Reading the Kalevala in one year from March 15, 20 [entries|archive|friends|userinfo]
Reading the Kalevala in one year from March 15, 20

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Runo 42 Stealing the Sampo [Jan. 2nd, 2008|10:13 pm]

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Runo 42 Stealing the Sampo (Bosley) or Capture of the Sampo (Crawford)

 

Väinämöinen and company arrive in the Northland and give Louhi a chance to surrender the Sampo.  She declines and summons her army to destroy the heroes.  Väinämöinen plays the kantele and puts them all asleep. 

 

The three (Väinämöinen, Ilmarinen and Lemminkainen) sneak into the copper mountain where the Sampo is locked up.  Ilmarinen skillfully gets past the locks and Lemminkainen captures and harnesses a great ox who pulls the Sampo free.

 

They are rowing away with all their might for a long time.  Lemminkainen grows bored and askes for a song.  Väinämöinen says that singing will slow them down, but Lemminkainen starts to sing.  His singing is not good and prompts a crane to fly away crying out.  This wakes the people of Pohjala and Louhi. 

 

Louhi uses her magic to call forth a thick fog and a sea monster which Väinämöinen bests.  Then Ukko – god of the deep – raises a giant wind and crashing waves that shake the ship and cause the pikebone kantele to be lost forever before Väinämöinen can use his magic to calm the sea and save the ship.

 

FOR JANUARY 3 – Runo 43.  This is (arguably) the climax of the book.  There is a free audio recording of Crawford’s translation of this Runo on Librivox.org. 

 

Runo 43 as MP3 at 64kbps

Runo 43 as MP3 at 128kbps

 

Wikipedia’s Synopsis of the Plunder of the Sampo

 

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Runo 41 [Jan. 1st, 2008|10:08 pm]

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Runo 41 The Pikebone Kantele (Bosley) or Wainamoinen’s Harp Songs (Crawford)

 

Väinämöinen plays the pike-bone kantele and all the world stops to listen.  He plays and plays until people weep at the beauty of the music.  Väinämöinen himself weeps for the song.  

 



This picture by Leskinen is from the 1950 prose translation by Aili Kolehmainen Johnson published in Hancock, Michigan.  It is still under copyright to the best of my knowledge and is used here simply to draw attention to the beauty of the moment when Väinämöinen’s playing attracts the attention of not only all the furry woodland animals – but also the fish themselves.

 

 

 

Wikipedia’s Synopsis of the Plunder of the Sampo

 

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Runo 39 and 40 [Dec. 29th, 2007|11:25 pm]

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Runo 39 Sailing to Northland (Bosley) or Wainamoinen’s Sailing (Crawford)

 

Ilmarinen and Väinämöinen  prepare to reclaim the Sampo.  Ilmarinen reiterates his preference for land travel, while Väinämöinen insists on traveling by sea.  Ilmarinen forges a sword for Väinämöinen and it is spectacular.

 

Väinämöinen comes upon a magic, intelligent boat that is sad that it has not been taken out to sea in a long time.  They set sail on it. 

 

Along the way, they collect Lemminkainen

 

 

Runo 40 The Pike (Bosley) or Birth of the Harp (Crawford)

 

The group sails for the Northland but along the way the boat gets hung up.  They think that they’ve run aground but are actually on the back of a giant pike.  They kill the pike.  Väinämöinen makes a kantele out of the pike’s jawbone but no one can play it.

 

 

 

Wikipedia’s Synopsis of the Plunder of the Sampo

 

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This is my Christmas Card this year... [Dec. 10th, 2007|06:50 pm]

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Click here to see the rest...Collapse )

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Runo 37 [Nov. 24th, 2007|12:07 am]

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Runo 37 The Golden Bride (Bosley) or ILMARINEN'S BRIDE OF GOLD (Crawford)

Ilmarinen, in his grief over the death of his wife at the hands of Kullervo, works to create a new wife out of gold.  He first pulls a sheep, then a horse and finally a woman out of the forge.  She's perfect... except that she's not real. 

Väinämöinen is totally horrified by the whole thing.  He basically tells Ilmarinen to use the gold to make something worthwhile (implying that a wife is not worthwhile). 

Väinämöinen ends the runo with a specific prohibition against idolatry of money and gold.

Wikipedia's synopsis of the second Ilmarinen Cycle

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Runo 36 [Nov. 23rd, 2007|11:54 pm]

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Runo 36 The Cowbone Whistle (Bosley) or KULLERWOINEN'S VICTORY AND DEATH (Crawford)

Kullervo askes his family if they will be sad when they hear he is dead.  Only his mother says that she will grieve him.

Kullervo goes off and, in his travels, hears one by one that his family is dead.  He expresses grief only when he hears that his mother is dead. 

With a brief prayer -- Kullervo falls upon Untamo's clan, slays them all and burns their settlement to the ground.

Upon returning home - he finds his family home empty and cold.  He goes out to the place where he ravished his sister and he falls on his own sword. 

Wikipedia's synopsis of the Kullervo Cycle

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Runo 33, 34 and 35. [Nov. 7th, 2007|07:51 pm]

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I hope everyone else is like me and is at least able to READ the Runos during the week -- even if writing a synopsis every week is proving to be more work than someone who is a parent, a graduate student and a full-time employee can manage every week.

Anyway:

Runo 33 The Broken Knife or Kulervo and the Cheat-Cake

Kullervo breaks his knife on the stone in the bread and that is the last straw.  Kullervo sends the herd into the swamp and then uses magic to disguise the wolves and bears as cows -- who then eat Ilmarinen's wife.

Runo 34 Father and Mother or Kullervo Finds his Tribe-Folk

While on the lam, Kullervo finds out his parents are still alive and returns to them.

Runo 35 Brother and Sister or Kullervo's Evil Deeds

Kullervo - now back with his parents, finds a way to ruin everything -- yet again.  He has sex with his sister.  This runo ends with Kullervo vowing to find death in battle. 

Wikipedia's synopsis of the Kullervo Cycle

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To Guard a Herd [Oct. 20th, 2007|08:51 pm]

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October 18 - Runo 32

To Guard a Herd (Bosley) or  Kullervo as a Sheperd (Crawford)

 

This runo really makes me mad.  There.  I’ve said it.

 

Kullervo comes to the house of Ilmarinen as a purchased serf.  Still, he wants to be useful.  He doesn’t want to destroy everything he touches.   Ilmarinen’s   wife (“Once the maiden of the Rainbow” – line 15) has become a cruel, evil woman. 

 

She sends Kullervo out into the fields with her precious herd of cows and a loaf of bread with a stone in it.  From Line 37 on to the end (543 lines) this runo is just one long prayer for the protection of the herd.  So – instead of actually DOING anything that would ensure the protection of the herd (like treating Kullervo decently) she’d rather pray the Ukko would keep the herd safe. 

 

Question for discussion:  What does this runo suggest about the attitude that 19th century Finns (and Lönnrot) had towards intercessory prayer?

 

Wikipedia's synopsis of the Kullervo Cycle

 

 

 

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Runo 31 - Feud and Serfdom [Oct. 11th, 2007|09:52 pm]

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October 11- 07 Runo 31
Feud and Serfdom (Bosley) or   Kullerwoinen Son of Evil (Crawford)

Kullervo is born.  As a tiny baby, he has enough strength and rage to destroy his crib.  His family decides to kill him.  They try to drown him and then they try to burn him.  Having failed both - they try to hang him.  He gets so bored hanging in the oak tree that he carves doodles in the tree. 

When they try to put him to work he kills a  child he has been assigned to care for.  Then he clears a field.  He clears it so well that he destroys all the lumber and he renders the field so clear that nothing will ever grow there again.  Then he builds a fence.  The fence is so good that even the people who are supposed to be able to come and go through it are not able to.

Exasperated -- they sell him to Ilmarinen, the legendary smith. 

Wikipedia's synopsis of the Kullervo Cycle

 

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Kullervo [Oct. 11th, 2007|09:32 pm]

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This picture of Kullervo by Bjorn Landstrom appears in the Friberg translation of the Kalevala.  It is under copyright.  As far as I'm concerned, I'm using it here under "fair use," for educational purposes.  It's display here is not intended to violate any copyright.

I find this depiction of Kullervo fascinating because it depicts him as being very vulnerable and young - not the raging madman her is often depicted as.  He has the traditional bark slippers that identify him as being very poor.  This depiction makes his rage and violence (and his repeated victimization) much more poigniant, as far as I'm concerned.

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