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

The Epic of Siegfried

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Odin took the magic net from Loki's shoulder. Opening it, he poured the treasures of the mountain-elves upon the otter skin. Loki and Hoenir spread the golden pieces carefully and evenly over every part of the furry hide. But after every piece had been laid in its place, the farmer saw near the otter's mouth a single hair remained uncovered and he declared that unless this hair, too, were covered, the bargain would be unfulfilled, and the treasures and lives of his prisoners would be forfeited. The three looked at each other in dismay, for not another piece of gold, and not another previous stone, could they find in the net, although they searched with the greatest care. At last Odin took from his vestcoat the ring which Loki had stolen from the dwarf, for he had been so highly pleased with its form and workmanship that he had hidden it, hoping it would not be needed to complete the payment of the ransom. And they laid the ring upon the uncovered hair. Now no portion of the otter's skin could be seen. Fafnir and Regin, the ransom being paid, loosened the shackles of Odin and Hoenir and bade the three huntsmen to go on their way.

Odin and Hoenir at once shook off their human disguises. Taking their own forms again, they hastened with all speed back to Asgaard. But Loki tarried a little and said to the farmer and his sons, "By your greediness and falsehood you have won for yourselves the Curse of the Earth, which lies before you. It shall be your bane. It shall kindle strife between father and son, between brother and brother. It shall make you mean, selfish, beastly. It shall transform you into monsters. The noblest shall feel its curse. Such is gold, and such it shall ever be to its worshippers. The ring itself shall impart to its possessor its own nature. Grasping, snaky, cold, unfeeling, shall he live, and death through treachery shall be his doom."

Then he turned away, delighted that he had thus left the curse of Andvari with the farmer and his sons.

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