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

The Epic of Siegfried

And some will have it that it was forged by Regin, Fafnir's own brother. But how that is, I do not know. At any rate, it is of no use to us; for it turns against us whenever we try to use it."

Siegfried took the sword. It was -no doubt - his own lost Balmung that he had fashioned so painstakingly in his youth under the guidance of Regin, the wonder blacksmith. It was the very sword he had left behind after accomplishing Regin's dark mission of slaying his own brother Fafnir. Now, if he should earn back Balmung by helping these two princes, surely the stain would be cleansed and the magnificent sword would be wholly his own again.

So Siegfried began the task of dividing the treasure. The two brothers, so faint from hunger and want of sleep that they could scarcely lift their heads, watched him with anxious, greedy eyes. First he placed a piece of gold by Gunnlaug's side, and then a piece of like value he gave to Schilbung. This he did again and again, until no more gold was left. In the same manner he divided the precious gemstones until none remained. The brothers were much pleased. They hugged their glittering reassures and thanked Siegfried for his kindness and for the fairness with which he had given to each his own.

But one thing was left which had not fallen to the lot of either brother. It was a ring of curious workmanship - a serpent coiled, with its tail in its mouth, and with ruby eyes glistening and cold.

"What shall I do with this ring?" asked Siegfried.

"Give it to me!" cried Gunnlaug.

"Give it to me!" cried Schilbung.

But the effort was too great for them. Their feet slipped beneath them, their arms fell helpless at their sides, their limbs failed. They sank fainting, each upon his pile of treasures. Gunnlaug, calling up the last spark of life left in his famished body, cried out to Siegfried, "Give me the ring!

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