Heikki was one of the most remarkable people in Ahonen’s Janne house. And, first of all, he could not understand why the neighbors, always talking about Ahos, complained that people so decent had no joy at all about their only child. And then they usually continued, how annoying it had been that Ahos had taken their little son away, when, however, Janne did not seem to have any joy of old age for his parents. It was a very strange speech about Heikki, because to his knowledge, Janne never did anything bad to the little ones, nor to the big ones. And to his mother, he chopped down trees and carried water that the sons of horizontal master Sundström never did, even though they saw his mother carrying water in and out so that he was quite crooked. But then it became clear to Heikki,
If anyone, Janne was the joy of the whole house. On spring evenings, after getting out of work and eating dinner, Janne always showed up in the yard, watching the little boys play or swinging on the newspapers to read the newspapers. At the time, he was always so neat and fine that he didn’t want to feel the same, especially the one who had seen him sooty returning from dinner to his workshop for work. He had changed his new blue suit and tied a red-striped silk scarf around his neck, the knot of which remained an eternal enigma for Heikki and the other little boys in the house. His black velvet hat was always tilted and under its flag a wide curl flashed over his forehead, defiant like a tidal wave. When he was in a very good mood, he took part in the little boys’ plays, and they never had the same pace as then, when Janne bothered to be involved. Many times, when no comrades were available, he hit Heikki with a wall ball and many weather pennants and a mill wheel Janne had made for him, while cutting down their trees.
But Janne never got to play with the little boys any longer, or read his newspaper on the rocking board in peace. It often happened that as soon as he appeared in the yard, Paul of Hakala immediately came to the rocking board with his handicrafts. Then the girls of the factory, one by one, appeared on the porch to laugh and soon they usually got Janne on their porch, Hakala Pauliina and the little boys to their great annoyance. But Heikki knew that there were others who were annoyed by that attraction to Janne. Their Hilda… Once, when my uncle had them for dinner, Heikki had heard his mother say that Hilda had been a bit of a bad wind and jealousy for a few days now, and that tomorrow Janne had to be invited to cut down trees and have coffee, it’s over again…
Of course, it was a joy for everyone.
Janne was an absolutely necessary guest at the factory girls’ name days. Unless, for some reason, he tolerated the arrival, then no real joy was desired to come to the feast, even though “Mrs.”, as Heikki’s mother was said, and Pastor Sandman had gone. Something was missing and something was expected along the evening. No one said it, but they saw it from everything. And unless Janne came later, then the girls sang the rest of the evening from “Zion’s kantele” or a long song about Maria Stuart, which Heikki had never been able to listen to before, because after almost every verse it was said, “Oh, Maria, oh, Maria! Oh , beautiful Mary! ”
But when Janne was involved, then pawn games were played or “hidden from the ring.” And the small chambers were full of joy. Janne could always say something witty that made everyone laugh. Everyone was good friends again for a long time and no one talked about Ahonen Janne other than good.
But then something happened again, where the whole crowd of the house roared and rumbled, wherever the neighbors happened. Heikki heard a few words about it one spring evening while throwing a “button pit” with Väinö from Hellfors. Rödman and Ahonen stopped to watch their game. Rödman asked Jane about Ahose, and said that although it is said that Hakala Pauliina’s things were insane, she could not blame Janne for it, because that was Pauliina’s own cause. “Here we have all watched how he has circled Janne like the devil’s soul.” Ahonen only said that it was unfortunate, be it one way or another, but what could be done to them, and they went with Rödman to walk to the gate. – Heikki was constantly wondering what those “things” might be, for Pauliina was as before, except that he no longer sat on the seesaw with his handicrafts in the evenings, but it was no wonder that Janne had not been seen in the yard in the evenings for a long time. – For a long time, Heikki had not dared to ask his mother for any explanation for the things he heard in the yard, as it usually resulted in some kind of restrictions on freedom. But one day, when Mom wasn’t home, she asked Hilda about it when this peeled potatoes in the kitchen.
Hilda didn’t raise her head at all, but asked who had said so. He was annoyed. Whenever the big people were asked something they heard, they immediately shouted: who has said that? Heikki thought for a moment. He made it a test of his mind to say that Pastor Sandman had said so, but he did not dare, and finally replied that it had been carpenter Rödman. “Then it’s best to ask Rödman,” Hilda replied. But there had been a malevolent echo in his voice that scared Heikki any more of the whole thing from asking anyone. And when Pauliina Hakala soon moved to the country, there was no more talk about it. Then came the long summer and Heikki set a record of forgetting the whole house, almost Alonen Janne.
One morning in September, just as Heikki was leaving for school, Hilda rushed out of breath into the dining room and told with great noise that Ahonen’s Janne had been imprisoned. Mom shook her head angrily, got up from the table and followed Hilda to the kitchen. Hilda seemed to be offended when her news was received of her rebuke, for she was heard to say in a loud voice, “Whatever the lady is about to try about her son, as if it should not be heard from elsewhere.” At the same time, Mom returned from the squat and still told Hilda at the door that people should never be frightened that way.
Later, Heikki heard that Janne had quarreled at some dances and hit another man with a knife, so that he was short of life. As a result, Janne was imprisoned and everyone said he would be taken to the castle. – Rödman said that such a thing in the man’s priestly book meant almost nothing, once another knife had revealed his knife, so it would hardly follow Janne more than a couple of months of “sitting”. But Ahoska’s eyes were constantly red when she was sometimes seen at a glance in a well. And when Ahone came home at dusk, he didn’t look at anyone and he looked so tired and old. – Then Heikki thought that God was miraculously hard after he had let Ahonen’s little boy get under the cart of the earth, even though he already knew then, that this would happen to Janne one day. Ahos would have even had joy from him now, when Jännek did not come home in the evening either. – But the mother just said that maybe it was more fun for them to think that the little boy had gotten away when Janne had become such a remarkably wild boy, even though the parents were ordinary decent people.
One afternoon, when Heikki returned from school, a large crowd of their house stood at the corner of Sundberg. As he got closer, he heard that they were watching when the prisoners were taken to the station, and that I guess Ahonen’s Janne would be taken today. Heikki was in two stages whether he would dare to wait for it, but what was expected was already coming, walking down the street. The cold shivers scared Heikki’s spine when she saw Ahonen Janne walking between the guards, next to another prisoner, handcuffed to his comrade with one hand. Janne didn’t look at anyone, but her lips clenched and looking serious continued her journey.
– Oh, misery, after all, said one of the aces, that Janne also has size and vision, but there are no man’s ways.
– No, someone else admitted. But that boy has also been disturbed by liquor and women from the beginning. –
– And at Hakala Pauliina, when it is said that there is a boy a few days old, said the third.
– Oh misery after all…
Heikki came home crying. Mom tried her best to comfort her… but Janne’s case did not get better… She was pressed by Janne’s accident all day. And even in the evening, he was quite vivid to see Janne going between his guards, handcuffed from one wrist to the other. When the mother came to read the evening prayer, Heikki read it calmly with her, and after that she did not ask the mother anything, and did not even want to think of God any more… She felt so distant big and harsh. Heikki pulled the blanket over his ears and thought of Aho and Ahoska, who at that moment must have been sitting in their room lit by a small table lamp and thought of Janne like him… Tonight he would have wanted to be their little boy and be very good to them…
After that, life in their house became very quiet for a long time. Mom often spoke kindly that now there were only decent people living in her house, because the girls in the factory had completely stopped swinging in the yard after Janne left. During their vacations, they sang in their chamber about “The Kantele of Zion,” or that terribly long song about Maria Stuart. And nothing has ever been said about pastoral Sandman and horizontal master Lundström other than mere good.
But Heikki often thought that his whole life in the house was much more tedious now than when all the people had always talked about Hulda Martola and Ahonen Janne.