Kalevala: Joukahainen and Väinämöinen (end)

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

Runo 3: Joukahainen and Väinämöinen (end)
(see previous page for audio)

Said the youthful Joukahainen,
"O thou aged Väinämöinen,
Loose me from this place of terror
And release me from my torment:
All my stacks at home I'll give thee,
And my fields I likewise promise,
All to save my life I offer,
If you will accept my ransom."

Said the aged Väinämöinen,
"No, your barns I do not covet,
And your fields are 'neath my notice,
I myself have plenty of them:
Fields are mine in all directions,
Stocks are reared on every fallow,
And my own fields please me better,
And my stacks of corn are finest."

Then the youthful Joukahainen
In the swamp he sank yet deeper.

Then the youthful Joukahainen,
Felt at length the greatest anguish,
Chin-deep in the swamp while sinking,
In the mud his beard was draggled,
In the moss his mouth was sunken,
And his teeth among the tree-roots.

Said the youthful Joukahainen,
"O thou wisest Väinämöinen,
O thou oldest of magicians,
Sing once more thy songs of magic,
Grant the life of one so wretched
And release me from my prison.
In the stream my feet are sunken,
With the sand my eyes are smarting;
Speak thy words of magic backwards,
Break the spell that overwhelms me!
You shall have my sister Aino,
I will give my mother's daughter.
She shall dust your chamber for you,
Sweep the flooring with her besom,
Keep the milk-pots all in order,
And shall wash your garments for you;
Golden fabrics she shall weave you,
And shall bake you cakes of honey."

Then the aged Väinämöinen,
Heard his words and grew full joyful,
Since to tend his age was promised
Joukahainen's lovely sister.

On the stone of joy he sat him,
On the stone of song he rested,
Sang an hour, and sang a second,
And again he sang a third time:
Thus reversed his words of magic,
And dissolved the spell completely.

Then the youthful Joukahainen
From the mud his chin uplifted
And his beard he disentangled;
From the rock his steed led forward,
Drew his sledge from out the bushes,
From the reeds his whip unloosing.

Then upon his sledge he mounted,
And upon the seat he sat him,
And with gloomy thoughts he hastened,
With a heart all sad and doleful,
Homeward to his dearest mother,
Unto her, the aged woman.

On he drove with noise and tumult,
Home he drove in consternation,
And he broke the sledge to pieces,
At the door the shafts were broken.

Then the noise alarmed his mother,
And his father came and asked him,
"Recklessly the sledge was broken;
Did you break the shafts on purpose?
Wherefore do you drive so rashly,
And arrive at home so madly?"

Then the youthful Joukahainen
Could not keep his tears from flowing;
Sad he bowed his head in sorrow,
And his cap awry he shifted,
And his lips were dry and stiffened,
O'er his mouth his nose was drooping.

Then his mother came and asked him
Wherefore was he sunk in sorrow.
"O my son, why weep so sadly?
O my darling, why so troubled,
With thy lips so dry and stiffened,
O'er thy mouth thy nose thus drooping?"

Said the youthful Joukahainen,
"O my mother, who hast borne me,
There is cause for what has happened,
For the sorcerer has o'ercome me;
Cause enough have I for weeping,
And the sorcerer's brought me sorrow.
I myself must weep for ever,
And must pass my life in mourning,
For my very sister Aino,
She, my dearest mother's daughter,
I have pledged to Väinämöinen,
As the consort of the minstrel,
To support his feeble footsteps,
And to wait upon him always."

Joyous clapped her hands his mother,
Both her hands she rubbed together,
And she spoke the words which follow:
"Do not weep, my son, my dearest,
For thy tears are quite uncalled for;
Little cause have we to sorrow,
For the hope I long have cherished:
All my lifetime I have wished it,
And have hoped this high-born hero
Might akin to us be reckoned,
And the minstrel Väinämöinen
Might become my daughter's husband."

But when Joukahainen's sister
Heard, she wept in deepest sorrow,
Wept one day, and wept a second,
At the threshold ever weeping,
Wept in overwhelming sorrow,
In the sadness of her spirit.

Then her mother said consoling,
"Wherefore weep, my little Aino?
You have gained a valiant bridegroom,
And the home of one most noble,
Where you'll look from out the window,
Sitting on the bench and talking."

But her daughter heard and answered,
"O my mother who hast borne me,
Therefore have I cause for weeping,
Weeping for the beauteous tresses,
Now my youthful head adorning,
And my hair so soft and glossy,
Which must now be wholly hidden,
While I still am young and blooming;
Then must I through lifetime sorrow
For the splendour of the sunlight,
And the moonbeam's charming lustre
And the glory of the heavens,
Which I leave, while still so youthful,
And as child must quite abandon,
I must leave my brother's work-room,
Just beyond my father's window."

Said the mother to the daughter,
To the girl the crone made answer,
"Cast away this foolish sorrow,
Cease your weeping, all uncalled for,
Little cause have you for sorrow,
Little cause for lamentation:
God's bright sun is ever shining
On the world in other regions,
Shines on other doors and windows
Than your father's or your brother's;
Berries grow on every mountain,
Strawberries on the plains are growing,
You can pluck them in your sorrow
Wheresoe'er your steps may lead you,
Not alone on father's acres,
Or upon your brother's clearings."


(900 words)





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