Väinämöinen and Joukahainen

One was old Väinämöinen, the other young Joukahainen, on the road they drove into each other, on the wide sea, on the broad high sea. Collar-tree caught on collar-tree, thong on thong. Said old Väinämöinen, “Get off the road, Joukahainen!” Said young Joukamoinen, “Whichever knows more, he stays in the road, whichever knows less, he must get off the road.” Said old Väinämöinen, “What do you know best?” Said young Joukahainen, “I remember when the seas were plowed, when the depths of the sea were dredged, when the hollows where the fish dwell were dug, the shoals formed.” Said old Väinämöinen, “A child’s knowledge, a wife’s memory, not a bearded man’s. The sea is of my plowing, the depths of the sea, of my dredging, the fish-hollows of my digging, the shoals of my making.” Old Väinämöinen sang, sang young Joukahainen, sang him into a swamp up to the belt, into a meadow up to the breast, into a neck of land up to the armpits. He sang Joukonen’s horse to leap like a seal. Old Väinämöinen sang, sang Joukonen’s saddle into a duck on the sea, sang Joukahainen’s collar-tree into a splashing spring, sang Joukahainen’s whip into a swaying reed. “Evil is my situation here, with my nails clutching on a cold stone, my teeth in a floating log. The current is pulling at my feet, the sand rubbing my eyes. Take back your sacred words, withdraw your charm.” Said old Väinämöinen, “What will you give me for ransom?” Said young Joukahainen, “Two boats I have — one light to row, the other strong to carry much. Take either of them.” Said old Väinämöinen, “I do not care for your poor little boats. I have a boat myself.” “Take back your sacred words, withdraw your charm; the current is pulling at my feet, the sand rubbing my eyes.” Said old Väinämöinen, “What will you give for ransom?” Said young Joukahainen, “I have two stallions; one is a light-footed runner, the other strong in the harness. Take either one of them.” Said old Väinämöinen, “I do not care for your poor little stallions. I have a stallion myself.” “Take back your sacred words, withdraw your charm; the current is pulling at my feet, the sand rubbing my eyes.” Said old Väinämöinen, “What will you give for ransom?” Said young Joukahainen, “I will give my only sister.” With that, old Väinämöinen took back his sacred words, withdrew his charm. There was young Joukahainen, head hanging, low-spirited, helmet all askew when he came home. The mother asked, “Why are you stiff-lipped, your nose down to your mouth?” Said young Joukahainen, “O my mother, my bearer, my tender giver of milk, I gave my only sister, I promised the child of my mother to old Väinämöinen, to a trembling old man for my safety.” The mother said, “That I have been wanting all my life, during my whole generation I have wished for a great man for my family, a bold man for my race, Väinämöinen for my son-in-law, a singer for my relative.”

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