WEIRD! WEIRD! WEIRD! EVER WEIRD! Listen to Sarvik of the woolly white hair, and lolling red tongue!
In the ancient days of Wizards and Witches there lived, in Estonia, a giant Hero named Kalevide. His back was like an oak, his shoulders were gnarled and knotted, his arms like thick trees, his fingers spreading like branches, and his fingernails as tough as boxwood.
As for his huge Sword, he could whirl it around like a fiery wheel. It whistled through the air like a tempest. When he struck downward its keen edge was as lightning. A splendid sword worthy of the great Hero! It was wrought with the aid of powerful charms and tempered in seven different waters.
And for the Sword, he had paid a heroÕsprice, four pairs of good pack horses, twenty milch kine, ten pairs of yoke oxen, and wheat, barley, rye, bracelets, gold coins, silver brooches, the third of a kingdom, and the dowries of three Maidens.
Now it once chanced that Kalevide with a load of heavy planks on his back, was travelling over the land. He reached the margin of Lake Peipis. Without waiting for a boat, he plunged into the water to his middle, and strode across to the other shore.
On the other shore an evil Wizard was hiding in the bushes. He saw the Giant Kalevide drawing nearer, looking huger and huger at each stride. The Wizard swelled his bristly body--bristly as a wild boar--stretched his wide mouth, and blinked his small upturned eyes, and muttered a Spell.
Instantly a Storm Wind swept over Lake Peipis. But Kalevide laughed a loud laugh at the wind, and said to the lake:
"You miserable little puddle, you are wetting belt!"
Then he stepped on land, and laid down his burden of planks, and trimmed off their edges with his Sword. After which he stretched himself out to rest.
The evil Wizard saw the gleam of the sharp Sword, and determined to steal it. So he slunk deeper into the forest to wait.
Kalevide refreshed himself with bread and milk from his wallet, loosened his belt, laid his Sword by his side, and soon fell asleep. Presently the ground shook with his snoring, the billows of the lake arose, and the forest echoed his snores.
Then the Wizard stole softly from the forest, and like a cat crept up to the sleeping Giant. He began to mutter Magic Spells and call the Sword to leave its master's side. But it would not move. Then he uttered stronger and stronger Spells. He scattered rowan-leaves, thyme, fern, and other Magic Herbs over the Sword. At last it moved and turned itself toward the Wizard. He grasped it in his arms.
But its great weight almost bore him to the ground. He struggled painfully along, step by step, dragging the Sword. By and by he reached a stream, and jumped over it. Splash! The Sword slipped from his arms and sank into the stream in its deepest place.
Then the Wizard began his Magic Spells again, and sang and muttered, and sang again. But the Sword would not return. Day dawned, and the Wizard fled into the forest.
When Kalevide awoke, he rubbed the sleep out of his eyes with his huge fists. He felt for his Sword. It was not there! He saw the marks where the Wizard had dragged the Sword along, so Kalevide rose up and followed them. And as he went along he called on his Sword to come back to its brother; he begged it to return, but there was no answer. Then he sang Magic Spells, but there was no reply. When he reached the stream, he saw the Sword gleaming at the bottom of the water.
Then Kalevide cried out to the Sword. asking who had stolen it and sunk it in the stream. And the Sword sang in reply that the Wizard had taken it, and that it had slipped from his grasp and fallen into the water,
"And now," sang the Sword, "I lie in the arms of the most beautiful of all Water Nymphs!"
"And does my Sword," sang Kalevide, "prefer the arms of a beautiful Water Nymph to the grasp of a Hero in battle?"
But the Sword refused to return, and Kalevide began his Incantations. He sang and sang, and he laid it on the Sword, that if any Heroes came to the stream, it must answer them; and if a singer came, it must sing; and if a Giant Hero came as great as Kalevide, it must rise up and be his Sword; but if the evil Wizard came, it must cut off both his legs.
Then Kalevide took up his load of planks, and went on his way. And where a waterfall came foaming over high rocks, the Three Sons of the Wizard met him. Two of them carried long whips with a big millstone fastened to each lash. There in deadly combat Kalevide overcame the Three Sons of the Wizard. Then he passed on.
Coming to a swamp, he felt tired, laid down his planks, and stretched himself out to sleep. And while he slept the evil Wizard crept to his side, and with Spells and Incantations threw him into a magic slumber.
And Kalevide dreamed of a better Sword than the first one, a Sword forged in the work shop of Ilmarinen, Finland's Wizard, forged in that wondrous workshop in the interior of a great mountain at the middle point of the earth. Seven strong smiths wrought it with seven copper hammers, and Ilmarinen, Finland's Wizard, watched every stroke of every hammer.
And so Kalevide dreamed on before he set out on other and greater adventures.
Many were his strange adventures;
Many Witches he outwitted;
Many Wizards fought and conquered;
Kalevide fair Estland's Hero!