Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Birth of Väinamöinen

Today it is Kalevala's Day and Finnish Culture Day .
Yes, that's true, Complete Superlon isn't Finnish National Epic (yet). Here's a short caption from Kalevala, which inspired also Tolkien, C.S.Lewis and many more.

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 be 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 these 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."

( The Kalevala
by Elias Lönnrot
Translated by John Martin Crawford


Dave said...

No, that's just some Abba lyrics really, isn't it?

taigathefox said...

He hee, that was really from Kalevala.
This is from the Swedish masterpiece:
Like a bang, a boom-a-boomerang
Dum-be-dum-dum be-dum-be-dum-dum
Oh bang, a boom-a-boomerang

patroclus said...

And did he get out? And why was he in prison (in a boat?) in the first place?

taigathefox said...

The epic begins with the creating the world. At first the virgin of the air descends to the waters where a pochard lays its eggs on her knee. The eggs break and the world is formed from their pieces.

After that the mother of the water gives birth to Väinämöinen who will be the leader of the people.

It is the birth described in that poem, at least I think so...

patroclus said...

Wow, that's a nice creation myth. I had to look up the word "pochard", which apparently means:

any of various diving ducks of the genus Aythya, especially A. ferina of Europe and Asia, which has gray and black plumage and a reddish head

So the world was created from duck eggs laid on the knee of the virgin of the air? That's lovely. Does Vainamoinen mean anything in particular?

taigathefox said...

It's actually very fascinating book and I recommend to read it if just possible.

I'm not familiar with any meanings of the name Väinämöinen. But he was a god of music, often described as a white bearded wizard (like Gandalf) and very wise man, because he had been in the womb for 30 years.

I myself find the final poem very intresting. It tells of a maiden called Marjatta. She's a virgin who eats a blueberry, becomes pregnant and gives birth to a baby boy. After an attempt to kill that boy Väinämöinen leaves the country.