The selected poems of Kalevala


Runo 32


Kullervo, son of Kalervo,
Old man's son in blue stockings,
Handsome with his hair so yellow,
Wearing shoes with fancy uppers,
Right off at the craftsman's home
In the evening asked for work,
Asked the master in the evening
And the mistress in the morning:
"Name the labor to be done,
Put a name to it right now; 10
For what work must I get ready,
For what job must I prepare?"

13 Ilmarinen's mistress ponders:
To what work now should she put him,
This new slave bought with money?
She appointed him her herdsman,
Guard of her big cattle herd.

19 Then that mistress, vicious woman,
Sneer-mouthed wife of Ilmarinen
Baked a loaf, a big fat bun, 20
Oats beneath and wheat on top
With a stone right in the middle;
Smeared the loaf with melted butter,
Covered the crust with fatty drippings.
Then she handed it to him
As a portion for the slave,
As a luncheon for the herdsman.
She gave the slave instructions, said:
"Do not eat this till the cattle
All have gone into the forest." 30

33 Then the wife of Ilmarinen
Sent the cattle off to pasture
As she made this incantation,
Sang this charm to guard her cattle:

37 "Now I send my cows to pasture,
Milkers to the grassy clearings,
Wide-horns to the aspen spinneys,
Crook-horns to the bushy birchwood;
Sending them to gather suet
And good fat from open clearings, 40
From the leafy groves and copses,
From the birchwoods on the highlands,
From the lowland aspen spinneys,
From the golden stands of spruces,
From the silver of the forest.

49 "Gracious God, watch over them,
Shield them, 0 thou firm Creator,
Keep them safe from accidents,
Guard against all evil chances
That no harm will happen to them, 50
That they may not go astray:

55 "As you watch them in a cowshed,
As you guard them in a shelter,
So watch over them when roofless,
Keep them safe when shelterless
That the cattle may grow sleeker,
That the mistress' crop increase
As well-wishers would desire it
And, in spite of all, ill-wishers.

63 "If the herdsmen are unhandy, 60
If the herdgirls are too timorous,
Turn a willow to a herdsman,
Alder to a cattle watcher,
Rowan to a good caretaker,
Chokecherry to a homeward bringer
That the mistress need not seek them,
No one else need worry about them.

71 If the willow will hot herd them
Nor the rowan tend them safely,
If the alder will not drive them 70
Nor the chokecherry chase them homeward,
Send thou forth thy better servants,
Send thou hither, nature's daughters
As the keepers of my cattle,
Watchers over my whole herd!
Thou hast many a serving maid,
Hearers of thy word are hundreds -
Dwellers here beneath the heavens,
Kindly daughters of creation.

S3 "Spirit of summer, chosen housewife, so
Southwind, nature's old handmaiden,
Good pine mistress, charming juniper,
Rowan fairy, little maid,
Chokecherry, Topic's daughter,
Mielikki, all pleasing woman,
Daughter-in-law of the forest,1
Tapio's maiden Tellervo!
Watch my herds, take care of them
Carefully through the summer season,
Gently through the leaftime, when the 90
Leaves are fluttering on the branches
And the ground is lush with grasses.

97 "Spirit of summer, chosen housewife,
Southwind, nature's old handmaiden,
Spread your skirts and spread your aprons
As a cover for my cattle,
As a shelter for my little ones
That no angry wind can hurt them
And no stormy rain fall on them.

105 "Shield my precious herd from evil 100
And direct it out of danger
from the swash of miry fenlands,
From the lip of brimming springs,
From the quaking of the quicksands,
From the eye of rounded swamp holes
That no trouble come upon them,
That they do not go astray;
And no hoof should slip in a swamp hole,
Stumble into quaking quicksands
Out of the hour of God's ordaining, 110
Out ofJumala's own blessing.

117 "Bring a call-horn from far yonder,
Yonder from the pole of heaven,
Honey-horn down here from heaven,
Up from mother earth a sweet horn.
Blow the horn, the wondrous horn:
Blow the hillocks into blossom
And the heathlands into beauty;
Clearings into loveliness,
Copses into pleasant places; 120
Marshes into flowing honey-mead
And the springs to waited liquor,

129 "Feed my herd, feed my cattle,
'Nourish them with honeyed fodder,
Water them with honeyed liquor;
Feed them high on golden grasses,
And on silver-tasseled hay tips.
Water them with honeyed liquor,
Bubbling springs and wheyey fountains,
Foaming rapids, running rivers, 130
Golden hillocks, silver clearings,

141 "Dig a well, a lovely well
On both sides of the cattle pasture
That the cows may drink their fill
And the honey-mead may trickle,
Trickle down to bursting udders,
Into teats that ache for milking.
Stir the milk-veins into flowing,
Milky rivers into running;
Milk in rippling brooks outflowing 140
And in cataracts down foaming;
Pipes and tubes with milk outspurting.
Let them always give out freely,
Flowing every time in turn
Past the hands of evil wishers,
Through the fingers of the bad ones
Lest they take it down to Mana,
This dear gift the cows have given.

159 "Many there 'are, and they are bad ones
Who bewitch the milking Mana, 150
Gift of cattle to perdition
Or divert the-milk to others.2
Few there are, and they are good ones,
Who retrieve the milk from Mana,
Buttermilk from neighbor's keeping,
Fresh milk from some other sources.

167 "Formerly my mother never,
Never asked advice from neighbors,
Recipes from other households.
She retrieved the milk from Mana, 160
Charmed the buttermilk from its keeper,
Fresh milk from some other sources.
She bewitched the milk from yonder,
Charmed it from a greater distance:
Charmed it hack from Tuonela,
From the caverns of the dead,
Up from underneath the earth,
Rising by itself at night,
Hidden by the secret darkness,
Without an evil person hearing, 170
Undiscovered by the worthless
And unspilled by evil-doers,
And unenvied by the jealous.

183 "This is what my mother said
And what I myself am saying:
'Where has the cows' yield been delayed,
Whereto has it disappeared?
Was it taken to a stranger,
Tied up in the village farmyards,
In the breasts of beggarly'whores, iso
In the armpits of the envious;
Or got caught up in the branches,
Gone astray among the woodlands,
Scattered in the leafy copses,
Maybe spilled among the heather?

195 '"Milk is not for Manala,
Cattle yield is not for strangers
Nor the breasts of beggarly whores,
Nor the armpits of the envious;
Not to be caught up in the.branches, 190
Left astray among the woodlands,
Scattered in the leafy copses,
Maybe spilled among the heather.
Home is where the milk is needed,
Always needed, always welcome:
There at home the mistress waits,
Juniper bucket in her hand.'

207 "Spirit of summer, chosen housewife,
Southwind, nature's old handmaiden,
Feed my Eater, water Drinker, 200
Loosen up the flow of Nervy
And increase the milk of Freshie
And renew the milk of Lovely;
Also new milk to my Apple
From the tips of tender grasses,
From the dales and dewy hollows,
From the good earth, honeyed hillocks
And the honeyed nap of meadows;
From the fields of berry bushes,
From the maid of blooming heather, 210
From the nymph of tasseled grasses
And the milkmaid of the rain clouds.
Spirits of the heavenly pole,
Bring me udders full of milk,
Always udders overflowing
To be milked by a smallish woman
And stripped by a little milkmaid.

229 "Rise, 0 maiden, from the valley,
Lovely naiad from the fountain,
Maiden warm and fair of figure, 220
Rise up from the oozy bottom.
With the water of the fountain
Sprinkle thou my herd of cattle
That they may grow sleek and sleeker
And the mistress' crop grow greater
Long before the mistress comes
With the herdgirl to inspect them,
For the mistress is unskillful
And the herdgirl overtimid.

241 "Mielikki, the forest mistress, 230
Wide-palmed* matron of all cattle,
Send the tallest of your handmaids
And the best of all your hirelings
To protect my cattle crop
And to oversee my herd
In this long and lovely summer,
Warmed and mellowed by our Maker,
By the grace of Umala,
Bestowal of the Merciful.

251 "Tellervo, maid ofTapio, 240
Roly-poly pretty maiden,
Lovely with your hair so yellow,
Gauzy-smocked and elegant-skirted.
Thou who art my cattle keeper,
Watcher over all my milkers
In the pleasant realm of Woodland,
Closely guarded park of Tapio,
Keep my cattle tenderly,
Watching over them alertly.

261 "Guard them with thy shapely hands, 250
Guide them with thy slender fingers;
Brush them down as sleek as lynxes,
Smooth as any fish fin comb them
Like the gleam of mermaid's hair,
Soft as fleece of woodland ewe.
As the dark of evening deepens,
Dusk of twilight darkens,
Drive my cattle home to me,
Here before their kindly mistress,
Bubbling springs upon their backs, 260
Pools of milk upon their rumps.

273 "When the sun is going to rest,
When the evening bird is singing,
Thou, thyself, speak to my cattle,
Say this to my horned herd:
'Homeward now, you curvy horns,
All you milkers, to your quarters!
It is good to be at home
Where the ground is good to lie on;
It's no good to roam the backwoods 270
And the shore's no place for mooing.
So that you will hurry homeward
Housewives kindle smudge fires for you
On a honey-fragment meadow,
Field where berry bushes flourish.'

287 "Nyyrikki, thou son of Tapio,
Bushland fellow in bluejacket!
Lay tall fir trees butt to butt,
Bushy pine trees tip to tip
As a bridge across the marshes, 280
As a patch on risky grounds,
Miry swamps and oozy bottoms,
And across the splashy puddles.
Let the crookhom cattle pass,
Cloven-hoofs come clicking by;
Let them pass by through the smudge smoke
All uninjured and refreshed
Without sinking in the quicksands,
Sucked down in the muddy swamp holes.

301 "If the herd is still unheeding, 290
Will not come home for the night,
Rowan spirit, little tree maid,
Juniper, thou lovely maiden,
Cut a birch rod from a coppice,
Take a switch from any spinney,
Use a slender rowan switch,
Cattle whip of juniper
From behind the house of Tapio,
Yonder side of Chokecherry Mountain.
Drive the cattle to the homestead 300
While the sauna bath isheating -
Safe at home the household cattle,
In the woods the woodland creatures.

315 "Darlings-bear,6 my woodland apple,
Honeypaw and curvy claw!
Let us make some sound agreement
To confirm our peaceful borders
For our lifetime and forever,
All our days and generation
That you will not hurt the split-hoofs, 310
Will not claw the milk cows down
In this long and lovely summer,
Warmed and mellowed by our Maker.

325 "When you hear the cowbell ringing
Or the tooting of the horn,
Hide yourself upon a hummock,
Take a nap upon a meadow;
Thrust your ears in withered grasses,
Push your head into a tussock
Or retire to the wilderness, 320
Back there to your lair of mosses;
Or then go to other hillsides,
Hurry off to other hillocks
Where you cannot hear the cowbells
Nor the gossip of the herders.

337 "My dear Bruin, precious one,
Honeypaw, my handsome Bearkin!
I will not forbid your wandering
Nor your roaming round about,
But forbid your tongue to touch 330
Or your ugly mouth to mangle
Or your teeth to tear my cattle
And your claws to maul my livestock.

345 "Always go around the pastures,
Hidden from the buttermilk heaths,
Circling round the cowbells' clanking,
fleeing when you hear the herdsman,
When the herd is on the heather,
Lumber off into the marshes;
When the herd moves to the marshes, 340
Then you set off to the backwoods;
When the herd goes up the hill,
You go down below the hill;
When the cattle herd comes down,
You go upward on the hill.
As they step into a clearing,
You go scurrying to the bushes;
If they wander to the bushes,
You step out into the clearing,
Roam about as a golden cuckoo, 350
Wander as a silver wood dove;
Slip by silent as a whitefish,
Slide by like a fish in water,
Tiptoe as a tuft of wool,
Flutter by as a bit of flax.
In your fur conceal your claws,
Tuck your teeth into your gums
That the herd may not be startled
And no newborn calf be frightened.

371 "Leave the cattle herd in quiet, 360
Be on good terms with the split-hoofs;
Let them go by unmolested,
Hoofing it in peace and quiet
Over wetlands, over drylands
And across the backwoods heather
That you do not touch them ever
Nor open up your gluttonous mouth.

379 "Mind the awful oath you swore
By the river of Tuonela,
By the rushing of Claw Rapids 370
At the knees of your Creator!
Thrice a summer you're allowed
Within the clanking of the cowbells
Or the tinkling of the small bells,
But it was not ever allowed you
Nor was any license given
To begin your ugly actions.
That might end in shameful deeds.

391 "When a frenzy comes upon you
And your teeth are gnashing-hungry, 380
Fling the fit into the bushes,
Evil hungers to the evergreens.
Hack away at hollow trees,
Knock the dried out birches down;
Wrestle waterlogged old pinetrees,
Slash away at berry patches.

399 " When you feel the need for food,
Eat whatever you desire:
Eat the mushrooms from the forest,
Dig the red angelica," 390
Even break the anthills open,
All the dainties of the woodlands,
But my forage grasses never,
Not the hay of my own living.

407 "Now the woodland's vat is fragrant;
It is bubbling and fermenting,
On a golden hillock boiling,
On a silver hillside seething.
Food enough there for a glutton,
Drink enough for thirsty drinkers - 400
Which in the eating does not lessen,
In the drinking does not vanish.

415 Let us make a lasting compact,
And confirm a peace unending
To reside together in comfort
All this long and lovely summer -
Thus the land is common to us,
But our tastes are very different.

421 "If you want to fight, however,
And to live in warlike fashion, 410
Let MS wage war in the winter
Clash together in the snow time.
In summer when the swamps are melted,
With the pools and puddles warming,
Do not come this way at all
In the hearing of the herd.

429 "If you come into these pastures,
Chance to stray into these woods,
They are ready here to shoot you.
If the archers are not home, 420
There are many able women,
Very self-reliant housewives
Who will thwart your ill intention,
Put a bad end to your journey
So that you will never touch them,
Open up your gluttonous mouth
Nor resort to ugly violence
Against the will of Umala,
Of the blessed Merciful.

441 "O thou Ukko, god of gods, 430
When thou hearest he is coming,
Turn my cows to something other,
Shock them in one startling moment;
Into stone my very own ones,
Into stumps my lovely cattle
Where that monster walks the earth,
Where that burly goblin wanders.

449 "If I were that bear, that Otso,
Roaming about as Honeypaw,
I would not live in those places, 440
Always underfoot of women,
Elsewhere there is room enough,
Other woodlands far away
for a leisured man to roam in
Or an idle man to hasten
Which you may traverse on tiptoe,
Or your fat shanks may go waddling
Through the blue haze of the forest,
Deep within the wilderness.

461 "There is Pine Cone Heath for strolling,
With the sand to skip about on,
Track prepared for you to walk on,
Seashore ready for your running
To the way-back fields of Northland,
The wide wilderness of Lapland.
It's a happy place to be in
And a lucky place to stay in,
To go shoeless in the summer
Or without your socks in autumn
On the measureless morasses 460
And the widest of the marshes.

473 "But if you're not headed that way,
Cannot find the right direction,
Take a road to run along,
Any track to travel on,
Yonder to the woods of Tuoni,
To the graveyard grounds of Kalma.
There are swamps to swash about in,
There are heaths to hump along on.
Stripie's there and so is Streaky, 470
Many another bullock with them
Fastened there with iron neck-chains,
Tied securely to ten stanchions.
There the lean ones are all fattened
And their hones are thick with fat.

487 "Now be lenient, groves and woodlands,
Gentle, blue-hazed wilderness!
Keep the cattle herd in quiet,
Cloven-hoofs in harmony
In these glorious days of summer, 480
In this warm, god-given weather.
493 "Kuippana, the king of woodlands,
Lively greybeard of the grovelands,
Hold your dogs and check your mongrels;
Stuff a mushroom in one nostril
And an appleberry in the other
That they may not smell the air,
Catch the odor of the cattle.
Cover up their eyes with silk,
Also bandage up their ears 490
That they hear no sound of travelers,
That they see no sight of walkers.

505 "If these warnings will not do,
If as yet they do not mind them,
Then call off your boys, your bratlings
And escort them from these pastures;
Chase them far off from these shores,
From these narrow cattle pastures,
Far from these wide meadow borders.
Hide your mongrel in a crevice, 500
Chain him fast in golden shackles,
Tie him up in straps of silver
To prevent him doing damage
Or committing shameful outrage.

519 "If these warnings will not do,
If as yet they are not heeded,
Then, 0 Ukko, golden king,
Golden king and silver guardian,
Hearken to my pleading words,
To my anxious supplication: 510
Put a rowan muzzle on him,
Push it on his stubby nose.
If the rowan does not hold him,
Cast another one of copper.
If the copper does not hold him,
Make another one of iron.
If he still breaks from the fetters,
Still goes off on wild rampages,
Get a golden cowlstaff then,
Drive it through his jawbones firmly, 520
Crimp the ends together tightly
That his fierce jaws stay unmoving,
That the sparse teeth cannot open,
Not Unless with tools of iron
Or with steel ones pried apart,
All gashed out with bloody knives,
Or then broken with an ax."

543 Then the wife of Ilmarinen,
Stingy mistress of his household,
Loosed the cattle from the cowhouse, 530
Let the whole herd out to pasture;
Put the herdsman there behind them
As a slave to drive the cattle.


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