Though she kept her spindle spinning,

As I, milk-bearded mischief maker, 40

Clabber-mouthed and tiny tumbler,

Rolled about the floor before her:

Magic never failed the Sampo,

Louhi never lacked for spells;

Old in story grew the Sampo,

In her spells old Louhi vanished,

In his singing Vipunen,

Lemminkainen in his capers.

51 There are other words of magic,

Incantations I have learned, 50

Plucked in passing from the wayside;

Some I broke off from the heather,

Some I gathered from the bushes,

Others pulled from tender saplings,

Rubbed from haytips, snatched from hedges

Where I roamed about the cowpaths

As a youngster herding cattle;

Minding cows in cattle pastures

On honeyed hills and hillocks golden

By the side of spotted Frisky, 60

Trailing Muurikki, the black one.

65 Then the frost was singing verses,

Many a rhyme the rain recited,

Other poems the winds delivered,

On the seawaves songs came drifting,

Magic charms the birds have added

And the treetops incantations.

71 These I rolled up in a ball,

Made a fitting yarnball of them,

On my sled I put the yarnball, 70

On my sleigh I hauled it home

Right up to the threshing barn,

Hid it in a copper casket

On a shelf-end in the storehouse.

79 Long and lone in the darkness,

In the cold my verses lie.

Karelia-Finish Epic

'''The motherland of this poems is siruated at the both Russian's and Finland parts of Karelia. '
Elias Lonnrot

The Kalevala, the national epic of Karelia and Finland, was compiled by the physician, folklorist, and philologist Elias Lonnrot (1802-1884) in the course of twelve research trips in to Karelia (1828- 1844).

Gifted with a remarkable memory, Lonnrot collected the songs of unlettered folk singers and wove them into a long narrative poem, centered around the three 'cultural heroes' of Karelian mythology, the sage-and-singer Vainamoinen, the smith Ilmarinen, and the brash eroticist and adventurer Lemminkainen.

The first fruit of Lonnrot's labors, the Old Kalevala, in 32 runos, was issued in 1835; a second, reordered, and expanded version of 50 runos, including the tale of the tragic outsider Kullervo, was brought out in 1849. Immediately, the Kalevala helped to create a sense of national identity, exerting an enormous influence on the development of a distinctly Karelian consciousness; at the turn of the century, the Kalevala's figures and atmosphere were transmitted to the world at large by the tone-poems of Jean Sibelius and the paintings and illustrations of the best Karelian and Finish painters.

Also, since 1845, when Jacob Grimm made his famous address, "Concerning the Finnish Epic," to the Berlin Academy of Sciences, the international community of scholars has been fascinated by the manifold details of this set of sometimes fantastic but always very human tales.

The Kalevala has so far been fully translated into 35 and partially into 100 languages. The first complete English translation (into verse, from Anton Schiefner's German version of 1852) was made by the Cincinnati physician John Martin Crawford in 1888; then, a second English verse translation done by an entomologist at London's Natural History Museum William Forsell Kirby, appeared in 1907 and employed the original text as its basis. (The Kirby translation, Kalevala, The Land of Heros, has had wide currency, thanks to its inclusion in Everyman's Library, and has most recently been reprinted in 1985.)

In 1963, Professor Francis Peabody Magoun of Harvard brought out a close prose translation, intended primarily as a reference tool for medievalists and comparatists. Now, Eino Friberg's translation - thus, the fourth full translation to appear in English - has employed verse again, but a verse, like that of the Finnish Kalevala itself, altogether capable of metric variety, not the monotonously regular and unchanging trochaic tetrameter of Crawford and Kirby.

In addition, by his use of a distinctly American poetic idiom, Friberg has fully captured the sometimes homely, sometimes humorous, and always enchanting nature of the great poem.


Arabic (1991) Armenian (1972) Belorussian (1956) Bulgarian (1992) Cantonese (1994, 1997) Chinese (1902, 1985) Danish (1907, 1994) Dutch (1905, 1985) English (1868, 1888, 1907, 1963, 1988, 1989) Esperanto (1964) Estonian (1883, 1939) French (1845, 1867, 1930, 1991) German (1852, 1914, 1967) Greek (1992) Hebrew (1930, 1964) Hindu (1990) Hungarian (1871, 1901, 1972, 1976) Icelandic (1957) Italian (1906, 1910, 1988) Japanese (1937, 1976) Latin (1986) Latvian (1924) Lithuanian (1922, 1972) Moldovian (1961) Norwegian (1967) Polish (1958, 1974) Romanian (1942, 1959) Russian (1847, 1888) Serbo-Croatian (1935) Slovakian (1962, 1986) Slovenian (1961, 1997) Spanish (1944, 1983) Swahili (1991) Swedish (1841, 1864, 1948) Turkish (1965, 1982) Ukrainian (1901) Vietnamese (1986, 1994)