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Wayland the smith.

From Myths and Legends of all nations
by Logan Marshall
Age Rating 8 Plus.

Start of Story

"I will alter what is wrong," said the smith, making a slight change in the shirt. Then with Eigil's help he put on the feathers, flapped his wings and rose into the air. He lighted on a turret of the castle and called down to Eigil. "I did not tell you the truth when I said that you should alight _with_ the wind, for I knew that if you found out how easy it was to fly you would never give me the shirt back again. You can see for yourself that all birds rise against the wind and alight in the same way. I am going home to my own country, but first I must have a few words with Nidung. And, remember, if he bids you shoot me, shoot under the left wing, for there I have fastened a bladder filled with blood." With these words Wayland flew to the highest tower of the king's castle and called to the king as he passed with his courtiers. "Are you a bird, Wayland?" asked the king. "Sometimes I am a bird and sometimes a man," was the reply; "but now I am going away from here and never again will you have me in your power. Listen while I speak. You promised once to give me your daughter and the half of your kingdom, but you made of me instead an outcast--because I defended myself and killed the wretches who would have taken my life.

"You surprised me while I slept and stole my arms and my treasures; and not satisfied with that you laid a net for my feet and made of me a cripple. But I have had my revenge. Do you know where your sons are?" "My sons!" cried Nidung. "Oh, tell me what you know of them." "I will tell you, but first you must swear to me by the deck of the ship and the edge of the shield, by the back of the horse and the blade of the sword that you will do no harm to my wife and child." Nidung swore and Wayland began his speech: "Go to my smithy, and there in the cave you will find the remains of your sons. I killed them, and of their bones made vessels for your table. Your daughter Badhild is my wife. So have I repaid evil with evil, and our connection is ended." With these words he flew away, while Nidung in great anger cried: "Eigil, shoot at Wayland." "I cannot harm my own brother," replied Eigil. "Shoot," cried the king, "or I will kill you." Then Eigil laid an arrow in his bow and shot Wayland as he had been instructed, under his left arm, until the blood flowed and everyone thought that the great smith had received his death wound. But Wayland, unharmed, flew away to Zealand and made his home there in his father's land.

Nidung, meantime, was sad and unhappy, and it was not long before he died and Otvin, his son, succeeded to the throne. Otvin was soon loved and honored throughout the kingdom because of his great justice and kindness. His sister lived with him at court, and there her son, Widge, was born. One day Wayland sent messengers to Otvin, asking for peace and pardon, and when these were granted he traveled again to Jutland and was received with great honor. The mighty smith was very glad to see his wife again and very proud of his three-year-old son; but he would not yield to Otvin's request that he remain in Jutland. Instead he returned to Zealand with Badhild and Widge, and there they lived happily for many years. Wayland was known throughout all the world for his knowledge and skill, and his son Widge was a powerful hero, whose praises were much celebrated in song. So ends the story of Wayland, the great smith of the northern countries.


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