
To the upper glens of Suomi?"
Spake the ancient Wainamoinen:
"Whither shall I lead the stranger,
Whither take the golden Light-foot?
Shall I lead him to the garner,
To the house of straw conduct him?"
This the answer of his tribe-folk:
"To the dining-hall lead Otso,
Greatest hero of the Northland.
Famous Light-foot, Forest-apple,
Pride and glory of the woodlands,
Have no fear before these maidens,
Fear not curly-headed virgins,
Clad in silver-tinselled raiment
Maidens hasten to their chambers
When dear Otso joins their number,
When the hero comes among them."
This the prayer of Wainamoinen:
"Grant, O Ukko, peace and plenty
Underneath these painted rafters,
In this ornamented dweling;
Thanks be paid to gracious Ukko!"
Spake again the ancient minstrel:
"Whither shall we lead dear Otso,
'Whither take the fur-clad stranger?
This the answer of his people:
"Hither let the fur-robed Light-foot
Be saluted on his coming;
Let the Honey-paw be welcomed
To the hearth-stone of the penthouse,
Welcomed to the boiling caldrons,
That we may admire his fur-robe,
May behold his cloak with joyance.
Have no care, thou much-loved Otso,
Let not anger swell thy bosom
As thy coat we view with pleasure;
We thy fur shall never injure,
Shall not make it into garments
To protect unworthy people."
Thereupon wise Wainamoinen
Pulled the sacred robe from Otso,
Spread it in the open court-yard,
Cut the, members into fragments,
Laid them in the heating caldrons,
In the copper-bottomed vessels-
O'er the fire the crane was hanging,
On the crane were hooks of copper,
On the hooks the broiling-vessels
Filled with bear-steak for the feasting,
Seasoned with the salt of Dwina,
From the Saxon-land imported,
From the distant Dwina-waters,
From the salt-sea brought in shallops.
Ready is the feast of Otso;
From the fire are swung the kettles
On the crane of polished iron;
In the centers of the tables
Is the bear displayed in dishes,
Golden dishes, decorated;
Of the fir-tree and the linden
Were the tables newly fashioned;
Drinking cups were forged from copper,
Knives of gold and spoons of silver;
Filled the vessels to their borders
With the choicest bits of Light-foot,
Fragments of the Forest-apple.
Spake the ancient Wainamoinen
"Ancient one with bosom golden,
Potent voice in Tapio's councils
Metsola's most lovely hostess,
Hostess of the glen and forest,
Hero-son of Tapiola,
Stalwart youth in cap of scarlet,
Tapio's most beauteous virgin,
Fair Tellervo of the woodlands,
Metsola with all her people,
Come, and welcome, to the feasting,
To the marriage-feast of Otso!
All sufficient, the provisions,
Food to eat and drink abundant,
Plenty for the hosts assembled,
Plenty more to give the village."
This the question of the people:
"Tell us of the birth of Otso!
Was be born within a manger,
Was he nurtured in the bath-room
Was his origin ignoble?"
This is Wainamoinen's answer:
"Otso was not born a beggar,
Was not born among the rushes,
Was not cradled in a manger;
Honey-paw was born in ether,
In the regions of the Moon-land,
On the shoulders of Otava,
With the daughters of creation.
"Through the ether walked a maiden,
On the red rims of the cloudlets,
On the border of the heavens,
In her stockings purple-tinted,
In her golden-colored sandals.
In her hand she held a wool-box,
With a hair-box on her shoulder;
Threw the wool upon the ocean,
And the hair upon the rivers;
These are rocked by winds and waters,
Water-currents bear them onward,
Bear them to the sandy sea-shore,
Land them near the Woods of honey,
On an island forest-covered.
"Fair Mielikki, woodland hostess,
Tapio's most cunning daughter,
Took the fragments from the sea-side,
Took the white wool from the waters,
Sewed the hair and wool together,
Laid the bundle in her basket,
Basket made from bark of birch-wood,
Bound with cords the magic bundle;
With the chains of gold she bound it
To the pine-tree's topmost branches.
There she rocked the thing of magic,
Rocked to life the tender baby,
Mid the blossoms of the pine-tree,
On the fir-top set with needles;
Thus the young bear well was nurtured,
Thus was sacred Otso cradled
On the honey-tree of Northland,
In the middle of the forest.
"Sacred Otso grew and flourished,
Quickly grew with graceful movements,
Short of feet, with crooked ankles,
Wide of mouth and broad of forehead,
Short his nose, his fur-robe velvet;
But his claws were not well fashioned,
Neither were his teeth implanted.
Fair Mielikki, forest hostess,
Spake these words in meditation:
'Claws I should be pleased to give him,
And with teeth endow the wonder,
Would be not abuse the favor.'
"Swore the bear a promise sacred,
On his knees before Mielikki,
Hostess of the glen and forest,
And before omniscient Ukko,
First and last of all creators,
That he would not harm the worthy,
Never do a deed of evil.
Then Mielikki, woodland hostess,
Wisest maid of Tapiola,
Sought for teeth and claws to give him,
From the stoutest mountain-ashes,
From the juniper and oak tree,
From the dry knots of the alder.
Teeth and claws of these were worthless,
Would not render goodly service.
"Grew a fir-tree on the mountain,
Grew a stately pine in Northland,
And the fir had silver branches,
Bearing golden cones abundant;
These the sylvan maiden gathered,
Teeth and claws of these she fashioned
In the jaws and feet of Otso,
Set them for the best of uses.
Then she freed her new-made creature,
Let the Light-foot walk and wander,
Let him lumber through the marshes,
Let him amble through the forest,
Roll upon the plains and pastures;
Taught him how to walk a hero,
How to move with graceful motion,
How to live in ease and pleasure,
How to rest in full contentment,
In the moors and in the marshes,
On the borders of the woodlands;
How unshod to walk in summer,
Stockingless to run in autumn;
How to rest and sleep in winter
In the clumps of alder-bushes
Underneath the sheltering fir-tree,
Underneath the pine's protection,
Wrapped securely in his fur-robes,
With the juniper and willow.
This the origin of Otso,
Honey-eater of the Northlands,
Whence the sacred booty cometh.
Thus again the people questioned:
Why became the woods so gracious,
Why so generous and friendly?
Why is Tapio so humored,
That he gave his dearest treasure,
Gave to thee his Forest-apple,
Honey-eater of his kingdom?
Was he startled with thine arrows,
Frightened with the spear and broadsword?"
Wainamoinen, the magician,
Gave this answer to the question:
"Filled with kindness was the forest,
Glen and woodland full of greetings,
Tapio showing greatest favor.
Fair Mielikki, forest hostess,
Metsola's bewitching daughter,
Beauteous woodland maid, Tellervo,
Gladly led me on my journey,
Smoothed my pathway through the glen-wood.
Marked the trees upon the, mountains,
Pointing me to Otso's caverns,
To the Great Bear's golden island.
"When my journeyings had ended,
When the bear had been discovered,
Had no need to launch my javelins,
Did not need to aim the arrow;
Otso tumbled in his vaulting,
Lost his balance in his cradle,
In the fir-tree where he slumbered;
Tore his breast upon the branches,
Freely gave his life to others.
"Mighty Otso, my beloved,
Thou my golden friend and hero,
Take thy fur-cap from thy forehead,
Lay aside thy teeth forever,
Hide thy fingers in the darkness,
Close thy mouth and still thine anger,
While thy sacred skull is breaking.
"Now I take the eyes of Otso,
Lest he lose the sense of seeing,
Lest their former powers shall weaken;
Though I take not all his members,
Not alone must these be taken.
"Now I take the ears of Otso,
Lest he lose the sense of 'hearing,
Lest their former powers shall weaken;
Though I take not all his members,
Not alone must these be taken.
"Now I take the nose of Otso,
Lest he lose the sense of smelling,
Lest its former powers shall weaken;
Though I take not all his members,
Not alone must this be taken.
"Now I take the tongue of Otso,
Lest he lose the sense of tasting
Lest its former powers shall weaken;
Though I take not all his members,
Not alone must this be taken.
"Now I take the brain of Otso,
Lest he lose the means of thinking,
Lest his consciousness should fail him,
Lest his former instincts weaken;
Though I take not all his members,
Not alone must this be taken.
"I will reckon him a hero,
That will count the teeth of Light-foot,
That will loosen Otso's fingers
From their settings firmly fastened."
None he finds with strength sufficient
To perform the task demanded.
Therefore ancient Wainamoinen
Counts the teeth of sacred Otso;
Loosens all the claws of Light-foot,
With his fingers strong as copper,
Slips them from their firm foundations,
Speaking to the bear these measures:
"Otso, thou my Honey-eater,
Thou my Fur-ball of the woodlands,
Onward, onward, must thou journey
From thy low and lonely dwelling,
To the court-rooms of the village.
Go, my treasure, through the pathway
Near the herds of swine and cattle,
To the hill-tops forest covered,
To the high and rising mountains,
To the spruce-trees filled with needles,
To the branches of the pine-tree;
There remain, my Forest-apple,
Linger there in lasting slumber,
Where the silver bells are ringing,
To the pleasure of the shepherd."
Thus beginning, and thus ending,
Wainamoinen, old and truthful,
Hastened from his emptied tables,
And the children thus addressed him:
"Whither hast thou led thy booty,
Where hast left thy Forest-apple,
Sacred Otso of the woodlands?
Hast thou left him on the iceberg,
Buried him upon the snow-field?
Hast thou sunk him in the quicksand,
Laid him low beneath the heather?"
Wainamoinen spake in answer:
"Have not left him on the iceberg,
Have not buried him in snow-fields;
There the dogs would soon devour him,
Birds of prey would feast upon him;
Have not hidden him in Swamp-land,
Have not buried him in heather;
There the worms would live upon him,
Insects feed upon his body.
Thither I have taken Otso,
To the summit of the Gold-hill,
To the copper-bearing mountain,
Laid him in his silken cradle
In the summit of a pine-tree,
Where the winds and sacred branches
Rock him to his lasting slumber,
To the pleasure of the hunter,
To the joy of man and hero.
To the east his lips are pointing,
While his eyes are northward looking;
But dear Otso looks not upward,
For the fierceness of the storm-winds
Would destroy his sense of vision."
Wainamoinen, ancient minstrel,
Touched again his harp of joyance,
Sang again his songs enchanting,
To the pleasure of the evening,
To the joy of morn arising.
Spake the singer of Wainola:
"Light for me a torch of pine-wood,
For the darkness is appearing,
That my playing may be joyous
And my wisdom-songs find welcome."
Then the ancient sage and singer,
Wise and worthy Wainamoinen,
Sweetly sang and played, and chanted,
Through the long and dreary evening,
Ending thus his incantation:
"Grant, O Ukko, my Creator,
That the people of Wainola
May enjoy another banquet
In the company of Light-foot;
Grant that we may long remember
Kalevala's feast with Otso!
"Grant, O Ukko, my Creator,
That the signs may guide our footsteps,
That the notches in the pine-tree
May direct my faithful people
To the bear-dens of the woodlands;
That great Tapio's sacred bugle
May resound through glen and forest;
That the wood-nymph's call may echo,
May be heard in field and hamlet,
To the joy of all that listen!
Let great Tapio's horn for ages
Ring throughout the fen and forest,
Through the hills and dales of Northland
O'er the meadows and the mountains,
To awaken song and gladness
In the forests of Wainola,
On the snowy plains of Suomi,
On the meads of Kalevala,
For the coming generations."

© Elias Lönnrot