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J.L. RUNEBERG


Farmer Paavo

High ´mid Saarijärvi´moors resided
Peasant Paavo on a frost-bound homestead,
And the soil with earnest arm was tilling;
But awaited from the Lord the increase.
And he dwelt there with his wife and children,
By his sweat his scant bread with them eating,
Digging ditches, ploughing up, and sowing.

Spring came on, the drift from cornfields melted,
And with it away flowed half the young blades;
Summer came, burst forth with hail the shower,
And with the ears were half down beaten;
Autumn came, and frost took the remainder.
Paavo´s wife then tore her hair, and spake thus:
"Paavo, old man, born to evil fortune,
Let us beg, for God hath us forsaken;
Hard is begging, but far worse is starving."

Paavo took the good-wife´s hand and spake thus:
"Nay, the Lord but trieth, not forsaketh,
Mix thou in the bread a half of bark now,
I shall dig out twice as many ditches,
And await then from the Lord the increase.

Half bark in the bread the good-wife mixed then,
Twice as many ditches dug the old man,
Sold the sheep, and bought some rye, and sowed it.
Spring came on, the drift from cornfields melted,
And with it away flowed half the young blades;
Summer came, burst forth with hail the shower,
And with the ears were half down beaten;
Autumn came, and frost took the remainder.
Paavo´s wife then smote her breast, and spake thus:
"Paavo, old man, born to evil fortune,
Let us perish, God has us forsaken,
Hard is dying, but much worse is living."

Paavo took the good-wife´s hand and spake thus:
"Nay, the Lord but trieth, not forsaketh,
Mix thou in the bread of bark the double,
I will dig of double size the ditches,
But await then from the Lord the increase."

She mixed in the bread of bark the double,
He dug then of double size the ditches,
Sold the cows, and bought some rye and sowed it.
Spring came on, the drift from cornfields melted,
But with it away there flowed no young blades.
Summer came, burst forth with hail the shower,
But with te ears were not down beaten,
Autumn came, and frost, the cornfields shunning,
Let them stand in gold to bide the reaper.

Then fell Paavo on his knees and spake thus:
"Aye, the Lord but trieth, not forsaketh."
And his mate fell on her knees, and spake thus:
"Aye, the Lord but trieth, not forsaketh."
But with gladness spoke she to the old man:
"Paavo, joyful to the scythe betake thee!
Now ´tis time for happy days and merry.
Now ´tis time to cast the bark away, and
Bake our bread henceforth of the rye entirely."

Paavo took the good-wife´s hand and spake thus:
"Woman, he endureth trials only,
Who a needy neighbour ne´er forsaketh;
Mix thou in the bread a half of bark still,
For all frost-nipped stands our neighbour´s cornfield."