The Kalevala - Rune V


Far and wide the tidings travelled,
Far away men heard the story
Of the flight and death of Aino,
Sister dear of Youkahainen,
Fairest daughter of creation.
Wainamoinen, brave and truthful,
Straightway fell to bitter weeping,
Wept at morning, wept at evening,
Sleepless, wept the dreary night long,
That his Aino had departed,
That the maiden thus had vanished,
Thus had sunk upon the bottom
Of the blue-sea, deep and boundless.
Filled with grief, the ancient singer,
Wainamoinen of the Northland,
Heavy-hearted, sorely weeping,
Hastened to the restless waters,
This the suitor's prayer and question:
'Tell, Untamo, tell me, dreamer,
Tell me, Indolence, thy visions,
Where the water-gods may linger,
Where may rest Wellamo's maidens?'
Then Untamo, thus made answer,
Lazily he told his dreamings:
'Over there, the mermaid-dwellings,
Yonder live Wellamo's maidens,
On the headland robed in verdure,
On the forest-covered island,
In the deep, pellucid waters,
On the purple-colored sea-shore;
Yonder is the home or sea-maids,
There the maidens of Wellamo,
Live there in their sea-side chambers,
Rest within their water-caverns,
On the rocks of rainbow colors,
On the juttings of the sea-cliffs.'
Straightway hastens Wainamoinen
To a boat-house on the sea-shore,
Looks with care upon the fish-hooks,
And the lines he well considers;
Lines, and hooks, and poles, arid fish-nets,
Places in a boat of copper,
Then begins he swiftly rowing
To the forest-covered island,
To the point enrobed In verdure,
To the purple-colored headland,
Where the sea-nymphs live and linger.
Hardly does he reach the island
Ere the minstrel starts to angle;
Far away he throws his fish-hook,
Trolls it quickly through the waters,
Turning on a copper swivel
Dangling from a silver fish-line,
Golden is the hook he uses.
Now he tries his silken fish-net,
Angles long, and angles longer,
Angles one day, then a second,
In the morning, in the evening,
Angles at the hour of noontide,
Many days and nights he angles,
Till at last, one sunny morning,
Strikes a fish of magic powers,
Plays like salmon on his fish-line,
Lashing waves across the waters,
Till at length the fish exhausted
Falls a victim to the angler,
Safely landed in the bottom
Of the hero's boat of copper.
Wainamoinen, proudly viewing,
Speaks these words in wonder guessing:
'This the fairest of all sea-fish,
Never have I seen its equal,
Smoother surely than the salmon,
Brighter-spotted than the trout is,
Grayer than the pike of Suomi,
Has less fins than any female,
Not the fins of any male fish,
Not the stripes of sea-born maidens,
Not the belt of any mermaid,
Not the ears of any song-bird,
Somewhat like our Northland salmon
From the blue-sea's deepest caverns.'
In his belt the ancient hero
Wore a knife insheathed with silver;
From its case he drew the fish-knife,
Thus to carve the fish in pieces,
Dress the nameless fish for roasting,
Make of it a dainty breakfast,
Make of it a meal at noon-day,
Make for him a toothsome supper,
Make the later meal at evening.
Straightway as the fish he touches,
Touches with his knife of silver,
Quick it leaps upon the waters,
Dives beneath the sea's smooth surface,
From the boat with copper bottom,
From the skiff of Wainamoinen.
In the waves at goodly distance,
Quickly from the sea it rises
On the sixth and seventh billows,
Lifts its head above the waters,
Out of reach of fishing-tackle,
Then addresses Wainamoinen,
Chiding thus the ancient hero:
'Wainamoinen, ancient minstrel,
Do not think that I came hither
To be fished for as a salmon,
Only to be chopped in pieces,
Dressed and eaten like a whiting
Make for thee a dainty breakfast,
Make for thee a meal at midday,
Make for thee a toothsome supper,
Make the fourth meal of the Northland.'
Spake the ancient Wainamoinen:
'Wherefore didst thou then come hither,
If it be not for my dinner?'
Thus the nameless fish made answer:
'Hither have I come, O minstrel,
In thine arms to rest and linger,
And thyself to love and cherish,
At thy side a life-companion,
And thy wife to be forever;
Deck thy couch with snowy linen,
Smooth thy head upon the pillow,
Sweep thy rooms and make them cheery,
Keep thy dwelling-place in order,
Build a fire for thee when needed,
Bake for thee the honey-biscuit,
Fill thy cup with barley-water,
Do for thee whatever pleases.
'I am not a
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