Friday, July 18, 2014

Kalevala: Forging the Sampo (cont.)

This story is part of the Kalevala unit. Story source: Kalevala by Elias Lönnrot, translated by W. F. Kirby (1907).

Runo 10: Forging the Sampo (cont.)
(see previous page for audio)

Then the smith, e'en Ilmarinen,
Journeyed forth and hurried onwards,
On the tempest forth he floated,
On the pathway of the breezes,
Over moon, and under sunray,
On the shoulders of the Great Bear,
Till he reached the halls of Pohja,
Baths of Sariola the gloomy,
Yet the tailed-dogs were not barking,
And the watch-dogs were not yelping.

Louhi, Pohjola's old Mistress,
Old and gap-toothed dame of Pohja,
In the house she stood and listened,
And at length she spoke as follows:
"Who then are you among mortals,
Who among the roll of heroes,
On the tempest-path who comest,
On the sledgeway of the breezes,
Yet the dogs ran forth not, barking,
And the shaggy-tailed ones barked not?"

Said the smith, e'en Ilmarinen,
"Surely I have not come hither
That the village dogs should shame me,
Or the shaggy-tailed ones hurt me,
Here behind these foreign portals,
And behind these unknown fences."

Then did Pohjola's old Mistress
Question thus the new-come stranger:
"Have you ever on your travels,
Heard reports of, or encountered
Him, the great smith Ilmarinen,
Most accomplished of the craftsmen?
Long have we been waiting for him,
Long been anxious for his coming
Here to Pohjola's dark regions,
That a Sampo he might forge us."

Then the smith, e'en Ilmarinen,
Answered in the words which follow:
"I have met upon my journey
With the smith named Ilmarinen;
I myself am Ilmarinen,
And a most accomplished craftsman."

Louhi, Pohjola's old Mistress,
Old and gap-toothed dame of Pohja,
Hurried back into her dwelling,
And she spoke the words which follow:
"Come, my daughter, thou the youngest,
Thou the fairest of my children,
Robe thyself in choicest raiment,
Clothe thee in the brightest-coloured,
In the finest of your dresses,
Brightest beads upon thy bosom,
Round thy neck the very finest,
And upon thy temples shining;
See thou that thy cheeks are rosy,
And thy countenance is cheerful:
Here's the smith named Ilmarinen,
He the great primeval craftsman,
Who will forge the Sampo for us,
With its brightly-pictured cover."

Then the lovely maid of Pohja,
Famed on land, on water peerless,
Took the choicest of her dresses,
And the brightest of her garments,
And the fifth at last selected;
Then her head-dress she adjusted,
And her copper belt girt round her,
And her wondrous golden girdle.

Back she came from out the storeroom,
Dancing back into the courtyard,
And her eyes were brightly shining.
As she moved, her earrings jingled,
And her countenance was charming,
And her lovely cheeks were rosy.
Gold was shining on her bosom,
On her head was silver gleaming.

Then did Pohjola's old Mistress,
Lead the smith named Ilmarinen,
Into Pohjola's great castle,
Rooms of Sariola the gloomy;
There she set a meal before him,
Gave the hero drink in plenty,
And she feasted him profusely,
And at length she spoke as follows:
"O thou smith, O Ilmarinen,
Thou the great primeval craftsman,
If you can but forge a Sampo,
With its many-coloured cover,
From the tips of swans' white wing-plumes,
From the milk of barren heifer,
From a little grain of barley,
From the wool of sheep of summer,
Will you then accept this maiden,
As reward, my charming daughter?"

Then the smith named Ilmarinen
Answered in the words which follow:
"I will go to forge the Sampo,
Weld its many-coloured cover,
From the tips of swans' white wing-plumes,
From the milk of barren heifer,
From a little grain of barley,
From the wool of sheep of summer,
For 'twas I who forged the heavens,
And the vault of air I hammered,
Ere the air had yet beginning,
Or a trace of aught was present."

Then he went to forge the Sampo,
With its many-coloured cover,
Sought a station for a smithy,
And he needed tools for labour,
But no place he found for smithy,
Nor for smithy, nor for bellows,
Nor for furnace, nor for anvil,
Not a hammer, nor a mallet.

Then the smith, e'en Ilmarinen,
Spoke aloud the words which follow:
"None despair, except old women,
Scamps may leave their task unfinished,
Not a man, how weak soever,
Not a hero of the laziest!"

For his forge he sought a station,
And a wide place for the bellows,
In the country round about him,
In the outer fields of Pohja;
So he sought one day, a second,
And at length upon the third day
Found a stone all streaked with colours,
And a mighty rock beside it.

Here the smith his search abandoned,
And the smith prepared his furnace,
On the first day fixed the bellows,
And the forge upon the second;
Thereupon smith Ilmarinen,
He the great primeval craftsman,
Heaped the fuel upon the fire,
And beneath the forge he thrust it,
Made his servants work the bellows,
To the half of all their power,
So the servants worked the bellows,
To the half of all their power.

During three days of the summer,
During three nights of the summer.
Stones beneath their heels were resting,
And upon their toes were boulders;
On the first day of their labour
He himself, smith Ilmarinen,
Stooped him down, intently gazing,
To the bottom of the furnace,
If perchance amid the fire
Something brilliant had developed:
From the flames there rose a crossbow,
Golden bow from out the furnace;
'Twas a gold bow tipped with silver,
And the shaft shone bright with copper.
And the bow was fair to gaze on,
But of evil disposition,
And a head each day demanded,
And on feast-days two demanded.


(900 words)




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