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

The Epic of Siegfried

Then he came out of the chamber, put his shoulder to the rock that lay at the entrance, and it noiselessly swung back to its place.

"What is that upon your finger?" suddenly cried Loki. "Would you keep back part of the treasure? Give me that ring!"

But the dwarf king Andvari shook his head. "I have given you all the riches the elves of the mountain have gathered since the world began," he said. "This ring I cannot give, for without its help we will never be able to gather any more treasure."

Loki grew angry at these words and seized the ring, tearing it by force from Andvari's fingers. Shaped like a serpent, the ring coiled around with its tail in its mouth; its scaly sides glittered with tiny diamonds and its ruby eyes shone with an evil light. When the dwarf king knew that Loki really meant to rob him of the ring, Andvari cursed it and all who should ever possess it, saying - "May the ill-gotten treasure that you seized tonight be your bane, and the bane of all to whom it may come, whether by fair means or by foul! And the ring, which you have torn from my hand, may it entail upon the one who wears it sorrow and untold ills, the loss of friends, and violent death! The Norns - the witches who rule the fates - have spoken and thus it must be."

These dire curses did nothing to darken the black heart of Loki. If the fate of others would be cursed, what was it to him? He threw the magic net, heavy with treasure, over his shoulders and sprang into the air. Just before dawn, he alighted at farmhouse door where Odin and Hoenir still lay bound, guarded by Fafnir and Regin.

The farmer brought the otter's skin and spread it upon the ground. Lo! it grew and spread out on all sides until it covered an acre of ground. The farmer cried out, "Fulfill your promise! Cover every hair of this hide with gold or with precious stones. If you fail to do this, then your lives, by your own agreement, will be forfeit and we shall do with you as we choose.

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