Poem: “Fire From Stone”

forge-craft-hot-formIn Norse and Germanic mythology, Wayland (Volund in Old Norse) is a really interesting character who sort of straddles the line between folk hero and minor deity.  He has his own story, of course, but he’s best known as a blacksmith and craftsman, and like the Greek Daedalus and Finnish Ilmarinen he’s credited with creating all sorts of important artifacts (most notably Beowulf’s sword and Sigurd’s helmet).  In modern neopaganism, a lot of people explicitly deify him and see him as a sort of patron saint of artists and people who work in the trades.

In the fictionalized mythology that I’ve developed for my fantasy stories, I’ve taken the Wayland legend and expanded it in a big way; a lot of the oral storytelling traditions go all the way back to the caveman times, and Wayland more-or-less invented inventing.

***

Draw the fire from the stone,
Carve in sacred wood and bone
Those divers signs and blooded runes
That seal the door to Weyland’s tomb.

He keen of craft and dwemmer-wise
Chipped elf-darts in a witch’s guise,
Made shafts of wood and knives of bone,
When men dwelt in an Age of Stone.

The fire scores, the fissures spread
Like cunning thoughts through Weyland’s head,
And flowing brass within is shown;
He drew the fire from the stone.

He laid the scales of shining brass
Upon his breast, and there held fast;
The shim’ring scales thereon inlaid
Would shatter the fell foeman’s blade.

And Weyland smelted whitest tin
Of Westernesse, and laid therein
The smelted brass, and thus was made
A hard and keen and brittle blade.

His dwemmer-craft wrought wond’rous things;
He cast enchanted, magic rings,
And lamps he built of living light
And living gems, against the night.

He drew the fire from the stone
And chanted in his forge alone,
And there, from lifeless rock, he made
The hard and hard-wrought iron blade.

 

O’er iron Weyland sang a spell
And chanted as his hammer fell,
And the cruelest wights heard him and came
When Weyland drew steel from the flame.

Thus girt for war and burnished well,
He wandered over hill and dell
And scored his runes in divers lands,
And taught his work to cunning hands.

Strife followed on his every step
As he wandered, sore bereft
Of friendship and of kin and folk,
For where he trod, the steel awoke.

All of Weyland’s craft and spells
Could not avert what soon befell;
He died in thralldom and alone,
He who once drew fire from the stone.

Draw the fire from the stone,
Carve in sacred wood and bone
Those divers signs and blooded runes
That seal the door to Weyland’s tomb.

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