KALEVALA
The selected poems of Kalevala
Калевала'99

"Kalevala".


Runo 35

INCEST

Kullervo, son of Kalervo,
Old man's son in blue stockings,
Was now living there at home
Under the guidance of his parents,
But his mind was not mature,
Could not get the knack of things
Since he had been nurtured badly,'
Cradled wrongly as a child
By the wicked foster-parent,
By that crooked-minded cradler. 10

11 But they put the boy to work,
Got him ready for the job.
Sent him on a fishing trip,
Rowing out a heavy seiner.
Oar in hand he wondered, puzzled:
"Should I pull with all my might,
Putting all my strength behind it,
Or according to what's wanted,
Pulling only as is needed?"

21 Said the steersman from the stern: 20
"If you pull with all your might,
Putting all your strength behind it,
You can't pull the boat apart
Nor rip the oarlocks out of place."

27 So he rowed with all his might,
Putting all his strength behind it -
Rowed the wooden oarlocks off,
Ripped the juniper boat-ribs out,
Wrecked the aspen boat completely.

33 When his father, Kalervo, 30
Saw the damage he remarked:
"Well, you'll never make a rower -
Rowed the wooden oarlocks off,
Ripped the juniper boat-ribs out,
Wrecked the aspen boat completely.
Go off now and thresh the water,
Driving fish into the seine.
You may make a better thresher."

41 So he went to beat the water,
Driving fish into the seine. 40
Threshing pole in hand he said:
"Shall I thresh with all my might,
Putting all my strength behind it, v'
Or according to what's wanted,
Threshing only as is needed?"

49 But to this the netman answered:
"Of what use is such a thresher,
Not to thresh with all his might,
Using all his manhood power?"

53 So he threshed with all his might, 50
Using all his manhood power-
Roiled the water into porridge,
Pounded all the nets to oakum
And the fish to soupy pulp.

59 When his father, Kalervo,
Saw the damage, he remarked:
"Well, you'll never make a beater-
Pounded all the nets to oakum,
Beat the floaters into bits,
Pulled the cordage into pieces. 60
Maybe you can pay the taxes,
Take a trip to pay the ground rent.
You may make a better traveler,
Be more skillful on a journey."

69 So Kullervo, son of Kalervo,
Old man's son in blue stockings,
Handsome with his hair so yellow,
Wearing shoes with fancy uppers,
Started out to pay the taxes,
To deliver the grain assessment. 70
Then, when he had paid the taxes,
Had delivered the grain assessment,
Hung himself into his. sleigh,
Sat up in his racing sleigh,
Started on his homeward journey,
Traveling back to his own district.
In his sleigh he coasted on,
Measuring his homeward journey
Through the fields of Vainola
Opened up in ancient ages. so

85 On the way he meets a maiden,
Golden-haired one skiing toward him
Through the fields of Vainola
Opened up in ancient ages.

89 Kullervo there whoa'd his horse
And began to coax the maiden,
Coaxed her and cajoled her slyly:
"Come up, girl, into my sleigh,
Lie down on the furs behind me."
From her skiis she answered him, 90
Skiing onward still, she spurned him:
"Death be with you in your sleigh,
Plague behind you on your furs."

99 Kullervo, son of Kalervo,
Old man's son in blue stockings,
Whacked his racer with a whip,
With the beaded lash a-jingle.
Raced the racer, journey quickened,
Slid the sled, the road ran by,
Measuring off the distance quickly, 100
Riding on the clear sea surface,
Out upon the open ocean.

107 There he meets a maiden walking,
Wearing shoes with fancy uppers,
Walking on the clear sea surface,
Out upon the open ocean.

113 Kullervo now whoa'd his horse,
Set his mouth to speaking sweetly
As he planned what words to utter:
"Come into my sleigh, my pretty, 110
Journey with me, loveliest maiden."

119 But the finely-shod one answered :
"King of death be in your sleigh,
Man of graveyards journey with you!"

123 Kullervo, son of Kalervo,
Old man's son in blue stockings,
Whacked his racer with a whip
With the beaded lash a-jingle.
Raced the racer, journey quickened,
Slid the sled, the road was shortened; 120
Measured off the distance quickly
Riding on those northern heathlands,
On the borders of wide Lapland.

133 There a girl is coming toward him
With a tin brooch on her bosom,
Speeding on those northern heathlands,
On the borders of wide Lapland.

137 Kullervo now whoa'd his horse,
Set his mouth to speaking sweetly
As he planned what words to utter: 130
"Come, girl, up into my sleign,
Underneath my woolen robe;
Come to taste my apples here,
Nibble on my hazelnuts."

145 But the tinny-breasted snapped out,
Answered him disdainfully:
"On your little sled I spit;
So much for your sleigh, you villain.
Underneath your robe it's chilly,
Dank and dismal in your sleigh." 140

151 Kullervo, son of Kalervo,
Old man's son in blue stockings,
Leaning over, caught the girl,
Snatched her up into his sleigh;
Set her down upon his furs,
Rolled her underneath the blanket.

157 Thereupon the maiden cried
And the tinny-breasted threatened:
"Let me go, release this child
From listening to such talk of lewdness 150
And from serving such a rascal,
Or I'll kick your floorboards out,
Scatter slats along the road,
Break your fancy sleigh to splinters,
Crack your snub-nosed runners off!"

167 Kullervo, son of Kalervo,
Old man's son in blue stockings,
Opened up his treasure chest,
Clanged the pictured cover up
Showing her a heap of silver, 160
Spreading out fine bolts of broadcloth,
Silver belts and gold-edged stockings.

175 Soon the treasures took her fancy
And her temper quickly sweetened.
She was smitten by the silver,
And the gold-it whispered to her.

179 Kullervo, son of Kalervo,
Old man's son in blue stockings,
Sweetly praised and flattered her,
Flattered, charmed and titillated, 170
Holding one hand on the reins,
The other playing with her nipples.

185 Then he played and sported with her
Till at length he overcame her
Under the bronze-embroidered blanket
On a rug of dappled fur.

189 When the good god gave the morning,
Lighted up another day,
Then the girl began to speak,
To inquire and to question: 180
"From what lineage do you spring,
Of what tribe are you, brave man,
Of what clan so great a fellow?
You must be of some great kindred
And your father's lineage mighty."

197 Mildly Kullervo replied:
"I am not of any great clan,
Neither great nor yet so small,
Rather of a medium order:
I am Kalervo's poor son, 190
Stupid, dull and bumbling boy,
Just a useless, humble child.
Tell me of your own clan now,
Of your own good lineage,
If you spring from some high kindred
Of your father's mighty lineage."

209 And the young girl answered likewise:
"I am not of any great clan,
Neither great nor yet so small,
Rather of a medium order: 200
I am Kalervo's poor daughter,
Stupid, dull and dawdling girl,
Just a humble, hapless child.

217 "When I was a child at home
Living with my loving mother,
I went berrying in the woods,
Picking strawberries in the clearings,
Picking raspberries under the hill;
Picked by day, at night I rested.
Picked for one day and a second, 210
On the third day I was lost,
Did not know my way back home-
Every path led through the woods
Into a denser wilderness.

229 "There I sat and there I cried,
Wept all day and wept a second.
On the third day I got up,
Climbed up to a high hilltop,
To the very summit of it.5
There I called out and I shouted; 220
Woods repeated, heaths re-echoed:
'Do not call out, you poor girl,
Do not, mindless, make a racket,
No one there at home can hear you,
Home is far, too far away.'

241 "On the third day, on the fourth,
At least upon the fifth or sixth day,
I prepared myself for dying,
Ready to accept my doom.
But indeed I did not die, 230
I, the hapless, did not perish.

247 "Oh, that I, poor wretch, had died,
Cut off in the second year
Or then in the third of summers.
I'd be now a waving grass blade,
Blooming as a flower blossom,
Luscious berry on the ground
Or a reddish whortleberry6
Never to hear of all these horrors,
Never borne down by these sorrows." 240

257 Scarcely had she said her say,
Hardly had she finished speaking,
When at once she leaped away
And threw herself into the river,
Down beneath the foaming rapids,
Into the mighty whirling maelstrom.
There fulfilled her destiny,
Faced her doom and chose her death,
Found her peace in Tuonela,
Mercy down beneath the water. 250

267 Kullervo, son of Kalervo,
Suddenly staggered from his sleigh,
Started weeping and lamenting:
"Ah me and all my evil days,
O wretch, what wondrous horrors here!
That I should touch my own, own sister,
My own mother-begotten child!
O my father, O my mother,
O my much respected parents!
To what end did you conceive me, 260
Why beget a wretch like me?
Better had it been for me
Had I been unborn, unnurtured,
Never grown up in this world,
Never come of age on earth.
Nor did death deal fairly with me,
Nor disease aim rightly at me -
Not destroy me two nights old."

287 With his knife he cut the hames,
With the iron slashed the traces; 270
Leaped up on the horse's back,
On the back of faithful Whiteblaze.
Then he rides a little distance,
Rides along a little farther,
Comes up to his father's acres,
To the fields of his own father.

295 In the yard he meets his mother:
"O my mother, O my bearer!
If at my birth you had only
Filled the sauna7 full of smoke, 280
Bolted fast the door and left me
There to smother in the smoke;
Or had killed me two nights old,
Taken me straight to the water,
Drowned me in mosquito netting,
Wrapped up in a rag of homespun-
Flung the rocker in the fire,
Shoved the cradle in the fireplace.

307 "If the villagers had asked:
'What has happened to the cradle, 290
Why the smoky sauna bolted?'
Tmly then you could have said:
'I used the cradle for my kindling,
Burned the rocker in the fireplace;
Sprouting barley in the sauna,
Sprouting barley, sweetening malt."'

315 Here his mother interrupted:
"What has happened now, my son,
What strange wonder to be heard?
You look as if you came from Tuoni, 300
As if risen from the grave."

321 Said Kullervo, son of Kalervo:
"Now the horror has been heard,
What a horrible thing has happened -
That I ruined my own sister,
My own mother-begotten child."

327 "As I returned from paying taxes,
Delivering the grain assessment,
Then I came upon a maiden,
And I played and sported with her. 310
Who was she but my own sister,
My own mother-begotten child!

333 "She has met her death already
And decided her own doom
Down beneath the foaming rapids,
In the mighty whirling maelstrom.
As for me, I do not know:
So now cannot think or settle
How or where to kill myself,
Put an end to this poor oaf - 320
In the mouth of howling wolf,
In the maw of growling bear,
In the belly of a whale,
Or the teeth of monster pike."

345 But his mother pleaded with him:
"Do not go, my poor boy,
Into mouth of howling wolf,
Into maw of growling bear,
Into belly of a whale,
Nor the teeth of monster pike. 330
Finland's great peninsula
And the borders of wide Savo
Offer isolated places
Where a man can hide his crimes
And repent his evil doings
For the length of five years, six years,
Up to nine years altogether
Till old time wears into pardon
And the years have healed the hurt."

359 Said Kullervo, son of Kalervo: 340
"No, I will not go and hide;
No, this bad one will not run:
I will go to the mouth of death,
To the dark door of the grave,
To the bloody battlefields,
To the killing grounds of war-men -
Untamoinen still stands upright,
Traitorous hind as yet unconquered;
Unavenged my father's wounds,
Unrepaid my mother's tears - 350
Forgetting all the other burdens
Of my own delightful treatment."

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