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p. 38


DAY was breaking as the dauntless swimmer approached the coast of Finland, where his enemy, the sorcerer, had arrived somewhat before him, and had made his boat fast under a projecting rock. The Kalevide gazed round without seeing any traces of him, and lay down to sleep; but though the morning was calm and peaceful, his dreams were but of battle and murder.

 Meantime the islander and his wife, not being able to find their daughter, returned home weeping, and planted the oak and the fir in the field where their daughter used to swing in the evening, in remembrance of her. Then they went to look in the helmet where they had put the egg; but it was cold and damp, so the mother put the egg in the warm sun by day, and nursed it in her bosom at night.

 Then they went to look at the trees, and the oak had already shot up a hundred fathoms, and the p. 39 fir-tree ten. Next they visited the fish, which prayed for its liberty, and they restored it to the sea.

 The oak and fir now reached the clouds; and a young eagle was hatched from the egg, which the mother tended; but one day it escaped and flew away. The oak now scattered the clouds and threatened to pierce the sky. Then they sought a sorcerer to fell the tree, and the woman took a golden rake on her shoulder with a copper handle and silver prongs. She raked up three swathes of grass, and in the third she found the eagle which she had lately reared from the egg. She took him home, and under his wing was a little man, scarcely two spans high, holding an axe in his hands.1

 The Kalevide had only intended to take a short nap, but he was so weary that he slept all through the day and night, and did not awake till sunrise next morning.2 When he awoke, he set off at once p. 40 in search of his mother and the sorcerer into the interior of the country. At last he climbed a high mountain, and saw from thence an inhabited valley with a brook running through it, and the sorcerer’s farm at the edge of the wood.

 The son of Kalev rushed down the mountain and through the plain till he reached the gate of the enclosure and looked in. The sorcerer was lying on the grass in the shade of his house. The Kalevide turned towards the wood, tore up an oak-tree by the roots, and trimmed it into a club. He swung it in his right hand, and strode through the enclosure, the whole country trembling and the hills and valleys shaking with fear as he advanced.

 The sorcerer started from his sleep, and saw Linda’s avenger at the gate, but he was too unnerved and terrified to attempt to hide himself. He hurriedly took a handful of feathers from his bosom, and blew them from him with a few magic words, and lo! they became an armed host of warriors,—thousands of them, both on foot and on horseback.1 They rushed upon the son of Kalev p. 41 like a swarm of gnats or bees; but he laid about him with his club as if he was threshing, and beat them down, horse and man together, on all sides, like drops of hail or rain. The fight was hardly begun when it was over, and the hero waded chest-deep in blood. The sorcerer, whose magic troops had never failed him before, was now at his wit’s end, and prayed for mercy, giving a long account of how he had endeavoured to carry off Linda, and had been struck down by the enraged Thunder-God. But the Kalevide paid no attention to his speech, and, after a few angry words, he smashed his head with his club. Then he rushed through the house from room to room in search of his mother, breaking open every door and lock which opposed him, while the noise resounded far over the country. But he found not his mother, and regretted that he had killed the sorcerer, who might have helped him. At last, wearied out with his own violence, he threw himself on a couch, and wept himself to sleep. He had a vision of his mother in her youth and beauty, swinging with her companions, and awoke, convinced that she was really dead.



p. 39

1 We find this great oak-tree over and over again in Finnish and Esthonian tales. Compare Kalevala, Runo 2, and Cantos 4, 5, 6, and 16 of the Kalevipoeg. Neus, Ehstnische Volkslieder, p. 47; Kreutzwald and Neus, Mythische und Magische Lieder, p.8, &c. Could this oak have any connection, direct or indirect, with the ash Yggthrasil? or could the story have originated in some report or tradition of the banyan?

2 The tremendous exploits of the Kalevide and his weariness afterwards give him much of the character of a Berserk.

p. 40

1 In the 26th Runo of the Kalevala Lemminkainen creates a flock of birds from a handful of feathers, to appease the fiery eagle who obstructed his way to Pohjola. We may also remember Jason and the dragon’s teeth.