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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WAYLAND THE SMITH                 309
entered at Storbiorn's command. Suddenly an icy blue stream poured upon them from the depths of the cavern and drowned most of them before they had time to fly. Only those behind escaped, and Storbiorn bade them go instantly to the King and tell him what had befallen them. Then he went to the third troop and marched with them to the rock, where he gave the golden key to one of the men, and ordered him to try it. The rock flew open at once, and Storbiorn told the men to enter, taking care, however, to keep behind himself. They obeyed and found themselves in a lovely golden cave, whose walls were lit up by thousands of precious stones of every hue. There was neither sight nor sound to frighten them, and even Storbiorn, when he saw the gold, forgot his prudence and his fears, and followed them in. In a moment a red fire burst out with a terrific noise, and clouds of smoke poured over them, so that they fell down choked into the flames. Only one man escaped, and he ran back as fast as he could to the King to tell him of the fate of his army.
All this time Wayland was working quietly in his island prison waiting for the day of his revenge. The suit of golden armour which the King had commanded kept him busy day and night, and, besides the wonderful shield with figures of the gods, he had wrought a coat of mail, a helmet, and armour for the thighs, such as never had been seen before. The King had invited all his great Nobles to meet him at the Palace when he returned from the mountain, that they might both see his armour and behold all the precious things he should bring with him from the caverns.
When Nidud reached his Palace the Queen and Ban-vilcla, their daughter, came forth to meet him, and told him that the great hall was already full of guests, expecting the wonders he had brought. The King said little about his adventures, but went into the armoury to put on his armour in order to appear before his Nobles,
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