Wayland Smith

Wayland Smith

Wayland (also spelled "Weyland", "Wieland", "Weland", "Welent" and "Watlende") is a smith of Germanic legend.

In Scandinavian sources, he appears (as Völund Smed) in "Völundarkviða", a poem in the "Poetic Edda", and in the "Þiðrekssaga", and his legend is also depicted on the Ardre image stone VIII. In English sources, he appears in "Deor", "Waldere" and in "Beowulf" and the legend is depicted on the Franks Casket. The only German source that mentions him is "Der grosse Rosengarten".

Weyland had two brothers, Egil and Slagfiðr (Slagfid/Slagfinn). In one version of the myth, the three brothers lived with three Valkyries: Ölrún, Alvitr and Svanhvít. After nine years, the Valkyries left their lovers. Egil and Slagfiðr followed, never to return. In another version, Weyland married the swan maiden Hervör, and they had a son, Heime, but Hervör later left Weyland. In both versions, his love left him with a ring. In the former myth, he forged seven hundred duplicates of this ring.

At a later point in time, he was captured in his sleep by King Nidud in Nerike who ordered him hamstrung and imprisoned on the island of Sævarstöð. There he was forced to forge items for the king. Weyland's wife's ring was given to the king's daughter, Bodvild. Nidud wore Weyland's sword.In revenge, Weyland killed the king's sons when they visited him in secret, fashioned goblets from their skulls, jewels from their eyes, and a brooch from their teeth. He sent the goblets to the king, the jewels to the queen and the brooch to the king's daughter. When Bodvild took her ring to him to be mended, he took the ring and raped her, fathering a son and escaping on wings he made. Völund made the magic sword Gram (also named Balmung and Nothung) and the magic ring that Thorsten retrieved. Wayland's assistant is Flibbertigibbet.

As Weland he also fashioned the mail shirt worn by Beowulf according to lines 450-455 of the epic poem of the same name:

:"No need then:to lament for long or lay out my body.:If the battle takes me, send back:this breast-webbing that Weland fashioned:and Hrethel gave me, to Lord Hygelac.:Fate goes ever as fate must." (Heaney trans.)

He is particularly associated with Wayland's Smithy, a burial mound in Oxfordshire. This was named by the English, but the megalithic mound significantly predates them. It is from this association that the superstition came about that a horse left there overnight with a small silver coin (groat) would be shod by morning.


* Heaney, Seamus (2000). "Beowulf: A New Verse Translation". W. W. Norton. ISBN 978-0-393-32097-8.
*Larrington, Carolyne (transl.) (1996). "The Poetic Edda". Oxford World's Classics. ISBN 0-19-283946-2.

ee also

*Culture of Närke
*Weyland Smith in Vertigo's Fables series

External links

* [http://www.waylands.net/public/smithy/legends.htm article on Wayland the Smith; also deals with Egil]
* [http://www.franks-casket.de/english/index.html Weland on the Franks Casket; essay on the Saga]


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