Poem 8

The original Kalevala poem can be found here; introductory notes on Team Louhi are here.

in the air sat Pohja’s daughter
weaving fabric golden, silver
Väinö in the sleigh went passing
heard the singing of her loomwork.

halting horse, he rose from sleigh now
asked the maiden then to join him:
“For my house, my life, my homestead
by my side be, kindly keep me.”

“Not for me such wretched living,”
countered Louhi’s sharpest daughter
“Only just a songbird told me
of the toil of those who marry.
lighter life for unwed daughters,
wifely living but a burden.”

scolded Väinö tweeted wisdom:
“What know songbirds of our living?
have these chirpers ever married?
come, now join me, take to my side.”

Pohja’s daughter feigned conversion
set some terms for her betrothal:
“Knots in eggs tie, strip off rock bark,
forge a boat of weaving remnants!”

though these jobs that she deviséd
were fantastic from the outset
all these tasks completed Väinö
knots and bark and even boat, too –
in this last task axe revolted
spurred to such by all world’s evils
sliced open foot of this poor old man
by his blood the woods were covered
none escaped this great outpouring.

from Väinö’s mind are escaped now
all those spells for stilling bloodflow
rides then on to town in great pain
searches for some sagely equal
one to halt his blood with singing

not the first house, not the second
not the young child nor the old crone
have the right words for this great task
in the third house, luck would have it
rests a man of noted beard length:
“Not to worry, troubled trav’ller!
I have ended greater pains here
brought to halt much greater gushings!”
comforted was greatly Väinö,
finding now his signing saviour.

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