The Epic of Siegfried
"Nothing but the word of the Norns," answered Siegfried.
"But will you help me?" asked Regin, almost wild with earnestness. "Will you help me to win that which is rightfully mine, and to rid the world of a horrible evil?"
"Why is the hoard of Andvari more yours than Fafnir's?"
"He is a monster and a snake, and he keeps the treasure but to gloat upon its glittering riches. I will use it to make myself a name upon the earth. I will not hoard it away. But I am weak, and he is strong and terrible. Will you help me?"
"Tomorrow," said Siegfried, "be ready to go with me to Fafnir's heath. The treasure shall be yours, and also the curse."
"And also the curse," echoed Regin.
So early the next morning, Siegfried mounted Greyfell and rode out toward the desert land that lay beyond the forest and the barren mountain range. Regin, his eyes flashing with desire and his feet never tiring, trudged by his side.
On the eighth day, they came to the open country. The land was hilly, covered with black boulders and broken by yawning chasms. No living thing was seen there, not even an insect nor a blade of grass, and the silence of the grave was over all. The earth was dry and parched and there was neither shade nor water anywhere. But Siegfried rode on and faltered not, although he grew faint with thirst and with the overpowering heat. Toward the evening of the next day they came to a dark mountain that stretched far out on either side and rose high above them, so steep that it seemed to forbid them going farther.
"This is the wall!" cried Regin. "Beyond this mountain is Fafnir's heath and the goal of all my hopes."
The little old man ran forward and scaled the rough side of the mountain and reached its summit, while Siegfried and Greyfell toiled among the rocks at its foot. Slowly and painfully they climbed the steep ascent, sometimes following a narrow path that wound along the edge of a precipice, sometimes leaping from rock to rock or over a deep gorge, and sometimes picking their way among the crags and cliffs.
The woman with three hundred and sixty-six children
Category: Dutch folktales
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