Wayland is a character in Germanic and Norse myth. In one version of the story he and two brothers lived with three valkyries. Some say they were wedded to the valkyries but that’s not particularly important to the story. In other versions they were swan maidens, not valkyries. That too, is not particularly important to the story.
After nine years the valkyries left, never to return. Wayland’s two brothers left as well, hoping to find the valkyries and they, too, never returned. Wayland retained a ring left to him by the valkyrie.
Some time later, the king Niðhad discovered Wayland and lusted after the many fine things Wayland had made on his forge and captured and imprisoned him. To prevent any possibility of Wayland’s escape, the king had Wayland hamstrung. For those who don’t know, this involves cutting the two large hamstring tendons in the back of the knee (and remember that this would have been in the iron age where no anesthetic was available). He would have had to heal from that with no pain killer other than alcohol and nothing but luck and a strong constitution to stave off infection (no germ theory of disease, let alone modern antisepsis and antibiotics). The tendons themselves would never heal and a person thus hamstrung would be unable to walk properly forever more.
Thus crippled, Wayland was forced to forge for the king. However, far from being helpless, Wayland plotted revenge. Over the course of it he seduced (or raped) and impregnated the King’s daughter, killed his two sons, and made drinking vessels from their skulls, jewels from their eyes, and a brooch from their teeth. He sent these items to the king and queen who used them without knowing their gruesome origin. And, finally, he made his escape using wings he fashioned in his smithy.
To modern Western sensibilities this seems utterly horrid. Revenge against the king himself is one thing, but taking it out on the children who were presumably innocent of the crime? To modern Western mind’s that’s beyond the pale.
Some have argued that the starkness of Germanic literature is a reflection of the harshness of the climate from which the Germanic people sprang, but I am dubious. If you dig into it you find equally reprehensible (by modern Western standards) behavior by Greek heroes and others from more “pleasant” climes.