310 WAYLAND THE SMITH
Piece by piece he fastened it, but he found the helmet so heavy that he could hardly bear it on his head. However, he did not look properly dressed without it, so he had to wear it, though it felt as if a whole mountain was pressing on his forehead. Then, buckling on the sword which Wayland had forged, he entered the hall, and seated himself on the throne. The Earls were struck dumb by his splendour, and thought at first that it was the god Thor himself, till they looked under the helmet and saw the ugly little man with the pale cowardly face. So they turned their eyes gladly on the Queen and Princess, both tall and beautiful and glittering with jewels, though inwardly they were not much better than the King.
A magnificent dinner made the Nobles feel more at ease, and they begged the King to tell them what man there was in Sweden so skilled in smith's work. Now Nidud had drunk deeply of mead, and longed to revenge himself on Wayland, whom he held to have caused the loss of his army ; so he gave the key of the tower to one of his Earls, and bade him take two men and bring forth Wayland, adding that if the next time he visited the tower he should find a grain of gold missing, they should pay for it with their lives.
The three men got a boat, and rowed towards the tower, but on the way one who, like the King, had drunk too much mead, fell into the sea and was drowned. The other two reached the tower in safety, and finding Wayland, blackened with dust, busy at his forge, bade him come just as he was to the boat. With his hands bound they led him before the King, and Eyvind the Earl bowed low and said, ' We have done your desire, Sir King, and must now hasten back to look for Gullorm, who fell into the sea.'
' Leave him where he is,' replied Nidud; ' if he is not drowned by now he will never drown at all, but in token of your obedience to my orders I will give you each these golden chains.'