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

The Epic of Siegfried

He hastened northward toward the sea, for he wished to return the magic net and fulfill his promise to Queen Ran.

No sooner were the strange huntsmen well out of sight than Fafnir and Regin began to ask their father to divide the Glittering Hoard with them.

"By our strength and through our advice," said they, "this great store has come into your hands. Let us place it in three equal heaps, and then let each take his share and go his way."

At this the farmer waxed very angry. He loudly declared he would keep all the treasure for himself, and that his sons should not have any portion of it whatever. So Fafnir and Regin, nursing their disappointment, went to the fields to watch their sheep, but their father sat down to guard his new-gotten treasure. He took in his hand the glittering serpent ring and gazed into its cold ruby eyes. As he gazed, all his thoughts were fixed upon his gold and there was no room in his heart for anything else. As he continued to look at the snaky ring, a dreadful change came over him. The warm red blood, which until that time had leaped through his veins, and given him life and strength and human feelings, became purple and cold and sluggish. Selfishness, like serpent's poison, took hold of his heart. As he kept gazing at the hoard that lay before him, his body lengthened into many scaly folds and he coiled himself around his loved treasures - the very likeness of the ring upon which he had gazed so longingly.

When the day drew near its close, Fafnir came back from the fields with his herd of sheep, thinking to find his father guarding the treasure as he had left him in the morning. Instead, he saw a glittering snake, fast asleep, encircling the Glittering Hoard like a huge scaly ring of gold.

His first thought was that the monster had devoured his father. Hastily drawing his sword, with one blow he severed the serpent's head from its body. While the creature writhed in his death-agony, the son gathered up the Hoard and fled with it.

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