Here’s another taste from Unikirja, “Palakainen”. This one’s quite a bit different from the comic tale “Vipunen” because it’s based on a murder ballad from The Kanteletar. When I began to compose this story, I found it developed a peculiar rhythm to capture the feel of a ballad narrative, including the repetitions of phrases peculiar to that style. It was quite complicated and taxing to maintain that feeling and took more than the usual amount of revision to keep the rhythm consistent. Here’s a taste:
He came with raven feathers. He came to woo our daughter. Had the wind whispered her secrets into his ear? For she would not have become the wife of any ordinary man, Kommi stubbornness made sure of that. Swanlike she was born, swanlike did she grow, with white hands and a graceful neck and eyes that looked unblinking at you. The servants, who all grumbled day and night about their work, would give her the best of the cream, the finest weaving, the sweetest olut brewed for her. Her brothers and sisters too, who should be jealous of the attention our little star received, instead protected her, coddled her. Her sisters did the mending rather than let her prick her fingers. Her brothers gathered kindling, which should be her job, carried hay to the cows in winter, rather than let her chap her hands. Swanlike they stayed, white.
Palakainen she was named, our little tidbit, our little treat.
The wind must have carried her sighs to the ears of Kojo’s son. For all her gentle ways, for all her pampering, she dreamed as any child would — of growing up, of going away. None of the suitors would be good enough. Kommi, proud father, had sworn at her birth, when the white shock of hair made us all gasp, sworn that she would be protected, cosseted, loved. No fumbling farmboy would wed this child, no simple smithy get her hand. She was the sweet light of our hearth. And so it has always been, until now…