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Main > Norway folktales > Fairy tale "The Epic of Siegfried"

The Epic of Siegfried

The sun went down and one by one the stars came out and the moon rose, round and red, by the time Siegfried and Greyfell stood by Regin's side and gazed from the mountaintop down upon Fafnir's heath which lay beyond. And a strange, weird scene it was that met his sight. At the foot of the mountain was a river - white and cold and still in the pale moonlight - and beyond it was a smooth and barren plain, lying silent and lonely. But in the distance was a circle of flickering flames, ever changing. As Siegfried gazed upon the scene, he saw the dim outline of a hideous snake monster sliding hither and thither, and seeming all the more terrible in the uncertain light.

"It is he!" whispered Regin. His lips were ashy pale and his knees trembled beneath him. "It is Fafnir, and he wears the Helmet of Terror!"

Siegfried dashed down the eastern slope of the mountain, leaving Greyfell and the trembling Regin behind. Soon he stood on the banks of the white river that lay between the mountain and the heath. The stream was deep and sluggish and the channel was very wide and so he paused, wondering how he should cross. The air seemed heavy with deadly vapors and the water was thick and cold. While he stood in thought, a boat came silently out of the mists and drew near. The boatman stood up and called to him. "What man are you who dares come into this land of loneliness and fear?"

"I am Siegfried," answered the laid, "and I have come to slay Fafnir, the Terror."

"Sit in my boat," said the boatman, "and I will carry you across the white river."

Siegfried sat by the boatman's side. Without the use of an oar and without a breath of air to drive it forward, the little vessel turned and moved silently towards the farther shore.

"In what way will you fight the snake monster?" asked the boatman.

"With my trusty sword Balmung I shall slay him," answered Siegfried.

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