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The Kalevala - Rune Xxxiii - Poem by Elias Lönnrot

KULLERVO AND THE CHEAT-CAKE.


Thereupon the lad, Kullervo,
Laid his luncheon in his basket,
Drove the herd to mountain-pastures,
O'er the hills and through the marshes,
To their grazings in the woodlands,
Speaking as he careless wandered:
'Of the youth am I the poorest,
Hapless lad and full of trouble,
Evil luck to me befallen!
I alas! must idly wander
O'er the hills and through the valleys,
As a watch-dog for the cattle!'
Then she sat upon the greensward,
In a sunny spot selected,
Singing, chanting words as follow:
'Shine, O shine, thou Sun of heaven,
Cast thy rays, thou fire of Ukko,
On the herdsman of the blacksmith,
On the head of Kullerwoinen,
On this poor and luckless shepherd,
Not in Ilmarinen's smithy,
Nor the dwellings of his people;
Good the table of the hostess,
Cuts the best of wheaten biscuit,
Honey-cakes she cuts in slices,
Spreading each with golden butter;
Only dry bread has the herdsman,
Eats with pain the oaten bread-crusts,'
Filled with chaff his and biscuit,
Feeds upon the worst of straw-bread,
Pine-tree bark, the broad he feeds on,
Sipping water from the birch-bark,
Drinking from the tips of grasses I
Go, O Sun, and go, O barley,
Haste away, thou light of Ukko,
Hide within the mountain pine-trees,
Go, O wheat, to yonder thickets,
To the trees of purple berries,
To the junipers and alders,
Safely lead the herdsman homeward
To the biscuit golden-buttered,
To the honeyed cakes and viands!'
While the shepherd lad was singing
Kullerwoinen's song and echo,
Ilmarinen's wife was feasting
On the sweetest bread of Northland,
On the toothsome cakes of barley,
On the richest of provisions;
Only laid aside some cabbage,
For the herdsman, Kullerwoinen;
Set apart some wasted fragments,
Leavings of the dogs at dinner,
For the shepherd, home returning.
From the woods a bird came flying,
Sang this song to Kullerwoinen:
''Tis the time for forest-dinners,
For the fatherless companion
Of the herds to eat his viands,
Eat the good things from his basket!'
Kullerwoinen heard the songster,
Looked upon the Sun's long shadow,
Straightway spake the words that follow:
'True, the singing of the song-bird,
It is time indeed for feasting,
Time to eat my basket-dinner.'
Thereupon young Kullerwoinen
Called his herd to rest in safety,
Sat upon a grassy hillock,
Took his basket from his shoulders,
Took therefrom the and oat-loaf,
Turned it over in his fingers,
Carefully the loaf inspected,
Spake these words of ancient wisdom:
'Many loaves are fine to look on,
On the outside seem delicious,
On the inside, chaff and tan-bark!'
Then the shepherd, Kullerwoinen,
Drew his knife to cut his oat-loaf,
Cut the hard and arid biscuit;
Cuts against a stone imprisoned,
Well imbedded in the centre,
Breaks his ancient knife in pieces;
When the shepherd youth, Kullervo,
Saw his magic knife had broken,
Weeping sore, he spake as follows:
'This, the blade that I bold sacred,
This the one thing that I honor,
Relic of my mother's people!
On the stone within this oat-loaf,
On this cheat-cake of the hostess,
I my precious knife have broken.
How shall I repay this insult,
How avenge this woman's malice,
What the wages for deception?'
From a tree the raven answered:
'O thou little silver buckle,
Only son of old Kalervo,
Why art thou in evil humor,
Wherefore sad in thy demeanor?
Take a young shoot from the thicket,
Take a birch-rod from the valley,
Drive thy herd across the lowlands,
Through the quicksands of the marshes;
To the wolves let one half wander,
To the bear-dens, lead the other;
Sing the forest wolves together,
Sing the bears down from the mountains,
Call the wolves thy little children,
And the bears thy standard-bearers;
Drive them like a cow-herd homeward,
Drive them home like spotted cattle,
Drive them to thy master's milk-yards;
Thus thou wilt repay the hostess
For her malice and derision.'
Thereupon the wizard answered,
These the words of Kullerwoinen:
'Wait, yea wait, thou bride of Hisi!
Do I mourn my mother's relic,
Mourn the keep-sake thou hast broken?
Thou thyself shalt mourn as sorely
When thy, cows come home at evening!'
From the tree he cuts a birch-wand,
From the juniper a whip-stick,
Drives the herd across the lowlands,
Through the quicksands of the marshes,
To the wolves lets one half wander,
To the bear-dens leads the other;
Calls the wolves his little children,
Calls the bears his standard-bearers,
Changes all his herd of cattle
Into wolves and bears by magic.
In the west the Sun is shining,
Telling that the night is coming.
Quick the wizard, Kullerwoinen,
Wanders o'er the pine-tree mountain,
Hastens through the forest homeward,
Drives the wolves and bears before him
Toward the milk-yards of the hostess;
To the herd he speaks as follows,
As they journey on together:
'Tear and kill the wicked hostess,
Tear her guilty flesh in pieces,
When she comes to view her cattle,
When she stoops to do her milking!'
Then the wizard, Kullerwoinen,
From an ox-bone makes a bugle,
Makes it from Tuonikki's cow-horn,
Makes a flute from Kiryo's shin-bone,
Plays a song upon his bugle,
Plays upon his flute of magic,
Thrice upon the home-land hill-tops,
Six times near the coming gate-ways.
Ilmarinen's wife and hostess
Long had waited for the coming
Of her herd with Kullerwoinen,
Waited for the milk at evening,
Waited for the new-made butter,
Heard the footsteps in the cow-path,
On the heath she beard the bustle,
Spake these joyous words of welcome:
'Be thou praised, O gracious Ukko,
That my herd is home returning!
But I hear a bugle sounding,
'Tis the playing of my herdsman,
Playing on a magic cow-horn,
Bursting all our ears with music!'
Kullerwoinen, drawing nearer,
To the hostess spake as follows:
'Found the bugle in the woodlands,
And the flute among the rushes;
All thy herd are in the passage,
All thy cows within the hurdles,
This the time to build the camp-fire,
This the time to do the milking!'
Ilmarinen's wife, the hostess,
Thus addressed an aged servant:
'Go, thou old one, to the milking,
Have the care of all my cattle,
Do not ask for mine assistance,
Since I have to knead the biscuit.'
Kullerwoinen spake as follows:
'Always does the worthy hostess,
Ever does the wisdom-mother
Go herself and do the milking,
Tend the cows within the hurdles!'
Then the wife of Ilmarinen
Built a field-fire in the passage,
Went to milk her cows awaiting,
Looked upon her herd in wonder,
Spake these happy words of greeting:
'Beautiful, my herd of cattle,
Glistening like the skins of lynxes,
Hair as soft as fur of ermine,
Peaceful waiting for the milk-pail!'
On the milk-stool sits the hostess,
Milks one moment, then a second,
Then a third time milks and ceases;
When the bloody wolves disguising,
Quick attack the hostess milking,
And the bears lend their assistance,
Tear and mutilate her body
With their teeth and sharpened fingers.
Kullerwoinen, cruel wizard,
Thus repaid the wicked hostess,
Thus repaid her evil treatment.
Quick the wife of Ilmarinen
Cried aloud in bitter anguish,
Thus addressed the youth, Kullervo:
'Evil son, thou bloody herdsman,
Thou hast brought me wolves in malice,
Driven bears within my hurdles!
These the words of Kullerwoinen:
'Have I evil done as shepherd,
Worse the conduct of the hostess;
Baked a stone inside my oat-cake,
On the inside, rock and tan-bark,
On the stone my knife, was broken,
Treasure of my mother's household,
Broken virtue of my people!'
Ilmarinen's wife made answer:
'Noble herdsman, Kullerwoinen,
Change, I pray thee, thine opinion,
Take away thine incantations,
From the bears and wolves release me,
Save me from this spell of torture
I will give thee better raiment,
Give the best of milk and butter,
Set for thee the sweetest table;
Thou shalt live with me in welcome,
Need not labor for thy keeping.
If thou dost not free me quickly,
Dost not break this spell of magic,
I shall sink into the Death-land,
Shall return to Tuonela.'
This is Kullerwoinen's answer:
'It is best that thou shouldst perish,
Let destruction overtake thee,
There is ample room in Mana,
Room for all the dead in Kalma,
There the worthiest must slumber,
There must rest the good and evil.'
Ilmarinen's wife made answer:
'Ukko, thou O God in heaven,
Span the strongest of thy cross-bows,
Test the weapon by thy wisdom,
Lay an arrow forged from copper,
On the cross-bow of thy forging;
Rightly aim thy flaming arrow,
With thy magic hurl the missile,
Shoot this wizard through the vitals,
Pierce the heart of Kullerwoinen
With the lightning of the heavens,
With thine arrows tipped with copper.'
Kullerwoinen prays as follows:
'Ukko, God of truth and justice.
Do not slay thy magic servant,
Slay the wife of Ilmarinen,
Kill in her the worst of women,
In these hurdles let her perish,
Lest she wander hence in freedom,
To perform some other mischief,
Do some greater deed of malice!'
Quick as lightning fell the hostess,
Quick the wife of Ilmarinen
Fell and perished in the hurdles,
On the ground before her cottage
Thus the death of Northland's hostess,
Cherished wife of Ilmarinen,
Once the Maiden of the Rainbow,
Wooed and watched for many summers,
Pride and joy of Kalevala!


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