TALES FROM THE THOUSAND LAKES

Lyrics based on the Finnish national epic Kalevala
(compiled by Elias Lönnrot, 1849/transl. K. Bosley)
except where otherwise indicated

INTO HIDING
The islander slips into hiding
And takes to his heels
Out of dark Northland
The murky house of Sara
He whirled out of doors as snow
Arrives as smoke in the yard
To flee from bad deeds

There he had to become someone else
He must change his shape
As an eagle he swept up

Wanted to soar heavenward
The sun burnt his cheeks
The moon lit his brows

(Kalevala, XXVIII)

THE CASTAWAY
A bird flew out of Lapland
An eagle from the North East
One wing ruffled the water
And the other swept the sky
Its tail skimmed the sea
It flutters, it glides
It looks, it turns round
“Why, man are you in the sea
Fellow, among the billows?”

(Kalevala, VII)

FIRST DOOM
Lyrics by Esa Holopainen

The mountains of North
Shall erupt and flames
Of darkland will rise

Hail to one who hails
Blood for one who bleeds

O you mistress of northland
Queen of darkland
I may wash my hands of the
Evil master’s blood

For that is no man’s doom
Which I bring
That is child’s doom
And it shall be the First doom

BLACK WINTER DAY
This is how the lucky feel
How the blessed think
Like daybreak in spring
The sun on a spring morning

Like the flat brink of a cloud
Like a dark night in autumn

But how do I feel
In my gloomy depths?

A black winter day
No, darker than that
Gloomier than an autumn night

(Kalevala, XXII)

DROWNED MAID
I went to wash at the shore
I went to bathe in the sea
And there I, a hen, was lost
I, a bird, untimely died

Let not my brother
Ever in this world
Water his war-horse
Upon the seashore!

Waters of the sea
So much blood of mine
Fishes of the sea
So much flesh of mine

Such the death of the young maid
End of the fair little hen

(Kalevala, IV)

IN THE BEGINNING
I have a good mind
Take into my head
To start singing
Begin reciting

We seldom get together
And meet each other
On these poor borders
The luckless lands of the north
Those words we have got
From the North’s furthest fields,
From the heaths of Kalevala

(Kalevala, I)

FORGOTTEN SUNRISE
Lyrics by Esa Holopainen

Once I had a mind
And thought was given
But nowadays, in this evil age
All my sense is somewhere else

Once I had a soul
I was one with my god
But now I am abandoned
Banished from these lies

Long my tale’s been in the cold
For ages has lain hidden
I know how to bewitch fire
And how to tame flames
I know how to banish worms
And turn snakes away

TO FATHERS CABIN
O old man, good god
Careful man of heaven
Keeper of storm clouds
Make misty weather
And create a tiny cloud
In whose shelter I may go

(Kalevala, XXVIII)

MAGIC AND MAYHEM
Hey there, tiny wench
My perpetual serf
Put stew in a pot
Bring water for the guest

Before we part
Before your neck is broken
You strike first
Son of the north

(Kalevala, XXVII)