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The Epic of Siegfried

"But he wears the Helmet of Terror. He breathes deathly poisons, and his eyes dart forth lightning. No man can withstand his strength."

"I will find some way to overcome him."

"Then be wise and listen to me," said the boatman. "As you go up from the river you will find a road, worn deep and smooth, starting from the water's edge, and winding over the moor. It is the trail that Fafnir follows at dawn each day to slake his thirst at the river. Dig a pit in this roadway that is narrow and deep, and hide yourself within it. In the morning, when Fafnir passes over it, let him feel the edge of Balmung."

As the man ceased speaking, the boat touched the shore and Siegfried leaped out. He looked back to thank his unknown friend, but neither boat nor boatman was to be seen.

He went forward along the riverbank until he came to Fafnir's trail - a deep, wide furrow in the earth, just as the boatman had described. At a point not far from the river, Siegfried, with his trusty sword Balmung, scooped out a deep and narrow pit as he had been directed. When the gray dawn began to appear in the east, he hid himself within the trench and waited for the coming of the snake-monster. He had not long to wait, for no sooner had the sky begun to redden in the light of the coming sun than the hissing of the serpent-tongued monster threatened in the distance. It came closer and closer, winding its way along the path like a whirlwind in the forest. Then a black, inky mass rolled above him and all was dark. This was the moment to strike. The bright edge of Balmung gleamed in the darkness one moment, then it smote the heart of Fafnir as he passed. The monster stopped short, for sudden death had overtaken him. His horrid head fell lifeless upon the ground, the Helmet of Terror tumbled off, and streams of thick black blood flowed from his wound and filled the trench in which Siegfried was hidden. Had he not quickly leapt from his hiding place, he would have been drowned in the slime.

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Category: Brothers Grimm
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