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“I, be sure, am Youkahainen;
But 'twere better thou shouldst tell me
Who thou art and whence thou coniest,
Of what shabby race descended.”
Then once more the ancient minstrel:
“If thy name be Youkahainen,
Make me way, thou silly stripling,
Thou art but a boy before me.”
But the youthful Youkahainen Thus unto the greybeard answered : “ Little matter one or fourscore; Who in knowledge stands the highest, He shall hold the middle roadway And the other yield him passage. Art thou ancient Wainamoinen, He, the far-famed bard magician, Let us sing each one his legends, Let each tell his store of wisdom So that each may judge the other, And in rival song do battle.”
Wrathful then grew Wainamoinen, Broke his silence, self-commanded, And began his song entrancing. Bravely sang the ancient minstrel, Till the flinty rocks and ledges Heard the trumpet-tone and trembled; And the copper-bearing mountains Shook along their deep foundations; Flinty rocks flew straight asunder; Falling cliffs afar were scattered; All the solid earth resounded, And the ocean billows answered. And, alas ! for Youkahainen, Lo! his sledge so fairly fashioned Floats
Lo! his steed of shining forehead
Stands a statue in the torrent.
Still the minstrel sings unceasing,
And, alas ! for Youkahainen,
Sings his sword from out his scabbard,
Hangs it in the sky before him,
As it were a gleam of lightning;
Sings his bow, so gayly blazoned,
Into drift-wood on the ocean;
Sings his finely feathered arrows
Into swift and screaming eagles ;
And himself, the sorry fellow,
To his hip in mud and water.
Now, alas! poor Youkahainen,
Sorry stripling, comprehended
All too plainly what the end was
Of the joys of wordy battle
With the ancient Wainamoinen.
First to lift his right foot seeking,
Sorry wight, the foot obeys not !
Striving next to stir the left one,
Finds with flint the sole is shodden!
Then, alas! poor Youkahainen,
Falling into fear and torment,
Sinking deep in tribulation,
Thus addressed the ancient minstrel :
“O thou ancient Wainamoinen,
First and only true magician,
Do but turn away the magic,
Loose me from this frightful prison,
Free me from its pinching torment,
I will give you princely guerdon,
You shall win a noble ransom.”
Spake the ancient Wainamoinen: “What shall be the princely guerdon,
What shall be the noble ransom?”
“In my cabin hang two cross-bows: Mighty one to drive an arrow, One so lithe a child can span it; Choose between them, mighty minstrel, Take, O bard, whichever pleases.”
Answered ancient Wainamoinen :
“Nay, I grudge thee not thy cross-bows,
Have, indeed, a few already.
In my cabin, ashen cross-bows
Cover every wall and chimney,
Hang on every peg and staple,
Bows that spurn the help of hunters,
Bows that go themselves a-hunting."
Then said youthful Youkahainen:
“Gold and silver I will give thee,
Both in heaping measure pour thee,
Gold my father won in battle,
Silver in the fight with heroes."
“Nay, I grudge thee not thy silver,
Gold of thine, O fool, desire not.
Have, methinks, enough already;
Crammed my cot in every chamber,
Gold that like the sunlight glitters,
Silver like the gleam of moonlight.”
Now, alas! poor Youkahainen,
Bard bedrabbled in the quagmire,
Mouth so tuneful stopped with litter,
Teeth entangled in the bushes-
Up from out this pit of horror
Spake again the luckless stripling :
“O thou wise and ancient minstrel,
Loose me from this slough of horror,
And my joyous life restore me;
For my eyes with sand are tortured,
Tides unseen begin to drag me.
Only turn away thy magic,
Make an end of thy enchantment,
I will pledge thee beauteous Aino,
Aino, daughter of my mother,
Aino, my beloved sister,
Bride of thine to be forever.”
Glad of heart is Wainamoinen That he thus has fought and won him For his age a lovely maiden. So he seeks a place befitting, Where to publish forth his pleasure. Sings a moment, sings and ceases; Sings a second, then a third time, So to turn away the magic, So the potent spell to banish.
Now at last comes Youkahainen Crawling from his oozy prison, Lifts his knees from out the water, Beard from out the bog and litter. Then he sets his sledge in order, Resting not a moment, mounts it, And betakes him swiftly homeward, Woe-begone beyond expression At the thought to meet his mother. Now, alas! must Youkahainen Freely pour his tears of anger; Cap awry upon his forehead, Chin upon his bosom sunken, Mouth drawn low in deep dejection, Sorry sight he stands before her.
Then his mother, speaking gently, Sought to win from him his secret.
“ Tell me, son," she said, “thy sorrow,
Why thy aspect so dejected,
Why thou weepest ? Speak, and tell me."
Answered youthful Youkahainen:
“Mother dear, in what has happened
Cause, alas! for little weeping.
Not alone to-day unhappy,-
For, O mother, I have promised
Aino bride to Wainamoinen,
Prop beneath and roof above him.”
Then the mother rose up gayly,
Clapped her hands in joy together,
“Weep not," said she, “son beloved,
Cause is none therein for weeping.
Ever I this hope have cherished
That one day the mighty minstrel,
He, the valiant Wainamoinen,
Spouse should be for lovely Aino,
Son-in-law for me, her mother.”
But the beauteous maiden, Aino,
Tearful lingered at the threshold,
Wept that day and all the night through,
Wept because a mighty sorrow,
Bitter sorrow filled her bosom.
Gently then her mother asked her: “Why art weeping, lovely Aino ? Why art pining, dearest daughter?
And the maiden then made answer :
“ Therefore must I weep
For that thou thy child hast promised,
Sold away thy little daughter
To a graybeard old and limping,
Joy to be unto his dotage,
Comfort to his years declining,
Out of doors a staff to stay him,