Völund's smithy in the centre, Niðhad's daughter to the left, and Nidud's dead sons hidden to the right of the smithy. Between the girl and the smithy, Völund can be seen in an eagle fetch flying away. From the Ardre image stone VIII.
According to Völundarkviða, the king of the Finns had three sons: Wayland and his two brothers Egil and Slagfiðr. In one version of the myth, the three brothers lived with three Valkyries: Ölrún, Hervör alvitr and Hlaðguðr svanhvít. After nine years, the Valkyries left their lovers. Egil and Slagfiðr followed, never to return. In another version, Wayland married the swan maiden Hervör, and they had a son, Heime, but Hervör later left Wayland. In both versions, his love left him with a ring. In the former myth, he forged seven hundred duplicates of this ring.
Later, King Niðhad captured Wayland in his sleep in Nerike and ordered him hamstrung and imprisoned on the island of Sævarstöð. There Wayland was forced to forge items for the king. Wayland's wife's ring was given to the king's daughter, Bodvild. Nidud wore Wayland's sword.
In revenge, Wayland killed the king's sons when they visited him in secret, fashioned goblets from their skulls, jewels from their eyes, and a brooch from their teeth. He sent the goblets to the king, the jewels to the queen and the brooch to the king's daughter. When Bodvild took her ring to Wayland for mending, he took the ring and raped her, fathering a son. He then escaped, using wings he made.
The Franks Casket is one of a number of other Anglo-Saxon references to Wayland, whose story was evidently well known and popular, although no extended version in Old English has survived. The reference in Waldere is similar to that in Beowulf; the hero's sword was made by Weland. In the front panel of the Franks Casket, incongruously paired with an Adoration of the Magi, Wayland stands at the extreme left in the forge where he is held as a slave by King Niðhad, who has had his hamstrings cut to hobble him. Below the forge is the headless body of Niðhad's son, who Wayland has killed, making a goblet from his skull; his head is probably the object held in the tongs in Wayland's hand. With his other hand Wayland offers the goblet, containing drugged beer, to Bodvild, Niðhad's daughter, who he then rapes when she is unconscious. Another female figure is shown in the centre; perhaps Wayland's helper, or Bodvild again. To the right of the scene Wayland (or his brother) catches birds; he then makes wings from their feathers, with which he is able to escape.