THE BOOK OF ROMANCE - online children's book

King Arthur, His Court and Knights in the Age of Chivalry, by Andrew Lang

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302                  WAYLAND THE SMITH
looked at the three keys that the Norns had left behind them. One was of copper, one was of iron, and one was of gold. Taking up the copper one, he walked to the mountain till he reached a flat wall of rock. He laid his key against it, and immediately the mountain flew open and showed a cave where everything was green. Green emeralds studded the rocks, green crys­tals hung from the ceiling or formed rows of pillars, even the copper which made the walls of the cave had a coating of green. Way land broke off a huge projecting lump and left the cave, which instantly closed up so that not a crack remained to tell where the opening had been.
He carried the lump home, and put it into the fire till all the earth and stones which clung to it were burned away; and then he fashioned the pure copper into a helmet, and in the front of the helmet he set three of his largest emeralds.
This occupied some days, and when it was done he took the iron key, and went to another mountain, and laid the key against the rock, which flew open like the other one. But now the walls were of iron, which shone like blue steel, while sapphires glittered in the midst. From an opening above, the blue of the sky was reflected in the river beneath, and gentians and other blue flowers grew along the edge. Wayland gazed with wonder at all these things ; then he broke off a piece of the iron, and carried it home with him. For many days after he busied him­self in forging a sword that was so supple he could wind it round his body, and so sharp it could cut through a rock as if it had been a stick. In the handle and in the sheath he set some of the finest sapphires that he had brought away with him.
When all was finished he laid the sword aside, and returned to the mountain, with the golden key. This time the mountain parted, and he saw before him an archway, with a glimpse of the sea in the distance.
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