To the river of Tuoni,
To the cataract of death-land,
To the sacred stream and whirlpool.
Quick the wretched shepherd, Nasshut,
From the death-stream sends a serpent,
Like an arrow from a cross-bow,
To the heart of Lemminkainen,
Through the vitals of the hero.
Lemminkainen, little conscious,
Hardly knew that be was injured,
Spake these measures as he perished.
“Ah! unworthy is my conduct,
Ah! unwisely have I acted,
That I did not heed my mother,
Did not take her goodly counsel,
Did not learn her words of magic.
Oh I for three words with my mother,
How to live, and bow to suffer,
In this time of dire misfortune,
How to bear the stings of serpents,
Tortures of the reed of waters,
From the stream of Tuonela!
“Ancient mother who hast borne me,
Who hast trained me from my childhood,
Learn, I pray thee, where I linger,
Where alas! thy son is lying,
Where thy reckless hero suffers.
Come, I pray thee, faithful mother,
Come thou quickly, thou art needed,
Come deliver me from torture,
From the death-jaws of Tuoni,
From the sacred stream and whirlpool.”
Northland’s old and wretched shepherd,
Nasshut, the despised protector
Of the flocks of Sariola,
Throws the dying Lemminkainen,
Throws the hero of the islands,
Into Tuonela’s river,
To the blackest stream of death-land,
To the worst of fatal whirlpools.
Lemminkainen, wild and daring,
Helpless falls upon the waters,
Floating down the coal-black current,
Through the cataract and rapids
To the tombs of Tuonela.
There the blood-stained son of death-land,
There Tuoni’s son and hero,
Cuts in pieces Lemminkainen,
Chops him with his mighty hatchet,
Till the sharpened axe strikes flint-sparks
From the rocks within his chamber,
Chops the hero into fragments,
Into five unequal portions,
Throws each portion to Tuoni,
In Manala’s lowest kingdom,
Speaks these words when he has ended:
“Swim thou there, wild Lemminkainen,
Flow thou onward in this river,
Hunt forever in these waters,
With thy cross-bow and thine arrow,
Shoot the swan within this empire,
Shoot our water-birds in welcome!”
Thus the hero, Lemminkainen,
Thus the handsome Kaukomieli,
The untiring suitor, dieth
In the river of Tuoni,
In the death-realm of Manala.
Lemminkainen’s aged mother
Anxious roams about the islands,
Anxious wonders in her chambers,
What the fate of Lemminkainen,
Why her son so long has tarried;
Thinks that something ill has happened
To her hero in Pohyola.
Sad, indeed, the mother’s anguish,
As in vain she waits his coming,
As in vain she asks the question,
Where her daring son is roaming,