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Page:A book of folk-lore (1913).djvu/208

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is the fact that the Dwarfs are regarded, and have been regarded, as accomplished metal workers, especially sword--smiths, whereas no such an art exists among the Lapps of today. It is, however, possible enough that a migration into Europe of iron--working Lapps may have taken place, just as the Gipsies came in and engrossed at one time the trade of pottery and of tin-ware makers. And what is abundantly clear from the sagas is that the Norsemen were not accomplished smiths. Their swords blunted directly or broke; and they were fain to apply to the Dwarfs to supply them with finely-tempered blades. How to temper them in oil the Norsemen knew not. If they could not get a sword from a Dwarf they dug into the mounds of dead heroes to obtain blades they were themselves incompetent to manufacture. One would suppose that such weapons cannot have been very serviceable corroded as they would be by rust. All the notable swords were of elfin or dwarf make--such were Mimung, Excalibur, Durandal, Nageiring, and the famous Tyrfing. The story of this latter may here be told in brief. It is contained in one of the finest and wildest of the sagas. Svafurlami, second in descent from Odin, King of Gardarik (Russia), was out hunting one day, but