The selected poems of Kalevala


Runo 23


We must now advise the maiden
And instruct the bride-to-be.
Who is there to teach the girl,
Be the virgin's counselor?

5 Osmo's daughter, able woman,
Kaleva's daughter, lovely virgin-
She's the one to teach the bride,
Be the tutor of the maiden,
Show her how to act with wisdom
Living in her husband's home, 10
Always pleasant to her husband,
Humble to her mother-in-law.

13 So the tutor thus began,
Spoke out in these sentences:
"Sweetheart, bride, sister, loved one!
Listen now to what I'm saying,
What I'm telling you once more.

19 "You are leaving now, my flower,
Like a strawberry runner creeping,
Thread of broadcloth, bit of velvet, 20
Leaving now your well-known home,
This most beautiful of homesteads,
Going to another household,
To a family of strangers.
Other households, other ways,
Things are different with all strangers.
There you have to watch your step,
And conduct yourself with caution-
Not as on your father's fields
Nor the meadows of your mother, 30
Singing in the echoing valley,
Caroling along the laneways.

35 "When you move away from home,
Take all your other things, but three;
Leave these three at home behind you:
All your daydreams. Mother's kindness,
And fresh butter from the churn.

41 "Remember all your moveables
But let your dream-box be forgotten,
Bequeath it to the girls at home, 40
Dreaming by the old home fireplace.
Leave your songs upon the bench end,
Joy-songs on the windowsills;
Girlhood to the sauna slappers,
Giddiness to burlap bindings;
All bad habits on the stove bench,
Laziness upon the floor-
Or then give them to the bridesmaid,
Stuff them underneath her arm
To be taken to the bushes, 50
Thrown away among the heather.

55 "New ways must be taken on
And the old ones be forgotten.
Father's love must be forgotten,
Father-in-law's well accepted -
Bow down lower, speak more gently.

61 "New ways must be taken on
And the old ones be forgotten.
Mother's love must be forgotten,
Mother-in-law's well accepted- 60
Bow down lower, speak more gently.

67 "New ways must be taken on
And the old ones be forgotten.
Brother's love must be forgotten,
Brother-in-law's well accepted-
Bow down lower, speak more gently.

73 "New ways must be taken on
And the old ones be forgotten.
Sister's love must be forgotten,
Sister-in-law's well accepted - 70
Bow down lower, speak more gently.

79 "Do not ever in your lifetime,
While the golden moon still glimmers,
Go to a house that lacks in manners,
Where a husband is unmanly.
Every house must show good manners,
Stamping on the storehouse steps -
I knew him by the way he walked,
Knew him by each step and stride.
Though not a breath of wind was blowing,
His hair was upright, wildly waving,
Gums were grinning, eyes pop-staring; 690
In his hand a rowan switch,
Knotty cudgel under arm-
And with these he comes to beat me,
Clubs me crack! across the pate.

707 "Let the evening come again.
Then at bedtime takes a strap,
Leathery lash down from a nail,
Lays it on the bed beside him-
And of course it's there for me
Not for anyone else, be sure. 700

713 "When I came to bed that evening,
Sweetheart came and lay beside me,
Gave my ribs an elbow jab,
Beat me with a furious hand,
Many a blow with willow switches,
Whipstock made of walrus bone.

721 "Then his chilly flank I left,
From the cold, cold bed I rose.
Sweetheart followed on my heels,
Driving me with threats outdoors: 710
In my hair his fist he twisted,
Tearing tufts out in his fury,
Flinging them out on the wind,
Wind of spring, cold Ahava.

729 "What to do, what course to follow?
I had shoes of steel made for me,
With strong laces made of copper,
In which I lurked behind the walls,
Spying round about the lane ends
Till the madness should subside 720
And the madman settle down.
But the madness does not quiet
Nor the madman settle down.

739 "Then I felt the cold come on me
Where I, the poor pariah, waited,
Standing there beside the wall,
Lingering there behind the door.
There I wondered, thought it over:
Tin not the sort to bear such malice
From the holders of long hatreds, 730
Nor such high and mighty scorning
In this fiendish lair of Lempo,
In this den of devils' brood.'

749 "So I left these charming hovels,
Left this darling dwelling place.
I, the innocent, went wandering;
Roamed the fields, roamed the fens,
Over unknown waters traveled;
Wandered to my brother's field's end.
There the dry firs cuckooed at me, 740
Sang the bushy-headed pines,
Crows all cawed and magpies mocked:
'Here there is no home for you
Nor your birthplace any longer.'

761 "But I paid no heed to that,
Went on to my brother's dooryard.
There the gates all creaked at me,
All the meadows too protested.
'Why indeed do you come home?
What is it you hope to hear? 750
Long ago your father died
And your gentle mother too;
Brother's a total stranger to you
And his wife is like a Russian.'

771 "But again I did not heed it
And went straight up to the house.
When my hand was on the latch
It was cold against my fingers.

775 "When I got into the house,
There I halted in the doorway. 760

Proud the lady of the house,
And she does not stir to greet me
Nor to give her hand in welcome.15
Well, I also have my pride,
Make no motion to embrace her
Nor to offer her my hand.
Put my hand on the fireplace,
On the stones-but they were cold;
Especially a decent household.
A husband tests your character,
Even the very best of them.
When a house is in disorder so
Then a careful wife is needed;
When the husband is unsteady
It demands a steadfast woman.

91 If it turns out that the old man
Is a bad wolf in the corner,
Mother-in-law a grumbling bear
Basking there beside the fireplace,
Son a viper on the doorsill,
Daughter, sharp thorns in the dooryard,
You must give the same respect, 90
You must bow down lower, lower
Than before with your mother,
Lower than in your father's house
You bowed down to your father,
Humbler than before your mother.

101 "You must keep yourself alert,
Clear in mind, severe in thought,
With your understanding ready,
Eyes awake to tend the torches
When the evening tasks are doing. 100
In the morning, ears alert,
Listen for the early cockcrow.
When the cock has crowed but once
And the second crow not sounded,
Then it's time for the young to rise
And the old to go on sleeping.

113 "If the rooster does not crow,
If the master's bird is silent,
Take the moon then for your rooster,
Take the Great Bear for your guide. 110
Go outside repeatedly,
Watch the moving of the moon,
From the Great Bear take instruction,
Study out the stars of heaven.

121 "When the Bear's in right position,
Front directly southward pointing
And the tail is straightly northward,
Then ifs time for you to rise
From the side of your young sweetheart,
Slip out from the rosy sleeper, 120
Hurry away to light the fire,
To uncover it from ashes;
Blow on it but do it softly
Lest you blow the sparks all over.

135 "If no fire is in the ashes,
No sparker in the tinder box,
Pet your dear one, coax your handsome:
'Give me a light, my dear, my darling,
Just a little spark, my berry.'

137 "You will get a tiny flint 130
And a tiny bit of tinder;
Strike a fire in a flash,
Light a wood splint in the holder.
Hurry out to clean the cow barn
And to feed the waking cattle;
Mother-in-law's cow is lowing
And the old man's horse is neighing,
While the son's cow's chain is rattling
And the daughter's calf is bawling
For you to hurry with the hay 140
Or to favor it with clover.

149 "Bending over in the cow barn,
Stooping through the cattle shed,
Feed the cattle quietly
And be gentle with the sheep.
Give the straw out to the cows,
Water the heifers of the sickly;4
Then give fine straw to the foals,
To the lambs the finest hay.
Do not holler at the pigs, 150
Do not kick the little piglets;
Take a troughful for the pigs
And another for the piglets.

161 "Do not loaf around the cow barn
Nor loiter, puttering in the sheep pen.
When you've cleaned the cattle shed
And have tended to the cattle,
Then go like the driven snow
Quickly back into the house.
In the house a child is crying, 160
Baby wrapped up in the covers,
For the poor child cannot talk,
And being speechless cannot tell you
Whether he is cold or hungry
Or if something else is wrong
Before his dear one comes to him
And he hears his mother's voice.

175 "When you come into the house
Come in as a four-fold object:
In your hand a water bucket, 170
Underneath your arm a twig broom
And between your teeth a firestick5-
You yourself are then the fourth.

181 "Wipe the sills and sweep the floor,
Then throw water on the floorboards-
But don't throw it on the baby.
If you see a baby there,
Even one of sister-in-law's,
Set the baby on a bench,
Wash its face and smooth its hair; 180
Butter a piece of bread for it
And put it in the baby's hand.
If no bread is in the house,
Put a wood chip in its hand.

193 "When you come to wash the tables -
By the end of the week at latest-
Don't forget to wash the edges-
And don't skip the table legs;
Rinse the benches off with water
And with a bird wing wipe the walls, 190

All the benches with their sides,
Walls along their stripes and chinkings.

201 "Where there's dust upon the table
Or upon the window sills,
Wipe them over with a wing; '••
With a wet rag wipe them down
That the dust can't fly around,
Floating way up to the ceiling.

207 "Scrape the soot down from the ceiling,
Sweep it also from the fireplace- 200
Keep in mind the chimney too,
And don't forget the rafters either.
Get it looking like a real house,
Respected as a decent dwelling.

213 "Listen, girl, to what I'm saying,
What I'm saying, speaking of:
Never romp around undressed,
Laze about without a smock;
Never go without a kerchief,
Roam about without your shoes. 210
That could make your sweetheart angry,
Cause your young man to complain.

221 "Some things you must guard with care:
There are rowans in the dooryard;
Rowans in the yard are sacred,
Rowan branches too are holy
And the leaves upon the branches -
And the berries even holier.
By their means a girl may learn,
A young woman may be guided 220
To affect her sweetheart's feelings,
Even to command his heart.

231 "Be alert as mouse's ears,
Feet as quick as rabbit's feet,
Nape and neck as supple bending
As a growing juniper
Or the green tip of a chokecherry.

237 "You must keep yourself alert,
Always wakeful, on your guard,
Lest you settle on your seat, 230
Stretching out upon the stove-bench
Or flop down upon the bedding,
Lounging lazy on the bedstead.

243 "Brother-in-law comes from plowing,
Father-in-law from mending fences,
Husband from his work outdoors,
Handsome back from burning clearings:
Take them water with a bucket
And a wiper for their hands-
Bow down humbly, speaking gently. 240

251 "Comes the mother from the storehouse,
Flour basket in her arms;
Run to meet her in the yard,
Bow and ask to take her basket,
To relieve her of her burden
8, And to take it to the house.

257 "When you do not know yourself
Or you cannot even guess
What work you should turn to next
I Or what new task to begin, 250
I Ask the mother-in-law to tell you
; '0 my kind, kind mother-in-law,
• How have you arranged the work,
How are all the chores assigned?'

265 "Quite agreeably she will answer,
The old mother-in-law will tell you:
This is how it's done with us,
How the work is all arranged:
Grain is pounded, flour ground,
Rocking, rocking with the quern staff; 260
Water carried, dough is kneaded,
Firewood carried to the house
That the stove may be well heated.
When the dough is shaped and risen,
Then it's baked in big fat buns;
Next the dishes must be washed,
Firkins must be rinsed out cleanly.'

279 "When you've heard the woman out
And your chores have been recounted,
Hurry to the grinding shed 270
With the dried grain from the hearthstone.
Then when you have gotten there,
Go into the grinding shed.
Do not cuckoo on the way,
Do not warble out full-throated;
Let the quernstone do the singing
And the quernstaff do the warbling.6
Do not puff or pant too loudly
As you turn and turn the handmill,
Lest your father-in-law imagine 280
Or your mother-in-law suppose
That your puffing is from anger,
Resentment sizzling in your heart.

295 "Sift the flour briskly, take it
In a basket to the house.
Knead the bread most carefully,
Mix the dough most evenly,
That no clots of flour are left,
Leaving only clear smooth mixture.

301 "If you see a cowl7 turned over, 290
Take the cowl up on your shoulder,
Under your arm a waterbucket,
Walk down with them to the water-
Carry the cowl carefully
By the end of the cowlstaff.
Into the house then like a wind,
Like the spring wind, Ahava,
Without lingering at the well,
Gazing down upon the water,
Lest your father-in-law imagine 300
Or your mother-in-law suppose
That you're gazing at your image
In self-admiration vainly,
Rosy features on the water,
Beauty mirrored in the well.

317 "From the woodpile, from the long stack
Fetch the faggots for the fire;
Do not scorn the poorest wood,
Taking even aspen billets.
Toss the billets quietly 310
Without any clunking clatter,
Lest your father-in-law imagine
Or your mother-in-law suppose
That you're flinging them in anger,
Slamming them about in temper.

327 "When you start out to the storehouse,
Go out there to fetch the flour,
Do not linger in the storehouse,
Stay there any length of time,
Lest your father-in-law imagine 320
Or your mother-in-law suppose
That you're dealing out the flour,
Giving it to village women.

335 "When you come to washing dishes
And to scouring out the firkins,
Wash the jugs and wash their handles
And the pitchers with their grooves,
Rinse the mugs-remember the rims,
And the spoons-remember the handles.

341 "Count the spoons and count the dishes 330
And keep track of all utensils,
Lest the dogs should run off with them
Or the cats contrive to keep them,
Or the birds fly off with them,
Children scatter them abroad.
In the village there are children,
Little heads enough and more
To carry off the pots and pans
And to scatter spoons abroad.

351 "When it's time for evening sauna, 340
Fetch the water and the slappers;
Steep the slappers soft and ready,
Ready in a smoke-free sauna.
Do not linger in the sauna,
Stay there any length of time,
Lest your father-in-law imagine
Or your mother-in-law suppose '
That you're lazing on the platform,
Basking on the sauna benches.

361 "When you go back to the house 350
There invite your father-in-law:
'O my kind, kind father-in-law,
Now the sauna is quite ready,
Water hauled and slappers ready,
All the steps and platform swept.
Go and wash yourself at leisure,
Splash the water without stinting.
On the floor below the platform
I will be the vapor maker.

371 "When it's time to do the spinning,
Time to work at weaving cloth,
Don't rely on neighbor fingers,
Teaching from across the brook,10
Directions from another household
Or a weaver's reed from strangers.

377 "You yourself must spin the threads
Warp and weft with your fingers;
Make the weft threads somewhat looser
And the warp threads twisted tighter.
Then you wind the yarn up firmly, 370
Roll it lightly on the reel;
Then adjust it for the warp-beam
And align it for the loom.

385 "Strike the batten, lift the heddles,
Weave the cloth for homespun jackets,
Woolen skirts from single fleeces,
From the coats of winter sheep,
From the fluff of spring-born lamb,
From the down of summer ewe.

393 "Listen then to what I'm saying, 380
Once again to what I tell you:
Brew the barley beer in batches,
Tasty malt drink made from barley,
Using but one barleycorn,"
Burning only half a tree trunk.

399 "When you're sprouting barleycorn,
Sweetening the malted grain,
Do not lift it with a crook,
Do not stir it with a stick;
Always lift it with your hands, 390
Turn it over with your palms.
Check the sauna very often:
Do not let the sprouts be spoiled,
Do not let the cat sit on them
Or the tomcat sleep upon them.
Do not worry about the wolves
Nor the wild beasts of the forest
When you go to check the sauna,
Coming and going there at midnight.

413 "When your neighbors come to visit 400
Never be unfriendly to them.
Every well-kept household always
Keeps provisions for a visitor,
Broken meats with odds and ends
Such as sweet buns and the like.
419 "Gently ask them to be seated
And converse with them politely.
Feed the strangers with kind words
Till the dinner is prepared.

423 "Then again when they are leaving 410
And are saying their goodbyes,
Do not walk out with the visitors,
Do not go beyond the door,
Lest it make your husband angry,
Make your handsome one be sulky.
429 "If the urge should come upon you
To go calling on your neighbors,
Only then go visiting
After you have got permission.
When you're there, guard your speaking: 420
Do not find fault with your household
Nor abuse your mother-in-law.

437 "Other daughters-in-law may ask
Or some other village women:
'Does your mother-in-law give butter,
As your mother did at home?' )
Do not ever, ever say:
'No she does not give me butter.'
But instead you tell them grandly:
'Yes, she always gives me butter, 430
Serves it out in ladlefuls.'
Say it even though it happened
Only once in early summer-
And the butter old and rancid
From another winter's churning.

447 "Listen yet to what I'm saying
And again relating to you:
When you go away from here
And you join another household,
Don't forget your mother ever 440
Or belittle her to others;
She it was who nourished you,
Suckled you at her own sweet breast;
From her own dear self she fed you,
From the whiteness of her body.
Many a sleepless night she passed,
Many a meal she quite forgot
While she rocked you in your cradle,
Tending you, her little one.

461 "Whoever does forget her mother 450
Or belittles her own mother
Cannot go to Manala
Or to Tuoni with clear conscience;
Mana's penalty is heavy,
Harsh the reckoning of Tuoni
For one who does forget her mother
Or belittles her own mother.
Tuoni's daughters will berate you,
Mana's maidens bite and bicker:
'How could you forget your mother, 460
Or belittle your own mother?
She endured such great distress,
Fearful anguish when she bore you
Lying on the sauna floor,
On the straw bed in the sauna
As she was giving birth to you,
Bearing you, ungrateful wretch."'

479 A woman who sat upon the floor,
Old wife wrapped up in her mantle,
Wanderer at village thresholds, 470
One who knew the beggar's road,
Now related her stark story:

485 "To his dear the cock was crowing,
Chanticleer to his darling;
In the snow month13 crows were cawing,
Singing, swinging in the springtime.
I'm the one who should be singing,
Cocks and crows remaining silent;
They're at home with all their dear ones,
Their beloved always by them, 480
But I have no home, no dear one;
All my days are loveless, lonely.

495 "Listen, sister, as I tell you:
When you go to your husband's home
Do not heed your husband's wishes
As I, the wretched, heeded them:
Man's desire and tongue of lark,
Heart's desire of my great suitor.

501 "As a girl I was a flower,
Twig of heather, supple sapling, 490
Bursting bud-and was called
'Berry of the Arctic Bramble '.
'Golden One ' was whispered to me,
In my father's meadow 'Teal,'
'Wild Goose ' in my mother's chambers;
Called a 'Sea Bird ' at my brother's,
Then a 'Bunting ' at my sister's.
Free and worriless I roamed
As a flower in the lanes,
As a raspberry in the meadows; 500
Gamboled on the sandy shores,
Over flowery pathways dancing,
Tripped it over hill and hollow;
Sang from every dune and dale,
Hymned and hummed through every glade,
Playing games in leafy groves,
In the clearings always joyous.

519 "Hunger draws the fox to snares,
Tongue of weasel to a trap;
So the instinct of a maiden 510
Draws a maiden to a man,
Custom, to another household.
Thus indeed a girl is molded,
Thus a daughter lullabied-
To become a daughter-in-law
And a slave to mother-in-law.

527 "I, a berry, was transplanted,
Chokecherry moved to other shores;
Whortleberry to be snipped at
Or a strawberry to be scolded. 520
Every tree was snapping at me,
Every alder cutting at me,
Every birch berating me,
Every aspen all abusive.

535 "So they wed me to a husband,
Dragged me to a mother-in-law.
They had told me as they wooed me
That there were six firewood houses,
Twice as many separate chambers;
Many barns around the clearings, 530
Flower beds along the laneways;
Barley growing by the brooksides,
Flourishing oat fields on the heath;
Bins of grain already threshed,
Other binfuls to be threshed;
Hundred coins already gotten
And another hundred coming.

549 "There I like a fool went traipsing,
Like an idiot gave my hand.
There the promised house was built 540
Of six props and seven poles-
Clearings empty of all mercy,
Woodlots empty of affection;
Lanes all full of cares for me,
Woodlands full of woes and worries;
Bins containing winnowed angers,
Others filled with unthreshed hatreds-
Add a hundred scoldings gotten,
Hundred more to be expected.

561 '"But I paid no heed to that, 550
Tried to do my duties humbly.
Thus I hoped to earn respect
And to gain some real affection
By bringing fire into the house
And attending to the torches-
At the door I bumped my forehead,
Right against the doorpost struck it.
In the doorway strange eyes stare,
Fierce eyes from the chimney corner;
From the mid-floor squint eyes glare, 560
From the back wall eyes most hateful. ^
From his mouth the fire is spurting,
Burning brands beneath his tongue,
All from mouth of nasty master,
From beneath that cruel tongue.

577 "But I did not yield to this,,
Tried somehow to live and bear it,
Always meekly at their mercy
And submissive to their orders.
Ran around on rabbit feet, 570
Went about on weasel paws;
Got to bed so wearily late
And got up so tiredly early,
But it earned me no respect
Nor brought me any tenderness-
Even had I moved great mountains
Or had split the crags asunder.

589 "Quite in vain I ground coarse grain,
Carefully sifted out the grit
For my mother-in-law to dine on, 580
The old guzzle-throat to gobble,
Seated at her long deal table,
Gobbling from a gold-rimmed platter.
I, the wretched daughter-in-law,
Ate the scrapings from the quernstone,
With the stove bench for my table,
For my spoon a wooden ladle.

599 "Many times as daughter-in-law
When I still lived with my husband
I collected marshland grasses.14 590
These I baked, baked for my bread.
For my after dinner toddy
I had nothing but plain water
Dipped up in a birchen scooper.
I ate fish, Baltic sprats,
Only when I worked at seining,
Swinging widely with the seine sweeps,
Rocking, tilting with the boat;
But I never got such fish,
Never from my mother-in-law, 600
Not so much as would suffice
For a day or for a mouthful.

613 I spent summers gathering fodder,
Winters heaving on a dung fork
Like a serf of olden days,
Like a slave or hired farmhand.
Always at my mother-in-law's
Got the heaviest of the tools,
Heftiest flail at threshing time,
Biggest flax brake from the sauna, 610
Heaviest beater at the washing,
Clumsiest dung fork in the barnyard.
No one thought that I could tire
Or that I could sink exhausted
Even though the men tired out
And young horses were exhausted.

627 "Thus I worked in working hours,
Thus I labored through each workday,
Miserable maid and servant now,
Labored, straining every muscle. 620
Let another mood come on,
They condemned me to the fire,
Consigned me to the very devil.

633 "For no reason I was scolded
And deliberately abused
As reward for my endeavors,
Payment for my good behavior;
Spiteful words, abusive sayings
Rained on me like burning sparks
Or like iron hailstones pelting. 630

641 "Even this I did not question,
Would have lived on as before
With an angry mother-in-law,
Helper to that fire-tongued crone,
But there came a grievous thing,
A thing that multiplied my sorrow:
Sweetheart turned into a wolf,
Handsome husband to a bear;
Turned his side to me when eating,
Turned his back to me when sleeping, 640
Turned his back to me when working.

651 "Over this I wept alone,
Puzzling on it in my storehouse.
I remembered other days,
How I lived before at home
On the wide fields of my father,
In my gentle mother's home.
I began to dwell upon it,
Talking to myself aloud:
'Well enough my mother knew 650
How to get her little apple,
Had the skill to grow the seedling-
But not where it should be planted.
And she set the lovely seedling
In a very noisome setting,
Put it in an unfit place,
In the tough roots of a birch tree,
There to weep its life away,
Lost in month-long lamentations.

669 '"Wasn't I fit for a higher station, 660
Longer yards and wider floors,
Finer figure for embracing,
Fuller blooded man for husband?
Got tied up to this fatbelly,
Stuck with this old shuffleshoe-
Got his torso from a crow,
Snatched his nose from a croaking corbie
And his mouth from a greedy wolf,
His whole frame from an old bruin.

681 "'Just by going up the hill 670
Such a one I could have gotten
From a pitchy roadside stump,
From a hollow log of alder;
Lump of turf to make his snout,
And his beard of mouldy mosses;
Mouth of stone and head of clay
And his eyes of glowing coals;
Stuck on birch galls for his ears,
For his legs a sallow fork.'

691 "This the sorry spell I sang, 680
Sobbing always in frustration.
Happened that my handsome heard it
Standing there beside the wall;
Suddenly then he-comes for me,
Lowered my hand down to the ashes,
There the ashes too were cold. 770

787 "On the bench my brother's lolling,
From the stove bench gawking, gaping,
Soot a fathom on his shoulders,
And a handspan on his body,
Ell of ash upon his head,
Half a quart of hard-caked soot.

793 "Then my brother asked the stranger,
Inquired of the new arrival:
'From what place beyond the water
Does the stranger come to see us?' 780
In reply I asked him simply:
'Don't you know your own, own sister,
Your own mother's own, own child?
We're the children of one mother,
Nested, cradled by one bird,
Born as hatchlings of one goose,
Nestlings of the same ruffed grouse.'
Then my brother broke out weeping,
Water streaming from his eyes.

805 "Said my brother to his wife, 790
Whispered softly to his sweetheart:
'Bring refreshments for my sister.'
So my brother's bug-eyed woman
Brought me cabbage from the kitchen,
Cabbage stew but with no fat,
For the pup had gulped the fat
And the dog had licked the salt,
Blacky had his morning snack.

813 "Said my brother to "his wife,
Whispered softly to his sweetheart: 800
'Bring the guest a drink of ale.'
But my brother's bug-eyed woman
Brought me nothing else but water.
Even that was dirty water
Where her sisters washed their faces,
Hand wash of my sisters-in-law.

821 "So I left my brother's house,
Left the house where I was born!
Started, wretched, on my wanderings,
Outcast on the wanderer's road, 810
As an exile round strange shores.
Like a crippled beggar wandering,
Always at a stranger's door,
At an unfamiliar gateway
Like poor children on a shore,
Paupers cared for by the villager

831 "There are many people now,
Very many of them now
Who speak to me with angry voices,
Snap at me in irritation; 820
Very few address me kindly,
Tell me with a gentle mouth
'Come and warm you by the fire,'
When I come in from the rain,
From cowering in the cold outside,
With my skirt hem ringed with rime
And my coat hem swirled with snow.

843 "I could never have believed,
Never in my younger years,
Even though a hundred told me 830
Or a thousand tongues repeated,
That I'd descend to these conditions,
That I'd ever see such days
As the days I suffer now-
What lot has fallen to my hand!"


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