Völund is a legendary smith-god of the Germanic and also nordic individuals, whose stunning and also harsh story of vengeance is passed on in the Völundarkviða, a rhyme in the Poetic Edda. He is totally connected to Weyland (additionally led to Wayland, Weland and also Watlende), the smithing god of the Anglo-Saxon faith that was brought with the Saxon inhabitants from Britain, though the precise link to the Nordic variation (whether it be straight projection or syncretism) is vague. <1>

Norse Folklore is renowned for its abundant tapestry of vibrant tales, remarkable personalities, brave sacrifice, and also impressive fights. In the background of north Europe, this collection of stories brought definition as well as function to both the Scandinavian individuals as well as the north Germanic people for several centuries. Although the spiritual tradition of Norse folklore, like practically all human background itself, is terrible, proclaiming battle and also human sacrifice, this area has currently end up being a leader of tranquility and also disarmament on the worldwide phase.

Völund in a Norse Context

As a number in the Norse mythic corpus, Völund came from an intricate spiritual, cosmological as well as mythical idea system shared by the Scandinavian as well as Germanic individuals. This mythical custom, of which the Scandinavian (as well as specifically Icelandic) sub-groups are best maintained, established in the duration from the very first symptoms of worldly as well as spiritual society in about 1000 B.C.E. till the Christianization of the location, a procedure that happened largely from 900-1200 C.E. <2> The stories taped within this mythical corpus have a tendency to exhibit a merged social concentrate on physical expertise as well as army may.

Within this structure, Norse cosmology proposes 3 different "clans" of divine beings: the Aesir, the Vanir, and also the Jotun. The difference in between Aesir as well as Vanir is family member, for both are stated to have actually made tranquility, traded captives, intermarried and also ruled with each other after an extended battle. Actually, one of the most significant aberration in between both teams remains in their corresponding locations of impact, with the Aesir standing for battle as well as occupation, and also the Vanir standing for fertility, expedition and also riches. <3> The Jotun, on the various other hand, are viewed as a typically fatal (though sensible) race of titans that stood for the main enemies of the Aesir and also Vanir.

Völund, in the semi-eponymous story from the Poetic Edda, is an appealing personality. On one hand, he appears to be a (rather unethical) human that exacts bloody retribution upon a browbeater. On the various other, the historical and also legendary document includes some components (talked about listed below) that suggest a magnificent provenance. Regardless, he is just one of the a lot more uncertain (as well as therefore fascinating) personalities in Nordic misconception.

Mythic Accounts

Völund"s tale, which is associated in the Völundarkvitha area of the Poetic Edda, <4> is a chilling story of kidnapping, dishonesty, retribution, murder, and also rape. It starts in the residence of 3 bachelor siblings, Völund, Egil as well as Slagfiðr (Slagfid/Slagfinn), that venture out one evening, just to find throughout 3 valkyries rotating flax by the river. After the young maidens had actually eliminated their swan capes (and also were therefore not able to fly away), <5> the bros approached, took them, as well as brought them back to their house, where they took them as their other halves. After 9 years, "a yearning for fight came the Valkyries, as well as ... they flew away." <6> When the bros returned house from the search that day, they discovered themselves deserted:

Völund residence|from his searching came, From a fatigued method,|the weather-wise bowman, Slagfith and also Egil|the hall located vacant, Out and also in went they,|anywhere looking for.

East made out Egil|after Olrun, As well as Slagfith southern|to seek for Swan-White; Völund alone|in Ulfdalir lay. <7>

As the only token that the sad Völund had of his cherished was her gold ring, he remained at residence and also created reproduction after reproduction of it, slowly establishing skillful metalworking as well as smithing abilities.

Red gold he made|with fairest treasures, And also rings he strung|on ropes of bast; So for his other half|he waited long, If the reasonable one house|may pertain to him. <8>

Right after, stories of Völund"s efficiency in metal-work got to the ear of King Nidud, the neighborhood sovereign. The king, preferring to make use of these abilities for his very own aggrandizement, abducted the smith, took his sword as well as rings, as well as imprisoned him on an island. To make certain that his brand-new fee can not run away, Nidud had actually Völund hindered (providing him maimed and also incapable to stroll). There he was required to create products for the king. Rubbing salt in the wound, Weyland"s other half"s ring was provided to the king"s child, Bodvild, as well as the ungracious king put on and also maintained Weyland"s sword.


Entraped in his island jail, Völund had little else to outline yet do retribution. Initially, he tempted King Nidud"s 2 young kids to his island:

Völund spake:"Come ye alone,|the following day come, Gold to you both|will then be offered; Inform not the house cleanings|or the males of the hall, To nobody claim|that me you have actually looked for."


Early did bro|to bro phone call:"Swift allow us go|the rings to see."

They concerned the breast,|and also they yearned for the secrets, The wickedness was open|when in they looked; He smote off their heads,|as well as their feet he hidUnder the sooty|bands of the bellows. <9>

After beheading the young people as well as concealing their bodies, Völund had the ability to wage his strategy. In the following phase, like a gender-inverted variation of the story of Procnê and also Tereus, <10> he constructs precious jewelry from their eyes (which he provides to the queen), chalices from their heads (which he provides to the king), and also breastpins from their teeth (which he supplies to the princess). Enhancing his wicked purposes, he later on persuades the young princess to see him on his island, where he unsettles her detects with infected beer as well as rapes her. His revenge full, Völund dons a swan cape as well as flies to the king"s bedchamber to celebrate:

"Look for the smithy|that thou didst collection, Thou shalt discover the bellows|sprayed with blood; I smote off the heads|of both thy kids, And also their feet "neath the sooty|bands I concealed.

"Their heads, when concealed|by their hair, I took, Establish them in silver|as well as sent them to Nithuth; Treasures complete reasonable|from their eyes I made, To Nithuth"s ( better half|so sensible I provided.

"As well as from the teeth|of the twain I wroughtA breastpin for the bust,|to Bothvild I offered it; Currently large with youngster|does Bothvild go, The only child|ye 2 had ever before."

Nithuth spake:"Never ever spakest thou word|that even worse might injure me, Neither that made me, Völund,|extra bitter for revenge; There is no male so high|from thy equine to take thee, Or two doughty an archer|as to fire thee, While high in the clouds|thy program thou takest." <11> With that said, the dark antihero flew, leaving the shocked royals to their despair and also loss.Laughing Völund|increased up, Yet left in despair|Nithuth rested. <12>

Spiritual Styles

While the troubling story of Völund appears to just be a story of human licentiousness, particular spiritual aspects can be seen in it. Initially, the smith is usually described as "royal prince of the álfar (fairies)" and also "fellow citizen of the álfar," which would certainly appear to recommend his area within their rankings. <13> Second, the textual proof additionally suggests a comparable web link, as the Völundarkvitha is put in between 2 mythical rhymes (Thrymskvida and also Alvíssmál) in the Codex Regius variation of the Poetic Edda - which is weird, considered that the message is separated right into 2 components: a mythical as well as a brave area. <14> Therefore, this positioning makes an imputation worrying the protagonist"s divinity. Third (as well as most specific), components of the story can be discovered in the Germanic Thidreks Legend, which includes a lot of the very same occasions as the Völundarkvitha, yet starts by explaining Velent (Völund) as the child of a titan that discovered the smithing craft from 2 dwarves. <15> 4th, his mythical value is vouched for by the myriad historical ideas to the misconception"s universality, from its visibility on crucifixes <16> to its engraving on funeral coffins. <17> Ultimately, this magnificent acknowledgment makes a particular feeling of the rhyme"s cruelty, for "if Völund had actually been the magnificent number he possibly as soon as was, the severe nature of his "justice" may have appeared appropriate in an old, primitive means, and also without a doubt, as Kaaren Grimstad has actually explained, there stays concerning him something of the cruel god facing a person that has actually hurt him." <18>

Nonetheless, and also even with these information, it stays the instance that the existing Völund is primarily a human representative, indicating that his activities were to be evaluated by human requirements. As McKinnell wraps up:

Anglo-Saxons additionally appear to have had some uncertainties regarding the justice of Weland"s revenge. ""Deor and also Alfred"s Boethius, Metrum 10, both prevent reviewing it, as well as the Franks Coffin carver is by effects hostile to him in comparing the taking of Bodvildr"s call with the presents of the Magi to Christ - the cruel old order established versus the brand-new merciful one. The poet of "Völundarkvitha suffices of a musician to be much more unbiased, and also permits us our very own sight, however the trend of point of view was maybe currently running versus such primitive "justice," as well as Völund"s days as a hero were phoned number. <19>



McKinnell, John. "The Context of Völundarkviða," Saga-Book, Vol. XXIII (1 ), 1990. 1-27. Munch, P. A. "Norse Folklore: Tales of Heroes as well as gods." In the modification of Magnus Olsen, equated from the Norwegian by Sigurd Bernhard Hustvedt. New york city: The American-Scandinavian structure; London: H. Milford, Oxford College Press, 1926. Souers, Philip Webster. "The Wayland Scene on the Franks Coffin," Speculum: A Journal of Middle Ages Research Studies 18( 1) (Jan. 1943): 104-111

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