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                 313
The guests had not thought to see the man who had made such wonderful armour helpless and a cripple, and said so to the King. ' He was once handsome and stately enough,' answered Nidud,' but I have bowed his stubborn head.' And the Queen and her daughter joined in saying, ' The maidens of Finland will hardly fancy a lover who cannot stand upright.' But Wayland stood as if he heard nothing till the King's son snatched a bone from the table and threw it at his head. Then his patience gave way, and, seizing the bone, he beat Nidud about the head with it till the straps of the helmet gave way and the helmet itself fell off. The guests all took his side, and said that, though a cripple, he was braver than many men whose legs were straight, and begged the King to allow him to go back to his prison without being teased further. But the King cried that Wayland had done mischief enough, and must now be punished, and told them the story of his visit to the mountain and the loss of his followers. ' It would be a small punishment to put him to death,' he said,' for to so wretched a cripple death would be welcome. He may use the gold that is left, but henceforth he shall only have one eye to work with,' and the Princess came forward and carried out the cruel sentence herself. And Wayland bore it all, saying nothing, but praying the gods to grant him vengeance.
One night Wayland sat filled with grief and despair at his window, looking out over the sea, when he caught sight of two red lights, bobbing in his direction. He watched them curiously till they vanished beneath the tower ; and soon the key of the outer door turned, and two men, whom he knew to be the King's sons, Gram and Skule, talked softly together. He kept very still, so that they might think he was asleep, and he heard Skule say: ' Let us first get the golden key from him, and when we have taken from the chest as much as we can carry we will put him to death, lest he should betray us to our father.' Then Wayland took a large sword which lay by
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