Sacred-Texts Legends & Sagas Index Previous Next
Canto I.—Three brothers travel in various directions, one of whom, Kalev,1 is carried by an eagle to Esthonia, where he becomes king. A widow finds a hen, a grouse’s egg, and a young crow. From the two first spring the fair maidens, Salme and Linda, and from the last a slave-girl. Salme chooses the Youth of the Stars, and Linda the young giant-king Kalev, as their respective husbands, with whom they depart.
Canto II.—Death and burial of Kalev; birth of his posthumous son, the Kalevipoeg.
Canto III.—The Kalevipoeg and his brothers go hunting in the forest. During their absence Linda is carried off by a Finnish sorcerer whose suit she has despised. She escapes from him through the interference of the gods, who afterwards change her into a rock. Return of the p. 3 brothers; the Kalevide seeks help and counsel at his father’s grave.
Canto IV.—The Kalevide throws himself into the sea to swim to Finland. In the evening he lands on an island where he meets a maiden whom he seduces. When she hears his name, she is horrified, and falls into the sea. he plunges after her, but being unable to save her, swims onwards on his journey. The parents rake the sea, and find an oak and a fir and other things, but not their daughter. Song of a maiden who was enticed into the sea by a man of copper.
Canto V.—The planting of the great oak-tree on the island. The Kalevide arrives in Finland and slays the sorcerer.
Canto VI.—The Kalevide visits a famous smith, from whom he buys a huge sword, which was bespoken by his father Kalev. A great drinking-bout is held in his honour, during which he slays the smith’s eldest son in a fit of drunken fury, and the smith curses him. The felling of the great oak-tree on the island.
Canto VII.—The Kalevide finds the sorcerer’s boat, and sails homeward. The three brothers relate their adventures, and the eldest proposes that they should now decide which of them shall settle in the country as his father’s heir. The Kalevide again visits his father’s grave.
Canto VIII.—The three sons of Kalev journey to the shores of a lake, and try their strength în hurling rocks across it. The youngest makes the best cast, and the other two leave the country. The Kalevide ploughs the land, and one day while he is sleeping his horse is devoured by wolves.
Canto IX.—The Kalevide slaughters the wolves. News of war. The visit of Taara. The Finnish Bridge.
Canto X.—In order to settle a dispute between two water-demons, the Kalevide’s cousin, the Alevide, begins to drain a swarnp. The water-demon begs the hero to desist, and the latter tricks the demon out of his treasures. Visit of the Kalevide’s cup-bearer to the water-demon’s palace, and his escape. The Kalevide overcomes the demon in hurling and wrestling. He decides to build fortified towns, and sets out to Lake Peipus to fetch timber. Meeting with the Air-maiden at a well.
Canto XI.—The Kalevide wades through Lake Peipus. A sorcerer steals his sword and sinks it in the brook Käpä, where the Kalevide leaves it, after enjoining it to cut off the legs of him who had brought it there; meaning the sorcerer. He encounters a man of ordinary stature in a forest, whom he puts in his wallet. The man relates his adventure with two giants and their mother.
Canto XII.—The Kalevide is attacked by three sons of the sorcerer, and beats them off with the boards, which are destroyed. Adventure with the hedgehog. The Kalevide finds to his grief that the man in his wallet has been killed by a chance blow during the fight. He falls asleep, and the sorcerer casts a spell upon him which throws him into a deep sleep for seven weeks. Vision of Ilmarine’s workshop. The Kalevide wakes, and sets out on his return. Adventures of two poor boys.
Canto XIII.—On his return journey the Kalevide finds some demons cooking at the entrance to a cave. He enters the cavern, which leads him to the door of the palace of p. 5 Sarvik,1 which he breaks open. In the antechamber, he finds three maidens.
Canto XIV.—Next day the maidens show the Kalevide over Sarvik’s palace. Sarvik surprises them, and wrestles with the Kalevide in the enclosure, but is overcome and vanishes. The Kalevide and the sisters escape from the palace.
Canto XV.—The fugitives are pursued by the demons, but the youngest sister raises a flood between them. The leader, Tühi, questions the Kalevide, who answers him sarcastically, and the demons take to flight. The three sisters are married to the Kalevide’s kinsmen.
Canto XVI.—The Kalevide projects a voyage to the end of the world. Building of the ship Lennuk. Voyage to Finland and Lapland. Meeting with Varrak, the Laplander. Voyage to the Island of Fire. The Giant’s Daughter. The Northern Lights. The Dog-men. Homeward voyage.
Canto XVII.—The fortified cities. Great battle with invaders. Land journey of the Kalevide and his friends. Encounter with Sarvik disguised as a dwarf. The daughters of the Meadow-Queen.
Canto XVIII.—The gates of Pōrgu.2 The Kalevide enters the cavern, notwithstanding every obstacle fights his way across an iron bridge, and enters Sarvik’s palace.
Canto XIX.—The Kalevide overcomes Sarvik in a wrestling match, and loads him with chains. He returns to the upper world, and finds the Alevide waiting for him p. 6 at the entrance to the cavern. Return of the Kalevide to Lindanisa.1 Great feast and songs. News of a formidable invasion. Departure of Varrak for Lapland. Arrival of fugitives.
Canto XX.—The Kalevide buries his treasure. Terrible battles, in which his cousin the Sulevide is slain. Drowning of the Alevide. The Kalevide abdicates in favour of his surviving cousin, the Olevide, and retires to live in seclusion on the bank of a river. Being annoyed by occasional visitors, he wanders away towards Lake Peipus, and steps into the brook Käpä, when his sword cuts off his legs. His soul takes flight to the halls of Taara,2 but is bidden by the gods to reanimate his body. He is mounted on a horse, and stationed at the gates of Pōrgu, to keep watch and ward on Sarvik and his hosts.
1 The names of the others are not mentioned, but later in the poem we meet with three heroes, the sons of Alev, Olev, and Sulev respectively, associated with the son of Kalev, and spoken of as his cousins. Alev and Sulev may have been the brothers of Kalev.
1 The Prince of Hades, literally Hornie.
2 Hades or Hell.
1 Linda’s Bosom, the Kalevide’s capital, named in honour of his mother; now Revel.
2 Ukko, the principal god of the Finns and Esthonians, is frequently called Taara in the Kalevipoeg. This name is not used in Finnish; but Tora is the name of God among the Chuvash of Kasan.