THE NATIVITYfrom "The Ballad of the Virgin Mary"
Anon. (after oral tradition)trans. Keith Bosley (from Finnish)
Henkäsi hyvä hevonen,
huokasi vetäjä varsa,
vatsan kautta vaivalloisen.
Min hevonen hengähtävi,
se on luotu saunanlöyly,
vesi viskattu viaton,
on kuin löyly lyötäessä,
viskattaessa vetonen.
Maaria, matala neiti,
pyhä piika pikkarainen,
kylpi kylyn kyllältänsä,
vatsan löylyn vallaltansa;
saip on tuonne poikuensa
heinille kesäteoille,
syntyi poika polvillehen,
lapsi lantehuisillehen.
Jouluna Jumala syntyi,
paras poika pakkasella,
hevon heinähuonesehen,
sorajouhen soimen päähän.
Härkä olkia levitti,
sika penkoi pehkuloita,
poian pienen peitteheksi,
katteheksi kaikkivallan.
Jouluna Jumala syntyi,
paras poika pakkasella.
Nousi kuu, yleni päivä,
armas aurinko havahti,
tähet taivon tanssaeli,
Otavat piti iloa
syntyessä suuren Luojan,
yliarmon auetessa.
And the good horse breathed
and the draught-foal sighed
over her heavy belly
and what the horse breathes
was made sauna steam
harmless water tossed -
'tis like steam being stirred up
like water tossed on hot stones.
Mary, lowly maid
the holy, the tiny wench
bathed her fill, bathed her belly
in all the steam she wanted;
and there she had her offspring
on the hay made in summer:
a boy was born at her knees
a child on her lap.
On Christmas Day God was born
the best boy when there was frost
in a horse's hay-outhouse
at a rough-hair's manger-end:
an ox spread out straw
a pig rooted up litter
to cover the little boy
to protect the Almighty.
On Christmas Day God was born
the best boy when there was frost:
the moon rose, the sun came up
the dear sunlight woke
and the stars of heaven danced
and the Great Bear made merry
when the Creator was born
the most merciful appeared.

From the Kanteletar, a treasury of lyrics and ballads (1840-1) based on oral tradition.
Mary becomes pregnant from swallowing a cowberry.
For the birth she is denied the usual sauna and must go to a stable.

Trans. Copyright © Keith Bosley. Publ. OUP World's Classics. Original with acknowledgements to the Finnish Literature Society, Helsinki.


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