Creation (poems 1-2)
The world is young and empty, and the Air-daughter, weary of being alone, steps down into the ocean. Impregnated by the wind and sea, the Air-daughter/water-mother floats for seven centuries without giving birth. A sea-bird nests on her knee and lays seven eggs. When they begin to hatch, the water-mother jerks her knee, scattering the eggs into the water and smashing them to pieces. From the egg fragments are formed the earth and the heavens, the clouds and the stars, the moon and the sun. The water-mother shapes the shoreline and seabed. Finally she gives birth to Vainamoinen, who floats to shore.
Finding himself in a treeless land, Vainamoinen has the boy Sampsa Pellervoinen plant all kinds of trees. Only the oak refuses to sprout. A creature arises from the sea, burns a pile of hay, and sows the acorn again in the ashes. This time the oak grows so tall that its branches overshadow the whole earth, blocking out the sun and moon. Vainamoinen calls upon his mother, who sends a tiny sea-creature to cut down the oak with three strokes of his axe. Those who gather fragments of the fallen oak are blessed with magic, happiness, and love.
Now the sun and moon shine once more. Birds sing and berries ripen, but the barley does not grow. Vainamoinen cuts a great clearing in the forest but leaves one birch tree standing so that the birds will have a place to rest. The eagle, grateful for this kindness, strikes a fire to...
(The entire section is 2283 words.)
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