The Kalevala - Rune XVIII

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Wainamoinen, old and truthful,
Long considered, long debated,
How to woo and win the daughter
Of the hostess of Pohyola,
How to lead the Bride of Beauty,
Fairy maiden of the rainbow,
To the meadows of Wainola,
From the dismal Sariola.
Now he decks his magic vessel,
Paints the boat in blue and scarlet,
Trims in gold the ship's forecastle,
Decks the prow in molten silver;
Sings his magic ship down gliding,
On the cylinders of fir-tree:
Now erects the masts of pine-wood,
On each mast the sails of linen,
Sails of blue, and white, and scarlet,
Woven into finest fabric.
Wainamoinen, the magician,
Steps aboard his wondrous vessel,
Steers the bark across the waters,
On the blue back of the broad-sea,
Speaks these words in sailing northward,
Sailing to the dark Pohyola:
"Come aboard my ship, O Ukko,
Come with me, thou God of mercy,
To protect thine ancient hero,
To support thy trusting servant,
On the breasts of raging billows,
On the far out-stretching waters.
"Rock, O winds, this wondrous vessel,
Causing not a single ripple;
Rolling waves, bear ye me northward,
That the oar may not be needed
In my journey to Pohyola,
O'er this mighty waste of waters."
Ilmarinen's beauteous sister,
Fair and goodly maid, Annikki,
Of the Night and Dawn, the daughter,
Who awakes each morning early,
Rises long before the daylight,
Stood one morning on the sea-shore,
Washing in the foam her dresses,
Rinsing out her silken ribbons,
On the bridge of scarlet color,
On the border of the highway,
On a headland jutting seaward,
On the forest-covered island.
Here Annikki, looking round her,
Looking through the fog and ether,
Looking through the clouds of heaven,
Gazing far out on the blue-sea,
Sees the morning sun arising,
Glimmering along the billows,
Looks with eyes of distant vision
Toward the sunrise on the waters,
Toward the winding streams of Suomi,
Where the Wina-waves were flowing.
There she sees, on the horizon,
Something darkle in the sunlight,
Something blue upon the billows,
Speaks these words in wonder guessing:
What is this upon the surges,
What this blue upon the waters,
What this darkling in the sunlight?
'Tis perhaps a flock of wild-geese,
Or perchance the blue-duck flying;
Then upon thy wings arising,
Fly away to highest heaven.
"Art thou then a shoal of sea-trout,
Or perchance a school of salmon?
Dive then to the deep sea-bottom,
In the waters swim and frolic.
"Art thou then a cliff of granite,
Or perchance a mighty oak-tree,
Floating on the rough sea-billows?
May the floods then wash and beat thee
Break thee to a thousand fragments."
Wainamoinen, sailing northward,
Steers his wondrous ship of magic
Toward the headland jutting seaward,
Toward the island forest-covered.
Now Annikki, goodly maiden,
Sees it is the magic vessel
Of a wonderful enchanter,
Of a mighty bard and hero,
And she asks this simple question:
"Art thou then my father's vessel,
Or my brother's ship of magic?
Haste away then to thy harbor,
To thy refuge in Wainola.
Hast thou come a goodly distance?
Sail then farther on thy journey,
Point thy prow to other waters."
It was not her father's vessel,
Not a sail-boat from the distance,
'Twas the ship of Wainamoinen,
Bark of the eternal singer;
Sails within a hailing distance,
Swims still nearer o'er the waters,
Brings one word and takes another,
Brings a third of magic import.
Speaks the goodly maid, Annikki,
Of the Night and Dawn, the daughter,
To the sailor of the vessel:
"Whither sailest, Wainamoinen,
Whither bound, thou friend of waters,
Pride and joy of Kalevala?"
From the vessel Wainamomen
Gives this answer to the maiden:
"I have come to catch some sea-trout,
Catch the young and toothsome whiting,
Hiding in tbese-reeds and rushes."
This the answer of Annikki:
"Do not speak to me in falsehood,
Know I well the times of fishing;
Long ago my honored father
Was a fisherman in Northland,
Came to catch the trout and whiting,
Fished within these seas and rivers.
Very well do I remember
How the fisherman disposes,
How he rigs his fishing vessel,
Lines, and gaffs, and poles, and fish-nets;
Hast not come a-fishing hither.
Whither goest, Wainamoinen,
Whither sailest, friend of waters?
Spake the ancient Wainamoinen:
"I have come to catch some wild-geese,
Catch the hissing birds of Suomi,
In these far-extending borders,
In the Sachsensund dominions."
Good Annikki gives this answer:
"Know I well a truthful speaker,
Easily detect a falsehood;
Formerly my aged father
Often came a-hunting hither,
Came to hunt the hissing wild-geese,
Hunt the red-bill of these waters.
Very well do I remember
How the hunter rigs his vessel,
Bows, and arrows, knives, and quiver,
Dogs enchained within the vessel,
Pointers hunting on the sea-shore,
Setters seeking in the marshes,
Tell the truth now Wainamoinen,
Whither is thy vessel sailing?"
Spake the hero of the Northland:
"To the wars my ship is sailing,
To the bloody fields of battle,
Where the streams run scarlet-colored,
Where the paths are paved with bodies!'
These the words of fair Annikki:
"Know I well the paths to battle.
Formerly my aged father
Often sounded war's alarum,
Often led the hosts to conquest;
In each ship a hundred rowers,
And in arms a thousand heroes,
Oil the prow a thousand cross-bows,
Swords, and spears, and battle-axes;
Know I well the ship of battle.
Speak Do longer fruitless falsehoods,
Whither sailest, Wainamoinen,
Whither steerest, friend of waters?
These the words of Wainamoinen:
"Come, O maiden, to my vessel,
In my magic ship be seated,
Then I'll give thee truthful answer."
Thus Annikki, silver-tinselled,
Answers ancient Wainamoinen:
"With the winds I'll fill thy vessel,
To thy bark I'll send the storm-winds
And capsize thy ship of magic,
Break in pieces its forecastle,
If the truth thou dost not tell me,
If thou dost not cease thy falsehoods,
If thou dost not tell me truly
Whither sails thy magic vessel."
These the words of Wainamoinen:
"Now I make thee truthful answer,
Though at first I spake deception:
I am sailing to the Northland
To the dismal Sariola,
Where the ogres live and flourish,
Where they drown the worthy heroes,
There to woo the Maid of Beauty
Sitting on the bow of heaven,
Woo and win the fairy virgin,
Bring her to my home and kindred,
To the firesides of Walnola."
Then Aunikki, graceful maiden,
Of the Night and Dawn, the daughter,
As she heard the rightful answer,
Knew the truth was fully spoken,
Straightway left her coats unbeaten,
Left unwashed her linen garments,
Left unrinsed her silks and ribbons
On the highway by the sea-shore,
On the bridge of scarlet color
On her arm she threw her long-robes,
Hastened off with speed of roebuck
To the shops of Ilmarinen,
To the iron-forger's furnace,
To the blacksmith's home and smithy,
Here she found the hero-artist,
Forging out a bench of iron,
And adorning it with silver.
Soot lay thick upon his forehead,
Soot and coal upon his shoulders.
On the threshold speaks Annikki,
These the words his sister uses:
"Ilmarinen, dearest brother,
Thou eternal artist-forger,
Forge me now a loom of silver,
Golden rings to grace my fingers,
Forge me gold and silver ear-rings,
Six or seven golden girdles,
Golden crosslets for my bosom,
For my head forge golden trinkets,
And I'll tell a tale surprising,
Tell a story that concerns thee
Truthfully I'll tell the story."
Then the blacksmith Ilmarinen
Spake and these the words he uttered:
"If thou'lt tell the tale sincerely,
I will forge the loom of silver,
Golden rings to grace thy fingers,
Forge thee gold and silver ear-rings,
Six or seven golden girdles,
Golden crosslets for thy bosom,
For thy head forge golden trinkets;
But if thou shouldst tell me falsely,
I shall break thy beauteous jewels,
Break thine ornaments in pieces,
Hurl them to the fire and furnace,
Never forge thee other trinkets."
This the answer of Annikki:
"Ancient blacksmith, Ilmarinen,
Dost thou ever think to marry
Her already thine affianced,
Beauteous Maiden of the Rainbow,
Fairest virgin of the Northland,
Chosen bride of Sariola?
Shouldst thou wish the Maid of Beauty,
Thou must forge, and forge unceasing,
Hammering the days and nights through;
Forge the summer hoofs for horses,
Forge them iron hoofs for winter,
In the long nights forge the snow-sledge,
Gaily trim it in the daytime,
Haste thou then upon thy journey
To thy wooing in the Northland,
To the dismal Sariola;
Thither journeys one more clever,
Sails another now before thee,
There to woo thy bride affianced,
Thence to lead thy chosen virgin,
Woo and win the Maid of Beauty;
Three long years thou hast been wooing.
Wainamoinen now is sailing
On the blue back of the waters,
Sitting at his helm of copper;
On the prow are golden carvings,
Beautiful his boat of magic,
Sailing fleetly o'er the billows,
To the never-pleasant Northland,
To the dismal Sariola."
Ilmarinen stood in wonder,
Stood a statue at the story;
Silent grief had settled o'er him,
Settled o'er the iron-artist;
From one hand the tongs descended,
From the other fell the hammer,
As the blacksmith made this answer:
"Good Annikki, worthy sister,
I shall forge the loom of silver,
Golden rings to grace thy fingers,
Forge thee gold and silver ear-rings,
Six or seven golden girdles,
Golden crosslets for thy bosom;
Go and heat for me the bath-room,
Fill with heat the honey-chambers,
Lay the faggots on the fire-place,
Lay the smaller woods around them,
Pour some water through the ashes,
Make a soap of magic virtue,
Thus to cleanse my blackened visage,
Thus to cleanse the blacksmith's body,
Thus remove the soot and ashes."
Then Annikki, kindly sister,
Quickly warmed her brother's bath-room,
Warmed it with the knots of fir-trees,
That the thunder-winds had broken;
Gathered pebbles from the fire-stream,
Threw them in the heating waters;
Broke the tassels from the birch-trees,
Steeped the foliage in honey,
Made a lye from milk and ashes,
Made of these a strong decoction,
Mixed it with the fat and marrow
Of the reindeer of the mountains,
Made a soap of magic virtue,
Thus to cleanse the iron-artist,
Thus to beautify the suitor,
Thus to make the hero worthy.
Ilmarinen, ancient blacksmith,
The eternal metal-worker,
Forged the wishes of his sister,
Ornaments for fair Annikki,
Rings, and bracelets, pins and ear-drops,
Forged for her six golden girdles,
Forged a weaving loom of silver,
While the maid prepared the bath-room,
Set his toilet-room in order.
To the maid he gave the trinkets,
Gave the loom of molten silver,
And the sister thus made answer:
"I have heated well thy bath-room,
Have thy toilet-things in order,
Everything as thou desirest;
Go prepare thyself for wooing,
Lave thy bead to flaxen whiteness,
Make thy cheeks look fresh and ruddy,
Lave thyself in Love's aroma,
That thy wooing prove successful."
Ilmarinen, magic artist,
Quick repairing to his bath-room,
Bathed his head to flaxen whiteness,
Made his cheeks look fresh and ruddy,
Laved his eyes until they sparkled
Like the moonlight on the waters;
Wondrous were his form and features,
And his cheeks like ruddy berries.
These the words of Ilmarinen:
"Fair Annikki, lovely sister,
Bring me now my silken raiment,
Bring my best and richest vesture,
Bring me now my softest linen,
That my wooing prove successful."
Straightway did the helpful sister
Bring the finest of his raiment,
Bring the softest of his linen,
Raiment fashioned by his mother;
Brought to him his silken stockings,
Brought him shoes of marten-leather,
Brought a vest of sky-blue color,
Brought him scarlet-colored trousers,
Brought a coat with scarlet trimming,
Brought a red shawl trimmed in ermine
Fourfold wrapped about his body;
Brought a fur-coat made of seal-skin,
Fastened with a thousand bottons,
And adorned with countless jewels;
Brought for him his magic girdle,
Fastened well with golden buckles,
That his artist-mother fashioned;
Brought him gloves with golden wristlets,
That the Laplanders had woven
For a head of many ringlets;
Brought the finest cap in Northland,
That his ancient father purchased
When he first began his wooing.
Ilmarinen, blacksmith-artist,
Clad himself to look his finest,
When he thus addressed a servant:
"Hitch for me a fleet-foot racer,
Hitch him to my willing snow-sledge,
For I start upon a journey
To the distant shores of Pohya,
To the dismal Sariola."
Spake the servant thus in answer:
"Thou hast seven fleet-foot racers,
Munching grain within their mangers,
Which of these shall I make ready?"
Spake the blacksmith, Ilmarinen:
"Take the fleetest of my coursers,
Put the gray steed in the harness,
Hitch him to my sledge of magic;
Place six cuckoos on the break-board,
Seven bluebirds on the cross-bars,
Thus to charm the Northland maidens,
Thus to make them look and listen,
As the cuckoos call and echo.
Bring me too my largest bear-skin,
Fold it warm about the cross-bench;
Bring me then my marten fur-robes,
As a cover and protection."
Straightway then the trusty servant
Of the blacksmith, Ilmarinen,
Put the gray steed in the harness,
Hitched the racer to the snow-sledge,
Placed six cuckoos on the break-board,
Seven bluebirds on the cross-bars,
On the front to sing and twitter;
Then he brought the largest bear-skin,
Folded it upon the cross-bench;
Brought the finest robes of marten,
Warm protection for the master.
Ilmarinen, forger-artist,
The eternal metal-worker,
Earnestly entreated Ukko:
"Send thy snow-flakes, Ukko, father,
Let them gently fall from heaven,
Let them cover all the heather,
Let them hide the berry-bushes,
That my sledge may glide in freedom
O'er the hills to Sariola!"
Ukko sent the snow from heaven,
Gently dropped the crystal snow-flakes,
Lending thus his kind assistance
To the hero, Ilmarinen,
On his journey to the Northland.
Reins in hand, the ancient artist
Seats him in his metal snow-sledge,
And beseeches thus his Master:
"Good luck to my reins and traces,
Good luck to my shafts and runners!
God protect my magic snow-sledge,
Be my safeguard on my journey
To the dismal Sariola!"
Now the ancient Ilmarinen
Draws the reins upon the racer,
Snaps his whip above the courser,
To the gray steed gives this order,
And the charger plunges northward:
"Haste away, my flaxen stallion,
Haste thee onward, noble white-face,
To the never-pleasant Pohya,
To the dreary Sariola!"
Fast and faster flies the fleet-foot,
On the curving snow-capped sea-coast,
On the borders of the lowlands,
O'er the alder-hills and mountains.
Merrily the steed flies onward,
Bluebirds singing, cuckoos calling,
On the sea-shore looking northward,
Through the sand and falling snow-flakes
Blinding winds, and snow, and sea-foam,
Cloud the hero, Ilmarinen,
As he glides upon his journey,
Looking seaward for the vessel
Of the ancient Wainamoinen;
Travels one day, then a second,
Travels all the next day northward,
Till the third day Ilmarinen
Overtakes old Wainamoinen,
Rails him in his magic vessel,
And addresses thus the minstrel:
"O thou ancient Wainamoinen,
Let us woo in peace the maiden,
Fairest daughter or the Northland,
Sitting on the bow of heaven,
Let each labor long to win her,
Let her wed the one she chooses,
Him selecting, let her follow."
Wainamoinen thus makes answer:
"I agree to thy proposal,
Let us woo in peace the maiden,
Not by force, nor faithless measures,
Shall we woo the Maid of Beauty,
Let her follow him she chooses;
Let the unsuccessful suitor
Harbor neither wrath nor envy
For the hero that she follows."
Thus agreeing, on they journey,
Each according to his pleasure;
Fleetly does the steed fly onward,
Quickly flies the magic vessel,
Sailing on the broad-sea northward;
Ilmarinen's fleet-foot racer
Makes the hills of Northland tremble,
As he gallops on his journey
To the dismal Sariola.
Wainamoinen calls the South-winds,
And they fly to his assistance;
Swiftly sails his ship of beauty,
Swiftly plows the rough sea-billows
In her pathway to Pohyola.
Time had gone but little distance,
Scarce a moment had passed over,
Ere the dogs began their barking,
In the mansions of the Northland,
In the courts of Sariola,
Watch-dogs of the court of Louhi;
Never had they growled so fiercely,
Never had they barked so loudly,
Never with their tails had beaten
Northland into such an uproar.
Spake the master of Pohyola:
"Go and learn, my worthy daughter,
Why the watch-dogs have been barking,
Why the black-dog signals danger."
Quickly does the daughter answer:
"I am occupied, dear father,
I have work of more importance,
I must tend my flock of lambkins,
I must turn the nether millstone,
Grind to flour the grains of barley,
Run the grindings through the sifter,
Only have I time for grinding."
Lowly growls the faithful watch-dog,
Seldom does he growl so strangely.
Spake the master of Pohyola:
"Go and learn, my trusted consort,
Why the Northland dogs are barking,
Why the black-dog signals danger."
Thus his aged wife makes answer;
"Have no time, nor inclination,
I must feed my hungry household,
Must prepare a worthy dinner,
I must bake the toothsome biscuit,
Knead the dough till it is ready,
Only have I strength for kneading."
Spake the master of Pohyola:
"Dames are always in a hurry,
Maidens too are ever busy,
Whether warming at the oven,
Or asleep upon their couches;
Go my son, and learn the danger,
Why the black-dog growls displeasure,"
Quickly does the son give answer:
"Have no time, nor inclination,
Am in haste to grind my hatchet;
I must chop this log to cordwood,
For the fire must cut the faggots,
I must split the wood in fragments,
Large the pile and small the fire-wood,
Only have I strength for chopping."
Still the watch-dog growls in anger,
Growl the whelps within the mansion,
Growl the dogs chained in the kennel,
Growls the black-dog on the hill-top,
Setting Northland in an uproar.
Spake the master of Pohyola:
"Never, never does my black-dog
Growl like this without a reason;
Never does he bark for nothing,
Does not growl at angry billows,
Nor the sighing of the pine-trees."
Then the master of Pohyola
Went himself to learn the reason
For the barking of the watch-dogs;
Strode he through the spacious court-yard,
Through the open fields beyond it,
To the summit of the uplands.
Looking toward his black-dog barking,
He beholds the muzzle pointed
To a distant, stormy hill-top,
To a mound with alders covered;
There he learned the rightful reason,
Why his dogs had barked so loudly,
Why had growled the wool-tail bearer,
Why his whelps had signalled danger.
At full sail, he saw a vessel,
And the ship was scarlet-colored,
Entering the bay of Lempo;
Saw a sledge of magic colors,
Gliding up the curving sea-shore,
O'er the snow-fields of Pohyola.
Then the master of the Northland
Hastened straightway to his dwelling,
Hastened forward to his court-room,
These the accents of the master:
"Often strangers journey hither,
On the blue back of the ocean,
Sailing in a scarlet vessel,
Rocking in the bay of Lempo;
Often strangers come in sledges
To the honey-lands of Louhi."
Spake the hostess of Pohyola:
How shall we obtain a token
Why these strangers journey hither?
My beloved, faithful daughter,
Lay a branch upon the fire-place,
Let it burn with fire of magic
If it trickle drops of scarlet,
War and bloodshed do they bring us;
If it trickle drops of water,
Peace and plenty bring the strangers."
Northland's fair and slender maiden,
Beautiful and modest daughter,
Lays a sorb-branch on the fire-place,
Lights it with the fire of magic;
Does not trickle drops of scarlet,
Trickles neither blood, nor water,
From the wand come drops of honey.
From the corner spake Suowakko,
This the language of the wizard:
"If the wand is dripping honey,
Then the strangers that are coming
Are but worthy friends and suitors."
Then the hostess of the Northland,
With the daughter of the hostess,
Straightway left their work, and hastened
From their dwelling to the court-yard;
Looked about in all directions,
Turned their eyes upon the waters,
Saw a magic-colored vessel
Rocking slowly in the harbor,
Having sailed the bay of Lempo,
Triple sails, and masts, and rigging,
Sable was the nether portion,
And the upper, scarlet-colored,
At the helm an ancient hero
Leaning on his oars of copper;
Saw a fleet-foot racer running,
Saw a red sledge lightly follow,
Saw the magic sledge emblazoned,
Guided toward the courts of Louhi;
Saw and heard six golden cuckoos
Sitting on the break-board, calling,
Seven bluebirds richly colored
Singing from the yoke and cross-bar;
In the sledge a magic hero,
Young, and strong, and proud, and handsome,
Holding reins upon the courser.
Spake the hostess of Pohyola:
"Dearest daughter, winsome maiden,
Dost thou wish a noble suitor?
Should these heroes come to woo thee,
Wouldst thou leave thy home and country,
Be the bride of him that pleases,
Be his faithful life-companion?
"He that comes upon the waters,
Sailing in a magic vessel,
Having sailed the bay of Lempo,
Is the good, old Wainamoinen;
In his ship are countless treasures,
Richest presents from Wainola.
"He that rides here in his snow-sledge
In his sledge of magic beauty,
With the cuckoos and the bluebirds,
Is the blacksmith, Ilmarinen,
Cometh hither empty-handed,
Only brings some wisdom-sayings.
When they come within the dwelling,
Bring a bowl of honeyed viands,
Bring a pitcher with two handles,
Give to him that thou wouldst follow
Give it to old Wainamoinen,
Him that brings thee countless treasures,
Costly presents in his vessel,
Priceless gems from Kalevala."
Spake the Northland's lovely daughter,
This the language of the maiden
"Good, indeed, advice maternal,
But I will not wed for riches,
Wed no man for countless treasures;
For his worth I'll choose a husband,
For his youth and fine appearance,
For his noble form and features;
In the olden times the maidens
Were not sold by anxious mothers
To the suitors that they loved not.
I shall choose without his treasures
Ilmarinen for his wisdom,
For his worth and good behavior,
Him that forged the wondrous Sampo,
Hammered thee the lid in colors."
Spake the hostess of Pohyola:
"Senseless daughter, child of folly,
Thus to choose the ancient blacksmith,
From whose brow drips perspiration,
Evermore to rinse his linen,
Lave his hands, and eyes, and forehead,
Keep his ancient house in order;
Little use his wit and wisdom
When compared with gold and silver."
This the answer of the daughter:
"I will never, never, never,
Wed the ancient Wainamoinen
With his gold and priceless jewels;
Never will I be a helpmate
To a hero in his dotage,
Little thanks my compensation."
Wainamoinen, safely landing
In advance of Ilmarinen,
Pulls his gaily-covered vessel
From the waves upon the sea-beach,
On the cylinders of birch-wood,
On the rollers copper-banded,
Straightway hastens to the guest-room
Of the hostess of Pohyola,
Of the master of the Northland,
Speaks these words upon the threshold
To the famous Maid of Beauty:
"Come with me, thou lovely virgin,
Be my bride and life-companion,
Share with me my joys and sorrows,
Be my honored wife hereafter!"
This the answer of the maiden:
"Hast thou built for me the vessel,
Built for me the ship of magic
From the fragments of the distaff,
From the splinters of the spindle?"
Wainamoinen thus replying:
"I have built the promised vessel,
Built the wondrous ship for sailing,
Firmly joined the parts by magic;
It will weather roughest billows,
Will outlive the winds and waters,
Swiftly glide upon the blue-back
Of the deep and boundless ocean
It will ride the waves in beauty,
Like an airy bubble rising,
Like a cork on lake and river,
Through the angry seas of Northland,
Through Pohyola's peaceful waters."
Northland's fair and slender daughter
Gives this answer to her suitor:
"Will not wed a sea-born hero,
Do not care to rock the billows,
Cannot live with such a husband
Storms would bring us pain and trouble,
Winds would rack our hearts and temples;
Therefore thee I cannot follow,
Cannot keep thy home in order,
Cannot be thy life-companion,
Cannot wed old Wainamoinen."

© Elias Lönnrot