EBK Activity Sheets

 


Wayland the Smith
Anglo-Saxon God of Metalworking
 
  • Wayland the Smith, Anglo-Saxon God of Metalworking -  Nash Ford PublishingWayland was the Anglo-Saxon god of metalworking.
  • He does not appear in Anglo-Saxon literature. However, pictures of him appear on the famous Anglo-Saxon 'Franks Casket' in the British Museum. There is also a famous English landmark named after him and he appears in English folklore.
  • He was usually shown as a bearded man with a bent leg, working in a forge.
  • The Vikings told this story about him:
    • Wayland was famous throughout Northern Europe and Scandinavia for the fabulously beautiful metalwork and jewelry that he made. All the gods and kings wanted to own it.
    • Niduth, the King of Sweden, decided he wanted to own everything Wayland made. So he sent his soldiers to capture him.
    • While they slept, Wayland and his brother, Egil, were tied up and brought to the Royal palace. Wayland was put to work on an island. To stop him escaping, the King shattered his leg with his own sword.
    • While Wayland made fantastic things for the King, he also plotted his revenge.
    • He had his brother catch wild birds from whose feathers he made a pair of magic wings.
    • Curious about his forge, Wayland was visited by the King's sons. The smith-god killed them and made their skulls into jewel-encrusted cups which he gave to Niduth and his queen.
    • When it was found that the princes were missing, search parties were sent out across the kingdom.
    • Their sister, Princess Beahilda, came searching on Wayland's island with her maidservant. He attacked them. Then put on his magic wings and flew off across the North Sea.
  • English legend says that he eventually landed in Southern England. He set up home on the Berkshire Downs and was thought to have built a stone chambered house for himself. It is still known as 'Wayland's Smithy'.
  • However, like things named after Woden, it is really prehistoric. It is a chambered burial mound.
  • Activity Sheet available.

 

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