Kalevala: Forging the Sampo (end)

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 (end)
(see previous page for audio)

He himself, smith Ilmarinen,
Was not much delighted with it,
So he broke the bow to pieces,
Cast it back into the furnace,
Made his servants work the bellows,
To the half of all their power.

So again upon the next day,
He himself, smith Ilmarinen,
Stooped him down, intently gazing
To the bottom of the furnace,
And a boat rose from the furnace,
From the heat rose up a red boat,
And the prow was golden-coloured,
And the rowlocks were of copper.
And the boat was fair to gaze on,
But of evil disposition;
It would go to needless combat,
And would fight when cause was lacking.

Therefore did smith Ilmarinen
Take no slightest pleasure in it,
And he smashed the boat to splinters,
Cast it back into the furnace;
Made his servants work the bellows,
To the half of all their power.

Then upon the third day likewise,
He himself, smith Ilmarinen,
Stooped him down, intently gazing
To the bottom of the furnace,
And a heifer then rose upward,
With her horns all golden-shining,
With the Bear-stars on her forehead;
On her head appeared the Sun-disc,
And the cow was fair to gaze on,
But of evil disposition;
Always sleeping in the forest,
On the ground her milk she wasted.

Therefore did smith Ilmarinen
Take no slightest pleasure in her,
And he cut the cow to fragments,
Cast her back into the furnace,
Made his servants work the bellows,
To the half of all their power.

So again upon the fourth day,
He himself, smith Ilmarinen
Stooped him down, and gazed intently
To the bottom of the furnace,
And a plough rose from the furnace,
With the ploughshare golden-shining,
Golden share, and frame of copper,
And the handles tipped with silver.
And the plough was fair to gaze on,
But of evil disposition,
Ploughing up the village corn fields,
Ploughing up the open meadows.

Therefore did smith Ilmarinen
Take no slightest pleasure in it.
And he broke the plough to pieces,
Cast it back into the furnace,
Call the winds to work the bellows
To the utmost of their power.

Then the winds arose in fury,
Blew the east wind, blew the west wind,
And the south wind yet more strongly,
And the north wind howled and blustered;
Thus they blew one day, a second,
And upon the third day likewise:
Fire was flashing from the windows,
From the door the sparks were flying
And the dust arose to heaven,
With the clouds the smoke was mingled.

Then again smith Ilmarinen,
On the evening of the third day,
Stooped him down, and gazed intently
To the bottom of the furnace,
And he saw the Sampo forming,
With its many-coloured cover.

Thereupon smith Ilmarinen,
He the great primeval craftsman,
Welded it and hammered at it,
Heaped his rapid blows upon it,
Forged with cunning art the Sampo,
And on one side was a corn-mill,
On another side a salt-mill,
And upon the third a coin-mill:
Now was grinding the new Sampo,
And revolved the pictured cover,
Chestfuls did it grind till evening,
First for food it ground a chestful,
And another ground for barter,
And a third it ground for storage.

Now rejoiced the Crone of Pohja,
And conveyed the bulky Sampo,
To the rocky hills of Pohja,
And within the Mount of Copper,
And behind nine locks secured it;
There it struck its roots around it,
Fathoms nine in depth that measured,
One in Mother Earth deep-rooted,
In the strand the next was planted,
In the nearest mount the third one.

Afterwards smith Ilmarinen,
Asked the maiden as his guerdon,
And he spoke the words which follow:
"Will you give me now the maiden,
For the Sampo is completed,
With its beauteous pictured cover?"

Then the lovely maid of Pohja
Answered in the words which follow:
"Who in years that this shall follow,
For three summers in succession,
Who shall hear the cuckoo calling,
And the birds all sweetly singing,
If I seek a foreign country,
As in foreign lands a berry?
If the dove had thus departed,
And the maiden thus should wander,
Strayed away the mother's darling,
Likewise would the cranberries vanish,
All the cuckoos vanish with them,
And the nightingales would migrate,
From the summit of this mountain,
From the summits of these uplands.
Not as yet can I abandon
My delightful life as maiden,
And my innocent employments
In the glowing heat of summer.
All unplucked the mountain-berries,
And the lakeshore will be songless,
And unvisited the meadows,
And in woods I sport no longer."

Thereupon smith Ilmarinen,
He the great primeval craftsman,
Sad, and with his head down-hanging,
And his cap in grief thrust sideways,
Presently began to ponder,
In his head long time debating
How he now should journey homeward,
To his own familiar country,
From the gloomy land of Pohja,
Sariola for ever misty.

Then said Pohjola's old Mistress,
"O thou smith, O Ilmarinen
Wherefore is thy mind so saddened,
And thy cap in grief pushed sideways?
Are you thinking how to journey,
Homeward to your native country?"

Said the smith, e'en Ilmarinen,
"Yes, my thoughts are there directed
To my home that I may die there,
And may rest in scenes familiar."

Then did Pohjola's old Mistress
Set both meat and drink before him,
At the boat-stern then she placed him,
There to work the copper paddle.
And she bade the wind blow strongly,
And the north wind fiercely bluster.

Thus it was smith Ilmarinen
He the great primeval craftsman,
Travelled homeward to his country,
O'er the blue sea's watery surface;
Thus he voyaged one day, a second,
And at length upon the third day,
Reached the smith his home in safety,
In the land where he was nurtured.

Asked the aged Väinämöinen,
When he saw smith Ilmarinen,
"Ilmarinen, smith and brother,
Thou the great primeval craftsman,
Hast thou forged a new-made Sampo,
With its many-coloured cover?"

Then replied smith Ilmarinen,
Ready with a fitting answer,
"Grinds forth meal, the new-made Sampo,
And revolves the pictured cover,
Chestfuls does it grind till evening,
First for food it grinds a chestful,
And another grinds for barter,
And a third it grinds for storage."


[Thus ends the Väinämöinen portion of the Kalevala epic; the next runo begins the story of the hero Lemminkainen.]


(1000 words)

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