The selected poems of Kalevala


Runo 49


Still there was no ray of sunshine
Nor of golden moonlight gleaming
In the homes of Vainola,
On the heaths of Kalevala.
By the cold the crops are blighted
And the cattle huddle shivering;
All the little birds are frightened,
While the people all are lonely
Since they see no ray of daylight
Nor the moonlight gleaming golden. 10

11 Though the pikefish knows his deep spots,
Though the eagle knows the birdways
And the wind the vessels' daycourse,
Children of mankind know nothing,
Neither when the day begins
Nor when fall of night is coming
On that misty point of land
At the head of Foggy Island.

19 Now the young folk are consulting
And the elders are considering 20
How to live without the moonlight,
How exist without the sunlight
In these ragged border regions,
These benighted northern marches.

25 Girls are counseling together,
The young women meditating.
Then they visited the smithy,
Where they ask good Ilmarinen:
"Now, smith, get up off the wallbench
From behind the stone-built fireplace; so
Hammer out a new moon for us
And a new disk for the sun.
Life is weary without moonlight,
Very weird without the sunlight."

35 So he got up from the wallbench,
Came out from beside the stove
Ready to forge another moon
And a new disk for the sun.
And he made a moon, a gold one,
And a new sun made of silver. 40

41 To the forge came Vainamoinen.
As he stepped in he inquired:
"O, you smith, my good brother,
What are you banging at here now,
Always clinking, clanking, clonking?"

47 Ilmarinen answered stoutly:
"A new moon and new sun I'm forging,
Moon of gold and sun of silver
For the roof of heaven on high,
Above six many-colored vaults." 50

53 Answered Vainamoinen smiling:
"Oho, smith, you Ilmarinen!
What you're doing is mere fancy;
Gold will never gleam like moonlight
Nor the silver like the sunlight."

59 But the smith did make a moon,
And he hammered out a sun.
Raised them up with eager hands,
Balanced them with great precision:
Moon upon a fir tree tip, 60
Sun upon a tall pinetop.
From his head the sweat was dripping,
All his forehead soaked with moisture
From the work, the heavy lifting.

69 But he did lift up the moon
And he did set up the sun
Since the moon is on the fir tip
And the sun upon the pinetop -
But the moon, it does not glimmer,
And the sun, it does not shine. 70

75 Vainamoinen then suggested:
"Now it's time to try divining,
By the lots of men to question
Where the sun has got to from us,
Where the moon has disappeared."

81 Vainamoinen, knower eternal,
Cut the chips himself from alder
And arranged the lots in order,
And he turned the lot chips over,
Got them ready with his fingers - 80
Speaks the words of divination:

89 "I ask leave of thee, Creator,
To require an answer truly.
Creator's lot, God's diviner,
Speak out truly and inform us
Where the sun has got to from us,
Where the moon has disappeared,
Since we see them nevermore,
Nevermore up there in heaven.

97 "Tell us, lot, by true causes,
Not according to man's wishes.
Let us hear the truth unvarnished,
Firm report of things ordained.
If it lies its word is worthless
And its fate is in the fire,
Then the sign of men destroyed."

105 But the sign gave out true answers,
And the lot of men spoke truly
That the sun was now held captive
And the moon had vanished yonder 100
Into Pohjola's stone fortress,
Deep inside the copper mountain.

111 Said the staunch old Vainamoinen:
"If I go to Pohjola
On the trails of Pohjolanders,
I can get the moon to glimmer
And the sun to shine out golden."

117 Then he set out and proceeded
To the dark of Pohjola,
Walked a day and walked a second, 110
On the third day saw its gateway
Where the rocky hillocks loom.

123 On the bank of Northland's river
First he hooted and hallooed:
"Bring a boat across to me
So that I can cross the river!"

127 As his shouting went unheeded
And no boat was brought to him,
He gathered up a heap of firewood
From a dead fir's twigs and branches 120
And he burned it on the shore,
Where a thick smoke soon was rising.
As the flame leaped up to heaven,
All the air was thick with smoke.

135 Louhi, mistress of Pohjola,
Happened to be at the window
Gazing over at the bay mouth,
And she spoke out wondering:
"What's that fire burning yonder
Over there at the bay mouth, 130
Smaller than a big war beacon,
Bigger than a seiner's campfire?"

143 Then a lad of Pohjola
Skipped out quickly to the yard,
Looking, listening, and reporting:
"Someone's there across the river -
A distinguished man there walking."

149 Then again old Vaino shouted:
"Come, you lad of Pohjola,
Bring a boat to Vainamoinen." 140

153 Said the lad of Pohjola:
"There's no boat to spare from here.
Come then rowing with your fingers,
Steering with your palms as rudders
Across the river of Pohjola."

159 Vainamoinen thinks it over:
"He can be no man at all
Who turns back on a road once taken."
So he went as a pike in sea,
Whitefish in a tranquil river. 150
Swiftly swam across the sound,
Easily he made the crossing,
Took one step and took another,
Reached the shore of Pohjola.

169 There the sons of Northland shouted,
All the savage ruffians dared him:
"Just you go into the yard!"
So he went into the yard.

173 There the sons of Northland shouted,
All the savage ruffians dared him: 160
"Just you go into the house!"
So he went into the house,
Set his foot within the entry;
Laid his hand upon the door latch,
Opened it and stepped inside,
Crowding in beneath the ceiling.

181 There the men are drinking mead,
Guzzling down the honey drink,
All the men in battle gear,
Everyone with belted swords 170
Threatening the head of Vainamoinen,
Death to the man of Quiet Water.

187 There they taunted the intruder:
"What's your news, miserable beggar,
What's your game, you swimming fellow?"

191 Said the staunch old Vainamoinen:
"News about the moon is curious,
Of the sun unheard-of wondrous.
Whither did the sun go from us
And the moon, where is it hidden?" 180

197 This the sons of Northland answered,
The whole savage crew replied:
"There the sun escaped from you,
There the sun and moon have vanished:
Into a mottled rocky cavern,
Into a cliff of iron mountain.
They cannot get free from here,
Unless someone comes to free them."

205 Then old Vainamoinen challenged:
"If the sun and moon are not delivered, 190
Liberated from the cavern,
Let's decide it hand to hand,
Settle it right now sword to sword."

211 Then he drew his sword out quickly,
Slid it swiftly from the scabbard.
On the blade the moon was gleaming,
On the hilt a sun was glowing,
On the back a stallion standing,
On the knob a kitten sleeping.

217 When they measured off their weapons, 200
Vainamoinen's blade was longer,
Longer by a barleycorn,
By the thickness of a straw.7

223 To the yard the swordsmen hurried,
Turned around and faced each other.
Then old Vainamoinen struck,
Struck out like a flash of lightning;
Slashed out one time, slashed a second,
Sheared the heads of Northland's minions,
Sheared them off like turnip tops, 210
Swiftly sliced them off like flaxheads.

231 Then he went to seek the moon
And to get the hidden sun
From the mottled rocky cavern,
Hidden tightly there within
The iron cliff and steely mountain.
Then he walked a little distance,
Went along a little farther
Till he saw a leafy grove:
In the grove a graceful birch tree, 220
Underneath the birch a boulder,
Under that a rocky cavern,
Rocky cavern with nine doors,
On the doors a hundred bar bolts.

245 On a stone he found a line,
Secret sign drawn on the rock;
Drew his sword from his scabbard,
Wrote a countersign upon it,
Wrote it with his fire-swift sword,
With the point of his bright blade 230
And the writrock split in two,
Boulder bursting in three pieces.

253 Peering downward through a crevice
Vainamoinen saw the adders,
Saw the reptiles drinking ale,
Serpents lapping up the liquor
In the cavern of the writrock,
In a liver-colored crevice.

259 Said old Vainamoinen, chiding:
"This is why the poor old matrons 240
Do not get the ale they want,
Since the adders drink the ale
And the serpents lap the liquor."

265 With his sword he slashed at them,
Sliced their necks and cut their heads off
As he spoke these fearful words:
"Never again from this day onward
Shall the adders drink our ale,
Noisome worms devour the liquor."

273 Vainamoinen, knower eternal, 250
Tried the doors with his hands
And the bolts with words of magic-
Doors don't open to his hands,
Bolts don't loosen to his magic.

279 Then the wise man made a proverb:
"Man unarmed is but a woman,
Just a frog without a grub hoe."
So at once he started homeward
Head bowed down, low in spirit
That he had not got the moon yet 260
Nor had even seen the sun.

287 There young Lemminkainen asked him:
"Oho, you old Vainamoinen,
Why did you not take me with you
As the abler man of magic?
All the locks I would have loosened,
All the bolts I could have broken
That the moon would now be gleaming
And the sun, it would be shining."

295 Said old Vainamoinen mocking: 270
"Bolts don't breaktefore mere wording,
Locks don't open to small magic,
Nor the strength of hand perform it
Nor the turning of an arm."

303 Then he asked the smith to help him:
"Oho, you old Ilmarinen,
Hammer out a hoe three-bladed,
Then a dozen big ice chippers
And an enormous bunch of keys
With which to free the moon from stone 280
And from the rock release the sun."

309 Ilmarinen, smith eternal,
Forged the items that were wanted:
Bunch of keys, a dozen ice picks
And a goodly bunch of spearheads;
They were neither large nor small,
Forged them of a middle size.

317 Louhi, Pohjola's old mistress,
The sparse-toothed dame of Northland,
Made a pair of feathered wings. 290
Springing up she tried her flying,
Hovering first about the farmyard.
Then she ventured far and farther,
Flew across the Northland water
To the forge of Ilmarinen.

325 When the smith glanced out the window,
It looked as if a squall were brewing,
But it was no squall approaching -
It was like a gray hawk flying.

329 Then smith Ilmarinen asked it: 300
"Tell me what is it you want here,
Perching there beneath my window?"

333 In reply the bird found tongue
And the hawk began cajoling:
"Oho, you smith Ilmarinen!
You're a smith extraordinary
So artistic with your hammer."8

339 Shruggingly the craftsman answered:
"Not at all, it's no wonder
That I am a skillful craftsman- 310
I'm the one who shaped the sky,
Hammered out the lid of heaven."

345 Said the bird, inquired the hawk:
"What is it, smith, that you are making,
And just what are you devising?"

349 Answered Ilmarinen shrewdly:
"It is but an iron collar
For the mistress of Pohjola.
With it we will chain her safely
To the side of a great rock mountain." 320

355 Louhi felt destruction coming,
Sensed the threat of doom upon her,
So in haste she sprang up, flying
Away and back to Pohjola.

361 There she freed the moon from stone,
From the rock released the sun.

363 Then she made a transformation,
Changed herself into a pigeon
And flew back to Ilmarinen.
There she lighted as a bird, 330
On the doorsill as a pigeon.

369 "Tell me, bird," asked Ilmarinen,
"Tell me, why did you come here,
Come here, pigeon, to my doorsill?"

373 From the door the creature answered,
Spoke the pigeon from the doorsill:
"It may be I'm on the doorsill
As a messenger with tidings:
From the rock the moon is risen
And the sun from the great rock mountain." 340

379 So the smith went out to look,
Stepping through the smithy's doorway.
Eagerly he looked to heaven,
Looked, and saw the moon was gleaming,
Looked, and saw the sun was shining.

385 Then he went to Vainamoinen
And addressed him in these words:
"Vainamoinen, singer eternal!
Come with me to see the heavens,
See the sun and see the moon 350
Shining, gleaming in their places,
In their old familiar orbits."

393 Old reliable Vainamoinen
Went outside and raised his head,
Lifted up his eyes to heaven-
Sun was free, the moon was risen,
Light of heaven everywhere.

399 Vainamoinen greeted them:
"Health to you, 0 moon for gleaming,
Your countenance so beautiful! 360
Yea, the dear day for its dawning
And the morning sun for rising.

407 "Dear moon from the rock arisen,
Glorious sun from the cave delivered,
Risen like a cuckoo, golden,
Like a silver dovebird soaring
To your ancient way of living,
To your old familiar orbits.

413 "Rise forever in the mornings
From this day forever onward. 370
Give us health and good hunting,
Move the game where we can get it,
Bring it to our very thumbtips
And good luck upon our fish hooks.

419 "Good health to you in your orbit,
May your journey be unhindered,
May you end your arc in beauty
And the evening bring you joy."


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