Once a Week (magazine)/Series 1/Volume 3/Master Olaf

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MASTER OLAF.  (From the German.)

Master Olaf (Millais).png

Master Olaf, the smith of Heligoland,
At midnight layeth his hammer by;
Along the sea-shore the tempest howls,
When a knock at the door comes heavily.

"Come out, come out, and shoe me my horse!
I must yet far, and the day is at hand!”
Master Olaf opens the door, and sees
A stately Ritter before him stand.

Black is his mail shirt, helm, and shield,
A broad sword hangeth upon his thigh,
His black horse tosses his mane so wild,
And paws the ground impatiently.

"Whence so late! Whither so fast?”
“I yesterday lighted in Nordernie;
My steed is swift, the night is clear,
Ere sunrise I must in Norway be.”

"Haddest thou wings, that might I believe.”
“My horse with the wind right well hath raced,
Yet already a star pales here and there,
So the iron bring hither, and make thou haste.”

Master Olaf taketh the shoe in hand,
It is too small, but it spread and spread:
And as it grew to the edge of the hoof,
There seizèd the master fear and dread.

The Ritter mounts, and his broad sword clangs:
“Master Olaf, I bid thee now good night!
Know, thou hast the horse of Odin shod;
I hasten across to the bloody fight.”

The black horse shoots forward o’er land and sea,
Round Odin’s head a splendour shone;
Twelve eagles are straining in flight behind,
Swiftly they fly,—he rides foremost on.

L. B.