294 WAYLAND THE SMITH
is the matter ? ' asked her sons, anxiously, for they knew things lay open to her which were hidden from others.
' Ah, my sons,' she said as soon as she could speak, ' you will have much happiness, but I shall be forced to part with you. Therefore I shed tears, for I hoped that only death would divide us! Green is the grass, blue is the sky, red are the roses, golden is the maiden. The Norns' (for so in that country they called the Fates) ' beckon you to a land where green fields lie under a blue sky, fields where golden-haired maidens lie among the flowers.'
Great was the joy of the three brothers when they heard the words of their mother ; for they hated the looks of the women who dwelt about them, and longed for the tall stature and white skins of the maidens of the south.
Next morning they rose early and buckled on their swords and coats of mail, and fastened on their heads helmets that they had made the day before from the lump of gold. In the centre of Slagfid's helmet was the green stone, and in the centre of Eigil's was the blue stone, and in the centre of Wayland's was the red stone; and when they were ready they put their reindeer into their sledges, and set out over the snow.
When they reached the mountains where only yesterday they had been digging they saw by the light of the moon a host of little men running to meet them. They were dressed all in grey, except for their caps, which were red; they had red eyes, too, and black tongues, which never ceased chattering. These were the mountain elves, and when they came near they formed themselves into a fairy ring, and sang while they danced around it:
Will you leave us ? Will you leave us ?
Slagfid, Eigil, and Wayland, sons of a King.
Is not the emerald better than grass ?
Is not the ruby better than roses ?
Is not the sapphire better than the sky ?
Why do you leave the mountains of Fininark ?