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p. 129


AFTER this the Kalevide and Sarvik engaged in a terrific wrestling-match, which lasted for seven days and nights, with varying success. At length the shade of Linda, who was looking on, took her distaff, swung it ten times round her head, and dashed it to the ground. The hint was not lost on her son. He seized Sarvik by the garters, whirled him ten times round, and then hurled him down, set his knee on his chest, and seized his throat and tried to strangle him. Then he took his belt, bound Sarvik firmly, and dragged him to the iron chamber, where he bound him hand and foot with chains. A third chain he fastened round his neck, and a fourth round his body, and drove the ends into the walls of rock. He rolled a great stone, as large as a house, against the door, and fixed the chains to this also, so that Sarvik could hardly move.

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 The Kalevide washed the traces of the struggle away, and Sarvik tried to obtain some concessions from him, but failing this he began to curse and swear. The Kalevide then went to pack up a store of treasures, but was warned by a mouse not to overload himself. So he contented himself with taking two sacks on each shoulder, and then set out on his homeward journey, and the iron bridge thundered beneath his footsteps, while Sarvik shouted curses after him.

 At last the Kalevide struggled up to daylight, and sank down exhausted by the side of the son of Alev, who had been waiting anxiously for his friend, and had heard faint sounds of conflict far below. When his friend had fetched him some water, and he had recovered a little from his fatigue, he asked how long he had been absent, and learned that he had been away about three weeks. The Kalevide remarked that where he had been there was no means of distinguishing day and night or measuring time, and he then related his adventures.

 The Alevide then slaughtered a great ox, a feat which no one else had been able to accomplish. The blood filled a hundred vats and the flesh a thousand barrels. They sat down to supper, and p. 131 the Kalevide ate till he was ready to burst, and then laid down to sleep, while the son of Alev seated himself on the treasure-sacks. The Kalevide slept for two days and nights, and did not wake till the third morning was well advanced. While he slept, his snoring resounded for miles, and the great trees shook as if they were saplings. About noon on the third day they set out homeward. The son of Alev carried one sack of treasure, and the Kalevide the other three.

 After the Kalevide’s return from his journey, he resided at Lindanisa, occupying himself with schemes for the good of his people. Olev had built three more cities, in the north, west, and south of the country. His friends advised the Kalevide to seek a bride in Kungla, and he replied that they would first build a beautiful fortified city and rear a magnificent house, and then he would follow their advice.

 One day the Kalevide sat at a feast with his friends, and a harper sang the adventures of Siuru, the blue bird,1 the daughter of Taara.

 The Kalevide invited his friends to drink, and sang a song relating how he had gone down to p. 132 the beach where two trees, the apple of fortune and the oak of wisdom, grew in the sea. Here he found some girls who told him that his little brother had fallen into the water. He waded into the water to look for him, and saw a naked sword at the bottom, which he was just about to grasp, when his sister called from the shore to tell him that his father, mother, brothers, and sisters were all dead or dying. He hurried home, but it proved to be a hoax, for they were all alive and well.

 The son of Sulev next sang a ditty relating an adventure with four coy maidens, and the drinking and mirth continued.

 And now messengers arrived in great haste, announcing that hostile armies of Letts, Vends, and Poles had invaded the kingdom on all sides. But the Kalevide bade his comrades empty their cups, while he himself quietly gave general orders, and declared that to-morrow he would take the field in person. Then he sang a song about two lovers.

 While the Kalevide was thus drinking and singing, Varrak the Laplander entered and embraced his knees. He called down blessings from Ukko on p. 133 the hero, and then requested to receive the reward which had been promised him, as he intended to set sail for home on the morrow. The Kalevide asked him what he wished for; and he answered that he had found a chained book in an iron cover, which he wished to possess.

 The Kalevide could not read the book, which nevertheless contained all the priceless wisdom which his father had recorded; and he willingly gave it to Varrak, notwithstanding the loud protests of the sons of Sulev and Olev. The book was fastened with three chains and three locks, and the keys could not be found. Varrak knew very well where they were, but he kept his knowledge to himself. So the Kalevide ordered the wall to be broken down to release the book, which was then laid on a waggon, and dragged by a yoke of oxen to the boat, which Varrak had already loaded with bags of gold.1

 Meantime a troop of fugitives came flying to the city, bringing word that the war was close at hand, p. 134 and that the axes of the youths were useless against the swords of the mail-clad warriors.1 The Kalevide ordered the weary men to be fed and comfortably housed, and white they slept he repaired to his father’s grave. But there was no voice nor counsel; there was no sound but the sighing of the wind and the moaning of the distant sea, and the clouds shed sad tears. The hero returned home sorrowful and uneasy.



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1 This song will be included in a later section of the book.

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1 Some of the commentators regard this book as a palladium on which the independence of Esthonia depended; and the thoughtlessness of the Kalevide in parting with the book which contained the wisdom of his father as a sacrilegious action which precipitated his ruin.

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1 These are identified by the commentators with the Teutonic Knights of the Sword, who conquered Esthonia in the eleventh century.