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The death of Kullervo
English
Finnish
Fraktur

Kullerwo, Kalerwon poika,
Kullervo, Kalervon poika,
Kullervo, Kalervo’s son
otti koiransa keralle,
otti koiransa keralle,
took his dog with him
läksi tietä telkkimähän,
läksi tietä telkkimähän,
trudged off up the road
korpehen kohoamahan.
korpehen kohoamahan.
up into the wilds
Käwi matkoa wähäisen,
Kävi matkoa vähäisen,
and he went a little way
astui tietä pikkaraisen;
astui tietä pikkaraisen;
stepped a tiny bit of road
tuli tuolle saarekselle,
tuli tuolle saarekselle,
and he came to that islet
tuolle paikalle tapahtui,
tuolle paikalle tapahtui,
he happened unto the place
kuss’ oli piian pillannunna,
kuss’ oli piian pillannunna,
where he had ravished the wench
turmellut emonsa tuoman.
turmellut emonsa tuoman.
and spoilt her his mother bore.



Siin’ itki ihana nurmi,
Siin’ itki ihana nurmi,
There the fair turf was weeping
aho armahin walitti,
aho armahin valitti,
the dearest glade complaining
nuoret heinät hellitteli,
nuoret heinät hellitteli,
the young grasses were grieving
kuikutti kukat kanerwan
kuikutti kukat kanervan
the heather flowers crying for
tuota piian pillamusta,
tuota piian pillamusta,
that ravishing of the wench
emon tuoman turmelusta:
emon tuoman turmelusta:
spoiling of the mother-borne
eikä nousnut nuori heinä,
eikä nousnut nuori heinä,
and no young grass sprang
kaswanut kanerwan kukka,
kasvanut kanervan kukka,
no heather flower grew
ylennyt sijalla sillä,
ylennyt sijalla sillä,
came up in the place
tuolla paikalla pahalla,
tuolla paikalla pahalla,
of that evil spot
kuss’ oli piian pillannunna,
kuss’ oli piian pillannunna,
where he had ravished the wench
emon tuoman turmellunna.
emon tuoman turmellunna.
and spoilt her his mother bore.



Kullerwo, Kalerwon poika,
Kullervo, Kalervon poika,
Kullervo, Kalervo’s son
tempasi teräwän miekan;
tempasi terävän miekan;
snatched up the sharp sword
katselewi, kääntelewi,
katselevi, kääntelevi,
looks at it, turns it over
kyselewi, tietelewi.
kyselevi, tietelevi.
asks it, questions it;
Kysyi mieltä miekaltansa,
Kysyi mieltä miekaltansa,
he asked his sword what it liked:
tokko tuon tekisi mieli
tokko tuon tekisi mieli
did he have a mind
syöä syyllistä lihoa,
syöä syyllistä lihoa,
to eat guilty flesh
wiallista werta juoa.
viallista verta juoa.
to drink blood that was to blame?



Miekka mietti miehen mielen,
Miekka mietti miehen mielen,
The sword followed the man’s drift,
arwasi uron pakinan.
arvasi uron pakinan.
it guessed the fellow’s chatter
Wastasi sanalla tuolla:
Vastasi sanalla tuolla:
and answered with this word:
”Miks’ en söisi mielelläni,
”Miks’ en söisi mielelläni,
“Why should I not eat what I like
söisi syyllistä lihoa,
söisi syyllistä lihoa,
not eat guilty flesh
wiallista werta joisi?
viallista verta joisi?
not drink blood that is to blame?
Syön lihoa syyttömänki,
Syön lihoa syyttömänki,
I’ll eat even guiltless flesh
juon werta wiattomanki.”
juon verta viattomanki.”
I’ll drink even blameless blood.”



Kullerwo, Kalerwon poika,
Kullervo, Kalervon poika,
Kullervo, Kalervo’s son
sinisukka äijön lapsi,
sinisukka äijön lapsi,
the blue-stockinged gaffer child
pään on peltohon sysäsi,
pään on peltohon sysäsi,
pushed the hilt into the field
perän painoi kankahasen,
perän painoi kankahasen,
pressed the butt into the heath
kären käänti rintahansa,
kären käänti rintahansa,
turned the point toward his breast
itse iskihe kärelle.
itse iskihe kärelle.
rammed himself upon the point
Siihen surmansa sukesi,
Siihen surmansa sukesi,
and on it he brought about
kuolemansa kohtaeli.
kuolemansa kohtaeli.
his doom, met his death.



Se oli surma nuoren miehen,
Se oli surma nuoren miehen,
And that was the young man’s doom
kuolo Kullerwo urohon,
kuolo Kullervo urohon,
the Kullervo fellow’s death
loppu ainakin urosta,
loppu ainakin urosta,
the end for the fellow, death
kuolema kowaosaista.
kuolema kovaosaista.
for the ill-fated.



Silloin wanha Wäinämöinen,
Silloin vanha Väinämöinen,
Then the old Väinämöinen
kunpa kuuli kuolleheksi,
kunpa kuuli kuolleheksi,
when he heard that he was dead
Kullerwon kaonneheksi,
Kullervon kaonneheksi,
Kullervo was lost
sanan wirkkoi, noin nimesi:
sanan virkkoi, noin nimesi:
uttered a word and spoke thus:



”Elkötte, etinen kansa,
”Elkötte, etinen kansa,
“Do not, folk of the future
lasta kaltoin kaswatelko
lasta kaltoin kasvatelko
bring up a child crookedly
luona tuhman tuuittajan,
luona tuhman tuuittajan,
with someone stupid lulling
wierahan wäsyttelijän!
vierahan väsyttelijän!
a stranger sending to sleep!
Lapsi kaltoin kaswattama,
Lapsi kaltoin kasvattama,
A child brought up crookedly
poika tuhmin tuuittama
poika tuhmin tuuittama
or a son lulled stupidly
ei tule älyämähän,
ei tule älyämähän,
won’t come to grasp things
miehen mieltä ottamahan,
miehen mieltä ottamahan,
have a man’s understanding
waikka wanhaksi eläisi,
vaikka vanhaksi eläisi,
though he should live to be old
warreltansa wahwistuisi.”
varreltansa vahvistuisi.”
or should grow strong in body.”

Commentary
The Kalevala is an epic poem composed by Elias Lönnrot. It is made of a collection of folk poem from the Finnish oral tradition that Lönnrot collected, especially in Carelia, and jointed together. A first version was published in 1835, followed in 1849 of a revised and much augmented edition.

Tolkien discovered the Kalevala in the English translation of William F. Kirby and loved it at once, so much that he eventually learnt enough Finnish to read it in the original. The Kalevala was a major force that made Tolkien endeavour writing the Book of Lost Tales, which ultimately was to become The Silmarillion: it both gave him the original impetus and provided him with many narrative motifs. The fate of Túrin Turambar especially has its origin in a rewriting of the story of one of the characters of the Kalevala, Kullervo the hapless. Here we give the account of his death, at the end of the thirty-sixth canto of the Kalevala. Tolkien noticeably followed it closely in his description of the end of Túrin.

The English translation is by Keith Bosley and was published in 1999.

The record has been done by Petri Tikka, a native speaker of Finnish and Tolkien language enthusiast. Thank you, Petri !

The text is transcribed in Fraktur, a style of blackletter used in Finnish typography until the end of the 19th century. According to the custom of the time, w replaces in Fraktur what is spelt v in Antiqua (an umbrella term for styles of the Latin alphabet other than blackletter, such as those generally used today). We made use of Peter Wiegel’s typeface Berthold Mainzer Fraktur.

References
Lönnrot, Elias. Kalevala. 🌍 Project Runeberg.
Lönnrot, Elias. The Kalevala. Translated with an introduction and notes by Keith Bosley. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1999. 679 p. (Oxford’s World Classics). ISBN 0-19-283570-X.

The works of John Ronald Reuel and Christopher Tolkien are under the copyright of their authors and/or rights holders, including their publishers and the Tolkien Estate.
Quotations from other authors, editors and translators mentioned in the bibliography are under the copyright of their publishers, except for those whose copyright term has ended.
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