Kalevala : Resurrection

Translated by Keith Bosley
   The wanton Lemminkäinen's 
   mother at home keeps thinking: 
   'Where's Lemminkäinen got to 
   where has my Farmind vanished 
   that he is not heard coming 
   from his travels in the world?' 
   The luckless mother does not 
   nor the mean one who bore him 
   know where her flesh is moving 
   where her own blood is rolling 
   whether on a piny hill 
      heathery heathland 
   or was he on the high seas 
      on the froth-capped waves 
      or in a great war 
      a dreadful revolt 
   in which blood reaches the shin 
      redness is knee-deep.

   Kyllikki the handsome wife 
   looks about and turns about 
   in wanton Lemminkäinen's 
   home, on Farmind's farm.  She looked 
   in the evening at his comb 
   on the morrow at his brush 
   and one day among others 
   one morrow among many 
   blood was leaking from the comb 
   gore was oozing from the brush. 
   Kyllikki the handsome wife 
   uttered a word and spoke thus: 
   'Now my man has gone from me 
   my fair Farmind has vanished 
 on travels without shelter 
     and on unknown roads: 
 blood is leaking from the comb 
 gore is oozing from the brush!'

 Then Lemminkäinen's mother 
 herself looks upon the comb 
 and she gave way to weeping: 
 'Woe, luckless me, for my days 
 afflicted one, for my times! 
 Now the son of luckless me 
 now, hapless me, my offspring 
 has come upon evil days! 
 Ruin to the worthy boy 
 downfall to wanton Lemminkäinen 
 now the comb is pouring blood 
 and the brush is oozing gore!'

 With her fists she grasped her heir 
     with her arms her clothes 
 and soon she ran a long way 
     she both ran and sped: 
 the hills thudded as she went 
 the marshes rose, the slopes sank 
     the highlands came down 
     the lowlands went up. 
 She came to Northland's cabins 
     asked about her son- 
     she asked and she spoke: 
 'You mistress of Northland, where 
 have you led Lemminkäinen 
 where have you dispatched my son?

 Louhi, mistress of Northland 
     this one answered that: 
 'I know nothing of your son 
 where he has gone and vanished. 
 I sat him in a stallion's 
   sledge, a most fiery one's sleigh; 
   could he have drowned in slush, gone 
      solid on sea ice 
   or got into the wolf's mouth 
   the laws of the dreadful bear?'

   Lemminkäinen's mother said: 
      'Surely you have lied! 
      No wolf eats my kin 
   no bear fells Lemminkäinen: 
   with his fingers he strangles 
   wolves, with his hands he fells bears. 
   Look, if you will not say where 
   you have led Lemminkäinen 
   I will smash the new kiln's door 
   and break the Sampo's hinges.'

   The mistress of Northland said: 
      'I fed the man full 
      let him drink his fill 
   entertained him till he drooped; 
   I sat him in a boat's stern 
   sent him over the rapids. 
   But I cannot imagine 
   where the mean wretch has got to- 
   whether in foaming rapids 
      or in swirling streams.'

   Lemminkäinen's mother said: 
      'Surely you have lied! 
      Tell the truth with care 
      and have done with lies 
   where you led Lemminkäinen 
   lost the Kalevala man 
   or else it will be your doom 
      you will meet your death!' 
  The mistress of Northland said: 
  'Suppose now I tell the truth: 
  I set him to ski for elk 
      flay the king of beasts* 
      bridle great geldings 
      and to harness foals; 
  I made him search for the swan 
      hunt the holy fowl. 
  Now I cannot imagine 
  what has come by way of ruin 
  by way of hindrance turned up 
  that he is not heard coming 
      to ask for a bride 
      to beg for a girl.'

  The mother sought the one gone 
  astray, for the lost she longs: 
  she ran great swamps as a wolf 
  trod the wilds as a bruin 
  waters as an otter roamed 
  lands she walked as a pismire 
  as a wasp headland edges 
      as a hare lakeshores; 
      rocks she shoved aside 
      and stumps she tilted 
  moved dead boughs to the roadside 
  kicked dead trunks to form causeways. 
  Long she sought the one astray 
  long she sought, but does not find. 
  She asked trees about her son 
      longed for her lost one; 
  a tree talked, a fir tree sighed 
  an oak skilfully answered: 
  'I have worries of my own 
  without worrying about your son 
  for I was formed for hardship 
  was put here for evil days- 
  to be chopped up for stacking 
    to be hewn down for faggots 
    to pine away for kiln-wood 
    to be felled for slash-and-burn.'

    Long she sought the one astray 
    long she sought and does not find. 
    She comes upon a small road., 
      to the road she bows: 
    '0 small road, God's creature, have 
      you not seen my son 
      my apple of gold 
      my staff of silver?'

    The road skilfully answered 
    it both declared and chattered: 
    'I have worries of my own 
    without worrying about your son 
    for I was formed for hardship 
    was put here for evil days- 
    for every dog to run on 
    every horseman to ride on 
    every hard shoe to walk on 
       every heel to scrape.'

    Long she sought the one astray 
    long she sought, but does not find. 
    And she comes upon the moon; 
       to the moon she bows: 
    'Darling moon, God's creature, have 
       you not seen my son 
       my apple of gold 
       my staff of silver?'

       That moon, God's creature 
    skilfully enough answered: 
    'I have worries of my own 
    without worrying about your son 
    for I was formed for hardship
 was put here for evil days- 
 to travel the nights alone 
     to shine in the frost 
 to keep watch over winters 
 to vanish for the summer.'

 Long she sought the one astray 
 long she sought and does not find. 
 And she comes upon the sun; 
     to the sun she bows: 
 'O  sun, creature of God, have 
     you not seen my son 
     my apple of gold 
     my staff of silver?'

 Well now, the sun knew something, 
     the daylight reckoned: 
     'Your son, luckless you 
     has been lost, been killed 
 down in Tuoni's black river 
 the Dead Land's ageless water- 
 gone through the rapids roaring 
 with the currents in a flash 
 towards furthest Tuonela 
 to the dales of the Dead Land.'

 Then Lemminkäinen's mother 
     she burst into tears. 
 She went to the smiths' workshop: 
     'Smith Ilmarinen 
 you forged once, forged yesterday 
     so forge today too: 
     helve a copper rake 
 prong it with prongs of iron; 
 forge prongs a hundred fathoms 
 long, prepare a helve of five!'

      Smith Ilmarinen 
   the everlasting craftsman 
      helved a copper rake 
   pronged it with prongs of iron; 
   forged prongs a hundred fathoms 
   long, prepared a helve of five. 
   She, Lemminkäinen's mother 
      gets the iron rake 
   flew to Tuonela's river. 
      She prays to the sun: 
   '0 sun, God's creature, Creature 
   of the Creator, our light: 
   shine for one moment sultry 
   for the next dimly swelter 
   for a third with all your might; 
   put the weary folk to sleep 
   tire the force of the Dead Land 
   wear down the host of Touni!'

   That sun, God's creature, creature 
   of the Creator, daylight 
   flew on to a birch tree's crook 
   to an alder's warp it flapped: 
   it shone one moment sultry 
   for the next dimly sweltered 
   for a third with all its might 
   put the weary folk to sleep 
   tired the force of the Dead Land- 
   the young men upon their swords 
   and the old against their sticks 
   the middle-aged on their spears. 
      Then it slunk away 
   to the top of level heaven 
   to where it had been before 
      its former abode.

   Then Lemminkäinen's mother 
      took the iron rake; 
      she rakes for her son 
  amid the roaring rapid 
     in the flashing steam: 
  she rakes and she does not find. 
  Then she shifted further down- 
  went all the way to the sea 
  in slush to her stocking-top 
  in water up to her waist. 
     She rakes for her son 
  along Tuonela's river 
  she dredges against the stream. 
  She dragged once, and for that twice: 
  all she gets of her son is 
  a shirt, much to her distress; 
     she dragged once again: 
  got his stockings, hat she found- 
  the stockings to her great grief 
  hat to her dismay.  From there 
  she stepped even further down 
  to the dale of the Dead Land 
  dragged once along the water 
  next time across the water 
  a third athwart the water; 
  and it was the third time that 
  a mass of entrails came forth 
     on the iron rake.

  Mass of entrails it was not 
  but wanton Lemminkäinen 
     he, the fair Farmind 
     stuck on the rake's prongs 
     by his ring finger 
     and by his left toe. 
  Wanton Lemminkäinen rose 
  and Kaleva's son came up 
     on the copper rake 
  on top of the clear waters., 
  but there was a bit missing- 
       one hand, half his head 
       a lot of other 
       scraps, and breath as well. 
       There his mother thinks 
       and weeping she says: 
   'Could a man still come from this 
   a new fellow recover?'

   A raven happened to hear 
       and this answers that: 
   'There is no man in one gone 
   in one come to grief: by now 
   whitefish have eaten his eyes 
   a pike has split his shoulders. 
   Let the man go in the sea 
   push him into Tuonela's river! 
   Perhaps he'll become a cod 
       do well as a whale.' 
   That Lemminkäinen's mother 
       will not push her son. 
       She dredges once more 
       with the copper rake 
   along Tuonela's river 
   both along it and across: 
   she gets some hand, gets some head 
   she gets half of a back bone 
   the other half of a rib 
   and many other scraps, built 
   from them some of a son, worked 
   on wanton Lemminkäinen 
       joining flesh to flesh 
       bones to bones fitting 
       and limbs to their limbs 
   sinews to sinew fractures. 
       She bound up sinews 
   knitted up ends of sinews 
   the yarn of sinew she tells 
   over, saying with this word: 
   'Sweet woman of the sinews 
   Sinew-daughter, sweet woman 
   comely spinner of sinews 
      with the sweet spindle 
      the copper distaff 
      and the iron wheel: 
   come here when you are needed 
   walk this way when you are cable 
   a bundle of sinews in your arms 
   a ball of membranes under your arm 
      to bind up sinews 
      knit up sinew-ends 
   in the wounds that are cloven 
   in the gashes that are torn!

   Should not enough come of that 
   there's a lass upon the air 
      in a copper boat 
      in a red-sterned craft: 
      come, lass, off the air 
      maid, from heaven's pole 
   row the boat down the sinews 
      shake it down the limbs 
      row through gaps in bone 
      and through cracks in limbs' 
   Put the sinews in their place 
   and set them in their setting- 
   face to face the big sinews 
   the arteries eye to eye 
   overlapping set the veins 
   the small sinews end to end! 
   Then take up a fine needle 
   threaded with a silken thread: 
      sew with fine needles 
      with tin needles stitch 
      knit up sinew-ends 
   with silken ribbons bind them!

Should not enough come of that 
you yourself, god of the sky 
   harness up your foals 
   make ready your steeds! 
   Drive with your bright sleigh 
   through bone and through limb 
   through muscles and through 
   slippery sinews! 
   Join bone up to flesh 
mew up to sinew-end 
   silver the bone-gap 
rid gild the sinew fracture! 
  here a membrane is broken 
   make the membrane grow 
where a sinew is fractured 
   knit up the sinew 
where the blood has spilt over 
   make the blood roll on 
   where bone has gone soft 
   fit some bone in there 
   where some flesh is loose 
   join flesh together 
and bless it into its place 
and set it in its setting- 
bone to bone and flesh to flesh 
   and limbs to their limbs!'

Thus Lemminkäinen's mother 
made the man, formed the fellow 
with the life he had before 
with the looks he used to have; 
she had the sinews all told 
   the sinew-ends bound 
but had not the man talking 
   not the child speaking. 
Then she put this into words 
   she declared, spoke thus: 
'Where now may ointment be got 
       a drop of mead brought 
   to anoint the weary one 
   to tend the ill-befallen 
   that the man may find his words 
       return to his tales? 
       0 bee, bird of ours 
       king of forest flowers: 
   go now to fetch some honey 
       and to find some mead 
   out of pleasant Forestland 
   from careful Tapiola 
   from many flower petals, from 
   the husks of many grasses 
   to be ointments for the sick 
       and to heal the ill!'

       The bee, a brisk bird 
       forthwith wafted off 
   into pleasant Forestland 
   to careful Tapiola: 
   it pecked flowers upon a lea 
   cooked honey upon its tongue 
       from six flower tips, from 
       a hundred grass-husks. 
       So it comes panting 
       travels doubled up 
   all its wings drenched in mead, its 
   feathers in melted honey. 
   She, Lemminkäinen's mother 
   took up those ointments, with them 
   anointed the weary one 
   tended the ill-befallen; 
   but no help came from them, no 
       words came to the man. 
   Then she put this into words: 
       'Bee, my little bird 
       fly that other way 
       right over nine seas 
   to an island on the main 
       a honeyed mainland 
       to Thor's new cabin* 
   the Worshipful's boundless one! 
   There is pleasant honey there 
       and good ointment there 
       which will suit sinews 
       and be good for limbs 
   so bring some of those ointments 
   bear some of those remedies 
   for me to put on the hurt 
   to pour on the injuries!'

       The bee, a slight man 
       again flitted off 
       right over nine seas 
       half a tenth sea too: 
   it flew one day, it flew two 
   soon it flew a third as well 
   without sitting on a reed 
   without perching on a leaf 
   to the island on the main 
       the honeyed mainland 
   to a fiery rapid's brink 
   to a holy stream's whirlpool. 
   There honey was being cooked 
   salves were being made ready 
       in tiny cauldrons 
       in beautiful pans 
       that would hold a thumb 
       fit a fingertip. 
       The bee, slight man, got 
       some of those ointments. 
       A short time passes 
       a moment speeds by: 
       now it comes buzzing 
       hither and thither 
       six cups in its arms 
      seven at its back- 
      they're full of ointments 
      and full of good salves.

  She, Lemminkäinen's mother 
  anointed with those ointments 
      with the nine ointments 
      the eight remedies: 
      still she got no help- 
      no, found none from it. 
      She said with this word 
      she spoke with this speech: 
      'Bee, bird of the air 
      fly there a third time 
      high up into heaven 
      above nine heavens! 
  There is mead in plenty there 
  honey to the heart's content 
  with which once the Creator 
  sang charms and the pure God talkeli 
  the Lord anointed his brood 
  injured by an evil power. 
  Dip your wings in mead, and your 
  feathers in melted honey 
      bring mead on your wing 
  and bear honey on your cape 
  to be ointment for the sick 
  to pour on the injuries!'

      The bee, kindly bird 
  managed to put this in words: 
  'But how am I to get there- 
      I, a puny man?' 
  'You will get there easily 
      trip there handsomely- 
  over the moon, underneath 
  the sun, between heaven's stars. 
  For one day you will flutter 
      to the moon's brow-bones 
     for another you will whizz 
     to the Great Bear's shoulderblades 
     for a third you will soar up 
     on to the Seven Stars' back; 
     then 'tis a mite of a way 
        a tiny circuit 
     to where God the holy lives 
     to the blessed one's dwellings.'

     And the bee rose from the earth 
     the mead-wing from the hummock; 
        now it fluttered off 
        whizzed on little wings. 
     It flew beside the moon's ring 
     the sun's border it skirted 
     past the Great Bear's shoulderblades 
     the back of the Seven Stars; 
     it flew to the Lord's cellar 
     to the Almighty's chamber. 
     There ointment is being made 
     and salves are being prepared 
        in pots of silver 
        and in pans of gold: 
     honey boiled in the middles 
     at the brims melted butter 
        mead at the south tip 
        at the north end salves. 
     The bee, the bird of the air 
        then got enough mead 
     honey to its heart's content. 
        A little time passed: 
        now it comes panting 
        arrives doubled up 
     with a hundred hornfuls in its arms 
     a thousand other bulges- 
     this one honey, that water 
     the other the best ointment.

  Then Lemminkäinen's mother 
  took them into her own mouth 
  she tested them with her tongue 
  tasted them to her liking: 
  'These are some of those ointments 
  the Almighty's remedies 
  with which God has anointed 
  the Lord poured on injuries.' 
  Then she anointed the weary one 
  tended the ill-befallen- 
  anointed through gaps in bone 
      and through cracks in limbs 
  anointed below, above 
      slapped the middle once. 
  Then she put this into words 
      she declared, chattered: 
      'Rise up out of sleep 
      get up out of dream 
  from these evil places, from 
      the bed of hard luck!'

  And the man rose out of sleep 
      he woke out of dream. 
  Now he manages to say 
      to tell with his tongue: 
  'Long 1, wretched, have slumbered 
  ages I, hapless, have slept! 
      I've slept a sweet sleep 
      a sound snooze I've had.'

  Lemminkäinen's mother said 
      she declared, chattered: 
  'You would have slept more ages 
  still longer you would have stretched 
  but for your poor old mother 
  for the mean one who bore you. 
  Say now, luckless son of mine 
  tell so that my ears may hear: 
  what led you to Death, pushed you 
  into Tuonela's river?'

  Wanton Lemminkäinen said 
      answered his mother: 
      'Dripcap the herdsman 
      Dreamland's sightless one- 
  he led me to Death, pushed me 
  into Tuonela's river. 
  He raised a snake out of the water 
  a dragon out of the waves 
      against woeful me 
  and I knew nothing of it 
  did not know the hate of water snakes 
      the stings of cowbane.'

  Lemminkäinen's mother said: 
  'Alas for a mindless man! 
  You boasted of bewitching 
  witches, of singing at Lapps 
  but don't know the hate of water snakes 
      the stings of cowbane! 
  From water the water snake was born 
  and the cowbane from the waves 
  from the calloo's good brains, from 
  inside the sea-swallow's head. 
  On the waters the Ogress 
  spat, dropped a blob on the waves; 
  the water stretched it out long 
  the sun shone till it was soft. 
      Then the wind lulled it 
  and the water's breath rocked it; 
  the billows washed it ashore 
  and the surf steered it to land.'

  Then Lemminkäinen's mother 
      lulled the one she knew 
  to the shape he had before 
  to the looks he used to have 
    till he was a bit better 
    even, fitter than before. 
    Then she asked her son whether 
    he was short of anything. 
    Wanton Lemminkäinen said: 
    'There's a lot I'm still short of: 
        there my heart's desire 
        there my longing lies- 
    among those maids of the North 
        those fair braided heads. 
    The mould-eared dame of the North 
        will not give her girl 
        unless I shoot the 
        calloo, hit the swan 
    on that Tuonela river 
    on the holy stream's whirlpool.'

    Lemminkäinen's mother said 
        she declared, chattered: 
        'Leave your blasted swans 
        let the calloos be 
    upon Tuoni's black river 
        the smoking whirlpools! 
        You just come home now 
        with your mean mother 
        and still thank your luck 
        your God known to all 
    for giving you real help 
    and bringing you back to life 
    from Tuoni's undoubted road 
    the abode of the Dead Land! 
        I could do nothing 
        nothing by myself 
    without the mercy of God 
    the guidance of the true Lord.'

    Then wanton Lemminkäinen 
        went home straight away 
      with his dear mother 
  beside his honoured parent. 
  There now I lose my Farmind 
  leave wanton Lemminkäinen 
  out of my tale for some time 
  and I turn my tale meanwhile 
  I'll let the song go elsewhere 
  I'll push on to a new track.

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