Wind5or IEibrary -*I55ocialion.
c, ..... J .. ...................................................................
A uthor ................ .. ........................................ .. ........
B ook V s.rn ol tit" .. ........ ... .... .....................
Book ora "o .
Take good ca ok.
Do not lend it, n a1 the 'eave-r ,
All damnagea to it be a ri d ra th- borrower.
All writing or markiii forbidden r penalty of
from $500 to $1,000 fine.
Two cents daily fine for k ook morefia fourteen: days.
It must be brought to the Li i lie card fRrenewal.
No book loaned without a card no one owing fines or dam-
For cards apply to the Librarian.
Lost cards are replaced, after seven days' notice, on payment of five
500 My 1897.
The Baldwin Library
m no id
WOTAN AND BRUNNHILDE
STORY OF THE RHINEGOLD
(DER RING DES NIBELUNGEN)
ColI tor -Ioung people
ANNA ALICE CHAPIN
NEW YORK AND LONDON
HARPER & BROTHERS PUBLISHERS
Copyright, 1897, by HARPER & BROTHrnRS.
All rght, Seurved.
THE MASTER'S DAUGHTER
WITH HEARTFELT GRATITUDE
FOR HER KINDNESS AND ENCOURAGEMENT
The Story of the Rhinegold contains the four
operas of Richard Wagner's Nibelungen Ring,"
arranged for young people. The "Nibelun-
gen Ring," or "Nibelungen Cycle," is built
upon a colossal foundation: a number of the
great Teutonic myths, welded together with the
most masterly skill and consistency. It is evi-
dent that Wagner, like William Morris and other
writers, has taken from the fragmentary mytho-
logical tales such material as would serve his
purpose, adapting such incidents as he chose and
as he considered appropriate to his work. But
there are so many different versions of these old
stories that it is very difficult to trace Wagner's
plot to its original birthplace. The various
tales contained in the ancient sagas are so seem-
ingly contradictory that anything connectedly
authoritative appears impossible to trace. The
one thing which seems to remain the same in
almost all versions of the stories, ancient and
modern, is the background of mythology, that
great, gloomy cycle of gods, with the ever-recur-
ring note of Fate which seems to have im-
pressed all searchers in myths alike, and which
inspired Wagner when he formed his mystical,
solemn Fate motif.
Odin, Wuotan, Wodin, or Wotan, according
to the different names given him in the old le-
gends, is the central figure in the framework.
If I read the story aright, the Norns, or more
properly Nornir, are next in importance. They
and their mother, the Vala, are the medium
through which the relentless something behind
the gods made itself felt in the world. The
three sisters are named respectively Urdr, Ver-
dandi, and Skuld-freely translated Past, Pres-
ent, and Future; or, as they were once styled, as
correctly perhaps, Was, Is, and Shall Be. It is
a question whether Erda and Urdr, the oldest
Norn, might not originally have been identical.
Dr. Hueffer speaks of Erda as the Mother of
Gods and Men," but though "the Vala" is
often found in mythology, the name Erda is rare-
ly mentioned, whereas the titles for the three
Norns seem to be unquestionably correct. The
term Vala is usually translated as Witch, or
Witch-wife, but, though a Vala was indeed a sor-
ceress, she was a prophetess as well.
A step lower than the gods, yet gifted with
supernatural power and far removed from the
characteristics of human beings, were the dwarfs
and the giants. The giants, we are told, were
creatures belonging properly to the Age of
Stone, which explains the fact that there were
left but two representatives of the race at the
time of the Golden Age. The dwarfs come
under the head of elves. They were gifted
with the utmost cleverness and skill. The
giants were stupid and clumsy, and, save for
their superhuman strength and size, entirely in-
ferior to the small, sly dwarfs.
The world was strangely peopled in those
days; many of the heroes were demi-gods, that
is, descended from some god or goddess, and
witches, dwarfs, and sorcerers mingled with hu-
Many mortals, also, had magic power then.
Otter, the son of Rodmar, changed himself
into the animal for which he was named, and
while in the shape of the otter he was caught
and killed by three of the gods who were wan-
dering over the earth in disguise. Rodmar de-
manded weregild,* and Loki, with a net, caught
Andvari, a rich and malignant dwarf, and com-
manded him to pay a ransom of gold and gems,
enough to cover the skin of the otter; for
such was the weregild demanded by Rodmar.
Andvari, of necessity, gave the gold for his own
release, even adding a wonderful wealth-breeding
Ring to cover up a single hair in the skin which
the rest of the treasures had left unconcealed.
The dwarf cursed the Ring, and the curse attend-
ed it through all its manifold ways of magic, to
the end of the story.
Rodmar's remaining sons, Fafnir and Regin,
killed their father and fought for the treasure.
Fafnir obtained it, and, turning himself into a
monster-worm, went to Glistenheath (sometimes
called Glittering Hearth) to guard his wealth.
Regin called upon Sigurd, a young hero, to aid
him, and, being a master-smith, forged for him
a sharp sword named Gram. Some versions
give the forging of the sword to Sigurd, but
there are many sides to the story. The sword
was sometimes called Gram, and oftener Bal-
dung, until Wagner gave it the more expressive
Weregild is almost untranslatable. It may mean
payment, tax, forfeit, or ransom.
name of Nothung, or Needful. Prompted by
Regin, Sigurd slew the Dragon at Glistenheath,
and, after tasting the blood by accident, was
able to understand the language of birds, and
was told by two of Odin's ravens that Regin was
treacherous. After slaying Regin, Sigurd rode
away with two bundles of the treasures slung
across his horse's back. He found and awak-
ened Brynhildr, a beautiful woman asleep in a
house on a hill. (She is known in the different
tales in which she has figured as Brynhildr, Brun-
hild, Brunehault, and Briinnhilde.) The next
part of the tale is most clearly set forth in the
"Nibelungenlied," an epic poem in Middle High
German dialect, containing a story-or, more
correctly, a series of stories--which originally
belonged to the entire Teutonic people. These
have been found in multitudinous poems and
sagas, from those written by the ancient Norse-
men, and most primitive in form, to the modern
books, essays, and poems of writers who have
been impressed with the interesting and pictur-
esque aspects of the strange, complicated old
story. The "Nibelungenlied" itself deals rather
with the period of Christianity-with the knights
and ladies of the time of chivalry-than with the
primeval gods and heroes of the Golden Age.
The substance of its contents may be found in the
"Edda" and in the "Thidrekssaga (thirteenth
century), and the original manuscripts of the
"Nibelungenlied itself date from the thirteenth
to the sixteenth century.
The story contained in this poem is, briefly
told, as follows:
Siegfried, son of Siegmund and Sieglind,
woos Kreimhild, the sister of King Gunther, of
Burgundy, promising, in return for her hand, to
aid Gunther in winning Brunhild, Queen of Iss-
land (Iceland). Siegfried, with the help of his
cloud-cloak, conquers Brunhild for Gunther-
first in three athletic games, which she makes a
test for all suitors; and later when, after the
marriage, she proves stormy and untamed. He
takes her Ring and girdle, and gives them to his
wife, Kreimhild. They possess magic proper-
ties, and Brunhild, when deprived of them, loses
her great power and becomes like any ordinary
woman. She sees her Ring on Kreimhild's hand
one day, and, realizing that it is Siegfried, and
not her husband Gunther, who has conquered
her great strength and stolen her magic circlets,
she tells her wrongs to Hagan, who promises re-
venge. Hagan is the Knight of Trony, and he
and his brother Dankwort are Gunther's vassals.
Hagan entices Kreimhild to reveal to him the
secret of her husband's safety in battle, and she
tells him that Siegfried once slew a dragon and
bathed in the blood, which made him invulnera-
ble, save in one place, between his shoulders,
where a leaf fell, protecting the skin from the
blood. Kreimhild is entirely deceived by Ha-
gan, and, not suspecting his treachery, she sews
a circle of silk upon her husband's vesture over
the vulnerable spot, that Hagan may better
know how to protect the hero's one weakness
when they are in battle. It is there, where the
circle-of silk is sewn, that Hagan stabs him.
There is much more in the "Nibelungenlied,"
and a character famous in poesy and sagas is in-
troduced later in the poem-Atli, or Attila, King
of the Huns; but he has nothing to do with our
story, though some one has drawn a resem-
blance between his character and that of Hun-
ding. The "Nibelungenlied," after Siegfried's
death, contains very little connected in any way
with Wagner's four operas.
There are other versions of this tale, as there
are of all ancient stories. There are many tales
of the killing of the Dragon and the awakening
of Brunhild, and the personality and history of
the latter have passed under diverse alterations
in color and development. One story says that
Brynhildr, the Valkyrie, was made to slumber
by her father Odin, who pricked her in the temple
with a sleep-thorn. Many writers tell of a fire-
circle which surrounded the sleeper and guarded
her slumbers. She is known as a great queen,
a woman gifted with magic powers, and a dis-
obedient Walktire in different tales; and her
character changes as constantly as her history
in the various legends where we read of her.
Sigurd, Siegfried, and Sinfiotli are, in many
respects, so similar that they might safely be
termed identical, though sometimes, as in Will-
iam Morris's "Sigurd, the Volsung," they ap-
pear as distinct characters.
Out of this confused and complicated sea of
myths, legends, and old Norse stories Wagner
has drawn the material for his wonderful cycle.
His gods and goddesses are taken, with very
few changes, directly from their original place-
the Teutonic mythology. His giants and dwarfs
are also unaltered as complete races. In his usage
of them he differs in some respects from the older
Fafnir, the son of Rodmar, becomes the giant
Fafner, and his brother Fasolt is added. Regin
is transformed into Mime, the master-smith. In-
stead of Otter, who must be covered by gems,
we have the love goddess Friea, and instead of
the hair which the Ring must cover in the old
legend, it is in Wagner's adaptation one of Friea's
beautiful eyes. Fafner hides in Hate Hole in-
stead of upon Glistenheath, and is killed by
Siegfried instead of Sigurd. The lonely Walkiares'
Rock takes the place of the house on the hill,
and instead of being made invulnerable by the
Dragon's blood, Siegfried is protected by Briinn-
hilde's spells-a fancy which seems more poetic
and beautiful, but which originates, I believe,
entirely with Wagner. Gutrune takes the place
of Kreimhild, and Hagan is not Gunther's vassal,
but his half-brother. These are, after all, appar-
ently slight changes, yet to Wagner's cycle a new
poetry seems to have come. The barbaric aspects
of the tale have faded, and all the simple beauty
of those wild, noble gods and demi-gods has
gleamed forth as gloriously as the wonderful
Rhinegold, which the master has made next in
importance to the gods and the dusk of their
Before going further, perhaps it might be well
to say a few words of explanation as to the mo-
tifs which form the key-notes of Wagner's great
When he set his poem of the Nibelungen
Ring to music, he was not satisfied with merely
beautiful airs and harmonies linked together with
no purpose save the lovely sounds. He wished,
above all, to have his music fit his words; and
for every character and thought and incident,
and indeed for almost everything in his operas,
he wrote a melody, and these descriptive musical
phrases are called motifs. Each one has its mean-
ing, and when it is played it brings the thought
of what it describes and represents, and it makes
a double language-what the characters on the
stage are saying and what the music is saying, as
well. Through the motifs we understand many
things which we could not possibly comprehend
That Wagner wished to give the impression
that Erda was the mother of all beings, divine
and human, at the beginning of the world, he has
shown by the fact that the motif of the Primal
Element-the commencement of all things-is
identical with hers, save that where she is indi-
cated the melody takes a minor coloring, denot-
ing her character of mystery as well as the gloom
in which her prophetic powers must necessarily
envelop her. The contrasting, yet harmonizing,
elements of earth and water are also shadowed
forth, I think, in this motif of the Primal Ele-
ment, which is used for the Rhine, and also for
the Goddess of the Earth. When the Vala's
daughters-the Nornir-are mirrored in the mu-
sic, the same melody appears, fraught with the
waving, weaving sound of their mystic spinning.
The motifs in Wagner's operas are, above all,
descriptive. For example, note the Walhalla,
Nibelung, and Giant motifs.
The first of these, full of power, substance, and
dignity, not only is descriptive of the great palace
itself, but also represents the entire race of gods
who inhabit it, seemingly secure in their conscious
glory and sovereignty. To indicate Wotan, the
King of the gods and the ruler in Walhalla,
Wagner has constantly made use of this motif.
Its melody is measured, strong, and simple, and
the nobility of those worshipped gods of primeval
years seems to breathe through it.
The Nibelungs were so intimately associated
with their work that they were scarcely more
than living machines-soulless exponents of the
art of the forge and the anvil; so when we hear
in the music the beat of hammers-the sharp,
metallic clang in measured time, our first
thought is that the hammers are swung by the
Nibelungs. How cramped is their melody, how
monotonous and hopeless is the regular fall of
the hammers! When we hear it hushed and
veiled with discords, we seem to come in con-
tact with the narrow, darkened souls of the
And now we come to the motif of the
It is, like themselves, heavy, lumbering, with a
slur that is like the stumbling of heavy feet.
Clumsy and ungraceful, it and what it represents
cross the idyllic beauty of the motifs of Friea,
Walhalla, the King, the Rhinegold, and the rest,
with a harsh and disagreeable sense of an in-
harmonious element. How different from the
majestic gods, and the clever, small-souled Nib-
elungs, are these great creatures who are all
bodies and no brains, and who are so ably repre-
sented by the music allotted them in the operas!
Yet, in their own way, they and their motif are
In these three motifs we can see the genius
which formed them, and so many others, even
greater in conception and execution. Scattered
throughout The Story of the Rhinegold will be
found a few of these motifs-only a few and not
the most lovely--but enough I think to help
one, in a small way, to follow the operas with
more interest and understanding than if one did
not know them.
One of the simplest motifs in the book is one
of the most important: the Rhinegold motif.
It is like the blowing of a fairy horn heralding to
the world of sprites and elves the magic wonder
in the river.
In the olden days they had a lovely legend of
the formation of the Rhinegold. They said
that the sun's rays poured down into the Rhine
so brilliantly every day that, through some
magic-no one knew exactly how-the glowing
reflection became bright and beautiful gold,
filled with great mystic powers because of its
glorious origin-the sunshine.
And that was the beginning of the Rhine-
THE RHINEGOLD, OR DAS RHEINGOLD
PRELUDE. ................ 3
I. THE RHINE MAIDENS . . 8
II. FASOLT AND FAFNER. . . .. .13
III. NIBELHEIM . . ... I8
IV. THE RAINBOW BRIDGE . . .. .24
THE WARRIOR GODDESS, OR DIE WALKURE
PRELUDE . . . . 33
I. THE HOUSE OF HUNDING . ... .37
II. THE DAUGHTER OF WOTAN . .. 45
III. BRfNNHILDE'S PUNISHMENT ... 54
S art n111
PRELUDE . .... .
. . 63
I. SIEGFRIED AND MIME .
II. HATE HOLE ........
III. THE MOUNTAIN PASS .
IV. THE WALKORES' ROCK .
THE DUSK OF THE GODS,
. . 67
. . 79
. . 88
. . 95
PRELUDE ..... .. ..... 103
I. THE HALL OF THE GIBICHUNGS . .. .107
II. THE WALKORES' ROCK ONCE MORE ... .113
III. THE RHINE CHIEF'S BRIDE . ... 118
IV. ON THE BANKS OF THE RHINE . .. r.24
V. THE LAST TWILIGHT . . .. 133
WOTAN AND BRONNHILDE ..... . .Frontisiece
THE GLEAMING TREASURE ..... Facingr. 10
A WARRIOR GODDESS . ..... 34
THE WALKORE APPEARS. . ... 50
SIEGFRIED AT THE FORGE .. ." 76
THE DEATH OF THE DRAGON ... .. 82
BRONNHILDE ON THE WALKORES' ROCK. ... 104
GUTRUNE AND SIEGFRIED ... IIO
BRONNHILDE AND SIEGFRIED .... .. ." 116
GUNTHER AND BRONNHILDE. ... .. ." 22
HAGEN AND SIEGFRIED . ... 28
AFTER SIEGFRIED'S DEATH . ." 130
THE RHINEGOLD, OR DAS RHEINGOLD
Motif of the Rhinegold
WE have, all of us, read of the Golden Age,
when the gods ruled over the world, and giants
and dragons, dwarfs and water-fairies inhabited
the earth and mingled with mortals. The giants
were then a strong, stupid race, more rough than
cruel, and, as a rule, generous among themselves.
They were very foolish creatures, and constantly
did themselves and others harm; but their race,
even at that time, was dying out, and there were
left of it only two brothers, Fasolt and Fafner.
The dwarfs, or Nibelungs, were entirely differ-
ent. They were small and misshapen, but very
shrewd, and so skilful were their fingers that
they were able to do the most difficult work in
the finest metals. They lived in an underground
country called Nibelheim (Home of the Dwarfs),
where they collected hoards of gold and gems,
and strange treasures of all kinds; and Alberich
was one of them. He was a hideous creature,
n 1 -6
The Story of the Rhinegold
so dark and evil-looking, with his small, wicked
eyes and his hair and beard the color of ink,
that he was always called Black Alberich a
very suitable name.
As for the dragons, they were rare even in
those days, and though we shall have to deal
with one by-and-by when we are further on in
my story, I shall not say much about them now.
The water -fairies were beautiful spirits who
lived in the depths of the river Rhine. They
were simple and innocent, as became children of
the Golden Age, and very lovely to look upon.
In the peaceful twilight-land under the water
they were perfectly happy, dancing in and out
among the rocks at the river bottom, and sing-
ing soft songs, which, when wafted up to the
surface of the Rhine, sounded like the faint
sighing ripple of the river as it rolled onward
through the valleys and the woods.
And the water-fairies had one great happi-
ness in their quiet, shadowed lives. I will tell you
what it was: On the top of a tall black rock in the
river Rhine there rested a magical treasure, more
wonderful than any of the Nibelung hoards, or
the possessions of the gods themselves-a bright,
beautiful Gold, the radiance of which was so great
that when the sun shone down into the river and
touched it the gray-green water was filled with
golden light from depth to depth, and the fairies
of the Rhine circled about their treasure, singing
and laughing with delight.
What a wonderful time it must have been-the
Golden Age-when such things were possible!
You smile and say that they were not possible,
even then! Remember that this is a fairy tale-
a day-dream-such as might come to you while
watching the sunlit ripples dancing on the water,
and hearing the little waves lapping on the peb-
bles-a fairy tale, that is all.
The Golden Age, as I think of it, seems a pe-
riod in which anything might have happened.
Closing my eyes, I can picture the majestic gods
moving, great kings and queens among human
beings; great kings and queens made young by
Friea's apples of youth. Friea was the Goddess
of Love, Youth, and Beauty. She was the same
as Venus, the Roman goddess, called Aphrodite
by the Greeks, of whom, perhaps, you have read
elsewhere. All that I am writing about happen-
ed, you know, in Germany; and to the people
there the gods-or rather men's ideas of them,
and their names for them-were different from
those of other lands.
So the King God, instead of being Jupiter, or
6 The Story of the Rhinegold
Zeus, or Jove, was called Wotan, or sometimes
Odin. And the Queen Goddess was neither Juno
nor Here, but Fricka; and the wild Thunder God
was Thor; and the Goddess of the Earth Erda,
which means the earth. She was the wisest of
all the gods and goddesses (though Logi, the
Fire God, was the quickest and cleverest), and
she could prophesy strange things about the
gods and the world, and everything happened
just as she prophesied.
She would sink into the earth and dream, and
all her dreams came true. She would tell them
to her daughters, the three Norns, or Fates, and
they would weave them into a long golden
thread, into which they had spun the world's
They spun under a great ash-tree which grew
by the Fountain of Wisdom, and was called the
Tree of the World.
One day Wotan, the king of the gods, came to
the fountain for a draught of the Water of Wis-
dom. He drank, and left one of his eyes in
payment. He tore a limb from the World-Ash
and made it into a spear; and the spear, having
strange figures upon it representing Law and
Knowledge, was typical of the wisdom and pow-
er of the gods, and so long as that wisdom and
that power endured no sword could break the
spear nor could remain whole at its touch.
But the World-Ash, robbed of its branches,
withered away and died, and the Fountain of
Wisdom became dry.
And these things were the beginning of the
end of the Golden Age. But wise people say
that the Golden Age did not end until men
began to value gold for its own sake and the
love of gain, and to do wrong things to possess
it. And now I will tell you how it all happened.
Motif of the Primal Element,
out of which come the Erda, Norn, and Rhine Motifs
Song of the Rhine Maidens
Wei a wa ga, wa-ver- ing wa ters,
weaving and whirl ing! Wa la la wei a!
THE RHINE MAIDENS
AT the bottom of the river Rhine, about the
dark rock where rested the invisible Rhinegold,
there swam one morning before sunrise the Gold's
fair guardians, the three children of the Rhine.
They were beautiful maidens, these three water-
spirits, the most lovely of all the river people,
and their names were Flosshilde, Woglinde, and
Wellgunde. They were singing softly, and glanc-
ing constantly up to the rock's crest, waiting for
the appearance of the Rhinegold, which could
only be seen when the sun had risen up above
and sent its rays into the water to disclose the
treasure. They sang a little rippling refrain that
meant nothing except laughter and joy, and
The Rhine Maidens
sounded very like the ripples of the water them-
"Wavering waters, weaving and whirling,
And so they sang on, till their voices mingled
so with the ripple that both voices and water
became almost one in sound.
Now, while these three lovely maids, seem-
ing almost part of the water in their dresses of
shimmering blue-green, with pale wreaths of
river flowers in their hair, and their white arms
looking frail as moonbeams as they raised them
through the water-while they moved about the
rock singing and laughing together, a strange,
dark little man stood near watching them. He
had risen out of a black chasm in one of the
rocks, and he had come from far Nibelheim,
through an underground passage. He had small
eyes, his hair and beard were the color of ink,
and he looked very wicked. Can you guess who
He shouted gruffly to the Rhine Maidens, and
they, being much amused at his ugly appearance,
o1 The Story of the Rhinegold
drew near with laughter and mocking words.
They led him wild chases in among the rocks,
they played with him merry games of hide-and-
seek-merry for them, but not at all so for him,
for he was clumsy in motion compared with them,
and he became very angry because he could not
follow them over the rocks.
"Smooth, slippery, slush and slime," he grum-
bled. The dampness makes me sneeze."
At last, just as he had become thoroughly
angry, there appeared suddenly a strange bright-
ness at the top of the rock-a wonderful golden
light that glowed with ever-increasing brilliance
down into the water.
"Ah, see, sisters!" cried Woglinde. "The
awakening sun laughs down into the depths."
"Yes," said Wellgunde, with soft delight, "it
greets the slumbering Gold !"
"With a kiss of light the Gold is aroused!"
said Flosshilde. And, joining hands, they swam
excitedly about the rock, singing in bursts of
"You gliders," questioned Alberich (for it was
THE GLEAMING TREASURE
The Rhine Maidens
he), "what is this that-gleams and glistens over
Laughing at his ignorance, the nymphs told
him that it was a magical Gold; that whoever
made a Ring from it would have greater power
than any one else alive; that he could possess
all the wealth of the world if he wished; and
they so described the fairy powers of the treas-
ure that Alberich's wicked soul began to thrill
with desire to have it as his own.
The sisters further told him that the Gold was
safe from thieves, because it could only be stolen
by some one who had made up his mind never
to love any one except himself so long as he
"We have nothing to fear," said gentle Wog-
linde, for every one who lives must love."
But Alberich pondered silently. "All the
wealth in the world!" he thought. "For that
who would not give up love?" And he sprang
wildly up the rocks.
Listen, waves and water-witches!" he shout-
ed, as he reached towards the gleaming treasure.
" Never will I, the Dwarf, give love to any creat-
ure save myself through all my life." And while,
with wild cries, the Rhine Maidens hastened near
to prevent him, Alberich, the Nibelung, tore the
12 The Story of the Rhinegold
Rhinegold from the tall, black rock, and fled with
it into the black chasm, and so to Nibelheim.
And, left behind, the nymphs could only wail
for their lost joy with sobs and cries of Sorrow,
sorrow! Ah-to rescue the Gold!"
But it was too late. And in the dark hol-
low chasm, Alberich, fleeing with the treasure,
laughed at their despair.
Motif of the Giants
Motif of Friea
FASOLT AND FAFNER
ONE morning not long afterwards the rising
sun shone upon strange things up among the
Wotan, and Fricka his wife, waking upon the
mountain-top where they had slept that night,
14 The Story of the Rhinegold
gazed up to where, built among the clouds, the
spires of a wonderful palace glittered in the sun-
shine-Walhalla, the fair, new home of the gods.
It had been built at Wotan's command by
Fasolt and Fafner, the two brother giants, and
they had been promised, in payment, the god-
dess Friea. But Wotan had never intended giv-
ing her to them, and so he told Fricka when
she spoke anxiously of the reward promised the
giants, declaring that the goddess was as pre-
cious to him as to her.
Even as he spoke Friea rushed wildly in, call-
ing upon him to save her from the rude giants.
In answer, Wotan asked where Logi, the Fire
God, could be found, saying that where cunning
and craft were needed, Logi was the one most
to be sought after. But, look as he might, the
wayward Fire God was nowhere to be seen.
And then came the great brothers, bearing huge
clubs, and fiercely clamoring for a reward for their
labors in building Walhalla.
You slept while we worked," they said. "Now
claim we our payment."
"What price do you demand ?" asked Wotan,
pretending not to remember any promised re-
ward. What will you take as wages ?"
"Would you deceive us so?" cried Fasolt, in
Fasolt and Fafner
astonished rage. "Friea you promised us. We
worked right heartily to win us so fair a woman."
Hush !" muttered Fafner. Listen to me !
Without Friea's apples of youth the gods will
grow old, and their glory will fade away. They
will die like human beings if Friea be taken
So the giants talked together, planning how to
steal the lovely goddess, who stood aside trem-
bling, fearing that Wotan would refuse to pro-
tect her from the two savage workmen.
He meanwhile merely murmured softly to
himself, "Logi is long coming," and gazed ex-
pectantly about. But still the Fire God could
not be seen.
Thor and Froh, two other gods, had appear-
ed. The giants were growing more impatient and
Friea more despairing, when Logi at last arrived.
When he did he talked on a variety of subjects
before he would pay any attention to the affairs
that were worrying the other gods and the giants.
But at last he set his clever brain to work at some
plan by which his fair sister Friea might be saved.
Knowing well the love of wealth characteristic
of the giants, he told the story of the Rhinegold
and the stealing of it by the Nibelung. He said
that he had heard the maids weeping for their
16 The Story of the Rhinegold
lost treasure, and had promised them that Wotan,
the King God, would return it to them in time.
The two giants began to feel the same desire for
it that Alberich had had, and to whisper togeth-
er concerning it, so vividly did Logi describe its
"It seems," muttered Fafner, that this Gold
is worth even more than Friea." And he cried
out suddenly: "Listen, Wotan, you wise one!
We will give up Friea; but you will instead be-
stow upon us the Nibelung's Gold."
"We will hold her meanwhile as ransom !"
cried Fasolt. And they dragged her away, de-
spite her piteous appeals, to Riesenheim (or
Home of the Giants), leaving the gods perplexed
and sorrowing for their lost goddess.
As they stood silently together a mist seemed
to steal upward from the ground, and floated be-
tween them. A strange shadow rested upon the
faces of the gods. They looked pale and wrinkled;
their hair was white.
"Alas What has happened ?" wailed Fricka,
The gods were growing old.
See, then," said Logi, the shrewd one. Our
Youth Goddess has gone. We are old; we are
gray. The race of gods will come to an end."
Fasolt and Fafner 17
Wotan started and looked about him. His
face was pale.
Down, Logi! Let us go down to Nibelheim!"
he cried. "The Gold shall be had for ransom."
The gods called out good wishes after them
through the mist, and Wotan, the King God, and
his fire-servant, Logi, went down through the
hollow, shadowy passages under the earth to
Nibelheim, the home of the dwarfs.
ALBERICH had forged a Ring from the Rhine-
gold, and, wearing it, possessed absolute pow-
er over the rest of the Nibelungs. He was the
King Dwarf, ruler over all Nibelheim, the Land
of Gloom. Ah! what a land of gloom it was!
Through the dark shadows there streamed fit-
fully a lurid light from the forges where the
dwarfs were working; their hammers clanged
monotonously on the anvils. Slowly they laid
the results of their toil in great heaps, and Al-
berich laughed at their weariness and gloated
over the treasures, which he promptly claimed as
Among the Nibelungs was one particularly
crooked and ill-shapen, named Mime. He was
Alberich's half-brother, and, not unnaturally,
hated the Black King with all his strength; for
Alberich treated him even more cruelly than the
Mime, at Alberich's command, made a won-
derful cap of darkness out of some of the Rhine-
gold, which not only had the power of making
its wearer invisible at will, but could change him
into whatever shape he wished. This Alberich
wore, and changed himself into a column of
mist, in which shape he found he could move
about much faster, and make things much hard-
er for the dwarfs.
"Hohei, all you Nibelungs! Kneel to your
King! Now he is everywhere, all about you,
unseen, but felt and heard, you idlers!"
And the column of mist drifted off through a
rocky passage, leaving Mime whimpering upon
Now, with the clang of the hammers there
mingled the sound of steps, and from the black
crevice in the rocks came two figures slowly
down to Nibelheim. One was tall and majestic,
with a helmet of gold and steel, a long cloak
with strange designs upon it, and a deep golden
beard that hung far down over his breast; one
20 The Story of the Rhinegold
of his eyes was missing, and in his hand he bore
a great spear.
The other was clothed in brilliant red, his eyes
were bright, his step swift as a springing flame in
dead grass. They were Wotan and Logi search-
ing for the Rhinegold.
Logi accosted Mime in friendly fashion, and
asked what was wrong with him.
"That wretch, my brother!" grumbled the
Dwarf. He treats us all cruelly. Leave me
"How came Alberich by his power?" asked
the Fire God.
From the ruddy Rhinegold he made a Ring.
With it he rules us. But," asked the Nibelung,
staring at them, "who are you both?"
"Friends that perhaps may free the Nibel-
ung people," laughed Logi, and at the same time
Alberich appeared, scolding, screaming, and ill-
treating all who came in his way. Driving Mime
away with the rest of the dwarfs, he, scowling,
asked the two gods what they wished.
"We heard of the wonders worked by Albe-
rich," answered Wotan. "We come to behold
"Pooh! I know you well," said the Dwarf
King. "Such notable guests "-and he sneered
-" could only have been led by envy to Nibel-
"Surely you know me," said Logi. "I have
lit your forges, gnome. Cannot you trust me?"
"To be sure I know you," grinned Alberich.
"And I will always trust you to be untrustwor-
thy. I don't fear you."
How brave you are," said Logi, in pretended
"Do you see that treasure?" said the Nibel-
ung, proudly pointing to a great heap of gold
The gods assented.
"But," said Wotan, "what good does it do
you, here in Nibelheim ?"
Alberich glared at him, and then laughed.
"Ha! ha! But wait!" he said. "You gods!
You gods! You have looked down upon us
Nibelungs. Now we, with the help of the Gold-
en Ring, will sway the whole world. We will
storm the gates of Walhalla! Beware! Ha!
ha! Do you hear me? Beware!"
Wotan, in anger, started forward, but Logi
slipped in front of him.
"Most wonderful are you, O Nibelung!" he
said, admiringly. "I salute you as the might-
iest creature alive. But tell me one thing, O
22 The Story of the Rhinegold
wise one. How guard you your Ring from
"Does Logi think that all are as foolish as
himself ?" asked Alberich. "That danger I pro-
vided for. A Cap of Darkness, called the Tarn-
helm, is mine, to change me into whatever shape
I wish, and also to hide me at any time. So,
my friend, guard I my Ring, sleeping or waking,
as I wish."
"Wondrous above all it seems!" cried Logi.
"Prove it, O Dwarf!"
"That I will. What shape shall I take ?"
"Whatever you wish," answered Logi. It is
sure to be wonderful."
Alberich placed the metal cap upon his head
and became a great dragon, writhing on the
"Wonderful!" cried the gods.
"Yet I should again like to behold its magic.
Is it possible to become small as well as large by
its aid ?" asked Logi. I beg of you show us if
you can become small, O great one !"
"Nothing easier!" cried Alberich, beginning
to enjoy himself. "Look, then, 0 gods!" He
placed the helmet on his head and vanished. A
toad hopped on the ground in his stead.
"Quick! Hold him !" cried the Fire God;
and Wotan firmly held the toad with his foot,
while Logi lifted up the Tarnhelm, which still
rested upon its great head. And behold! Al-
berich lay at their feet, struggling and roaring
The Fire God produced a rope, and the two
gods bound the Nibelung and carried him with
them up the dark passage-way through which
they had descended, and left behind them the
crimson fires, the clanging hammers, the gloom,
and hopelessness of Nibelheim.
Motif of Alberich's Spell
THE RAINBOW BRIDGE
OUT of the underground world into the wild,
mountainous country above, veiled still with the
strange gray mist of age, came the two gods and
their captive, Alberich.
He was snarling and grumbling, being much
enraged at being bound by the hated gods, and,
above all, at having his beloved Tarnhelm in the
hands of Logi, whom he especially detested. Also,
he feared that he would be forced to give up the
Ring, which he still wore on his finger; and, partly
to prevent the gods from wishing for this, he soon
consented to give them the hoard which his ser-
vants, the Nibelungs, had collected in Nibelheim.
Touching the Ring with his lips, he murmured a
command, or spell, and from the under-world
came the little dark dwarfs bearing great loads
of treasure, which they placed at his feet.
The Rainbow Bridge 25
Ashamed, and hating that they should see him
a captive, Alberich loudly ordered them off with
threats and harsh words, and then demanded that
the gods should release him, while the Nibelungs
crept back into the dark hole that led to Nibel-
Logi, casting the Tarnhelm upon the pile, asked
if the Dwarf should be freed.
He wears a bright Ring," said the King God.
" Let it be added to the heap!"
"The Ring!" wildly cried Alberich. "The
Ring! I will never give it up! It is mine!"
"Thief! You stole it from the Rhine Chil-
dren," said Wotan. Do you call it, then,
yours ?" and he tore the Ring from Alberich's
finger and placed it on his own.
"Let him go!" he said to Logi, who obeyed,
and the Nibelung was free. Rising from' the
ground, he glared horribly at the gods.
"Listen to the spell I cast on the Ring!" he
said, with a peal of wild laughter. None who
possess it shall ever through it come to happi-
ness. Sorrow attends it, and whoever owns it
shall know grief. His death shall be sad, his life
a failure. This doom shall attend the Ring until
it comes back to my hand. Hear the spell Al-
berich has placed on the Gold !"
26 The Story of the Rhinegold
He laughed again, and vanished in the dark
hole that led to Nibelheim.
Wotan stood silently gazing at the Ring on
his finger. Logi, looking off in the distance,
saw Fasolt and Fafner nearing, with Friea. As
she came closer, the gray mist began to clear
slightly away, though it still hung about in
heavy clouds, hiding Walhalla's spires. Fricka,
Thor, and Froh, quickly drawing near from an-
other direction, spoke of the growing warmth
and clearness of the air.
"Dear sister, welcome back to us!" cried
Fricka, as the giants strode out with Friea.
But, when the two goddesses started forward
to meet each other, Fasolt caught hold of his
captive and held her fast.
"Wait! Wait!" he cried. "Where is the ran-
Behold it!" said Wotan, pointing to the heap
The giants declared that when a pile of gold
had been erected high enough to hide the
Love Goddess from view, they would return
her to the gods-but not before. Accordingly,
a heap was made which, as it grew higher with
added treasure, soon hid Friea entirely, save
for a gleam of her bright hair, which Fafner's
The Rainbow Bridge 27
keen eye described. The Tarnhelm. must go to
That accomplished, Fasolt strained his eyes to
find an unfilled crevice. Through a tiny space he
beheld one of the goddess's eyes, and demanded
the Ring to fill up the chink.
"The Ring!" exclaimed Wotan, starting back.
"The Ring!" cried Logi. "Nonsense! It is
the Rhine Children's treasure. The King God
will return it to them."
Foolish you are," said Wotan, in a low voice.
I shall keep it myself."
"Bad is the prospect for the fulfilment of my
promise to the weeping Rhine Children," said
"Your promise does not bind me," said the
King of the Gods. "I shall keep the Ring."
Hand over the ransom !" cried Fafner, loudly.
"Never!" said Wotan.
Then Friea is ours!" roared the giants, and
they grasped her once more.
The gods, in chorus, begged Wotan to give
the wranglers the treasure, but he was deaf to
their entreaties. His eyes were fastened upon
the bright Ring's glitter; he was blind to all else.
Suddenly the light seemed to die out from the
world. All grew dark. From a black chasm in
28 The Story of the Rhinegold
the rocks rose a woman's figure in a strange halo
of blue light. Her face was pale, with a look of
deepest mystery upon it. Lifting her hand, she
spoke in low, solemn tones to Wotan:
Hear my warning Avoid the Ring, with its
terrible spell! Heed me, 0 Wotan!"
"Who are you who warn me?" asked the god.
"I understand all things; wisest in all the
world am I. The witch-wife Erda, men call me,
Mother of the Norns. Listen, listen, listen A
day of dusk and gloom is coming for the gods.
Beware of the Ring!"
She sank down into the earth once more.
The blue light faded away. As she vanished
she spoke again:
"Think well on what I have said!"
She was gone. Slowly the light came back to
the world. Lost in thought, Wotan stood a mo-
ment; then turned quickly to the giants, and
tore the Ring from his finger.
"It is yours!" he declared; and he tossed it
on to the pile. "Back to us, Friea!" and the
Love Goddess gladly flew back to their midst.
Fafner and Fasolt began fighting over the
Ring at once, and Alberich's dark spell quickly
made itself felt. For Fasolt, seizing the Ring,
was killed by his brother, who, with Ring and
The Rainbow Bridge 29
treasure, fled away to a far cave, named Hate
Hole, and there, in the shape of a great dragon,
guarded his hoard in loneliness for many years.
But that is a different part of my story.
After the death of Fasolt and the flight of
Fafner with the treasure, the clouds hanging
low over the gods were cleared away by a great
storm, and, as Walhalla appeared shining in the
sun, a rainbow bridge spanned the space be-
tween the palace and the gods, who passed over
it to their new home.
"These gods-how foolish and blind !" said
Logi to himself, as he went with them. I feel
ashamed that I am one of them, bound to share
in their doings."
The beautiful palace glittered brightly. The
gods smiled as they passed over the rainbow
bridge. Only from the Rhine below there came
a sound of wailing.
Rhinegold! Rhinegold!" sang the weep-
ing Rhine daughters. "We long for your light.
Trustful are those in the water; false are those
THE WARRIOR GODDESS, OR DIE
I SHALL, now take a long leap in my story,
going on to a time when the gods had been
happy in Walhalla for many years. Wotan
alone felt dreary forebodings, though, as yet,
there were no real signs of any downfall of the
gods. So heavy were these presentiments that
he began to fill his halls with heroes able to
defend Walhalla, if Alberich should ever regain
the Ring, and, keeping his word, storm the gates
of the gods' palace. At Wotan's command, his
nine daughters, the Walkiires (or Warrior God-
desses) watched over all combats between he-
roes, carrying those who were killed to Walhalla,
where Friea's smiles brought them to life again.
And this was not the only strange thing that
had come to pass since the gods had entered
their new palace.
Among Wotan's descendants were a race of
people called the Volsungs, and at the time of
34 The Story of the Rhinegold
which I am writing only two of them were alive,
a boy and a girl, who had been brought up from
babyhood almost like brother and sister, and
who were very much alike, having the golden
hair of their ancestor Wotan, and eyes in which
there was a curious glitter, as bright as that of
the snake's glance.
Both were as beautiful as the sun, like all the
Volsungs; both were strong and warm-hearted
and noble, and they loved each other as much as
though they had been really brother and sister.
While still very young, they became separated
for years; for, while the boy was out hunting,
the girl, Sieglinde, was stolen away by a robber
named Hunding. She led a dreary life as the
Robber's servant, until she became a woman.
But she always felt confident that help would
come to her in time, because one night, at a
feast given by Hunding, a stranger had entered,
robed in the rough garb of a wanderer, but with
kingly bearing. One of his eyes was missing.
He had struck a sword into the trunk of a great
tree which grew up from the centre of Hunding's
house, declaring that whoever could draw it out
should have it for his own. And all had tried
their best, but the blade would not yield an
A WARRIOR GODDESS
Then the Wanderer had laughed and depart-
ed. But Sieglinde, thinking of it dreamily, re-
membered that, while he had frowned on the
others, he had looked kindly on her; and, gaz-
ing at the sword, she began to feel, after a while,
that whoever could pull it forth would be her
rescuer. And so the years passed.
She did not know that the Wanderer had
been none other than the first father of all
the race of Volsungs-Wotan, the king of the
Siegmund, the boy, as he grew to manhood,
became a very wolf in wildness, but a great war-
rior, and a stanch hero. He led a roving life,
with few friends, and, alas! many enemies. His
generous heart brought him into sad dilemmas
sometimes; as, for instance, when, at a maid-
en's request, he defended her from her relations,
who wished to marry her to some one whom she
hated. When, in doing battle for her, he killed
one of her kinsmen, she had flung herself upon
the dead man and accused her defender of
He fought the rude warriors who were press-
ing up about her until his weapons were torn
from him, and he was driven away into the
woods through a wild storm which seemed to
36 The Story of the Rhinegold
blow him on with irresistible violence, until he
found himself at the door of a house.
Utterly exhausted, he staggered in, filled only
with the desire to rest and shelter his tired body
from the storm. And the house was that of
Hunding, the Robber.
THE HOUSE OF HUNDING
OUTSIDE the storm was raging, the great
pines were bending in the wild gale, the thun-
der and lightning were in mad commotion.
Inside, rude as the hut was, there were warmth
and apparent peace. A large fire burned on the
hearth, and sent its fitful glare from time to time
flashing about the bare hall; now shining on the
sword-hilt in the great oak-tree growing in the
centre; now lighting the dark corners with a
faint red gleam. A heap of skins was beside
the hearth, and upon this Siegmund sank ex-
As he lay there the door opened, and Sieg-
38 The Story of the Rhinegold
linde came quickly from an inner room. Fright-
ened by the sight of a stranger, she accosted
him in trembling tones. Receiving no answer,
she came nearer, and, looking down at him, she
saw a strong, tall man, with golden hair, and
a face as beautiful as the sun. Caught over his
shoulder was a great black bear-skin, and his
face was like that of a king among men. His
eyes were closed as she bent over him; but,
after a moment or two, he opened them and
gasped faintly, "Water! Water!" only to sink
back once more, exhausted, as Sieglinde hast-
ened away to draw him a draught at the spring.
She was soon back with what he had asked for,
and, giving it, looked down kindly as he drank.
When he had finished, he gazed up at her and
saw a beautiful maiden, with the rough, gray skin
of some wild animal worn loosely over her long
white robe. She had hair of as deep a gold as
his own, and a face full of sweetness and a sym-
pathy that he had never known before.
Rising from the hearth, he gently wished her
good fortune, and thanked her for her kindness
to a friendless man, who must now pass on his
way lest the sorrow which followed his foot-
steps should come to her; and, so saying, was
about to leave the house when Sieglinde, who
The House of Hunding 39
in some way felt that this man was to be her
rescuer, sprang forward and begged him to stay,
saying that as sorrow had dwelt in the house for
many days she did not fear its coming. So he
consented to remain until Hunding, who was out
hunting, should return.
Going back to the hearth, he stood there
quietly looking, in a long silence, towards Sieg-
linde, and both felt, I think, that it was Fate
that he, and none other, should stay and rescue
her. So they stood silently waiting for the Rob-
ber's return, and the fire crackled and glowed
and flickered about the hall.
Suddenly, Sieglinde started; for the sound of
hoofs broke the stillness, and they could hear
the Robber leading his horse to the stable. Al-
most directly afterwards the door opened, and
Hunding himself came in. He was not a pleas-
ant-looking creature, for he was very tall and
very broad- shouldered, and as wild in appear-
ance as a wolf, and his face was dark and angry.
His long hair and beard were black and tan-
gled, his eyes were fierce, and he wore queer,
jangling armor and bands of steel on his bare
He stopped short, and sternly pointed to the
stranger, glaring at Sieglinde in great anger.
40 The Story of the Rhinegold
Reading a fierce question in his look, she an-
"I found this man weary upon the hearth.
Need drove him into the house."
Hunding relented a little; and, after handing
her his shield and weapons, said quietly to Sieg-
"Safe is my hearth! Safe for you is my
house!" Then, turning to Sieglinde, he rough-
ly bade her hasten with the supper. She bore
away the heavy weapons and rested them against
the tree in the centre of the hall; then went about
arranging the evening meal. As they sat down
on the rough seats around the scantily spread
table, Hunding asked his guest his name, and
whence he had come on so stormy a night.
Sieglinde leaned eagerly forward as the warrior
began his tale.
He told them the story of his life, only call-
ing himself Woful the Wolfing instead of Sieg-
mund the Volsung. And when he came to the
tale of the maiden and her kinsmen, and of how
he had killed one of them, and fought the others
until he was disarmed and driven into the forest,
Hunding rose in great anger and stood looking
at his guest with wrath in his eyes.
You win every one's hate," he declared.
The House of Hunding
"My friends sent for me to help them revenge
the shedding of blood. I went to their aid, but
it was too late. Now, when I return, I find the
enemy himself upon my hearth. They were my
friends against whom you fought; and, though
to-night custom makes you safe as a guest in
my house, to-morrow you shall die, Wolfing!
So be prepared !"
So both the Robber and his servant, the maid-
en Sieglinde, went away, leaving Siegmund alone
by the hearth, sad and a little perplexed. For
Sieglinde, as she left the hall, had pointed swiftly
towards the sword-hilt buried in the tree. The
fire leaped up wildly as he stood gazing towards
the oak, and the light touched the bright hilt
and painted it red for a moment, then died once
more. Siegmund dreamily wondered if the light
on the steel had been left by the glance Sieg-
linde had cast towards it. For you see he had
fallen in love with this lovely woman, who look-
ed at him so kindly, and whose face was as fair
and beautiful as the sun.
The gold and rosy flashes from the fire grew
fainter, the shadows deepened, and Siegmund
Now perhaps you wonder why he stayed there
instead of going out into the night, where he
42 The Story of the Rhinegold
would be safe. There were three good reasons
to keep him.
In the first place, he was too brave a hero to
fly from danger; and, in the second place, he
did not want to leave the beautiful maiden alone
in the Robber's power; and the third reason was
as good a one as either of the others. Hunding
had said: "Custom makes you safe as a guest in
my house," which meant that it would be both
unfair and wrong if he, Hunding, killed a stran-
ger taking shelter under his roof. This was
called the Law of Hospitality, and the law was
never taken advantage of by any honorable
guest. So, if Siegmund had run away after
Hunding had so well observed the Law of Hos-
pitality he would have been dishonorable as
well as cowardly, and it was just as though he
had given a promise that he would not go away
In the meantime Siegmund lay asleep. From
an inner room came the beautiful maiden swiftly
to his side. Awaking him, she told him to hurry
away while there was yet time. She said that
she had sprinkled some sleep spices into Hund-
ing's wine, and that he would slumber soundly
and long; and she begged the guest to go away
quietly into the night and save himself.
Tke House of Hunding 43
Finally, she told him of the Wanderer who had
come and struck the sword into the oak-tree, and
told him, too, how she had waited in vain for
some hero who would draw forth the sword and
Siegmund said that he would claim the sword
for his own, and drag it from the tree, and, as
he spoke, the door opened wide. Perhaps the
good fairies unlatched it. Without, it was very
still; the storm had ceased, and the moon was
Then Sieglinde, looking in his face, seemed
to see there a resemblance to some one she had
known long ago, and, gazing into his eyes, she
asked him if he were really a Wolfing.
No, a Volsung!" replied the hero, proudly.
And she cried out in joy: "A Volsung! Are
you, too, a Volsung-one of my race? It was
for you, indeed, that the Wanderer struck the
sword into the oak."
Springing to the tree, Siegmund laid his
hand on the hilt and broke into a wild chant,
naming the sword which he had come to,
when in such pressing need, Nothung (or Need-
With a mighty wrench he drew it out of the
oak's trunk, and held it above his head.
44 The Story of the Rhinegold
"I am Siegmund the Volsung!" he shouted,
Then he asked her more gently if she would
follow him away from the house of the enemy
Hunding, telling her that if she would be his
wife he would defend her with Nothung, and
make her life one long spring-tide.
As you are Siegmund, I am Sieglinde !" cried
she, aloud. It is right that the Volsungs should
become joined as one."
And into the night they went away together;
for the storm had ceased and the brightness of
the moonlight was most marvellous.
Motif of the Volsung's heroism
THE DAUGHTER OF WOTAN
UP in the mountains near a rocky gorge, where
the wind swept and the wild pines grew, stood
Wotan, king of the gods, and before him, await-
ing his orders, was his favorite daughter, Brunn-
hilde, the Walkiire.
She was very beautiful, more beautiful than
any woman who ever breathed. Her hair was
golden bright, her figure queenly. When she
moved, the motion of a bird was not more fleet
and graceful, and her face was what you might
suppose the face of a goddess would be. She
~ ~ -F t
46 The Story of the Rhinegold
wore long white robes and glistening armor,
and the wings in her bright helmet were like
snow. She bore a spear and shield also, for you
know she was a goddess of war, and, as her busi-
ness was to attend the battles of heroes, she ar-
rayed herself accordingly.
She moved restlessly, and seemed anxious to
be off, for at the top of a rocky slope was not
her horse, Grani, waiting for her to spring on
his back and gallop away through the clouds?
Wotan, whom, of course, you remember, stood
leaning on his spear. He looked for the moment
glad, for he was very fond of his descendants, the
Volsungs, and he also believed that Siegmund
would one day kill Fafner, the Dragon, with the
sword which had been placed in the oak for the
purpose, and would return to the Rhine Maidens
their treasure. When this should come to pass,
the gods would have no more fear of Alberich.
When Wotan thought of all these possibilities,
the dusk of the gods' bright day seemed far off.
So it was with a thrill of joy in his voice that he
spoke to Brtinnhilde, and bade her make ready
to attend the fight between Siegmund and Hund-
ing, which, as the Robber was already hunting for
his guest with fierce hounds, was sure to occur
The Daughter of Wotan 47
"Aid the Volsung, my brave maiden !" said
the King God. Overthrow Hunding! Hasten
to the battle!"
"Hoyotoho !" shouted the Walkiire, waving
her spear as she sprang up the rocks. Hoyo-
On a high pinnacle of boulders she paused,
and looked down on Wotan once more. "Look
well, father! Here comes Fricka. I leave you
With a clear burst of laughter she sped on
again. Her boisterous Hoyotoho!" died away
among the echoes.
In a golden car, drawn by two rams, came
Fricka, the queen of the gods. She seemed in
great haste, and, springing to the ground, stood
in all her majesty before the King God, with
anger in her eyes.
"I ask for right !" she began, drawing her scar-
let draperies about her. And she went on to de-
mand vengeance for Hunding; vengeance upon
Siegmund, the guest, for having taken advantage
of the host who had observed so well the Law of
Hospitality; vengeance upon him who, from the
house of Hunding, had stolen the Robber's ser-
All this made Wotan very unhappy, for he
48 The Story of the Rhinegold
loved Siegmund, and already in his heart had
forgiven him for what he had done. Yet he
knew that all wrong must bring punishment,
and asked Fricka what she wished him to do.
"Call back the Walkiire !" said the Queen
Goddess, and there was a look of triumph on
her face. Break the Volsung's sword Prom-
There was a pause.
"I-promise," said the god, covering his face
with his hands.
Triumphant and satisfied, Fricka drove away,
and, as she went, Brinnhilde, who had returned
while the King and Queen were talking together,
and had led her horse into a cave near by, came
to her father, asking why he seemed so sorrow-
Tenderly drawing her to him, he told her the
story you know so well, of the stealing of the
Gold, the building of Walhalla, and the prophecy
of Erda. He told her of the day of which the
Earth Witch had spoken, when the world would
be in twilight.and gloom-the Dusk of the Gods.
He told her, too, the hopes he had had of the
great deeds to be done by Siegmund. He let
her see how it filled him with the deepest sorrow
to overthrow the Volsung. But the Volsung had
The Daughter of Wotan
taken advantage of the Law of Hospitality, and
Wotan had promised that he would overthrow
him; and the promise must be kept. He bade
her vanquish Siegmund in the coming battle and
give the victory to Hunding; then, heart-broken,
he wended his way among the rocks, and was
Sadly Briinnhilde gazed after him. Her heart,
too, was aching, because, though she loved to
carry heroes to Walhalla, she loved still more
to aid them in battle. She went slowly into
It was growing darker. Now, from out the
gloom that filled the rocky gorge came Sieg-
mund and his beautiful wife, Sieglinde, seeking
rest in a sheltered place. Sieglinde was almost
exhausted, for the way they had come was long
and hard; and, after trying vainly to make her
tired limbs carry her farther, she fainted at the
young Volsung's feet. Tenderly he carried her
to a rock near by, and, seating himself upon it,
gently supported her and stooped down to listen
to her breathing.
As he raised his head, satisfied that she still
lived, a grave, sweet voice sounded on his ear.
He turned his eyes to where stood a beautiful
woman in white and steel, one arm on the neck
50 The Story of the Rhinegold
of her horse. It was the WalkUre, who, accord-
ing to her custom, came to warn the man who
was shortly to be killed in battle. It grew still
Siegmund," said the Walkiire, "look on me!
Soon you must follow me!"
Siegmund, wondering, asked who she was.
"Only those who are shortly to die may see
my face," answered Brinnhilde. "I bear them
away to Wotan, in Walhalla. There you will
find innumerable heroes who have died in bat-
tle. They will welcome you."
Siegmund asked if his father, Volse, were
among the heroes.
Brinnhilde answered "Yes."
Quietly the young warrior asked if his beau-
tiful bride might accompany him.
The Walkiire slowly shook her head.
"Lonely upon the earth she remains," she
answered. "Siegmund will see Sieglinde no
"Then greet Walhalla and the heroes for
me," said the Volsung; "for there I will fol-
low you not."
"You have looked on the face of the Wal-
kire," said Briinnhilde. "You must die."
SAnd, by degrees, she made him understand
TIHE WALROlRE APPEARS
The Daughter of Wotan 51
that death was awaiting him, that he was doom-
ed to be killed by Hunding. In despair Sieg-
mund raised Nothung, the sword, and declared
that he would kill his wife and himself, so that
they might be together in death. But Briinn-
hilde, who had felt her heart grow more and
more tender towards this unhappy pair, started
forward, bidding him hope, and declared that
she would help him, instead of Hunding, in the
combat, and save both himself and his wife.
I shall be with you in battle," she promised;
and she hurried away, leading her horse.
It grew darker and darker. Storm-clouds were
gathering, and the rocky gorge was filled with a
dense, black shadow. In the distance came the
sound of Hunding's horn. Waving his sword,
Siegmund sprang up the rocks to meet the
Sieglinde, dreaming softly where her husband
had left her, was awakened by a wild burst of
thunder and lightning. She started up frantical-
ly, trying to see through the darkness. Clouds
were all about her, veiling the rocks on every
side. Hunding's deep horn-call sounded near-
er and nearer. Finally, from a high rock among
the trees on the top of a wooded slope she
could hear the voices of the combatants and the
52 The Story of the Rhinegold
clash of weapons. Suddenly, in a vivid glare of
lightning, Briinnhilde appeared among the clouds,
stooping low over Siegmund, and protecting him
with outstretched shield. Clear and strong rang
out her voice over the tumult:
"Be firm, Siegmund! Strike quickly."
But now Sieglinde, staring wildly up through
the darkness, paralyzed with fright, saw a fierce
crimson light- the light that heralded the ap-
proach of the angry King God and Wotan
stood revealed in the clouds above Hunding.
"Away from my spear!" he cried, in a terri-
ble voice. Let the sword be splintered !" And
he stretched out his weapon, made from the
World-Ash. Nothung was shivered in pieces
upon it, and the Robber Hunding, with one blow
killed Siegmund, the Volsung.
With a great cry Sieglinde sank to the ground,
but through the cloudy darkness came BrUnn-
hilde. She lifted the poor woman on her horse,
and, urging Grani to flight, sped away through
Wotan, left alone with the Robber, turned
towards him in contemptuous anger. Before
his gaze Hunding sank to the earth in death.
Suddenly the King God burst into supreme
The Daughter of Wotan 53
"Briinnhilde, who has disobeyed me, must be
punished!" he cried. And, leaping upon his war-
horse, he was gone through the clouds.
Motif of Siegmund and Sieglinde's Love
Motif of the Walkiires' Ride
Motif of Briinnhilde's Pleading
IT was a custom of the Walkfires to meet
every evening after their wild rides, at a rock
called "The Walkfires' Stone," and thence go
on to Walhalla.
Upon the afternoon of the combat which had
proved fatal to the Volsung, the Walkiires ar-
rived one after the other at the rock. Only one
was missing-Wotan's favorite, Briinnhilde.
The maidens sang merrily their Hoyotoho,
waved their spears and climbed the rocks, and
kept a sharp lookout for Grani's appearance in
the clouds. But it was very late before Brinn-
hilde was anywhere to be seen. When she
came, she brought with her Sieglinde, whom
she was supporting. In answer to her sisters'
anxious inquiries, the Walkire told them of her
disobedience and Sieglinde's sorrow, and begged
them to protect Siegmund's wife, and herself
"And see, 0 sisters, if Wotan draws nigh!"
"A thunder-cloud approaches," called Ort-
linda, one of the Walktires, from her high pin-
nacle of rock.
"The clouds grow thicker," cried Waltrauta.
"Our father comes," they exclaimed in uni-
"Shelter this woman," begged Brfinnhilde.
For she knew that Wotan, in his rage, might
kill the wife of the warrior whom he had over-
thrown. But the maidens feared their father's
anger, and would give no aid. So, at last, Brfnn-
hilde told Sieglinde to fly and hide herself in
the forest, and that she, the Walkiire, would re-
main behind to bear the brunt of Wotan's an-
ger. Briinnhilde drew from under her shield the
splinters of Nothung, which she had picked up
56 The Story of the Rhinegold
on the battle-field, and gave them with words
of kindness and comfort to Sieglinde, who, mur-
muring tender thanks, sped away into the woods
and was gone.
Then even Briinnhilde's brave heart began to
fail her. A great storm had arisen, and amid
the crash of thunder came Wotan's voice
calling her name in tones of anger. Trem-
bling, she took her place in the centre of the
group of maidens, concealed from view by
Surrounded by red light came Wotan, having
left his war-steed snorting in the wood.
"Where is Briinnhilde ?" he demanded. But
the Walkiires, in trembling tones, merely asked
the cause of his anger. In growing rage, Wo-
tan commanded Briinnhilde to come forward
and receive her punishment, reproaching her
in scornful words for hiding among her sis-
Quietly the WalkUre came out from among
them, and stood before him. She was quite
ready to receive her sentence, whatever it might
be, and bent her head to listen to her father's
Her punishment, Wotan told her, was to be
this: She was to be-laid in helpless sleep, at the
mercy of the first passer-by who might choose
to awaken her. Him she must follow as his
wife, for, when she was awakened from her
sleep, she would be a woman-a goddess no
Heart-broken, Briinnhilde sank to the ground
with a cry. To be made mortal seemed to her
the most terrible punishment possible. And it
seemed so to the other Walkires as well. They
besought the King God to have mercy on their
sister, but he was firm.
Amid wails of despair and pity for Briinnhilde,
the Walkires separated and rushed wildly out of
sight in all directions. Only the echoes of their
cries and the last faint sound of their horses'
hoofs remained as they rode off through the
The storm died away. All was quiet now.
Slowly Brinnhilde rose from where she lay and
pleadingly spoke to her father, asking pardon for
her disobedience and begging for some mercy
and tenderness. At last, when she found that,
though he still loved her as dearly as ever, he
was firm in his decision, she asked only one fa-
vor of him-a last one-that he should place a
circle of flame about the rock where she was to
be laid asleep, flame so fierce and high that only
58 The Story of the Rhinegold
a brave man might come through it and awaken
Wotan consented, and, overcome by his love
for her, drew her into his arms in a last, sad em-
brace. He bade her farewell with a tenderness
that comforted her even then, and, stooping, kiss-
ed her long and lovingly.
Her eyes closed. Her head sank back against
his shoulder. Laying her on a rock that made
a rude couch, he placed her shield on her arm
and her spear at her side. He looked down with
deepest sorrow on the face of this, his most beau-
tiful child, the War Goddess, and then, raising
his spear, commanded Logi to light a ring of fire
about the rock.
Great billows of flame spread from left to
right, and glowed in a brilliant circle about the
sleeping goddess, casting a dim glare on her fig-
ure, and lighting up the quiet night-sky.
Standing in the red firelight, Wotan once more
stretched out his spear in a spell, and pronounced
"Only he who fears not my spear can pass
through this fiery bar."
And, so saying, he passed from out the charm-
ed circle and left behind him the Walkiire in her
long, fire-watched sleep, to be broken only by
Brfinnhilde's Punishment 59
one who feared not even the spear of Wotan,
the king of the gods.
The Sleep of the Walkiire
Motif of Mime's Meditation
WHEN Sieglinde ran into the woods with the
pieces of the broken sword, Nothung, she took
shelter in a cave where a wicked old dwarf lived
alone. There a little boy was born. But Sieg-
linde had never thoroughly recovered from the
shock of her husband's death. The way through
the woods had been difficult, and she had en-
dured great hardships; so one day she called
the Dwarf to her and gave him the broken sword,
telling him to keep it for her son until he grew
old enough to have a weapon of his own, and
she told the Dwarf that she was Sieglinde, and
that her husband had been Siegmund, the Vol-
sung, and she finally said that she wanted the
child to be named Siegfried; then she sank back
and died. And so Siegfried, who was a very
little baby then, never, really, saw either his
father or mother.
The only father he knew, as he grew older,
64 The Story of the Rhinegold
was the Dwarf, who was none other than Mime
Alberich's half-brother. And he could not help
knowing that Mime was wicked and sly, though
the Dwarf pretended to love his foster-son, and
tried to arouse some love in return.
Now, perhaps, you wonder, if Mime was so
wicked, why he took care of the boy. I will
Mime, like every one else, wanted the Rhine-
gold, and could not get it, for Fafner, the Drag-
on, guarded it by night and day at Hate Hole.
And being as sly and evil-minded as the rest of
the Nibelungs, he had concocted a plot by which
he thought he could obtain it. He hoped Sieg-
fried, when he grew older, would slay Fafner
with the sword Nothung, and win the Rhine-
gold. You see he hoped to accomplish Fafner's
death through Siegfried, just as Wotan had
once tried to do through Siegmund. Only, af-
ter Siegfried had attained the Gold, Mime hoped
to be able to poison him and steal from him the
But, to accomplish this, the broken sword
must be mended, and this Mime could not do.
Its splintered edges baffled even him- clever
smith as he was. So he set to work forging
other swords, and trying to fashion a blade keen
enough to satisfy the boy-Volsung, and also to
kill the Dragon at Hate Hole. But every weap-
on he made Siegfried broke into pieces, and de-
manded a stronger and still stronger sword, until
Mime was in despair.
It angered him terribly, too, that Siegfried,
more by instinct than anything else, knew how
wicked his heart was, and how full of bad, cruel
thoughts. The little, dark Nibelung could not
understand how the boy, beautiful as the sun,
golden-haired and keen-eyed, strong of limb and
true of heart, loved to roam in the wide for-
ests all the day, merrily blowing his silver horn
and making friends with the woodland creatures,
only returning to Mime's cave at night. He
could not realize the pleasure that the soft for-
est voices gave to the youth just growing into
manhood; how he loved the wolves and bears
better than the cringing, evil-eyed, horrible little
Dwarf in the cave at home--the only home he
As for Siegfried, the only thing he wondered
at was that he ever went back to the cave at all.
Why did he not roam away forever into the
forest, search out that far, strange place called
the world, that really seemed as if it must be a
different universe from the one in which he lived?
66 The Story of the Rhinegold
He could not tell. He only knew that a strange,
irresistible something seemed to draw him back to
Mime's side every night--a something he could
not explain or even understand. Meanwhile time
Motif of Forest Life, sometimes called Motif of Love Life
Motif of the Forging of Nothung
f =--< I =- dim. ^
(^ ~ ~ 4 g=b^^= ===
"No-thung! No- thung!
SIEGFRIED AND MIME
THE cave was a dark one, but it was not al-
together a bad place in which to live. It was
as lofty as a stately cathedral, and the Dwarf's
forge, built on one side, lent a fitful red light and
a little warmth to the dim, cold atmosphere.
68 The Story of the Rhinegold
Skins of animals gave it a semblance of com-
fort; and, indeed, to a wild creature like Sieg-
fried, it would have been a most desirable home
had it not been for the continual presence of
Mime. On the day on which I will open my
story, Mime was sitting on a low stool trying to
fashion a sword which would not break in the
hands of the impetuous young Volsung, who,
at that particular moment, was, as usual, out in
the woods with his friends, the wild beasts. As
he hammered, Mime grumbled crossly because he
had to work forever with swords that seemed of
no use to the crazy boy, who insisted on smash-
ing them all, and racing off to the woods, merely
demanding as he went a better and a stronger
"There is a blade that he could not break,"
muttered the Nibelung, as he worked. "No-
thung he would find firm in his hands, but I can-
not weld the splinters. Ah! if I could, I should
be well repaid." He paused, and then went on,
mysteriously murmuring to himself:
Fafner, the great, wicked worm Well guards
he the Rhinegold. Only Siegfried can overthrow
him. This can only be done by Nothung, I feel
sure. And, alas! I cannot shape Nothung, the
Siegfried and Mime
He began to hammer once more, grumbling
continually because Siegfried insisted that he
should make swords, and snarling with rage be-
cause every weapon he forged fell to pieces in
the boy's strong hands.
Suddenly, from without, came a clear, merry
voice, shouting a blithe "Hoyho!" and the next
moment in came Siegfried himself, leading a
great bear, which he had harnessed with a bit
"Ask the foolish smith if he has finished the
sword, Bruin!" he cried to the bear, and, holding
back the great creature firmly, he pretended to
chase Mime, who, springing behind the anvil,
"Take him away! I don't want the bear I
have done my best with your sword."
Good!" laughed the boy. Good-bye, Bruin;
run away," and he freed the great creature, send-
ing him lumbering off into the woods again.
Then, turning to the trembling Nibelung, he
again asked for the sword, and Mime handed it
to him. The young Volsung took it into his
hands quickly, scorn on his handsome face and
anger in his eyes. He was dressed in a wild for-
est costume of wolf-skins, and his yellow hair
curled over his shoulders. He, indeed, made a
70 The Story of the Rhinegold
great contrast to Mime, and one could not won-
der that they did not get on well together.
"What a toy!" he cried out. "Do you call
this a sword?" and, striking it on the anvil, he
broke the blade into a hundred slivers, and then
burst into a rage with the smith, who had pre-
tended to give him a sword fit for battle, and
had shaped him so foolish a switch, as he called
it. And finally, thoroughly out of breath, he
flung himself upon the stone couch at one side,
and not all Mime's coaxings could appease his
anger. He finally confessed that he did not
know why he ever returned to the cave, be-
cause, he said frankly, he could not help detest-
ing the Dwarf, and was much happier when away
from him. And then he broke into a passionate
description of the wood-life he loved so well; the
mating of the birds in the spring-time, and the
way they loved and helped each other; the care
that the mother deer lavished upon her little
ones; the tenderness among all the forest creat-
ures that seemed so beautiful and mysterious
I learned watching them," said Siegfried, al-
most sorrowfully, "what love must be. Mime,
where is she whom I may call mother?"
"Nonsense!" said Mime, and tried to draw
Siegfried and Mime
Siegfried's mind away from the dangerous topic;
for he had never told him anything about his
parents, always calling him his own son. And
he feared the boy's anger if he should ever know
that he had been deceived.
But, thoroughly aroused, the young Volsung
fiercely demanded the names of his father and
mother, declaring that he was far too unlike
Mime to be his son. At last the Nibelung con-
fessed the truth, and told him the story of his
mother's death, and of how she had left her child
in his care. And, when the boy asked for proof,
he slowly crept away, to return with the broken
sword Nothung, the mending of which was so
hard a riddle even to his sly brain.
Wildly excited, Siegfried commanded him to
work at it anew and do his best to weld the
pieces; and, with a shout of delight and hope,
he went merrily away into the woods, leaving
Mime in saddest, deepest perplexity.
Despairing, he murmured at the hopelessness
of the task, which his rather unruly young charge
had set him, and was sitting, a picture of dis-
couragement and misery, when from the dark
woods came a stranger clad as a wanderer, and
bearing a great spear. He advanced to the door
of the cave and asked in slow, grave tones for
72 The Story of the Rhinegold
rest and shelter. Mime was at first frightened,
then angry, and finally refused to harbor the
strange guest, until the Wanderer made the fol-
lowing proposal: Mime was to ask him three
questions, and if they were not correctly answer-
ed the host should have the privilege of cutting
off his guest's head. To this Mime consented,
and, after a little thought, thus chose his first
"Tell me what is the race down in the earth's
And the Wanderer made answer: "In the
earth's depths dwell the Nibelungs. Nibelheim
is their land. Once they were ruled by Black
Alberich, who owned a magic Ring by which
he possessed untold wealth. What is the next
Again Mime pondered.
Now, Wanderer, since you know so much of
the earth's depths," he said, "tell me what is
the race that dwells upon its surface?"
"The giants dwell upon its surface. Two of
them, Fasolt and Fafner, fought for Black Al-
berich's hoard. Fafner guards it now as a drag-
on. Put your third question!"
"What race dwells in the sky above?" de-
Siegfried and Mime
And the Wanderer answered, majestically:
"The gods dwell above in Walhalla. Their
King is Wotan, who owns a spear made of the
World-Ash. With that spear he rules the
And, as he spoke, Wotan, the Wanderer, struck
the earth with the haft he held, and a peal of
thunder crashed suddenly out upon the silence.
As Mime cowered, terror-stricken, recognizing
his guest, the Wanderer again spoke.
He said it was only fair that he should have
the same right he had given to Mime, and de-
clared that he should ask three questions with
the privilege of cutting off the Nibelung's head
if they were not answered aright.
"Tell me, O Dwarf," he began, "what was
that race which Wotan loved, and yet treated
"The Volsungs," answered Mime, partially re-
covering from his terror. "Siegmund and Sieg-
linde were descended from the race. Siegfried
is their son the strongest Volsung who ever
Well answered !" said the Wanderer. Now
listen and reply! A sly Nibelung watches Sieg-
fried, knowing that he is fated to kill Fafner, the
Dragon. What sword must he use to kill him?"