Morris first came across the story of the Volsungs, "the grandest tale that ever was told" as he later called it, as a young man, when he read a summary of it in Benjamin Thorpe's Northern Mythology, which became a favourite book of his. In his The Earthly Paradise (1868–70) he included a versification of the story of Sigurd's daughter Aslaug, which he may have taken from Thorpe. In 1868 he began to learn Old Norse from the Icelandic scholar Eiríkr Magnússon, and embarked with him on a series of collaborative translations from the Icelandic classics. In 1870 they published Völsunga Saga: The Story of the Volsungs and Niblungs, with Certain Songs from the Elder Edda, claiming uncompromisingly in the preface that "This is the Great Story of the North, which should be to all our race what the Tale of Troy was to the Greeks".
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