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

The Epic of Siegfried

Siegfried had never seen the wondrous creature so radiant. As the steed stood by him in all his strength and beauty he felt new hope and courage. He hesitated no longer but mounted the noble steed. Greyfell bore him swiftly over the plain and did not pause until he had reached the brink of the burning moat.

Now, indeed, Siegfried's heart would have failed him if he hadn't been cheered by the sunbeam presence of Greyfell. For filling the wide, deep ditch, were angry, hissing flames that twisted and writhed like fiery snakes with a mind of their own. And within the snapping flames loomed a dragon whose own breaths of fire shot out and felt about here and there for whatever it might devour. Siegfried boldly dashed upon his horse into the fiery lake.

As the youth approached, the hideous dragon bounded toward him with bloodshot eyes, gaping mouth and flaming nostrils. His sharp, curved claws dug deep into the soft earth and his bat-like wings flapped in the air, propelled a rush of hot wind that nearly blinded Siegfried. Yet he crouched upon Greyfell, holding tight his sword. On came the hastening feet and the flapping wings. Then the battle - Siegfried's glancing blow against the creature's side only enraged the beast, and the dragon knocked our hero off his horse and sent him rolling to the ground. The beast rushed in for the kill, its red flaming nostrils seeming to engulf its prey. Then Siegfried kicked a small boulder aside, and as the creature turned away to see what had made the sudden noise, with all his might Siegfried thrust his sword clear through the dragon's neck. The beast heaved and swirled in heavy dizziness till finally it collapsed in a heap. Then with a final, gruesome shudder, the creature fell silent.

The vile flames encircling the castle licked around their protector. Realizing their master had fallen, the flames sizzled in dismay and fled in shame. Unscorched and unscathed, Siegfried rode through the moat, through the wide-open gate, and into the castle yard.

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