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The Celtic Dragon Myth, by J.F. Campbell, [1911], at

The Weapon.

21. "And now, father," said he, "make me a weapon."

So the old smith went out to his smithy and weighed out iron enough to make a stout staff a stone weight, and he smithied it well while his son looked on. When it was done he took it and shook it, and it bent and broke in his grasp.

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"That is not strong enough," said the lad, "for me. Let's make another."

22. So the old smith weighed out two stone of iron and they smithied a great iron club like the first. Then the lad took it and shook it, and it bent and broke like the first.

"That is far too weak," said the smith's son.

23. So the old smith weighed out three stone of iron, and they beat it and hammered and smithied, and forged a great bar; and when that was done he took it and shook it and it bent.

"That's too weak," said the lad, "if I were insulted."

24. So they weighed out four stone of iron, and forged a great bar; and when that was done the lad took it and shook it like a reed and it bent again. "That's not strong yet," he said, "if I were angry."

25. So they weighed out five stone and made another bar, and that bent like the rest.

"That would not serve if I were in a right good rage," said the lad.

26. So they weighed six stone of iron and smithied a great bent club like a shinny, and when that was made and cooled the smith's son said, "that will do."

27. Then he got up and went in to his house, and sought out the first of the fish bones which he buried, and dug up from the root of the first tree that sprouted on the night when his sons were born. He

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went back to the smithy and reached out his hand to his eldest son. "Here," said he, "take that and try it."

28. The lad took the little bone and gripped it and stretched out his arm and shook it, and the bone became a gold-hilted, glittering glaive in his grasp.

29. "Thanks to thee, Oh King of Princes and Mercies," said the lad. "Now I have done learning, wisdom, and knowledge, and now I may start. Yonder tree will be in bud, blossom, and leaf from autumn to summer, and from spring to winter, now and for ever till I meet death; and when I am dead the buds will fall off my tree."

30. The smith's sons would all three start and try their fortune; and each got his horse and hound and club and sword. 1

31. They rose with the dawn and saddled their black steeds and called their black dogs, and hung their gleaming gold-hilted blades at their sides. They sought and got their mother's blessing.

"Son," said the old man to the eldest, "be sure that you never go within reach of the wind of the sea-shore."

"I will go," said he, "where there never was a drop of brine."

Then they left their blessings at home and set off to seek fortune; and so they took the world for their pillow and started on their way.


43:1 In a Berneray version three sons start together.

Next: The Three Ways