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Siegfried the kings son.

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Again the boys were taken to the little stream, and this time a handful of wool was thrown into the water. When it reached the edge of the sword half of the wool passed to the right and half to the left of the sword, and not one single thread was moved from its place. Siegfried, however, was not satisfied, and again broke the sword into pieces and put it back into the fire. Patiently and faithfully he worked for seven long weeks. The sword that he brought to Mimer now was stronger and brighter and more beautiful than either of the others. The handle was wound with flowers, and the edge was as bright as the lightning. This time, when the boys gathered at the little stream, a pack of wool was thrown into the water. When the wool reached the edge of the blade, half passed to one side and half to the other, and not one thread was moved from its place. "We will give it another trial," said Siegfried. He ran quickly to the shop and paused a moment before the great anvil. Then he swung the sword, once, twice, thrice, about his head, and then brought it down onto the iron. There was no noise, but the great anvil fell apart, and the sword was as sharp and bright as ever.



"This is the best I can do," said Siegfried. "Good master, my sword is done!" Then Mimer sent his swiftest messenger to the king to tell him that he was ready to meet the giant. The day of the contest came. Mimer's friends sat on one side of the road, the giant's friends on the other. At the top of the hill the two masters were to meet, the giant with his armor, Mimer with his sword. Soon a mighty shout arose! The giant, wearing the wonderful coat of glittering steel, came up the hill. He sat down on a huge rock at the top of the hill. As the people waited, a queer little man was seen coming slowly up the hill. His back was bent, and his white hair hung about his shoulders. At his side he carried a sword so bright that the lightning seemed to play about its edge, as he walked. Slowly he went to the top of the hill and stood before the giant. It was Mimer, the master. He loosed the sword from his side and raised it above his head. "Are you ready?" he asked. "Yes; strike," said the giant, laughing, for he was not afraid.



One, two, three times the sword flashed about Mimer's head. Then it fell again at his side. "I do not wish to hurt you," he said, "but if you will take off your armor and place it on that stone, I will show you what this wonderful blade can do." The giant only laughed again--laughed so loud and so long that the very earth seemed to tremble. Then he took off the armor and laid it on the rock. Mimer stepped back, raised the sword again, swung it about his head until the light seemed to blind the people. Then it came down. The people waited. There was no clash of iron. All was still. Then Mimer stepped up to the armor and touched it with his foot. It fell apart, and the rock beneath it fell apart, too. Half the rock started to roll down the hill. On, on it went, faster and faster, and fell with a mighty splash into the river at the foot of the hill, and if you should go to that far-away country you could see it lying there, far down below the surface of the water.



Then a mighty shout arose! Mimer's friends, and the great king, too, joined in the applause. The giant, no longer boastful, stooped down, gathered up the two parts of the armor, and went with his friends into a far country. Mimer took the wonderful sword and went back to his place in the blacksmith shop, still the master of all the smiths. Very few people, however, knew that it was the king's own son, Siegfried, who had made the wonderful sword.

       



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