The selected poems of Kalevala


Runo 34


Kullervo, son of Kalervo,
Old man's son in blue stockings,
Handsome with his hair so yellow,
Wearing shoes with fancy uppers,
Walked away from Ilmarinen's,
Anxious to be far away
Long before the master heard it,
Heard what happened to his lady,
Lest the master in his anger
Should attack him on the spot. 10

11 Left the smithy, piping gaily,
Left the fields of Ilmarinen
High hallooing on the heather,
Racketing across the clearings.
Fenland echoed, firm land trembled,
And the heath reverberated
To the tune of Kullervoinen,
To the frenzied fellow's music.

19 It resounded to the smithy.
At his forge the smith stopped working, 20
Hurried down the lane to listen,
Rushed across the yard to see
What was tooting in the backwoods,
What the hubbub on the heather.

25 There the truth was plain to see,
Plain and not to be avoided:
There he saw the woman lying,
His own lovely darling fallen,
Fallen dead there in the barnyard,
Lying lifeless on the ground. 30

31 There the craftsman stood and stared.
As he looked his heart was darkened.
All that night his grief flowed over
In a long, long lamentation,
Mind as dark as pitch is dark,
And his heart as black as charcoal.

37 Kullervo just went on walking,
Aimless, wandering here and there
For a whole day through dense forest
To the timbered heaths of Hiisi. 40
In the evening, in the twilight
Halted on a little hillock.

43 There he sat, the fatherless,
The unloved one, deeply thinking:
"What was it that made me this way,
Or who fashioned such a wretch,
Eternal drifter, ever moving,
Shelterless beneath the sky?

49 "Others have their homes to go to,
To the comfort of their houses, 50
But my home is in the backwoods,
My estate is on the heather,
As my hearth is in the wind,
Sauna steam is in the rain.

55 "Never, thou good Jumala,
Never in all eternity,
Create a child unnatural
Nor so utterly unloved-
Fatherless beneath the heavens,
Least of all one motherless- 60
As you have here created me,
Fashioned such a wretch as I am;
Created me among the seagulls,
As a sea mew on a sea cliff.
Sweet the sun shines on the swallow,
Sheds its light upon the sparrow,
Joy to all the birds of air;
To me it does not come at all,
Never does the sun shine for me,
And I have no joy of living. 70

71 "I don't even know my maker
Nor the one who gave me birth.
Did a goldeneye produce me,
Mallard hatch me on a fenland
Or a teal upon a shore,
Merganzer m a hollow rock?

77 "I was small, and lost my father,
Very small, and lost my mother.
Father died and mother died,
And my whole clan perished with them. 80
I was left with icy shoes -
They forgot my slushy stockings -
Left to walk on frozen tracks,
Over rolling causeway logs,
Stumble into every swamp,
Sucked down into every mudhole.

87 "But as yet now I'm not ready,
Not at this age to become
A stepping log across a swamp,
Or a plank for muddy places - 90
Will not sink into a swamp
As long as I have these two hands
And can stretch out these five fingers
Or can lift up my ten claws."

95 Then a notion came to him
And the thought grew in his brain
To go back to Untamola
To avenge his father's sufferings,
Father's sufferings, mother's tears
And his own bad treatment there. 100

101 Solemnly he spoke this sentence:
"Wait now, Untamoinen, wait,
Wait, destroyer of my people!
When I come to war against you,
I will bum your homes to ashes
And your whole estate to cinders."

107 There a woman came to meet him,
Blue-robed matron of the forest
And addressed him in these words:
"Where are you going, Kullervoinen, 110
Where, you son of Kalervo?"

113 "It occurred to me," he said,
"In my brain it rooted firmly
To return there to my birthplace,
To the farm of Untamoinen
To avenge my clan's destruction,
Father's sufferings, mother's tears-
Burn his whole estate to ashes,
Watch it smolder down to cinders."

123 But to this the matron answered: 120
"No, your clan is not destroyed,
Kalervoinen is not fallen
And your father is still living,
And your mother in good health."

129 "My dear woman, my dear woman,
O good woman, tell me, tell me,
Tell me where my father lives
And my most devoted mother?"

133 "There in truth your father's living
And your lovely mother also 130
On the border of wide Lapland,
There beside a little fish pond."

137 "0 good woman, tell me, tell me,
Which way do I go to get there,
What direction should I travel?"

141 "It is easy to get there,
Easy even for a stranger
Through the comer of the woods
And along the river bank.
Walk for one day and a second, 140
Even on the third day walking,
Always keeping on northwestward
Till a mountain looms before you.
Walk along below the mountain
Keeping on the left side of it
Till upon your right-hand side
You will come upon a river.
Follow on along the river
Passing by three foaming rapids
Till you reach a point of land 150
At the tip-end of a cape.
On that point there stands a cabin,
Fishing sauna1 at the capehead.
There your father is still living
And the gentle one who bore you.
There are also your own two sisters,
Two most beautiful of daughters."

163 Kullervo then went as bidden:
Walked one day and then a second,
Even on the third day walking, 160
Always keeping on northwestward
Till a mountain loomed before him.
Walked along below the mountain
Keeping to the left side of it;
Reached the river, followed it,
Followed on the left bank of it,
Passed by way of the three rapids
Till he reached a point of land
At the tip-end of a cape.
On that point there stood a cabin, 170
Fishing sauna at the capehead.

179 When he went into the cabin
No one even knew him there:
"Have you come across the water?
Where would be your home, good stranger?"

183 "Don't you recognize your son,
Don't you recognize your child,
Whom the warriors of old Unto
Carried with them to their country,
No taller than his father's handspan, 180
No higher than his mother's distaff?"

189 Said his mother: "My poor boy,
My unlucky golden buckle!
Have you truly with your living eyes
Found your way here through the country
While I wept for you as dead,
As already long departed?

197 "Ah, there were two sons I had,
And two lovely daughters had!
But from this unhappy mother 190
Two already have departed:
In the war a son was lost,
On an unknown trail a daughter.
Now the boy is home again
But the girl may never come."

205 Kullervo, son of Kalervo,
Interrupted to inquire:
"And what happenedsto your daughter,
What became of my poor sister?"

209 Said the mother:3 "She went yonder, 200
Over there your sister vanished:
She went berrying in the woods,
Picking raspberries on the hill.
There the chicken disappeared,
Lost mysteriously, the birdling,
Met some death unwordable,
Nameless and mysterious doom.

219 "Who was it first missed the girl?
Who else but her mother, of course.
I the first to search for her- 210
Mother's loss and mother's longing.
I, the miserable mother, searched,
Hunted for my little daughter,
Ran the backwoods like a bear,
Like an otter roamed the woodlands;
Searched a day and searched a second,
Even on the third day searching.
At the end of the third day's search,
Or perhaps a long time later,
I then hurried to a hilltop, 220
To the very highest peak,
Where I called out to my daughter,
Yearning for the vanished one:
'Where are you, my little daughter?
Come home now, my little girl.'

235 "So I cried out to my daughter,
Yearning for the vanished one.
Hills resounded, heath re-echoed:
'Do not call out for your daughter.
Never, never, in her lifetime
Do not cry or make a clamor; 230
To her mother's household or
She cannot come back to you.
To her aging father's jetty.'"


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