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p. 135


THE news of the invasion had brought the feast to a sudden end, and the Kalevide consulted with his friends, and proposed to bury his treasure, thinking it might otherwise be insecure. So at dead of night the Kalevide, Alevide, and Sulevide dug a deep pit in a secret place. Then the Kalevide solemnly delivered over the treasure to Taara’s protection, and declared that no one should obtain it but the son of a pure mother, who should come to the spot on St. John’s Eve, and should sacrifice three black animals without a white hair upon them—a black cock with a curled comb, a black dog or cat, and a mole. Then he murmured secret spells over the treasure; but the man is not yet born who shall raise it.

 When the morning dawned, the son of Kalev took his spear and sword, mounted his war-horse, and p. 136 ordered the Alevide to follow him as his shield-bearer. Then he blew his horn, and set his forces in battle array. The sound of the horn echoed through city and forest, and was heard in every province of Esthonia,1 and the people flocked to the king at the summons. The women wept and lamented, but their husbands, sons, brothers, and lovers went forth to the war. The Kalevide assembled his army in the sacred oak-forest of Taara, and a bird advised him to sharpen his sword and spear before the fight. By the fifth evening the last stragglers had come in, and the Kalevide allowed his men two days’ longer rest. On the third day thereafter the battle began in earnest, and the Kalevide fought against the mailed warriors for half a day, when his horse was killed under him.

 Hundreds were slain on both sides, and at last the Sulevide fell severely wounded. The soothsayer was summoned hastily, and adjured the blood to cease flowing:2

Quickly came the man of wisdom,
Who should charm the blood from flowing
And should still the pain by magic.
p. 137 “Flow thou not, O blood, like water;
Still thee, blood, of life the honey;
Wherefore thus thy source o’erflowing,
Breaking thus the bonds that hold thee?
Let the blood as stone be hardened,
Firm as oak-tree let it stiffen;
In the stone-like veins around it,
Let the blood be stanched, O Taara!”

 But the blood continued to flow, and then the magician used stronger spells, pressed his fingers on the wound to stop the bleeding, and tied up the limb with red thread, afterwards applying healing herbs.

 Meantime the Kalevide had routed the enemy and dispersed them over the plain in flight, the dead being piled up in heaps behind them. But the hero was weary and overcome with heat and thirst, and went to a lake, which he drained to the last drop, leaving only the mud at the bottom.

 Three days were given to the burial of the dead and the care of the wounded, and then the Kalevide set out in pursuit of the enemy. Olev built a bridge over the Vōhanda according to the Kalevide’s directions, and presently the army fell in with a murderous host of Tartars, Poles, and Letts, who were ravaging the neighbourhood of Pleskau.

 Another great battle was fought, and the Kalevide p. 138 slaughtered his enemies till their bodies lay in heaps a fathom high about the field, and the blood was five spans deep. The battle lasted for seven days, and many notable chiefs were slain, among whom was the son of Sulev, who had been so severely wounded in a previous battle. The Tartars and Poles had now been slain or put to flight, and the Kalevide gathered together the remnants of his army to attack the Vends, and ordered the Alevide to break their centre.

 The fight with the Vends lasted two days longer, and again vast numbers were slain on both sides. A great mound was raised on the battlefield over the grave of the Sulevide in memory of the fallen hero. The three remaining heroes, the Kalevide, the Alevide, and Olev, stood like towers against the attacks of the mailed warriors; but at last they were overcome by thirst, and went to a lake in a valley, with steep high banks, to drink. The Alevide, who was very weary, stooped down to drink, when his foot slipped, and he fell into the water, and was drowned before his friends could recover his body. In the bright sunshine his huge iron helmet and his three-edged sword may still be seen gleaming at the bottom of the water.

p. 139

 The Kalevide was so overcome with grief at this last misfortune that he abandoned his kingdom, abdicating in favour of Olev, and retired to the pine-forests on the banks of the river Koiva, where he built a cottage and thought to dwell in peace and retirement. Here he lived alone, supporting himself on fish and crayfish. One day a party of armed men found their way to his hermitage, and invited him to join company with them. He turned his back on them contemptuously, when he saw in the water the reflection of one of them advancing with his sword drawn to murder him.1 He turned angrily on his foes with an indignant exclamation, and seizing one of them by the helmet, whirled him round, and the air sounded as if disturbed by the rush of the Northern eagle. Then he dashed him down so that he sank to his waist in the ground. He seized the second by the hand, and swung him round till the forest was shaken as if by a tempest, and him he sank to the cheeks in the ground. The third he seized in the same way, and drove him so far into the ground that nothing could p. 140 be seen of him but the hole where he had disappeared.

 Another time the Kalevide was troubled by a messenger sent by the merchants on the coast to invite him to visit them. After listening to his talk for some time, he told him to pull up the rod which he had baited for crayfish, and after he had eaten, they might discuss the matter further. The youth went down to the river bank, and found, to his amazement, that the rod was a tall fir-tree, which the Kalevide had torn up by the roots, but which the youth could not even move. Then the Kalevide lifted the rod with one hand, and showed the youth that it was baited with the whole carcass of a dead mare; and sent him about his business, telling him to report what he had seen.

 These intrusions vexed the Kalevide, and he wandered away from his hermitage through the forests, and three days afterwards he reached Lake Peipus, without remembering that he had ever travelled the same way before. Singing gaily, he came to the brook Käpä, and waded in. The hero had laid an injunction on his lost sword which he had intended to apply to the sorcerer who had robbed him of it; but the understanding p. 141 of the sword was confused by the curse which the Finnish smith had previously laid upon it, and it reflected that now was the time for vengeance. So without more ado the great sword raised itself, and cut off both the hero’s legs at the knee. He cried out for help, and dragged himself with his hands to the shore, where he lay down bleeding, his legless body covering a whole acre of ground.

 The cries of the dying Kalevide rose above the clouds and ascended to heaven. The heavenly powers assembled round the hero, and vainly tried to salve his wounds and soothe his pain. Presently he expired, and his soul, like a joyful bird, took its flight to the halls of Taara in heaven. There he sat in the firelight among the heroes of Taara, resting his cheek on his hand, and listening to the bards as they sang of his great deeds.

 But the old father of the gods knew that so great a hero, who had conquered all his enemies in battle, and had bound even the prince of Pōrgu in chains, could not remain idle in heaven. So he summoned all the gods in secret conclave to consider what work they should assign to the Kalevide, and the debate lasted for many days and nights. At last they determined that he p. 142 should keep watch and ward at the gates of Pōrgu, so that Sarvik should never be able to free himself from his bonds.

 So the soul of the Kalevide flew down from heaven like a bird, and was bidden to reanimate his body; but the might of all the gods, and even the divine wisdom of Taara, could not put his legs on again. Then they mounted him on a white charger,1 and sent him to the post which had been assigned to him at the gates of Pōrgu.

 When the Kalevide reached the rocky portal, a voice was heard from heaven, “Strike the rock with thy fist!” He did so, and clove open the rock, and his right hand was caught in the cleft. p. 143 Here he sits now on his horse at the gates of Pōrgu, watching the bonds of others while bound himself. The demons attempt unceasingly to soften their chains by heaping up charcoal fagots around them, but when the cock crows at dawn their fetters grow thicker again. From time to time, too, the Kalevide struggles to free his hand from the wall of rock, till the earth trembles and the sea foams; but the hand of Mana1 holds him, that the warder shall never depart from his post. But one day a vast fire will break out on both sides of the rock and melt it, when the Kalevide will withdraw his hand, and return to earth to inaugurate a new day of prosperity for the Esthonians.2





p. 136

1 Here we have a reminiscence of the Giallar horn of Heimdall, and of the horn of Roland (or Orlando).

2 Compare the much longer story in the 9th Runo of the Kalevala.

p. 139

1 A similar adventure happened to the naturalist Macgillivray in the Solomon Islands during the voyage of the Herald. He turned round and shot the savage dead.

p. 142

1 There is a curious variant relating how the Kalevide waded across Lake Peipus with a bridle in his hand to look for a horse, and the water threatened to rise above his boots, when he said, “Don’t think to drown this man.” Then the devil brought him first his daughter and then his son in the shape of horses; but they both broke down under him. Then the devil brought him his mother, in her usual shape of a white mare, and she galloped away with the hero, and he could not rein her in. Then a voice from heaven cried, “Godson, godson, strike your hand into the oak!” The hero seized a great oak-tree as they were passing, when it came away in his hand, roots and all. Then the mare rushed to Pōrgu, and the voice again bade the hero strike his hand into the doorpost. He did so, and his hand was caught fast, and the mare galloped away to hell from between his legs, and left him hanging there.

p. 143

1 The God of Death.

2 The guardian hero of every nation is looked for to return in a similar manner; even William Tell.