Wayland, Welund, Volund
Wayland was the traditional Saxon god of smiths who became amalgamated into fairy lore. Many places are associated with Wayland in the British Isles, in particular Wayland’s Smithy, a Neolithic burial chamber in Oxfordshire. He is associated with horses, magic, metalworking, cunning, skill and healing.
The Myth of Wayland in Brief
Wayland was a famed smith, whose skill was known throughout the lands. Born with Elven blood and apprenticed to Trolls, his work was so fine that it was desired by Kings and Queens from far and wide. One such King was named Niduth, who was powerful and greedy.
One day he sent his men to find Wayland, and bring back some of his jewellery so that his daughter might have the best in the kingdom. The soldiers arrived at Wayland’s house while he was out fishing. They pushed their way inside the small abode, and took one of the many golden rings that he had made for his swan maiden wife.
They took the ring to the king, marvelling at its beauty, he decided that he alone should have control of such a fine smith. Wayland was brought to the palace and maimed so that he could not escape.
He was put on an island and forced to create jewellery for the court. If he refused he was starved until he complied.
Wayland set about his revenge, he gathered the flight feathers of birds, and fashioned them into a huge pair of wings of exquisite workmanship.
One day the king’s two sons came to the island alone without the knowledge of the rest of the court. They had come to steal some of the kings gold for themselves. They soon set about arguing, allowing Wayland to creep up behind them and lop off their heads. He buried their bodies under the forge, made two silver goblets from their skulls for the king and queen, and fashioned a broach from their teeth for the princess.
The princess was the next to visit the island; she had broken her ring and feared her father’s wrath. Wayland got her into a drunken stupor and had his wicked way with her. He then put on his wings and flew over Niduth’s Palace. He landed on the arch of the palace and shouted for the king. When he had a favourable audience he told of the fate of the king’s sons and his daughter, and then flew off to Valhalla to be with his swan maiden.