The Delivery of Wainamoinen (Selection from the Kalevala)

strangeflag wainamonenThe Kalevala is the epic poem of Finland.  This selection is from John Martin Crawford’s 1910 translation.


…Thus created were the islands,
Rocks were fastened in the ocean,
Pillars of the sky were planted,
Fields and forests were created,
Checkered stones of many colors,
Gleaming in the silver sunlight,
All the rocks stood well established;
But the singer Wainamoinen,
Had not yet beheld the sunshine,
Had not seen the golden moonlight,
Still remaining undelivered.


Wainamoinen, old and trusty,
Lingering within his dungeon
Thirty summers altogether,
And of winters, also thirty,
Peaceful on the waste of waters,
On the broad sea’s yielding bosom,
Well reflected, long considered,
How unborn to live and flourish
In the spaces wrapped in darkness,
In uncomfortable limits,
Where he had not seen the moonlight,
Had not seen the silver sunshine.


Thereupon these words he uttered,
Let himself be heard in this wise:
“Take, O Moon, I pray thee, take me,
Take me, thou, O Sun above me,
Take me, thou, O Bear of heaven,
From this dark and dreary prison,
From this unbefitting portals,
From this narrow place of resting,
From this dark and gloomy dwelling,
Hence to wander from the ocean,
Hence to walk upon the islands,
On the dry land walk and wander,
Like an ancient hero wander,
Walk in open air and breathe it,
Thus to see the moon at evening,
Thus to see the silver sunlight,
Thus to see the Bear in heaven,
That the stars I may consider.”


(…after freeing himself from his prison, Wainamoinen finally reaches dry land…)


Thus our hero reached the water,
Lasted five years in the ocean,
Six long years, and even seven years,
Till the autumn of the eighth year,
When at last he leaves the waters,
Stops upon a promontory,
On a coast bereft of verdure;
On his knees he leaves the ocean,
On the land he plants his right foot,
On the solid ground his left foot.


Quickly turns his hands about him,
Stands erect to see the sunshine,
Stands to see the golden moonlight,
That he may behold the Great Bear,
That he may the stars consider.
Thus our hero, Wainamoinen,
Thus the wonderful enchanter
Was delivered from his mother,
Ilmatar, the Ether’s daughter.