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CAPTURE OF THE FIRE-FISH.
WAINAMOINEN, the enchanter,
The eternal wisdom-singer,
Long reflected, well considered,
How to weave the net of flax-yarn,
Weave the fish-net of the fathers.
Spake the minstrel of Wainola:
"Who will plow the field and fallow,
Sow the flax, and spin the flax-threads,
That I may prepare the fish-net,
Wherewith I may catch the Fire-pike,
May secure the thing of evil?"
Soon they found a fertile island,
Found the fallow soil befitting,
On the border of the heather,
And between two stately oak-trees.
They prepared the soil for sowing.
Searching everywhere for flax-seed,
Found it in Tuoni's kingdom,
In the keeping of an insect.
Then they found a pile of ashes,
Where the fire had burned a vessel;
In the ashes sowed the seedlings
Near the Alue-lake and border,
In the rich and loamy fallow.
There the seed took root and flourished,
Quickly grew to great proportions,
In a single night in summer.
Thus the flax was sowed at evening,
Placed within the earth by moonlight;
Quick it grew, and quickly ripened,
Quick Wainola's heroes pulled it,
Quick they broke it on the hackles,
Hastened with it to the waters,
Dipped it in the lake and washed it;
Quickly brought it borne and dried it.
Quickly broke, and combed, and smoothed it,
Brushed it well at early morning,
Laid it into laps for spinning
Quick the maidens twirl the spindles,
Spin the flaxen threads for weaving,
In a single night in summer.
Quick the sisters wind and reel it,
Make it ready for the needle.
Brothers weave it into fish-nets,
And the fathers twist the cordage,
While the mothers knit the meshes,
Rapidly the mesh-stick circles;
Soon the fish-net is completed,
In a single night in summer.
As the magic net is finished,
And in length a hundred fathoms,
On the rim three hundred fathoms.
Rounded stones are fastened to it,
Joined thereto are seven float-boards.
Now the young men take the fish-net,
And the old men cheer them onward,
Wish them good-luck at their fishing.
Long they row and drag the flax-seine,
Here and there the net is lowered;
Now they drag it lengthwise, sidewise,
Drag it through the slimy reed-beds;
But they do not catch the Fire-pike,
Only smelts, and luckless red-fish,
Little fish of little value.
Spake the ancient Wainamoinen:
"O thou blacksmith, Ilmarinen,
Let us go ourselves a-fishing,
Let us catch the fish of evil!"
To the fishing went the brothers,
Magic heroes of the Northland,
Pulled the fish-net through the waters,
Toward an island in the deep-sea
Then they turn and drag the fish-net
Toward a meadow jutting seaward;
Now they drag it toward Wainola,
Draw it lengthwise, sidewise, crosswise,
Catching fish of every species,
salmon, trout, and pike, and whiting,
Do not catch the evil Fire-fish.
Then the master, Wainamoinen,
Made additions to its borders,
Made it many fathoms wider,
And a hundred fathoms longer,
Then these words the hero uttered
"Famous blacksmith, Ilmarinen,
Let us go again a-fishing,
Row again the magic fish-net,
Drag it well through all the waters,
That we may obtain the Fire-pike!"
Thereupon the Northland heroes
Go a second time a-fishing,
Drag their nets across the rivers,
Lakelets, seas, and bays, and inlets,
Catching fish of many species,
But the Fire-fish is not taken.
Wainamoinen, ancient singer,
Long reflecting, spake these measures:
"Dear Wellamo, water-hostess,
Ancient mother with the reed-breast,
Come, exchange thy water-raiment,
Change thy coat of reeds and rushes
For the garments I shall give thee,
Light sea-foam, thine inner vesture,
And thine outer, moss and sea-grass,
Fashioned by the wind's fair daughters,
Woven by the flood's sweet maidens;
I will give thee linen vestments
Spun from flax of softest fiber,
Woven by the Moon's white virgins,
Fashioned by the Sun's bright daughters
Fitting raiment for Wellamo!
"Ahto, king of all the waters,
Ruler of a thousand grottoes,
Take a pole of seven fathoms,
Search with this the deepest waters,
Rummage well the lowest bottoms;
Stir up all the reeds and sea-weeds,
Hither drive a school of gray-pike,
Drive them to our magic fish-net,
From the haunts in pike abounding,
From the caverns, and the trout-holes,
From the whirlpools of the deep-sea,
From the bottomless abysses,
Where the sunshine never enters,
Where the moonlight never visits,
And the sands are never troubled."
Rose a pigmy from the waters,
From the floods a little hero,
Riding on a rolling billow,
And the pigmy spake these measures:
"Dost thou wish a worthy helper,
One to use the pole and frighten
Pike and salmon to thy fish-nets?"
Wainamoinen, old and faithful,
Answered thus the lake-born hero:
"Yea, we need a worthy helper,
One to hold the pole, and frighten
Pike and salmon to our fish-nets."
Thereupon the water-pigmy
Cut a linden from the border,
Spake these words to Wainamoinen:
"Shall I scare with all my powers,
With the forces of my being,
As thou needest shall I scare them?"
Spake the minstrel, Wainamoinen:
"If thou scarest as is needed,
Thou wilt scare with all thy forces,
With the strength of thy dominions."
Then began the pigmy-hero,
To affright the deep-sea-dwellers;
Drove the fish in countless numbers
To the net of the magicians.
Wainamoinen, ancient minstrel,
Drew his net along the waters,
Drew it with his ropes of flax-thread,
Spake these words of magic import:
"Come ye fish of Northland waters
To the regions of my fish-net,
As my hundred meshes lower."
Then the net was drawn and fastened,
Many were the gray-pike taken
By he master and magician.
Hastened to a neighboring island,
To a blue-point in the waters,
Near a red-bridge on the headland;
Landed there his draught of fishes,
Cast the pike upon the sea-shore,
And the Fire-pike was among them,
Cast the others to the waters.
Spake the ancient Wainamoinen:
"May I touch thee with my fingers,
Using not my gloves of iron,
Using not my blue-stone mittens?
This the Sun-child hears and answers:
"I should like to carve the Fire-fish,
I should like this pike to handle,
If I had the knife of good-luck."
Quick a knife falls from the heavens,
From the clouds a magic fish-knife,
Silver-edged and golden-headed,
To the girdle of the Sun-child;
Quick he grasps the copper handle,
Quick the hero carves the Fire-pike,
Finds therein the tortured lake-trout;
Carves the lake-trout thus discovered.
Finds therein the fated whiting;
Carves the whiting, finds a blue-ball
In the third cave of his body.
He, the blue-ball quick unwinding,
Finds within a ball of scarlet;
Carefully removes the cover,
Finds the ball of fire within it,
Finds the flame from heaven fallen,
From the heights of the seventh heaven,
Through nine regions of the ether.
Wainamoinen long reflected
How to get the magic fire-ball
To Wainola's fireless hearth-stones,
To his cold and cheerless dwellings.
Quick he snatched the fire of heaven
From the fingers of the Sun-child.
Wainamoinen's beard it singes,
Burns the brow of Ilmarinen,
Burns the fingers of the blacksmith.
Rolling forth it hastens westward,
Hastens to the Alue shore-lines,
Burns the juniper and alder,
Burns the and heath and meadow,
Rises to the lofty linden,
Burns the firs upon the mountains;
Hastens onward, onward, onward,
Burns the islands of the Northland,
Burns the Sawa fields and forests,
Burns the dry lands of Karyala.
Straightway ancient Wainamoinen
Hastens through the fields and fenlands,
Tracks the ranger to the glen-wood,
Finds the Fire-child in an elm-tree,
Sleeping in a bed of fungus.
Thereupon wise Wainamoinen
Wakes the child and speaks these measures:
"Wicked fire that God created,
Flame of Ukko from the heavens,
Thou hast gone in vain to sea-caves,
To the lakes without a reason;
Better go thou to my village,
To the hearth-stones of my people;
Hide thyself within my chimneys,
In mine ashes sleep and linger.
In the day-time I will use thee
To devour the blocks of birch-wood;
In the evening I will hide thee
Underneath the golden circle."
Then he took the willing Panu,
Took the willing fire of Ukko,
Laid it in a box of tinder,
In the punk-wood of a birch-tree,
In a vessel forged from copper;
Carried it with care and pleasure
To the fog-point in the waters,
To the island forest covered.
Thus returned the fire to Northland,
To the chambers of Wainola,
To the hearths of Kalevala.
Ilmarinen, famous blacksmith,
Hastened to the deep-sea's margin,
Sat upon the rock of torture,
Feeling pain the flame had given,
Laved his wounds with briny water,
Thus to still the Fire-child's fury,
Thus to end his persecutions.
Long reflecting, Ilmarinen
Thus addressed the flame of Ukko:
"Evil Panu from the heavens,
Wicked son of God from ether,
Tell me what has made thee angry,
Made thee burn my weary members,
Burn my beard, and face, and fingers,
Made me suffer death-land tortures?
Spake again young Ilmarinen:
"How can I wild Panu conquer,
How shall I control his conduct,
Make him end his evil doings?
Come, thou daughter from Pohyola,
Come, white virgin of the hoar-frost,
Come on shoes of ice from Lapland,
Icicles upon thy garments,
In one band a cup of white-frost,
In the other hand an ice-spoon;
Sprinkle snow upon my members,
Where the Fire-child has been resting,
Let the hoar-frost fall and settle.
"Should this prayer be unavailing,
Come, thou son of Sariola,
Come, thou child of Frost from Pohya,
Come, thou Long-man from the ice-plains,
Of the height of stately pine-trees,
Slender as the trunks of lindens,
On thy hands the gloves of Hoar-frost,
Cap of ice upon thy forehead,
On thy waist a white-frost girdle;
Bring the ice-dust from Pohyola,
From the cold and sunless village.
Rain is crystallized in Northland,
Ice in Pohya is abundant,
Lakes of ice and ice-bound rivers,
Frozen smooth, the sea of ether.
Bounds the hare in frosted fur-robe,
Climbs the bear in icy raiment,
Ambles o'er the snowy mountains.
Swans of frost descend the rivers,
Ducks of ice in countless numbers
Swim upon thy freezing waters,
Near the cataract and whirlpool.
Bring me frost upon thy snow-sledge,
Snow and ice in great abundance,
From the summit of the wild-top,
From the borders of the mountains.
With thine ice, and snow, and hoar-frost
Cover well mine injured members
Where wild Panu has been resting,
Where the child of Fire has lingered.
"Should this call be ineffective,
Ukko, God of love and mercy,
First and last of the creators,
From the east send forth a snow-cloud,
From the west despatch a second,
Join their edges well together,
Let there be no vacant places,
Let these clouds bring snow and
Lay the healing balm of Ukko
On my burning, tortured tissues,
Where wild Panu has been resting."
Thus the blacksmith, Ilmarinen,
Stills the pains by fire engendered,
Stills the agonies and tortures
Brought him by the child of evil,
Brought him by the wicked Panu.