KALEVALA
The selected poems of Kalevala
Калевала'99

"Kalevala".


Runo 10

THE FORGING OF THE SAMPO

Old reliable Vainamoinen
Led his chestnut stallion out,
Put the young horse into harness,
Hitched up Browny to the sleigh;
Flung himself into the sleigh,
Settled down upon the seat.

7 With the whip he whacked the racer
Till the beaded lash was ringing -
Ran the racer, journey quickened,
Slid the sled, the way was shortened, 10
With the birchen runners rumbling
And the rowan shaft-bows creaking.

13 Coasted homeward, gliding lightly,
Over wetland, over dryland,
And across the open clearings.
Drove a day, drove a second,
Till upon the third he came
To the corduroyed long causeway
On the heath of Kalevala,
At the edge of Osmo's clearing. 20

21 Remembering Joukahainen's boast
He pronounced this incantation:
"May the wolf devour that dreamer
And disease destroy the Lapp who
Said I'd never reach my home
and that never, never again,
Never with my living eyes,
Never in the golden moonlight
Would I see the fields of Vaino,
Walk the heaths of Kalevala." 30

31 Then old Vainamoinen sang,
Sang his songs and cast his spells:
Sang a fir tree flower-crowned,
Flower-crowned and golden-leaved;
Stretched it high into the air,
Through the very clouds he sang it,
Till its leafy branches reaching
Spread its foliage high as heaven.
39 Singing songs and casting spells:
Sang a moon to shine up there 40
On the fir tree's golden crown;
Sang the Great Bear on the branches.

43 Toward his dear home then he hurried,
Head bowed down with hat askew,
Guilty-minded to have promised
Ilmarinen, smith eternal,
As a ransom for himself
To preserve his own head safely,
Pledged him to dark Pohjola,
To the foggy land of sedges. 50

53 By the new-cleared field of Osmo
Vainamoinen whoa'd his stallion.
From the sleigh he raised his head-
Hears a clinking from the smithy,
Hears a clanking from the coalshed.

59 Old reliable Vainamoinen
Straightway steps into the smithy-
There he is, the mighty smith,
Clinking, clanking, hammering.
"Oho!" said smith Ilmarinen, 60
"Oho, you old Vainamoinen!
Where have you been all this time,
Where have you been hiding out?"

67 And old Vainamoinen answered:
"Up in twilit Pohjola,
In the gloomy land of sedges,
That is where I've spent my time,
That is where I have been living,
Visiting round in Lappish quarters,
There among the great enchanters." 70

75 Said the craftsman Ilmarinen:
"Oho, you old Vainamoinen!
You the one and only Knower!
Tell us now about your travels,
Now that you've come home again."

81 Said old Vainamoinen slyly:
"I have much to tell about:
There's a girl at Pohjola,
Virgin in that chilly village,
Who will not accept a lover, 80
Does not like the best of men.
Half the Northland sings her praises,
She's so very beautiful:
From her brow the moonlight glimmers,
Breasts as rosy as the dawn,
Great Bear shining from her shoulders,
From her back the Seven Stars.

93 "You yourself, smith Ilmarinen,
You, the eternal hammerer,
Go up there to court this maiden 90
And admire her flowing hair.
If you hammer out the Sampo
And devise its ciphered cover,
You may have the maid as payment,
Have the lovely for your labor."

101 Said the craftsman Ilmarinen:
"Oho, you old sly one, you!
So already you have pledged me
To that twilit Pohjola
For the safety of your own head, loo
As a ransom for yourself?
Never, for a long forever,
While the golden moon still glimmers
Will I go to Northland homesteads,
Those log cabins of dark Sedgeland,
To those man-devouring regions,
To the sinkers down of men."

113 Said old Vainamoinen, "Listen,
There's a wonder on a wonder!
On the edge of Osmo's field 110
Stands a fir tree flower-crowned,
Flower-crowned and golden-leaved.
On the crown the moon is gleaming
With the Great Bear on its branches.

121 Said the smith, said Ilmarinen:
"I do not believe that's true,
Since I have not been to see it,
Have not seen it with these eyes."

125 And old Vainamoinen answered:
"Since you don't believe it's true 120
Let's go there to look at it,
See if it is true or false."

129 So they went out there to see it,
See the new tree flower-crowned
With Vainamoinen in the lead
And Ilmarinen as the second.
Then when they had gotten there
To the edge of Osmo's field,
Ilmarinen stands up near it,
Marveling at this new-sung fir tree 130
With the Great Bear on its branches
And the moon upon its crown.

139 Then old Vainamoinen urged him:
"Now, you smith, my little brother,
Go up there to get the moon
And to bring the Great Bear down
From the fir tree golden-crowned."
145 Thereupon smith Ilmarinen
Climbed up high upon the branches,
Climbed up to the very sky, 140
Rose up there to get the moon
And to bring the Great Bear down
From the fir tree golden-crowned.

151 Said the bushy-headed fir tree,
Cried the broad-head evergreen:
"0 you mindless fellow you,
Man so easily befooled!
Weird one, climbing up my branches,
To my top, you childish-minded,
For the picture of a moon 150
And a false star for good measure."

159 Then old Vainamoinen chanted,
Humming in a hollow murmur;
Conjured up a windy blast,
Worked the weather to a frenzy,
And he says it in these words,
Chants on in these sentences:
"Grab him, storm wind, Ahava,
Into your boat, your little vessel,
Whisk him over, whirling, swirling, 160
To the dark of Pohjola!"

169 Then the roaring, rushmg storm wind
Through the fury of the weather
Whisked the great smith Ilmarinen
On a whirling, swirling journey
On to twilit Pohjola,
To the gloomy fogs of Sedgeland.

175 There the blacksmith Ilmarinen
Traveled quickly and arrived,
Traveled with the storm wind's rush 170
On the track of Ahava,
Over the moon, under the sun,
By the shoulder of the Great Bear
To the yard of Pohjola
In the laneway to the sauna -
But the dogs they did not hear him,
Barkers paid him no attention.

185 Louhi, mistress of Pohjola,
She, the sparse-tooth dame of Northland,
Hurried out into the yard 180
Where she met him and inquired:
"Just what kind of man are you,
Who may you be as a person?
You arrived here with the wind,
On the sledway of cold Ahava.
Strange, the watch dogs are not barking,
All the woolly tails are silent."

195 Said the craftsman Ilmarinen:
"Surely I have not come here
To be torn by village mongrels, 190
Harried by your woolly tails
At these unfamiliar doors,
At these strange and alien gates."

201 Then the dame of Pohjola
Closely questioned the newcomer: *'
"Were you ever acquainted with,
Have you heard, do you know
Of that great smith Ilmarinen,
That most skillful hammerer?
For a long time we have waited, 200
Anxiously desired his coming
To this northern hinterland
To make the magic mill, the Sampo."

211 Ilmarinen answered cooly:
"Maybe41 have come to know him,
Know this smith named Ilmarinen,
Since I myself am Ilmarinen,
Myself the skillful hammerer."

217 Louhi, mistress of Pohjola,
She, the sparse-tooth dame of Northland, 210
Quickly stepped into the house.
There she called out in these words:
"Little maid, my younger daughter,
Most reliable of my children!
Now put on your very best,
Deck your body in the brightest,
The most fetching dress, you have;
Brightest brooches on your bosom,
Brilliant beads around your neck;
Freshest blossoms in your hair, 220
With the roses in your cheeks -
Lovely face in lovely frame.
He has come, smith Ilmarinen,
The eternal hammerer,
To make the magic mill, the Sampo,
And devise its ciphered cover."

235 Then the lovely maid of Northland,
Famed afar on land and sea,
Took her choicest garments out,
Her most radiant attire. 230
There she dressed and decked herself
And arranged her handsome headdress,
Set her copper-tasseled sash
And the wondrous belt of gold.

243 From the storeroom to the house
She came skipping through the farmyard,
Head held high and eyes ashine,
With red roses in her cheeks, and-
Oh! so beautiful a face!
On her breast the gold was gleaming, 240
On her head the silver shining.

251 Pohjola's old dame herself
Entertained smith Ilmarinen
In the homesteads of the Northland,
Timbered halls of foggy Sedgeland;
Fed him all that he could eat,
Served him all that he could drink,
Feasted him most copiously.
Then she spoke.to him in earnest:
"Oho, you smith Ilmarinen, 250
You, the eternal hammerer!
If you hammer out the Sampo
And devise the ciphered cover,
Make it from the point of swan quill,
From the milk of farrow cow,
From a tiny grain of barley
And the fleece of summer ewe,
You may have the girl as payment,
Have the lovely for your labor."

269 "Maybe," said smith Ilmarinen, 260
"Maybe I can forge the Sampo,
Hammer out the ciphered cover
From the point of one swan quill,
From the milk of farrow cow,
From a tiny grain of barley
And the fleece of summer ewe
Since I hammered out the sky
And clinked out the lid of heaven
When the world was uncreate,
Not a thread of string yet made." 270

281 Then he went to forge the Sampo
And devise the ciphered cover;
Asked about the smithies there,
Wanted tools with which to work:
Not a smithy in the place,
Not a smithy, not a bellows,
Not a forge, not an anvil,
Not a hammer nor a handle.

289 Cried the smith, disgusted now:
"Irresponsible, these women! 280
Let them leave their jobs half done,
But no decent man would do so-
No, not even ne'er-do-wells!"
295 Sought a firm base for a forge
And a clear spot for the bellows
In that land, in those regions,
In the way-back fields of Northland.

299 Searched for one day, searched a
second,
Third day found a written rock,5
Freely standing slab of stone. 290
There smith Ilmarinen halted,6
And he built a blazing fire;
On the first day set his bellows,
Fixed his forge up on the second.

307 Ilmarinen, smith eternal,
Shoveled fuel on the fire;
Set the slaves to fan the fire
And the serfs to pump the bellows.

313 For three days of early summer
Slaves were blowing, serfs were pumping 300
Till the stones grew to their feet
And the pebbles to their toes.

319 On the very first day then
Ilmarinen went himself
To take a look, leaning over
To see the bottom of his forge,
What was happening in the fire,
What was thrusting from the blaze.

325 A crossbow thrust up from the fire,
Out of the blaze a golden bow, 3io
Bow of gold with silver tips,
Shaft embossed with copper figures.
329 Now, the bow is quite good looking
But its habits not so good:
Every day it claims a head,
On its best day even two.

333 But smith Ilmarinen himself
Is not pleased with that at all,
So he broke the bow in two,
Shoved the pieces in the fire. 320
Set the slaves again to blowing,
And the serfs to pumping on.

339 On the very next day then
Ilmarinen went himself
To take a look, leaning over
To see the bottom of his forge:
A boat is thrusting from the fire,
Red boat rising from the heat-glow,
Bow and stern embossed with gold
And its oariocks cast of copper. 330

347 Now, the boat is quite good looking
But its habits not so good:
Wants to go to war on purpose,
Wants to fight when there's no need.

351 But smith Ilmarinen himself
Is not pleased with that at all:
Smashed the boat to smithereens,
Shoved the bits into the fire.
Set the slaves again to blowing,
And the serfs to pumping on. 340

357 So upon the third day then
Ilmarinen went himself
To take a look, leaning over
To see the bottom of his forge:
A heifer pushed up from the fire,
Horn of gold up from the heat-glow.
On its forehead stood the Bear star,
On its head the sun disk shone.

365 Now, the heifer's quite good looking
But its habits not so good: 350
Lies around the forest glades,
Spills its milk upon the ground.

369 But smith Ilmarinen himself
Is not pleased with that at all:
So he cuts the cow to pieces,
Shoves it back into the fire.
Set the slaves again to blowing,
And the serfs to pumping on.

375 On the next, the fourth day then,
Ilmarinen went himself 360
To take a look, leaning over
To see the bottom of his forge:
From the fire a plow is thrusting,
From the heat a golden blade,
Share of gold and shaft of copper,
With its handholds made of silver.

383 Now, the plow is quite good looking
But its habits not so good:
Plowed the village grainfields up
And upturned the grassy meadows. 370

387 But smith Ilmarinen himself
Is not pleased with that at all:
So he breaks the plow in two,
Shoves it back into the fire.

391 Now he sets the winds to blowing,
Powerful hurricanes to pumping.

393 Blew the winds, fanned the fire:
Blew the east wind, blew the west wind,
And the south wind blew still stronger,
While the north wind roared the loudest. 380
Blew a day, blew a second,
Even on the third day blowing:
Fire was spurting through the windows,
Sparks were shooting through the doorways,
Ashes floating to the sky,
Black smoke mingling with the clouds.

403 After the third day Ilmarinen,
Smith-eternal, went himself
To take a look, leaning over
To see the bottom of his forge: 390
Saw the Sampo being born
And the ciphered cover growing.

409 Thereupon smith Ilmarinen,
The eternal hammerer,
Rapped and tapped, rat-a-tat-tat,
Clinking away with a clank, clank, clank -
Deftly built the Sampo mills:
On one side a flour mill
And a salt mill on the second,
On the third a money mill. 400

417 The new Sampo then was grinding,
With its ciphered cover spinning;
Ground three binfuls every morning:
First a bin of things to eat,
Next a bin of things to sell,
Last a bin of things for home.

423 Mistress Louhi, overjoyed,
Had the magic Sampo carried
To the Northland's great Rock Mountain;
Hid it in a cliff of copper 410
And behind nine locks secured it,
Where it struck its roots down deeply
To the depths of fathoms nine:
One root into solid ground,
Another by a run of water,
In the home hill grew the third.

433 Thereupon smith Ilmarinen
Goes to ask about the girl,
And he said it in these words:
"Is the girl now ready for me 420
Since the Sampo is completed,
With its lid a work of beauty?"

439 Then the lovely Northland maiden
Spoke out in these words herself:
"Who indeed this coming year,
Who then in the third sweet summer,
Would inspire the cuckoo's calling
And the trilling of the songbirds,
Were I, the little berry, elsewhere,
Gone away to foreign lands? 430

447 "If this chicken went away,
If this gosling went astray,
If my mother's child were lost,
The red berry should be gone,
All the cuckoos too would go
And the joybirds fly away
From the heights and hills around us,
From our homeland slopes and ridges.

455 "And besides, I have no time now,
Cannot leave my girlhood days 440
Nor the work that must be done
In the hurry of the summer:
Berries in the fields unpicked,
No one singing on the bay shore,
No one running round the clearings,
No one playing in the groves."

463 Then the craftsman Ilmarinen,
The eternal hammerer,
Head bowed down, sorry-minded,
With his pointed hat all crooked, 450
Sits there thinking and reflecting
With his head upon his hand
How to get back home again
To his own familiar fields
From this darkling Pohjola,
From the gloomy fogs of Sedgeland.

473 Said the dame of Pohjola:
"Oho, you smith Ilmarinen!
Why are you so sorry-minded,
With your pointed hat all crooked? 460
Would you want to go home now,
Back there to your native acres?"

479 Sadly Ilmarmen answered:
"That is where my soul is drawn;
In my own home let me die,
On my own plots pass away."

483 Then the dame of Pohjola
Filled the man with food and drink,
Saw him seated in a boat
Provided with a copper oar; 470
Called upon the winds to blow,
On the north wind for a gale.

489 Then the sad smith Ilmarinen,
The eternal hammerer,
Traveled to his native country
Out across the blue sea surface:
Traveled one day and a second,
Then indeed upon the third day
Ilmarinen had come home
To those places of his birth. 480

497 There old Vainamoinen asked him,
Asked the sad smith Ilmarinen:
"Tell me, brother Ilmarinen,
You eternal hammerer,
Did you make it, the new Sampo,
And devise the ciphered cover?"

503 Said the blacksmith Ilmarinen,
He himself the maker of it:
"The new Sampo then was grinding,
With its ciphered cover spinning; 490
Ground three binfuls every morning:
First a bin of things to eat,
Next a bin of things to sell,
Last a bin of things for home."

Next...

Use of the text for commercial purpose is forbidden

Table of contents