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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314
WAYLAND THE SMITH
his side and hid it behind his seat, and he had scarcely done so when the princes entered the prison. ' Good greeting to you,' said Gram. ' Nidud our father has gone a journey into the country, and as he is so greedy of wealth that he will give us none, we have come here to get it for ourselves. Hand us the key and swear not to tell our father, or you shall die.'
' My good lords,' answered Wayland, ' your request is reasonable, and I am not so foolish as to refuse it. Here is the key, and in the name of the gods I will swear not to betray you.'
The brothers took the key, and opened the chest that stood by Wayland, which was still half full of gold. It dazzled their eyes, and they both stooped down so as to see it better. This was what Wayland had waited for, and, seizing his sword, he cut off their heads, which fell into the chest. He then shut down the lid, and dug a grave for the bodies in the floor of his dungeon. After­wards he dried the skulls in the sun, and made them into two drinking cups wrought with gold. The eyes he set with precious stones and fashioned into armlets, while the teeth he filed till they were shaped like pearls, and strung like a necklace.
As soon as the King came back from his journey he paid a visit to Wayland, who produced the drinking cups, which he said were made of some curious shells washed up in a gale close to his window. The armlet he sent as a present to the Queen, and the bracelet to the Princess.
After some days had passed, and Gram and Skule had not returned, the King ordered a search to be made for them, and that very evening some sailors brought back their boat, which had drifted into the open sea. Their bodies, of course, were not to be found, and the King ordered a splendid funeral feast to be prepared to do them honour. On this occasion the new drinking cups were filled with mead, and, besides her necklace, Banvilda wore the ring which her father had taken long
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