Friday, July 18, 2014

Kalevala: Joukahainen and Väinämöinen (cont. again)

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 (cont. again)
(see previous page for audio)

Then the youthful Joukahainen
Shook his head, his mouth drawn crooked,
And he tossed his locks of blackness.
And he spake the words which follow:
"He who shuns the sword's decision,
Nor betakes him to his sword-blade,
To a swine I soon will sing him,
To a snouted swine transform him;
Heroes I have thus o'erpowered,
Hither will I drive and thither,
And will pitch them on the dunghill,
Grunting in the cowshed corner."

Angry then was Väinämöinen,
Filled with wrath and indignation,
And himself commenced his singing,
And to speak his words of wisdom,
But he sang no childish ditties,
Children's songs and women's jesting,
But a song for bearded heroes,
Such as all the children sing not,
Nor a half the boys can master,
Nor a third can lovers compass,
In the days of dark misfortune,
When our life is near its ending.

Sang the aged Väinämöinen;
Lakes swelled up, and earth was shaken,
And the coppery mountains trembled,
And the mighty rocks resounded,
And the mountains clove asunder;
On the shore the stones were shivered.

Then he sang of Joukahainen,
Changed his runners into saplings,
And to willows changed the collar,
And the reins he turned to alder,
And he sang the sledge all gilded,
To the lake among the rushes,
And the whip, with beads embellished,
To a reed upon the water,
And the horse, with front white-spotted
To a stone beside the torrent.

Then he sang his sword, gold-hilted,
To a lightning-flash in heaven,
And his ornamented crossbow,
To a rainbow o'er the water,
And he sang his feathered arrows,
Into hawks that soar above him,
And his dog, with upturned muzzle,
Stands a stone in earth embedded.

From his head, his cap, by singing,
Next became a cloud above him,
From his hands, his gloves, by singing,
Next were changed to water-lilies,
And the blue coat he was wearing,
Floats a fleecy cloud in heaven,
And the handsome belt that girt him,
In the sky as stars he scattered.

As he sang, sank Joukahainen
Waist-deep in the swamp beneath him,
Hip-deep in the marshy meadow,
To his arm-pits in a quicksand.

Then indeed young Joukahainen
Knew at last, and comprehended,
And he knew his course was finished,
And his journey now was ended,
For in singing he was beaten,
By the aged Väinämöinen.

He would raise his foot to struggle
But he could no longer lift it;
Then he tried to lift the other,
But as shod with stone he felt it.

Then the youthful Joukahainen
Felt the greatest pain and anguish,
And he fell in grievous trouble,
And he spoke the words which follow:
"O thou wisest Väinämöinen,
O thou oldest of magicians,
Speak thy words of magic backwards,
And reverse thy songs of magic;
Loose me from this place of terror,
And release me from my torment:
I will pay the highest ransom,
And the fixed reward will give thee."

Said the aged Väinämöinen,
"What do you propose to give me,
If I turn my words of magic,
And reverse my songs of magic,
Loose you from this place of terror,
And release you from your torment?"

Said the youthful Joukahainen,
"I've two crossbows I could give you,
Ay, a pair of splendid crossbows,
One shoots forth with passing quickness,
Surely hits the mark the other;
If it please you, choose between them."

Said the aged Väinämöinen,
"No, your bows I do not covet,
For the wretched bows I care not;
I myself have plenty of them:
All the walls are decked with crossbows,
All the pegs are hung with crossbows;
In the woods they wander hunting,
Nor a hero needs to span them."

Then the youthful Joukahainen
In the swamp he sank yet deeper.
Said the youthful Joukahainen,
"I have yet two boats to offer;
Splendid boats, as I can witness,
One is light, and fit for racing,
Heavy loads will bear the other;
If it please you, choose between them."

Said the aged Väinämöinen,
"No, your boats I do not covet,
And I will not choose between them,
I myself have plenty of them:
All the staves are full already,
Every creek is crowded with them,
Boats to face the gale adapted,
Boats against the wind that travel."

Then the youthful Joukahainen,
in the swamp he sank yet deeper.
Said the youthful Joukahainen,
"I have still two noble stallions;
Ay, a pair of handsome horses:
One of these of matchless swiftness,
And the other best in harness;
If it please you, choose between them."

Said the aged Väinämöinen,
"No, I do not want your horses,
Do not need your steeds, white-footed;
I myself have plenty of them:
Every stall has now its tenant,
Every stable's filled with horses,
With their backs like water shining;
Lakes of fat upon their haunches."

Then the youthful Joukahainen,
In the swamp he sank yet deeper.
Said the youthful Joukahainen,
"O thou aged Väinämöinen,
Speak thy words of magic backwards,
And reverse thy songs of magic.
I will give a golden helmet,
And a hat filled up with silver,
Which my father won in warfare,
Which he won in battle-struggle."

Said the aged Väinämöinen,
"No, I do not want your silver,
And for gold, I only scorn it.
I myself have both in plenty:
Every storeroom crammed with treasure.
Every chest is overflowing,
Gold as ancient as the moonlight,
Silver with the sun coeval."

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


(900 words)








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