Wayland the Smith and Whaitiri

FYI: The Old Norse, Old and Middle English, Faroese, and Icelandic letter Ð ð is pronounced like an English DH, and Þ þ is TH.

Wayland the Smith is a master blacksmith who features in Norse, Germanic, and Old English mythology and folklore. Other iterations of his name include Wieland (German), Weland (Old English), Völundr and Velentr (Old Norse), Wiolant (Old High German), and Welandaz (Proto–Germanic).

In Völundarkviða (part of the Old Norse Poetic Edda cycle), Völundr is one of three sons of the King of the Samis (the Far North of Scandinavia, and Russia’s northwest Kola Peninsula). He and his brothers, Egil and Slagfiðr, cohabit with Valkyries for nine years. When the Valkyries leave, Egil and Slagfiðr follow them and never return.

Völundr is captured by King Niðhad of Närke (now part of Sweden), hamstrung, and imprisoned on Sævarstaðir island. Niðhad takes advantage of Völundr’s most exquisite skill as a blacksmith, and forces him to forge many things. He also steals Völundr’s sword and the ring from his Valkyrie lover.

In revenge, Völundr kills the princes, and makes goblets from their skulls, a brooch from their teeth, and jewels from their eyes. He sends the goblets to Niðhad, the jewels to the Queen, and the brooch to Princess Böðvildr. When Böðvildr comes to have “her” ring mended, Völundr takes the ring back, rapes and impregnates her, and laughingly flies away on wings he’s made. He makes sure to tell Niðhad about his gruesome revenge.

In the Velents þáttr smiðs section of Þiðrekssaga, Niðhad is King of Jutland (now part of Denmark) After Niðhad graciously receives master smith Velend as a servant at court, Velend loses Niðhad’s knife and secretly makes another. When Niðhad realises this knife cuts much better than before, he asks Velend about the matter, and Velend pretends court smith Amilias made it.

Niðhad has his suspicions, and puts both smiths to a test. Velend forges a sword, and Amilias armour. Velend must use the sword to try to kill Amilias when he’s in the armour. Velend is about to start to work when he discovers his tools are gone. Suspecting chieftain Regin, Velend makes a lifelike statue of him. Niðhad then realises the truth, and gives the tools back.

Velend has many more adventures in Velents þáttr smiðs, also ending with gruesome revenge and flying away on wings.

As Welund, he appears in the Old English poem Deor. In Beowulf, he’s mentioned as Weland, the smith who made the title character’s mail shirt. He also featured in the story of Franks Casket, a whale’s bone chest with many knife-cut narrative scenes. No written form of this story has survived.

He also features in many other poems and folktales.

Wayland is derived from the Germanic elements wela (skill) and land.

Copyright Fir0002

Whaitiri is the Maori goddess personifying thunder, descended from several deities personifying lightning. She’s not exactly a kind and gentle goddess, particularly since she loves cannibalism. When she heard about a mortal named Kaitangata, she was thrilled. Since Kaitangata means “man-eater,” Whaitiri was convinced he’d be the perfect husband.

Whaitiri was very disappointed when Kaitangata turned out to be a kind, gentle person who didn’t engage in any cannibalism. Trying to prove her devotion, Whaitiri killed her favourite slave, Anonkia, and gave Kaitangata the heart and liver. Kaitangata was horrified.

Copyright Sailko

Kaitangata spent a lot of time fishing to feed his family, but most of the fish got away due to his lack of proper equipment. Whaitiri taught him how to make barbed fishing hooks, and he became much more successful. However, she quickly tired of this pescatarian diet, and caught two of Kaitangata’s relatives in a fishing net for her next meal.

Not suspecting the bones came from his own family, Kaitangata used them to make fishing hooks. Whaitiri likewise didn’t know some of their fish came from those hooks, and started going blind after eating it. The fish was infused with lapa, sacredness, from the humans.

Whaitiri was very offended to overhear Kaitangata describing her heart as cold as snow, with skin like the wind, and complaining about how dirty their kids were. She revealed her true nature, and returned to the heavens.

Whaitiri means “thunder” in Maori.

The many forms of Peter

Peter has long been my next-favorite male name, after only Samuel. If I ever have kids, and I have more than one boy, I’m naming my hypothetical future second son Peter. It’s such a lovely, classic, versatile name, and has surprisingly never been in the Top 10. It doesn’t feel oversaturated or unoriginal like some other perennially popular names might.

Other forms of Peter include:

1. Pierre. I’d assume most folks are very familiar with the French form of the name. Pierre was also my favoritest character in War and Peace. He was so awesome, and so easy to form a mental picture of. I also really respected how he and Natasha didn’t get together until Natasha was a grown adult and their seven-year age difference had levelled off a bit.

2. Pedro is the Spanish and Portuguese form.

3. Pietro is Italian.

4. Petar is Macedonian, Bulgarian, and Croatian.

5. Boutros is Arabic. Variant forms include Butrus and Botros.

6. Petros is Greek.

7. Bedros is Armenian.

8. Petro is Ukrainian and Esperanto.

9. Peder is the Scandinavian form.

10. Pieter is Dutch. Nicknames include Piet and Pietje.

11. Pyotr is Russian, with the adorable nickname form Petya.

12. Petras is Lithuanian.

13. Per is Breton, and an alternate Scandinavian form. Perig is the Breton nickname.

14. Petru is Romanian and Corsican.

15. Piotr is Polish.

16. Petre is Georgian, Macedonian, and Romanian.

17. Pitter is Limburgish. The nickname is Pit.

18. Petr is Czech.

19. Peru is Basque.

20. Petri is Finnish, and an alternate Basque form. Other Finnish forms are Petteri and Pietari. The nickname is Pekka.

21. Peeter is Estonian.

22. Petur is Faroese. The Icelandic form is Pétur.

23. Pika is Hawaiian.

24. Petera is Maori.

25. Piers is the Medieval French form.

26. Pèire is Occitan.

27. Peadar is Scottish and Irish.

28. Pedr is Welsh.

29. Péter is Hungarian, with the nickname Peti.

30. Petrus is Latin.