The Kalevala - Rune XXXVIII

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Ilmarinen, the magician,
The eternal metal-artist,
Lays aside the golden image,
Beauteous maid of magic metals;
Throws the harness on his courser,
Binds him to his sledge of birch-wood,
Seats himself upon the cross-bench,
Snaps the whip above the racer,
Thinking once again to journey
To the mansions of Pohyola,
There to woo a bride in honor,
Second daughter of the Northland.
On he journeyed, restless, northward,
Journeyed one day, then a second,
So the third from morn till evening,
When he reached a Northland-village
On the plains of Sariola.
Louhi, hostess of Pohyola,
Standing in the open court-yard,
Spied the hero, Ilmarinen,
Thus addressed the metal-worker:
"Tell me how my child is living,
How the Bride of Beauty prospers,
As a daughter to thy mother."
Then the blacksmith, Ilmarinen,
Head bent down and brow dejected,
Thus addressed the Northland hostess:
"O, thou dame of Sariola,
Do not ask me of thy daughter,
Since, alas I in Tuonela
Sleeps the Maiden of the Rainbow,
Sleeps in death the Bride, of Beauty,
Underneath the fragrant heather,
In the kingdom of Manala.
Come I for a second daughter,
For the fairest of thy virgins.
Beauteous hostess of Pohyola,
Give to me thy youngest maiden,
For my former wife's compartments,
For the chambers of her sister."
Louhi, hostess of the Northland,
Spake these words to Ilmarinen:
"Foolish was the Northland-hostess,
When she gave her fairest virgin,
In the bloom of youth and beauty
To the blacksmith of Wainola,
Only to be led to Mana,
Like a lambkin to the slaughter!
I shall never give my daughter,
Shall not give my youngest maiden
Bride of thine to be hereafter,
Life-companion at thy fireside.
Sooner would I give the fair one
To the cataract and whirlpool,
To the river of Manala,
To the waters of Tuoni!"
Then the blacksmith, Ilmarinen,
Drew away his head, disdainful,
Shook his sable locks in anger,
Entered to the inner court-room,
Where the maiden sat in waiting,
Spake these measures to the daughter:
"Come with me, thou bright-eyed maiden,
To the cottage where thy sister
Lived and lingered in contentment,
Baked for me the toothsome biscuit,
Brewed for me the beer of barley,
Kept my dwelling-place in order."
On the floor a babe was lying,
Thus he sang to Ilmarinen:
"Uninvited, leave this mansion,
Go, thou stranger, from this dwelling;
Once before thou camest hither,
Only bringing pain and trouble,
Filling all our hearts with sorrow.
Fairest daughter of my mother,
Do not give this suitor welcome,
Look not on his eyes with pleasure,
Nor admire his form and features.
In his mouth are only wolf-teeth,
Cunning fox-claws in his mittens,
In his shoes art only bear-claws,
In his belt a hungry dagger;
Weapons these of blood and murder,
Only worn by the unworthy."
Then the daughter spake as follows
To the blacksmith, Ilmarinen:
"Follow thee this maid will never,
Never heed unworthy suitors;
Thou hast slain the Bride of Beauty,
Once the Maiden of the Rainbow,
Thou wouldst also slay her sister.
I deserve a better suitor,
Wish a truer, nobler husband,
Wish to ride in richer sledges,
Have a better home-protection;
Never will I sweep the cottage
And the coal-place of a blacksmith."
Then the hero, Ilmarinen,
The eternal metal-artist,
Turned his head away, disdainful,
Shook his sable locks in anger,
Quickly seized the trembling maiden,
Held her in his grasp of iron,
Hastened from the court of Louhi
To his sledge upon the highway.
In his sleigh he seats the virgin,
Snugly wraps her in his far-robes,
Snaps his whip above the racer,
Gallops on the high-road homeward;
With one hand the reins be tightens,
With the other holds the maiden.
Speaks the virgin-daughter, weeping:
We have reached the lowland-berries,
Here the herbs of water-borders;
Leave me here to sink and perish
As a child of cold misfortune.
Wicked Ilmarinen, Iisten!
If thou dost not quickly free me,
I will break thy sledge to pieces,
Throw thy fur-robes to the north-winds."
Ilmarinen makes this answer:
"When the blacksmith builds his snow-sledge,
All the parts are hooped with iron;
Therefore will the beauteous maiden
Never beat my sledge to fragments."
Then the silver-tinselled daughter
Wept and wailed in bitter accents,
Wrung her hands in desperation,
Spake again to Ilmarinen:
"If thou dost not quickly free me,
I shall change to ocean-salmon,
Be a whiting of the waters."
"Thou wilt never thus escape me,
As a pike I'll fleetly follow."
Then the maiden of Pohyola
Wept and wailed in bitter accents,
Wrung her hands in desperation,
Spake again to Ilmarinen;
"If thou dost not quickly free me,
I shall hasten to the forest,
Mid the rocks become an ermine!"
"Thou wilt never thus escape me,
As a serpent I will follow."
Then the beauty of the Northland,
Wailed and wept in bitter accents,
Wrung her hands in desperation,
Spake once more to Ilmarinen:
"Surely, if thou dost not free me,
As a lark I'll fly the ether,
Hide myself within the storm-clouds."
"Neither wilt thou thus escape me,
As an eagle I will follow."
They had gone but little distance,
When the courser shied and halted,
Frighted at some passing object;
And the maiden looked in wonder,
In the snow beheld some foot-prints,
Spake these words to Ilmarinen:
Who has run across our highway?"
"'Tis the timid hare", he answered.
Thereupon the stolen maiden
Sobbed, and moaned, in deeps of sorrow,
Heavy-hearted, spake these measures:
"Woe is me, ill-fated virgin!
Happier far my life hereafter,
If the hare I could but follow
To his burrow in the woodlands!
Crook-leg's fur to me is finer
Than the robes of Ilmarinen."
Ilmarinen, the magician,
Tossed his head in full resentment,
Galloped on the highway homeward,
Travelled but a little distance,
When again his courser halted,
Frighted at some passing stranger.
Quick the maiden looked and wondered,
In the snow beheld some foot-prints,
Spake these measures to the blacksmith:
Who has crossed our snowy pathway?"
"'Tis a fox", replied the minstrel.
Thereupon the beauteous virgin
Moaned again in depths of anguish,
Sang these accents, heavy-hearted:
"Woe is me, ill-fated maiden!
Happier far my life hereafter,
With the cunning fox to wander,
Than with this ill-mannered suitor;
Reynard's fur to me is finer
Than the robes of Ilmarinen."
Thereupon the metal-worker
Shut his lips in sore displeasure,
Hastened on the highway homeward;
Travelled but a little distance,
When again his courser halted.
Quick the maiden looked in wonder,
in the snow beheld some foot-prints,
Spake these words to the magician:
Who again has crossed our pathway?"
"'Tis the wolf", said Ilmarinen.
Thereupon the fated daughter
Fell again to bitter weeping,
And Intoned these words of sorrow:
"Woe is me, a hapless maiden!
Happier far my life hereafter,
Brighter far would be my future,
If these tracks I could but follow;
On the wolf the hair is finer
Than the furs of Ilmarinen,
Faithless suitor of the Northland."
Then the minstrel of Wainola
Closed his lips again in anger,
Shook his sable locks, resentful,
Snapped the whip above the racer,
And the steed flew onward swiftly,
O'er the way to Kalevala,
To the village of the blacksmith.
Sad and weary from his journey,
Ilmarinen, home-returning,
Fell upon his couch in slumber,
And the maiden laughed derision.
In the morning, slowly waking,
Head confused, and locks dishevelled,
Spake the wizard, words as follow:
"Shall I set myself to singing
Magic songs and incantations?
Shall I now enchant this maiden
To a black-wolf on the mountains,
To a salmon of the ocean?
Shall not send her to the woodlands,
All the forest would be frighted;
Shall not send her to the waters,
All the fish would flee in terror;
This my sword shall drink her life-blood,
End her reign of scorn and hatred."
Quick the sword feels his intention,
Quick divines his evil purpose,
Speaks these words to Ilmarinen:
"Was not born to drink the life-blood
Of a maiden pure and lovely,
Of a fair but helpless virgin."
Thereupon the magic minstrel,
Filled with rage, began his singing;
Sang the very rocks asunder,
Till the distant hills re-echoed;
Sang the maiden to a sea-gull,
Croaking from the ocean-ledges,
Calling from the ocean-islands,
Screeching on the sandy sea-coast,
Flying to the winds opposing.
When his conjuring had ended,
Ilmarinen joined his snow-sledge,
Whipped his steed upon a gallop,
Hastened to his ancient smithy,
To his home in Kalevala.
Wainamoinen, old and truthful,
Comes to meet him on the highway,
Speaks these words to the magician:
"Ilmarinen, worthy brother,
Wherefore comest heavy-hearted
From the dismal Sariola?
Does Pohyola live and prosper?
Spake the minstrel, Ilmarinen:
"Why should not Pohyola prosper?
There the Sampo grinds unceasing,
Noisy rocks the lid in colors;
Grinds one day the flour for eating,
Grinds the second flour for selling,
Grinds the third day flour for keeping;
Thus it is Pohyola prospers.
While the Sampo is in Northland,
There is plowing, there is sowing,
There is growth of every virtue,
There is welfare never-ending."
Spake the ancient Wainamoinen:
"Ilmarinen, artist-brother,
Where then is the Northland-daughter,
Far renowned and beauteous maiden,
For whose hand thou hast been absent?
These the words of Ilmarinen:
"I have changed the hateful virgin
To a sea-gull on the ocean;
Now she calls above the waters,
Screeches from the ocean-islands;
On the rocks she calls and murmurs
Vainly calling for a suitor."

© Elias Lönnrot