Twenty-six items from Special Collections (b)

Exhibit 'B': Finnish. ("Elk and Snake" ["Hirvi ja Käärme"], sung by Oute, collected by A.A. Borenius, 1877; and "The Great Pig" ["Iso Sika"], singer unknown, collected by A. Ahlqvist, 1854)

Bibliography: Finnish Folk Poetry: Epic, edited and translated by Matti Kuusi, Keith Bosley, and Michael Branch (Finnish Literature Society, 1977). The two poems exhibited here are on pages 276 and 269–70, respectively. The book includes the Finnish originals in left-hand columns; English on the right. Expensive book, heavy as a stone.
   ¶ Finnish Folk Poetry: Epic showcases materials collected "in the field" by 19th-century folklorists. This is the kind of raw materials from which the Kalevala was constructed by the Finnish patriot and scholar Elias Lönnrot in the 1830s and 40s. (Part of the point of FFPE is to let the curious get a load of the "unprocessed" Kalevala. Something like if somebody were to find and publish the original materials for James Macpherson's "Ossian" poems.)

Two poems

Elk and Snake

An elk ran from Hiisi’s land
kicked a cowberry on the heath
it gnawed a twig as it ran
drank a lake when it thirsted.
It ran into a new house
into a splendid chamber:
it saw a snake drinking beer
a worm taking refreshment.
It struck the snake on the ribs
the worm under the liver:
the snake wept over its ribs
the poor worm for its liver. 

Who would be the snake’s milker
the looser of the worm’s flood?
Margaret’s mother was such:
she would be the snake’s milker.
        The snake gave brown milk
        the worm a white flood
into the striped milking-pail.
The milk fell upon the ground:
        there brown trees sprang up
        brown trees and blue lands
yellow boughs of juniper
        silver fir-tree tops. 

The Great Pig

       I went visiting
       my aunt in heaven.
What was I made to eat there? —
bones from meat and heads from fish
       and crusts from hard loaves.
What was I made to do there? —
       made to go herding
       some great German pigs
       some well-formed young ones
       and sheep with blazed heads.
The pig swelled to a great size
the porker grew terrible:
it grew to half a cubit
its tail a hundred cubits
its snout to six axe-handles. 

Ukko went to slaughter it
       with a golden club
       a copper hammer
       a silver mallet:
the porker turned its snout round
       and gaped at its tail.
Ukko fled up a spruce-tree
other gods up other trees
the little lords up pine-trees.
Ukko scolded from the spruce
he nagged from the juniper:
“Patience, patience, poor porker.
When the coming year is come
you’ll not root another year
not root at Tora River
not on Tora River’s bank:
I’ll hit hard between the eyes
so that the pork will crackle!”

Appendix: Another huge book, similar in purpose and scope to Finnish Folk Poetry: Epic, is The Great Bear: A Thematic Anthology of Oral Poetry in the Finno-Ugrian Languages, edited by Lauri Honko, Senni Timonen and Michael Branch; poems translated by Keith Bosley (Finnish Literature Society, 1993). Basically FFPE 2.0. Also expensive as hell.