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The Hero of Esthonia and Other Studies in the Romantic Literature of That Country
by William Forsell Kirby
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THE HERO OF ESTHONIA AND OTHER STUDIES IN THE ROMANTIC LITERATURE OF THAT COUNTRY

COMPILED FROM ESTHONIAN AND GERMAN SOURCES BY

W.F. KIRBY, F.L.S., F.E.S., ETC. CORRESPONDING MEMBER OF THE FINNISH LITERARY SOCIETY

WITH A MAP OF ESTHONIA

IN TWO VOLUMES

VOLUME THE FIRST

LONDON JOHN C. NIMMO 14, KING WILLIAM STREET, STRAND. MDCCCXCV



CONTENTS OF VOL. I

PAGE

PREFACE ix

INTRODUCTION—

ESTHONIA xiii

THE KALEVIPOEG xviii

FOLK-TALES IN PROSE xxii

BALLADS AND OTHER SHORT POEMS xxiii

PASTOR HURT'S COLLECTIONS xxiv

MYTHOLOGY xxvi

PART I

THE HERO OF ESTHONIA

THE KALEVIPOEG 1

THE ARGUMENT 2

CANTO I.—THE MARRIAGES OF SALME AND LINDA 7

CANTO II.—THE DEATH OF KALEV 18

CANTO III.—THE FATE OF LINDA 24

CANTO IV.—THE ISLAND MAIDEN 32

CANTO V.—THE KALEVIDE AND THE FINNISH SORCERER 38

CANTO VI.—THE KALEVIDE AND THE SWORD SMITHS 42

CANTO VII.—THE RETURN OF THE KALEVIDE 49

CANTO VIII.—THE CONTEST AND PARTING OF THE BROTHERS 55

CANTO IX.—RUMOURS OF WAR 61

CANTO X.—THE HEROES AND THE WATER-DEMON 64

CANTO XI.—THE LOSS OF THE SWORD 72

CANTO XII.—THE FIGHT WITH THE SORCERER'S SONS 80

CANTO XIII.—THE KALEVIDE'S FIRST JOURNEY TO HADES 87

CANTO XIV.—THE PALACE OF SARVIK 94

CANTO XV.—THE MARRIAGE OF THE SISTERS 105

CANTO XVI.—THE VOYAGE OF THE KALEVIDE 110

CANTO XVII.—THE HEROES AND THE DWARF 119

CANTO XVIII.—THE KALEVIDE'S JOURNEY TO PORGU 124

CANTO XIX.—THE LAST FEAST OF THE HEROES 129

CANTO XX.—ARMAGEDDON 135

PART II

ESTHONIAN FOLK-TALES

SECTION I

TALES ILLUSTRATIVE OF THE "KALEVIPOEG"

THE MILKY WAY 147

THE GRATEFUL PRINCE 152

THE CLEVER COUNTRYWOMAN 186

SLYBOOTS 187

THE HOUSE-SPIRIT 207

THE GOLD-SPINNERS 208

SECTION II

ORPHAN AND FOUNDLING STORIES

THE WOOD OF TONTLA 237

THE KING OF THE MISTY HILL 259

THE ORPHAN'S HANDMILL 260

THE ORPHAN BOY AND THE HELL-HOUNDS 261

THE EGG-BORN PRINCESS 273

THE ROYAL HERD-BOY 279

TIIDU, THE FLUTE-PLAYER 303

THE LUCKY EGG 308

THE MAGICIAN IN THE POCKET 321

THE GOD-DAUGHTER OF THE ROCK-MAIDENS 321

THE FOUNDLING 321



PREFACE

When I took up the study of the Kalevala and Finnish literature, with the intention of publishing a critical English edition of the poem, on which I am still engaged, the accumulation of the necessary materials led me to examine the literature of the neighbouring countries likewise. I had expected to find the Kalevipoeg an Esthonian variant of the Kalevala; but I found it so dissimilar, and at the same time so interesting, when divested of the tedious and irrelevant matter that has been added to the main story, that I finally decided to publish a full account of it in prose, especially as nothing of the kind has yet been attempted in English, beyond a few casual magazine articles.

The Esthonian folk-tales are likewise of much interest, and in many cases of an extremely original character; and these also have never appeared in an English dress. I have, therefore, selected a sufficiently representative series, and have added a few ballads and short poems. This last section of the work, however, amounts to little more than an appendix to the Kalevipoeg, though it is placed at the end of the book. Esthonian ballad literature is of enormous extent, and only partially investigated and published at present, even in the original; and it would therefore be premature to try to treat of it in detail here, nor had I time or space to attempt it. I had, however, intended to have included a number of poems from Neus' Ehstnische Volkslieder in the present volumes, but found that it was unnecessary, as Latham has already given an English version of most of the best in his "Nationalities of Europe."

The Introduction and Notes will, it is hoped, be sufficiently full to afford all necessary information for the intelligent comprehension of the book, without overloading it; and it has been decided to add a sketch-map of this little known country, including some of the places specially referred to. But Esthonian folk-literature, even without the ballads, is a most extensive study, and I do not pretend to do more than offer a few specimens culled from some of the most easily accessible sources. My professional work does not allow me time to attempt more at present; and it is from the same cause that my work on the Kalevala has been delayed so long.

In outlying parts of Europe like Finland and Esthonia, which were not Christianised till long after the southern and western countries, primitive literature has survived to a much greater extent than elsewhere; and the publication of the Kalevala and the Kalevipoeg during the present century furnishes a striking example before our very eyes of the manner in which the Iliad and the Odyssey grew up among the Greeks, before these poems were edited in the form in which they have come down to us, by order of Pisistratus.

The principal books used in the preparation of this work are mentioned in the short Bibliography. The names of others quoted or referred to will be found in the Index, which has also been drawn up in such a manner as to form a general glossary.

W.F. KIRBY.

CHISWICK, September 1894.



INTRODUCTION

ESTHONIA

Esthonia, or Estonia, as some prefer to write it, is the most northerly of the three so-called German or Baltic provinces of Russia—Esthonia, Livonia, and Courland. It is bounded on the north by the Gulf of Finland, which lies between that country and Esthonia; on the east by the Government of St. Petersburg; on the south by Livonia, and on the west by the Baltic. Opposite its western coast lie numerous large islands, the most important of which are Dagoe and Oesel; these islands nearly close the north-west corner of the Gulf of Riga.

The northern part of Livonia (including the island of Oesel, already mentioned) is partly inhabited by Esthonians, and is dealt with in popular literature as forming part of the country. The four provinces of Esthonia proper, which are constantly referred to, are as follows, the German names being added in brackets. Two western, Arju or Harju (Harrien) on the north, and Laeaene (Wiek) on the south; one central, Jaerva (Jerwen), and one eastern, Viru (Wierland). East of Livonia lies the great Lake Peipse or Peipus, eighty miles long and thirty-two miles broad at the broadest part, across which the son of Kalev is said to have waded to fetch timber from Pihgast or Pleskau, which name is used to include the Russian province of Pskov, bordering the lake on the south and south-east. At two-thirds of its length the lake is divided nearly in two, and the southern portion is sometimes called Lake Pskov. It may have been across the narrow part between the two ends of the lake that the hero is supposed to have waded, when, even during a great storm, the water reached only to his girdle.

The coast of Esthonia is rocky, but the interior of the country is very marshy, though there are no navigable rivers or lakes of much importance except Lake Peipus, which we have already mentioned. Small lakes, however, are very numerous, the largest being Lake Virts.

Esthonia was one of the countries conquered during the Middle Ages by the crusading German Knights of the Sword, and has been described as a country with a Finnish population and a German aristocracy under Russian rule. Occasionally we meet with reminiscences of oppression by the German nobility in the songs and tales; as, for instance, in the story of the Royal Herd-boy; while everything beautiful or above the ordinary life of the peasants is characterised as Saxon.

The bulk of the population speak a language very closely allied to Finnish, and they possess a large store of oral literature, much of which has been collected, and in part published, during the present century. It has, however, attracted very little attention out of Esthonia, except in Finland, and to some extent in Germany, and very few articles on the subject have appeared in England or France. It is believed that this is the first work published in England giving any detailed account of the popular literature of Esthonia, and it does not pretend to be exhaustive, nor to extend much beyond the publication of Kreutzwald, Neus, and Jannsen.

The Finnish-Ugrian race, though not Aryan, is widely distributed throughout Europe and Asiatic Russia, and the principal peoples belonging to it in the North are the Finns, the Esthonians, and the Lapps, who speak very similar languages, and whose tales and legends possess much similarity, while in the south the Magyars are more distantly related to them. The Lapp hero-tales, however, have more of a historical basis, while the popular tales are much shorter and less artistic. It is, however, curious that Swan-maiden stories are peculiarly common among the Lapps. Several other lesser known peoples belong to the same race, whom we need not further notice.

Esthonian abounds in dialects, but is so close to Finnish that it bears almost the same relation to it as Lowland Scotch to English, or perhaps as Danish to Swedish. But there is a strong admixture of German words in Esthonian, and their tales, when exhibiting traces of foreign influence, have apparently derived it from Germany. In Finnish tales, on the contrary, Russian influence is often very apparent.

The orthography is a little unsettled, words like Ukko or Kalev being often written with a single or double consonant, as Uko or Kallev; while words like Kaepae are often written with double vowels, as Kaeaepae.

The pronunciation of most of the letters resembles that of English, or, in the case of the vowels, German, and calls for no special remark.

j, as in nearly all languages except English and French, corresponds to our y.

v is printed either v or w in Finnish and Esthonian, but corresponds to our v, and is thus used by the best Finnish authorities. Of course the Germans properly write it w, their w corresponding to our v.

For the modified vowels we have no exact equivalent in English; ae and ue are pronounced nearly as in German; but the o may roughly be said to resemble our ee in sound. y has somewhat of a u sound, as in the Scandinavian languages; and, as in these too, the modified vowels are placed at the end of the alphabet, but in the following order: ue, ae, o. Musical as is Finnish itself, Esthonian is still softer, as may be seen in the dropping of final consonants, as Vanemuine for Vaeinaemoeinen; and in such words as kannel (harp) for kantele. As in most parts of Northern Europe, the Gothic character is still much used in Finland and Esthonia, especially in literary works.

As a specimen of the language we may quote the original of the lines on p. 14:—

Ristitantsi tantsitie, Viru tantsi veeritie, Arju tantsi hakkatie, Laeaene tantsi lohutie, Sore liiva sotkutie, Murupinda piinatie. Taehte peig ja Salme neidu, Pidasivad pulma ilu!

We may add the text of the lines on p. 49:—

Kalevide poeg ei vaesi; Piht on meehel pihlakane, Olanukud ounapuusta, Kaeevarred vahterased, Kueuenarnukud kuennapuusta, Sormeluelid sosterased, Sormekueuened kuuslapuused, Raudarammu koiges kehas.



THE KALEVIPOEG

In the year 1838 some Esthonian scholars founded a society called "Die gelehrte Ehstnische Gesellschaft," and set themselves to collect the popular literature of their country. Doubtless encouraged by the recent publication of the Kalevala in Finland, Dr. Faehlmann undertook specially to collect any fragments of verse or prose relative to the mythical hero of Esthonia, the son of Kalev, intending to weave them into a connected whole. He did not live to complete the work; but after his death Dr. Kreutzwald carried out his design, and the book was published, accompanied by a German translation by Reinthal and Bertram, from 1857 to 1861.

The materials were defective, and were augmented and pieced together, not always very successfully or artistically,[1] by Dr. Kreutzwald, and the story is interrupted by long lyrical passages, especially at the beginning of some of the cantos, which are tedious and out of place in a narrative poem. Consequently, a complete translation would hardly be sufficiently attractive; but there is so much that is curious and beautiful in the poem, that I think that a tolerably full prose abstract may perhaps be found both useful and interesting, as opening up an almost new subject to English readers.

Besides Reinthal's translation, there are two condensed abstracts of the poem in German, one by C. C. Israel, in prose, published in 1873, and the other by Julius Grosse, in hexameters, published in 1875.

But while the Kalevala has been translated into six or seven languages, and into several of them two or three times, extremely little has been published on the Kalevipoeg outside of Esthonia and Finland.

The metre is the eight-syllable trochaic, which is the commonest metre used by the Esthonians and Finns. In the Kalevipoeg the verse usually flows continuously, while in the Kalevala it is arranged in distichs, almost every second line being a repetition of the first in other words; nor is the Kalevipoeg quite so full of alliteration as the Kalevala.

Longfellow adapted this metre in his Hiawatha from Schiefner's German translation of the Kalevala, and as it was then a novelty in English, it was set down at the time as Longfellow's own invention, and was much ridiculed. A similar metre, however, was used before the appearance of Hiawatha in some parts of Kenealy's Goethe, which was published in 1850, and subsequently condensed and completed under the title of "A New Pantomime." I quote a passage from this wonderful but eccentric poem (Goethe, p. 301) to show the manner in which Kenealy has used it in the lighter parts of his work; but in some of the darker passages it shows itself as a versatile metre of great power in English:—

"We have come, enchanting ladyes, To sojourn awhile, and revel In these bowers, far outshining The six heavens of Mohammed, Or the sunbright spheres of Vishnu, Or the Gardens of Adonis, Or the viewless bowers of Irim, Or the fine Mosaic mythus, Or the fair Elysian flower-land, Or the clashing halls of Odin, Or the cyclop-orbs of Brahma, Or the marble realms of Siva, Or the grandly proud Walhalla."

I do not find this metre used in either of the two cognate poems, Faust and Festus.

To return to the Kalevipoeg, the poem consists of twenty cantos and about 19,000 verses. Some of the legends are found also in the Kalevala, and the giant-hero whose life and adventures form its subject is evidently the same as the Kullervo of the Kalevala, as will be seen in our notes on various passages in the poem.

Of the other heroes of the Kalevala, besides an occasional reference to Vanemuine and Ilmarine (Vaeinaemoeinen and Ilmarinen), we find no trace; but three heroes, apparently cousins of the Kalevipoeg, appear suddenly in the poem. These are usually called by their patronymics, Alevide, Sulevide, and Olevide, but sometimes simply Alev, Sulev, and Olev.

[Footnote 1: This is specially noticeable in the manner in which the story of the Great Oak Tree is scattered in disjointed fragments through three cantos; and in the unsuccessful result of the Kalevide's voyage, when he reaches his goal after his return by a land journey.]



FOLK-TALES IN PROSE

The most important collection of Esthonian prose tales was edited by Kreutzwald, and was published by the Finnish Literary Society at Helsingfors in 1866, under the title of Eestirahwa Ennemuistesed jutud, and has since been reprinted at Dorpat. In 1869 the same Society published a useful little Esthonian-Finnish glossary to the volume. A good German translation of many of these tales, by F. Loewe, appeared at Halle in 1869, under the title of Ehstnische Maerchen, with notes by various contributors; and M. Dido, who has lately translated two or three of the tales into French, and given more or less detailed notices of the others, mentions that they have also been translated into Russian. Other collections of Esthonian tales have since been published; and Harry Jannsen has published a selection in German under the title of Maerchen und Sagen des estnischen Volkes (Dorpat, 1881; Riga, 1888). Some of his tales are taken from Kreutzwald, but I have not seen the Esthonian originals of the others. Many of the longer and more interesting tales in those collections I have given in full; others are more or less abridged, or simply noticed, and some few unimportant tales towards the end of Kreutzwald's collection have been passed over altogether.

One of Kreutzwald's longer tales, which I thought too unlike the others to be noticed in the body of the work, is, "How Seven Tailors went to war in Turkey." Their names were, "First-man, One-strong, Two-strong, Three-strong, Four-strong, Five-strong, and Last-man;" and the story gives a comic account of their poltrooneries.

Other tales relate to a plot against a chaste wife; a girl who clears herself from scandal by lifting and hurling a huge stone; &c.



BALLADS AND OTHER SHORT POEMS

The plan of the present work did not allow of many short poetical pieces being included; nevertheless, two of the best of the numerous songs and ballads interspersed through the Kalevipoeg have been given, and two other specimens from Neus' Ehstnische Volkslieder (Revel, 1850-1852) and Kreutzwald and Neus' Mythische und Magische Lieder der Ehsten (St. Petersburg, 1854). More poetical specimens were thought unnecessary, because many of the principal ballads in the former work will be found translated in Latham's "Nationalities of Europe," 1863.



PASTOR HURT'S COLLECTIONS

In recent years enormous collections of Esthonian folk-lore have been formed by Pastor Jacob Hurt and his coadjutors.

"Three volumes of these collections were edited by Hurt in 1875, 1876, and 1886, under the title of Vana Kannel, the 'Old Harp;' and other collections were published by several of his colleagues. In 1888 Hurt made a renewed appeal to the Esthonians to collect their old songs, and fresh contributions came pouring in from all quarters.

"Special attention was called to Pastor Hurt's work at the Congress of Folk-lorists in Paris by Henry Carnoy.

"According to the latest intelligence which I have received from Dr. Krohn, Pastor Hurt has received contributions from 633 different folk-tale collectors in the last three and a half years. Most of these contributors are simple peasants; some are schoolmasters, but only a few are students or highly educated persons.

"He now possesses, as the result of three and a half years' work of this nature, epics, lyrics, wedding-songs, &c., upwards of 20,000 items; tales, about 3000; proverbs, about 18,000; riddles, about 20,000. Besides these he has a large collection of magical formulae, superstitions, &c.

"He has only been able to accomplish these extraordinary results by his having been able to awaken popular interest in the subject."[2]

I am glad to hear from my friend Dr. Kaarle Krohn, to whom I have been indebted for much useful information and assistance in my own studies, that part of the results of these great collections are likely to be published very shortly. Of course a great number of tales and songs are merely variants. Many relate to legends belonging rather to the Kalevala than to the Kalevipoeg.

In Dr. Krohn's important paper, Die geographische Verbreitung Estnischer Lieder, published in 1892, he divides Esthonia and Northern Livonia into several districts, and marks the number of variants obtained in each. It may be interesting to summarise the latter, to show the extent to which the collection of variants has been carried on in Esthonia.

1. Legend of the creation of the earth and of the origin of the heavenly bodies, 62 variants.

2. Salme and her suitors, 160 variants; and 33 relative to the celestial suitors.

3. The Great Ox, 24 variants.

4. The Great Oak, 130 variants, and 61 relative to its fragments.

5. The Weeping Oak, 61 variants.

6. The origin of the harp and of boating, three variations, with 19, 39, and 17 variants respectively.

7. The bride of gold and silver, 52 variants.

8. Songs of the Seluks or Orthodox Esths, 91 variants.

[Footnote 2: Kirby in "Papers and Transactions of International Folk-lore Congress of 1891," p. 429.]



MYTHOLOGY

We can, I think, trace Finnish and Esthonian religion through four well-marked stages.

1. Fetishism, as seen in the story of the Treasure-Bringer, and in the account given of the origin of various animals, &c.

2. Nature-worship.

3. Transitional stage, well marked in the Kalevala, where the heroes sometimes pray to the gods in conventional Christian phraseology, and at other times try to compel their assistance by invocations and spells. This stage is also seen in the strange travesty of the Nativity in the last Runo of the Kalevala; and indeed, one of the older writers says that the favourite deities of the Finns in his time were Vaeinaemoeinen and the Virgin Mary. But this stage is much less visible in the Kalevipoeg, which is, on the whole, a more archaic and more heathenish poem than the Kalevala.

4. Mediaeval Christianity.

The gods belong to the stage of Nature-worship. The supreme god is Taara, to whom the oak is sacred. The most celebrated of his sacred oak-forests was in the neighbourhood of Dorpat. Thursday is his day; whence it is more often mentioned in popular tales than any other day in the week. He is also called Uko or Ukko (the Old God), by which name he is usually known in the Kalevala; and also Vana Isa, or Old Father. The Christian God is called Jumal or Jumala, and is probably to be identified with Taara. Ukko or Taara is the ancestor and protector of the heroes; he attended with Rougutaja at the birth of the Kalevipoeg, watched over and protected him during his life, sometimes appeared to counsel him in visions, received him in his heavenly halls after death, and assigned to him his future employment.

Ukko's daughters are Lindu and Jutta, the queens of the birds; and Siuru, who is described as a blue bird herself. Possibly these may be all the same; and the first at least may be identical with Kalev's bride, Linda, who was born from an egg, and whose name is evidently derived from lind or lindu, a bird.

Aeike, Kou, Paristaja, Pikne, Piker, or Pikker, is the god of thunder, and some of his names connect him with the Lithuanian Perkunas. He thunders across the iron bridges of the skies in his chariot; and hurls his thunderbolts at the demons, like Thor. He also possesses a musical instrument, of which the demons stand in great terror. He has a ne'er-do-weel son, who has dealings with the Devil, and a mischievous little daughter, called the Air-Maiden.

Ahti, the god of the waters, is mentioned occasionally, but much less frequently than Ahto in the Kalevala. He must not be confounded with Ahti, one of the names of the hero Lemminkainen in the latter poem.

Rougutaja is the god of the winds and waves, and attends specially on births. In one story, however, he appears rather in the character of a morose wood-demon with very undesirable family connections than as a god. This is very probably due to missionary efforts to malign his character and discredit his worship. However, there is a class of magicians who are called Wind-sorcerers, and witches often invoke the aid of the Mother of the Wind.

An old man, with one eye and a long grey beard, often appears to travellers in the forests. He is probably the Finnish Tapio, but is not named.

The sun, moon, and stars are represented as male deities.

Goddesses preside over the woods, fields, waters, &c. Thus we have the Meadow-Queen (literally, Grass-mother), who presides over the home-field, and is therefore one of the protecting deities of the household. She is also the queen of the woods and fields. The Wind-mother and Water-mother are similar deities, and the wood-nymphs and water-nymphs are their daughters.

Vanemuine, the Vaeinaemoeinen of the Finns, is the god of song and music, rather than the patriarch and culture-hero of the Kalevala. All voices and sounds in nature are only echoes of his music. He has a foster-daughter, Jutta, of whom we have given an account elsewhere.

Ilmarine (Finnish, Ilmarinen) is a great smith, whose workshop is under a mountain at the centre of the earth.

The Devil has many names, being called Kurat, the Evil One; Tuehi or Tuehja, the Empty One, or rather, perhaps, the Contemptible One; but most often Vana Pois, the Old Boy; God being frequently called Vana Isa, the Old Father. He dwells in the underground kingdom, and has three daughters, or foster-daughters; a hat of invisibility, composed of nail-parings; a bridge-building wand, and a sword. He has also much gold and silver plate, and ducks and geese with gold and silver plumage. These treasures are often carried off by enterprising heroes. The maidens whom the Kalevipoeg found in the palace of Sarvik do not appear to have been at all unkindly treated, though they had to work hard, and much regretted that they had no human company.

Another Devil, more prominent in the Kalevipoeg, is Vana Sarvik, or Old Hornie, who is represented as Tuehi's brother-in-law.

The Devil's underground kingdom is called Porgu, or Hell. His mother usually appears in the form of a bitch, and his grandmother under that of a white mare. The minor Esthonian devils are usually stupid rather than malevolent. They are sometimes ogres or soul-merchants, but are at times quite ready to do a kindness, or to return one to those who aid them. Their great enemies are the Thunder-God and the wolf. The principal outwitter of the devil is generally called Crafty Hans; and several volumes of their adventures have been published in Esthonian. The Devil is often represented as fond of beer.

Besides the above-named gods and demons, we have spirits of the whirlwind and the Northern Lights; gnomes; and a host of inferior demons, as well as various grades of sorcerers, especially Wind-sorcerers, Word-sorcerers, or soothsayers, and Death-sorcerers, or necromancers. The Tont, or House-Spirit, goes by various names; among others Kratt or Puuk. Kratt is perhaps a word of Scandinavian or German origin; Puuk must be the same as our Puck, or the Irish Pouka. He was probably originally a beneficent house-spirit, and in later times assumed the demoniacal character in which he appears in the story of the Treasure-Bringer. In the story of "Martin and his Dead Master," we have a spectre much resembling a vampyre in character.

The gigantic race of the heroes is represented as descended from Taara. As in the case of so many other hero-races—as, for example, the knights of Arthur, Finn, Charlemagne, Vladimir, Palmerin, &c.—they are at length practically destroyed in a series of terrible battles, while the Kalevipoeg, like Arthur, Olger, Barbarossa, and Tell, remains in enchanted bondage till the day shall come for him to restore the ancient glories of his country.[3]

[Footnote 3: Further information on most of the subjects discussed in the Introduction will be found in the Notes and Index.]



PART I

THE HERO OF ESTHONIA

The Kalevipoeg, which may be called the national epic of Esthonia, contains the adventures of a mythical hero of gigantic size, who ruled over the country in its days of independence and prosperity. He is always called by his patronymic, Kalevipoeg, or Kalevide, the son of Kalev; and, notwithstanding the great differences between them, he is evidently the Kullervo of the Finnish Kalevala.

The Kalevipoeg consists of twenty cantos and about 19,000 lines; and a fairly complete prose outline of the story is here given, all the tedious lyrical interludes which break its continuity, especially at the beginning of several of the cantos, being entirely omitted. For further general information respecting the poem itself we will refer to the Introduction, and will now proceed to give a short abstract of the principal contents of the cantos, before proceeding to a more detailed analysis.



ARGUMENT OF THE "KALEVIPOEG"

Canto I.—Three brothers travel in various directions, one of whom, Kalev,[4] is carried by an eagle to Esthonia, where he becomes king. A widow finds a hen, a grouse's egg, and a young crow. From the two first spring the fair maidens, Salme and Linda, and from the last a slave-girl. Salme chooses the Youth of the Stars, and Linda the young giant-king Kalev, as their respective husbands, with whom they depart.

Canto II.—Death and burial of Kalev; birth of his posthumous son, the Kalevipoeg.

Canto III.—The Kalevipoeg and his brothers go hunting in the forest. During their absence Linda is carried off by a Finnish sorcerer whose suit she has despised. She escapes from him through the interference of the gods, who afterwards change her into a rock. Return of the brothers; the Kalevide seeks help and counsel at his father's grave.

Canto IV.—The Kalevide throws himself into the sea to swim to Finland. In the evening he lands on an island where he meets a maiden whom he seduces. When she hears his name, she is horrified, and falls into the sea. He plunges after her, but being unable to save her, swims onwards on his journey. The parents rake the sea, and find an oak and a fir and other things, but not their daughter. Song of a maiden who was enticed into the sea by a man of copper.

Canto V.—The planting of the great oak-tree on the island. The Kalevide arrives in Finland and slays the sorcerer.

Canto VI.—The Kalevide visits a famous smith, from whom he buys a huge sword, which was bespoken by his father Kalev. A great drinking-bout is held in his honour, during which he slays the smith's eldest son in a fit of drunken fury, and the smith curses him. The felling of the great oak-tree on the island.

Canto VII.—The Kalevide finds the sorcerer's boat, and sails homeward. The three brothers relate their adventures and the eldest proposes that they should now decide which of them shall settle in the country as his father's heir. The Kalevide again visits his father's grave.

Canto VIII.—The three sons of Kalev journey to the shores of a lake, and try their strength in hurling rocks across it. The youngest makes the best cast, and the other two leave the country. The Kalevide ploughs the land, and one day while he is sleeping his horse is devoured by wolves.

Canto IX.—The Kalevide slaughters the wolves. News of war. The visit of Taara. The Finnish Bridge.

Canto X.—In order to settle a dispute between two water-demons, the Kalevide's cousin, the Alevide, begins to drain a swamp. The water-demon begs the hero to desist, and the latter tricks the demon out of his treasures. Visit of the Kalevide's cup-bearer to the water-demon's palace, and his escape. The Kalevide overcomes the demon in hurling and wrestling. He decides to build fortified towns, and sets out to Lake Peipus to fetch timber. Meeting with the Air-maiden at a well.

Canto XI.—The Kalevide wades through Lake Peipus. A sorcerer steals his sword and sinks it in the brook Kaepae, where the Kalevide leaves it, after enjoining it to cut off the legs of him who had brought it there; meaning the sorcerer. He encounters a man of ordinary stature in a forest, whom he puts in his wallet. The man relates his adventure with two giants and their mother.

Canto XII.—The Kalevide is attacked by three sons of the sorcerer, and beats them off with the boards, which are destroyed. Adventure with the hedgehog. The Kalevide finds to his grief that the man in his wallet has been killed by a chance blow during the fight. He falls asleep, and the sorcerer casts a spell upon him which throws him into a deep sleep for seven weeks. Vision of Ilmarine's workshop. The Kalevide wakes, and sets out on his return. Adventures of two poor boys.

Canto XIII.—On his return journey the Kalevide finds some demons cooking at the entrance to a cave. He enters the cavern, which leads him to the door of the palace of Sarvik,[5] which he breaks open. In the antechamber, he finds three maidens.

Canto XIV.—Next day the maidens show the Kalevide over Sarvik's palace. Sarvik surprises them, and wrestles with the Kalevide in the enclosure, but is overcome and vanishes. The Kalevide and the sisters escape from the palace.

Canto XV.—The fugitives are pursued by the demons, but the youngest sister raises a flood between them. The leader, Tuehi, questions the Kalevide, who answers him sarcastically, and the demons take to flight. The three sisters are married to the Kalevide's kinsmen.

Canto XVI.—The Kalevide projects a voyage to the end of the world. Building of the ship Lennuk. Voyage to Finland and Lapland. Meeting with Varrak, the Laplander. Voyage to the Island of Fire. The Giant's Daughter. The Northern Lights. The Dog-men. Homeward voyage.

Canto XVII.—The fortified cities. Great battle with invaders. Land journey of the Kalevide and his friends. Encounter with Sarvik disguised as a dwarf. The daughters of the Meadow-Queen.

Canto XVIII.—The gates of Porgu.[6] The Kalevide enters the cavern, notwithstanding every obstacle fights his way across an iron bridge, and enters Sarvik's palace.

Canto XIX.—The Kalevide overcomes Sarvik in a wrestling match, and loads him with chains. He returns to the upper world, and finds the Alevide waiting for him at the entrance to the cavern. Return of the Kalevide to Lindanisa.[7] Great feast and songs. News of a formidable invasion. Departure of Varrak for Lapland. Arrival of fugitives.

Canto XX.—The Kalevide buries his treasure. Terrible battles, in which his cousin the Sulevide is slain. Drowning of the Alevide. The Kalevide abdicates in favour of his surviving cousin, the Olevide, and retires to live in seclusion on the bank of a river. Being annoyed by occasional visitors, he wanders away towards Lake Peipus, and steps into the brook Kaepae, when his sword cuts off his legs. His soul takes flight to the halls of Taara,[8] but is bidden by the gods to reanimate his body. He is mounted on a horse, and stationed at the gates of Porgu, to keep watch and ward on Sarvik and his hosts.

[Footnote 4: The names of the others are not mentioned, but later in the poem we meet with three heroes, the sons of Alev, Olev, and Sulev respectively, associated with the son of Kalev, and spoken of as his cousins. Alev and Sulev may have been the brothers of Kalev.]

[Footnote 5: The Prince of Hades, literally Hornie.]

[Footnote 6: Hades or Hell.]

[Footnote 7: Linda's Bosom, the Kalevide's capital, named in honour of his mother; now Revel.]

[Footnote 8: Ukko, the principal god of the Finns and Esthonians, is frequently called Taara in the Kalevipoeg. This name is not used in Finnish; but Tora is the name of God among the Chuvash of Kasan.]



THE KALEVIPOEG

OR,

THE ADVENTURES OF THE SON OF KALEV, THE HERO OF ESTHONIA.

The poem commences with an invocation to Vanemuine.[9] This is followed by a long lyrical exordium.

[Footnote 9: In the Finnish Kalevala, Vaeinaemoeinen is represented as a culture-hero, and as the father of his people; in Esthonia Vanemuine is usually a demi-god. He is always the inventor and patron of music and the harp. He plays no part in the Kalevipoeg, where his name is only mentioned once or twice.]



CANTO I

THE MARRIAGES OF SALME AND LINDA

In ancient days, the race of Taara dwelt here and there in the land, and took to themselves wives of the daughters of men.[10] In the far North, near the sacred oak forest of Taara, such a household existed, and from thence three sons went forth into the world to seek their fortunes. One son travelled to Russia, where he became a great merchant; another journeyed to Lapland, and became a warrior; while the third, the famous Kalev,[11] the father of heroes, was borne to Esthonia on the back of an eagle.[12] The eagle flew with him to the south across the Gulf of Finland, and then eastward across Laeaene[13] and Viru,[14] until, by the wise ordering of Jumala,[15] the eagle finally descended with him on the rocky shores of Viru, where he founded a kingdom.

In the province of Laeaene a young widow lived quietly by herself. One Sunday she followed the footprints of her cattle, and what did she find on her way? On the path she found a hen; she found a grouse's egg in the footprints of the cattle, and she found a young crow near the village. She carried them all home with her to comfort her loneliness, and she made a nest for the hen and the egg in a basket lined with wool, but she threw the young crow into a corner behind the boxes.

The hen soon began to grow, and her head reached the lid of the basket while she sat on the egg. She grew taller for three months, and for several days of the fourth month.

The widow went into the storehouse to look at her foster-children, and what did she behold on raising the lid of the basket? The hen had grown into the fair maiden Salme;[16] the egg had given birth to a second maiden, Linda, while the poor crow had become an orphan girl, a maid-of-all-work, to carry wood to the stove and to bend under the weight of water-pails from the well.

Salme was besieged by suitors. Five and six brought her offerings of corn-brandy, seven sent her offers of marriage, and eight sent trustworthy messengers to bring them news of her. The fame of her beauty spread far and wide, and at length not merely mortal lovers, but even the Moon, the Sun,[17] and the eldest son of the Pole Star sought her hand in marriage.

The Moon drove up in a grand chariot drawn by fifty horses, and attended by a train of sixty grooms. He was a pale slender youth, and found no favour in the eyes of Salme, who cried out from the storehouse:

"Him I will not have for husband, And the night-illumer love not. Far too varied are his duties, And his work is much too heavy. Sometimes he must shine in heaven Ere the day, or late in evening; Sometimes when the sun is rising; Sometimes he must toil at morning, Ere the day has fully broken; Sometimes watches in the daytime, Lingering in the sky till mid-day."

When the Moon heard her answer, he grew yet paler, and returned home sorrowful.

And now the Sun himself appeared, a young man with fiery eyes; and he drove up with similar state to the Moon. But Salme declared that she liked him even less than the Moon, for he was much too fickle. Sometimes, during the finest summer weather, he would send rain in the midst of the hay-harvest; or if the time had come for sowing oats, he would parch the land with drought; or if the time for sowing is past, he dries up the barley in the ground, beats down the flax, and presses down the peas in the furrows; he won't let the buckwheat grow, or the lentils in their pods; and when the rye is white for harvest, he either glows fiercely and drives away the clouds, or sends a pouring rain.

The Sun was deeply offended; his eyes glowed with anger, and he departed in a rage.

At last the Youth of the Stars made his appearance, driving with a similar cortege to those who had preceded him.

As soon as Salme heard of his arrival, she cried out that his horse was to be led into the stable and tended with the utmost care. The horse must have the best provender, and must be given fine linen to rest on and be covered with silken cloths; his head was to rest on satin, and his hoofs on soft hay. After this she declared to his master:

"Him I will accept as lover, Give the Star my hand in marriage, And will prove his faithful consort. Gently shine his eyes of starlight, And his temper alters nothing. Never can he thwart the sowing, Never will destroy the harvest."

Having thus accepted her suitor and provided for the comfort of his horse, Salme ordered the bridegroom to be ushered into the hall, where the broad table was washed clean and covered with a new tablecloth. The Star was to be seated with his back to the wall and his feet comfortably propped up on the bench, while he was to be feasted on the best meat and fish, and offered wedding-cake and honey, besides beer and sweet mead. The widow invited the Star to take his place at the table, and pressed him to eat and drink, but he was greatly excited, and his weapons, ornaments, and heavy spurs jingled and clanked as he stamped on the floor, and declared that he would eat nothing till Salme herself appeared before him. But Salme asked him to wait awhile while she adorned herself, and asked her sister Linda to fetch her woollen dress and her silken shift with gold-embroidered sleeves, her stockings with the pretty garters, and the brightly coloured and gold-worked kerchiefs of silk and linen.

Meantime, the widow again invited the Star to eat and drink, or, if he were tired, to sleep; but he declared, as before, that he would neither eat nor drink till he had seen Salme, and that the stars never closed their eyes in sleep.

At last Salme herself appeared in the hall, but the Meadow-Queen[18] and the wood nymphs had so adorned her that her foster-mother did not know her again, and asked in astonishment, "Is it the moon,[19] or the sun, or one of the young daughters of the sunset?"

Guests gathered to the wedding from far and near, and even the oaks and alders came, roots, branches, and all.

After this they danced the cross-dance,[20] Waltzed the waltzes of Esthonia, And they danced the Arju[21] dances, And the dances of the West Land; And they danced upon the gravel, And they trampled all the greensward. Starry youth and maiden Salme, Thus their nuptials held in rapture.

In the midst of these joyous festivities, the Moon and then the Sun returned in greater state than before to seek the hand of Linda, who was resting on a couch in the bathroom; but she also refused them both, almost in the same terms as her sister had done; and they retired sorrowfully.

A third suitor, the Lord of the Waters, now appeared; but Linda replied that the roaring of the waves was terrible, and the depth of the sea was awful; that the brooks only gave a scanty supply of water, and the river-floods were devastating. He was followed by the Wind, who rode the Horse of the Tempest, and, like all the other suitors, was attended by a cavalcade of fifty horses and sixty grooms; and he too asked the hand of Linda. But she replied that a delicate girl could never take pleasure in the howling of the wind and the raging of the tempest. The Wind whistled out of the house, but his trouble did not weigh on his heart very long.

Another suitor for the hand of Linda now appeared in the person of the Prince of Kungla.[22] All the guests, and Linda's own sisters, approved of this suitor. But Linda declared that she could not think of accepting him; for the king, his father, had wicked daughters, who would treat a stranger unkindly.

A sixth suitor now appeared in the person of the young and handsome giant Kalev. All the wedding-guests grumbled, and even the widow was opposed to the match; but he pleased Linda, and she accepted him at once. The widow then invited him to enter and partake of the good cheer; but he trembled with eagerness, so that his sword in its sheath, and his chains and spurs, and even the money in his purse, jingled as he answered that he would neither eat nor drink till Linda appeared before him. Linda begged for a little delay to adorn herself, but Kalev still refused to eat or drink, and then she called her slave-sister to help her, while the widow continued her ineffectual invitations to Kalev to feast and enjoy himself.

At last Linda appeared in the hall, where she excited as much admiration as her sister, and her wedding was celebrated with still greater festivities than Salme's, the guests dancing the local dances of every province of Esthonia.

But now the Youth of the Stars could delay no longer, and Salme took an affecting farewell of her foster-mother and all her kith and kin, declaring that she would now be hidden behind the clouds, or wandering through the heavens transformed into a star. Then she mounted her sledge, and again bade her foster-mother a last and eternal farewell. Linda and her slave-sister called after her to ask whither she was going; but there came no answer save the sighing of the wind, and tears of joy and regret in the rain and the dew; nor did they ever receive tidings of Salme more.

After Salme's departure, the wedding-festival of Linda was kept up for some time, and when Kalev finally drove off with her in her sledge, she bade farewell to her foster-mother; but Kalev reminded her that she had forgotten the moon before the house, who was her father; the sun before the storehouse, who was her old uncle; and the birch-tree before the window, who was her brother, besides her cousins in the wood. They gazed after her sorrowfully; but she was happy with Kalev, and heeded them not. Kalev and Linda drove on in their sledge day and night across the snow-fields and through the pine-forests till they reached their home.

[Footnote 10: If this is a Scriptural allusion, it is almost the only one in the book. The Kalevipoeg is essentially a pre-Christian poem, and nowhere exhibits the curious mixture of pre-Christian and Christian ideas that we meet with in many parts of the Kalevala, and notably in Runo 50.]

[Footnote 11: In the Kalevala (= the country of Kaleva), the hero himself does not appear in person, though we constantly read of his sons and daughters. Some critics, however, identify him with the dead giant, Antero Vipunen, in Runo 17 of the Kalevala.]

[Footnote 12: The eagle of the North plays a conspicuous part in Finnish and Esthonian literature. It is this bird for whose resting-place Vaeinaemoeinen spares the birch-tree, and which afterwards rescues him from the waves and carries him to Pohjola. In several cosmogonic ballads, too, it is the eggs of this bird and not of the blue duck which contribute to the formation of the world: for the Mundane Egg plays a part here as well as in other cosmogonies. The passage in the Kalevipoeg, to which this note refers, corresponds almost exactly to one in the Kalevala (xxx. 1-10), which ushers in the adventures of Kullervo.]

[Footnote 13: A province in Western Esthonia, called Wiek by the Germans.]

[Footnote 14: Esthonia proper; specially applied to the north-eastern province.]

[Footnote 15: God: this word is applied to the Christian God in Esthonia, Finland, and Lapland, as well as to the local divinities.]

[Footnote 16: There are many tales and ballads about the miraculous birth and wooing of Salme and Linda. (Compare Neus, Ehstnische Volkslieder, p. 9; Latham's Nationalities of Europe, i. p. 142.) In the story of the "Milky Way," which commences Part II. of this volume, Linda is represented as the daughter of Uko, and the queen of the birds. We also read of a blue bird, Siuru, the daughter of Taara, in the ballads. The name Linda or Lindu is evidently derived from the word Lind, a bird.]

[Footnote 17: The Sun and Moon are both male deities in Finnish and Esthonian. In the Kalevala (Runo 11) the sun, moon, and a star seek the hand of Kyllikki, the fair maid of Saari, for their sons, but she rejects them all as unceremoniously as Salme. In the Kanteletar (iii. 6), a maiden called Suometar (= Finland's daughter) plays a similar part. Suometar is born from a duck's egg, found by a young girl named Katrina.]

[Footnote 18: Muru eit, the meadow-queen (literally grass-mother), is regarded as one of the tutelary divinities of the house. Esthonian houses generally stand in a grass field, entered by a gate. Within the enclosure are the storehouses, cattle-pens, and other outbuildings.]

[Footnote 19: This is somewhat inconsistent with the rather undignified appearance of the Sun and Moon in person a little while before.]

[Footnote 20: The cross-dance is still danced in out-of-the-way parts of the country; it is a kind of quadrille. Four couples station themselves in such a manner as to form a cross. The opposite pairs advance and retire several times, and then they dance round, when the second pairs dance in the same manner, and another dance round follows, till they have danced enough. The dance is accompanied with a song, in which the dancers, and sometimes the bystanders, join.]

[Footnote 21: Arju or Harju (German, Harrien) one of the provinces of Esthonia.]

[Footnote 22: Kungla is described as a country of untold wealth and the land of adventures—a kind of fairyland. It appears, however, to have been a real country, separated from Esthonia by sea, of which fabulous tales were told. Some writers identify it with the Government of Perm; but this is improbable, as it is generally described as an island. Others think that the island of Gottland is meant.]



CANTO II

THE DEATH OF KALEV

Kalev and Linda lived very happily together, and were blessed with a numerous offspring;[23] but the country was small, and as soon as the children were grown up they wandered forth into the world to seek their fortunes, more especially as Kalev had determined that one son only should be the heir to his possessions. At length Kalev began to grow old, and felt that his end was approaching. Two of his younger sons, who were still little boys, remained at home; but the youngest of all, the famous Sohni, more often known by his patronymic, the Son of Kalev, was still unborn. Kalev foretold the glory and greatness of this last son to Linda, indicating him as his heir,[24] and shortly afterwards fell dangerously sick.

Then Linda took her brooch, and spun it round on a thread, while she sent forth the Alder-Beetle[25] to bid the Wind-Magician and Soothsayer hasten to the bedside of her husband. Seven days the brooch spun round, and seven days the beetle flew to the north, across three kingdoms and more, till he encountered the Moon, and besought his aid. But the Moon only gazed on him sorrowfully without speaking, and went on his way.

Again Linda spun the brooch for seven days, and sent forth the beetle, who flew farther this time, through many thick forests, and as far as the Gold Mountain, till he encountered the Evening Star; but he also refused him an answer.

Next time the beetle took a different route, over wide heaths and thick fir-woods, till he reached the Gold Mountain, and met the rising Sun. He also returned no answer; but on a fourth journey the beetle encountered the Wind-Magician, the old Soothsayer from Finland,[26] and the great Necromancer himself. He besought their aid, but they replied with one voice that what the drought had parched up, the moonlight blanched, and the stars withered, could never bloom again. And before the beetle returned from his fruitless journey the mighty Kalev had expired.

Linda sat weeping by his bedside without food or sleep for seven days and nights, and then began to prepare his corpse for burial. First she bathed it with her tears, then with salt water from the sea, rain water from the clouds, and lastly water from the spring. Then she smoothed his hair with her fingers, and brushed it with a silver brush, and combed it with the golden comb which the water-nymphs had used to comb their hair. She drew on him a silken shirt, a satin shroud, and a robe over it, confined by a silver girdle. She herself dug his grave thirty ells below the sod, and grass and flowers soon sprang from it.

From the grave the grasses sprouted, And the herbage from the hillock; From the dead man dewy grasses, From his cheeks grew ruddy flowers, From his eyes there sprang the harebells, Golden flowerets from his eyelids.[27]

Linda mourned for Kalev for one month after another till three months had passed, and the fourth was far advanced. She heaped a cairn of stones over his tomb, which formed the hill on which the Cathedral of Revel now stands. One day she was carrying a great stone to the cairn, but found herself too weak, and let it fall. She sat down on it, and lamented her sad fate, and her tears formed the lake called "Uelemiste jaerv," the Upper Lake, beside which the huge stone block may still be seen.[28]

After this, Linda felt her time approaching, and she retired to the bathroom,[29] and called upon the gods to aid her. Ukko and Rougutaja[30] both attended at her call, and one brought a bundle of straw, and the other pillows, and they made her up a soft bed; nor was it long before Kalev's posthumous son saw the light.

Linda was sitting by the cradle one day, trying to sing the child to sleep, when suddenly he began to scream, and continued to scream day and night for a whole month, when he burst his swaddling-clothes, smashed the cradle to pieces, and began to creep about the floor.[31]

Linda suckled the child till he was three years old, and he grew up a fine strong boy. He first learned to tend the cattle, and then to guide the plough, and grew up like a young oak-tree. When he played kurni (tipcat), his blocks flew far and wide all over the country, and many even as far as the sea. Sometimes he used to go down to the sea, and make ducks and drakes of huge rocks, which he sent spinning out to sea for a verst or more, while he stood on his head to watch them.

At other times he used to amuse himself quietly in the enclosure, carving skates or weaving baskets. Thus he passed his days till he came to man's estate.

After the death of Kalev, Linda was much pestered by suitors who were anxious to marry the rich widow; but she refused them all, and at length they ceased to trouble her. Last of all came a mighty wind-sorcerer from Finland, calling himself Kalev's cousin; and when she refused him also, he vowed revenge. But she laughed at his threats, telling him she had three young eagles with sharp claws growing up in the house, who would protect their mother.

Linda was no longer tormented by suitors, but the magician whom she had discarded recommended all his friends not to seek a wife in Kalev's house, for notwithstanding Linda's wealth her beauty was faded, her teeth were iron, and her words were red-hot pincers. They would do better to sail to Finland, where they would find rows of maidens, rich in money, pearls, jewels, and golden bracelets, waiting for them on the rocky coast.

[Footnote 23: According to various traditions, Kalev and Linda are said to have had seven or twelve sons.]

[Footnote 24: This is what Jacobs calls "junior right;" the patriarchal custom of the elder children going forth into the world to seek their fortunes, and the youngest remaining at home to look after his parents and inherit their possessions. Hence the rivalry between Esau and Jacob.]

[Footnote 25: Has this anything to do with boys spinning cockchafers on a thread? The beetle alluded to in the text is said to be the ladybird, but the ladybird has no particular connection with the alder. When a brooch is thus spun on a thread, a question is asked, and if the motion stops, the answer is unfavourable, but favourable if it continues. The flight of the beetle is fortunate towards the south, but unfortunate towards the north.]

[Footnote 26: It is curious that the Esthonians always regarded the Finns, and the Finns the Lapps, as great sorcerers; each nation attributing special skill in magic to those living north of themselves.—But there is a Finnish ballad (Kanteletar, iii. 2) in which we read of the sun and moon being stolen by German and Esthonian sorcerers.]

[Footnote 27: This reminds us of Ariel's well-known song—

"Full fathom five thy father lies, Of his bones are coral made," &c. ]

[Footnote 28: The origin of stone blocks is usually ascribed to non-human beings in many countries, but most frequently to the devil, especially in Northern Europe. Compare also the church-stories, &c., in a later part of this work.]

[Footnote 29: The usual place employed on such occasions in Finland and Esthonia.]

[Footnote 30: Ukko or Taara commonly appears as the principal god of the Finns and Esthonians; Rougutaja usually as an accoucheur, but occasionally also as a malicious demon. Rougutaja is also called the God of the Wind. Other authorities consider him a water-god. (Kreutzwald und Neus, Mythische und Magische Lieder, p. 108.)]

[Footnote 31: Kullervo in the Kalevala (Runo 30) bursts his swaddling-clothes and smashes his cradle in the same way.]



CANTO III

THE FATE OF LINDA

One hot day, the youngest son of Kalev was sitting on the top of a cliff watching the clouds and waves. Suddenly the sky became overcast, and a terrific storm arose, which lashed the breakers into foam. Aeike,[32] the Thunder-God, was driving his brazen-wheeled chariot over the iron bridges of the sky, and as he thundered above, the sparks flew from the wheels, and he hurled down flash after flash of lightning from his strong right hand against a company of wicked demons of the air, who plunged from the rocks into the sea, dodged the thunderbolts among the waves, and mocked and insulted the god. The hero was enraged at their audacity, and plunging into the water, dragged them from their hiding-places like crabs, and filled a whole sack with them. He then swam to the shore, and cast them out on the rocks, where the bolts of the angry god soon reduced them to a disgusting mass that even the wolves would not touch.

Another day, the three sons of Kalev went hunting in the forest with their three dogs.[33] The dogs killed a bear among the bushes, an elk in the open country, and a wild ox in the fir-wood. Next they encountered a pack of wolves and another of foxes, numbering five dozen of each, and killed them all. All this game the youngest brother bound together and carried on his back; and on the way home they found the rye-fields full of hares, of which they likewise secured five dozen.[34]

Meantime the Finnish sorcerer had been watching Kalev's house from his boat, where he remained in hiding among the rocks a little way from the shore, till he saw that the three young heroes had left the house and wandered far into the forest, leaving their home unprotected. The sorcerer then steered boldly to the shore, hid his boat, and made his way by devious and unfrequented paths to the house of Kalev, where he climbed over the low gate into the enclosure, and went to the door, but he looked cautiously round when he reached the threshold. Linda was just boiling soup over the fire when he rushed in, and, without saying a word, seized her by the girdle and dragged her away to his boat. She resisted him with tooth and nail, but he muttered spells which unnerved her strength and overpowered her feeble efforts, and her prayers and cries for help were unheard by men. But she cried to the gods for protection, and the Thunder-God himself came to her aid.

Just as the sorcerer was about to push off from the shore, Pikker darted a bolt from the clouds. His chariot thundered over the iron bridges of the sky, scattering flames around it, and the sorcerer was struck down senseless. Linda fled; but the gods spared her further sorrow and outrage by transforming her into a rock on Mount Iru.

It was a long time before the sorcerer woke from his swoon, when he sat up, rubbing his eyes, and wondering what had become of his prey; but he could discover no trace of her. The rock is now called "Iru's Stepmother;" and old people relate that when it was once rolled down into the valley, it was found next morning in its original place on the mountain.

The sons of Kalev were now making the best of their way home, sometimes along well-trodden paths or across the plains, sometimes wading through deep sand or mossy bogs, and then through forests of pine, oak, birch, and alder. The pine forest was called the King's Wood; the oak forest was sacred to the God Taara; the forest where the slender birch-trees grew was called the Maidens' Wood, and the alder-wood was sacred to mourners, and was called the Wood of the Poor Orphans.

As they passed through the pine forest which was called the King's Wood, the eldest brother sat down under a tree and began to sing a song. He sang till the leaves on the trees shone brighter than ever, and the needles on the fir-trees turned to silken tassels, and the fir-cones gleamed purple in the sunshine. Acorns sprouted on the oaks, tender catkins on the birch-trees, and other trees were covered with sweet-scented snow-white flowers, which shone in the sunshine and glimmered in the moonlight, while the woods re-echoed with his singing, and the tones were heard far over the heaths and meadows, and the daughter of the king of Kungla wept tears of rapture.[35]

The second brother sat down in the birch-wood under a weeping birch-tree, and began to sing a song. As he sang, the buds unfolded and the flowers bloomed, the golden ears of corn swelled, and the apples reddened, the kernels formed in the nuts, the cherries ripened, red berries grew on the hills and blue berries in the marshes, while black berries grew at the edges of the swamps, yellow ones on the mossy hillocks, and the elder-trees were covered with rich purple grapes, while the woods re-echoed with the song, and its notes spread far over the heaths and meadows till the little water-nymphs shed tears of rapture.

The third brother sat down under a magnificent oak in the sacred oak-forest of Taara, and began to sing a song. As he sang, the wild beasts of the neighbouring woods and heaths gathered round him, and the cuckoos, doves, magpies, larks, nightingales, and swallows joined in the concert. The swans, geese, and ducks swam towards the sound, the waves of the sea beat on the rocks, and the crowns of the trees bowed down. The green hills trembled, and the clouds parted to permit the sky to listen to the singing, while the forest-king's daughter, the slender wood-nymphs, and the yellow-haired water-nymphs wept tears of rapture and glowed with longing for the handsome singer.

Evening now approached, and the heroes made the best of their way homewards, the youngest, as before, loading himself with all the game. They looked out anxiously for the smoke of their home and the glow of the kitchen-fire, but they could discover nothing.

They quickened their pace as they crossed the deep sand of the heath, but no smoke nor fire nor steam from the kettle could be seen. They rushed into the house, but the fire was out and the hearth was cold. Again and again they shouted to their mother, but there was no answer save the echo. The evening became darker and stiller, and the brothers went out to search in different directions. The youngest went down to the beach, where he found such traces of his mother's presence that he concluded that she had been carried off by her disappointed suitor, the Finnish sorcerer.

The eldest brother proposed that they should eat their supper and go to sleep, hoping that a dream might show them where to seek for their mother. The second assented, hoping that Ukko would send them a vision; but the youngest was unwilling to put off till to-morrow what might be done to-day, and finally determined to repair to his father's grave.[36]

From his grave there spoke the father— "Who upon the sand is treading, With his feet the grave disturbing? In my eyes the sand is running, On my eyelids grass is pressing."

The youth told his father who he was, and all his trouble, and implored him to rise and help him. But his father answered that he could not rise, for the rocks lay on his breast, lilies of the valley on his eyelids, harebells on his eyes, and red flowers on his cheeks. But he prayed the wind to show his son the right path, and a gentle zephyr to guide him on the way pointed out by the stars of heaven. So the young hero returned to the sea-shore and followed his mother's footprints till they were lost in the sea. He gazed over the sea and shore, but could detect no further traces of her, nor was any boat in sight. There he sat till it grew quite dark, and the moon and stars appeared in the sky; but winds and waves, sea and sky, moon and stars, alike were silent, and brought him no tidings of his mother.

[Footnote 32: The Esthonian Thunder-God goes by a variety of names, but is usually called Pikker or Pikne, evidently the Perkunas of the Lithuanians. He resembles Thor in driving about in a chariot, waging war with the evil demons; but one of his attributes, not appertaining to Thor, is his flute (or bagpipe, as some critics regard it). It will be seen in many places that the Esthonians, like all other peoples among whom the belief in fairies, demons, &c., survives, do not share the absurd modern notion that such beings must necessarily be immortal.]

[Footnote 33: Peter, in the story of the Lucky Rouble, is also attended by three black dogs. The dogs of the sons of Kalev were named Irmi, Armi, and Mustukene; the last name means Blackie, not Throttler, as Reinthal translates it.]

[Footnote 34: In the Maha-Bharata Bhima is represented as carrying enormous loads, and in one passage Yudhishthira is searching for his brother in the Himalayas, when he comes to a place where slaughtered lions and tigers are lying about by thousands, which convinces him that he is on the right track.]

[Footnote 35: This passage would seem to indicate that the daughter of the king of Kungla was sometimes looked upon rather as a fairy than as a human princess.]

[Footnote 36: Visits to a father's grave for counsel are very common in the literature of Northern Europe.]



CANTO IV

THE ISLAND MAIDEN

When the Kalevide had satisfied himself that no further traces of his mother were to be found, he cast himself into the sea beneath the stars, and swam northwards manfully towards Finland, swimming with his hands, steering with his feet, and with his hair floating like a sail. He swam on till past midnight without meeting with a resting-place; but at length he espied a black speck in the distance, which proved to be a small rocky island. The hero discovered a mossy bank on a projecting rock, and made his way to the shore, and lay down, intending to sleep a little, when he was roused by the voice of a maiden singing a love-song. It was very dark and somewhat foggy, but he saw the light of a fire at a little distance at the foot of an oak-tree, beneath which sat a fair girl with brown eyes.[37] The hero soon joined her, and they talked together for some time, when the maiden became alarmed at his familiarities, and cried out. Her mother awoke, and thought it was only a bad dream; but her father hastened to her aid, armed with a great club. But when he saw the terrible giant, he grew as pale as death, and his club dropped from his hand.

The maiden could not lift her eyes to her father, but the Kalevide asked carelessly if he had seen the Finnish sorcerer pass the island in his boat on the previous evening. "No," replied the islander, "I have not seen anything of him for weeks; but tell me your name and lineage, for I judge that you are of the race of the gods." The hero answered him fully; but when the maiden heard that he was the son of Kalev and Linda, she was seized with terror, and her foot slipping she fell from the cliff into the sea.

The father shrieked and wrung his hands, but the Kalevide plunged into the sea after the maiden, and sought for her for a long time in vain. When he abandoned the search, he did not venture to return to the island, but after crying out a few words of unavailing regret swam again towards Finland. The father's cry of despair fully roused the mother, who sprang up, and ran down to the shore, only to learn that her daughter was lost.

Then the mother took a rake with a long copper handle, and the father took his net, and with them they sought for their daughter's body at the bottom of the sea.[38] They did not find their daughter, but they raked up an oak-tree, a fir-tree, an eagle's egg, an iron helmet, a fish, and a silver dish. They took them all carefully home, and went again to seek for their lost child.

Then a song arose from the deep, telling how a maiden went down to the sea:[39]

What beheld she in the ocean? What beneath the sea was shining? From the sea a sword shone golden, In the waves a spear of silver, From the sand a copper crossbow. Then to grasp the sword she hastened, And to seize the spear of silver, And to lift the copper crossbow.

Then there came a man to meet her; 'Twas an aged man of copper;[40] On his head a helm of copper; Wearing, too, a shirt of copper; Round his waist a belt of copper; On his hands were copper gauntlets; On his feet were boots of copper; In his belt were copper buckles, And the buckles chased with copper; Copper was his neck and body, And his face and eyes were copper. And the copper man demanded: "In the sea what seeks the maiden, Singing thus amid the waters, She, a dove[41] among the fishes?"

And the maiden heard and hearkened, And the little duck made answer: "To the sea I went to rock me, And amid the waves to carol; And I saw the sword that glittered, And the spear of silver shining, And the copper crossbow gleaming. And to grasp the sword I hastened, And to seize the spear of silver, And to lift the copper crossbow."

Then the copper man made answer, With his copper tongue he answered: "'Tis the sword of son of Kalev, And the spear is son of Alev's, And the crossbow son of Sulev's. On the bed of ocean guarded, Here the man of copper keeps them, Of the golden sword the guardian, Guardian of the spear of silver, Guardian of the copper crossbow."

Then the man of copper offered her the weapons if she would take him as her husband, but she refused, saying that she was the daughter of a landsman, and preferred a husband from the village on the land. He laughed scornfully; her foot slipped, and she sank into the sea. Her father and mother came to seek her, and found only her ornaments scattered on the beach. They called her by her name, and implored her to go home with them; but she answered that she could not, for she was weighed down by the water; and she related to them her adventure with the copper man. But she begged her parents not to weep for her, for she had a house at the bottom of the sea, and a soft resting-place in the ooze.

"Do not weep, my dearest mother, Nor lament, my dearest father. In the sea is now my dwelling, On its bed a pleasant chamber, In the depths a room to rest in, In the ooze a nest of softness."

[Footnote 37: The story in the Kalevipoeg is very confused, but this maiden evidently corresponds to the lost sister of Kullervo (Kalevala, Runo 35), whom he meets casually, and seduces. When they discover the truth, the girl throws herself into a torrent. In the Kalevipoeg, Canto 7, the Kalevide and the maiden are actually spoken of as brother and sister. There are many versions of this story; in one of them (Neus, Ehstnische Volkslieder, pp. 5-8; Latham's Nationalities of Europe, i. p. 138), the maiden is represented as slaying her brother, who is called indifferently the son of Kalev or of Sulev, to the great satisfaction of her father and mother.]

[Footnote 38: In the Kalevala, Runo 15, Lemminkainen's mother collects together the fragments of his body from the River of Death with a long rake.]

[Footnote 39: This song and story (except for the incident of the man of copper) resembles that of the drowning of Aino in the Kalevala, Runo 4.]

[Footnote 40: It was a copper man who rose from the water to fell the great oak-tree (Kalevala, Runo 2). Compare also the variant in Canto 6 of the Kalevipoeg. We may also remember the copper men connected with the mountain of loadstone (Thousand and One Nights, Third Calendar's Story).]

[Footnote 41: Literally a "house-hen;" one of those idiomatic terms of endearment which cannot be reproduced in another language.]



CANTO V

THE KALEVIDE AND THE FINNISH SORCERER

Day was breaking as the dauntless swimmer approached the coast of Finland, where his enemy, the sorcerer, had arrived somewhat before him, and had made his boat fast under a projecting rock. The Kalevide gazed round without seeing any traces of him, and lay down to sleep; but though the morning was calm and peaceful, his dreams were but of battle and murder.

Meantime the islander and his wife, not being able to find their daughter, returned home weeping, and planted the oak and the fir in the field where their daughter used to swing in the evening, in remembrance of her. Then they went to look in the helmet where they had put the egg; but it was cold and damp, so the mother put the egg in the warm sun by day, and nursed it in her bosom at night.

Then they went to look at the trees, and the oak had already shot up a hundred fathoms, and the fir-tree ten. Next they visited the fish, which prayed for its liberty, and they restored it to the sea.

The oak and fir now reached the clouds; and a young eagle was hatched from the egg, which the mother tended; but one day it escaped and flew away. The oak now scattered the clouds and threatened to pierce the sky. Then they sought a sorcerer to fell the tree, and the woman took a golden rake on her shoulder with a copper handle and silver prongs. She raked up three swathes of grass, and in the third she found the eagle which she had lately reared from the egg. She took him home, and under his wing was a little man, scarcely two spans high, holding an axe in his hands.[42]

The Kalevide had only intended to take a short nap, but he was so weary that he slept all through the day and night, and did not awake till sunrise next morning.[43] When he awoke, he set off at once in search of his mother and the sorcerer into the interior of the country. At last he climbed a high mountain, and saw from thence an inhabited valley with a brook running through it, and the sorcerer's farm at the edge of the wood.

The son of Kalev rushed down the mountain and through the plain till he reached the gate of the enclosure and looked in. The sorcerer was lying on the grass in the shade of his house. The Kalevide turned towards the wood, tore up an oak-tree by the roots, and trimmed it into a club. He swung it in his right hand, and strode through the enclosure, the whole country trembling and the hills and valleys shaking with fear as he advanced.

The sorcerer started from his sleep, and saw Linda's avenger at the gate, but he was too unnerved and terrified to attempt to hide himself. He hurriedly took a handful of feathers from his bosom, and blew them from him with a few magic words, and lo! they became an armed host of warriors,—thousands of them, both on foot and on horseback.[44] They rushed upon the son of Kalev like a swarm of gnats or bees; but he laid about him with his club as if he was threshing, and beat them down, horse and man together, on all sides, like drops of hail or rain. The fight was hardly begun when it was over, and the hero waded chest-deep in blood. The sorcerer, whose magic troops had never failed him before, was now at his wit's end, and prayed for mercy, giving a long account of how he had endeavoured to carry off Linda, and had been struck down by the enraged Thunder-God. But the Kalevide paid no attention to his speech, and, after a few angry words, he smashed his head with his club. Then he rushed through the house from room to room in search of his mother, breaking open every door and lock which opposed him, while the noise resounded far over the country. But he found not his mother, and regretted that he had killed the sorcerer, who might have helped him. At last, wearied out with his own violence, he threw himself on a couch, and wept himself to sleep. He had a vision of his mother in her youth and beauty, swinging with her companions, and awoke, convinced that she was really dead.

[Footnote 42: We find this great oak-tree over and over again in Finnish and Esthonian tales. Compare Kalevala, Runo 2, and Cantos 4, 5, 6, and 16 of the Kalevipoeg. Neus, Ehstnische Volkslieder, p. 47; Kreutzwald and Neus, Mythische und Magische Lieder, p. 8, &c. Could this oak have any connection, direct or indirect, with the ash Yggthrasil? or could the story have originated in some report or tradition of the banyan?]

[Footnote 43: The tremendous exploits of the Kalevide and his weariness afterwards give him much of the character of a Berserk.]

[Footnote 44: In the 26th Runo of the Kalevala Lemminkainen creates a flock of birds from a handful of feathers, to appease the fiery eagle who obstructed his way to Pohjola. We may also remember Jason and the dragon's teeth.]



CANTO VI

THE KALEVIDE AND THE SWORD-SMITHS

The Kalevide mourned two days for his mother, but on the third day he began to get over his grief, and determined, before returning home, to visit a famous smith of Finland, and to provide himself with a good sword. So he set off in another direction, and lost himself in the woods, and had to pass the night on the wet grass under a fir-tree, which he did not at all relish. Next morning he started off again early, and a thrush sang to him, and directed him to turn to the west. He sprang forward with renewed energy and soon found himself in the open country, where he encountered an old woman,[45] who gave him minute instructions for finding his way to the smithy, which was three days' journey off. When at length he reached the smithy, he found the old smith and his three sons hard at work forging swords.

The hero saluted the smith, who replied to him courteously, and at once acceded to his request to try the swords before purchasing one. At a sign from the smith, one of the sons went out and fetched an armful of swords. The Kalevide picked out the longest, and bent it into a hoop, when it straightened itself at once. He then whirled it round his head, and struck at the massive rock which stood in the smithy with all his might. The sparks flew from the stone and the blade shivered to pieces, while the old smith looked on and swore.

"Who mixes up children's toys with weapons for men?" said the Kalevide scornfully, and caught up a second and third sword, which he shivered in the same way before the smith could interfere. "Stop, stop," cried the smith at last, "don't break any more swords to show off your strength;" and he called to his sons to bring some swords of the best quality they had.

The youths brought in an armful of the very best, and the Kalevide chose a huge sword, which he brandished like a reed in his right hand, and then brought down on the anvil. The sword cut deep into the iron, and the blade did not fly, but the sharp edge was somewhat blunted.

Then the smith was well pleased, and said that he had one sword in store worthy of the strength of the hero, if he was rich enough to buy it; for, between friends, the price was nine strong carthorses, four pairs of good packhorses, twenty good milch kine, ten pairs of good yoke oxen, fifty well-fed calves, a hundred tons of the best wheat, two boatsful of barley, and a large shipload of rye, a thousand old dollars, a hundred pairs of bracelets, two hundred gold coins, a lapful of silver brooches, the third of a kingdom, and the dowries of three maidens.

Then from a little iron cupboard they fetched a sword which had not its equal in the world, and on which the smith and his sons had laboured for seven long years without intermission. It was wrought of seven different kinds of Swedish iron with the aid of seven powerful charms, and was tempered in seven different waters, from those of the sea and Lake Peipus to rain-water. It had been bespoken by Kalev himself, but he had not lived till the work was completed.

The son of Kalev received the huge blade from the hands of the smith with reverence, and whirled it round like a fiery wheel, and it whistled through the air like the tempest that breaks oaks and unroofs houses. Then he turned and brought down the keen edge like a flash of lightning on the great anvil, and clove it to the ground without the sword receiving the slightest injury.

Then the hero joyfully expressed his thanks to the smith for forging such a splendid sword, and promised to bring him the full price demanded upon his return to Esthonia. But the smith said he would rather go and fetch the value of the sword himself.

And now a great drinking-bout was prepared in honour of the sword and its owner, which lasted for seven days. Beer and mead flowed in abundance, and the guests drank till they lost all restraint, shouting and laughing, and throwing their caps about, and rolling on the grass.

The Kalevide had lost his senses like the rest, and told the whole story of his adventure on the island and the drowning of the maiden. Upon this, the eldest son of the smith, his father's pride and joy, sprang forward, denouncing him for his aspersions on the maiden's honour. The Kalevide defied him, maintaining the truth of the story, and from words they soon came to blows; and, before any one could comprehend what was going on or interfere, the Kalevide drew the sword from its sheath and struck off the head of his adversary before the face of his father, mother, and brothers, the hero thus loading himself with a second great crime.

The youth's father shrieked with horror and his mother fell fainting to the ground; the smith then cried out to the Kalevide that he had murdered the support of his old age, and had stained the innocence and honour of his new sword for ever. Then he called to his sons to fetch the hammers from the smithy and break the bones of the murderer. But the drunken giant advanced against them with his sword, defying them to the combat; and the smith, recognising the hopelessness of any attempt against him, cried to his sons to let him pass and leave vengeance to the gods, cursing him like a mad dog, and calling on the sword itself to avenge the crime. But the Kalevide seemed to hear nothing, and staggered away from the house through the wood along the road till he came to a high waterfall. He followed the course of the stream some distance till he found a resting-place, where he laid down, and snored till the whole neighbourhood shook, and people asked in fear whether enemies had invaded the land and a battle was in progress.

The oak which the islander had planted sprang up, first as a small tree, but it grew so rapidly that it reached the clouds, and almost touched the sun. The sun and moon were hidden, the windows darkened, and all the country around made dismal by the shadow of its branches. The islander sought far and near for some one to fell the tree, for whole cities and fleets might have been built of its wood. Proclamation was made everywhere for some one to fell the tree, but no one dared to attempt it, and he returned home, grumbling to his wife at the failure of his long and fruitless journey. Then the old woman led the way to the room where the eagle and the dwarf were still remaining, and told her husband how she had found the dwarf, who was no larger than Kalev's thumb, under the wing of the eagle. The islander asked the dwarf if he would fell the oak-tree, and he consented at once, on condition that he should be released from his captivity; he was also given a dish of pure gold.

The dwarf went out and took a good look at the oak-tree, and then he himself began to grow, first by ells, and then by fathoms. Having thus become a giant, he began to hew at the tree, and he hewed at it for three days, till it fell, covering half the island and half the sea with its branches. The trunk was used to make a great bridge, with two arms, reaching from the island to Finland on the one side, and to Esthonia on the other. Large ships were built of the summit, merchant-vessels from the trunk, towns from the roots, rowing-boats from the branches, and children's boats from the chips. What remained was used to make shelters for weak old men, sick widows, and orphan children, and the last branches left were used to build a little room in which the minstrel could sing his songs. Strangers who came now and then across the bridge stopped before the minstrel's hut to ask the name of the city with the magnificent palace; and the minstrel replied that there was nothing there but his poor hut, and all the splendour they beheld was the light of his songs reflected from heaven.

[Footnote 45: In the Kalevala (Runo 34) an old woman directs Kullervo to the house of his parents.]



CANTO VII

THE RETURN OF THE KALEVIDE

The Kalevide slept till the following morning, and when at length he awoke he tried in vain to recollect the events of the day before. He could not remember whether he had been in Finland or on the island, or whether he had been engaged in battle. He had no remembrance of having slain the smith's son; but he got up half-dazed, and walked on without stopping till he reached the seashore on the third day afterwards. Here he found the sorcerer's boat; so he stepped into it, hoisted sail, and set off homewards.

Kalev's offspring was not weary, For his back was like an oak-tree, And his shoulders gnarled and knotted, And his arms like trunks of oak-trees, And like elm-trees were his elbows, And his fingers spread like branches, And his finger-nails like boxwood, And his loins like hardened iron.

The Kalevide was now in high spirits, and began to sing a song, in which he pictured himself as going on a voyage, and meeting three shiploads of enchantresses, old and young, whose blandishments he resisted. But as he approached the shores of Esthonia, the fresh sea-breeze dispelled the mists that still clouded his memory, and the blood-stained sword and the splashes of blood on his clothes bore witness of the murder he had committed.

About midnight he approached the small island where the maiden had fallen into the sea, and the whole sad scene arose again before his imagination. And now he could hear the maiden singing a sad song beneath the waves, lamenting her sad fate, and yet more the evil lot of her brother, who had slain the son of his father's old friend.[46] The blood from the sword reddened the cheeks of the maiden, and a long and terrible penance lay before her brother.

For a while the hero sat lost in thought, bitterly lamenting the past; but presently he roused himself, and proceeded on his voyage, singing a lamentation for his mother beginning:

Where upgrows the weeping alder, And the aspen of confusion, And the pine-tree of distraction, And the deep remorse of birch-tree? Where I sorrow, springs the alder; Where I tremble, sprouts the aspen; Where I weep, the pine is verdant; Where I suffer, sighs the birch-tree.

Next morning the Kalevide reached the shore, made fast the boat, and went homewards; but as he passed Mount Iru, where the form of his mother stood, his steps were arrested by the sweet singing of her unseen spirit in the wind. She sang how the young eagle had soared from the nest in youthful innocence, and had returned stained with crime. He knew now that his mother was dead, and realised more fully the two crimes which weighed upon his soul—the one committed thoughtlessly and without evil intent, and the other without his knowledge, when he was not master of himself. He hastened on, and when he reached home his brothers, who had long mourned him as dead, received him with open arms.

In the evening the three brothers sat together and related their adventures. The first sang how he had wandered in search of his mother over vast regions, and through a great part of Courland, Poland, Russia, Germany, and Norway, and had met on his wanderings maidens of tin, copper, silver, and gold. But only the golden daughter of the Gold King could speak, and she directed him along a path which would lead him to a beautiful maiden who could reply to his question. He hurried on a long way, and at last met a rosy-cheeked maiden of flesh and bone, who replied to his questions that she had seen no traces of his mother, and the hawk must have flown away with her. But she invited him to her village, where he would find plenty of rich and beautiful maidens. He answered that he had not come to choose a wife, but to seek his mother.

Then the second brother sang how he also had wandered a long way, but at last reached a cottage where he found an old man and woman, whom he saluted and asked for tidings. They made no reply, and only the cat mewed in answer.

He went on farther, and met a wolf; but when he asked if he had seen his mother, he only opened his mouth to grin at him. Next he met the bear, who only growled, but finally the cuckoo[47] directed him through a wood and across a green meadow to some maidens who would give him information. When he reached the spot, he found four beautiful maidens in elegant attire, who told him that they had been wandering about the woods and meadows every day, but had seen nothing of his mother, and they thought she must have flown away. They recommended him to seek a wife; but he answered that a young wife could not fill the place of his dear lost mother.

Then the youngest brother related his adventures; but he said nothing about the fatal brawl at the smith's feast, nor of the sad songs of the island-maiden and of the spirit of his mother.

Then the eldest brother remarked that they knew not what had become of their mother, but their parents were no more, and they must shift for themselves, so he proposed a trial to decide which of the three should rule as king in the land. The second brother agreed, and the third proposed that the trial should take place next day, and be decided according to the will of Taara.

In the evening, before twilight had quite given way to night, the youngest son took his handkerchief, which was wet with tears, and climbed up his father's cairn. And his father asked from below:

"Who disturbs the sandy hillock, With his feet the grave disturbing, Stamping with his heels the gravel, And the gravestone thus disturbing?"

The hero besought his father to rise up and stroke his hair and speak to him; but his father answered that he had long lain in his grave; his bones were decayed, and the grass and moss grew over him, and he could not rise. Let the wind and the sun caress his son. The son answered that the wind only blew sometimes, and the sun only shone by day, but Taara lives for ever. And the father told him not to weep or grieve, for the spirit of his dead father should follow him throughout his life, and that the good gods would protect him even through the desert wastes of the waters of the ocean; and he also counselled him to do his best to atone for every fault and error.

[Footnote 46: The smith is sometimes called the uncle of Kalev; but the term may only mean that he was an old friend.]

[Footnote 47: The cuckoo is a sacred bird, but more often alluded to in Finnish than in Esthonian literature.]



CANTO VIII

THE CONTEST AND PARTING OF THE BROTHERS

On the following morning the three sons of Kalev set out before sunrise towards the south; but they rested under the trees and took some refreshment during the heat of the day. In the evening they passed a house which was lighted up as if for company. The father and mother stood at the door, and invited them to choose brides from among their rich and beautiful daughters. The eldest brother answered that they were not come to woo brides, and had no thought of marriage; but the second brother said he should like the girls to come out to swing with them; and they were forthwith summoned. Then the youngest brother said he hoped the young ladies would not distress themselves, but really he and his brothers had no idea of marrying at present, and they must beg to be excused.

Then they continued their journey southwards, and on the third day they reached a small lake with steep banks.[48] Water-birds were sporting in the lake, and on the opposite shore they saw the holy forest of Taara shining in the sunset. "Here is the place where our lot must be decided," said the eldest brother; and each selected a stone for the trial of strength. It was arranged that whoever should cast his stone across the lake to the firm ground opposite should be adjudged his father's heir, and the other two should wander forth to seek their fortunes in other lands.

The eldest brother, in all friendliness, claimed his right to the first trial, and cast his stone. It flew from his hand with the speed of a bird or of the tempest, but suddenly changed its direction, and plunged into the middle of the lake. The water foamed up over it, and entirely concealed it from sight.

The second brother then seized his stone, and sent it whistling through the air like an arrow. It rose up till it was nearly lost to sight, and then turned and fell on the shore close to the water, where it sank for half its bulk into the mud. Then came the turn of the third, who, though the youngest, was much taller and stronger than his brothers.

The youngest brother made some sad reflections on his posthumous birth, and on the course of his childhood, and then cast forth his rock like a bird, or like a ship in a storm. It flew up far and high, but not up to the clouds, like that cast by his brother, and afterwards made great ducks and drakes across the whole lake, reaching at last the firm ground beyond.

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