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C.D. Warner, et al., comp.  The Library of the World’s Best Literature.
An Anthology in Thirty Volumes.  1917.
 
The Magic Sword
Myths and Folk-Lore of the Aryan Peoples
 
(Mimung, or Balmung)

Norse variant of the common Aryan sword-myths (Carlyle’s version)

BY this Sword Balmung also hangs a tale. Doubtless it was one of those invaluable weapons sometimes fabricated by the old Northern Smiths, compared with which our modern Foxes and Ferraras and Toledos are mere leaden tools. Von der Hagen seems to think it simply the Sword Mimung under another name; in which case Siegfried’s old master, Mimer, had been the maker of it, and called it after himself, as if it had been his son. In Scandinavian chronicles, veridical or not, we have the following account of that transaction. Mimer was challenged by another Craftsman, named Amilias, who boasted that he had made a suit of armor which no stroke could dint, to equal that feat or own himself the second Smith then extant. This last the stout Mimer would in no case do, but proceeded to forge the Sword Mimung; with which, when it was finished, he, “in presence of the King,” cut asunder “a thread of wool floating on water.” This would have seemed a fair fire-edge to most smiths; not so to Mimer: he sawed the blade in places, welded it in “a red-hot fire for three days,” tempered it “with milk and oatmeal,” and by much other cunning brought out a sword that severed “a ball of wool floating on water.” But neither would this suffice him; he returned to his smithy, and by means known only to himself produced, in the course of seven weeks, a third and final edition of Mimung, which split asunder a whole floating pack of wool. The comparative trial now took place forthwith. Amilias, cased in his impenetrable coat of mail, sat down on a bench, in presence of assembled thousands, and bade Mimer strike him. Mimer fetched of course his best blow, on which Amilias observed that there was a strange feeling of cold iron in his inwards. “Shake thyself,” said Mimer: the luckless wight did so, and fell in two halves, being cleft sheer through, never more to swing hammer in this world.  1
 
 
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