Hello Fjorn! I'm wondering if there's any quote,phrase or blessing related to fire and metalsmithing. I'd love to make a banner to put above the foundry area. Thank you very much for the knowledge you kindly share with us!
Sæll (eða sæl) vinur!
*** Note: I do not have access to reliable Old Norse versions for all of these quotes, so I have opted to provide only the english versions as they appear in the translations that I most often use. If you were looking for Old Norse, pick the one you like and we can talk again, but I will have to look for a reliable edition or go straight to the manuscripts. I hope this is not a problem, but I want to ensure the information you receive is reliable and correct. It would also be easiest to do this for the one you intend to use, rather than all of them. I do apologize in advance for the inconvenience, friend.
That is a wonderful idea! I am more than happy to lend a hand. I think the most obvious and appropriate place to search would be among the dwarves, for they are, without a doubt, the finest of craftsmen. Unfortunately, nearly all the dwarves mentioned in the Prose Edda (roughly 65), for example, are only by name, with little to no detail given concerning them.
there are a few quotes relating to dwarves and their role in Norse mythology and smithing, but none of that material is very quote worthy. In other words, they don’t stand as strong when without additional context. Still, it does not harm to include them. Yet, before the dwarves came, it was the Æsir who forged:
From Völuspá, st. 7, lines 3 and 4:
“they (the Æsir) set up their forges, smithed precious things, shaped tongs and made tools.” (1.)
From the Prose Edda, Gylfaginning:
“The next thing they (the Æsir) did was lay forges and for them they made hammer and tongs and anvil, and with these they made all other tools.” (2.)
Although the situation is similar, there is a particularly famous dwarf known for his skill as a smith: Brokkr. He is the dwarf who smithed Mjölnir. Yet, it would be Brokkr, his brother Eitri, and also Ivaldi’s sons that should be given credit for many gifts to the gods, such as Skidblandir, Sif’s hair, Odin’s spear Gungnir, the magical ring Draupnir, Mjölnir (as mentioned), and Gullinbursti. There are a few things that could be quoted here, but only if you would wish to highlight a specific craft done by them. Here are a few, though:
From the Prose Edda, Skáldskarpamál:
“…the smith took his work out of the forge, and it was a boar and its bristles were of gold.” (3.)
“…the smith took from the forge a gold ring called Draupnir.” (4.)
“…he took from the forge a hammer (mjölnir)…” (5.)
There is also Ægir’s fire, which always makes for good referencing:
“Ægir had glowing gold brought into the middle of the hall which illuminated and lit up the hall like fire…” (6.)
Yet, I believe that the best quote of them all does not come from the Eddas, but rather from the heroic sagas. Out of all the quotes above, this one from Volsunga saga has the best ‘sound’ to it. The quote below features Regin, one of the most famous smiths in Norse tradition (although he is not necessarily the best of men). Still, the sword he forges is famous, and he was inspired to forge it thanks to this quote from Sigurd (who was actually being a bit rude about it, but that is besides the point):
From The Saga of the Volsungs:
“Make a sword now with your skill so that its equal has never been made.” (7.)
Like I said before, there are plenty of other quotes relating to smithing and fire out there, but, for many, removing them from their original settings leaves them unfulfilled and far less impressive. The quotes above are also from the most popular and well-known texts, and so more people would understand the stories they refer to.
If none of these are satisfying for your banner, feel free to let me know. I would be more than happy to compose something for you myself, using the information from these historical texts as inspiration, of course. I would also make use of the various kennings associated with fire, as well as the myholoxgcical and saga information surrounding famous smiths. Essentiality I could modify those quotes above to be, well, more quote worthy.
I hope this was helpful (and I do apologize for taking so long)!
Með vinsemd og virðingu,
(With friendliness and respect,)
1. Carolyne Larrington trans., The Poetic Edda. (repr., 1996; Oxfrod: Oxford University Press, 2014), 4.
3. Ibid., 95.
6. Ibid., 96.
7. Jesse L. Brock trans., The Saga of the Volsungs. (repr., 1990; London: Penguin Books, 1999), 59.