The selected poems of Kalevala


Runo 24


Now the bride has been advised,
And the maiden well-directed.
I will speak now to my brother,
To the bridegroom from my mouth:

5 "Bridegroom, you my little brother,
Yet more precious than a brother,
Dearer than a mother's child,
Closer than a father's offspring,
Listen as I speak to you,
As I speak, as I tell you 10
Of your little linnet here,
Beautiful bird you have captured.

13 "Lucky bridegroom, thank your fortune
For the good that you receive,
In your thanking, thank it well.
Good you got and good befell;
Good the great Creator promised,
Good the gracious God has given.
Also, give thanks to the father,
Even more thanks to the mother 20
Who has cradled such a daughter,
Such a special bride for you.

23 "Pure the virgin at your side,
Shining in your bridal gifts,
Radiant one now in your power,
Graceful one now in your keeping.
Capable the girl beside you
And so blushful as your partner,
Lively girl for any labor
At the threshing, at the haying; 30
Able laundress, linen bleacher,
Skillful spinner, clever weaver.

35 "Like a cuckoo on a hill
Is the creaking of her batten,
Swift as weasel through a woodpile
Is the swooping of her shuttle,
With the bobbin spinning like a
Pine cone in a squirrel's mouth.
Neighbors do not sleep so soundly
Nor the people of the manor 40
Since the creaking of her batten
And the whirring of her shuttle.

45 "Bridegroom, young man, handsome figure,
Forge yourself a scythe, a steel one,
And affix a handle to it;
Carve the handle in the gateway,
Whittling, sitting on a stump.
When the sunny days have come,
Take your sweetheart to the meadow-
Notice how the hay is rustling, 50
Coarse hay creaking, sedges sighing,
Sorrel swishing, tussocks leveling,
And observe the suckers snapping.

59 "When the right occasion comes
Then present her with a shuttle,
Sturdy batten, fitting warp beam;
Carve out shapely, graceful treadles-
All the makings of a loom.
Set her on the weaver's bench
With the batten in her hand. 60
Then the creaking of the batten
And the clatter of the loom
Will be heard by all the neighbors,
And still farther through the village.
Village women will be wondering,
Neighbor women will be asking:
'Who is weaving cloth at this time?'3
Properly enough, you answer:
'Oh, that? That's my darling weaving,
My own sweetheart at her rattling.' 70
'Does the cloth show any flaws,
Are there any broken warp threads?'
'In the cloth there are no flaws,
And there are no broken warp threads;
Flawless as the Moonmaid's weaving
Or the spinning of the Sunmaid;
Skillful as the Great Bear's daughter,
As accomplished as the Starmaid.'

85 "Bridegroom, young man, handsome figure,
When you set out on this journey, so
Driving out away from here,
Driving with your youthful bride,
With your lovely chick beside you,
Do not drive your little sparrow,
Little linnet, off the road
At the corner of a fence,
Tip her over on a stump
Stretched out on the stony ground.
Never in her father's house,
In her tender mother's care, 90
Was she driven off the road
At the corner of a fence
Or tipped over on a stump,
Overturned upon a rock pile.

103 "Bridegroom, young and handsome fellow,
When you travel with your bride,
When you take her on a visit,
Do not leave her in. some corner
Moping idly by herself.
Never in her father's house, 100
Back then in her mother's chambers
Was she left in any corner
Moping idly by herself.
She was always at the windows
Or then tripping round the floor,
Father's gladness in the evenings,
Mother's loved one in the mornings.

117 "You must never, you poor bridegroom,
Bring this chicken to the mortar
To prepare the famine bread,4110
Pounding bark and arum root,
Nor to bake her bread of straw,
Pounding small the bark of pine.
Never in her father's house,
In her tender mother's care
Was she set before a mortar,
Pounding bark and arum root,
Nor to bake her bread of straw,
Pounding small the bark of pine.

129 "Take the chicken to your grain store,
Let her load up at the rye bin,
Take hertill from bins of barley
For the baking of fat loaves,
Skillfull brewing of sound ale-
And to bake the wheaten loaves,
So well-kneaded, patted shapely.

137 "Bridegroom, brotherly companion!
Do not cause this chicken sorrow,
Do not make our little gosling
Ever weep in homesick grieving. 130
Should an hour of grieving come r
When she's longing for her home,
Put the brown horse in the shafts
Or the white one into harness;
Drive her to her father's house,
To her gentle mother's home.

147 "Now, this little chicken of yours
And our little linnet bird,
Never treat her as your serf girl,
Never as a hired servant; 140
Do not bar the cellars to her
Nor the riches of the storehouse.
Never in her father's house,
In her tender mother's home
Was she treated as a serf,
Dealt with as a servant girl.
Never was the cellar barred,
Nor the riches of the storehouse;
She always sliced the wheaten bread,
And looked after all the hens' eggs, 150
Tubs of milk and butts of beer,
Mornings opening up the storerooms,
Evenings locking up the lofts.

165 "Bridegroom, young man, handsome figure!
If you treat your lady kindly,
It will all be to your credit:
When you come to your father-in-law's,
To your gracious mother-in-law's
You yourself will then be feasted,
Fed and feasted, tippled tipsy, 160
Horse unharnessed and well-stabled,
Given feed and given water
And the oat box set before it.

177 "Never say it of our maiden,
Of our little linnet birdling,
Do not say that she is clanless
Nor that she is wanting kinfolk,
For in fact her clan is large
And her kinship very wide.
If you sowed a peck of peas, 170
There would be but one apiece;
If you sowed a peck of flaxseed,
Each would get but one thread only.

187 "See you do not, you poor bridegroom,
Ever treat this maiden badly;
Never teach her like a slave -
Never with a leather lash,
Never with the five-thonged knout -
Nor make her weep out on the stairs.
Never in her father's house, 180
Never before was the maiden
Taught with whipstrokes like a slave -
Never with a leather lash,
Never with a five-thonged knout-
Nor made to weep out on the stairs.

199 "Stand before her like a wall,
Stay there upright like a doorpost;
Do not let your mother strike her
Nor the father-in-law berate her;
Let no stranger treat her meanly 190
Nor a neighbor dare abuse her.
If the family says to whip her,
Others want her to be punished,
You can't bear to whip your sweetheart
Nor to punish your beloved,
The long-desired one whom you won
After three long years of waiting,
Such a long time in your courting.

211 "Teach your girl, instmct your apple;
Teach her, bridegroom, in the bed 200
Or behind the door correct her,
For one year in each place-
For a year by word of mouth, '
For the next by glance of eye,
And the third by stamp of foot.

219 " If she still remains unheeding
And does not obey at all,
Get a fresh reed from the reed bed,
Stalk of horsetail from the heath
And instruct your woman with it. 210
This way teach her in the fourth year:
Tap her only lightly with it,
With the reed edge barely touch her-
But by all means do not whip her,
Do not lay a switch upon her.

229 "Only if she still persists
And does not obey at all,
Pull a switch up from a thicket,
Birch rod from a woodsy hollow-
Underneath your fur coat bring it 220
That the neighbors may know nothing.
Show it to her, brandish it,
But you must not strike her yet.

237 "If she still remains unheeding
And does not obey at all,
Give her lessons with the switch,
With a birchen branch correct her.
Teach her in a room four-cornered,5
Where the chinks are caulked with mosses;
Do not do it in the open, 230
In a field or meadow whip her,
Lest the noise be heard by neighbors,
Ruckus reach another house,
Woman's weeping reach the village,
Great commotion reach the forest.

249 "Always switch her on her shoulders
And the soft flesh of her bottom;
Do not strike her eyes or face,
Do not touch her ears at all,
Lest a welt show on her forehead, 240
Black and blue above her eye.
Then the brother-in-law would ask
And the father-in-law surmise,
Neighboring plowmen too would see it
And the village women mock:
'Well, has someone been to war
And been badly bruised in battle;
Was she torn up by a wolf,
Clawed up by a forest bear;
Or then is a wolf her sweetheart 250
Or a bear her close companion?"'

265 Spoke an old man from the stove top,
An old wandering beggarman:6
"You must never, you poor bridegroom,
Heed a woman's whims and wishes,
Woman's wishes, larkbird's twittering
As I did, unhapjpy fellow!
Bought the meat and bought the bread,
Bought the butter, bought the beer;
Bought her fish of every kind, 260
Delicacies of every sort,
Home-brewed ale, foreign wheat bread.

279 "But I got no good of it,
Not so much as decent manners:
When she came into the house,
Came as if to tear my hair out,
Eyeballs rolling, making faces,
Hissing in her spitefulness,
Calling me a clumsy oaf
And a low-down cordwood cutter. 270

289 "But a new trick I recalled,
Another way to deal with her:
When I began to peel a birch rod,
She caressed me as her birdling;
When I cut a juniper top,
Yielded to me as her sweetheart;
When I switched her with a willow,
Then she clambered on my neck."

297 Here the poor bride gasped and sighed,
Broke out into sudden weeping 280
And expressed her feelings thus:
"Now the party's breaking up,
Soon the others will be going,
Sooner will my leaving come,
And it draws on ever nearer,
Though I'm laggard-loath to leave here -
Oh, how hard the hour of parting -
To depart from this dear village,
From this charming home of mine
Where I grew up innocently, 290
Grew up, gently, kindly cared for
All the distance of my growth-time,
The whole period of my childhood.

313 "Never before did I imagine,
Never before could I believe
Nor ever think that I'd abandon
Nor believe that I'd forsake
Field and flower of this homestead
And the shoulders of this ridge.
Now I know I must abandon, 300
And believe that I must leave it-
Now the tankards have been emptied
And the farewell drinks all drunk.
Soon the sleighs will face about,
Prows all outward, sterns all houseward,
Sidelong to my father's stable,
Slantwise to the cattle barn.

327 "With what, now that I am leaving,
Going away from here, poor thing,
Shall I show my gratitude 310
To my mother for her milk,
To my father for his goodness,
To my brother for his kindness,
To my sister for her friendship?

333 "I give thanks to you, my father,
For the meals and all the snacks,
All the plenty you provided.

337 "I give thanks to you, my mother,
For the cradling of your young one,
For the fostering of the little one, 320
For the feeding at your breasts.

341 "I give thanks to you, my brother,
Both my brother and my sister,
Thank you all, my family,
All the comrades of my growthtime
In whose company I flourished,
Constant comrades of my childhood.

347 "May you not, my good father
May you not, my gentle mother,
Neither clan nor kin of ours, 330
Numerous and illustrious tribe,
Find a cause here for great grieving
When I go to other lands,
Travel off to unknown places.
The Creator's sun shines elsewhere,
The Creator's moon gleams golden,
And the stars of heaven twinkle;
And the brilliance of the Bear stars
Lights up yonder skies as brightly
In far distant other places, 340
Not only on my father's acres
And the house where I was reared.

363 "Now I go as go I must
From this most precious home of mine,
Leave the house my father built
And my mother's plenteous cellar;
Leave my marshes, leave my meadows,
And my greensward all behind me;
Leave my clear and sparkling waters
And abandon my sand beaches 350
To the village women's bathing,
Splashing high jinks of the herders.

373 "I forsake my fens to waders,
And my fields I leave to plodders,
Alder thickets to reposers;
Leave the heather to the hikers,
Fence-side pathways to the walkers;
Leave the lanes to passersby,
And the barnyards to the mnners;
Walls for leaners, floors for cleaners, 360
Floors for cleaners and for sweepers;
Leave the fields for mnning reindeer,
Backwoods to the wandering lynxes;
Clearings for the geese to nest on,
Leafy bowers for birds to rest in.

387 "Now I go as go I must,
Together with another goer7
Into the lap of autumn night,
Over glassy springtime ice
So that not a trace is left, 370
Not a footprint on the glare,8
Not the scrape of skirt on snowcrust,
Nor a hint of hem on snow.

395 "But then when I come again,
Visiting my home once more,
Mother will not hear me calling
Nor my father heed my weeping
As I mourn above his brow
And lament above his head.
Now the new grass lifts already 380
And a jumper has risen
On the flesh that suckled me,
On the cheekbone of my bearer.

405 "So, when I go back again
To revisit this long farmyard,
No one else will recognize me,
No one here but these two objects:
On the rail fence just a withe tie
Which I tied there as a child,
And the last post of the fencing 390
Which I set there as a girl.

413 "Then my mother's barren cow,
Which I watered as a youngster,
Tended when it was a calf,
Softly starts to moo at me
From the litter left by winter,
From the winter feeding ground-
She will still remember me
As a daughter of the house.

421 "Then my father's good old stallion, 400
Which I tended as a youngster,
Fed when just a growing girl,
Softly starts to neigh at me
From the litter left by winter,
From the winter feeding ground-
He will still remember me
As a daughter of the house.

429 "Then my brother's good old dog,
Which I cared for as a child,
As a young girl taught new tricks, 410
Softly starts to bark at me
From the litter left by winter,
From the winter feeding ground-
He will still remember me
As a daughter of the house.

437 "But the others will not know me
When I go back to my home,
Though they are my old time moorings
As they were when I lived there,
Whitefish sounds and seining grounds 420
In their old familiar places.

443 "Stay, my cabin, in good health,
Health beneath your roof of planking.
It will be a pleasure for me
To come visiting here again.

447 "Stay, my porchway, in good health,
Porchway with your floor of planking.
It will be a pleasure for me
To come visiting here again.

451 "Stay, my farmyard, in good health, 430
Health where holy rowans grow.
It will be a pleasure for me
To come visiting here again.

455 "Now I give you all good health:
Fields and forest with your berries,
Laneways with your flower-grown borders
And the heaths with purple heather;
Lakes with hundred islands dotted,
Whitefish sounds and fir-clad hillocks,
Backwoods hollows with your birch trees." 440

463 Impatient of the long farewells,
Ilmarinen caught her up,
Set her in the waiting sleigh,
Switched his horse and shouted gaily:
"Fare you well, all you lake shores,
Shores of lakes and meadow borders,
All you piny hillsides rising
With your groves of tall old pine trees;
Chokecherry clump behind the house,
Junipers along the well-path; 450
On the ground all berry bushes,
Berry bushes, stalks of straw;
Willow clumps and roots of fir,
Alder leaves and birch bark gleaming!"

477 So smith Ilmarinen parted,
Left the yard of Pohjola,
Left the singing children there,
Children singing and reciting:
"Flew a black bird here among us,
Flapping through the wilderness; 460
Lured away our little duckling
And enticed our berry from us;
Took away our apple from us,
Coaxed our pet fish from the water;
Cheated us with petty cash,
Fooled us with a bit of silver.
Who will take us to the water,
Guide us to the river now?
Now the water tubs stand empty
With the cowlstaffs creaking idly; 470
Floor boards will be left unscrubbed
And the floors remain unswept;
Goblets will be streaked with grime
And the tankard handles tarnished."

497 Ilmarinen with his bride
Sped along those northern shores,
Passing by the Straits of Mead,
Shoulders of the sandy ridges.
Shingle singing, sand dunes ringing,
Sleigh proceeded, road whizzed by, 480
With the iron trace-hooks creaking
And the birchen runners rasping,
With the twisted shackles twittering
While the chokecherry shaft-bows shivered
And the withe-ties creaked complaining,
With the copper fittings clinking
As the gallant racer ran,
Gallant white-blaze galloped homeward.

513 Ilmarinen drove a day,
Drove a second and a third day, 490
One hand holding to the reins,
Other arm around his bride;
One foot set upon the sleigh edge,10
One beneath the woolen robe.

519 Ran the racer, journey quickened,
Day rolled by, the road was shortened;
But at last upon the third day
As the golden sun was setting
They beheld the craftsman's home,
Ilma's buildings loomed before them. 500
There a rope of soot was rising
And a flag of thick smoke flying,
Streaming skyward from the chimney
Till it mingled with the clouds.


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