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The Epic of Siegfried

But the humans gave me no thanks for what I had done. As the years went by, they forgot who had been their teacher. They said that it was others who had given them this knowledge and skill. I tried to keep feelings of spite from welling up from inside me. And so I turned my mind to other matters and taught young maidens how to spin and weave, and the men how to fashion the tales of old into rich melodious songs, and I taught the young and in love how to compose their feelings into poetry, but they all say now that others had delivered them these gifts. At last my heart grew bitter because of the neglect and ingratitude of men. The old longing for Andvari's hoard came back to me. But I lived on and on, and generations of short-lived men arose and passed, and still the hoard was not mine, for none was strong enough to help me.

Then I sought the wisdom of the Norns, the three witches of the Past, the Present and the Future, who weave the threads of our fates. "How long," asked I, "must I hope and wait in weary expectation of that day when the wealth of the world and the wisdom of the ages shall be mine?"

The Norns answered, "When a prince of the Volsung race shall come who shall excel thee in the craft of blacksmithing, and to whom shall ride a shining helper, then the days of your weary watching shall cease."

Here Regin ended his story, and both he and Siegfried sat for a long time silent and thoughtful.

"I know what you wish," said Siegfried at last. "You think that I am the prince of whom the witch sisters spoke; and you would have me slay the snake monster Fafnir and win for you the hoard of Andvari."

"It is so," answered Regin.

"But the Glittering Hoard is accursed," said the lad.

"Let the curse be upon me!" was the answer. "Is not the wisdom of the ages mine? And do you think I cannot escape the curse? Is there anything that can prevail against he who has all knowledge and the wealth of the world at his call?

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