Friday, July 18, 2014

Kalevala: Joukahainen's Revenge (cont.)

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

Runo 6: Joukahainen's Revenge (cont.)
(see previous page for audio)

Then the youthful Joukahainen
Paused a moment and reflected,
And he pondered for an instant,
Though his hands to shoot were ready,
One would shoot, and one restrained him,
But his sinewy fingers forced him.

And at length these words he uttered,
And expressed his own decision:
"What if twice from earth in future
Every gladness should be banished?
Let all songs for ever vanish;
I will shoot my arrows, heedless!"

Then he spanned the mighty crossbow.
And he drew the bow of copper,
And against his left knee bent it,
Steady with his foot he held it,
Took an arrow from his quiver,
Chose a triple-feathered arrow,
Took the strongest of his arrows,
Chose the very best among them,
Then upon the groove he laid it,
On the hempen cord he fixed it,
Then his mighty bow he lifted,
And he placed it to his shoulder,
Ready now to shoot the arrow,
And to shoot at Väinämöinen.

And he spoke the words which follow:
"Do thou strike, O birchwood arrow,
Strike thou in the back, O pinewood,
Twang thy best, O hempen bowstring!
If my hand is leaning downward,
Let the arrow then strike higher,
If my hand is bending upward,
Let the arrow then strike downward!"

Quickly then he drew the trigger,
Shot the first among his arrows.
Far too high the shaft flew upward.
High above his head to skyward,
And it whizzed among the cloudlets,
Through the scattered clouds it wandered.

Thus he shot, in reckless fashion,
Shot the second of his arrows.
Far too low the shot flew downwards.
Deep in Mother Earth 'twas sunken.
Earth was almost sunk to Mana,
And the hills of sand were cloven.

Then he shot again, a third time,
And the third shaft, straighter flying,
In the blue elk's spleen was buried,
Under aged Väinämöinen,
Thus he shot the straw-hued courser,
Like a pea-stalk in his colour;
Through the flesh beneath his shoulder,
In the left side deep he pierced him.

Then the aged Väinämöinen,
Plunged his fingers in the water,
With his hands the waves he parted,
Grasping at the foaming billows,
From the blue elk's back he tumbled
From the steed of pea-stalk colour;
Then a mighty wind arising
Raised upon the sea a billow,
And it bore old Väinämöinen,
Swimming from the mainland further,
O'er the wide expanse of water,
Out into the open ocean.

Then the youthful Joukahainen
Uttered words of boastful triumph:
"Now thou ancient Väinämöinen,
Never while thy life endureth,
In the course of all thy lifetime,
While the golden moon is shining,
Walk in Väinölä's fair meadows,
Or on Kalevala's broad heathlands!
May you toss for six years running,
Seven long summers ever drifting,
Tossed about for over eight years,
On the wide expanse of water,
On the surface of the billows,
Drift for six years like a pine-tree,
And for seven years like a fir-tree,
And for eight years like a tree-stump!"

Then the house again he entered,
And at once his mother asked him,
"Have you shot at Väinämöinen?
Slaughtered Kaleva's famous offspring?"

Then the youthful Joukahainen
Answered in the words which follow:
"I have shot at Väinämöinen,
And have o'erthrown Kalevalainen,
Sent him swimming in the water,
Swept him out upon the billows,
On the restless waves of ocean
Where the waves are wildly tossing,
And the old man plunged his fingers
And his palms amid the waters,
Then upon his side he tumbled,
And upon his back he turned him,
Drifting o'er the waves of ocean,
Out upon the foaming billows."

But his mother made him answer,
"Very evil hast thou acted,
Thus to shoot at Väinämöinen
And to o'erthrow Kalevalainen.
Of Suvantola the hero,
Kalevala's most famous hero."


(600 words)




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