The Kalevala, by John Martin Crawford, , at sacred-texts.com
IN the ancient times a mother
Hatched and raised some swans and chickens,
Placed the chickens in the brushwood,
Placed her swans upon the river;
Came an eagle, hawk, and falcon,
Scattered all her swans and chickens,
One was carried to Karyala,
And a second into Ehstland,
Left a third at home in Pohya.
And the one to Ehstland taken
Soon became a thriving merchant;
He that journeyed to Karyala
Flourished and was called Kalervo;
He that hid away in Pohya
Took the name of Untamoinen,
Flourished to his father's sorrow,
To the heart-pain of his mother.
Untamoinen sets his fish-nets
In the waters of Kalervo;
Kullerwoinen sees the fish-nets,
Takes the fish home in his basket.
Then Untamo, evil-minded,
Angry grew and sighed for vengeance,
Clutched his fingers for the combat,
Bared his mighty arms for battle,
For the stealing of his salmon,
For the robbing of his fish-nets.
Long they battled, fierce the struggle,
Neither one could prove the victor;
Should one beat the other fiercely,
He himself was fiercely beaten.
Then arose a second trouble;
On the second and the third days,
Kalerwoinen sowed some barley
Near the barns of Untamoinen;
Untamoinen's sheep in hunger
Ate the crop of Kullerwoinen;
Kullerwoinen's dog in malice
Tore Untamo's sheep in pieces;
Then Untamo sorely threatened
To annihilate the people
Of his brother, Kalerwoinen,
To exterminate his tribe-folk,
To destroy the young and aged,
To out-root his race and kingdom;
Conjures men with broadswords girded,
For the war he fashions heroes,
Fashions youth with spears adjusted,
Bearing axes on their shoulders ,
Conjures thus a mighty army,
Hastens to begin a battle,
Bring a war upon his brother.
Kalerwoinen's wife in beauty
Sat beside her chamber-window,
Looking out along the highway,
Spake these words in wonder guessing:
"Do I see some smoke arising,
Or perchance a heavy storm-cloud,
Near the border of the forest,
Near the ending of the prairie?"
It was not some smoke arising,
Nor indeed a heavy storm-cloud,
It was Untamoinen's soldiers
Marching to the place of battle.
Warriors of Untamoinen
Came equipped with spears and arrows,
Killed the people of Kalervo,
Slew his tribe and all his kindred,
Burned to ashes many dwellings,
Levelled many courts and cabins,
Only, left Kalervo's daughter,
With her unborn child, survivors
Of the slaughter of Untamo;
And she led the hostile army
To her father's halls and mansion,
Swept the rooms and made them cheery,
Gave the heroes home-attentions.
Time had gone but little distance,
Ere a boy was born in magic
Of the virgin, Untamala,
Of a mother, trouble-laden,
Him the mother named Kullervo,
"Pearl of Combat," said Untamo.
Then they laid the child of wonder,
Fatherless, the magic infant,
In the cradle of attention,
To be rocked, and fed, and guarded;
But he rocked himself at pleasure,
Rocked until his locks stood endwise;
Rocked one day, and then a second,
Rocked the third from morn till noontide;
But before the third day ended,
Kicks the boy with might of magic,
Forwards, backwards, upwards, downwards,
Kicks in miracles of power,
Bursts with might his swaddling garments
Creeping from beneath his blankets,
Knocks his cradle into fragments,
Tears to tatters all his raiment,
Seemed that he would grow a hero,
And his mother, Untamala,
Thought that be, when full of stature,
When he found his strength and reason,
Would become a great magician,
First among a thousand heroes.
When. three months the boy had thriven,
He began to speak as follows:
"When my form is full of stature,
When these arms grow strong and hardy,
Then will I avenge the murder
Of Kalervo and his people!"
Untamoinen bears the saying,
Speaks these words to those about him;
"To my tribe he brings destruction,
In him grows a new Kalervo!"
Then the heroes well considered,
And the women gave their counsel,
How to kill the magic infant,
That their tribe may live in safety.
It appeared the boy would prosper;
Finally, they all consenting,
He was placed within a basket,
And with willows firmly fastened,
Taken to the reeds and rushes,
Lowered to the deepest waters,
In his basket there to perish.
When three nights had circled over,
Messengers of Untamoinen
Went to see if be had perished
In his basket in the waters;
But the prodigy, was living,
Had not perished in the rushes;
He had left his willow-basket,
Sat in triumph on a billow,
In his hand a rod of copper,
On the rod a golden fish-line,
Fishing for the silver whiting,
Measuring the deeps beneath him;
In the sea was little water,
Scarcely would it fill three measures.
Untamoinen then reflected,
This the language of the wizard:
"Whither shall we take this wonder,
Lay this prodigy of evil,
That destruction may o'ertake him,
Where the boy will sink and perish?"
Then his messengers he ordered
To collect dried poles of brushwood,
Birch-trees with their hundred branches,
Pine-trees full of pitch and resin,
Ordered that a pyre be builded,
That the boy might be cremated,
That Kullervo thus might perish.
High they piled the and branches,
Dried limbs from the sacred birch-tree,
Branches from a hundred fir-trees,
Knots and branches full of resign;
Filled with bark a thousand sledges,
Seasoned oak, a hundred measures;
Piled the brushwood to the tree-tops,
Set the boy upon the summit,
Set on fire the pile of brushwood,
Burned one day, and then a second,
Burned the third from morn till evening.
When Untamo sent his heralds
To inspect the pyre and wizard,
There to learn if young Kullervo
Had been burned to dust and ashes,
There they saw the young boy sitting
On a pyramid of embers,
In his band a rod of copper,
Raking coals of fire about him,
To increase their heat and power;
Not a hair was burned nor injured,
Not a ringlet singed nor shrivelled.
Then Untamo, evil-humored,
Thus addressed his trusted heralds:
"Whither shall the boy be taken,
To what place this thing of evil,
That destruction may o'ertake him.
That the boy may sink and perish?"
Then they hung him to an oak-tree,
Crucified him in the branches,
That the wizard there might perish.
When three days and nights had ended,
Untamoinen spake as follows:
"It is time to send my heralds
To inspect the mighty oak-tree,
There to learn if young Kullervo
Lives or dies among the branches."
Thereupon he sent his servants,
And the heralds brought this message:
"Young Kullervo has not perished,
Has not died among the branches
Of the oak-tree where we hung him.
In the oak he maketh pictures
With a wand between his fingers;
Pictures hang from all the branches,
Carved and painted by Kullervo;
And the heroes, thick as acorns,
With their swords and spears adjuste4
Fill the branches of the oak-tree,
Every leaf becomes a soldier."
Who can help the grave Untamo
Kill the boy that threatens evil
To Untamo's tribe and country,
Since he will not die by water,
Nor by fire, nor crucifixion?
Finally it was decided
That his body was immortal,
Could not suffer death nor torture.
In despair grave Untamoinen
Thus addressed the boy, Kullervo:
"Wilt thou live a life becoming,
Always do my people honor,
Should I keep thee in my dwelling?
Shouldst thou render servant's duty,
Then thou wilt receive thy wages,
Reaping whatsoe'er thou sowest;
Thou canst wear the golden girdle,
Or endure the tongue of censure."
When the boy had grown a little,
Had increased in strength and stature,
He was given occupation,
He was made to tend an infant,
Made to rock the infant's cradle.
These the words of Untamoinen:
"Often look upon the young child,
Feed him well and guard from danger,
Wash his linen in the river,
Give the infant good attention."
Young Kullervo, wicked wizard,
Nurses one day then a second;
On the morning of the third day,
Gives the infant cruel treatment,
Blinds its eyes and breaks its fingers;
And when evening shadows gather,
Kills the young child while it slumbers,
Throws its body to the waters,
Breaks and burns the infant's cradle.
Untamoinen thus reflected:
"Never will this fell Kullervo
Be a worthy nurse for children,
Cannot rock a babe in safety;
Do not know how I can use him,
What employment I can give him!"
Then he told the young magician
He must fell the standing forest,
And Kullervo gave this answer:
"Only will I be a hero,
When I wield the magic hatchet;
I am young, and fair, and mighty,
Far more beautiful than others,
Have the skill of six magicians."
Thereupon he sought the blacksmith,
This the order of Kullervo:
"Listen, O thou metal-artist,
Forge for me an axe of copper,
Forge the mighty axe of heroes,
Wherewith I may fell the forest,
Fell the birch, and oak, and aspen."
This behest the blacksmith honors,
Forges him an axe of copper,
Wonderful the blade he forges.
Kullerwoinen grinds his hatchet,
Grinds his blade from morn till evening,
And the next day makes the handle;
Then he hastens to the forest,
To the upward-sloping mountain,
To the tallest of the birches,
To the mightiest of oak-trees;
There he swings his axe of copper,
Swings his blade with might of magic,
Cuts with sharpened edge the aspen,
With one blow he fells the oak-tree,
With a second blow, the linden;
Many trees have quickly fallen,
By the hatchet of Kullervo.
Then the wizard spake as follows:
"This the proper work of Lempo,
Let dire Hisi fell the forest!"
In the birch he sank his hatchet,
Made an uproar in the woodlands,
Called aloud in tones, of thunder,
Whistled to the distant mountains,
Till they echoed to his calling,
When Kullervo spake as follows:
"May the forest, in the circle
Where my voice rings, fall and perish,
In the earth be lost forever!
May no tree remain unlevelled,
May no saplings grow in spring-time,
Never while the moonlight glimmers,
Where Kullervo's voice has echoed,
Where the forest hears my calling;
Where the ground with seed is planted,
And the grain shall sprout and flourish,
May it never come to ripeness,
Mar the ears of corn be blasted!"
When the strong man, Untamoinen,
Went to look at early evening,
How Kullervo was progressing,
In his labors in the forest;
Little was the work accomplished,
Was not worthy of a here;
Untamoinen thus reflected:
"Young Kullervo is not fitted
For the work of clearing forests,
Wastes the best of all the timber,
To my lands he brings destruction;
I shall set him making fences."
Then the youth began the building
Of a fence for Untamoinen;
Took the trunks of stately fir-trees,
Trimmed them with his blade for fence-posts,
Cut the tallest in the woodlands,
For the railing of his fences;
Made the smaller poles and cross-bars
From the longest of the lindens;
Made the fence without a pass-way,
Made no wicket in his fences,
And Kullervo spake these measures.
"He that does not rise as eagles,
Does not sail on wings through ether,
Cannot cross Kullervo's pickets,
Nor the fences he has builded."
Untamoinen left his mansion
To inspect the young boy's labors,
View the fences of Kullervo;
Saw the fence without a pass-way,
Not a wicket in his fences;
From the earth the fence extended
To the highest clouds of heaven.
These the words of Untamoinen:
"For this work be is not fitted,
Useless is the fence thus builded;
Is so high that none can cross it,
And there is no passage through it:
He shall thresh the rye and barley."
Young Kullervo, quick preparing
Made an oaken flail for threshing,
Threshed the rye to finest powder,
Threshed the barley into atoms,
And the straw to worthless fragments.
Untamoinen went at evening,
Went to see Kullervo's threshing,
View the work of Kullerwoinen;
Found the rye was ground to powder,
Grains of barley crushed to atoms,
And the straw to worthless rubbish.
Untamoinen then grew angry,
Spake these words in bitter accents:
"Kullerwoinen as a workman
Is a miserable failure;
Whatsoever work he touches
Is but ruined by his witchcraft;
I shall carry him to Ehstland,
In Karyala I shall sell him
To the blacksmith, Ilmarinen,
There to swing the heavy hammer."
Untamoinen sells Kullervo,
Trades him off in far Karyala,
To the blacksmith, Ilmarinen,
To the master of the metals,
This the sum received in payment:
Seven worn and worthless sickles,
Three old caldrons worse than useless,
Three old scythes, and hoes, and axes,
Recompense, indeed, sufficient
For a boy that will not labor
For the good of his employer.