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

The Epic of Siegfried

And now my heart tells me the hero so long hoped for is here, and the wisdom and the wealth of the world shall be mine."

"But what is the wrong to be righted?" asked Siegfried. "And what is the treasure you speak of as your own?"

"Alas!" answered Regin. "Listen awhile to a tale of the early days."

And then he told Siegfried this story -

Regin's Story

When the earth was still very young, when men were feeble and few and the Dwarfs many and strong, the great Odin, along with his two companions - faithful Hoenir and the mischievous Loki - would sometimes leave the towering halls of Asgaard behind so they could visit the newly-formed mid-world and see what the short-lived sons of men were up to. On one such visit they became fully human and amused themselves in wandering through the woods. Many were the everyday yet fascinating sights, and among them was an otter fishing for a salmon; on an impulse Loki hurled a stone at the otter, killing it. Later that night the three of them, seeking shelter at a farmhouse, learned that Loki had mistakenly killed that very farmer's son, who for mere pastime had taken the form of a furry otter. "Murderers!" cried the farmer. Quickly his two sons Fafnir and Regin, sturdy and valiant kin of the dwarf-folk, bound the three strangers hand and foot. Having taken upon themselves the forms of men, the great men of Asgaard had no more than the human strength and could not resist.

The three prisoners could only ask what sort of ransom would win their release. The farmer, not knowing whom he had bound, called his sons and bade them to strip the skin from the otter's body. When this was done, they brought the furry hide and spread it upon the ground. Said the farmer, "Bring enough gold and precious stones to cover every part of this otter skin. When you have paid that much ransom, you shall have your freedom. If you cannot, we will do with your lives as we please.

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