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Page:A book of folk-lore (1913).djvu/218

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The makers of weapons had their trade secrets. From the Wilkina Saga we learn that Welent, who is none other than Velund, was set to fabricate a sword for King Nidung. For this purpose he mixed raspings of iron with meal, which he made into a paste, wherewith he fed the geese. He then collected all their droppings and fashioned the blade out of that, and it was so wondrous sharp that it cut through a yardlong flock of wool that was thrown into a stream and carried against the edge. The Egyptians used to make steel out of meteoric iron by heating it in a fire made of camels? dung. The armourers of Bagdad took iron filings, mixed it with the food of geese, and from their excrement formed the celebrated Damascus blades. The secret must have been brought from the East by the first smiths who wandered into Northern Europe.

The Dwarfs and Elves may not have been all of the same stock. What is abundantly evident is that the fabrication of iron was not of native growth in Northern and Eastern Europe, it was an importation, and if imported, it must have been so by a people which was familiar with the processes, through the experience of generations. These may have come from the Caucasus, and Lapps may