Stories from the Finnish Epic: The Kalevala
Chapter 9 - The Slave’s Revenge as told by Larry Hohm.
as told at the Seattle Storytellers Guild Epic Event
at the Nordic Heritage Museum on March 25th, 2017.
(Click to listen: 8 Minutes)
Larry Hohm tells gripping stories by authors such as Bill Pronzini, Frederic Brown, H.G. Wells, Joyce Carol Oates, Mark Twain, Ray Bradbury, Roald Dahl, and Ruth Rendell.
Find out more at www.larryhohm.com/home.html
(Runo XXXI - XXXVI with much editing)
After a bitter feud between his uncle and father, his father is killed and Kullervo grows up in his uncle’s house as a slave. Kullervo hates his uncle and whatever task is given him, he does wrong. Finally his uncle sells him as a slave to the great smith of Kalevala, Ilmarinen.
Ilmarinen's wife assigns Kullervo as the cowherd and bakes him a loaf of bread for his lunch but cruelly bakes a stone into it. She then sends the cattle out into the fields to be watched by Kullervo.
Kullervo goes about his job as herdsman and in the late afternoon he settles down to eat his loaf he cuts into the loaf and his knife is broken on the stone, this he laments heavily and vows revenge on Ilmarinen's wife since the knife was the only keepsake of his lost father.
Kullervo sends the cattle into the mouths of wolves and bears and by magic gives the bears the appearance of cattle, he makes a pipe from the bone of a cow and brings the cattle home.
Ilmarinen's wife hears the homecoming and goes out to inspect the herd and perform her milking, as she bends down and begins to pull on a teat the wolves and bears surround her and tear her to shreds. She pleads to Kullervo to come to her aid but he refuses and she dies.
Kullervo flees from the homestead of Ilmarinen and wanders through the forest, he calls to Ukko never to allow one so wretched and unfortunate as he be born again. He retires to the forest and turning his sword's point to his chest thrusts himself to his death.
© 2017 - Barry McWilliams and Seattle Storytellers Guild