Tales from the Leipzig Blacksmith shop

THIS tale is not so much about The ledgendary Leipzig Blacksmith Shop as much as all Blacksmith shops past present and future. There are any ledgends involving Blacksmith shops that have come down to us out of the distant and unknown past when such stories were passed down one at a time from smith to smith by word of mouth. One hold over that has survived is a secret ceramony that engineers have when they graduate that involves being called to the anvil.

THIS story however is about pennies in the forge.

WE have all been told the story about how "in the old days" when one smith would visit another he would some times drop a penny in the forge so as to bugger up his welding. Well we got that totally backwards and corrupted.

I recently met a machinist/blacksmith and when he found out I had a smithy he asked me how many pennies I had on the floor. This made no sense to me and told him so and then asked why. This is the story he passed on to me.

MANY years ago when he was just starting to work with metal he stopped in at an older freinds shop for a visit. While there he found a penny on the floor, then another and he looked somemore and seen pennies all over the floor. Being the helpful sort he went tostart picking them up. He was told in no uncertain tone to leave them right where they are.

WHEN he asked why they were there he was told that they were there to protect his guests from being hurt in his shop. When visiting you have to pay for the use of his shop and time. It is rude to accept money for such stuff so the pennies have to stay on the floor. If the shop owner doesn't see his guest put a penny on the floor he puts one there for him. This only is done the first time you visit.

NOW where and when this got started I do not know. I wonder if it has to do with an offering to the elder gods, and what distant connection it has to the expression dropping a penny.

I am starting this tradition of a penny on the floor in my shop. So when you visit and see a penny on the floor leave it right there!

NOW isn't that nicer than buggering up my welding fire?

J.M. Gerlinsky, Chokecherry Forge
Wilkie Saskatchewan, Canada


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