THE HILL SMITH
BIORN MARTINSSON went out shooting, one day, with a gamekeeper, on the wooded hill of Ormkulla. They there found a hill-smith (bergsmed) lying fast asleep. Biörn directed the gamekeeper to secure him, but he refused, saying "Pray to God to protect you! The hill-smith will fling you down to the bottom of the hill." He was, however, bold and, determined, and he went up and seized the sleeping hill-smith, who gave a cry, and implored him to let him go, as he had a wife and seven little children. He said he would also do any iron work that should be required; it would only be necessary to leave iron and steel on the side of the hill, and the work would be found lying finished in the same place. Biörn asked him for whom he worked; he replied, "For my companions." When Biörn would not let him go, he said, "If I had my mist-cap (uddehat) you should not carry me away. But if you do not let me go, not one of your posterity will attain to the importance which you possess, but continually decline;" which certainly came to pass. Biörn would not, however, let him go, but brought him captive to Bahus. On the third day, however, he effected his escape out of the place in which he was confined. [a]
The following legend is related in Denmark:--
On the lands of Nyegaard lie three large hills, one of which is the abode of a Troll, who is by trade a blacksmith. If any one is passing that hill by night, he will see the fire issuing from the top, and going in again at the side. Should you wish to have any piece of iron-work executed in a masterly manner, you have only to go to the hill, and saying aloud what you want to have made, leave there the iron and a silver shilling. On revisiting the hill next morning, you will find the shilling gone, and the required piece of work lying there finished, and ready for use. [b]
[a] Odmane Bahuslän, ap. Grimm. Deut. Mythol. p. 426. Odman also tells of a man who, as he was going along one day with his dog, came on a hill-smith at his work, using a stone as an anvil. He had on him a light grey coat and a black woollen hat. The dog began to bark at him, but he put on so menacing an attitude that they both deemed it advisable to go away.
[b] Thiele, iv. 120. In both these legends we find the tradition of the artistic skill of the Duergar and of Völundr still retained by the peasantry see Tales and Popular Fictions, p. 270.