One Rose in the Valley (Ruusu laaksossa) is a Finnish folksong which has been popular as long as I remember and it was popular in my mother’s and grandmother’s time. When I started to translate it I saw one very interesting thing. I have always thought it is the rose that flourishes nicely but the grammatical correlate is the valley (laakso) not the rose. And more I think about it the more it makes sense as in Finland we don’t have year-round vagabonds because they froze to death during the winter but we had men who worked at farms in summer and in the woods in winter (logging sites). These men were usually poor and most likely they didn’t feel at home in the prosperous farm houses. Perhaps words are just as they supposed to be in the first place even though I and some of my friends thought otherwise. (I asked my friends, whether it is the rose that prosperously flourishes or the valley, and they have also been thinking it is the rose.) Nevertheless it is the rose that young man wanted to have and hold against his breast but being just a poor young man he didn’t dare to ask the hand of the daughter.
Note: The valley is the best place for the fields because water ends up there and it is safe from wind and cold. The farm hand men have been history for decades.
I hope you like this song as much as I liked to work with it.
Literal translation from Finnish into English:
One rose has grown in the valley,
which beautifully flourishes,
one wandering boy has seen it
and can’t forget it.
And he would have surely picked it up
and pressed it against his breast,
but as being poor he hasn’t dared,
but left it in (its) place.
As you can see this story is a bit obscure and there might be as many interpretations as there are listeners, and them all are valuable and correct. My translation based on presumption that the rose is a daughter of the prosperous farmhouse and the boy is a farm hand. This song is at least 200 hundred years old and then it wasn’t desirable that a poor man proposes to the daughter of the (rich) farm owner. In fact at that time the poor men weren’t popular suitors anywhere. It was their burden not the barrier of picking up a rose (a real flower) in the valley. Well, I might be wrong all the same.
Roses of life to everyone.