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               317
ago from Way land's house. As was the custom, the feast lasted long, and the dead Princes were forgotten by the guests, who drank deeply and grew merry. But at mid­night their gaiety suddenly came to an end. The King was in the act of drinking from the cup of mead when he felt a violent pain in his head and let the vessel fall. The hues of the armlet became so strange and dreadful that the Queen's eyes suffered agony from looking at them, and she tore the armlets off her; while Banvilda was seized with such severe toothache that she could sit at table no longer. The guests at once took leave, but it was not till the sun rose that the pains of their hosts went away.
In the torture of toothache which she had endured during the night Banvilda had dashed her arm against the wall, and had broken some of the ornaments off the ring. She feared to tell her father, who would be sure to punish her, and was in despair how to get the ring mended when she caught sight of the island on which Wayland's tower stood. ' If I had not mocked at him he might have helped me now,' thought she. But no other way seemed to offer itself, and in the evening she loosened a boat and began to row to the tower. On the way she met an old merman with a long beard, floating on the waves, who warned her not to go on ; but she paid no heed, and only rowed the faster.
She entered the tower by a false key, and, holding the ring out to Wayland, begged him to mend it as fast as possible, so that she might return before she was missed. Wayland answered her with courtesy, and promised to do his best, but said that she would have to blow the bellows to keep the forge fire alight. ' How comes it that these bellows are sprinkled with blood ?' asked Banvilda.
' It is the blood of two young sea dogs,' answered Way-land; 'they troubled me for long, but I caught them when they least expected it. But blow, I pray you, the bellows harder, or I shall never be finished.'
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