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The Kalevala, by John Martin Crawford, [1888], at



WAINAMOINEN, ancient minstrel,
Touched again his magic harp-strings,
Sang in miracles of concord,
Filled the north with joy and gladness.
Melodies arose to heaven,
Songs arose to Luna's chambers,
Echoed through the Sun's bright windows
And the Moon has left her station,
Drops and settles in the birch-tree;
And the Sun comes from his castle,
Settles in the fir-tree branches,
Comes to share the common pleasure,
Comes to listen to the singing,
To the harp of Wainamoinen.

Louhi, hostess of Pohyola,
Northland's old and toothless wizard,
Makes the Sun and Moon her captives;
In her arms she takes fair Luna
From her cradle in the birch-tree,
Calls the Sun down from his station,
From the fir-tree's bending branches,
Carries them to upper Northland,
To the darksome Sariola;
Hides the Moon, no more to glimmer,
In a rock of many colors;
Hides the Sun, to shine no longer,
In the iron-banded mountain;
Thereupon these words she utters:
"Moon of gold and Sun of silver,
Hide your faces in the caverns
Of Pohyola's dismal mountain;
Shine no more to gladden Northland,
Till I come to give ye freedom,
Drawn by coursers nine in number,
Sable coursers of one mother!"

When the golden Moon had vanished,
And the silver Sun had hidden
In the iron-banded caverns,
Louhi stole the fire from Northland,
From the regions of Wainola,
Left the mansions cold and cheerless,
And the cabins full of darkness.
Night was king and reigned unbroken,
Darkness ruled in Kalevala,
Darkness in the home of Ukko.
Hard to live without the moonlight,
Harder still without the sunshine;
Ukko's life is dark and dismal,
When the Sun and Moon desert him.

Ukko, first of all creators,
Lived in wonder at the darkness;
Long reflected, well considered,
Why this miracle in heaven,
What this accident in nature
To the Moon upon her journey;
Why the Sun no more is shining,
Why has disappeared the moonlight.
Then great Ukko walked the heavens,
To the border of the cloudlets,
In his purple-colored vestments,
In his silver-tinselled sandals,
Seeking for the golden moonlight,
Looking for the silver sunshine.
Lightning Ukko struck in darkness
From the edges of his fire-sword;
Shot the flames in all directions,
From his blade of golden color,
Into heaven's upper spaces,
Into Ether's starry pastures.

When a little fire had kindled,
Ukko hid it in the cloud-space,
In a box of gold and silver,
In a case adorned with silver,
Gave it to the ether-maidens,
Called a virgin then to rock it,
That it might become a new-moon,
That a second sun might follow.
On the long-cloud rocked the virgin,
On the blue-edge of the ether,
Rocked the fire of the Creator,
In her copper-colored cradle,
With her ribbons silver-studded.
Lowly bend the bands of silver,
Loud the golden cradle echoes,
And the clouds of Northland thunder,
Low descends the dome of heaven,
At the rocking of the lightning,
Rocking of the fire of Ukko.
Thus the flame was gently cradled
By the virgin of the ether.
Long the fair and faithful maiden
Stroked the Fire-child with her fingers,
Tended it with care and pleasure,
Till in an unguarded moment
It escaped the Ether-virgin,
Slipped the hands of her that nursed it.
Quick the heavens are burst asunder,
Quick the vault of Ukko opens,
Downward drops the wayward Fire-child,
Downward quick the red-ball rushes,
Shoots across the arch of heaven,
Hisses through the startled cloudlets,
Flashes through the troubled welkin,
Through nine starry vaults of ether.

Then the ancient Wainamoinen
Spake and these the words he uttered:
"Blacksmith brother, Ilmarinen,
Let us haste and look together,
What the kind of fire that falleth,
What the form of light that shineth
From the upper vault of heaven,
From the lower earth and ocean.
Has a second moon arisen,
Can it be a ball of sunlight?

Thereupon the heroes wandered,
Onward journeyed and reflected,
How to gain the spot illumined,
How to find the sacred Fire-child.
Came a river rushing by them,
Broad and stately as an ocean.
Straightway ancient Wainamoinen
There began to build a vessel,
Build a boat to cross the river.
With the aid of Ilmarinen,
From the oak he cut the row-locks,
From the pine the oars be fashioned,
From the aspen shapes the rudder.
When the vessel they had finished,
Quick they rolled it to the current,
Hard they rowed and ever forward,
On the Nawa-stream and waters,
At the head of Nawa-river.

Ilmatar, the ether-daughter,
Foremost daughter of creation,
Came to meet them on their journey,
Thus addressed the coming strangers:
"Who are ye of Northland heroes,
Rowing on the Nawa-waters?"
Wainamoinen gave this answer:
"This the blacksmith, Ilmarinen,
I the ancient Wainamoinen.
Tell us now thy name and station,
Whither going, whence thou comest,
Where thy tribe-folk live and linger?
Spake the daughter of the Ether:
"I the oldest of the women,
Am the first of Ether's daughters,
Am the first of ancient mothers;
Seven times have I been wedded.
To the heroes of creation.
Whither do ye strangers journey?
Answered thus old Wainamoinen:
"Fire has left Wainola's hearth-stones,
Light has disappeared from Northland;
Have been sitting long in darkness,
Cold and darkness our companions;
Now we journey to discover
What the fire that fell from heaven,
Falling from the cloud's red lining,
To the deeps of earth and ocean."
Ilmatar returned this answer:
"Hard the flame is to discover,
Hard indeed to find the Fire-child;
Has committed many mischiefs,
Nothing good has he accomplished;
Quick the fire-ball fell from ether,
From the red rims of the cloudlets,
From the plains of the Creator,
Through the ever-moving heavens,
Through the purple ether-spaces,
Through the blackened flues of Turi,
To Palwoinen's rooms uncovered.
When the fire had reached the chambers
Of Palwoinen, son of evil,
He began his wicked workings,
He engaged in lawless actions,
Raged against the blushing maidens,
Fired the youth to evil conduct,
Singed the beards of men and heroes.

"Where the mother nursed her baby,
In the cold and cheerless cradle,
Thither flew the wicked Fire-child,
There to perpetrate some mischief;
In the cradle burned the infant,
By the infant burned the mother,
That the babe might visit Mana,
In the kingdom of Tuoni;
Said the child was born for dying,
Only destined for destruction,
Through the tortures of the Fire-child.
Greater knowledge had the mother,
Did not journey to Manala,
Knew the word to check the red-flame,
How to banish the intruder
Through the eyelet of a needle,
Through the death-hole of the hatchet."

Then the ancient Wainamoinen
Questioned Ilmatar as follows:
"Whither did the Fire-child wander,
Whither did the red-flame hasten,
From the border-fields of Turi,
To the woods, or to the waters?
Straightway Ilmatar thus answers:
"When the fire had fled from Turi,
From the castles of Palwoinen,
Through the eyelet of the needle,
Through the death-hole of the hatchet,
First it burned the fields, and forests,
Burned the lowlands, and the heather;
Then it sought the mighty waters,
Sought the Alue-sea and river,
And the waters hissed and sputtered
In their anger at the Fire-child,
Fiery red the boiling Alue!

"Three times in the nights of, summer,
Nine times in the nights of autumn,
Boil the waters to the tree-tops,
Roll and tumble to the mountain,
Through the red-ball's force and fury;
Hurls the pike upon the pastures,
To the mountain-cliffs, the salmon,
Where the ocean-dwellers wonder,
Long reflect and well consider
How to still the angry waters.
Wept the salmon for his grotto,
Mourned the whiting for his cavern,
And the lake-trout for his dwelling,
Quick the crook-necked salmon darted,
Tried to catch the fire-intruder,
But the red-ball quick escaped him;
Darted then the daring whiting,
Swallowed quick the wicked Fire-child,
Swallowed quick the flame of evil.
Quiet grow the Alue-waters,
Slowly settle to their shore-lines,
To their long-accustomed places,
In the long and dismal evening.

"Time had gone but little distance,
When the whiting grow affrighted,
Fear befel the fire-devourer;
Burning pain and writhing tortures
Seized the eater of the Fire-child;
Swam the fish in all directions,
Called, and moaned, and swam, and circled,
Swam one day, and then a second,
Swam the third from morn till even;
Swam she to the whiting-island,
To the caverns of the salmon,
Where a hundred islands cluster;
And the islands there assembled
Thus addressed the fire-devourer:
'There is none within these waters,
In this narrow Alue-lakelet,
That will eat the fated Fire-fish
That will swallow thee in trouble,
In thine agonies and torture
From the Fire-child thou hast eaten.'

"Hearing this a trout forth darting,
Swallowed quick as light the whiting,
Quickly ate the fire-devourer.
Time had gone but little distance,
When the trout became affrighted,
Fear befel the whiting-eater;
Burning pain and writhing torment
Seized the eater of the Fire-fish.
Swam the trout in all directions,
Called, and moaned, and swam, and circled,
Swam one day, and then a second,
Swain the third from morn till even;
Swam she to the salmon-island,
Swam she to the whiting-grottoes,
Where a thousand islands cluster,
And the islands there assembled
Thus addressed the tortured lake-trout:
'There is none within this river,
In these narrow Alue-waters,
That will eat the wicked Fire-fish,
That will swallow thee in trouble,
In thine agonies and tortures,
From the Fire-fish thou hast eaten."

Hearing this the gray-pike darted,
Swallowed quick as light the lake-trout,
Quickly ate the tortured Fire-fish.

"Time had gone but little distance,
When the gray-pike grew affrighted,
Fear befel the lake-trout-eater;
Burning pain and writhing torment
Seized the reckless trout-devourer;
Swam the pike in all directions,
Called, and moaned, and swam, and circled,
Swam one day, and then a second,
Swam the third from morn till even,
To the cave of ocean-swallows,
To the sand-hills of the sea-gull,
Where a hundred islands cluster;
And the islands there assembled
Thus addressed the fire-devourer:
'There is none within this lakelet,
In these narrow Alue-waters,
That will eat the fated Fire-fish,
That will swallow thee in trouble,
In thine agonies and tortures,
From the Fire-fish thou hast eaten.'"

Wainamoinen, wise and ancient,
With the aid of Ilmarinen,
Weaves with skill a mighty fish-net
From the juniper and sea-grass;
Dyes the net with alder-water,
Ties it well with thongs of willow.
Straightway ancient Wainamoinen
Called the maidens to the fish-net,
And the sisters came as bidden.
With the netting rowed they onward,
Rowed they to the hundred islands,
To the grottoes of the salmon,
To the caverns of the whiting,
To the reeds of sable color,
Where the gray-pike rests and watches.
On they hasten to the fishing,
Drag the net in all directions,
Drag it lengthwise, sidewise, crosswise,
And diagonally zigzag;
But they did not catch the Fire-fish.

Then the brothers went a-fishing,
Dragged the net in all directions,
Backwards, forwards, lengthwise, sidewise,
Through the homes of ocean-dwellers,
Through the grottoes of the salmon,
Through the dwellings of the whiting,
Through the reed-beds of the lake-trout,
Where the gray-pike lies in ambush;
But the fated Fire-fish came not,
Came not from the lake's abysses,
Came not from the Alue-waters.

Little fish could not be captured
In the large nets of the masters;
Murmured then the deep-sea-dwellers,
Spake the salmon to the lake-trout,
And the lake-trout to the whiting,
And the whiting to the gray-pike:
Have the heroes of Wainola
Died, or have they all departed
From these fertile shores and waters?
Where then are the ancient weavers,
Weavers of the nets of flax-thread,
Those that frighten us with fish-poles,
Drag us from our homes unwilling?"

Hearing this wise Wainamoinen
Answered thus the deep-sea-dwellers:
"Neither have Wainola's heroes
Died, nor have they all departed
From these fertile shores and waters,
Two are born where one has perished;
Longer poles and finer fish-nets
Have the sons of Kalevala!"

Next: Rune XLVIII. Capture of the Fire-fish.