Kalevala: Väinämöinen and Aino (cont.)

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

Runo 4: Väinämöinen and Aino (cont.)
(see previous page for audio)

[Aino's mother continues her speech.]

"In the days when I was youthful,
In my youthful days of girlhood,
In the wood I sought for berries,
Gathered raspberries on the mountain,
Heard the moonlight's daughter weaving,
And the sunlight's daughter spinning,
There beside the wooded island,
On the borders of the greenwood;
Thereupon I softly neared them,
And beside them took my station,
And began to ask them gently,
In the words that I repeat you:
'Give you of your gold, O Kuutar,
And your silver give, Paivatar,
To the maiden poorly dowered,
To the child who now implores you!'
"Then her gold did Kuutar give me.
And her silver gave Paivatar;
With the gold I decked my temples,
And adorned my head with silver,
Homeward like a flower I hastened,
Joyful, to my father's dwelling.
These I wore one day, a second;
Then upon the third day after
Took the gold from off my temples.
From my head removed the silver,
Took them to the mountain storehouse;
In the chest with care I laid them,
There until this day I left them,
And since then I have not seen them.
On thy brows bind silken ribands
On thy temples gold adornments,
Round thy neck a beaded necklace,
On thy breast a golden crosslet.
Put thou on a shift of linen,
Of the finest flax that's woven,
Lay thou on a robe of woollen,
Bind it with a silken girdle,
Then the finest silken stockings,
And of shoes the very finest,
Then in plaits thy hair arranging,
Bind it up with silken ribands,
Slip the gold rings on thy fingers,
Deck thy wrists with golden bracelets.
After this return thou homewards
From thy visit to the storehouse,
As the joy of all thy kindred,
And of all thy race the fairest,
Like a floweret by the wayside,
Like a raspberry on the mountain;
Far more lovely than aforetime,
Fairer than in former seasons."

Thus the mother urged her counsel,
Thus she spoke unto her daughter,
But the daughter did not heed her,
Heeded not her mother's counsel;
From the house she wandered weeping,
From the homestead went in sorrow,
And she said the words which follow,
And expressed herself in this wise:
'What may be the joyous feelings,
And the thoughts of one rejoicing?
Such may be the joyous feelings,
And the thoughts of one rejoicing;
Like the dancing of the water
On the waves when gently swelling.
What do mournful thoughts resemble?
What the long-tailed duck may ponder?
Such may mournful thoughts resemble,
Thus the long-tailed duck may ponder,
As 'neath frozen snow embedded,
Water deep in well imprisoned.
Often now my life is clouded.
Often is my childhood troubled,
And my thoughts like withered herbage.
As I wander through the bushes,
Wandering on through grassy meadows,
Pushing through the tangled thickets,
And my thoughts are pitch for blackness
And my heart than soot not brighter.
Better fortune had befel me,
And it would have been more happy.
Had I not been born and nurtured,
And had never grown in stature,
Till I saw these days of sorrow,
And this joyless time o'ertook me,
Had I died in six nights only,
Or upon the eighth had perished.
Much I should not then have needed,
But a shroud a span-long only,
And of earth a tiny corner.
Little then had wept my mother,
Fewer tears had shed my father,
And my brother not a tearlet."

Thus she wept a day, a second,
And again her mother asked her,
"Wherefore dost thou weep, poor maiden,
Wherefore thus lament and sorrow?"

"Therefore weep I, hapless maiden,
Therefore do I weep for ever,
That yourself have pledged me, hapless,
And your daughter you have promised
Thus to be an old man's comfort,
As a solace to the old man,
To support his feeble footsteps,
And to wait upon him always.
Better were it had you sent me
Deeply down beneath the billows,
There to be the powan's sister,
And companion of the fishes.
In the lake 'tis surely better
There beneath the waves to sojourn,
There to be the powan's sister.
And companion of the fishes,
Than to be an old man's comfort,
To support his aged footsteps,
So that I can mend his stockings,
And may be a staff to prop him."

Then she sought the mountain storehouse,
And the inner room she entered,
And the finest chest she opened,
Raised the painted lid with clangour,
And she found six golden girdles,
Seven blue robes of finest textures,
And she robed her in the finest,
And completed her adornment.
Set the gold upon her temples,
On her hair the shining silver,
On her brow the sky-blue ribands,
On her head the bands of scarlet.

Then she wandered from the storehouses,
And across the fields she wandered,
Past the marshes, and the heathlands,
Through the shady, gloomy forests;
Thus she sang, as on she hastened,
Thus she spoke, as on she wandered:
"All my heart is filled with trouble;
On my head a stone is loaded,
But my trouble would not vex me,
And the weight would less oppress me,
If I perished, hapless maiden,
Ending thus my life of sorrow,
In the burden of my trouble,
In the sadness of my sorrow.
Now my time perchance approaches,
From this weary world to hasten,
Time to seek the world of Mana,
Time to Tuonela to hasten,
For my father will not mourn me,
Nor my mother will lament me,
Nor my sister's cheeks be moistened,
Nor my brother's eyes be tearful,
If I sank beneath the waters,
Sinking where the fish are sporting,
To the depths beneath the billows,
Down amid the oozy blackness."

On she went, one day, a second,
And at length, upon the third day,
Came she to a lake's broad margin,
To the bank, o'ergrown with rushes,
And she reached it in the night-time,
And she halted in the darkness.

In the evening wept the maiden,
Through the darksome night lamented,
On the rocks that fringed the margin,
Where a bay spread wide before her.

At the earliest dawn of morning,
As she gazed from off a headland,
Just beyond she saw three maidens,
Bathing there amid the waters,
Aino made the fourth among then,
And the fifth a slender sapling;
Then her shift she cast on willows,
And her dress upon the aspens,
On the open ground her stockings,
Threw her shoes upon the boulders,
On the sand her beads she scattered,
And her rings upon the shingle.

In the waves a rock was standing,
Brightly hued and golden shining,
And she swam and sought to reach it,
As a refuge in her trouble;
When at length she stood upon it,
And would rest upon the summit,
On the stone of many colours,
On the rock so smooth and shining,
In the waves it sank beneath her,
Sinking to the very bottom.


(1100 words)






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