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The Song of the Blood-Red Flower   By: (1869-1913)

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First Page:

THE SONG OF THE BLOOD RED FLOWER

by

Johannes Linnankoski

From the Finnish. Original Title: "Laulu Tulipunaisesta Kukasta " First Published in 1920.

CONTENTS

THE FAIRY OF THE FOREST

GAZELLE

A MOTHER'S EYES

FATHER AND SON

PANSY

AT SUNRISE

ROWAN

THE FIRST SNOWFALL

DAISY

THE RAPIDS

THE SONG OF THE BLOOD RED FLOWER

WATER SPRITE AND WATER WITCH

THE CAMP FIRE AT NEITOKALLIO

HAWTHORN

SISTER MAYA

CLEMATIS

DARK FURROWS

TO THE DREGS

BY THE ROADSIDE

THE CUPBOARD

THE HOUSE BUILDING

WAYS THAT MEET

MOISIO

THE BROKEN STRING

THE BRIDAL CHAMBER

THE SOMNAMBULIST

OUT OF THE PAST

THE MARK

THE PILGRIMAGE

THE RECKONING

WAITING

THE HOMECOMING

THE FAIRY OF THE FOREST

The setting sun shone on the wooded slopes of the hill. He clasped the nearest trees in a burning embrace, offered his hand to those farther off, and gave to them all a sparkling smile.

There was joy on the hillside.

The summer wind told fairy tales from the south. Told of the trees there, how tall they are, how dense the forests, and the earth, how it steams in the heat. How the people are dark as shadows, and their eyes flashing with light. And all the trees in the wood strained their ears to listen.

The cuckoo perched in the red blossomed pine, near the reddest cluster of all. "It may be as lovely as lovely can be," cuckooed he, "but nowhere does the heart throb with delight as in Finland forests in spring, and nowhere is such music in the air."

All the hillside nodded approvingly.

In a little glade half way down the slope some newly felled firs lay tumbled this way and that their red blossomed tops were trembling still.

On one of the stems a youth was seated.

He was tall and slender, as the trees he had just felled. His hat swung on a twig, coat and waistcoat were hung on a withered branch. His strong brown chest showed behind the white of the open shirt; the upturned sleeves bared his powerful, sunburnt arms. He sat leaning forward, looking at his right arm, bending and stretching it, watching the muscles swell and the sinews tighten under the skin.

The young man laughed.

He caught up his axe, held it straight out at arm's length, and flourished it gaily.

"Twenty five down already, and the axe as light as ever!"

The cuckoo called. The young man looked toward the top of the hill. "A wonderful spring," he thought. "Never have the trees flowered so blood red and bright, nor the brook sung so merrily, nor the cuckoo called so near. 'T would be no surprise to see the wood sprite herself come out from the trees."

He rested his head in his hands.

"Some say they never come nowadays, but Grandfather, he's seen them himself. They're grown shy, now that the woods are being cleared."

"Come, strawberry blossom, Come, raspberry blossom, Come, little cows, It is late."

The sound came from the other side of the hill, like a tinkle of silver bells on a lonely winter road.

The young man's heart beat faster. He started up, and turned towards the sound, holding his breath to listen. But he heard nothing more, save the heavy throbbing in his breast.

He took a few steps forward and stopped. "Will she come this way, or...."

"Come, summer star, Come, little cows, Hurry home."

It seemed quite close now, just beyond the ridge.

"Coming she is coming this way!" He hurried on again, but, startled at his own impatience, stopped once more, stepped back, and stood with his eyes fixed on the crest of the hill.

Something golden shone through the trees, something that fluttered in the wind. Below the gold a white blouse, a slender waist, and then a blue skirt.

"The fairy of the forest!"

The girl was standing on the hilltop. She shaded her eyes, and began walking toward the farther slope. What now? He was on the point of racing after her, then jumped on to a tree stem, and put his hands to his mouth as if to shout... Continue reading book >>




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