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The Epic of Siegfried

When Odin heard of this he was angrier still. He caused the maiden to be stung with the thorn of Sleep. He said: "She shall sleep until one shall come who is brave enough to ride through a circle of fiery flames and battle a dragon to awaken her."

All of Isenland slept too, because Brynhild, the Maiden of Spring, lay wounded with the Sleepful thorn.

When Siegfried heard this story, he knew that the land that lay before them was Isenland, and that it was Brynhild who slept in the distant castle.

"To awaken such a sleeper," said Bragi, "a hero strong and brave must ride through the flames and defeat a dragon that protects the palace door. It is for this that I brought you here. You may take this sword. Now I will leave you while I sail onwards to brighten other lands with my music."

Siegfried's heart leapt with gladness for he thought that here, at last, was a worthy deed for him to do. He bade his friend Bragi good-by and stepped ashore and his horse Greyfell followed him. Bragi sat at the prow of the ship and played his harp again, the sailors plied their oars, and the little vessel moved swiftly out of the bay and was seen no more. Siegfried stood alone on the silent, sandy beach. The full moon rose white and its light fell on the quiet water, the sloping meadows and the green turrets of the castle. He decided that on the morrow he would at all hazards perform the perilous feat.

As soon as the gray dawn appeared the next morning, Siegfried began to ready himself for his difficult undertaking. But when he gazed at the red flames he began to hesitate. The distant roar of the dragon signaled that even from such a distance, the monster sensed danger approaching and was readying itself for battle. While our hero stood thus in doubt, his eyes were dazzled by a sudden flash of light. Greyfell, his loyal horse, came dashing across the sands and from his long mane a thousand sunbeams gleamed and sparkled in the morning light.

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