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The Kalevala, by John Martin Crawford, [1888], at



Louhi, hostess of the Northland,
Ancient dame of Sariola,
While at work within her dwelling,
Heard the whips crack on the fenlands,
Heard the rattle of the sledges;
To the northward turned her glances,
Turned her vision to the sunlight,
And her thoughts ran on as follow:
"Who are these in bright apparel,
On the banks of Pohya-waters,
Are they friends or hostile armies?"

Then the hostess of the Northland
Looked again and well considered,
Drew much nearer to examine,
Found they were not hostile armies,
Found that they were friends and suitors.
In the midst was Ilmarinen,
Son-in-law to ancient Louhi.

When the hostess of Pohyola
Saw the son-in-law approaching
She addressed the words that follow:
"I had thought the winds were raging,
That the piles of wood were falling,
Thought the pebbles in commotion,
Or perchance the ocean roaring;
Then I hastened nearer, nearer,
Drew still nearer and examined,
Found the winds were not in battle,
Found the piles of wood unshaken,
Found the ocean was not roaring,
Nor the pebbles in commotion,
Found my son-in-law was coming
With his heroes and attendants,
Heroes counted by the hundreds.

"Should you ask of me the question,
How I recognized the bridegroom
Mid the hosts of men and heroes,
I should answer, I should tell you:
'As the hazel-bush in copses,
As the oak-tree in the forest,
As the Moon among the planets;
Drives the groom a coal-black courser,
Running like the famished black-dog,
Flying like the hungry raven,
Graceful as the lark at morning,
Golden cuckoos, six in number,
Twitter on the birchen cross-bow;
There are seven bluebirds singing
On the racer's hame and collar."

Noises hear they in the court-yard,
On the highway hear the sledges,
To the court comes Ilmarinen,
With his body-guard of heroes;
In the midst the chosen suitor,
Not too far in front of others,
Not too far behind his fellows.
Spake the hostess of Pohyola:
"Hie ye hither, men and heroes,
Haste, ye watchers, to the stables,
There unhitch the suitor's stallion,
Lower well the racer's breast-plate,
There undo the straps and buckles,
Loosen well the shafts and traces,
And conduct the suitor hither,
Give my son-in-law good welcome!"

Ilmarinen turned his racer
Into Louhi's yard and stables,
And descended from his snow-sledge.
Spake the hostess of Pohyola:
"Come, thou servant of my bidding,
Best of all my trusted servants,
Take at once the bridegroom's courser
From the shafts adorned with silver,
From the curving arch of willow,
Lift the harness trimmed in copper,
Tie the white-face to the manger,
Treat the suitor's steed with kindness,
Lead him carefully to shelter
By his soft and shining bridle,
By his halter tipped with silver;
Let him roll among the sand-hills,
On the bottoms soft and even,
On the borders of the snow-banks,
In the fields of milky color.

"Lead the hero's steed to water,
Lead him to the Pohya-fountains,
Where the living streams are flowing,
Sweet as milk of human kindness,
From the roots of silvery birches,
Underneath the shade of aspens.

"Feed the courser of the suitor,
On the sweetest corn and barley,
On the summer-wheat and clover,
In the caldron steeped in sweetness;
Feed him at the golden manger,
In the boxes lined with copper,
At my manger richly furnished,
In the warmest of the stables;
Tie him with a silk-like halter,
To the golden rings and staples,
To the hooks of purest silver,
Set in beams of birch and oak-wood;
Feed him on the hay the sweetest,
Feed him on the corn nutritious,
Give the best my barns can furnish.

"Curry well the suitor's courser
With the curry-comb of fish-bone,
Brush his hair with silken brushes,
Put his mane and tail in order,
Cover well with flannel blankets,
Blankets wrought in gold and silver,
Buckles forged from shining copper.

"Come, ye small lads of the village,
Lead the suitor to my chambers,
With your auburn locks uncovered,
From your hands remove your mittens,
See if ye can lead the hero
Through the door without his stooping,
Lifting not the upper cross-bar,
Lowering not the oaken threshold,
Moving not the birchen casings,
Great the hero who must enter.

"Ilmarinen is too stately,
Cannot enter through the portals,
Not the son-in-law and bridegroom,
Till the portals have been heightened;
Taller by a head the suitor
Than the door-ways of the mansion."

Quick the servants of Pohyola
Tore away the upper cross-bar,
That his cap might not be lifted;
Made the oaken threshold lower
That the hero might not stumble;
Made the birch-wood portals wider,
Opened full the door of welcome,
Easy entrance for the suitor.

Speaks the hostess of the Northland
As the bridegroom freely passes
Through the doorway of her dwelling:
"Thanks are due to thee, O Ukko,
That my son-in-law has entered!
Let me now my halls examine;
Make the bridal chambers ready,
Finest linen on my tables,
Softest furs upon my benches,
Birchen flooring scrubbed to whiteness,
All my rooms in perfect order."

Then the hostess of Pohyola
Visited her spacious dwelling,
Did not recognize her chambers;
Every room had been remodeled,
Changed by force of mighty magic;
All the halls were newly burnished,
Hedge-hog bones were used for ceilings,
Bones of reindeer for foundations,
Bones of wolverine for door-sills,
For the cross-bars bones of roebuck,
Apple-wood were all the rafters,
Alder-wood, the window-casings,
Scales of trout adorned the windows,
And the fires were set in flowers.
All the seats were made of silver,
All the floors of copper-tiling,
Gold-adorned were all the tables,
On the floor were silken mattings,
Every fire-place set in copper,
Every hearth-stone cut from marble,
On each shelf were colored sea-shells,
Kalew's tree was their protection.

To the court-room came the hero,
Chosen suitor from Wainola,
These the words of Ilmarinen:
"Send, O Ukko, health and pleasure
To this ancient home and dwelling,
To this mansion richly fashioned!"
Spake the hostess of Pohyola:
"Let thy coming be auspicious
To these halls of thee unworthy,
To the home of thine affianced,
To this dwelling lowly fashioned,
Mid the lindens and the aspens.

"Come, ye maidens that should serve me,
Come, ye fellows from the village,
Bring me fire upon the birch-bark,
Light the fagots of the fir-tree,
That I may behold the bridegroom,
Chosen suitor of my daughter,
Fairy Maiden of the Rainbow,
See the color of his eyeballs,
Whether they are blue or sable,
See if they are warm and faithful."

Quick the young lads from the village
Brought the fire upon the birch-bark,
Brought it on the tips of pine-wood;
And the fire and smoke commingled
Roll and roar about the hero,
Blackening the suitor's visage,
And the hostess speaks as follows;
"Bring the fire upon a taper,
On the waxen tapers bring it!"

Then the maidens did as bidden,
Quickly brought the lighted tapers,
Made the suitor's eyeballs glisten,
Made his cheeks look fresh and ruddy;
Made his eyes of sable color
Sparkle like the foam of waters,
Like the reed-grass on the margin,
Colored as the ocean jewels,
Iridescent as the rainbow.

"Come, ye fellows of the hamlet,
Lead my son-in-law and hero
To the highest seat at table,
To the seat of greatest honor,
With his back upon the blue-wall,
Looking on my bounteous tables,
Facing all the guests of Northland."

Then the hostess of Pohyola
Served her guests in great abundance,
Richest drinks and rarest viands,
First of all she, served the bridegroom
On his platters, honeyed biscuit,
And the sweetest river salmon,
Seasoned butter, roasted bacon,
All the dainties of Pohyola.
Then the helpers served the others,
Filled the plates of all invited
With the varied food of Northland.
Spake the hostess of Pohyola:
"Come, ye maidens from the village,
Hither bring the beer in pitchers,
In the urns with double handles,
To the many guests in-gathered,
Ere all others, serve the bridegroom."

Thereupon the merry maidens
Brought the beer in silver pitchers
From the copper-banded vessels,
For the wedding-guests assembled;
And the beer, fermenting, sparkled
On the beard of Ilmarinen,
On the beards of many heroes.

When the guests had all partaken
Of the wondrous beer of barley,
Spake the beer in merry accents
Through the tongues of the magicians,
Through the tongue of many a hero,
Through the tongue of Wainamoinen,
Famed to be the sweetest singer
Of the Northland bards and minstrels,
These the words of the enchanter:
"O thou beer of honeyed flavor,
Let us not imbibe in silence,
Let some hero sing thy praises,
Sing thy worth in golden measures;
Let the hostess start the singing,
Let the bridegroom sound thy virtues!
Have our songs thus quickly vanished,
Have our joyful tongues grown silent?
Evil then has been the brewing,
Then the beer must be unworthy,
That it does not cheer the singer,
Does not move the merry minstrel,
That the golden guests are joyless,
And the cuckoo is not singing.
Never will these benches echo
Till the bench-guests chant thy virtues;
Nor the floor resound thy praises
Till the floor-guests sing in concord;
Nor the windows join the chorus
Till the window-guests have spoken;
All the tables will keep silence
Till the heroes toast thy virtues;
Little singing from the chimney
Till the chimney-guests have chanted."

On the floor a child was sitting,
Thus the little boy made answer:
"I am small and young in singing,
Have perchance but little wisdom;
Be that as it may, my seniors,
Since the elder minstrels sing not,
Nor the heroes chant their legends,
Nor the hostess lead the singing,
I will sing my simple stories,
Sing my little store of knowledge,
To the pleasure of the evening,
To the joy of the invited."

Near the fire reclined an old man,
And the gray-beard thus made answer:
"Not the time for children's singing,
Children's wisdom is too ready,
Children's songs are filled with trifles,
Filled with shrewd and vain deceptions,
Maiden-songs are full of follies;
Leave the songs and incantations
To the ancient wizard-singers;
Leave the tales of times primeval
To the minstrel of Wainola,
To the hero of the Northland,
To the, ancient Wainamoinen."
Thereupon Osmoinen answered:
"Are there not some sweeter singers
In this honored congregation,
That will clasp their hands together,
Sing the ancient songs unbroken,
Thus begin the incantations,
Make these ancient halls re-echo
For the pleasure of the evening,
For the joy of the in-gathered?"
From the hearth-stone spake, the gray-beard
"Not a singer of Pohyola,
Not a minstrel, nor magician,
That was better skilled in chanting
Legends of the days departed,
Than was I when I was singing,
In my years of vain ambition;
Then I chanted tales of heroes,
On the blue back of the waters,
Sang the ballads of my people,
In the vales and on the mountains,
Through the verdant fields and forests;
Sweet my voice and skilled my singing,
All my songs were highly lauded,
Rippled like the quiet rivers,
Easy-flowing like the waters,
Easy-gliding as the snow-shoes,
Like the ship upon the ocean.

"Woe is me, my days are ended,
Would not recognize my singing,
All its sweetness gone to others,
Flows no more like rippling waters,
Makes no more the hills re-echo!
Now my songs are full of discord,
Like the rake upon the stubble,
Like the sledge upon the gravel,
Like the boat upon the sea-shore!"

Then the ancient Wainamoinen
Spake these words in magic measures:
"Since no other bard appeareth
That will clasp my hand in singing,
I will sing some simple legends,
Sing my, garnered store of wisdom,
Make these magic halls re-echo
With my tales of ancient story,
Since a bard I was created,
Born an orator and singer;
Do not ask the ways of others,
Follow not the paths of strangers."

Wainamoinen, famous minstrel,
Song's eternal, wise supporter,
Then began the songs of pleasure,
Made the halls resound with joyance,
Filled the rooms with wondrous singing;
Sang the ancient bard-magician
All the oldest wisdom-sayings,
Did not fail in voice nor legends,
All the wisest thoughts remembered.

Thus the ancient Wainamoinen
Sang the joy of all assembled,
To the pleasure of the evening,
To the merriment of maidens,
To the happiness of heroes;
All the guests were stilled in wonder
At the magic of his singing,
At the songs of the magician.

Spake again wise Wainamoinen,
When his wonder-tales had ended:
"l have little worth or power,
Am a bard of little value,
Little consequence my singing,
Mine abilities as nothing,
If but Ukko, my Creator,
Should intone his wisdom-sayings,
Sing the source of good and evil,
Sing the origin of matter,
Sing the legends of omniscience,
Sing his songs in full perfection.
God could sing the floods to honey,
Sing the sands to ruddy berries,
Sing the pebbles into barley,
Sing to beer the running waters,
Sing to salt the rocks of ocean,
Into corn-fields sing the forests,
Into gold the forest-fruitage,
Sing to bread the hills and mountains,
Sing to eggs the rounded sandstones;
He could touch the springs of magic,
He could turn the keys of nature,
And produce within thy pastures,
Hurdles filled with sheep and reindeer,
Stables filled with fleet-foot stallions,
Kine in every field and fallow;
Sing a fur-robe for the bridegroom,
For the bride a coat of ermine,
For the hostess, shoes of silver,
For the hero, mail of copper.

"Grant O Ukko, my Creator,
God of love, and truth, and justice,
Grant thy blessing on our feasting,
Bless this company assembled,
For the good of Sariola,
For the happiness of Northland!
May this bread and beer bring joyance,
May they come in rich abundance,
May they carry full contentment
To the people of Pohyola,
To the cabin and the mansion;
May the hours we spend in singing,
In the morning, in the evening,
Fill our hearts with joy and gladness!
Hear us in our supplications,
Grant to us thy needed blessings,
Send enjoyment, health, and comfort,
To the people here assembled,
To the host and to the hostess,
To the bride and to the bridegroom,
To the sons upon the waters,
To the daughters at their weavings,
To the hunters on the mountains,
To the shepherds in the fenlands,
That our lives may end in honor,
That we may recall with pleasure
Ilmarinen's magic marriage
To the Maiden of the Rainbow,
Snow-white virgin of the Northland."

Next: Rune XXII. The Bride's Farewell.