Book: The Kalevala
Author: John Martin Crawford





The Kalevala By John Martin Crawford

Format: Global Grey free PDF, epub, Kindle ebook
Pages (PDF): 680
Publication Date: 1888

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Summary:

The Kalevala or The Kalewala is a 19th-century work of epic poetry compiled by Elias Lönnrot from Karelian and Finnish oral folklore and mythology. It is regarded as the national epic of Karelia and Finland and is one of the most significant works of Finnish literature.



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Excerpt:

IN primeval times, a maiden,
Beauteous Daughter of the Ether,
Passed for ages her existence
In the great expanse of heaven,
O'er the prairies yet enfolded.

Wearisome the maiden growing,
Her existence sad and hopeless,
Thus alone to live for ages
In the infinite expanses
Of the air above the sea-foam,
In the far outstretching spaces,
In a solitude of ether,
She descended to the ocean,
Waves her coach, and waves her pillow.

Thereupon the rising storm-wind
Flying from the East in fierceness,
Whips the ocean into surges,
Strikes the stars with sprays of ocean
Till the waves are white with fervor.

To and fro they toss the maiden,
Storm-encircled, hapless maiden;
With her sport the rolling billows,
With her play the storm-wind forces,
On the blue back of the waters;
On the white-wreathed waves of ocean,
Play the forces of the salt-sea,
With the lone and helpless maiden;
Till at last in full conception,
Union now of force and beauty,
Sink the storm-winds into slumber;
Overburdened now the maiden
Cannot rise above the surface;
Seven hundred years she wandered,
Ages nine of man's existence,
Swam the ocean hither, thither,
Could not rise above the waters,
Conscious only of her travail;
Seven hundred years she labored
Ere her first-born was delivered.

Thus she swam as water-mother,
Toward the east, and also southward,
Toward the west, and also northward;
Swam the sea in all directions,
Frightened at the strife of storm-winds,
Swam in travail, swam unceasing,
Ere her first-born was delivered.

Then began she gently weeping,
Spake these measures, heavy-hearted:
"Woe is me, my life hard-fated!
Woe is me, in this my travail!
Into what have I now fallen?

Woe is me, that I unhappy,
Left my home in subtle ether,
Came to dwell amid the sea-foam,
To be tossed by rolling billows,
To be rocked by winds and waters,
On the far outstretching waters,
In the salt-sea's vast expanses,
Knowing only pain and trouble!

Better far for me, O Ukko!
Were I maiden in the Ether,
Than within these ocean-spaces,
To become a water-mother!
All this life is cold and dreary,
Painful here is every motion,
As I linger in the waters,
As I wander through the ocean.

Ukko, thou O God, up yonder,
Thou the ruler of the heavens,
Come thou hither, thou art needed,
Come thou hither, I implore thee,
To deliver me from trouble,
To deliver me in travail.

Come I pray thee, hither hasten,
Hasten more that thou art needed, Haste and help this helpless maiden!"

When she ceased her supplications,
Scarce a moment onward passes,
Ere a beauteous duck descending,
Hastens toward the water-mother,
Comes a-flying hither, thither,
Seeks herself a place for nesting.

Flies she eastward, flies she westward,
Circles northward, circles southward,
Cannot find a grassy hillock,
Not the smallest bit of verdure;
Cannot find a spot protected,
Cannot find a place befitting,
Where to make her nest in safety.

Flying slowly, looking round her,
She descries no place for resting,
Thinking loud and long debating,
And her words are such as follow:
"Build I in the winds my dwelling,
On the floods my place of nesting?
Surely would the winds destroy it,
Far away the waves would wash it."