Vladimir Nabokov

NABOKV-L post 0015321, Sun, 24 Jun 2007 10:00:23 EDT

Re: Aina Acht
Sorry, I thought I had sent this some days ago.

Jansy wrote:

<< Nobody will comment on the name "Aina"? Isn't she a girl that drowned in
the Finnish epic you've been discussing in relation to Sibelius and the
myths of creation? >>

Dear Jansy,

It's Aino Ackté (Achte), not Aina. (Incidentally, Sibelius's wife was Aino
née Järnefelt.)

Aino in the Kalevala drowns because she swims towards a rock coloured like
the rainbow.
Iris is the goddess of the rainbow.

So maybe there actually is a connection between Aino Ackté and Iris Acht.

Also, in the Kalevala, Rune 8, we have "Pohjola's daughter" (i.e. daughter
of the northland), unnamed, seated by a rainbow at her spinning wheel. She
sets Vainamoinen on a number of tasks such as tying an egg into invisible knots.
He succeeds many times but eventually he gives up, to her mocking laughter.
Sibelius portrays this in his symphonic poem "Pohjola's daughter" (1906).

From Rune 4 of the Kalevala:

Out at sea a goodly distance,
Stood a rock of rainbow colors,
Glittering in silver sunlight.
Toward it springs the hapless maiden,
Thither swims the lovely Aino,
Up the standing-stone has clambered,
Wishing there to rest a moment,
Rest upon the rock of beauty;
When upon a sudden swaying
To and fro among the billows,
With a crash and roar of waters
Falls the stone of many colors,
Falls upon the very bottom
Of the deep and boundless blue-sea.
With the stone of rainbow colors,
Falls the weeping maiden, Aino,
Clinging to its craggy edges,
Sinking far below the surface,
To the bottom of the blue-sea.
Thus the weeping maiden vanished.
Thus poor Aino sank and perished,
Singing as the stone descended,
Chanting thus as she departed:
Once to swim I sought the sea-side,
There to sport among the billows;
With the stone of many colors
Sank poor Aino to the bottom
Of the deep and boundless blue-sea,
Like a pretty son-bird. perished.
Never come a-fishing, father,
To the borders of these waters,
Never during all thy life-time,
As thou lovest daughter Aino.

Anthony Stadlen

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