WAYLAND THE SMITH 301
Wayland, or follow Eigil into the river ? No. After all I may find my wife. The Noras do not always bring misfortune.'
As he spoke a light gleamed in the darkness of the night, and, looking up, Slagfid saw it was shed by a bright star which seemed to be drawing nearer to the earth, and the nearer it drew the more its shape seemed to change into a human figure. Then Slagfid knew that it was his wife Swanvite floating just over his head and encircled by a rim of clear green light. He could not speak for joy, but held out his arms to her. She beckoned to him to follow her, and, drawing out a lute, played on it, and Slagfid, flinging away his sword and coat of mail, began to climb the mountain. Half way up it seemed to him as if a hand from behind was pulling him back, and turning he fancied he beheld his mother and heard her say : ' My son, seek not after vain shadows, which yet may be your ruin. Strive not against the will of Odin, nor against the Norns.' The words caused Slagfid to pause for a moment, then the figure of Swanvite danced before him and beckoned to him again, and his mother was forgotten. There were rivers to swim, precipices to climb, chasms to leap, but he passed them all gladly till at last he noticed that the higher he got the less the figure seemed like Swanvite. He felt frightened and tried to turn back, but he could not. On he had to go, till just as he reached the top of the mountain the first rays of the sun appeared above the horizon, and he saw that, instead of Swanvite, he had followed a black elf.
He paused and looked over the green plain that lay thousands of feet below him, cool and inviting after the stony mountain up which he had come. ' A time of death,' whispered the black elf in his ear, and Slagfid flung himself over the precipice.
After his brothers had forsaken him Wayland went to bed lonely and sad; but the next morning he got up and