Citation
The story of Siegfried

Material Information

Title:
The story of Siegfried
Series Title:
Heroes of the olden time
Creator:
Baldwin, James, 1841-1925
Pyle, Howard, 1853-1911 ( Illustrator )
Charles Scribner's Sons ( Publisher )
Baldwin, James, 1841-1925
Place of Publication:
New York
Publisher:
Charles Scribner's Sons
Publication Date:
Copyright Date:
1888
Language:
English
Physical Description:
xvi, 306, 8 p., [6] leaves of plates : ill. ; 19 cm.

Subjects

Subjects / Keywords:
Siegfried (Legendary character) -- Juvenile fiction ( lcsh )
Gods -- Juvenile fiction ( lcsh )
Giants -- Juvenile fiction ( lcsh )
Dragons -- Juvenile fiction ( lcsh )
Dwarfs -- Juvenile fiction ( lcsh )
Swords -- Juvenile fiction ( lcsh )
Love -- Juvenile fiction ( lcsh )
Fear -- Juvenile fiction ( lcsh )
Death -- Juvenile fiction ( lcsh )
Adventure and adventurers -- Juvenile fiction ( lcsh )
Folklore -- Juvenile fiction -- Germany ( lcsh )
Folklore -- Juvenile fiction -- Scandinavia ( lcsh )
Mythology, Norse -- Juvenile fiction ( lcsh )
Fantasy literature -- 1896 ( rbgenr )
Folk tales -- 1896 ( rbgenr )
Publishers' catalogues -- 1896 ( rbgenr )
Bldn -- 1896
Genre:
Fantasy literature ( rbgenr )
Folk tales ( rbgenr )
Publishers' catalogues ( rbgenr )
novel ( marcgt )
Spatial Coverage:
United States -- New York -- New York
Target Audience:
juvenile ( marctarget )

Notes

General Note:
Publisher's catalogue follows text.
Statement of Responsibility:
by James Baldwin ; illustrated by Howard Pyle.

Record Information

Source Institution:
University of Florida
Holding Location:
University of Florida
Rights Management:
This item is presumed to be in the public domain. The University of Florida George A. Smathers Libraries respect the intellectual property rights of others and do not claim any copyright interest in this item. Users of this work have responsibility for determining copyright status prior to reusing, publishing or reproducing this item for purposes other than what is allowed by fair use or other copyright exemptions. Any reuse of this item in excess of fair use or other copyright exemptions may require permission of the copyright holder. The Smathers Libraries would like to learn more about this item and invite individuals or organizations to contact The Department of Special and Area Studies Collections (special@uflib.ufl.edu) with any additional information they can provide.
Resource Identifier:
026581606 ( ALEPH )
ALG2011 ( NOTIS )
233023017 ( OCLC )

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Full Text





- dames Ee -







The Baldwin Library

RmB





HEROES OF THE OLDEN TIME,



A STORY OF THE GOLDEN AGE. Illustrated by Howard

Pyles r2mo 3.0.5 yy ae cae ne ee Eos te. OTe
THE STORY OF SIEGFRIED. Illustrated by Howard Pyle.

12mo : i ee : 1.50
THE STORY OF ROLAND. Iilustrated by Reginald B. Birch.

1zmo . shecrup ante te earn 1.50

The Set, 3 vols., in a box, $4.00.





NG,

NG OF BALMU

E FORGI

TH



HEROES OF THE OLDEN TIME



THE

STORY OF SIEGEMED

BY

JAMES BALDWIN

(Illustrated by Howard Pyle

NEW YORK
GCHARGES YS GRIBNER:S -SONS
1896



COPYRIGHT, 1882, 1888,

By CHARLES SCRIBNER’S SONS.



TO MY CHILDREN,

WINFRED, LOUIS, AND NELLIE,
This Book

IS AFFECTIONATELY INSCRIBED.



EE? EO RE. | .W-O RD:

WHEN the world was in its childhood, men looked
upon the works of Nature with a strange kind of awe.
They fancied that every thing upon the earth, in the
air, or in the water, had a life like their own, and that
every sight which they saw, and every sound which
they heard, was caused by some intelligent being. All
men were poets, so far as their ideas and their modes
of expression were concerned, although it is not likely
that any of them wrote poetry. This was true in
regard to the Saxon in his chilly northern home, as
well as.to the Greek in the sunny southland. But,
while the balmy air and clear sky of the south tended
to refine men’s thoughts and language, the rugged
scenery and bleak storms of the north made them
uncouth, bold, and energetic. Yet both the cultured

Greek and the rude Saxon looked upon Nature with
v



vi The Fore Word.



much the same eyes, and there was a strange resem-
blance in their manner of thinking and _ speaking.
They saw, that, in all the phenomena which took place
around them, there was a certain system or regularity,
as if these were controlled by some law or by some
superior being; and they sought, in their simple poet-
ical way, to account for these appearances. They had
not yet learned to measure the distances of the stars,
nor to calculate the motions of the earth. The chan-
ging of the seasons was a mystery which they scarcely
sought to penetrate. But they spoke of these occur-
rences in a variety of ways, and invented many charm-
ing stories with reference to them, not so much with
a view towards accounting for the mystery, as towards
giving expression to their childlike but picturesque
ideas,

Thus, in the south, when reference was made to the
coming of winter and to the dreariness and discomforts
of that season of the year, men did not know nor care
to explain it all, as our teachers now do at school; but
they sometimes told how Hades had stolen Persephone
(the summer) from her mother Demetre (the earth),
and had carried her, in a chariot drawn by four coal-

black steeds, to the gloomy land of shadows; and how,



The Fore Word. vil

in sorrow for her absence, the Earth clothed herself in
mourning, and no leaves grew upon the trees, nor flow-
ers in the gardens, and the very birds ceased singing,
because Persephone was no more. But they added,
that in a few months the fair maiden would return for
a time to her sorrowing mother, and that then the
flowers would bloom, and the trees would bear fruit,
and the harvest-fields would again be full of golden
grain,

In the north a different story was told, but the
meaning was the same. Sometimes men told how
Odin (the All-Father) had become angry with Brunhild
(the maid of spring), and had wounded her with the
thorn of sleep, and how all the castle in which she
slept was wrapped in deathlike slumber until Sigurd
or Siegfried (the sunbeam) rode through flaming fire,
and awakened her with a kiss. Sometimes men told
how Loki (heat) had betrayed Balder (the sunlight),
and had induced blind old Hoder (the winter months)
to slay him, and how all things, living and inanimate,
joined in weeping for the bright god, until Hela (death)
should permit him to revisit the earth for a time.

So, too, when the sun arose, and drove away the

darkness and the hidden terrors of the night, our an-



vili The Fore Word.



cestors thought of the story of a noble young hero
slaying a hideous dragon, or taking possession of the
golden treasures of Mist Land. And when the spring-
time came, and the earth renewed its youth, and the
fields and woods were decked in beauty, and there was
music everywhere, they loved to tell of Idun (the
spring) and her youth-giving apples, and of her wise
husband Bragi (Nature’s musician). When storm-clouds
loomed up from the horizon and darkened the sky,
and thunder rolled overhead, and lightning flashed on
every hand, they talked about the mighty Thor riding
over the clouds in his goat-drawn chariot, and battling
with the giants of the air. When the mountain-mead-
ows were green with long grass, and the corn was
yellow for the sickles of the reapers, they spoke of Sif,
the golden-haired wife of Thor, the queen of the pas-
tures and the fields. When the seasons were mild, and
the harvests were plentiful, and peace and gladness
prevailed, they blessed Frey, the giver of good gifts to
men.

To them the blue sky-dome which everywhere hung
over them like an arched roof was but the protecting
mantle which the All-Father had suspended above the

earth. The rainbow was the shimmering bridge which



The Fore Word. ix

——————



stretches from earth to heaven. The sun and the moon
were the children of a giant, whom two wolves chased
forever around the earth, The stars were sparks from
the fire-land of the south, set in the heavens by the
gods. Night was a giantess, dark and swarthy, who
rode in a car drawn bya steed the foam from whose
bits sometimes covered the earth with dew. And Day
was the son of Night; and the steed which he rode
lighted all the sky and the earth with the beams which

glistened from his mane.

It was thus that men in the earlier ages of the
world looked upon and spoke of the workings of
Nature; and it was in this manner that many myths, or
poetical fables, were formed. By and by, as the world
grew older, and mankind became less poetical and more
practical, the first or mythical meaning of these stories
was forgotten, and they were regarded no longer as
mere poetical fancies, but as historical facts. Perhaps
some real hero had indeed performed daring deeds, and
had made the world around him happier and better. It
was easy to liken him to Sigurd, or to some other myth-
ical slayer of giants; and soon the deeds of both were

ascribed to but one. And thus many myth-stories



x The Fore Word.



probably contain some historical facts blended with
the mass of poetical fancies which mainly compose
them; but, in such cases, it: is generally impossible
to distinguish what is fact from what is mere fancy.

All nations have had their myth-stories ; but, to my
mind, the purest and grandest are those which we have
received from our northern ancestors. They are par-
ticularly interesting to us; because they are what our
fathers once believed, and because they are ours by
tight of inheritance. And, when we are able to make
them still more our own by removing the blemishes
which rude and barbasous ages have added to some of
them, we shall discover in them many things that are
beautiful and true, and well calculated to make us
wiser and better.

It is not known when or by whom these myth-stories
were first put into writing, nor when they assumed the
shape in which we now have them. But it is said, that,
about the year 1100, an Icelandic scholar called Sae-
mund the Wise collected a number of songs and poems
into a book which is now known as the “Elder Edda ;”’
and that, about a century later, Snorre Sturleson,
another Icelander, wrote a prose-work of a similar

character, which is called the “Younger Edda.” And



The Fore Word. xi



it is to these two books that we owe the preservation
of almost aii that is now known of the myths and the
strange religion of our Saxon and Norman forefathers.
But, besides these, there are a number of semi-mytho-
logical stories of great interest and beauty, — stories
partly mythical, and partly founded upon remote and
forgotten historical facts. One of the oldest and finest
of these is the story of Sigurd, the son of Sigmund.
There are many versions of this story, differing from
each other according to the time in which they were
written and the character of the people among whom
they were received. We find the first mention of
Sigurd and his strange daring deeds in the song of
Fafnir, in the “Elder Edda.” Then, in the “ Younger
Edda,” the story is repeated in the myth of the Niflungs
and the Gjukungs. It is told again in the “ Volsunga
Saga” of Iceland. It is repeated and re-repeated in
various forms and different languages, and finally ap-
pears in the “ Nibelungen Lied,” a grand old German
poem, which may well be compared with the Iliad of
the Greeks, In this last version, Sigurd is called Sieg-
fried; and the story is colored and modified by the
introduction of many notions peculiar to the middle

ages, and unknown to our Pagan fathers of the north.



xii The Fore Word.

$$ $$ eee



In our own time this myth has been woven into a vari-
ety of forms. William Morris has embodied it in his
noble poem of “Sigurd the Volsung;” Richard Wag-
ner, the famous German composer, has constructed
from it his inimitable drama, the “ Nibelungen Ring;”
W. Jordan, another German writer, has given it to the

’

world in his “ Sigfrid’s Saga;” and Emanuel Geibel
has derived from it the materials for his “ Tragedy of
Brunhild.”

And now I, too, come with the Story or SIEGFRIED,
still another version of the time-honored legend. The
story as I shall tell it you is not in all respects a
Jiteral rendering of the ancient myth; but I have taken
the liberty to change and recast such portions of it as
I have deemed advisable. Sometimes I have drawn
materials from one version of the story, sometimes
from another, and sometimes largely from my own
imagination alone. Nor shall I be accused of impro-
priety in thus reshaping a narrative, which, although
hallowed by an antiquity of a thousand years and more,
has already appeared in so many different forms, and
been clothed in so many different garbs; for, however
much I may have allowed my fancy or my judgment

to retouch and remodel the immaterial portions of the



The Fore Word. xili

legend, the essential parts of this immortal myth re-
main the same. And, if I succeed in leading you to
a clearer understanding and a wiser appreciation of the
thoughts and feelings of our old northern ancestors, I
shall have accomplished the object for which I have

written this Story of Siegfried.







CONGEE NES:

PAGE

THE FORE WORD : ; . . . : . . v
ADVENTURE

I. MIMER, THE MASTER . e : : , : ; I

II. GREYFELL. 7 . : : : : : “210

Ill. THE Curse or GOLD . nee ; ee as 35

IV. FAFNIR, THE DRAGON. . . . eee 55)

V. In Aicir’s KINGbDoM .. - : : : : 68

VI. BRUNHILD 7 : . : a : . : = 87,

VII. IN NIBELUNGEN LAND 4 : : : ‘ 96

VIII. Sircrriep’s WELCOME HoME : : : : . Tog

IX. THE Journry TO BuRGUNDY-LAND . : : : 15

X. KRIEMHILD’s DREAM . . é : : : e122

XI. How THE SPRING-TIME CAME . : : ; : 125

XII. THe WAR WITH THE Norru-KINGs . ; : eplicy?

XIII. Tue Srory or BALDER . . ; ; : . 152

XIV. How GUNTHER OUTWITTED BRUNHILD : : . 167

XV. IN NIBELUNGEN LAND AGAIN . ; : . 5 183

XVI. How BRUNHILD WAS WELCOMED HoME . . » 205

XVII. How SIEGFRIED LIVED IN NIBELUNGEN LAND 226

XV



xvi

Contents.



ADVENTURE

XVIII.

XIX. How THEY HUNTED IN THE ODENWALD .

XX. How THE HOARD WAS BROUGHT TO BURGUNDY.

THE AFTER WORD

NOTES

How THE MISCHIEF BEGAN TO BREW .

PAGE

248
269
283

291

294



LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS.

Engraved by Frank French, 7. P. Davis, E. Clement, and Fohn Karst,

From DRAWINGS BY HowaRD PYLE.

PAGE

THE FoRGING OF BALMUNG. : : 3 Frontispiece
Tur DEATH OF FAFNIk . ° é F 5 : : ; 02)
THE AWAKENING OF BRUNHILD . ° : . ; ; 94
THE TRIAL OF STRENGTH : : : 4 ‘| : : . 180
THE QUARREL OF THE QUEENS . ; ; . : : : 256

Ti1E DEATH OF SIEGFRIED . : : : : ; 282



THE STORY OF SIEGFRIED.



ADVENTURE I.

MIMER, THE MASTER.

At Santen, in the Lowlands, there once lived a young
prince named Siegfried. His father, Siegmund, was
king of the rich country through which the lazy Rhine
winds its way just before reaching the great North Sea;
and he was known, both far and near, for his good deeds
and his prudent thrift. And Siegfried’s mother, the
gentle Sigelind, was loved by all for her goodness of
heart and her kindly charity to the poor. Neither king
nor queen left aught undone that might make the
young prince happy, or fit him for life’s usefulness.
Wise men were brought from far-off lands to be his
teachers; and every day something was added to his
store of knowledge or his stock of happiness. And
very skilful did he become in warlike games and in
manly feats of strength. No other youth could throw
the spear with so great force, or shoot the arrow with
surer aim. No other youth could run more swiftly, or
ride with more becoming ease. His gentle mother took
delight in adding to the beauty of his matchless form
by clothing him in costly garments decked with the

I



2 The Story of Siegfried.





rarest jewels. The old, the young, the rich, the poor,
the high, the low, all praised the fearless Siegfried,
and all vied in friendly strife to win his favor. One
would have thought that the life of the young prince
could never be aught but a holiday, and that the
birds would sing, and the flowers would bloom, and
the sun would shine forever for his sake.

But the business of man’s life is not mere pastime;
and none knew this truth better than the wise old king,
Siegmund.

“All work is noble,” said he to Siegfried; “and he
who yearns to win fame must not shun toil. Even
princes should know how to earn a livelihood by the
labor of their hands.”

And so, while Siegfried was still a young lad, his
father sent him to live with a smith called Mimer,
whose smithy was among the hills not far from the
great forest. For in those early times the work of
the smith was looked upon as the most worthy of all
trades, —a trade which the gods themselves were not
ashamed to follow. _And this smith Mimer was a won-
derful master, —the wisest and most cunning that the
world had ever seen. Men said that he was akin to
the dwarf-folk who had ruled the earth in the early
days, and who were learned in every lore, and skilled
in every craft; and they said that he was so exceeding
old that no one could remember the day when he came
to dwell in the land of Siegmund’s fathers. And some
said, too, that he was the keeper of a wonderful well,



Mimer, the Master. 3



or flowing spring, the waters of which imparted wis-
dom and far-seeing knowledge to all who drank of
them.

To Mimer’s school, then, where he would be taught
to work skilfully and to think wisely, Siegfried was
sent, to be in all respects like the other pupils there.
A coarse blue blouse, and heavy leggings, and a leath-
ern apron, took the place of the costly clothing which
‘he had worn in his father’s dwelling. His feet were
incased in awkward wooden shoes, and his head was
covered with a wolf-skin cap. The dainty bed, with
its downy pillows, wherein every night his mother had
been wont, with gentle care, to see him safely covered,
was given up fora rude heap of straw in a corner of
the smithy. And the rich food to which he had been
used gave place to the coarsest and humblest fare.
But the lad did not complain. The days which he
passed in the smithy were mirthful and happy; and
the sound of his hammer rang cheerfully, and the
sparks from his forge flew briskly, from morning till
night.

And a wonderful smith he became. No one could
do more work than he, and none wrought with greater
skill, The heaviest chains and the strongest bolts, for
prison or for treasure-house, were but as toys in his
stout hands, so easily and quickly did he beat them
into shape. And he was alike cunning in work of the
most delicate and brittle kind. Ornaments of gold and
silver, studded with the rarest jewels, were fashioned



4 Lhe Story of Siegfried.





into beautiful forms by his deft fingers. And among
all of Mimer’s apprentices none learned the master’s
lore so readily, nor gained the master’s favor raore.

One morning the master, Mimer, came to the smithy
with a troubled look upon his face. It was clear that
something had gone amiss; and what it was the ap-
prentices soon learned from the smith himself. Never,
until lately, had any one questioned Mimer’s right to be
called the foremost smith in all the world; but now
a rival had come forward. An unknown upstart — one
Amilias, in Burgundy-land — had made a suit of armor,
which, he boasted, no stroke of sword could dint, and
no blow of spear could scratch; and he had sent a
challenge to all other smiths, both in the Rhine coun-
try and elsewhere, to equal that piece of workmanship,
or else acknowledge themselves his underlings and vas-
sals. For many days had Mimer himself toiled, alone
and vainly, trying to forge a sword whose edge the
boasted armor of Amilias could not foil; and now, in
despair, he came to ask the help of his pupils and
apprentices.

“Who among you is skilful enough to forge such a
sword?” he asked.

One -after another, the pupils shook their heads.
And Veliant, the foreman of the apprentices, said, “I
have heard much about that wonderful armor, and its
extreme hardness, and I doubt if any skill can make a
sword with edge so sharp and true as to cut into it.
The best that can be done is to try to make another

* See Note 1 at the end of this volume.



Mimer, the Master. 4
war-coat whose temper shall equal that of Amilias’s
armor.”

Then the lad Siegfried quickly said, “I will make
such a sword as you want,—a blade that no war-coat
can foil. Give me but leave to try

The other pupils laughed in scorn, but Mimer checked
them. “You hear how this hoy can talk: we will see
what he can do. He is the king’s son, and we know
that he has uncommon talent. He shall make the
sword ; but if, upon trial, it fail, I will make him rue
the day.”

Then Siegfried went to his task. And for seven days
and seven nights the sparks never stopped flying from
his forge; and the ringing of his anvil, and the hissing
of the hot metal as he tempered it, were heard contin-
uously. On the eighth day the sword was fashioned,
and Siegfried brought it to Mimer.

The smith felt the razor-edge of the bright weapon,
and said, ‘‘ This seems, indeed, a fair fire-edge.. Let us
make a trial of its keenness.”

Then a thread of wool as light as thistle-down was
thrown upon water, and, as it floated there, Mimer
struck it with the sword. The glittering blade cleft
the slender thread in twain, and the pieces floated
undisturbed upon the surface of the liquid.

“Well done!” cried the delighted smith. “Never
have I seen a keener edge. If its temper is as true as
its sharpness would lead us to believe, it will indeed

1

serve me well.”



6 The Story of Siegfried.



But Siegfried took the sword again, and broke it into
many pieces ; and for three days he welded it in a white-
hot fire, and tempered it with milk and oatmeal. Then,
in sight of Mimer and the sneering apprentices, he cast
a light ball of fine-spun wool upon the flowing water of
the brook; and it was caught in the swift eddies of the
stream, and whirled about until it met the bared blade
of the sword, which was held in Mimer’s hands. And
it was parted as easily and clean as the rippling water,
and not the smallest thread was moved out of its place.

Then back to the smithy Siegfried went again; and
his forge glowed with a brighter fire, and his hammer
rang upon the anvil with a cheerier sound, than ever
before. But he suffered none to come near, and no
one ever knew what witchery he used. But some
of his fellow-pupils afterwards told how, in the dusky
twilight, they had seen a one-eyed man, long-bearded,
and clad in a cloud-gray kirtle, and wearing a sky-blue
hood, talking with Siegfried at the smithy door. And.
they said that the stranger’s face was at once pleasant
and fearful to look upon, and that his one eye shone in
the gloaming like the evening star, and that, when he
had placed in Siegfried’s hands bright shards, like pieces
of a broken sword, he faded suddenly from their sight,
and was seen no more.

For seven weeks the lad wrought day and night at
his forge; and then, pale and haggard, but with a
pleased smile upon his face, he stood before Mimer,
with the gleaming sword in his hands. ‘It is finished,”



Mimer, the Master. 7

he said. “Behold the glittering terror!— the blade
Balmung.. Let us try its edge, and prove its temper
once again, that so we may know whether you can
place your trust in it.”

And Mimer looked long at the ruddy hilts of the
weapon, and at the mystic runes that were scored upon
its sides, and at the keen edge, which gleamed like a ray
of sunlight in the gathering gloom of the evening. But
no word came from his lips, and his eyes were dim and
dazed ; and he seemed as one lost in thoughts of days
long past and gone.

Siegfried raised the blade high over his head; and
the gleaming edge flashed hither and thither, like the
lightning’s play when Thor rides over the storm-clouds.
Then suddenly it fell upon the master’s anvil, and the
great block of iron was cleft in two; but the bright
blade was no whit dulled by the stroke, and the line of
light which marked the edge was brighter than before.

Then to the flowing brook they went; and a great
pack of wool, the fleeces of ten sheep, was brought, and
thrown upon the swirling water. As the stream bore
the bundle downwards, Mimer held the sword in its
way. And the whole was divided as easily and as
clean as the woollen ball or the slender woollen thread
had been cleft before.

“ Now, indeed,” cried Mimer, “I no longer fear to
meet that upstart, Amilias. If his war-coat can with-
stand the stroke of such a sword as Balmung, then I
shall not be ashamed to be his underling. But, if this



8 The Story of Siegfried.





good blade is what it seems to be, it will not fail me;
and I, Mimer the Old, shall still be called the wisest
and greatest of smiths.”

And he sent word at once to Amilias, in Burgundy-
land, to meet him on a day, and settle forever the ques-
tion as to which of the two should be the master, and
which the underling. And heralds proclaimed it in every
town and dwelling. When the time which had been
set drew near, Mimer, bearing the sword Balmung, and
followed by all his pupils and apprentices, wended his
way towards the place of meeting. Through the forest -
they went, and then along the banks of the sluggish
river, for many a league, to the height of land which
marked the line between King Siegmund’s country and
the country of the Burgundians. It was in this place,
midway between the shops of Mimer and Amilias, that
the great trial of metal and of skill was to be made.
And here were already gathered great numbers of peo-
ple from the Lowlands and from Burgundy, anxiously
waiting for the coming of the champions. On the one
side were the wise old Siegmund and his gentle queen,
and their train of knights and courtiers and fair ladies.
On the other side were the three Burgundian kings,
Gunther, Gernot, and Giselher, and a mighty retinue of
warriors, led by grim old Hagen, the uncle of the kings,
and the wariest chief in all Rhineland.

When every thing was in readiness for the contest,
Amilias, clad in his boasted war-coat, went up to the
top of the hill, and sat upon a great rock, and waited



Mimer, the Master. 9



for Mimer’s coming. As he sat there, he looked, to the
people below, like some great castle-tower ; for he was
almost a giant in size, and his coat of mail, so skilfully
wrought, was so huge that twenty men of common mould
might have found shelter, or hidden themselves, within
it. As the smith Mimer, so dwarfish in stature, toiled
up the steep hillside, Amilias smiled to see him; for he
felt no fear of the slender, gleaming blade that was to
try the metal of his war-coat. And already a shout
of expectant triumph went up from the throats of the
Burgundian hosts, so sure were they of their champion’s
SUCCESS.

But Mimer’s friends waited in breathless silence, hop-
ing, and yet fearing. Only King Siegmund whispered
to his queen, and said, “Knowledge is stronger than
brute force. The smallest dwarf who has drunk from
the well of the Knowing One may safely meet the
stoutest giant in battle.”

When Mimer reached the top of the hill, Amilias
folded his huge arms, and smiled again; for he felt
that this contest was mere play for him, and that
Mimer was already as good as beaten, and his thrall.
The smith paused a moment to take breath, and as
he stood by the side of his foe he looked to those
Lelow like a mere black speck close beside a steel-gray
castle-tower.

“ Are you ready?” asked the smith.

“Ready,” answered Amilias. “Strike!”

Mimer raised the beaming blade in the air, and for a



10 The Story of Sregfried.

moment the lightning seemed to play around his head.
The muscles on his short, brawny arms, stood out like
great ropes; and then Balmung, descending, cleft the
air from right to left. The waiting lookers-on in the
plain below thought to hear the noise of clashing steel ;
but they listened in vain, for no sound came to their
ears, save a sharp hiss like that which red-hot iron gives
when plunged into a tank of cold water. The huge
Amilias sat unmoved, with his arms still folded upon his
breast ; but the smile had faded from his face.

“How do you feel now?” asked Mimer in a half-
mocking tone.

“Rather strangely, as if cold iron had touched me,”
faintly answered the upstart.

“Shake thyself!” cried Mimer.

Amilias did so, and, lo! he fell in two halves; for the
sword had cut sheer through the vaunted war-coat, and
cleft in twain the great body incased within. Down
tumbled the giant head and the still folded arms, and
they rolled with thundering noise to the foot of the hill,
and fell with a fearful splash into the deep waters of
the river; and there, fathoms down, they may even
now be seen, when the water is clear, lying like great
gray rocks among the sand and gravel below. The rest
of the body, with the armor which incased it, still sat
upright in its place; and to this day travellers sailing
down the river are shown on moonlit evenings the
luckless armor of Amilias on the high hill-top. In the
dim, uncertain light, one easily fancies it to be the ivy
covered ruins of some old castle of feudal times.



Mimer, the Muster. Ll

The master, Mimer, sheathed his sword, and walked
slowly down the hillside to the plain, where his friends
welcomed him with glad cheers and shouts of joy.
But the Burgundians, baffled, and feeling vexed, turned
silently homeward, nor cast a single look back to the
scene of their disappointment and their ill-fated cham-
pion’s defeat.

And Siegfried went again with the master and his
fellows to the smoky smithy, to his roaring bellows and
ringing anvil, and to his coarse fare, and rude, hard bed,
and to a life of labor. And while all men praised Mimer
and his knowing skill, and the fiery edge of the sun-
beam blade, no one knew that it was the boy Siegfried
who had wrought that piece of workmanship.

But after a while it was whispered around that not
Mimer, but one of his pupils, had forged the sword.
And, when the master was asked what truth there was
in this story, his eyes twinkled, and the corners of his
mouth twitched strangely, and he made no answer.
But Veliant, the foreman of the smithy, and the great-
est of boasters said, “It was I who forged the fire-edge
of the blade Balmung.” Ard, although none denied
the truth of what he said, but few who knew what sort
of a man he was believed his story. And this is the
reason, my children, that, in the ancient songs ané
stories which tell of this wondrous sword, it is said by
most that Mimer, and by a few that Veliant, forged its
blade. But I prefer to believe that it was made by
Siegfried, the hero who afterwards wielded it in so



12 The Story of Siegfried.



many adventures. Be this as it may, however, blind
hate and jealousy were from this time uppermost in
the coarse and selfish mind of Veliant ; and he sought
how he might drive the lad away from the smithy in
disgrace. ‘This boy has done what no one else could
do,” said he. “He may yet do greater deeds, and set
himself up as the master smith of the world, and then
we shall all have to humble ourselves before him as his
underlings and thralls.”’

And he nursed this thought, and brooded over the
hatred which he felt towards the blameless boy; but he
did not dare to harm him, for fear of their master, Mimer.
And Siegfried busied himself at his forge, where the
sparks flew as briskly and as merrily as ever before,
and his bellows roared from early morning till late at
evening. Nor did the foreman’s unkindness trouble
him for a moment, for he knew that the master’s heart
was warm towards him.

Oftentimes, when the day’s work was done, Siegfried
sat with Mimer by the glowing light of the furnace-fire,
and listened to the sweet tales which the master told
of the deeds of the early days, when the world was
young, and the dwarf-folk and the giants had a name
and a place upon earth. And one night, as they thus
sat, the master talked of Odin the All-Father, and of
the gods who dwell with him in Asgard, and of the
puny men-folk whom they protect and befriend, until
his words grew full of bitterness, and his soul of a fierce
longing for something he dared not name. And the

1 See Note 3 at the end of this volume.



Mimer, the Master. 13

Y



lad’s heart was stirred with a strange uneasiness, and hz
said, —

“Tell me, I pray, dear master, something about my
own kin, my father’s fathers, — those mighty kings, who,
I have heard said, were the bravest and best of men.”

Then the smith seemed pleased again. And his eyes
grew brighter, and lost their far-away look; and a smile
played among the wrinkles of his swarthy face, as he
told a tale of old King Volsung and of the deeds of the
Volsung kings :—

“Long years ago, before the evil days had dawned,
King Volsung ruled over all the land which lies between
the sea and the country of the Goths. The days were
golden; and the good Frey dropped peace and plenty
everywhere, and men went in and out and feared no
wrong. King Volsung had a dwelling in the midst
of fertile fields and fruitful gardens. Fairer than any
dream was that dwelling. The roof was thatched with
gold, and red turrets and towers rose above. The great
feast-hall was long and high, and its walls were hung
with sun-bright shields ; and the door-nails were of sil-
ver. In the middle of the hall stood the pride of the
Volsungs, —a tree whose blossoms filled the air with
fragrance, and whose green branches, thrusting them-
selves through the ceiling, covered the roof with fair
foliage. It was Odin’s tree, and King Volsung had
planted it there with his own ha ads.

“On a day in winter King Volsung held a great
feast in his hall in honor of Siggeir, the King of the



4 The Story of Siegfried.



Goths, who was his guest. And the fires blazed bright
in the broad chimneys, and music and mirth went round.
But in the midst of the merry-making the guests were
startled by a sudden peal of thunder, which seemed to
come from the cloudless sky, and which made the shields
upen the walls rattle and ring. In wonder they looked
around. A strange man stood in the doorway, and
laughed, but said not a word. And they noticed that
he wore no shoes upon his feet, but that a cloud-gray
cloak was thrown over his shoulders, and a blue hood
was drawn down over his head. His face was half-
hidden by a heavy beard; and he had but one eye,
which twinkled and glowed like a burning coal. And
all the guests sat moveless in their seats, so awed were
they in the presence of him who stood at the door; for
they knew that he was none other than Odin the All-
Father, the king of gods and men. He spoke not
a word, but straight into the hall he strode, and he
paused not until he stood beneath the blossoming
branches of the tree. Then, forth from beneath his
cloud-gray cloak, he drew a gleaming sword, and struck
the blade deep into the wood, —so deep that nothing
but the hilt was left in sight. And, turning to the
awe-struck guests, he said, ‘A blade of mighty worth
have I hidden in this tree. Never have the earth-folk
wrought better steel, nor has any man ever wielded a
more trusty sword. Whoever there is among you brave
enough and strong enough to draw it forth from the
wood, he shall have it as a gift from Odin.” Then



Mimer, the Master. 15



slowly to the door he strode again, and no one saw
him any more.

“And after he had gone, the Volsungs and their
guests sat a long time silent, fearing to stir, lest the
vision should prove a dream. But at last the old king
arose, and cried, ‘Come, guests and kinsmen, and set
your hands to the ruddy hilt! Odin’s gift stays, waiting
for its fated owner. Let us see which one of you is
the favored of the All-Father.’ First Siggeir, the King
of the Goths, and his earls, the Volsungs’ guests,
tried their hands. But the blade stuck fast; and the
stoutest man among them failed to move it. Then
King Volsung, laughing, seized the hilt, and drew with
all his strength; but the sword held still in the wood
of Odin’s tree. And one by one the nine sons of Vol-
sung tugged and strained in vain; and each was greeted
with shouts and laughter, as, ashamed and beaten, he
wended to his seat again. Then, at last, Sigmund,
the youngest son, stood up, and laid his hand upon the
ruddy hilt, scarce thinking to try what all had failed to
do. When, lo! the blade came out of the tree as if
therein it had all along lain loose. And Sigmund raised
it high over his head, and shook it, and the bright fame
that leaped from its edge lit up the hall like the light-
ning’s gleaming; and the Volsungs and their guests
rent the air with cheers and shouts of gladness. For
no one among all the men of the mid-world was
more worthy of Odin’s gift than young Sigmund the
brave.”



16 The Story of Siegfried.



But the rest of Mimer’s story would be too long to
tell you now; for he and his young apprentice sat for
hours by the dying coals, and talked of Siegfried’s kin-
folk, —the Volsung kings of old. And he told how
Siggeir, the Goth king, was wedded to Signy the fair,
the only daughter of Volsung, and the pride of the old
king’s heart; and how he carried her with him to his
home in the land of the Goths; and how he coveted
Sigmund’s sword, and plotted to gain it by guile; and
how, through pretence of friendship, he invited the Vol-
sung kings to visit him in Gothland, as the guests of
himself and Signy ; and how he betrayed and slew them,
save Sigmund alone, who escaped, and for long years
lived an outlaw in the land of his treacherous foe. And
then he told how Sigmund afterwards came back to his
own country of the Volsungs; and how his people wel-
comed him, and he became a mighty king, such as the
world had never known before ; and how, when he had
grown old, and full of years and honors, he went out
with his earls and fighting-men to battle against the
hosts of King Lyngi the Mighty ; and how, in the midst
of the fight, when his sword had hewn down numbers of
the foe, and the end of the strife and victory seemed
near, an old man, one eyed and bearded, and wearing a
cloud-gray cloak, stood up before him in the din, and his
sword was broken in pieces, and he fell dead on the
heap of the slain... And, when Mimer had finished his
tale, his dark face seemed to grow darker, and his twin-

1 See Note 4 at the end of this volume.



Mimer, the Master. 17



kling eyes grew brighter, as he cried out in a tone of
despair and hopeless yearning, —

“Oh, past are those days of old and the worthy deeds
of the brave! And these are the days of the home-
stayers, —-of the wise, but feeble-hearted. Yet the
Norns have spoken; and it must be that another hero
shall arise of the Volsung blood, and he shall restore
the name and the fame of his kin of the early days.
And he shall be my bane; and in him shall the race of
heroes have an end.” !

Siegfried’s heart was strangely stirred within him as
he hearkened to this story of ancient times and to the
fateful words of the master, and for a long time he sat
in silent thought ; and neither he nor Mimer moved, or
spoke again, until the darkness of the night had begun
to fade, and the gray light of morning to steal into the
smithy. Then, as if moved by a sudden impulse, he
turned to the master, and said, —

“You speak of the Norns, dear master, and of their
foretelling ; but your words are vague, and their mean-
ing very broad. When shall that hero come? and who >
shall he be? and what deeds shall be his doing?”

“ Alas!” answered Mimer, “I know not, save that he
shall be of the Volsung race, and that my fate is linked
with his.”

“And why do you not know?” returned Siegfried.
“Are you not that old Mimer, in whom it is said the
garnered wisdom of the world is stored? Is there

t See Note 7 at the end of this volume.



18 The Story of Stegfried.

not truth in the old story that even Odin pawned one
of his eyes for a single draught from your fountain
of knowedge? And is the possessor of so much wis-
dom unable to look into the future with clearness and
certainty?”

“ Alas!” answered Mimer again, and his words came
hard and slow, “I am not that Mimer, of whom old
stories tell, who gave wisdom to the All-Father in ex-
change for an eye. He is one of the giants, and he
still watches his fountain in far-off Jotunheim.t I claim
kinship with the dwarfs, and am sometimes known as
an elf, sometimes as a wood-sprite. Men have called
me Mimer because of my wisdom and skill, and the
learning which I impart to my pupils. Could I but
drink from the fountain of the real Mimer, then the
wisdom of the world would in truth be mine, and the
secrets of the future would be no longer hidden. But I
must wait, as I have long waited, for the day and the
deed and the doom that the Norns have foretold.”

And the old strange look of longing came again into
his eyes, and the wrinkles on his swarthy face seemed
to deepen with agony, as he arose, and left the smithy.
And Siegfried sat alone before the smouldering fire, and
pondered upon what he had heard.

1 See Note 2 at the end of this volume.



Greyfell. 19g



ADVENTURE U1.

GREYFELL.

_ Many were the pleasant days that Siegfried spent in
Mimer’s smoky smithy ; and if he ever thought of his
father’s stately dwelling, or of the life of ease which he
might have enjoyed within its halls, he never by word or
deed showed signs of discontent. For Mimer taught
him all the secrets of his craft and all the lore of the
wise men. To beat hot iron, to shape the fire-edged
sword, to smithy war-coats, to fashion the slender brace-
let of gold and jewels, —all this he had already learned.
But there were many other things to know, and these
the wise master showed him. He told him how to carve
the mystic runes which speak to the knowing ones with
silent, unseen tongues; he told him of the men of other
lands, and taught him their strange speech; he showed
him how to touch the harp-strings, and bring forth
bewitching music: and the heart of Siegfried waxed
very wise, while his body grew wondrous strong. And
the master loved his pupil dearly.

But the twelve apprentices grew more jealous day by
day, and when Mimer was away they taunted Siegfried



20 The Story of Siegfried.





with cruel jests, and sought by harsh threats to drive
him from the smithy; but the lad only smiled, and
made the old shop ring again with the music from his
anvil. Ona day when Mimer had gone on a journey,
Veliant, the foreman, so far forgot himself as to strike
the boy. For a moment Siegfried gazed at him with
withering scorn; then he swung his hammer high in
air, and brought it swiftly down, not upon the head of
Veliant, who was trembling with expectant fear, but
upon the foreman’s anvil. The great block of iron was
shivered by the blow, and flew into a thousand pieces.
Then, turning again towards the thoroughly frightened
foreman, Siegfried said, while angry lightning-flashes
darted from his eyes, —

“What if I were to strike you thus?”

Veliant sank upon the ground, and begged for mercy,

“You are safe,” said Siegfried, walking away. “I
would scorn to harm a being like you!”

The apprentices were struck dumb with amazement
and fear; and when Siegfried had returned to his anvil
they one by one dropped their hammers, and stole away
from the smithy. In a secret place not far from the
shop, they met together, to plot some means by which
they might rid themselves of him whom they both hated
and feared.

The next morning Veliant came to Siegfried’s forge,
with a sham smile upon his face. The boy knew
that cowardice and base deceit lurked, ill concealed,
beneath that smile; yet, as he was wont to do, he
welcomed the foreman kindly.



Grey fell, 21



“Siecfried,” said Veliant, “let us be friends again.
I am sorry that I was so foolish and so rash yesterday,
and I promise that I will never again be so rude and
unmanly as to become angry at you. Let us be friends,
good Siegfried! Give me your hand, I pray you, and
with it your forgiveness.”

Siegfried grasped the rough palm of the young smith
with such a gripe, that the smile vanished from Veliant’s
face, and his muscles writhed with pain.

“T give you my hand, certainly,” said the boy, “and
I will give you my forgiveness when I know that you
are worthy of it.”

As soon as Veliant’s aching hand allowed him speech,
he said, —

“ Siegfried, you know that we have but little charcoal
left for our forges, and our master will soon return from
his journey. It will never do for him to find us idle,
and the fires cold. Some one must go to-day to the
forest-pits, and bring home a fresh supply of charcoal.
low would you like the errand? It is but a pleasant
day’s journey to the pits; and a ride into the green-
wood this fine summer day would certainly be more
agreeable than staying in the smoky shop.”

“T should like the drive very much,” answered Sieg-
fried ; “but I have never been to the coal-pits, and I
might lose my way in the forest.”

“No danger of that,” said Veliant. “Follow the
road that goes straight into the heart of the forest,
and you cannot miss your way. It will lead you to the



22 Lhe Story of Siegfried.

house of Regin, the master, the greatest charcoal-man
in all Rhineland. He will be right glad to see you for
Mimer’s sake, and you may lodge with him for the
night. In the morning he will fill your cart with the
choicest charcoal, and you can drive home at your leis-
ure; and, when our master comes again, he will find
our forges flaming, and our bellows roaring, and our
anvils ringing, as of yore.”

Siegfried, after some further parley, agreed to under-
take the errand, although he felt that Veliant, in urging
him to do so, wished to work him some harm. He har-
nessed the donkey to the smith’s best cart, and drove
merrily away along the road which led towards the
forest.' The day was bright and clear; and as Sieg-
fried rode through the flowery meadows, or betwixt the
fields of corn, a thousand sights and sounds met him,
and made him glad. Now and then he would stop to
watch the reapers in the fields, or to listen to the song
of some heaven-soaring lark lost to sight in the blue
sea overhead. Once he met a company of gayly dressed
youths and maidens, carrying sheaves of golden grain,
—for it was now the harvest-time, —and singing in
praise of Frey, the giver of peace and plenty.

“Whither away, young prince?” they merrily asked.

“To Regin, the coal-burner, in the deep greenwood,”
he answered.

“Then may the good Frey have thee in keeping!”
they cried. “It is a long and lonesome journey.” And
each one blessed him as they passed.

1 See Note 5 at the end of this volume.



Grey fell. 23



It was nearly noon when he drove into the forest,
and left the blooming meadows and the warm sunshine
behind him. And now he urged the donkey forwards
with speed ; for he knew that he had lost much precious
time, and that many miles still lay between him and
Regin’s charcoal-pits. And there was nothing here
amid the thick shadows of the wood to make him wish
to linger; for the ground was damp, and the air was
chilly, and every thing was silent as the grave. And
not a living creature did Siegfried see, save now and
then a gray wolf slinking across the road, or a doleful owl
sitting low down in some tree-top, and blinking at him
in the dull but garish light. Evening at last drew on,
and the shadows in the wood grew deeper; and still no
sign of charcoal-burner, nor of other human being, was
seen. Night came, and thick darkness settled around ;
and all the demons of the forest came forth, and clam-
ored and chattered, and shrieked and howled. But
Siegfried was not afraid. The bats and vampires came
out of their hiding-places, and flapped their clammy
wings in his face; and he thought that he saw ogres and
many fearful creatures peeping out from behind every
tree and shrub. But, when he looked upwards through
the overhanging tree-tops, he saw the star-decked roof
of heaven, the blue mantle which the All-Father has
hung as a shelter over the world; and he went bravely
onwards, never doubting but that Odin has many good
things in store for those who are willing to trust him.

And by and by the great round moon arose in the



24 Lhe Story of Siegfried.





east, and the fearful sounds that had made the forest
hideous began to die away; and Siegfried saw, far down
the path, a red light feebly gleaming. And he was
glad, for he knew that it must come from the charcoal-
burners’ pits. Soon he came out upon a broad, cleared
space; and the charcoal-burners’ fires blazed bright
before him; and some workmen, swarthy and _ soot-
begrimed, came forwards to meet him.

“Who are you?” they asked ; “and why do you come
through the forest at this late hour ?”

“T am Siegfried,” answered the boy; “and I come
from Mimer’s smithy. I seek Regin, the king of char-
coal-burners; for I must have coal for my master’s
smithy.”

“Come with me,” said one of the men: “I will lead
you to Regin.”

Siegfried alighted from his cart, and followed the
man to a low-roofed hut not far from the burning pits.
As they drew near, they heard the sound of a harp, and
strange, wild music within; and Siegfried’s heart was
stirred with wonder as he listened. The man knocked
softly at the door, and the music ceased.

“Who comes to break into Regin’s rest at such a
time as this?” said a rough voice within.

‘“‘A youth who calls himself Siegfried,” answered the
man. “He says that he comes from Mimer’s smithy,
and he would see you, my master.”

“Let him come in,” said the voice.

Siegfried passed through the low door, and into the



Grey fell 25
room beyond; and so strange was the sight that met him
that he stood for a while in awe, for never in so lowly
a dwelling had treasures so rich been seen. Jewels
sparkled from the ceiling; rare tapestry covered the
walls; and on the floor were heaps of ruddy gold and
silver, still unfashioned. And in the midst of all this
wealth stood Regin, the king of the forest, the great-
est of charcoal-men. And a strange old man he was,
wrinkled and gray and beardless ; but out of his eyes
sharp glances gleamed of a light that was not human,
and his heavy brow and broad forehead betokened wis-
dom and shrewd cunning. And he welcomed Siegfried
kindly for Mimer’s sake, and set before him a rich repast |
of venison, and wild honey, and fresh white bread, and
luscious grapes. And, when the meal was finished, the
boy would have told his errand, but Regin stopped him.

“Say nothing of your business to-night,” said he;
“for the hour is already late, and you are weary. Better
lie down, and rest until the morrow; and then we will
talk of the matter which has brought you hither.”

And Siegfried was shown to a couch of the fragrant
leaves of the myrtle and hemlock, overspread with soft
white linen, such as is made in the far-off Emerald Isle;
and he was lulled to sleep by sweet strains of music
from Regin’s harp, — music which told of the days when
the gods were young on the earth. And as he slept
he dreamed. He dreamed that he stood upon the crag
of a high mountain, and that the eagles flew screaming
around him, and the everlasting snows lay at his feet,



26 The Story of Siegfried.



and the world in all its beauty was stretched out like a
map below him ; and he longed to go forth to partake
of its abundance, and to make for himself a name among
men. Then came the Norns, who spin the thread, and
weave the woof, of every man’s life; and they held in
their hands the web of his own destiny. And Urd, the
Past, sat on the tops of the eastern mountains, where
the sun begins to rise at dawn; while Verdanda, the
Present, stood in the western sea, where sky and water
meet. And they stretched the web between them, and
its ends were hidden in the far-away mists. Then with
all their might the two Norns span the purple and golden
threads, and wove the fatal woof. But as it began to
grow in beauty and in strength, and to shadow the earth
with its gladness and its glory, Skuld, the pitiless Norn
of the Future, seized it with rude fingers, and tore it
into shreds, and cast it down at the fect of Hela, the
white queen of the dead.t And the eagles shricked,
and the mountain shook, and the crag toppled, and
Siegfried awoke.

The next morning, at earliest break of day, the
youth sought Regin, and made known his errand.

“I have come for charcoal for my master Mimer’s
forges. My cart stands ready outside; and I pray you
to have it filled at once, for the way is long, and I must
be back betimes.”

Then a strange smile stole over Regin’s wrinkled
face, and he said, —

See Note 6 at the end of this volume.



Greyfell. ay,





“Does Siegfried the prince come on such a lowly
errand? Does he come to me through the forest, driv-
ing a donkey, and riding in a sooty coal-cart? I have
known the day when his kin were the mightiest kings
of earth, and they fared through every land the noblest
men of men-folk.”

The taunting word, the jeering tones, made Sieg-
fried’s anger rise. The blood boiled in his veins; but
he checked his tongue, and mildly answered, —

“Tt is trué that I am a prince, and my father is the
wisest of kings; and it is for this reason that I come
thus to you. Mimer is my master, and my father early
taught me that even princes must obey their masters’
behests.”’

Then Regin laughed, and asked, ‘“‘ How long art thou
to be Mimer’s thrall? Does no work wait for thee but
at his smoky forge?”

“When Mimer gives me leave, and Odin calls me,”
answered the lad, “then I, too, will go faring over the
world, like my kin of the earlier days, to carve me a
name and great glory, and a place with the noble of
earth.”

Regin said not a word; but he took his harp, and
smote the strings, and a sad, wild music filled the room.
And ke sang of the gods and the dwarf-folk, and of the
deeds that had been in the time long past and gone.
And a strange mist swam before Siegfried’s eyes; and
so bewitching were the strains that fell upon his ears,
and filled his soul, that he forgot about his errand, and



28 The Story of Siegfried.

his master Mimer, and his father Siegmund, and his
lowland home, and thought only of the heart-gladdening
sounds. By and by the music ended, the spell was
lifted, and Siegfried turned his eyes towards the musi-
cian. A wonderful change had taken place. The little
old man still stood before him with the harp in his
hand; but his wrinkled face was hidden by a heavy
beard, and his thin gray locks were covered with a long
black wig, and he seemed taller and stouter than before.
As Siegfried started with surprise, his host held out his
hand, and said, —

“You need not be alarmed, my boy. It is time for
you to know that Regin and Mimer are the same per-
son, or rather that Mimer is Regin disguised. The
day has come for you to go your way into the world,
and Mimer gives you leave.”

Siegfried was so amazed he could not say a word.
He took the master’s hand, and gazed long into his
deep, bright eyes. Then the two sat down together,
and Mimer, or Regin as we shall now call him, told the
prince many tales of the days that had been, and of his
bold, wise forefathers. And the lad’s heart swelled
within him; and he longed to be like them, — to dare
and do and suffer, and gloriously win at last. And he
turned to Regin and said, —

“Tell me, wisest of masters, what I shall do to win
fame, and to make myself worthy to rule the fair land
which my fathers held.”

â„¢ See Note 8 at the end of this volume,



Greyfell. 29

“Go forth in your own strength, and with Odin’s
help,” answered Regin, — “go forth to right the wrong,
to help the weak, to punish evil, and come not back to
your father’s kingdom until the world shall know your
noble deeds.”

“But whither shall I go?” asked Siegfried.

“J will tell you,’ answered Regin. “Put on these
garments, which better befit a prince than those soot-
begrimed clothes you have worn so long. Gird about
you this sword, the good Balmung, and go northward.
When you come to the waste lands which border upon
the sea, you will find the ancient Gripir, the last of the
kin of the giants. Ask of him a war-steed, and Odin
will tell you the rest.”

So, when the sun had risen high above the trees,
Siegfried bade Regin good-by, and went forth like a
man, to take whatsoever fortune should betide. He
went through the great forest, and across the bleak
moorland beyond, and over the huge black mountains
that stretched themselves across his way, and came to
a pleasant country all dotted with white farmhouses,
and yellow with waving corn. But he tarried not here,
though many kind words were spoken to him, and all
besought him to stay. Right onwards he went, until
he reached the waste land which borders the sound-
ing sea. And there high mountains stood, with snow-
crowned crags beetling over the waves; and a great
river, all foaming with the summer floods, went rolling
through the valley. And in the deep dales between



30 The Story of Siegfried.

the mountains were rich meadows, green with grass,
and speckled with thousands of flowers of every hue,
where herds of cattle and deer, and noble elks, and
untamed horses, fed in undisturbed peace. And Sieg-
fried, when he saw, knew that these were the pastures
of Gripir the ancient.

High up among the gray mountain-peaks stood Gripir’s
dwelling, — a mighty house, made of huge bowlders
brought by giant hands from the far north-land. And
the wild eagles built their nests around it, and the
mountain vultures screamed about its doors. But Sieg-
fried was not afraid. He climbed the steep pathway
which the feet of men had never touched before, and,
without pausing, walked straightway into the high-built
hall. The room was so dark that at first he could see
nothing save the white walls, and the glass-green pillars
which upheld the roof. But the light grew stronger
soon; and Siegfried saw, beneath a heavy canopy of
stone, the ancient Gripir, seated in a chair made from
the sea-horse’s teeth. And the son of the giants held in
his hand an ivory staff; anda purple mantle was thrown
over his shoulders, and his white beard fell in sweeping
waves almost to the sea-green floor. Very wise he
seemed, and he gazed at Siegfried with a kindly smile.

“Fail, Siegfried!” he cried. ‘Hail, prince with
the gleaming eye! I know thee, and I know the woof
that the Norns have woven for thee. Welcome to my
lonely mountain home! Come and sit by my side in the

1 See Note g at the end of this volume.



Greyfell. 31



high-seat where man has never sat, and I will tell thee
of things that have been, and of things that are yet
to be.”

Then Siegfried fearlessly went and sat by the side of
the ancient wise one. And long hours they talked
together, — strong youth and hoariest age; and each
was glad that in the other he had found some source of
hope and comfort. And they talked of the great mid-
world, and of the starry dome above it, and of the seas
which gird it, and of the men who live upon it. All
night long they talked, and in the morning Siegfried
arose to go.

“Thou hast not told me of thy errand,” said Gripir;
“but I know what it is. Come first with me, and see
this great mid-world for thyself.”

Then Gripir, leaning on his staff, led the way out of
the great hall, and up to the top of the highest moun-
tain-crag. And the wild eagles circled in the clear,
cold air above them; and far below them the white
waves dashed against the mountain’s feet; and the
frosty winds swept around them unchecked, bringing
to their ears the lone lamenting of the north giants,
moaning for the days that had been and for the glories
that were past. Then Siegfried looked to the north,
and he saw the dark mountain-wall of Norway trending
away in solemn grandeur towards the frozen sea, but
broken here and there by sheltering fjords, and pleasant,
sunny dales. He looked to the east, and saw a great
forest stretching away and away until it faded to sight



32 The Story of Stegfried.



in the blue distance. He looked to the south, and saw
a pleasant land, with farms and vineyards, and towns
and strong-built castles; ard through it wound the
River Rhine, like a great white serpent, reaching from
the snow-capped Alps to the northern sea. And he
saw his father’s little kingdom of the Netherlands lying
like a green speck on the shore of the ocean. Then he
looked to the west, and nothing met his sight but a
wilderness of rolling, restless waters, save, in the far
distance, a green island half hidden by sullen mists
and clouds. And Siegfried sighed, and said, —

“The world is so wide, and the life of man so short!”

“The world is all before thee,” answered Gripir.
“Take what the Norns have allotted thee. Choose
from my pastures a battle-steed, and ride forth to win
for thyself a name and fame among the sons of men.”

Then Siegfried ran down the steep side of the moun-
tain to the grassy dell where the horses were feeding.
But the beasts were all so fair and strong, that he knew
not which to choose. While he paused, uncertain what
to do, a strange man stood before him. Tall and hand-
some was the an, with one bright eye, and a face
beaming like the dawn in summer; and upon his head
he wore a sky-blue hood bespangled with golden stars,
and over his shoulder was thrown a cloak of ashen gray.

“Would you choose a horse, S'r Siegfried?” asked
the stranger.

“Indeed I would,” answered he. “But it is hard to
make a choice among so many.”



Greyfell. ae)

————___. r



“There is one in the meadow,” said the man, “ far
better than all the rest. They say that he came from
Odin’s pastures on the green hill-slopes of Asgard, and
that none but the noblest shall ride him.”

“Which is he?” asked Siegfried.

“Drive the herd into the river,” was the answer,
“and then see if you can pick him out.”

And Siegfried and the stranger drove the horses
down the sloping bank, and into the rolling stream ; but
the flood was too strong for them. Some soon turned
back to the shore; while others, struggling madly, were
swept away, and carried out to the sea. Only one
swam safely over. He shook the dripping water from
his mane, tossed his head in the air, and then plunged
again into the stream. Right bravely he stemmed the
torrent the second time. He clambered up the shelving
bank, and stood by Siegfried’s side.

‘“What need to tell you that this is the horse?” said
the stranger. “Take him: he is yours. He is Grey-
fell, the shining hope that Odin sends to his chosen
heroes.”

And then Siegfried noticed that the horse’s mane
glimmered and flashed like a thousand rays from the
sun, and that his coat was as white and clear as the
fresh-fallen snow on the mountains. He turned t
speak to the stranger, but he was nowhere to be seen
and Siegfried bethought him how he had talked wit}
Odin unawares. Then he mounted the noble Greyfell
and rode with a light heart across the flowery meadows.



34 The Story of Siegfried.



“Whither ridest thou?” cried Gripir the ancient,
from his doorway among the crags.

“T ride into the wide world,” said Siegfried; “but
I know not whither. I would right the wrong, and
help the weak, and make myself a name on the earth,
as did my kinsmen of yore. Tell me, I pray you,
where I shall go; for you are wise, and you know the
things which have been, and those which shall befall.”

“Ride back to Regin, the master of masters,” an-
swered Gripir. “He will tell thee of a wrong to be
righted.”

And the ancient son of the giants withdrew into his
ionely abode; and Siegfried, on the shining Greyfell,
rode swiftly away towards the south.



The Curse of Gold. 35



ADVENTURE Ii].

THE CURSE OF GOLD.

Fortu then rode Siegfried, upon the beaming Grey-
fell, out into the broad mid-world. And the sun shone
bright above him, and the air was soft and pure, and
the earth seemed very lovely, and life a gladsome thing.
And his heart was big within him as he thought of
the days to come, of the deeds of love and daring, of the
righting of many wrongs, of the people’s praise, and
the glory of a life well lived. And he wended his way
back again toward the south and the fair lands of the
Rhine. He left the barren moorlands behind him, and
the pleasant farms and villages of the fruitful country-
side, and after many days came once more to Regin’s
woodland dwelling. For he said to himself, “My old
master is very wise; and he knows of the deeds that
were done when yet the world was young, and my kin
were the mightiest of men. I will go to him, and learn
what grievous evil it is that he has so often vaguely
hinted at.”

Regin, when he saw the lad and the beaming Grey-
fell standing like a vision of light at his door, welcomed



36 The Story of Siegfried.



them most gladly, and led Siegfried into the inner
room, where they sat down together amid the gold, and
the gem-stones, and the fine-wrought treasures there.

“Truly,” said the master, “the days of my long
waiting are drawing to a close, and at last the deed
shall be done.”

And the old look of longing came again into his
eyes, and his pinched face seemed darker and more
wrinkled than before, and his thin lips trembled with
emotion as he spoke, ;

“What is that deed of which you speak?” asked
Siegfried.

“It is the righting of a grievous wrong,” answered
Regin, “and the winning of treasures untold. Lo,
many years have I waited for the coming of this day;
and now my heart tells me that the hero so long hoped
for is here, and the wisdom and the wealth of the world
shall be mine.”

“But what is the wrong to be righted?” asked Sieg-
fried. ‘“ And what is this treasure that you speak of as
your own?”

“Alas!” answered Regin, “the treasure is indeed
mine; and yet wrongfully has it been withheld from me.
But liste. a while to a tale of the early days, and thou
shalt know what the treasure is, and what is the wrong
to be righted.”

He took his harp and swept the strings, and played
.a soft, low melody which told of the dim past, and of
blighted hopes, and of a nameless, never-satisfied



The Curse of Gold. 27





yearning for that which might have been. And then
he told Siegfried this story : —

REGIN’S STORY.

When the earth was still very young, and men were
feeble and few, and the Dwarfs were many and strong,
the Asa-folk were wont oft-times to leave their halls in
heaven-towering Asgard in order to visit the new-formed
mid-world, and to see what the short-lived sons of men
were doing. Sometimes they-came in their own god-
like splendor and might ; sometimes they came disguised
as feeble men-folk, with all man’s weaknesses and all his
passions. Sometimes Odin, as a beggar, wandered from
one country to another, craving charity; sometimes, as
a warrior clad in coat of mail, he rode forth to battle
for the cause of right; or as a minstrel he sang from
door to door, and played sweet music in the halls of the
great; or as a huntsman he dashed through brakes and
fens, and into dark forests, and climbed steep mountains
in search of game; or as a sailor he embarked upon
the sea, and sought new scenes in unknown lands. And
many times did men-folk entertain him unawares.

Once on a time he came to the mid-world in com-
pany with Hoenir and Loki; and the three wandered
through many lands and in many climes, each giving
gifts wherever they went. Odin gave knowledge and
strength, and taught men how to read the mystic runes ;
Hoenir gave gladness and good cheer, and lightened
many hearts with the glow of his comforting presence;



38 The Story of Siegfried.



out Loki had nought to give but cunning deceit and
base thoughts, and he left behind him bitter strife and
many aching breasts. At last, growing tired of the
fellowship of men, the three Asas sought the solitude
of the forest, and as huntsmen wandered long among
the hills and over the wooded heights of Hunaland.
Late one afternoon they came to a mountain-stream at
a place where it poured over a ledge of rocks, and fell
in clouds of spray into a rocky gorge below. As they
stood, and with pleased eyes gazed upon the waterfall,
they saw near the bank an otter lazily making ready
to eat a salmon which he had caught. And Loki, ever
bent on doing mischief, hurled a stone at the harmless
beast, and killed it. And he boasted loudly that he had
done a worthy deed. And he took both the otter, and
the fish which it had caught, and carried them with him
as trophies of the day’s success.

Just at nightfall the three huntsmen came to a lone
farmhouse in the valley, and asked for food, and for
shelter during the night.

“Shelter you shall have,” said the farmer, whose
name was Hreidmar, “for the rising clouds foretell a
storm. But food I have none to give you. Surely
huntsmen of skill should not want for food; since the
forest teems with game, and the streams are full of
fish.”

Then Loki threw upon the ground the otter and the
fish, and said, “We have sought in both forest and
stream, and we have taken from them at one blow both



The Curse of Gold. 39







flesh and fish. Give us but the shelter you promise,
and we will not trouble you for food.”

The farmer gazed with horror upon the lifeless body
of the otter, and cried out, “This creature which you
mistook for an otter, and which you have robbed and
killed, is my son Oddar, who for mere pastime had
taken the form of the furry beast. You are but thieves ©
and murderers !”’

Then he called loudly for help: and his two sons
Fafnir and Regin, sturdy and valiant kin of the dwarf
folk, rushed in, and seized upon the huntsmen, and
bound them hand and foot; for the three Asas, having
taken upon themselves the forms of men, had no more
than human strength, and were unable to withstand
them.

Then Odin and his fellows bemoaned their ill fate.
And Loki said, “ Wherefore did we foolishly take upon
ourselves the likenesses of puny men? Had I my own
power once more, I would never part with it in exchange
for man’s weaknesses.”

And Hoenir sighed, and said, “Now, indeed, will
darkness win: and the frosty breath of the Reimthursen
giants will blast the fair handiwork of the sunlight and
the heat; for the givers of life and light and warmth
are helpless prisoners in the hands of these cunning
and unforgiving jailers.”’

“Surely,” said Odin, “not even the highest are free
from obedience to heaven’s behests and the laws of
tight. I, whom men call the Preserver of Life, have



40 The Story of Siegfried.



=



demeaned myself by being found in evil company ; and,
although I have done no other wrong, I suffer rightly
for the doings of this mischief-maker with whom I have
stooped to have fellowship. For all are known, not so
much by what they are as by what they seem to be, -
and they bear the bad name which their comrades bear.
Now I am fallen from my high estate. Eternal rizht
is higher than I. And in the last Twilight of the gods
I must needs meet the dread Fenris-wolf, and in the
end the world will be made new again, and the shining
Balder will rule in sunlight majesty forever.”

Then the Asas asked Hreidmar, their jailer, what
ransom they should pay for their freedom; and he, not
knowing who they were, said, “I must first know what
ransom you are able to give.”

“We will give any thing you may ask,” hastily an-
swered Loki.

Hreidmar then called his sons, and bade them strip
the skin from the otter’s body. When this was done,
they brought the furry hide and spread it upon the
ground; and Hreidmar said, “Bring shining gold and
precious stones enough to cover every part of this otter-
skin. When you have paid so much ransom, you shall
have your freedom.”

“That we will do,” answered Odin. “Butone of us
must have leave to go and fetch it: the other two will
stay fast bound until the morning dawns. If, by that
time, the gold is not here, you may do with us as you
please.”



The Curse of Gold. 41



Hreidmar and the two young men agreed to Odin’s
offer; and, lots being cast, it fell to Loki to go and
fetch the treasure. When he had been loosed from the
cords which bound him, Loki donned his magic shoes,
which had carried him over land and sea from the far-
thest bounds of the mid-world, and hastened away upon
his errand. And he sped with the swiftness of light,
over the hills and the wooded slopes, and the deep dark
valleys, and the fields and forests and sleeping hamlets,
until he came to the place where dwelt the swarthy
elves and the cunning dwarf Andvari. There the River
Rhine, no larger than a meadow-brook, breaks forth
from beneath a mountain of ice, which the Frost
giants and blind old Hoder, the Winter-king, had built
long years before ; for they had vainly hoped that they
miight imprison the river at its fountain-head. But the
baby-brook had eaten its way beneath the frozen mass,
and had sprung out from its prison, and gone on, leap-
ing and smiling, and kissing the sunlight, in its ever-
widening course towards Burgundy and the sea.

Loki came to this place, because he knew that here
was the home of the elves who had laid up the greatest
hoard of treasures ever known in the mid-world. He
scanned with careful eyes the mountain-side, and the
deep, rocky caverns, and the dark gorge through which
the little river rushed; but in the dim moonlight not a
living being could he see, save a lazy salmon swimming
in the quieter eddies of the stream. Any one but Loki
would have lost all hope of finding treasure there, at



42 The Story of Siegfried.
least before the dawn of day; but his wits were quick,
and his eyes were very sharp.

“One salmon has brought us into this trouble, and
another shall help us out of it!” he cried.

Then, swift as thought, he sprang again into the air;
and the magic shoes carried him with greater speed
than before down the Rhine valley, and through Bur-
gundy-land, and the low meadows, until he came to the
shores of the great North Sea. He sought the halls
of old A®gir, the Ocean-king; but he wist not which way
to go, — whether across the North Sea towards Isen-
land, or whether along the narrow channel between
Britain-land and the main. While he paused, uncertain
where to turn, he saw the pale-haired daughters of old
égir, the white-veiled Waves, playing in the moonlight
near the shore. Of them he asked the way to Aégir’s
hall.

“Seven days’ journey westward,” said they, “beyond
the green Isle of Erin, is our father’s hall. Seven days’
journey northward, on the bleak Norwegian shore, is our
father’s hall.”

And they stopped not once in their play, but rippled
and danced on the shelving beach, or dashed with force
against the shore.

“Where is your mother Ran, the Queen of the
Ocean?” asked Loki.”

And they answered, —



The Curse of Gold. 43

‘In the deep sea-caves

By the sounding shore,

In the dashing waves
When the wild storms roar,

In her cold green bowers
In the northern fiords,

She lurks and she glowers,
She grasps and she hoards,

And she spreads her strong net for her prey.”

Loki waited to hear no more; but he sprang into
the air, and the magic shoes carried him onwards over
the water in search of the Ocean-queen. He had not
gone far when his sharp eyes espied her, lurking near a
rocky shore against which the breakers dashed with
frightful fury. Half hidden in the deep dark water,
she lay waiting and watching; and she spread her cun-
ning net upon the waves, and reached out with her long
greedy fingers to seize whatever booty might come near
her.

When the wary queen saw Loki, she hastily drew in
her net, and tried to hide herself in the shadows of an
overhanging rock. But Loki called her by name, and
said, —

«Sister Ran, fear not! I am your friend Loki,
whom once you served as a guest in A®gir’s gold-lit
halls.”

Then the Ocean-queen came out into the bright
moonlight, and welcomed Loki to her domain, and
asked, “Why does Loki thus wander so far from As-
gard, and over the trackless waters?”



44 The Story of Stegfried.

And Loki answered, “I have heard of the net which
you spread upon the waves, and from which no creature
once caught in its meshes can ever escape. I have
found a salmon where the Rhine-spring gushes from
beneath the mountains, and a very cunning salmon he
1s, for no common skill can catch him. Come, I pray,
with your wondrous net, and cast it into the stream
where he lies. Do but take the wary fish for me, and
you shall have more gold than you have taken in a year
from the wrecks of stranded vessels.”

“J dare not go,” cried Ran. ‘A bound is set, be-
yond which I may not venture. [If all the gold of earth
were offered me, I could not go.”

“Then lend me your net,” entreated Loki. ‘Lend
me your net, and I will bring it back to-morrow filled
with gold.”

“Much I would like your gold,” answered Ran;
“but I cannot lend my net. Should I do so, I might
lose the richest prize that has ever come into my hus-
band’s kingdom. For three days, now, a gold-rigged
ship, bearing a princely crew with rich armor and
abundant wealth, has been sailing carelessly over these
seas. To-morrow I shall send my daughters and the
bewitching mermaids to decoy the vessel among the
rocks. And into my net the ship, and the brave war-
riors, and all their armor and gold, shall fall. A rich
prize it will be. No: I cannot part with my net, e7ep
for a single hour.”

But Loki knew the power of flattering words.



The. Curse of Gold. 45



“ Beautiful queen,” said he, “there is no one on earth,
nor even in Asgard, who can equal you in wisdom and
foresight. Yet I promise you, that, if you will but lend
me your net until the morning dawns, the ship and the
crew of which you speak shall be yours, and all their
golden treasures shall deck your azure halls in the deep
sea.”

Then Ran carefully folded the net, and gave it to
Loki.

“Remember your promise,” was all that she said.

“ An Asa never forgets,” hé answered.

And he turned his face again towards Rhineland; and
the magic shoes bore him aloft, and carried him in a
moment back to the ice-mountain and the gorge and the
infant river, which he had so lately left. The salmon
still rested in his place, and had not moved during Loki’s
short absence.

Loki unfolded the net, and cast it into the stream.
The cunning fish tried hard to avoid being caught
in its meshes; but, dart which way he would, he met
the skilfully woven cords, and these drew themselves
around him, and held him fast. Then Loki pulled the
net up out of the water, and grzsped the helpless fish
in his right hand. But, lo! as he-held the struggling
creature high in the air, it was no longer a fish, but the
cunning dwarf Andvari.

“Thou King of the Elves,” cried Loki, ‘thy cun-
ning has not saved thee. Tell me, on thy life, where
thy hidden treasures lie!”



46 The Story of Stegfried.





The wise dwarf knew who it was that thus held him
as in avise; and he answered frankly, for it was his only
hope of escape, “Turn over the stone upon which you
stand. Beneath it you will find the treasure you seek.”

Then Loki put his shoulder to the rock, and pushed
with all his might. But it seemed as firm as the moun-
tain, and would not be moved.

“Help us, thou cunning dwarf,” he cried, — “ help
us, and thou shalt have thy life!”

The dwarf put his shoulder to the rock, and it turned
over as if by magic, and underneath was disclosed a
wondrous chamber, whose walls shone brighter than the
sun, and on whose floor lay treasures of gold and glit-
tering gem-stones such as no man had ever seen. And
Loki, in great haste, seized upon the hoard, and placed
it in the magic net which he had borrowed from the
Ocean-queen. Then he came out of the chamber; and
Andvari again put his shoulder to the rock which lay at
the entrance, and it swung back noiselessly to its place.

“What is that upon thy finger ?”’ suddenly cried Loki.
“Wouldst keep back a part of the treasure? Give me
the ring thou hast!”

But the dwarf shook his head, and made answer, “I
have given thee all the riches that the elves of the
mountain have gathered since the world began. This
ring I cannot give thee, for without its help we shall
never be able to gather more treasures together.”

And Loki grew angry at these words of the dwarf;
and he seized the ring, and tore it by force from And.



The Curse of Gold. 47
vari’s fingers. It was a wondrous little piece of mechan-
ism shaped like a serpent, coiled, with its tail in its
mouth; and its scaly sides glittered with many a tiny
diamond, and its ruby eyes shone with an evil light.
When the dwarf knew that Loki really meant to rob
him of the ring, he cursed it and all who should ever
possess it, saying, —

“May the ill-gotten treasure that you have seized to-
night 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 a violent death! The Norns have spoken,
and thus it must be.”

Loki was pleased with these words, and with the
dark curses which the dwarf pronounced upon the
gold; for he loved wrong-doing for wrong-doing’s sake,
and he knew that no curses could ever make his own
life’ more cheerless than it always had been. So he
thanked Andvari for his curses and his treasures; and,
throwing the magic net upon his shoulder, he sprang
again into the air, and was carried swiftly back to
Hunaland ; and, just before the dawn appeared in the
east, he alighted at the door of the farmhouse where
Odin and Hoenir still lay bound with thongs, and
guarded by Fafnir and Regin.

Then the farmer, Hreidmar, brought the otter’s skin,
and spread it upon the ground; ‘and, lo! it grew, and
spread out on all sides, until it covered an acre of



48 The Story of Siegfried.



ground. And he cried out, “ Fulfil now your promise!
Cover every hair of this hide with gold or with pre-
cious stones. If you fail to do this, then your lives, by
your own agreement, are forfeited, and we shall do with
you as we list.”

Odin took the magic net from Loki’s shoulder; and,
opening it, he poured the treasures of the mountain.
elves upon the otter-skin. And Lokiand Hoenir spread
the yellow pieces carefully and evenly over every part
of the furry hide. But, after every piece had been laid
in its place, Hreidmar saw near the otter’s mouth a
single hair 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. And the Asas looked at each other in dis-
may ; for not another piece of gold, and not another
precious stone, could they find in the net, although they
searched with the greatest care. At last Odin took
from his bosom 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
that it would not be needed to complete the payment
of the ransom. And they laid the ring upon the un-
covered hair. And now no portion of the otter’s skin
could be seen. And Fafnir and Regin, the ransom
being paid, loosed the shackles of Odin and Hoenir,
and bade the three huntsmen go on their way.

Odin and Hoenir at once shook off their human
disguises, and, taking their own forms again, hastened



The Curse of Gold. 49
with all speed back to Asgard. But Loki tarried a
little while, and said to Hreidmar 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 be the bane of
every one who holds it. 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 king among men-folk
shall feel its curse. Such is gold, and such it shall
ever be to its worshippers. And the ring which you
have gotten shall impart to its possessor its own na-
ture. 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 Hreidmar and his sons, and
hastened northward toward the sea; for he wished to
redeem the promise that he had made to the Ocean-
queen, to bring back her magic net, and to decoy the
richly laden ship into her clutches.

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; and he loudly
declared that he would keep all the treasure for himself,



50 The Story of Siegfried.

and that his sons should not have any portion of it
whatever. So Fafnir and Regin, nursing their disap-
pointment, went to the fields to watch their sheep; but
their father sat down to guard his new-gotten treasure.
And he took in his hand the glittering serpent-ring,
and gazed into its cold ruby eyes: and, as he gazed, all
his thoughts were fixed upon his gold; and there was
no room in his heart for love toward his fellows, nor for
deeds of kindness, nor for the worship of the All-Father.
And behold, 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 feel-
ings, became purple and cold and sluggish ; and selfish-
ness, like serpent-poison, took hold of his heart. Then,
as he kept on gazing at the hoard which lay before him,
he began to lose his human shape; 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 looked so long.

When the day drew near its close, F afnir came back
from the fields with his herd of sheep, and thought to
find his father guarding the treasure, as he had left him
in the morning; but instead he saw a glittering
snake, fast asleep, encircling the hoard like a huge
scaly ring of gold. His first thought was that the
monster had devoured his father ; and, hastily drawing
his sword, with one blow he severed thé serpent’s head
from its body. And, while yet the creature writhed in



The Curse of Gold. 51

eR i ee



the death-agony, he gathered up the hoard, and fled
with it beyond the hills of Hunaland, until on the
seventh day he came to a barren heath far from the
homes of men. There he placed the treasures in one
glittering heap; and he clothed himself in a wondrous
mail-coat of gold that was found among them, and he
put on the Helmet of Dread, which had once been the
terror of the mid-world, and the like of which no man
had ever seen; and then he gazed with greedy eyes
upon the fateful ring, until he, too, was changed into a
cold and slimy reptile, —a monster dragon. And he
coiled himself about the hoard; and, with his restless
eyes forever open, he gloated day after day upon his
loved gold, and watched with ceaseless care that no one
should come near to despoil him of it. This was ages
and ages ago; and still he wallows among his treasures
on the Glittering Heath, and guards as of yore the
garnered wealth of Andvari."

When I, Regin, the younger brother, came back in
the late evening to my father’s dwelling, I saw that the
treasure had been carried away; and, when I beheld
the dead serpent lying in its place, I knew that a part ot
Andvari’s curse had been fulfilled. And a strange fear
came over me; and I left every thing behind me, and
fled from that dwelling, never more to return. Then I
came to the land of the Volsungs, where your father's
fathers dwelt, —the noblest king-folk that the world
has ever seen. But a longing for the gold and the

1 See Note 10 at end of this volume.



52 The Story of Siegfried.

treasure, a hungry yearning that would never be
satisfied, filled my soul. Then for a time I sought to
forget this craving. I spent my days in the getting of
knowledge and in teaching men-folk the ancient lore of
my kin, the Dwarfs. I taught them how to plant and
to sow, and to reap the yellow grain. I showed them
where the precious metals of the earth lie hidden, and
how to smelt iron from its ores, —how to shape the
ploughshare and the spade, the spear and the battle-
axe. I taught them how to tame the wild horses of
the meadows, and how to train the yoke-beasts to the
plough; how to build lordly dwellings and mighty
strongholds, and how to sail in ships across old A¢gir’s
watery kingdom. But they gave me no thanks for
what I had done; and as the years went by they
forgot who had been their teacher, and they said that it
was Frey who had given them this knowledge and skill.
And I taught the young maidens how to spin and
weave, and to handle the needle deftly, —to make rich
garments, and to work in tapestry and embroidery.
But they, too, forgot me, and said that it was Freyja
who had taught them. Then I showed men how to
read the mystic runes aright, and how to make the
sweet beverage of poetry, that charms all hearts, and
enlightens the world. But they say now that they had
these gifts from Odin. I taught them how to fashion
the tales of old into rich melodious songs, and with
music and sweet-mouthed eloquence to move the minds
of their fellow-men. But they say that Bragi taught



The Curse of Gold. . 53



them this; and they remember me only as Regin, the
elfin schoolmaster, or at best as Mimer, the master
of smiths. At length my heart grew bitter because
of the neglect and ingratitude of men; and the old
longing for Andvari’s hoard came back to me, and I
forgot much of my cunning and lore. But I lived on
and on, and generations of short-lived men arose
and passed, and still the hoard was not mine; for I
was weak, and no man was strong enough to help
me.

Then I sought wisdom of the Norns, the weird women
who weave the woof of every creature’s fate.

“How long,” asked I, “must I hope and wait in
weary expectation of that day when the wealth of the
world and the garnered wisdom of the ages shall be
mine?”

And the witches answered, “When a prince of the
Volsung race shall come who shall excel thee in the
smithying craft, and to whom the All-Father shall give
the Shining Hope as a helper, then the days of thy
weary watching shall cease.”

“How long,” asked I, “shall I live to enjoy this
wealth and this wisdom, and to walk as a god among
men? Shall I be long-lived as the Asa-folk, and dwell
on the earth until the last Twilight comes?”

“Tt is written,” answered Skuld, “that a beardless
youth shall see thy death. But go thou now, and bide
thy time.”

! See Notes 6 and 7 at the end of this volume.



54 The Story of Siegfried.





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

“T know what you wish,” said Siegfried at last.
“You think that I am the prince of whom the weird
sisters spoke; and you would have me slay the dragon
Fafnir, and win for you the hoard of. Andvari.”

“Tt is even so,” answered Regin.

“ But the hoard is accursed,” said the lad.

_ “Let the curse be upon me,” was the answer. “Is
not the wisdom of the ages mine? And think you that
I cannot escape the curse? Is there aught that can
prevail against him who has all knowledge and the
wealth of the world at his call?”

“Nothing but the word of the Norns and the will of
the All-Father,” answered Siegfried.

“But will you help me?” asked Regin, almost wild
with earnestness. “Will you help me to win that
which is rightfully mine, and to rid the world of a hor-
ribie evil?”

“Why is the hoard of Andvari more thine than
Fafnir’s?”

“He is a monster, and he keeps the treasure but to
gloat upon its glittering richness, I will use it to make
myself a name upon the earth. I will not hoard it
away. But I am weak, and he is strong and terrible.
Will you help me?”

“To-morrow,” said Siegfried, “be ready to go with
me to the Glittering Heath. The treasure shall be
thine, and also the curse,”

‘And also the curse,” echoed Regin.



Fafnir, the Dragon. 55



ADVENTURE IV.

FAFNIR, THE DRAGON.

Recin took up his harp, and his fingers smote the
strings; and the music which came forth sounded like
the wail of the winter’s wind through the dead tree-
tops of the forest. And the song which he sang was
full of grief and wild hopeless yearning for the things
which were not to be. When he had ceased, Siegfried
said, —

“That was indeed a sorrowful song for one to sing
who sees his hopes so nearly realized. Why are you so
sad? Is it because you fear the curse which you have
taken upon yourself? or is it because you know not
what you will do with so vast a treasure, and its posses-
sion begins already to trouble you?”

“Oh, many are the things I will do with that treas-
ure!” answered Regin; and his eyes flashed wildly,
and his face grew red and pale. “I will turn winter
into summer; I will make the desert-places glad; I will
bring back the golden age; I will make myself a god:
for mine shall be the wisdom. and the gathered wealth
of the world. And yet I fear” —



56 The Story of Swegfried.

“What do you fear ?”’

“The ring, the ring—it is accursed! The Norns,
too, have spoken, and my doom is known. I cannot
escape it.” 3

“The Norns have woven the woof of every man’s
life,’ answered Siegfried. ‘To-morrow we fare to the
Glittering Heath, and the end shall be as the Norns
have spoken.”

And so, early the next morning, Siegfried mounted
Greyfell, and rode out towards the desert-land that lay
beyond the forest and the barren mountain-range; and
Regin, his eyes flashing with desire, and his feet never
tiring, trudged by his side. For seven days they
wended their way through the thick greenwood, sleeping
at night on the bare ground beneath the trees, while the
wolves and other wild beasts of the forest filled the air
with their hideous howlings. But no evil creature dared
come near them, for fear of the shining beams of light
which fell from Greyfell’s gleaming mane. On the eighth
day they came to the open country and to the hills,
where the land was covered with black bowlders and
broken by yawning chasms. And no living thing was
seen there, not even an insect, nor a blade of grass;
and the silence of the grave was over all. And the
earth was dry and parched, and the sun hung above
them like a painted shield in a blue-black sky, and there
was neither shade nor water anywhere. But Siegfried
rode onwards in the way which Regin pointed out, and
faltered not, although he grew faint with thirst and



Fafnir, the Dragon. 57
with the overpowering heat. Towards the evening
of the next day they came to a dark mountain-wall
which stretched far out on either hand, and rose high
above them, so steep that it seemed to close up the way,
and to forbid them going farther.

“This is the wall!” cried Regin. “Beyond this
mountain is the Glittering Heath, and the goal of all
my hopes.”

And the little old man ran forwards, and scaled the
rough side of the mountain, and reached its summit,
while Siegfried and Greyfell were yet toiling among the
rocks at its foot. Slowly and painfully they climbed
the steep ascent, sometimes following a narrow path
which wound along the edge of a precipice, some-
times leaping from rock to rock, or over some deep
gorge, and sometimes picking their way among the
crags and cliffs. The sun at last went down, and
one by one the stars came out; and the moon
was rising, round and red, when Siegfried stood by
Regin’s side, and gazed from the mountain-top down
upon the Glittering Heath which lay beyond. And a
strange, weird scene it was that met his sight. At the
foot of the mountain was a river, white and cold and
still; and beyond it was a smooth and barren plain,
lying silent and lonely in the pale moonlight. But in
the distance was seen a circle of flickering flames, ever
changing,— now growing brighter, now fading away,
and now shining with a dull, cold light, like the glim-
mer of the glow-worm or the fox-fire. And as Siegfried



58 The Story of Sregfried.

gazed upon the scene, he saw the dim outline of some
hideous monster moving hither and thither, and seem-
ing all the more terrible in the uncertain light.

“Tt is he!” whispered Regin, and his lips were ashy
pale, and his knees trembled beneath him. “It is
Fafnir, and he wears the Helmet of Terror! Shall we
not go back to the smithy by the great forest, and to
the life of ease and safety that may be ours there? Or
will you rather dare to go forwards, and meet the
Terror in its abode?”

“None but cowards give up an undertaking once
begun,” answered Siegfried. ‘Go back to Rhineland
yourself, if you are afraid; but you must go alone.
You have brought me thus far to meet the dragon of
the heath, to win the hoard of the swarthy elves, and
to rid the world of a terrible evil. Before the setting
of another sun, the deed which you have urged me to
do will be done.”

Then he dashed down the eastern slope of the moun-
tain, leaving Greyfell and the trembling Regin behind
him. Soon he stood on the banks of the white river,
which lay between the mountain and the heath; but
the stream was deep and sluggish, and the channel was
very wide. He paused a moment, wondering how he
should cross; and the air seemed heavy with deadly
vapors, and the water was thick and cold. While he
thus stood in thought, a boat came silently out of the
mists, and drew near; and the boatman stood up and
called to him, and said, —



Fafnir, the Dragon. 5S



“What man are you who dares come into this leva!
of loneliness and fear?”

“T am Siegfried,’ answered the lad; ‘and I have
come to slay Fafnir, the Terror.”

“Sit in my boat,” said the boatman, “and I will
carry you across the river.”

And Siegfried sat by the boatman’s side; and with-
out the use of an oar, and without a breath of air to
drive it forwards, the little vessel turned, and moved
silently towards the farther shore.

“Tn what way will you fight the dragon?” asked the
boatman.

“With my trusty sword Balmung I shall slay him,”
answered Siegfried.

“But he wears the Helmet of Terror, and he breathes
deathly poisons, and his eyes dart forth lightning, and
no man can withstand his strength,” said the boatman.

“T will find some way by which to overcome him.”

‘“Then be wise, and listen to me,” said the boatman.
“As you go up from the river you will find a road, worn
deep and smooth, starting from the water’s edge, and
winding over the moor. It is the trail of Fafnir, adown
which he comes at dawn of every day to slake his thirst
at the river. Do you dig a pit in this roadway,—a
pit narrow and deep, —and hide yourself within it. In
the morning, when Fafnir passes over it, let him feel
the edge of Balmung.”

As the man ceased speaking, the boat touched the
shore, and Siegfried leaped out. He looked back to



60 The Story of Siegfried.



thank his unknown friend, but neither boat nor boat-
man was to be seen. Only a thin white mist rose
slowly from the cold surface of the stream, and floated
upwards and away towards the mountain-tops. Then
the lad remembered that the strange boatman had worn
a blue hood bespangled with golden stars, and that a
gray kirtle was thrown over his shoulders, and that his
one eye glistened and sparkled with a light that was
more than human. And he knew that he had again
talked with Odin. Then, with a braver heart than be-
fore, he went forwards, along the river-bank, until he
came to Fafnir’s trail,—a deep, wide furrow in the
earth, beginning at the river’s bank, and winding far
away over the heath, until it was lost to sight in the
darkness. The bottom of the trail was soft and slimy,
and its sides had been worn smooth by Fafnir’s frequent
travel through it.

In this road, at a point not far from the river, Sieg-
fried, with his trusty sword Balmung, scooped out a
deep and narrow pit, as Odin had directed. And
when the gray dawn began to appear in the east he hid
himself within this trench, and waited for the coming
of the monster. He had not long to wait; for no
sooner had the sky begun to redden in the light of the
coming sun than the dragon was heard bestirring him-
self. Siegfried peeped warily from his hiding-place,
and saw him coming far down the road, hurrying with
~ all speed, that he might quench his thirst at the slug-
gish river, and hasten back to his gold; and the sound



Fafnir, the Dragon. 61



which he made was like the trampling of many feet and
the jingling of many chains. With bloodshot eyes, and
gaping mouth, and flaming nostrils, the hideous creature
came rushing onwards. His sharp, curved claws dug
deep into the soft earth; and his bat-like wings, half
trailing on the ground, half flapping in the air, made a
sound like that which is heard when Thor rides in his
goat-drawn chariot over the dark thunder-clouds. It
was a terrible moment for Siegfried, but still he was
not afraid. He crouched low down in his hiding-place,
and the bare blade of the trusty Balmung glittered in
the morning light. On came the hastening feet and
the flapping wings: the red gleam from the monster’s
flaming nostrils lighted up the trench where Siegfried
lay. He heard a roaring and a rushing like the sound
of a whirlwind in the forest; then a black, inky mass
rolled above him, and all was dark. Now was Sieg-
fried’s opportunity. The bright edge of Balmung
gleamed in the darkness one moment, and then it
smote the heart of Fafnir as he passed. Some men
say that Odin sat in the pit with Siegfried, and
strengthened his arm and directed his sword, or else
he could not thus have slain the Terror. But, be this
as it may, the victory was soon won. The monster
stopped short, while but half of his long body had
glided over the pit; for sudden death had overtaken
him. His horrid head fell lifeless upon the ground;
his cold wings flapped once, and then lay, quivering
and helpless, spread out on either side; and streams



62 The Story of Steg fried.

of thick black blood flowed from his heart, through
the wound beneath, and filled the trench in which Sieg-
fried was hidden, and ran like a mountain-torrent down
the road towards the river. Siegfried was covered from
head to foot with the slimy liquid, and, had he not
quickly leaped from his hiding-place, he would have
been drowned in the swift-rushing stream.?

The bright sun rose in the east, and gilded the
-mountain-tops, and fell upon the still waters of the river,
and lighted up the treeless plains around. The south
wind played gently against Siegfried’s cheeks and
in his long hair, as he stood gazing on his fallen
foe. And the sound of singing birds, and rippling
waters, and gay insects,—such as had not broken
the silence of the Glittering Heath for ages, —came
to his ears. The Terror was dead, and Nature had
awakened from her sleep of dread. And as the lad
leaned upon his sword, and thought of the deed he
had done, behold! the shining Greyfell, with the beam-
ing, hopeful mane, having crossed the now bright river,
stood by his side. And Regin, his face grown won-
drous cold, came trudging’ over the meadows; and
his heart was full of guile. Then the mountain vultures
came wheeling downwards to look upon the dead dragon ;
and with them were two ravens, black as midnight.
And when Siegfried saw these ravens he knew them to
be Odin’s birds, — Hugin, thought, and Munin, memory.
And they alighted on the ground near by; and the lad

1 See Note 11 at the end of this volume.





THE DEATH OF FAFNIR,



Fafuir, the Dragon. 63



listened to hear what they would say. Then Hugin
flapped his wings, and said, —

“The deed is done. Why tarries the hero?”

And Munin said, —

“The world is wide. Fame waits for the hero.”

And Hugin answered, —

“What if he win the Hoard of the Elves? That is
not honor. Let him seek fame by nobler deeds.”

Then Munin flew past his ear, and whispered, —

“Beware of Regin, the master! His heart is
poisoned. He would be thy bane.”

And the two birds flew away to carry the news to
Odin in the happy halls of Gladsheim.

When Regin drew near to look upon the dragon,
Siegfried kindly accosted him: but he seemed not to
hear; and a snaky glitter lurked in his eyes, and his
mouth was set and dry, and he seemed as one walking
in a dream. °

“Jt is mine now,” he murmured: “it is all mine,
now, —the Hoard of the swarthy elf-folk, the garnered
wisdom of ages. The strength of the world is mine.
I will keep, I will save, I will heap up; and none shall
have part or parcel of the treasure which is mine
alone.”

Then his eyes fell upon Siegfried; and his cheeks
grew dark with wrath, and he cried out, —

“Why are you here in my way? I am the lord of
the Glittering Heath: I am the master of the Hoard
I am the master, and you are my thrall.”



64 The Story of Siegfried.

Siegfried wondered at the change which had taken
place in his old master; but he only smiled at his
strange words, and made no answer.

“You have slain my brother!” Regin cried; and his
face grew fearfully black, and his mouth foamed with
rage.

“Tt was my deed and yours,” calmly answered Sieg-
fried. “I have rid the world of a Terror: I have righted
a grievous wrong.”

“You have slain my brother,” said Regin; “and a
murderer's ransom you shall pay!”

“Take the Hoard for your ransom, and let us each
wend his way,’’ said the lad.

“The Hoard is mine by rights,” answered Regin still
more wrathfully. “Iam the master, and you are my
thrall. Why stand you in my way?”

Then, blinded with madness, he rushed at Siegfried
as if to strike him down; but his foot slipped in a
puddle of gore, and he pitched headlong against the
sharp edge of Balmung. So sudden was this move-
ment, and so unlooked for, that the sword was twitched
out of Siegfried’s hand, and fell with a dull splash into
the blood-filled pit before him; while Regin, slain by
his own rashness, sank dead upon the ground. Full of
horror, Siegfried turned away, and mounted Greyfell.

“This is a place of blood,” said he, “and the way to
glory leads not through it. Let the Hoard still lie on
the Glittering Heath: I will go my way from hence;
and the world shall know me for better deeds than this.”

' See Note 12 at the end of this volume.



Fafnir, the Dragon. 65



And he turned his back on the fearful scene, and rode
away; and so swiftly did Greyfell carry him over the
desert land and the mountain waste, that, when night
came, they stood on the shore of the great North Sea,
and the white waves broke at their feet. And the
lad sat for a long time silent upon the warm white sand
of the beach, and Greyfell waited at his side. And he
watched the stars as they came out one by one, and the
moon, as it rose round and pale, and moved like a queen
across the sky. And the night wore away, and the
stars grew pale, and the moon sank to rest in the wil-
derness of waters. And at day-dawn Siegfried looked
towards the west, and midway between sky and sea he
thought he saw dark mountain-tops hanging above a
land of mists that seemed to float upon the edge of the
sea.

While he looked, a white ship, with sails all set, came
speeding over the waters towards him. It came nearer
and nearer, and the sailors rested upon their oars as it
glided into the quiet harbor. A minstrel, with long
white beard floating in the wind, sat at the prow; and
the sweet music from his harp was wafted like incense
to the shore. The vessel touched the sands: its white
sails were reefed as if by magic, and the crew leaped
out upon the beach.

“Hail, Siegfried the Golden!” cried the harper
“Whither do you fare this summer day?”

“JT have come from a land of horror and dread,”
answered the lad; “and I would fain fare to a brighter.”



66 | The Story of Siegfried.

—



“Then go with me to awaken the earth from its slum-
ber, and to robe the fields in their garbs of beauty,”
said the harper. And he touched the strings of his
harp, and strains of the softest music arose in the still
morning air. And Siegfried stood entranced, for never
before had he heard such music.

“Tell me who you are!” he cried, when the sounds
died away. ‘Tell me who you are, and I will go to the
ends of the earth with you.”

“I am Bragi,’ answered the harper, smiling. And
Siegfried noticed then that the ship was laden with
flowers of every hue, and that thousands of singing
pirds circled around and above it, filling the air with
the sound of their glad twitterings.

Now, Bragi was the sweetest musician in all the
world. It was said by some that his home was with
the song-birds, and that he had learned his skill from
them. But this was only part of the truth: for wher-
ever there was loveliness or beauty, or things noble and
pure, there was Bragi; and his wondrous power in
music and song was but the outward sign of a blame-
less soul. When he touched the strings of his golden
harp, all Nature was charmed with the sweet harmony :
the savage beasts of the wood crept near to listen; the
birds paused in their flight ; the waves of the sea were
becalmed, and the winds were hushed; the leaping
waterfall was still, and the rushing torrent tarried in
its bed; the elves forgot their hidden treasures, and
joined in silent dance around him; and the strom-karls



Fafnir, the Dragon. 67
eee ee ee
and the musicians of the wood vainly tried to imitate
him. And he was as fair of speech as he was skilful in
song. His words were so persuasive that he had been
known to call the fishes from the sea, to move great
lifeless rocks, and, what is harder, the hearts of kings.
He vuderstood the voice of the birds, and the whisper-
ing of the breeze, the murmur of the waves, and the
roar of the waterfalls. He knew the length and breadth
of the earth, and the secrets of the sea, and the lan-
guage of the stars. And every day he talked with
Odin the All-Father, and with the wise and good in the
sunlit halls of Gladsheim. And once every year he
went to the North-lands, and woke the earth from its
long winter’s sleep,’ and scattered music and smiles
and beauty everywhere."

Right gladly did Siegfried agree to sail with Bragi
over the sea; for he wot that the bright Asa-god
would be a very different guide from the cunning, evil-
eyed Regin. So he went on board with Bragi, and the
gleaming Greyfell followed them, and the sailors sat at
their oars. And Bragi stood in the prow, and touched
the strings of his harp. And, as the music arose, the
white sails leaped up the masts, and a warm south
breeze began to blow; and the little vessel, wafted by
sweet sounds and the incense of spring, sped gladly
away over the sea.

1 See Note 13 at the end of this volume.



68 The Story of Sregfried.

ADVENTURE V.

IN AEGIR’S KINGDOM.

Tue vessel in which Siegfried sailed was soon far
out at sea; for the balmy south wind, and the songs
of the birds, and the music from Bragi’s harp, all urged
it cheerily on. And Siegfried sat at the helm, and
guided it in its course. By and by they lost all sight
of land, and the sailors wist not where they were; but
they knew that Bragi, the Wise, would bring them
safely into some haven whenever it should so please
him, and they felt no fear. And the fishes leaped up
out of the water as the white ship sped by on woven
wings; and the monsters of the deep paused, and listened
to the sweet music which floated down from above.
After a time the vessel began to meet great ice-moun-
tains in the sea,— mountains which the Reifriesen, and
old Hoder, the King of the winter months, had sent
drifting down from the frozen land of the north. But
these melted at the sound of Bragi’s music and at
the sight of Siegfried’s radiant armor. And the cold
breath of the Frost-giants, which had driven them in
their course, turned, and became the ally of the south
wind.



In Aégir’s Kingdom. 69



At length they came in sight of a dark shore, which
stretched on either hand, north and south, as far as the
eye could reach; and as they drew nearer they saw a
line of huge mountains, rising, as it were, out of the
water, and stretching their gray heads far above the
clouds. And the overhanging cliffs seemed to look
down, half in anger, half in pity, upon the little white-
winged vessel which had dared thus to sail through
these unknown waters. But the surface of the sea
was smooth as glass; and the gentle breeze drove the
ship slowly forwards through the calm water, and along
the rock-bound coast, and within the dark shadows of
the mountain-peaks. Long ago the Frost-giants had
piled great heaps of snow upon these peaks, and built
huge fortresses of ice between, and sought, indeed, to
clasp in their cold embrace the whole of the Norwegian
land. But the breezes of the South-land that came
with Bragi’s ship now played among the rocky steeps,
and swept over the frozen slopes above, and melted the
snow and ice; and thousands of rivulets of half-frozen
water ran down the mountain-sides, and tumbled into
rocky gorges, or plunged into the sea. And the grass
began to grow on the sunny slopes, and the flowers
peeped up through the half-melted snow, and the music
of spring was heard on every side. Now and then the
little vessel passed by deep, dark inlets enclosed be-
tween high mountain-walls, and reaching many leagues
far into land. But the sailors steered clear of these
shadowy fjords; for they said that Ran, the dread



70 The Story of Siegfried.



Ocean-queen, lived there, and spread her nets in the
deep green waters to entangle unwary seafaring men.
And the sound of Bragi’s harp awakened all sleeping
things ; and it was carried from rock to rock, and from
mountain-height to valley, and was borne on the breeze
far up ‘the fjords, and all over the land.

One day, as they were sailing through these quiet
waters, beneath the overhanging cliffs, Bragi tuned his
harp, and sang a song of sea. And then he told Sieg-
fried a story of A&gir and his gold-lit hall.

Old AEgir was the Ocean-king. At most times he
was rude and rough, and his manners were uncouth
and boisterous. But when Balder, the Shining One,
smiled kindly upon him from above, or when Bragi
played his harp by the seashore, or sailed his ship on
the waters, the heart of the bluff old king was touched
with a kindly feeling, and he tried hard to curb his
ungentle passions, and to cease his blustering ways.
He was one of the old race of giants; and men believe
that he would have been a very good and quiet giant,
had it not been for the evil ways of his wife, the
crafty Queen Ran. For, however kind at heart the
king might be, his good intentions were almost always
thwarted by the queen. Ran could never be trusted ;
and no one, unless it were Loki, the Mischief-maker,
could ever say any thing in her praise. She was
always lurking among hidden rocks, or in the deep sea,
or along the shores of silent fjords, and reaching out
with her long lean fingers, seeking to clutch in her



ln AEgir’s Kingdom. 71
wen i ee
greedy grasp whatever prey might unwarily come near
her. And many richly-laden vessels, and many brave
seamen and daring warriors, had she dragged down to
ner blue-hung chamber in old Aégir’s hall.

And this is the story that Bragi told of

THE FEAST IN GIR’S HALL.

It happened long ago, when the good folk at Glad-
sheim were wont to visit the mid-world oftener than
now. On a day in early autumn Queen Ran, with her
older daughters, — Raging Sea, Breaker, Billow, Surge,
and Surf,—went out to search for plunder. But old
A€gir staid at home, and with him his younger daugh-
ters, —fair Purple-hair, gentle Diver, dancing Ripple,
and smiling Sky-clear. And as they played around
him, and kissed his old storm-beaten cheeks, the heart
of the king was softened into gentleness, and he began
to think kindly of the green earth which bordered his
kingdom, and of the brave men who lived there; but
most of all did he think of the great and good Asa-folk,
who dwell in Asgard, and overlook the affairs of the
world. Then he called his servants, Funfeng and
Elder, and bade them prepare a feast in his gold-lit
hall. And he sent fleet messengers to invite the Asa-
folk to come and partake of the good cheer. And his
four young daughters played upon the beach, and
smiled and danced in the beaming sunlight. And the
hearts of many seafaring men were gladdened that
day, as they spread their sails to the wind; for they



72 The Story of Siegfried.



saw before them a pleasant voyage, and the happy
issue of many an undertaking.

Long before the day had begun to wane, the Asa-
folk arrived in a body at Aégir’s hall; for they were
glad to answer the bidding of the Ocean-king. Odin
came, riding Sleipner, his eight-footed steed; Thor
rode in his iron chariot drawn by goats; Frey came
with Gullinburste, his golden-bristled boar. There, too,
was the war-like Tyr, and blind Hoder, and the silent
Vidar, and the sage Forsete, and the hearkening Heim-
dal, and Niord, the Ruler of the Winds, and Bragi,
with his harp; and lastly came many elves, the thralls
of the Asa-folk, and Loki, the cunning Mischief-maker.
In his rude but hearty way old A®gir welcomed them;
and they went down into his amber hall, and rested
themselves upon the sea-green couches that had been
spread for them. Anda thousand fair mermaids stood
around them, and breathed sweet inelodies through
sea-shells of rainbow hue, while the gentle white-veiled
daughters of the Ocean-king danced to the bewitching
music.

Hours passed by, and the sun began to slope towards
the west, and the waiting guests grew hungry and ill
at ease; and then they began to wonder why the feast
was so long in getting ready. At last the host himself
became impatient; and he sent out in haste for his ser-
vants, Funfeng and Elder. Trembling with fear, they
came and stood before him.

“Master,” said they, “we know that you are angry



In 4egir’s Kingdom. 73



because the feast is not yet made ready; but we beg
that your anger may not fall upon us. The truth is, that
some thief has stolen your brewing-kettle, and we have
no ale for your guests.”

Then old A®gir’s brow grew dark, and his breath
came quick and fast ; and, had not Niord held the winds
tightly clutched in his hand, there would have been a
great uproar in the hall. Even as it was, the mermaids
fled away in great fright, and the white-veiled Waves
stopped dancing, and a strange silence fell upon all the
company.

“Some enemy has done this!” cried Aégir, as soon
as he could speak. ‘Some enemy has taken away my
brewing-kettle ; and, unless we can find it, I fear our
feast will be but a dry one.”

Then Thor said, —

“Tf any one knows where this kettle is, let him speak,
and I will bring it back; and I promise you you shall
not wait long for the feast.”

But not one in all this company knew aught about the
missing kettle. At last Tyr stood up and said, —

“Tf we cannot find the same vessel that our host has
lost, mayhap we may find another as good. I knowa
dogwise giant who lives east of the Rivers Elivagar, and
who has a strong kettle, fully a mile deep, and large
enough to brew ale for all the world.”

“That is the very kettle we want!” cried Thor.
“Think you that we can get it?”

“If we are cunning enough, we may,” answered Tyr.
“But old Hymer will never give it up willingly.”



74 Lhe Story of Siegfried.



“Ts it Hymer of whom you speak?” asked Thor.
“Then I know him well; and, willingly or not willingly,
he must let us have his kettle. For what is a feast
without the gladsome ale?”

Then Thor and Tyr set out on their journey towards
the land of Elivagar ; and they travelled many a league
northwards, across snowy mountains and barren plains,
until they came to the shores of the frozen sea. And
there the sun rises and sets but once a year, and even
in summer the sea is full of ice. On the lonely beach,
stood Hymer’s dwelling, —a dark and gloomy abode.
Tyr knocked at the door ; and it was opened by Hymer’s
wife, a strangely handsome woman, who bade them
come in. Inside the hall they saw Hymer's old mother,
sitting in the chimney-corner, and crooning over the
smouldering fire. She was a horribly ugly old giantess,
with nine hundred heads; but every head was blind and
deaf and toothless. Ah, me! what a wretched old age
that must have been!

“Is your husband at home?” asked Thor, speaking
to the pretty woman who had opened the door.

“He is not,”

2

was the answer. “He is catching fish
in the warm waters of the sheltered bay ; or, mayhap,
he is tending his cows in the open sea, just around the
headland.”

For the great icebergs that float down from the
frozen sea are called old Hymer’s cows.

“We have come a very long journey,” said Livres
“Will you not give two tired strangers food and lodging
until they shall have rested themselves?”



ln Aigir’s Kingdom. 75





The woman seemed in nowise loath to do this; and
she set before the two Asa-folk a plentifu! meal of the
best that she had in the house. When they had eaten,
she told them that it would be far safer for them to
hide themselves under the great kettles in the hall;
for, she said, her husband would soon be home, and he
might not be kind to them. So Thor and Tyr hid
themselves, and listened for Hymer’s coming. After a
time, the great hall-door opened, and they heard the
heavy steps of the giant.

“Welcome home!” cried the woman, as Hymer shook
the frost from his hair and beard, and stamped the snow
from his feet. “Iam so glad that you have come! for
there are two strangers in the hall, and they have asked
for you. One of them I know is Thor, the foe of the
giants, and the friend of man. The other is the one-
armed god of war, the brave Tyr. What can be their
errand at Hymer’s hall?”

“Where are they?” roared Hymer, stamping so
furiously, that even his deaf old mother seemed to hear,
and lifted up her heads.

“They are under the kettles, at the gable-end of the
hall,” answered the woman.

Hymer cast a wrathful glance towards the place.
The post at the end of the hall was shivered in pieces
by his very look; the beam that upheld the floor of the
loft was broken, and all the kettles tumbled down with
a fearful crash. Thor and Tyr crept out from among
the rubbish, and stood before old Hymer. The giant



70 The Story of Siegfried.
was not well pleased at the sight of such guests come
thus unbidden to his hall. But he knew that his rude
strength would count as nothing if matched with their
skill and weapons: hence he deemed it wise to treat
the two Asas as his friends, and to meet them with
cunning and strategy.

‘‘Welcome to my hall!” he cried. ‘Fear no hurt
from Hymer, for he was never known to harm a guest.”

And Thor and Tyr were given the warmest seats at
the fireside. And the giant ordered his thralls to kill the
fatted oxen, and to make ready a great feast in honor of
his guests. And, while the meal was being got ready,
he sat by Thor’s side, and asked him many questions
about what was going on in the great South-land.
And Thor answered him pleasantly, meeting guile with
guile. When the feast was in readiness, all sat down
at the table, which groaned beneath its weight of meat
and drink; for Hymer’s thralls had killed three fat
oxen, and baked them whole for this meal, and they
had filled three huge bowls with ale from his great
brewing-kettle. Hymer ate and drank very fast, and
wished to make his guests fear him, because he could
eat so much. But Thor was not to be taken aback in
this way; for he at once ate two of the oxen, and
quaffed a huge bowl of ale which the giant had set
aside for himself. The giant saw that he was outdone,
and he arose from the table, saying, —

“Not all my cows would serve to feed two guests so
hungry as these. We shall be obliged to live on fish

”

now.



In AEgir’s Kingdom. 77



He strode out of the hall without another word, and
began getting his boat ready for a sail. But Thor
followed him.

“It is a fine day for fishing,” said Thor gayly.
“ How I should like to go out with you!” =

“Such little fellows as you would better stay at
home,” growled Hymer.

“But let me go with you,” persisted Thor. “I can
certainly row the boat while you fish.”

“T have no need of help from sucha stunted pygmy,”
muttered the giant. ‘You could not be of the least
use to me: you would only be in my way. Still, if
you are bent on doing so, you may go, and you shall
take all the risks. If I go as far as I do sometimes,
and stay as long as I often do, you may make up your
mind never to see the dry land again; for you will cev-
tainly catch your death of cold, and be food for the
fishes —if, indeed, they would deign to eat such a
scrawny scrap!”

These taunting words made Thor so angry, that he
grasped his hammer, and was sorely tempted to crush
the giant’s skull. But he checked himself, and coolly
said, —

“T pray you not to trouble yourself on my account.
I have set my head on going with you, and go I will.
Tell me where I can find something that I can use for
ait, and I will be ready in a trice.”

“JT have no bait for you,” roughly aaswered Hyme:
“You must look for it yourself.”



78 The Story of Siegfried.



Half a dozen oxen, the very finest and fattest of
Hymer’s herd, were grazing on the short grass which
grew on the sunnier slopes of the hillside ; for not all of
the giant’s cattle had yet taken to the water. When
Thor saw these great beasts, he ran quickly towards
them, and seizing the largest one, which Hymer called
the Heaven-breaker, he twisted off his head as easily as
he would that of a small fowl, and ran back with it to
the boat. Hymer looked at him in anger and amaze-
inent, but said nothing; and the two pushed the boat
off from the shore. The little vessel sped through the
water more swiftly than it had ever done before, for
Thor plied the oars.

In a moment the long, low beach was out of sight;
and Hymer, who had never travelled so fast, began to
feel frightened.

“Stop!” he cried. ‘Here is the place to fish: I have
often caught great store of flat-fish here. Let us out
with our lines!”

“No, no!” answered Thor; and he kept on plying
the oars. ‘We are not yet far enough from shore.
The best fish are still many leagues out.”

And the boat skimmed onwards through the waters,
and the white spray dashed over the prow; and Hymer,
now very much frightened, sat still, and looked at his
strange fellow-fisherman, but said not a word. On and
on they went; and the shore behind them first grew
dim, and then sank out of sight; and the high moun-
tain-tops began to fade away in the sky, and then were



Full Text







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HEROES OF THE OLDEN TIME,



A STORY OF THE GOLDEN AGE. Illustrated by Howard

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THE STORY OF SIEGFRIED. Illustrated by Howard Pyle.

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NG,

NG OF BALMU

E FORGI

TH
HEROES OF THE OLDEN TIME



THE

STORY OF SIEGEMED

BY

JAMES BALDWIN

(Illustrated by Howard Pyle

NEW YORK
GCHARGES YS GRIBNER:S -SONS
1896
COPYRIGHT, 1882, 1888,

By CHARLES SCRIBNER’S SONS.
TO MY CHILDREN,

WINFRED, LOUIS, AND NELLIE,
This Book

IS AFFECTIONATELY INSCRIBED.
EE? EO RE. | .W-O RD:

WHEN the world was in its childhood, men looked
upon the works of Nature with a strange kind of awe.
They fancied that every thing upon the earth, in the
air, or in the water, had a life like their own, and that
every sight which they saw, and every sound which
they heard, was caused by some intelligent being. All
men were poets, so far as their ideas and their modes
of expression were concerned, although it is not likely
that any of them wrote poetry. This was true in
regard to the Saxon in his chilly northern home, as
well as.to the Greek in the sunny southland. But,
while the balmy air and clear sky of the south tended
to refine men’s thoughts and language, the rugged
scenery and bleak storms of the north made them
uncouth, bold, and energetic. Yet both the cultured

Greek and the rude Saxon looked upon Nature with
v
vi The Fore Word.



much the same eyes, and there was a strange resem-
blance in their manner of thinking and _ speaking.
They saw, that, in all the phenomena which took place
around them, there was a certain system or regularity,
as if these were controlled by some law or by some
superior being; and they sought, in their simple poet-
ical way, to account for these appearances. They had
not yet learned to measure the distances of the stars,
nor to calculate the motions of the earth. The chan-
ging of the seasons was a mystery which they scarcely
sought to penetrate. But they spoke of these occur-
rences in a variety of ways, and invented many charm-
ing stories with reference to them, not so much with
a view towards accounting for the mystery, as towards
giving expression to their childlike but picturesque
ideas,

Thus, in the south, when reference was made to the
coming of winter and to the dreariness and discomforts
of that season of the year, men did not know nor care
to explain it all, as our teachers now do at school; but
they sometimes told how Hades had stolen Persephone
(the summer) from her mother Demetre (the earth),
and had carried her, in a chariot drawn by four coal-

black steeds, to the gloomy land of shadows; and how,
The Fore Word. vil

in sorrow for her absence, the Earth clothed herself in
mourning, and no leaves grew upon the trees, nor flow-
ers in the gardens, and the very birds ceased singing,
because Persephone was no more. But they added,
that in a few months the fair maiden would return for
a time to her sorrowing mother, and that then the
flowers would bloom, and the trees would bear fruit,
and the harvest-fields would again be full of golden
grain,

In the north a different story was told, but the
meaning was the same. Sometimes men told how
Odin (the All-Father) had become angry with Brunhild
(the maid of spring), and had wounded her with the
thorn of sleep, and how all the castle in which she
slept was wrapped in deathlike slumber until Sigurd
or Siegfried (the sunbeam) rode through flaming fire,
and awakened her with a kiss. Sometimes men told
how Loki (heat) had betrayed Balder (the sunlight),
and had induced blind old Hoder (the winter months)
to slay him, and how all things, living and inanimate,
joined in weeping for the bright god, until Hela (death)
should permit him to revisit the earth for a time.

So, too, when the sun arose, and drove away the

darkness and the hidden terrors of the night, our an-
vili The Fore Word.



cestors thought of the story of a noble young hero
slaying a hideous dragon, or taking possession of the
golden treasures of Mist Land. And when the spring-
time came, and the earth renewed its youth, and the
fields and woods were decked in beauty, and there was
music everywhere, they loved to tell of Idun (the
spring) and her youth-giving apples, and of her wise
husband Bragi (Nature’s musician). When storm-clouds
loomed up from the horizon and darkened the sky,
and thunder rolled overhead, and lightning flashed on
every hand, they talked about the mighty Thor riding
over the clouds in his goat-drawn chariot, and battling
with the giants of the air. When the mountain-mead-
ows were green with long grass, and the corn was
yellow for the sickles of the reapers, they spoke of Sif,
the golden-haired wife of Thor, the queen of the pas-
tures and the fields. When the seasons were mild, and
the harvests were plentiful, and peace and gladness
prevailed, they blessed Frey, the giver of good gifts to
men.

To them the blue sky-dome which everywhere hung
over them like an arched roof was but the protecting
mantle which the All-Father had suspended above the

earth. The rainbow was the shimmering bridge which
The Fore Word. ix

——————



stretches from earth to heaven. The sun and the moon
were the children of a giant, whom two wolves chased
forever around the earth, The stars were sparks from
the fire-land of the south, set in the heavens by the
gods. Night was a giantess, dark and swarthy, who
rode in a car drawn bya steed the foam from whose
bits sometimes covered the earth with dew. And Day
was the son of Night; and the steed which he rode
lighted all the sky and the earth with the beams which

glistened from his mane.

It was thus that men in the earlier ages of the
world looked upon and spoke of the workings of
Nature; and it was in this manner that many myths, or
poetical fables, were formed. By and by, as the world
grew older, and mankind became less poetical and more
practical, the first or mythical meaning of these stories
was forgotten, and they were regarded no longer as
mere poetical fancies, but as historical facts. Perhaps
some real hero had indeed performed daring deeds, and
had made the world around him happier and better. It
was easy to liken him to Sigurd, or to some other myth-
ical slayer of giants; and soon the deeds of both were

ascribed to but one. And thus many myth-stories
x The Fore Word.



probably contain some historical facts blended with
the mass of poetical fancies which mainly compose
them; but, in such cases, it: is generally impossible
to distinguish what is fact from what is mere fancy.

All nations have had their myth-stories ; but, to my
mind, the purest and grandest are those which we have
received from our northern ancestors. They are par-
ticularly interesting to us; because they are what our
fathers once believed, and because they are ours by
tight of inheritance. And, when we are able to make
them still more our own by removing the blemishes
which rude and barbasous ages have added to some of
them, we shall discover in them many things that are
beautiful and true, and well calculated to make us
wiser and better.

It is not known when or by whom these myth-stories
were first put into writing, nor when they assumed the
shape in which we now have them. But it is said, that,
about the year 1100, an Icelandic scholar called Sae-
mund the Wise collected a number of songs and poems
into a book which is now known as the “Elder Edda ;”’
and that, about a century later, Snorre Sturleson,
another Icelander, wrote a prose-work of a similar

character, which is called the “Younger Edda.” And
The Fore Word. xi



it is to these two books that we owe the preservation
of almost aii that is now known of the myths and the
strange religion of our Saxon and Norman forefathers.
But, besides these, there are a number of semi-mytho-
logical stories of great interest and beauty, — stories
partly mythical, and partly founded upon remote and
forgotten historical facts. One of the oldest and finest
of these is the story of Sigurd, the son of Sigmund.
There are many versions of this story, differing from
each other according to the time in which they were
written and the character of the people among whom
they were received. We find the first mention of
Sigurd and his strange daring deeds in the song of
Fafnir, in the “Elder Edda.” Then, in the “ Younger
Edda,” the story is repeated in the myth of the Niflungs
and the Gjukungs. It is told again in the “ Volsunga
Saga” of Iceland. It is repeated and re-repeated in
various forms and different languages, and finally ap-
pears in the “ Nibelungen Lied,” a grand old German
poem, which may well be compared with the Iliad of
the Greeks, In this last version, Sigurd is called Sieg-
fried; and the story is colored and modified by the
introduction of many notions peculiar to the middle

ages, and unknown to our Pagan fathers of the north.
xii The Fore Word.

$$ $$ eee



In our own time this myth has been woven into a vari-
ety of forms. William Morris has embodied it in his
noble poem of “Sigurd the Volsung;” Richard Wag-
ner, the famous German composer, has constructed
from it his inimitable drama, the “ Nibelungen Ring;”
W. Jordan, another German writer, has given it to the

’

world in his “ Sigfrid’s Saga;” and Emanuel Geibel
has derived from it the materials for his “ Tragedy of
Brunhild.”

And now I, too, come with the Story or SIEGFRIED,
still another version of the time-honored legend. The
story as I shall tell it you is not in all respects a
Jiteral rendering of the ancient myth; but I have taken
the liberty to change and recast such portions of it as
I have deemed advisable. Sometimes I have drawn
materials from one version of the story, sometimes
from another, and sometimes largely from my own
imagination alone. Nor shall I be accused of impro-
priety in thus reshaping a narrative, which, although
hallowed by an antiquity of a thousand years and more,
has already appeared in so many different forms, and
been clothed in so many different garbs; for, however
much I may have allowed my fancy or my judgment

to retouch and remodel the immaterial portions of the
The Fore Word. xili

legend, the essential parts of this immortal myth re-
main the same. And, if I succeed in leading you to
a clearer understanding and a wiser appreciation of the
thoughts and feelings of our old northern ancestors, I
shall have accomplished the object for which I have

written this Story of Siegfried.

CONGEE NES:

PAGE

THE FORE WORD : ; . . . : . . v
ADVENTURE

I. MIMER, THE MASTER . e : : , : ; I

II. GREYFELL. 7 . : : : : : “210

Ill. THE Curse or GOLD . nee ; ee as 35

IV. FAFNIR, THE DRAGON. . . . eee 55)

V. In Aicir’s KINGbDoM .. - : : : : 68

VI. BRUNHILD 7 : . : a : . : = 87,

VII. IN NIBELUNGEN LAND 4 : : : ‘ 96

VIII. Sircrriep’s WELCOME HoME : : : : . Tog

IX. THE Journry TO BuRGUNDY-LAND . : : : 15

X. KRIEMHILD’s DREAM . . é : : : e122

XI. How THE SPRING-TIME CAME . : : ; : 125

XII. THe WAR WITH THE Norru-KINGs . ; : eplicy?

XIII. Tue Srory or BALDER . . ; ; : . 152

XIV. How GUNTHER OUTWITTED BRUNHILD : : . 167

XV. IN NIBELUNGEN LAND AGAIN . ; : . 5 183

XVI. How BRUNHILD WAS WELCOMED HoME . . » 205

XVII. How SIEGFRIED LIVED IN NIBELUNGEN LAND 226

XV
xvi

Contents.



ADVENTURE

XVIII.

XIX. How THEY HUNTED IN THE ODENWALD .

XX. How THE HOARD WAS BROUGHT TO BURGUNDY.

THE AFTER WORD

NOTES

How THE MISCHIEF BEGAN TO BREW .

PAGE

248
269
283

291

294
LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS.

Engraved by Frank French, 7. P. Davis, E. Clement, and Fohn Karst,

From DRAWINGS BY HowaRD PYLE.

PAGE

THE FoRGING OF BALMUNG. : : 3 Frontispiece
Tur DEATH OF FAFNIk . ° é F 5 : : ; 02)
THE AWAKENING OF BRUNHILD . ° : . ; ; 94
THE TRIAL OF STRENGTH : : : 4 ‘| : : . 180
THE QUARREL OF THE QUEENS . ; ; . : : : 256

Ti1E DEATH OF SIEGFRIED . : : : : ; 282
THE STORY OF SIEGFRIED.
ADVENTURE I.

MIMER, THE MASTER.

At Santen, in the Lowlands, there once lived a young
prince named Siegfried. His father, Siegmund, was
king of the rich country through which the lazy Rhine
winds its way just before reaching the great North Sea;
and he was known, both far and near, for his good deeds
and his prudent thrift. And Siegfried’s mother, the
gentle Sigelind, was loved by all for her goodness of
heart and her kindly charity to the poor. Neither king
nor queen left aught undone that might make the
young prince happy, or fit him for life’s usefulness.
Wise men were brought from far-off lands to be his
teachers; and every day something was added to his
store of knowledge or his stock of happiness. And
very skilful did he become in warlike games and in
manly feats of strength. No other youth could throw
the spear with so great force, or shoot the arrow with
surer aim. No other youth could run more swiftly, or
ride with more becoming ease. His gentle mother took
delight in adding to the beauty of his matchless form
by clothing him in costly garments decked with the

I
2 The Story of Siegfried.





rarest jewels. The old, the young, the rich, the poor,
the high, the low, all praised the fearless Siegfried,
and all vied in friendly strife to win his favor. One
would have thought that the life of the young prince
could never be aught but a holiday, and that the
birds would sing, and the flowers would bloom, and
the sun would shine forever for his sake.

But the business of man’s life is not mere pastime;
and none knew this truth better than the wise old king,
Siegmund.

“All work is noble,” said he to Siegfried; “and he
who yearns to win fame must not shun toil. Even
princes should know how to earn a livelihood by the
labor of their hands.”

And so, while Siegfried was still a young lad, his
father sent him to live with a smith called Mimer,
whose smithy was among the hills not far from the
great forest. For in those early times the work of
the smith was looked upon as the most worthy of all
trades, —a trade which the gods themselves were not
ashamed to follow. _And this smith Mimer was a won-
derful master, —the wisest and most cunning that the
world had ever seen. Men said that he was akin to
the dwarf-folk who had ruled the earth in the early
days, and who were learned in every lore, and skilled
in every craft; and they said that he was so exceeding
old that no one could remember the day when he came
to dwell in the land of Siegmund’s fathers. And some
said, too, that he was the keeper of a wonderful well,
Mimer, the Master. 3



or flowing spring, the waters of which imparted wis-
dom and far-seeing knowledge to all who drank of
them.

To Mimer’s school, then, where he would be taught
to work skilfully and to think wisely, Siegfried was
sent, to be in all respects like the other pupils there.
A coarse blue blouse, and heavy leggings, and a leath-
ern apron, took the place of the costly clothing which
‘he had worn in his father’s dwelling. His feet were
incased in awkward wooden shoes, and his head was
covered with a wolf-skin cap. The dainty bed, with
its downy pillows, wherein every night his mother had
been wont, with gentle care, to see him safely covered,
was given up fora rude heap of straw in a corner of
the smithy. And the rich food to which he had been
used gave place to the coarsest and humblest fare.
But the lad did not complain. The days which he
passed in the smithy were mirthful and happy; and
the sound of his hammer rang cheerfully, and the
sparks from his forge flew briskly, from morning till
night.

And a wonderful smith he became. No one could
do more work than he, and none wrought with greater
skill, The heaviest chains and the strongest bolts, for
prison or for treasure-house, were but as toys in his
stout hands, so easily and quickly did he beat them
into shape. And he was alike cunning in work of the
most delicate and brittle kind. Ornaments of gold and
silver, studded with the rarest jewels, were fashioned
4 Lhe Story of Siegfried.





into beautiful forms by his deft fingers. And among
all of Mimer’s apprentices none learned the master’s
lore so readily, nor gained the master’s favor raore.

One morning the master, Mimer, came to the smithy
with a troubled look upon his face. It was clear that
something had gone amiss; and what it was the ap-
prentices soon learned from the smith himself. Never,
until lately, had any one questioned Mimer’s right to be
called the foremost smith in all the world; but now
a rival had come forward. An unknown upstart — one
Amilias, in Burgundy-land — had made a suit of armor,
which, he boasted, no stroke of sword could dint, and
no blow of spear could scratch; and he had sent a
challenge to all other smiths, both in the Rhine coun-
try and elsewhere, to equal that piece of workmanship,
or else acknowledge themselves his underlings and vas-
sals. For many days had Mimer himself toiled, alone
and vainly, trying to forge a sword whose edge the
boasted armor of Amilias could not foil; and now, in
despair, he came to ask the help of his pupils and
apprentices.

“Who among you is skilful enough to forge such a
sword?” he asked.

One -after another, the pupils shook their heads.
And Veliant, the foreman of the apprentices, said, “I
have heard much about that wonderful armor, and its
extreme hardness, and I doubt if any skill can make a
sword with edge so sharp and true as to cut into it.
The best that can be done is to try to make another

* See Note 1 at the end of this volume.
Mimer, the Master. 4
war-coat whose temper shall equal that of Amilias’s
armor.”

Then the lad Siegfried quickly said, “I will make
such a sword as you want,—a blade that no war-coat
can foil. Give me but leave to try

The other pupils laughed in scorn, but Mimer checked
them. “You hear how this hoy can talk: we will see
what he can do. He is the king’s son, and we know
that he has uncommon talent. He shall make the
sword ; but if, upon trial, it fail, I will make him rue
the day.”

Then Siegfried went to his task. And for seven days
and seven nights the sparks never stopped flying from
his forge; and the ringing of his anvil, and the hissing
of the hot metal as he tempered it, were heard contin-
uously. On the eighth day the sword was fashioned,
and Siegfried brought it to Mimer.

The smith felt the razor-edge of the bright weapon,
and said, ‘‘ This seems, indeed, a fair fire-edge.. Let us
make a trial of its keenness.”

Then a thread of wool as light as thistle-down was
thrown upon water, and, as it floated there, Mimer
struck it with the sword. The glittering blade cleft
the slender thread in twain, and the pieces floated
undisturbed upon the surface of the liquid.

“Well done!” cried the delighted smith. “Never
have I seen a keener edge. If its temper is as true as
its sharpness would lead us to believe, it will indeed

1

serve me well.”
6 The Story of Siegfried.



But Siegfried took the sword again, and broke it into
many pieces ; and for three days he welded it in a white-
hot fire, and tempered it with milk and oatmeal. Then,
in sight of Mimer and the sneering apprentices, he cast
a light ball of fine-spun wool upon the flowing water of
the brook; and it was caught in the swift eddies of the
stream, and whirled about until it met the bared blade
of the sword, which was held in Mimer’s hands. And
it was parted as easily and clean as the rippling water,
and not the smallest thread was moved out of its place.

Then back to the smithy Siegfried went again; and
his forge glowed with a brighter fire, and his hammer
rang upon the anvil with a cheerier sound, than ever
before. But he suffered none to come near, and no
one ever knew what witchery he used. But some
of his fellow-pupils afterwards told how, in the dusky
twilight, they had seen a one-eyed man, long-bearded,
and clad in a cloud-gray kirtle, and wearing a sky-blue
hood, talking with Siegfried at the smithy door. And.
they said that the stranger’s face was at once pleasant
and fearful to look upon, and that his one eye shone in
the gloaming like the evening star, and that, when he
had placed in Siegfried’s hands bright shards, like pieces
of a broken sword, he faded suddenly from their sight,
and was seen no more.

For seven weeks the lad wrought day and night at
his forge; and then, pale and haggard, but with a
pleased smile upon his face, he stood before Mimer,
with the gleaming sword in his hands. ‘It is finished,”
Mimer, the Master. 7

he said. “Behold the glittering terror!— the blade
Balmung.. Let us try its edge, and prove its temper
once again, that so we may know whether you can
place your trust in it.”

And Mimer looked long at the ruddy hilts of the
weapon, and at the mystic runes that were scored upon
its sides, and at the keen edge, which gleamed like a ray
of sunlight in the gathering gloom of the evening. But
no word came from his lips, and his eyes were dim and
dazed ; and he seemed as one lost in thoughts of days
long past and gone.

Siegfried raised the blade high over his head; and
the gleaming edge flashed hither and thither, like the
lightning’s play when Thor rides over the storm-clouds.
Then suddenly it fell upon the master’s anvil, and the
great block of iron was cleft in two; but the bright
blade was no whit dulled by the stroke, and the line of
light which marked the edge was brighter than before.

Then to the flowing brook they went; and a great
pack of wool, the fleeces of ten sheep, was brought, and
thrown upon the swirling water. As the stream bore
the bundle downwards, Mimer held the sword in its
way. And the whole was divided as easily and as
clean as the woollen ball or the slender woollen thread
had been cleft before.

“ Now, indeed,” cried Mimer, “I no longer fear to
meet that upstart, Amilias. If his war-coat can with-
stand the stroke of such a sword as Balmung, then I
shall not be ashamed to be his underling. But, if this
8 The Story of Siegfried.





good blade is what it seems to be, it will not fail me;
and I, Mimer the Old, shall still be called the wisest
and greatest of smiths.”

And he sent word at once to Amilias, in Burgundy-
land, to meet him on a day, and settle forever the ques-
tion as to which of the two should be the master, and
which the underling. And heralds proclaimed it in every
town and dwelling. When the time which had been
set drew near, Mimer, bearing the sword Balmung, and
followed by all his pupils and apprentices, wended his
way towards the place of meeting. Through the forest -
they went, and then along the banks of the sluggish
river, for many a league, to the height of land which
marked the line between King Siegmund’s country and
the country of the Burgundians. It was in this place,
midway between the shops of Mimer and Amilias, that
the great trial of metal and of skill was to be made.
And here were already gathered great numbers of peo-
ple from the Lowlands and from Burgundy, anxiously
waiting for the coming of the champions. On the one
side were the wise old Siegmund and his gentle queen,
and their train of knights and courtiers and fair ladies.
On the other side were the three Burgundian kings,
Gunther, Gernot, and Giselher, and a mighty retinue of
warriors, led by grim old Hagen, the uncle of the kings,
and the wariest chief in all Rhineland.

When every thing was in readiness for the contest,
Amilias, clad in his boasted war-coat, went up to the
top of the hill, and sat upon a great rock, and waited
Mimer, the Master. 9



for Mimer’s coming. As he sat there, he looked, to the
people below, like some great castle-tower ; for he was
almost a giant in size, and his coat of mail, so skilfully
wrought, was so huge that twenty men of common mould
might have found shelter, or hidden themselves, within
it. As the smith Mimer, so dwarfish in stature, toiled
up the steep hillside, Amilias smiled to see him; for he
felt no fear of the slender, gleaming blade that was to
try the metal of his war-coat. And already a shout
of expectant triumph went up from the throats of the
Burgundian hosts, so sure were they of their champion’s
SUCCESS.

But Mimer’s friends waited in breathless silence, hop-
ing, and yet fearing. Only King Siegmund whispered
to his queen, and said, “Knowledge is stronger than
brute force. The smallest dwarf who has drunk from
the well of the Knowing One may safely meet the
stoutest giant in battle.”

When Mimer reached the top of the hill, Amilias
folded his huge arms, and smiled again; for he felt
that this contest was mere play for him, and that
Mimer was already as good as beaten, and his thrall.
The smith paused a moment to take breath, and as
he stood by the side of his foe he looked to those
Lelow like a mere black speck close beside a steel-gray
castle-tower.

“ Are you ready?” asked the smith.

“Ready,” answered Amilias. “Strike!”

Mimer raised the beaming blade in the air, and for a
10 The Story of Sregfried.

moment the lightning seemed to play around his head.
The muscles on his short, brawny arms, stood out like
great ropes; and then Balmung, descending, cleft the
air from right to left. The waiting lookers-on in the
plain below thought to hear the noise of clashing steel ;
but they listened in vain, for no sound came to their
ears, save a sharp hiss like that which red-hot iron gives
when plunged into a tank of cold water. The huge
Amilias sat unmoved, with his arms still folded upon his
breast ; but the smile had faded from his face.

“How do you feel now?” asked Mimer in a half-
mocking tone.

“Rather strangely, as if cold iron had touched me,”
faintly answered the upstart.

“Shake thyself!” cried Mimer.

Amilias did so, and, lo! he fell in two halves; for the
sword had cut sheer through the vaunted war-coat, and
cleft in twain the great body incased within. Down
tumbled the giant head and the still folded arms, and
they rolled with thundering noise to the foot of the hill,
and fell with a fearful splash into the deep waters of
the river; and there, fathoms down, they may even
now be seen, when the water is clear, lying like great
gray rocks among the sand and gravel below. The rest
of the body, with the armor which incased it, still sat
upright in its place; and to this day travellers sailing
down the river are shown on moonlit evenings the
luckless armor of Amilias on the high hill-top. In the
dim, uncertain light, one easily fancies it to be the ivy
covered ruins of some old castle of feudal times.
Mimer, the Muster. Ll

The master, Mimer, sheathed his sword, and walked
slowly down the hillside to the plain, where his friends
welcomed him with glad cheers and shouts of joy.
But the Burgundians, baffled, and feeling vexed, turned
silently homeward, nor cast a single look back to the
scene of their disappointment and their ill-fated cham-
pion’s defeat.

And Siegfried went again with the master and his
fellows to the smoky smithy, to his roaring bellows and
ringing anvil, and to his coarse fare, and rude, hard bed,
and to a life of labor. And while all men praised Mimer
and his knowing skill, and the fiery edge of the sun-
beam blade, no one knew that it was the boy Siegfried
who had wrought that piece of workmanship.

But after a while it was whispered around that not
Mimer, but one of his pupils, had forged the sword.
And, when the master was asked what truth there was
in this story, his eyes twinkled, and the corners of his
mouth twitched strangely, and he made no answer.
But Veliant, the foreman of the smithy, and the great-
est of boasters said, “It was I who forged the fire-edge
of the blade Balmung.” Ard, although none denied
the truth of what he said, but few who knew what sort
of a man he was believed his story. And this is the
reason, my children, that, in the ancient songs ané
stories which tell of this wondrous sword, it is said by
most that Mimer, and by a few that Veliant, forged its
blade. But I prefer to believe that it was made by
Siegfried, the hero who afterwards wielded it in so
12 The Story of Siegfried.



many adventures. Be this as it may, however, blind
hate and jealousy were from this time uppermost in
the coarse and selfish mind of Veliant ; and he sought
how he might drive the lad away from the smithy in
disgrace. ‘This boy has done what no one else could
do,” said he. “He may yet do greater deeds, and set
himself up as the master smith of the world, and then
we shall all have to humble ourselves before him as his
underlings and thralls.”’

And he nursed this thought, and brooded over the
hatred which he felt towards the blameless boy; but he
did not dare to harm him, for fear of their master, Mimer.
And Siegfried busied himself at his forge, where the
sparks flew as briskly and as merrily as ever before,
and his bellows roared from early morning till late at
evening. Nor did the foreman’s unkindness trouble
him for a moment, for he knew that the master’s heart
was warm towards him.

Oftentimes, when the day’s work was done, Siegfried
sat with Mimer by the glowing light of the furnace-fire,
and listened to the sweet tales which the master told
of the deeds of the early days, when the world was
young, and the dwarf-folk and the giants had a name
and a place upon earth. And one night, as they thus
sat, the master talked of Odin the All-Father, and of
the gods who dwell with him in Asgard, and of the
puny men-folk whom they protect and befriend, until
his words grew full of bitterness, and his soul of a fierce
longing for something he dared not name. And the

1 See Note 3 at the end of this volume.
Mimer, the Master. 13

Y



lad’s heart was stirred with a strange uneasiness, and hz
said, —

“Tell me, I pray, dear master, something about my
own kin, my father’s fathers, — those mighty kings, who,
I have heard said, were the bravest and best of men.”

Then the smith seemed pleased again. And his eyes
grew brighter, and lost their far-away look; and a smile
played among the wrinkles of his swarthy face, as he
told a tale of old King Volsung and of the deeds of the
Volsung kings :—

“Long years ago, before the evil days had dawned,
King Volsung ruled over all the land which lies between
the sea and the country of the Goths. The days were
golden; and the good Frey dropped peace and plenty
everywhere, and men went in and out and feared no
wrong. King Volsung had a dwelling in the midst
of fertile fields and fruitful gardens. Fairer than any
dream was that dwelling. The roof was thatched with
gold, and red turrets and towers rose above. The great
feast-hall was long and high, and its walls were hung
with sun-bright shields ; and the door-nails were of sil-
ver. In the middle of the hall stood the pride of the
Volsungs, —a tree whose blossoms filled the air with
fragrance, and whose green branches, thrusting them-
selves through the ceiling, covered the roof with fair
foliage. It was Odin’s tree, and King Volsung had
planted it there with his own ha ads.

“On a day in winter King Volsung held a great
feast in his hall in honor of Siggeir, the King of the
4 The Story of Siegfried.



Goths, who was his guest. And the fires blazed bright
in the broad chimneys, and music and mirth went round.
But in the midst of the merry-making the guests were
startled by a sudden peal of thunder, which seemed to
come from the cloudless sky, and which made the shields
upen the walls rattle and ring. In wonder they looked
around. A strange man stood in the doorway, and
laughed, but said not a word. And they noticed that
he wore no shoes upon his feet, but that a cloud-gray
cloak was thrown over his shoulders, and a blue hood
was drawn down over his head. His face was half-
hidden by a heavy beard; and he had but one eye,
which twinkled and glowed like a burning coal. And
all the guests sat moveless in their seats, so awed were
they in the presence of him who stood at the door; for
they knew that he was none other than Odin the All-
Father, the king of gods and men. He spoke not
a word, but straight into the hall he strode, and he
paused not until he stood beneath the blossoming
branches of the tree. Then, forth from beneath his
cloud-gray cloak, he drew a gleaming sword, and struck
the blade deep into the wood, —so deep that nothing
but the hilt was left in sight. And, turning to the
awe-struck guests, he said, ‘A blade of mighty worth
have I hidden in this tree. Never have the earth-folk
wrought better steel, nor has any man ever wielded a
more trusty sword. Whoever there is among you brave
enough and strong enough to draw it forth from the
wood, he shall have it as a gift from Odin.” Then
Mimer, the Master. 15



slowly to the door he strode again, and no one saw
him any more.

“And after he had gone, the Volsungs and their
guests sat a long time silent, fearing to stir, lest the
vision should prove a dream. But at last the old king
arose, and cried, ‘Come, guests and kinsmen, and set
your hands to the ruddy hilt! Odin’s gift stays, waiting
for its fated owner. Let us see which one of you is
the favored of the All-Father.’ First Siggeir, the King
of the Goths, and his earls, the Volsungs’ guests,
tried their hands. But the blade stuck fast; and the
stoutest man among them failed to move it. Then
King Volsung, laughing, seized the hilt, and drew with
all his strength; but the sword held still in the wood
of Odin’s tree. And one by one the nine sons of Vol-
sung tugged and strained in vain; and each was greeted
with shouts and laughter, as, ashamed and beaten, he
wended to his seat again. Then, at last, Sigmund,
the youngest son, stood up, and laid his hand upon the
ruddy hilt, scarce thinking to try what all had failed to
do. When, lo! the blade came out of the tree as if
therein it had all along lain loose. And Sigmund raised
it high over his head, and shook it, and the bright fame
that leaped from its edge lit up the hall like the light-
ning’s gleaming; and the Volsungs and their guests
rent the air with cheers and shouts of gladness. For
no one among all the men of the mid-world was
more worthy of Odin’s gift than young Sigmund the
brave.”
16 The Story of Siegfried.



But the rest of Mimer’s story would be too long to
tell you now; for he and his young apprentice sat for
hours by the dying coals, and talked of Siegfried’s kin-
folk, —the Volsung kings of old. And he told how
Siggeir, the Goth king, was wedded to Signy the fair,
the only daughter of Volsung, and the pride of the old
king’s heart; and how he carried her with him to his
home in the land of the Goths; and how he coveted
Sigmund’s sword, and plotted to gain it by guile; and
how, through pretence of friendship, he invited the Vol-
sung kings to visit him in Gothland, as the guests of
himself and Signy ; and how he betrayed and slew them,
save Sigmund alone, who escaped, and for long years
lived an outlaw in the land of his treacherous foe. And
then he told how Sigmund afterwards came back to his
own country of the Volsungs; and how his people wel-
comed him, and he became a mighty king, such as the
world had never known before ; and how, when he had
grown old, and full of years and honors, he went out
with his earls and fighting-men to battle against the
hosts of King Lyngi the Mighty ; and how, in the midst
of the fight, when his sword had hewn down numbers of
the foe, and the end of the strife and victory seemed
near, an old man, one eyed and bearded, and wearing a
cloud-gray cloak, stood up before him in the din, and his
sword was broken in pieces, and he fell dead on the
heap of the slain... And, when Mimer had finished his
tale, his dark face seemed to grow darker, and his twin-

1 See Note 4 at the end of this volume.
Mimer, the Master. 17



kling eyes grew brighter, as he cried out in a tone of
despair and hopeless yearning, —

“Oh, past are those days of old and the worthy deeds
of the brave! And these are the days of the home-
stayers, —-of the wise, but feeble-hearted. Yet the
Norns have spoken; and it must be that another hero
shall arise of the Volsung blood, and he shall restore
the name and the fame of his kin of the early days.
And he shall be my bane; and in him shall the race of
heroes have an end.” !

Siegfried’s heart was strangely stirred within him as
he hearkened to this story of ancient times and to the
fateful words of the master, and for a long time he sat
in silent thought ; and neither he nor Mimer moved, or
spoke again, until the darkness of the night had begun
to fade, and the gray light of morning to steal into the
smithy. Then, as if moved by a sudden impulse, he
turned to the master, and said, —

“You speak of the Norns, dear master, and of their
foretelling ; but your words are vague, and their mean-
ing very broad. When shall that hero come? and who >
shall he be? and what deeds shall be his doing?”

“ Alas!” answered Mimer, “I know not, save that he
shall be of the Volsung race, and that my fate is linked
with his.”

“And why do you not know?” returned Siegfried.
“Are you not that old Mimer, in whom it is said the
garnered wisdom of the world is stored? Is there

t See Note 7 at the end of this volume.
18 The Story of Stegfried.

not truth in the old story that even Odin pawned one
of his eyes for a single draught from your fountain
of knowedge? And is the possessor of so much wis-
dom unable to look into the future with clearness and
certainty?”

“ Alas!” answered Mimer again, and his words came
hard and slow, “I am not that Mimer, of whom old
stories tell, who gave wisdom to the All-Father in ex-
change for an eye. He is one of the giants, and he
still watches his fountain in far-off Jotunheim.t I claim
kinship with the dwarfs, and am sometimes known as
an elf, sometimes as a wood-sprite. Men have called
me Mimer because of my wisdom and skill, and the
learning which I impart to my pupils. Could I but
drink from the fountain of the real Mimer, then the
wisdom of the world would in truth be mine, and the
secrets of the future would be no longer hidden. But I
must wait, as I have long waited, for the day and the
deed and the doom that the Norns have foretold.”

And the old strange look of longing came again into
his eyes, and the wrinkles on his swarthy face seemed
to deepen with agony, as he arose, and left the smithy.
And Siegfried sat alone before the smouldering fire, and
pondered upon what he had heard.

1 See Note 2 at the end of this volume.
Greyfell. 19g



ADVENTURE U1.

GREYFELL.

_ Many were the pleasant days that Siegfried spent in
Mimer’s smoky smithy ; and if he ever thought of his
father’s stately dwelling, or of the life of ease which he
might have enjoyed within its halls, he never by word or
deed showed signs of discontent. For Mimer taught
him all the secrets of his craft and all the lore of the
wise men. To beat hot iron, to shape the fire-edged
sword, to smithy war-coats, to fashion the slender brace-
let of gold and jewels, —all this he had already learned.
But there were many other things to know, and these
the wise master showed him. He told him how to carve
the mystic runes which speak to the knowing ones with
silent, unseen tongues; he told him of the men of other
lands, and taught him their strange speech; he showed
him how to touch the harp-strings, and bring forth
bewitching music: and the heart of Siegfried waxed
very wise, while his body grew wondrous strong. And
the master loved his pupil dearly.

But the twelve apprentices grew more jealous day by
day, and when Mimer was away they taunted Siegfried
20 The Story of Siegfried.





with cruel jests, and sought by harsh threats to drive
him from the smithy; but the lad only smiled, and
made the old shop ring again with the music from his
anvil. Ona day when Mimer had gone on a journey,
Veliant, the foreman, so far forgot himself as to strike
the boy. For a moment Siegfried gazed at him with
withering scorn; then he swung his hammer high in
air, and brought it swiftly down, not upon the head of
Veliant, who was trembling with expectant fear, but
upon the foreman’s anvil. The great block of iron was
shivered by the blow, and flew into a thousand pieces.
Then, turning again towards the thoroughly frightened
foreman, Siegfried said, while angry lightning-flashes
darted from his eyes, —

“What if I were to strike you thus?”

Veliant sank upon the ground, and begged for mercy,

“You are safe,” said Siegfried, walking away. “I
would scorn to harm a being like you!”

The apprentices were struck dumb with amazement
and fear; and when Siegfried had returned to his anvil
they one by one dropped their hammers, and stole away
from the smithy. In a secret place not far from the
shop, they met together, to plot some means by which
they might rid themselves of him whom they both hated
and feared.

The next morning Veliant came to Siegfried’s forge,
with a sham smile upon his face. The boy knew
that cowardice and base deceit lurked, ill concealed,
beneath that smile; yet, as he was wont to do, he
welcomed the foreman kindly.
Grey fell, 21



“Siecfried,” said Veliant, “let us be friends again.
I am sorry that I was so foolish and so rash yesterday,
and I promise that I will never again be so rude and
unmanly as to become angry at you. Let us be friends,
good Siegfried! Give me your hand, I pray you, and
with it your forgiveness.”

Siegfried grasped the rough palm of the young smith
with such a gripe, that the smile vanished from Veliant’s
face, and his muscles writhed with pain.

“T give you my hand, certainly,” said the boy, “and
I will give you my forgiveness when I know that you
are worthy of it.”

As soon as Veliant’s aching hand allowed him speech,
he said, —

“ Siegfried, you know that we have but little charcoal
left for our forges, and our master will soon return from
his journey. It will never do for him to find us idle,
and the fires cold. Some one must go to-day to the
forest-pits, and bring home a fresh supply of charcoal.
low would you like the errand? It is but a pleasant
day’s journey to the pits; and a ride into the green-
wood this fine summer day would certainly be more
agreeable than staying in the smoky shop.”

“T should like the drive very much,” answered Sieg-
fried ; “but I have never been to the coal-pits, and I
might lose my way in the forest.”

“No danger of that,” said Veliant. “Follow the
road that goes straight into the heart of the forest,
and you cannot miss your way. It will lead you to the
22 Lhe Story of Siegfried.

house of Regin, the master, the greatest charcoal-man
in all Rhineland. He will be right glad to see you for
Mimer’s sake, and you may lodge with him for the
night. In the morning he will fill your cart with the
choicest charcoal, and you can drive home at your leis-
ure; and, when our master comes again, he will find
our forges flaming, and our bellows roaring, and our
anvils ringing, as of yore.”

Siegfried, after some further parley, agreed to under-
take the errand, although he felt that Veliant, in urging
him to do so, wished to work him some harm. He har-
nessed the donkey to the smith’s best cart, and drove
merrily away along the road which led towards the
forest.' The day was bright and clear; and as Sieg-
fried rode through the flowery meadows, or betwixt the
fields of corn, a thousand sights and sounds met him,
and made him glad. Now and then he would stop to
watch the reapers in the fields, or to listen to the song
of some heaven-soaring lark lost to sight in the blue
sea overhead. Once he met a company of gayly dressed
youths and maidens, carrying sheaves of golden grain,
—for it was now the harvest-time, —and singing in
praise of Frey, the giver of peace and plenty.

“Whither away, young prince?” they merrily asked.

“To Regin, the coal-burner, in the deep greenwood,”
he answered.

“Then may the good Frey have thee in keeping!”
they cried. “It is a long and lonesome journey.” And
each one blessed him as they passed.

1 See Note 5 at the end of this volume.
Grey fell. 23



It was nearly noon when he drove into the forest,
and left the blooming meadows and the warm sunshine
behind him. And now he urged the donkey forwards
with speed ; for he knew that he had lost much precious
time, and that many miles still lay between him and
Regin’s charcoal-pits. And there was nothing here
amid the thick shadows of the wood to make him wish
to linger; for the ground was damp, and the air was
chilly, and every thing was silent as the grave. And
not a living creature did Siegfried see, save now and
then a gray wolf slinking across the road, or a doleful owl
sitting low down in some tree-top, and blinking at him
in the dull but garish light. Evening at last drew on,
and the shadows in the wood grew deeper; and still no
sign of charcoal-burner, nor of other human being, was
seen. Night came, and thick darkness settled around ;
and all the demons of the forest came forth, and clam-
ored and chattered, and shrieked and howled. But
Siegfried was not afraid. The bats and vampires came
out of their hiding-places, and flapped their clammy
wings in his face; and he thought that he saw ogres and
many fearful creatures peeping out from behind every
tree and shrub. But, when he looked upwards through
the overhanging tree-tops, he saw the star-decked roof
of heaven, the blue mantle which the All-Father has
hung as a shelter over the world; and he went bravely
onwards, never doubting but that Odin has many good
things in store for those who are willing to trust him.

And by and by the great round moon arose in the
24 Lhe Story of Siegfried.





east, and the fearful sounds that had made the forest
hideous began to die away; and Siegfried saw, far down
the path, a red light feebly gleaming. And he was
glad, for he knew that it must come from the charcoal-
burners’ pits. Soon he came out upon a broad, cleared
space; and the charcoal-burners’ fires blazed bright
before him; and some workmen, swarthy and _ soot-
begrimed, came forwards to meet him.

“Who are you?” they asked ; “and why do you come
through the forest at this late hour ?”

“T am Siegfried,” answered the boy; “and I come
from Mimer’s smithy. I seek Regin, the king of char-
coal-burners; for I must have coal for my master’s
smithy.”

“Come with me,” said one of the men: “I will lead
you to Regin.”

Siegfried alighted from his cart, and followed the
man to a low-roofed hut not far from the burning pits.
As they drew near, they heard the sound of a harp, and
strange, wild music within; and Siegfried’s heart was
stirred with wonder as he listened. The man knocked
softly at the door, and the music ceased.

“Who comes to break into Regin’s rest at such a
time as this?” said a rough voice within.

‘“‘A youth who calls himself Siegfried,” answered the
man. “He says that he comes from Mimer’s smithy,
and he would see you, my master.”

“Let him come in,” said the voice.

Siegfried passed through the low door, and into the
Grey fell 25
room beyond; and so strange was the sight that met him
that he stood for a while in awe, for never in so lowly
a dwelling had treasures so rich been seen. Jewels
sparkled from the ceiling; rare tapestry covered the
walls; and on the floor were heaps of ruddy gold and
silver, still unfashioned. And in the midst of all this
wealth stood Regin, the king of the forest, the great-
est of charcoal-men. And a strange old man he was,
wrinkled and gray and beardless ; but out of his eyes
sharp glances gleamed of a light that was not human,
and his heavy brow and broad forehead betokened wis-
dom and shrewd cunning. And he welcomed Siegfried
kindly for Mimer’s sake, and set before him a rich repast |
of venison, and wild honey, and fresh white bread, and
luscious grapes. And, when the meal was finished, the
boy would have told his errand, but Regin stopped him.

“Say nothing of your business to-night,” said he;
“for the hour is already late, and you are weary. Better
lie down, and rest until the morrow; and then we will
talk of the matter which has brought you hither.”

And Siegfried was shown to a couch of the fragrant
leaves of the myrtle and hemlock, overspread with soft
white linen, such as is made in the far-off Emerald Isle;
and he was lulled to sleep by sweet strains of music
from Regin’s harp, — music which told of the days when
the gods were young on the earth. And as he slept
he dreamed. He dreamed that he stood upon the crag
of a high mountain, and that the eagles flew screaming
around him, and the everlasting snows lay at his feet,
26 The Story of Siegfried.



and the world in all its beauty was stretched out like a
map below him ; and he longed to go forth to partake
of its abundance, and to make for himself a name among
men. Then came the Norns, who spin the thread, and
weave the woof, of every man’s life; and they held in
their hands the web of his own destiny. And Urd, the
Past, sat on the tops of the eastern mountains, where
the sun begins to rise at dawn; while Verdanda, the
Present, stood in the western sea, where sky and water
meet. And they stretched the web between them, and
its ends were hidden in the far-away mists. Then with
all their might the two Norns span the purple and golden
threads, and wove the fatal woof. But as it began to
grow in beauty and in strength, and to shadow the earth
with its gladness and its glory, Skuld, the pitiless Norn
of the Future, seized it with rude fingers, and tore it
into shreds, and cast it down at the fect of Hela, the
white queen of the dead.t And the eagles shricked,
and the mountain shook, and the crag toppled, and
Siegfried awoke.

The next morning, at earliest break of day, the
youth sought Regin, and made known his errand.

“I have come for charcoal for my master Mimer’s
forges. My cart stands ready outside; and I pray you
to have it filled at once, for the way is long, and I must
be back betimes.”

Then a strange smile stole over Regin’s wrinkled
face, and he said, —

See Note 6 at the end of this volume.
Greyfell. ay,





“Does Siegfried the prince come on such a lowly
errand? Does he come to me through the forest, driv-
ing a donkey, and riding in a sooty coal-cart? I have
known the day when his kin were the mightiest kings
of earth, and they fared through every land the noblest
men of men-folk.”

The taunting word, the jeering tones, made Sieg-
fried’s anger rise. The blood boiled in his veins; but
he checked his tongue, and mildly answered, —

“Tt is trué that I am a prince, and my father is the
wisest of kings; and it is for this reason that I come
thus to you. Mimer is my master, and my father early
taught me that even princes must obey their masters’
behests.”’

Then Regin laughed, and asked, ‘“‘ How long art thou
to be Mimer’s thrall? Does no work wait for thee but
at his smoky forge?”

“When Mimer gives me leave, and Odin calls me,”
answered the lad, “then I, too, will go faring over the
world, like my kin of the earlier days, to carve me a
name and great glory, and a place with the noble of
earth.”

Regin said not a word; but he took his harp, and
smote the strings, and a sad, wild music filled the room.
And ke sang of the gods and the dwarf-folk, and of the
deeds that had been in the time long past and gone.
And a strange mist swam before Siegfried’s eyes; and
so bewitching were the strains that fell upon his ears,
and filled his soul, that he forgot about his errand, and
28 The Story of Siegfried.

his master Mimer, and his father Siegmund, and his
lowland home, and thought only of the heart-gladdening
sounds. By and by the music ended, the spell was
lifted, and Siegfried turned his eyes towards the musi-
cian. A wonderful change had taken place. The little
old man still stood before him with the harp in his
hand; but his wrinkled face was hidden by a heavy
beard, and his thin gray locks were covered with a long
black wig, and he seemed taller and stouter than before.
As Siegfried started with surprise, his host held out his
hand, and said, —

“You need not be alarmed, my boy. It is time for
you to know that Regin and Mimer are the same per-
son, or rather that Mimer is Regin disguised. The
day has come for you to go your way into the world,
and Mimer gives you leave.”

Siegfried was so amazed he could not say a word.
He took the master’s hand, and gazed long into his
deep, bright eyes. Then the two sat down together,
and Mimer, or Regin as we shall now call him, told the
prince many tales of the days that had been, and of his
bold, wise forefathers. And the lad’s heart swelled
within him; and he longed to be like them, — to dare
and do and suffer, and gloriously win at last. And he
turned to Regin and said, —

“Tell me, wisest of masters, what I shall do to win
fame, and to make myself worthy to rule the fair land
which my fathers held.”

â„¢ See Note 8 at the end of this volume,
Greyfell. 29

“Go forth in your own strength, and with Odin’s
help,” answered Regin, — “go forth to right the wrong,
to help the weak, to punish evil, and come not back to
your father’s kingdom until the world shall know your
noble deeds.”

“But whither shall I go?” asked Siegfried.

“J will tell you,’ answered Regin. “Put on these
garments, which better befit a prince than those soot-
begrimed clothes you have worn so long. Gird about
you this sword, the good Balmung, and go northward.
When you come to the waste lands which border upon
the sea, you will find the ancient Gripir, the last of the
kin of the giants. Ask of him a war-steed, and Odin
will tell you the rest.”

So, when the sun had risen high above the trees,
Siegfried bade Regin good-by, and went forth like a
man, to take whatsoever fortune should betide. He
went through the great forest, and across the bleak
moorland beyond, and over the huge black mountains
that stretched themselves across his way, and came to
a pleasant country all dotted with white farmhouses,
and yellow with waving corn. But he tarried not here,
though many kind words were spoken to him, and all
besought him to stay. Right onwards he went, until
he reached the waste land which borders the sound-
ing sea. And there high mountains stood, with snow-
crowned crags beetling over the waves; and a great
river, all foaming with the summer floods, went rolling
through the valley. And in the deep dales between
30 The Story of Siegfried.

the mountains were rich meadows, green with grass,
and speckled with thousands of flowers of every hue,
where herds of cattle and deer, and noble elks, and
untamed horses, fed in undisturbed peace. And Sieg-
fried, when he saw, knew that these were the pastures
of Gripir the ancient.

High up among the gray mountain-peaks stood Gripir’s
dwelling, — a mighty house, made of huge bowlders
brought by giant hands from the far north-land. And
the wild eagles built their nests around it, and the
mountain vultures screamed about its doors. But Sieg-
fried was not afraid. He climbed the steep pathway
which the feet of men had never touched before, and,
without pausing, walked straightway into the high-built
hall. The room was so dark that at first he could see
nothing save the white walls, and the glass-green pillars
which upheld the roof. But the light grew stronger
soon; and Siegfried saw, beneath a heavy canopy of
stone, the ancient Gripir, seated in a chair made from
the sea-horse’s teeth. And the son of the giants held in
his hand an ivory staff; anda purple mantle was thrown
over his shoulders, and his white beard fell in sweeping
waves almost to the sea-green floor. Very wise he
seemed, and he gazed at Siegfried with a kindly smile.

“Fail, Siegfried!” he cried. ‘Hail, prince with
the gleaming eye! I know thee, and I know the woof
that the Norns have woven for thee. Welcome to my
lonely mountain home! Come and sit by my side in the

1 See Note g at the end of this volume.
Greyfell. 31



high-seat where man has never sat, and I will tell thee
of things that have been, and of things that are yet
to be.”

Then Siegfried fearlessly went and sat by the side of
the ancient wise one. And long hours they talked
together, — strong youth and hoariest age; and each
was glad that in the other he had found some source of
hope and comfort. And they talked of the great mid-
world, and of the starry dome above it, and of the seas
which gird it, and of the men who live upon it. All
night long they talked, and in the morning Siegfried
arose to go.

“Thou hast not told me of thy errand,” said Gripir;
“but I know what it is. Come first with me, and see
this great mid-world for thyself.”

Then Gripir, leaning on his staff, led the way out of
the great hall, and up to the top of the highest moun-
tain-crag. And the wild eagles circled in the clear,
cold air above them; and far below them the white
waves dashed against the mountain’s feet; and the
frosty winds swept around them unchecked, bringing
to their ears the lone lamenting of the north giants,
moaning for the days that had been and for the glories
that were past. Then Siegfried looked to the north,
and he saw the dark mountain-wall of Norway trending
away in solemn grandeur towards the frozen sea, but
broken here and there by sheltering fjords, and pleasant,
sunny dales. He looked to the east, and saw a great
forest stretching away and away until it faded to sight
32 The Story of Stegfried.



in the blue distance. He looked to the south, and saw
a pleasant land, with farms and vineyards, and towns
and strong-built castles; ard through it wound the
River Rhine, like a great white serpent, reaching from
the snow-capped Alps to the northern sea. And he
saw his father’s little kingdom of the Netherlands lying
like a green speck on the shore of the ocean. Then he
looked to the west, and nothing met his sight but a
wilderness of rolling, restless waters, save, in the far
distance, a green island half hidden by sullen mists
and clouds. And Siegfried sighed, and said, —

“The world is so wide, and the life of man so short!”

“The world is all before thee,” answered Gripir.
“Take what the Norns have allotted thee. Choose
from my pastures a battle-steed, and ride forth to win
for thyself a name and fame among the sons of men.”

Then Siegfried ran down the steep side of the moun-
tain to the grassy dell where the horses were feeding.
But the beasts were all so fair and strong, that he knew
not which to choose. While he paused, uncertain what
to do, a strange man stood before him. Tall and hand-
some was the an, with one bright eye, and a face
beaming like the dawn in summer; and upon his head
he wore a sky-blue hood bespangled with golden stars,
and over his shoulder was thrown a cloak of ashen gray.

“Would you choose a horse, S'r Siegfried?” asked
the stranger.

“Indeed I would,” answered he. “But it is hard to
make a choice among so many.”
Greyfell. ae)

————___. r



“There is one in the meadow,” said the man, “ far
better than all the rest. They say that he came from
Odin’s pastures on the green hill-slopes of Asgard, and
that none but the noblest shall ride him.”

“Which is he?” asked Siegfried.

“Drive the herd into the river,” was the answer,
“and then see if you can pick him out.”

And Siegfried and the stranger drove the horses
down the sloping bank, and into the rolling stream ; but
the flood was too strong for them. Some soon turned
back to the shore; while others, struggling madly, were
swept away, and carried out to the sea. Only one
swam safely over. He shook the dripping water from
his mane, tossed his head in the air, and then plunged
again into the stream. Right bravely he stemmed the
torrent the second time. He clambered up the shelving
bank, and stood by Siegfried’s side.

‘“What need to tell you that this is the horse?” said
the stranger. “Take him: he is yours. He is Grey-
fell, the shining hope that Odin sends to his chosen
heroes.”

And then Siegfried noticed that the horse’s mane
glimmered and flashed like a thousand rays from the
sun, and that his coat was as white and clear as the
fresh-fallen snow on the mountains. He turned t
speak to the stranger, but he was nowhere to be seen
and Siegfried bethought him how he had talked wit}
Odin unawares. Then he mounted the noble Greyfell
and rode with a light heart across the flowery meadows.
34 The Story of Siegfried.



“Whither ridest thou?” cried Gripir the ancient,
from his doorway among the crags.

“T ride into the wide world,” said Siegfried; “but
I know not whither. I would right the wrong, and
help the weak, and make myself a name on the earth,
as did my kinsmen of yore. Tell me, I pray you,
where I shall go; for you are wise, and you know the
things which have been, and those which shall befall.”

“Ride back to Regin, the master of masters,” an-
swered Gripir. “He will tell thee of a wrong to be
righted.”

And the ancient son of the giants withdrew into his
ionely abode; and Siegfried, on the shining Greyfell,
rode swiftly away towards the south.
The Curse of Gold. 35



ADVENTURE Ii].

THE CURSE OF GOLD.

Fortu then rode Siegfried, upon the beaming Grey-
fell, out into the broad mid-world. And the sun shone
bright above him, and the air was soft and pure, and
the earth seemed very lovely, and life a gladsome thing.
And his heart was big within him as he thought of
the days to come, of the deeds of love and daring, of the
righting of many wrongs, of the people’s praise, and
the glory of a life well lived. And he wended his way
back again toward the south and the fair lands of the
Rhine. He left the barren moorlands behind him, and
the pleasant farms and villages of the fruitful country-
side, and after many days came once more to Regin’s
woodland dwelling. For he said to himself, “My old
master is very wise; and he knows of the deeds that
were done when yet the world was young, and my kin
were the mightiest of men. I will go to him, and learn
what grievous evil it is that he has so often vaguely
hinted at.”

Regin, when he saw the lad and the beaming Grey-
fell standing like a vision of light at his door, welcomed
36 The Story of Siegfried.



them most gladly, and led Siegfried into the inner
room, where they sat down together amid the gold, and
the gem-stones, and the fine-wrought treasures there.

“Truly,” said the master, “the days of my long
waiting are drawing to a close, and at last the deed
shall be done.”

And the old look of longing came again into his
eyes, and his pinched face seemed darker and more
wrinkled than before, and his thin lips trembled with
emotion as he spoke, ;

“What is that deed of which you speak?” asked
Siegfried.

“It is the righting of a grievous wrong,” answered
Regin, “and the winning of treasures untold. Lo,
many years have I waited for the coming of this day;
and now my heart tells me that the hero so long hoped
for is here, and the wisdom and the wealth of the world
shall be mine.”

“But what is the wrong to be righted?” asked Sieg-
fried. ‘“ And what is this treasure that you speak of as
your own?”

“Alas!” answered Regin, “the treasure is indeed
mine; and yet wrongfully has it been withheld from me.
But liste. a while to a tale of the early days, and thou
shalt know what the treasure is, and what is the wrong
to be righted.”

He took his harp and swept the strings, and played
.a soft, low melody which told of the dim past, and of
blighted hopes, and of a nameless, never-satisfied
The Curse of Gold. 27





yearning for that which might have been. And then
he told Siegfried this story : —

REGIN’S STORY.

When the earth was still very young, and men were
feeble and few, and the Dwarfs were many and strong,
the Asa-folk were wont oft-times to leave their halls in
heaven-towering Asgard in order to visit the new-formed
mid-world, and to see what the short-lived sons of men
were doing. Sometimes they-came in their own god-
like splendor and might ; sometimes they came disguised
as feeble men-folk, with all man’s weaknesses and all his
passions. Sometimes Odin, as a beggar, wandered from
one country to another, craving charity; sometimes, as
a warrior clad in coat of mail, he rode forth to battle
for the cause of right; or as a minstrel he sang from
door to door, and played sweet music in the halls of the
great; or as a huntsman he dashed through brakes and
fens, and into dark forests, and climbed steep mountains
in search of game; or as a sailor he embarked upon
the sea, and sought new scenes in unknown lands. And
many times did men-folk entertain him unawares.

Once on a time he came to the mid-world in com-
pany with Hoenir and Loki; and the three wandered
through many lands and in many climes, each giving
gifts wherever they went. Odin gave knowledge and
strength, and taught men how to read the mystic runes ;
Hoenir gave gladness and good cheer, and lightened
many hearts with the glow of his comforting presence;
38 The Story of Siegfried.



out Loki had nought to give but cunning deceit and
base thoughts, and he left behind him bitter strife and
many aching breasts. At last, growing tired of the
fellowship of men, the three Asas sought the solitude
of the forest, and as huntsmen wandered long among
the hills and over the wooded heights of Hunaland.
Late one afternoon they came to a mountain-stream at
a place where it poured over a ledge of rocks, and fell
in clouds of spray into a rocky gorge below. As they
stood, and with pleased eyes gazed upon the waterfall,
they saw near the bank an otter lazily making ready
to eat a salmon which he had caught. And Loki, ever
bent on doing mischief, hurled a stone at the harmless
beast, and killed it. And he boasted loudly that he had
done a worthy deed. And he took both the otter, and
the fish which it had caught, and carried them with him
as trophies of the day’s success.

Just at nightfall the three huntsmen came to a lone
farmhouse in the valley, and asked for food, and for
shelter during the night.

“Shelter you shall have,” said the farmer, whose
name was Hreidmar, “for the rising clouds foretell a
storm. But food I have none to give you. Surely
huntsmen of skill should not want for food; since the
forest teems with game, and the streams are full of
fish.”

Then Loki threw upon the ground the otter and the
fish, and said, “We have sought in both forest and
stream, and we have taken from them at one blow both
The Curse of Gold. 39







flesh and fish. Give us but the shelter you promise,
and we will not trouble you for food.”

The farmer gazed with horror upon the lifeless body
of the otter, and cried out, “This creature which you
mistook for an otter, and which you have robbed and
killed, is my son Oddar, who for mere pastime had
taken the form of the furry beast. You are but thieves ©
and murderers !”’

Then he called loudly for help: and his two sons
Fafnir and Regin, sturdy and valiant kin of the dwarf
folk, rushed in, and seized upon the huntsmen, and
bound them hand and foot; for the three Asas, having
taken upon themselves the forms of men, had no more
than human strength, and were unable to withstand
them.

Then Odin and his fellows bemoaned their ill fate.
And Loki said, “ Wherefore did we foolishly take upon
ourselves the likenesses of puny men? Had I my own
power once more, I would never part with it in exchange
for man’s weaknesses.”

And Hoenir sighed, and said, “Now, indeed, will
darkness win: and the frosty breath of the Reimthursen
giants will blast the fair handiwork of the sunlight and
the heat; for the givers of life and light and warmth
are helpless prisoners in the hands of these cunning
and unforgiving jailers.”’

“Surely,” said Odin, “not even the highest are free
from obedience to heaven’s behests and the laws of
tight. I, whom men call the Preserver of Life, have
40 The Story of Siegfried.



=



demeaned myself by being found in evil company ; and,
although I have done no other wrong, I suffer rightly
for the doings of this mischief-maker with whom I have
stooped to have fellowship. For all are known, not so
much by what they are as by what they seem to be, -
and they bear the bad name which their comrades bear.
Now I am fallen from my high estate. Eternal rizht
is higher than I. And in the last Twilight of the gods
I must needs meet the dread Fenris-wolf, and in the
end the world will be made new again, and the shining
Balder will rule in sunlight majesty forever.”

Then the Asas asked Hreidmar, their jailer, what
ransom they should pay for their freedom; and he, not
knowing who they were, said, “I must first know what
ransom you are able to give.”

“We will give any thing you may ask,” hastily an-
swered Loki.

Hreidmar then called his sons, and bade them strip
the skin from the otter’s body. When this was done,
they brought the furry hide and spread it upon the
ground; and Hreidmar said, “Bring shining gold and
precious stones enough to cover every part of this otter-
skin. When you have paid so much ransom, you shall
have your freedom.”

“That we will do,” answered Odin. “Butone of us
must have leave to go and fetch it: the other two will
stay fast bound until the morning dawns. If, by that
time, the gold is not here, you may do with us as you
please.”
The Curse of Gold. 41



Hreidmar and the two young men agreed to Odin’s
offer; and, lots being cast, it fell to Loki to go and
fetch the treasure. When he had been loosed from the
cords which bound him, Loki donned his magic shoes,
which had carried him over land and sea from the far-
thest bounds of the mid-world, and hastened away upon
his errand. And he sped with the swiftness of light,
over the hills and the wooded slopes, and the deep dark
valleys, and the fields and forests and sleeping hamlets,
until he came to the place where dwelt the swarthy
elves and the cunning dwarf Andvari. There the River
Rhine, no larger than a meadow-brook, breaks forth
from beneath a mountain of ice, which the Frost
giants and blind old Hoder, the Winter-king, had built
long years before ; for they had vainly hoped that they
miight imprison the river at its fountain-head. But the
baby-brook had eaten its way beneath the frozen mass,
and had sprung out from its prison, and gone on, leap-
ing and smiling, and kissing the sunlight, in its ever-
widening course towards Burgundy and the sea.

Loki came to this place, because he knew that here
was the home of the elves who had laid up the greatest
hoard of treasures ever known in the mid-world. He
scanned with careful eyes the mountain-side, and the
deep, rocky caverns, and the dark gorge through which
the little river rushed; but in the dim moonlight not a
living being could he see, save a lazy salmon swimming
in the quieter eddies of the stream. Any one but Loki
would have lost all hope of finding treasure there, at
42 The Story of Siegfried.
least before the dawn of day; but his wits were quick,
and his eyes were very sharp.

“One salmon has brought us into this trouble, and
another shall help us out of it!” he cried.

Then, swift as thought, he sprang again into the air;
and the magic shoes carried him with greater speed
than before down the Rhine valley, and through Bur-
gundy-land, and the low meadows, until he came to the
shores of the great North Sea. He sought the halls
of old A®gir, the Ocean-king; but he wist not which way
to go, — whether across the North Sea towards Isen-
land, or whether along the narrow channel between
Britain-land and the main. While he paused, uncertain
where to turn, he saw the pale-haired daughters of old
égir, the white-veiled Waves, playing in the moonlight
near the shore. Of them he asked the way to Aégir’s
hall.

“Seven days’ journey westward,” said they, “beyond
the green Isle of Erin, is our father’s hall. Seven days’
journey northward, on the bleak Norwegian shore, is our
father’s hall.”

And they stopped not once in their play, but rippled
and danced on the shelving beach, or dashed with force
against the shore.

“Where is your mother Ran, the Queen of the
Ocean?” asked Loki.”

And they answered, —
The Curse of Gold. 43

‘In the deep sea-caves

By the sounding shore,

In the dashing waves
When the wild storms roar,

In her cold green bowers
In the northern fiords,

She lurks and she glowers,
She grasps and she hoards,

And she spreads her strong net for her prey.”

Loki waited to hear no more; but he sprang into
the air, and the magic shoes carried him onwards over
the water in search of the Ocean-queen. He had not
gone far when his sharp eyes espied her, lurking near a
rocky shore against which the breakers dashed with
frightful fury. Half hidden in the deep dark water,
she lay waiting and watching; and she spread her cun-
ning net upon the waves, and reached out with her long
greedy fingers to seize whatever booty might come near
her.

When the wary queen saw Loki, she hastily drew in
her net, and tried to hide herself in the shadows of an
overhanging rock. But Loki called her by name, and
said, —

«Sister Ran, fear not! I am your friend Loki,
whom once you served as a guest in A®gir’s gold-lit
halls.”

Then the Ocean-queen came out into the bright
moonlight, and welcomed Loki to her domain, and
asked, “Why does Loki thus wander so far from As-
gard, and over the trackless waters?”
44 The Story of Stegfried.

And Loki answered, “I have heard of the net which
you spread upon the waves, and from which no creature
once caught in its meshes can ever escape. I have
found a salmon where the Rhine-spring gushes from
beneath the mountains, and a very cunning salmon he
1s, for no common skill can catch him. Come, I pray,
with your wondrous net, and cast it into the stream
where he lies. Do but take the wary fish for me, and
you shall have more gold than you have taken in a year
from the wrecks of stranded vessels.”

“J dare not go,” cried Ran. ‘A bound is set, be-
yond which I may not venture. [If all the gold of earth
were offered me, I could not go.”

“Then lend me your net,” entreated Loki. ‘Lend
me your net, and I will bring it back to-morrow filled
with gold.”

“Much I would like your gold,” answered Ran;
“but I cannot lend my net. Should I do so, I might
lose the richest prize that has ever come into my hus-
band’s kingdom. For three days, now, a gold-rigged
ship, bearing a princely crew with rich armor and
abundant wealth, has been sailing carelessly over these
seas. To-morrow I shall send my daughters and the
bewitching mermaids to decoy the vessel among the
rocks. And into my net the ship, and the brave war-
riors, and all their armor and gold, shall fall. A rich
prize it will be. No: I cannot part with my net, e7ep
for a single hour.”

But Loki knew the power of flattering words.
The. Curse of Gold. 45



“ Beautiful queen,” said he, “there is no one on earth,
nor even in Asgard, who can equal you in wisdom and
foresight. Yet I promise you, that, if you will but lend
me your net until the morning dawns, the ship and the
crew of which you speak shall be yours, and all their
golden treasures shall deck your azure halls in the deep
sea.”

Then Ran carefully folded the net, and gave it to
Loki.

“Remember your promise,” was all that she said.

“ An Asa never forgets,” hé answered.

And he turned his face again towards Rhineland; and
the magic shoes bore him aloft, and carried him in a
moment back to the ice-mountain and the gorge and the
infant river, which he had so lately left. The salmon
still rested in his place, and had not moved during Loki’s
short absence.

Loki unfolded the net, and cast it into the stream.
The cunning fish tried hard to avoid being caught
in its meshes; but, dart which way he would, he met
the skilfully woven cords, and these drew themselves
around him, and held him fast. Then Loki pulled the
net up out of the water, and grzsped the helpless fish
in his right hand. But, lo! as he-held the struggling
creature high in the air, it was no longer a fish, but the
cunning dwarf Andvari.

“Thou King of the Elves,” cried Loki, ‘thy cun-
ning has not saved thee. Tell me, on thy life, where
thy hidden treasures lie!”
46 The Story of Stegfried.





The wise dwarf knew who it was that thus held him
as in avise; and he answered frankly, for it was his only
hope of escape, “Turn over the stone upon which you
stand. Beneath it you will find the treasure you seek.”

Then Loki put his shoulder to the rock, and pushed
with all his might. But it seemed as firm as the moun-
tain, and would not be moved.

“Help us, thou cunning dwarf,” he cried, — “ help
us, and thou shalt have thy life!”

The dwarf put his shoulder to the rock, and it turned
over as if by magic, and underneath was disclosed a
wondrous chamber, whose walls shone brighter than the
sun, and on whose floor lay treasures of gold and glit-
tering gem-stones such as no man had ever seen. And
Loki, in great haste, seized upon the hoard, and placed
it in the magic net which he had borrowed from the
Ocean-queen. Then he came out of the chamber; and
Andvari again put his shoulder to the rock which lay at
the entrance, and it swung back noiselessly to its place.

“What is that upon thy finger ?”’ suddenly cried Loki.
“Wouldst keep back a part of the treasure? Give me
the ring thou hast!”

But the dwarf shook his head, and made answer, “I
have given thee all the riches that the elves of the
mountain have gathered since the world began. This
ring I cannot give thee, for without its help we shall
never be able to gather more treasures together.”

And Loki grew angry at these words of the dwarf;
and he seized the ring, and tore it by force from And.
The Curse of Gold. 47
vari’s fingers. It was a wondrous little piece of mechan-
ism shaped like a serpent, coiled, with its tail in its
mouth; and its scaly sides glittered with many a tiny
diamond, and its ruby eyes shone with an evil light.
When the dwarf knew that Loki really meant to rob
him of the ring, he cursed it and all who should ever
possess it, saying, —

“May the ill-gotten treasure that you have seized to-
night 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 a violent death! The Norns have spoken,
and thus it must be.”

Loki was pleased with these words, and with the
dark curses which the dwarf pronounced upon the
gold; for he loved wrong-doing for wrong-doing’s sake,
and he knew that no curses could ever make his own
life’ more cheerless than it always had been. So he
thanked Andvari for his curses and his treasures; and,
throwing the magic net upon his shoulder, he sprang
again into the air, and was carried swiftly back to
Hunaland ; and, just before the dawn appeared in the
east, he alighted at the door of the farmhouse where
Odin and Hoenir still lay bound with thongs, and
guarded by Fafnir and Regin.

Then the farmer, Hreidmar, brought the otter’s skin,
and spread it upon the ground; ‘and, lo! it grew, and
spread out on all sides, until it covered an acre of
48 The Story of Siegfried.



ground. And he cried out, “ Fulfil now your promise!
Cover every hair of this hide with gold or with pre-
cious stones. If you fail to do this, then your lives, by
your own agreement, are forfeited, and we shall do with
you as we list.”

Odin took the magic net from Loki’s shoulder; and,
opening it, he poured the treasures of the mountain.
elves upon the otter-skin. And Lokiand Hoenir spread
the yellow pieces carefully and evenly over every part
of the furry hide. But, after every piece had been laid
in its place, Hreidmar saw near the otter’s mouth a
single hair 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. And the Asas looked at each other in dis-
may ; for not another piece of gold, and not another
precious stone, could they find in the net, although they
searched with the greatest care. At last Odin took
from his bosom 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
that it would not be needed to complete the payment
of the ransom. And they laid the ring upon the un-
covered hair. And now no portion of the otter’s skin
could be seen. And Fafnir and Regin, the ransom
being paid, loosed the shackles of Odin and Hoenir,
and bade the three huntsmen go on their way.

Odin and Hoenir at once shook off their human
disguises, and, taking their own forms again, hastened
The Curse of Gold. 49
with all speed back to Asgard. But Loki tarried a
little while, and said to Hreidmar 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 be the bane of
every one who holds it. 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 king among men-folk
shall feel its curse. Such is gold, and such it shall
ever be to its worshippers. And the ring which you
have gotten shall impart to its possessor its own na-
ture. 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 Hreidmar and his sons, and
hastened northward toward the sea; for he wished to
redeem the promise that he had made to the Ocean-
queen, to bring back her magic net, and to decoy the
richly laden ship into her clutches.

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; and he loudly
declared that he would keep all the treasure for himself,
50 The Story of Siegfried.

and that his sons should not have any portion of it
whatever. So Fafnir and Regin, nursing their disap-
pointment, went to the fields to watch their sheep; but
their father sat down to guard his new-gotten treasure.
And he took in his hand the glittering serpent-ring,
and gazed into its cold ruby eyes: and, as he gazed, all
his thoughts were fixed upon his gold; and there was
no room in his heart for love toward his fellows, nor for
deeds of kindness, nor for the worship of the All-Father.
And behold, 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 feel-
ings, became purple and cold and sluggish ; and selfish-
ness, like serpent-poison, took hold of his heart. Then,
as he kept on gazing at the hoard which lay before him,
he began to lose his human shape; 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 looked so long.

When the day drew near its close, F afnir came back
from the fields with his herd of sheep, and thought to
find his father guarding the treasure, as he had left him
in the morning; but instead he saw a glittering
snake, fast asleep, encircling the hoard like a huge
scaly ring of gold. His first thought was that the
monster had devoured his father ; and, hastily drawing
his sword, with one blow he severed thé serpent’s head
from its body. And, while yet the creature writhed in
The Curse of Gold. 51

eR i ee



the death-agony, he gathered up the hoard, and fled
with it beyond the hills of Hunaland, until on the
seventh day he came to a barren heath far from the
homes of men. There he placed the treasures in one
glittering heap; and he clothed himself in a wondrous
mail-coat of gold that was found among them, and he
put on the Helmet of Dread, which had once been the
terror of the mid-world, and the like of which no man
had ever seen; and then he gazed with greedy eyes
upon the fateful ring, until he, too, was changed into a
cold and slimy reptile, —a monster dragon. And he
coiled himself about the hoard; and, with his restless
eyes forever open, he gloated day after day upon his
loved gold, and watched with ceaseless care that no one
should come near to despoil him of it. This was ages
and ages ago; and still he wallows among his treasures
on the Glittering Heath, and guards as of yore the
garnered wealth of Andvari."

When I, Regin, the younger brother, came back in
the late evening to my father’s dwelling, I saw that the
treasure had been carried away; and, when I beheld
the dead serpent lying in its place, I knew that a part ot
Andvari’s curse had been fulfilled. And a strange fear
came over me; and I left every thing behind me, and
fled from that dwelling, never more to return. Then I
came to the land of the Volsungs, where your father's
fathers dwelt, —the noblest king-folk that the world
has ever seen. But a longing for the gold and the

1 See Note 10 at end of this volume.
52 The Story of Siegfried.

treasure, a hungry yearning that would never be
satisfied, filled my soul. Then for a time I sought to
forget this craving. I spent my days in the getting of
knowledge and in teaching men-folk the ancient lore of
my kin, the Dwarfs. I taught them how to plant and
to sow, and to reap the yellow grain. I showed them
where the precious metals of the earth lie hidden, and
how to smelt iron from its ores, —how to shape the
ploughshare and the spade, the spear and the battle-
axe. I taught them how to tame the wild horses of
the meadows, and how to train the yoke-beasts to the
plough; how to build lordly dwellings and mighty
strongholds, and how to sail in ships across old A¢gir’s
watery kingdom. But they gave me no thanks for
what I had done; and as the years went by they
forgot who had been their teacher, and they said that it
was Frey who had given them this knowledge and skill.
And I taught the young maidens how to spin and
weave, and to handle the needle deftly, —to make rich
garments, and to work in tapestry and embroidery.
But they, too, forgot me, and said that it was Freyja
who had taught them. Then I showed men how to
read the mystic runes aright, and how to make the
sweet beverage of poetry, that charms all hearts, and
enlightens the world. But they say now that they had
these gifts from Odin. I taught them how to fashion
the tales of old into rich melodious songs, and with
music and sweet-mouthed eloquence to move the minds
of their fellow-men. But they say that Bragi taught
The Curse of Gold. . 53



them this; and they remember me only as Regin, the
elfin schoolmaster, or at best as Mimer, the master
of smiths. At length my heart grew bitter because
of the neglect and ingratitude of men; and the old
longing for Andvari’s hoard came back to me, and I
forgot much of my cunning and lore. But I lived on
and on, and generations of short-lived men arose
and passed, and still the hoard was not mine; for I
was weak, and no man was strong enough to help
me.

Then I sought wisdom of the Norns, the weird women
who weave the woof of every creature’s fate.

“How long,” asked I, “must I hope and wait in
weary expectation of that day when the wealth of the
world and the garnered wisdom of the ages shall be
mine?”

And the witches answered, “When a prince of the
Volsung race shall come who shall excel thee in the
smithying craft, and to whom the All-Father shall give
the Shining Hope as a helper, then the days of thy
weary watching shall cease.”

“How long,” asked I, “shall I live to enjoy this
wealth and this wisdom, and to walk as a god among
men? Shall I be long-lived as the Asa-folk, and dwell
on the earth until the last Twilight comes?”

“Tt is written,” answered Skuld, “that a beardless
youth shall see thy death. But go thou now, and bide
thy time.”

! See Notes 6 and 7 at the end of this volume.
54 The Story of Siegfried.





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

“T know what you wish,” said Siegfried at last.
“You think that I am the prince of whom the weird
sisters spoke; and you would have me slay the dragon
Fafnir, and win for you the hoard of. Andvari.”

“Tt is even so,” answered Regin.

“ But the hoard is accursed,” said the lad.

_ “Let the curse be upon me,” was the answer. “Is
not the wisdom of the ages mine? And think you that
I cannot escape the curse? Is there aught that can
prevail against him who has all knowledge and the
wealth of the world at his call?”

“Nothing but the word of the Norns and the will of
the All-Father,” answered Siegfried.

“But will you help me?” asked Regin, almost wild
with earnestness. “Will you help me to win that
which is rightfully mine, and to rid the world of a hor-
ribie evil?”

“Why is the hoard of Andvari more thine than
Fafnir’s?”

“He is a monster, and he keeps the treasure but to
gloat upon its glittering richness, I will use it to make
myself a name upon the earth. I will not hoard it
away. But I am weak, and he is strong and terrible.
Will you help me?”

“To-morrow,” said Siegfried, “be ready to go with
me to the Glittering Heath. The treasure shall be
thine, and also the curse,”

‘And also the curse,” echoed Regin.
Fafnir, the Dragon. 55



ADVENTURE IV.

FAFNIR, THE DRAGON.

Recin took up his harp, and his fingers smote the
strings; and the music which came forth sounded like
the wail of the winter’s wind through the dead tree-
tops of the forest. And the song which he sang was
full of grief and wild hopeless yearning for the things
which were not to be. When he had ceased, Siegfried
said, —

“That was indeed a sorrowful song for one to sing
who sees his hopes so nearly realized. Why are you so
sad? Is it because you fear the curse which you have
taken upon yourself? or is it because you know not
what you will do with so vast a treasure, and its posses-
sion begins already to trouble you?”

“Oh, many are the things I will do with that treas-
ure!” answered Regin; and his eyes flashed wildly,
and his face grew red and pale. “I will turn winter
into summer; I will make the desert-places glad; I will
bring back the golden age; I will make myself a god:
for mine shall be the wisdom. and the gathered wealth
of the world. And yet I fear” —
56 The Story of Swegfried.

“What do you fear ?”’

“The ring, the ring—it is accursed! The Norns,
too, have spoken, and my doom is known. I cannot
escape it.” 3

“The Norns have woven the woof of every man’s
life,’ answered Siegfried. ‘To-morrow we fare to the
Glittering Heath, and the end shall be as the Norns
have spoken.”

And so, early the next morning, Siegfried mounted
Greyfell, and rode out towards the desert-land that lay
beyond the forest and the barren mountain-range; and
Regin, his eyes flashing with desire, and his feet never
tiring, trudged by his side. For seven days they
wended their way through the thick greenwood, sleeping
at night on the bare ground beneath the trees, while the
wolves and other wild beasts of the forest filled the air
with their hideous howlings. But no evil creature dared
come near them, for fear of the shining beams of light
which fell from Greyfell’s gleaming mane. On the eighth
day they came to the open country and to the hills,
where the land was covered with black bowlders and
broken by yawning chasms. And no living thing was
seen there, not even an insect, nor a blade of grass;
and the silence of the grave was over all. And the
earth was dry and parched, and the sun hung above
them like a painted shield in a blue-black sky, and there
was neither shade nor water anywhere. But Siegfried
rode onwards in the way which Regin pointed out, and
faltered not, although he grew faint with thirst and
Fafnir, the Dragon. 57
with the overpowering heat. Towards the evening
of the next day they came to a dark mountain-wall
which stretched far out on either hand, and rose high
above them, so steep that it seemed to close up the way,
and to forbid them going farther.

“This is the wall!” cried Regin. “Beyond this
mountain is the Glittering Heath, and the goal of all
my hopes.”

And the little old man ran forwards, and scaled the
rough side of the mountain, and reached its summit,
while Siegfried and Greyfell were yet toiling among the
rocks at its foot. Slowly and painfully they climbed
the steep ascent, sometimes following a narrow path
which wound along the edge of a precipice, some-
times leaping from rock to rock, or over some deep
gorge, and sometimes picking their way among the
crags and cliffs. The sun at last went down, and
one by one the stars came out; and the moon
was rising, round and red, when Siegfried stood by
Regin’s side, and gazed from the mountain-top down
upon the Glittering Heath which lay beyond. And a
strange, weird scene it was that met his sight. At the
foot of the mountain was a river, white and cold and
still; and beyond it was a smooth and barren plain,
lying silent and lonely in the pale moonlight. But in
the distance was seen a circle of flickering flames, ever
changing,— now growing brighter, now fading away,
and now shining with a dull, cold light, like the glim-
mer of the glow-worm or the fox-fire. And as Siegfried
58 The Story of Sregfried.

gazed upon the scene, he saw the dim outline of some
hideous monster moving hither and thither, and seem-
ing all the more terrible in the uncertain light.

“Tt is he!” whispered Regin, and his lips were ashy
pale, and his knees trembled beneath him. “It is
Fafnir, and he wears the Helmet of Terror! Shall we
not go back to the smithy by the great forest, and to
the life of ease and safety that may be ours there? Or
will you rather dare to go forwards, and meet the
Terror in its abode?”

“None but cowards give up an undertaking once
begun,” answered Siegfried. ‘Go back to Rhineland
yourself, if you are afraid; but you must go alone.
You have brought me thus far to meet the dragon of
the heath, to win the hoard of the swarthy elves, and
to rid the world of a terrible evil. Before the setting
of another sun, the deed which you have urged me to
do will be done.”

Then he dashed down the eastern slope of the moun-
tain, leaving Greyfell and the trembling Regin behind
him. Soon he stood on the banks of the white river,
which lay between the mountain and the heath; but
the stream was deep and sluggish, and the channel was
very wide. He paused a moment, wondering how he
should cross; and the air seemed heavy with deadly
vapors, and the water was thick and cold. While he
thus stood in thought, a boat came silently out of the
mists, and drew near; and the boatman stood up and
called to him, and said, —
Fafnir, the Dragon. 5S



“What man are you who dares come into this leva!
of loneliness and fear?”

“T am Siegfried,’ answered the lad; ‘and I have
come to slay Fafnir, the Terror.”

“Sit in my boat,” said the boatman, “and I will
carry you across the river.”

And Siegfried sat by the boatman’s side; and with-
out the use of an oar, and without a breath of air to
drive it forwards, the little vessel turned, and moved
silently towards the farther shore.

“Tn what way will you fight the dragon?” asked the
boatman.

“With my trusty sword Balmung I shall slay him,”
answered Siegfried.

“But he wears the Helmet of Terror, and he breathes
deathly poisons, and his eyes dart forth lightning, and
no man can withstand his strength,” said the boatman.

“T will find some way by which to overcome him.”

‘“Then be wise, and listen to me,” said the boatman.
“As you go up from the river you will find a road, worn
deep and smooth, starting from the water’s edge, and
winding over the moor. It is the trail of Fafnir, adown
which he comes at dawn of every day to slake his thirst
at the river. Do you dig a pit in this roadway,—a
pit narrow and deep, —and hide yourself within it. In
the morning, when Fafnir passes over it, let him feel
the edge of Balmung.”

As the man ceased speaking, the boat touched the
shore, and Siegfried leaped out. He looked back to
60 The Story of Siegfried.



thank his unknown friend, but neither boat nor boat-
man was to be seen. Only a thin white mist rose
slowly from the cold surface of the stream, and floated
upwards and away towards the mountain-tops. Then
the lad remembered that the strange boatman had worn
a blue hood bespangled with golden stars, and that a
gray kirtle was thrown over his shoulders, and that his
one eye glistened and sparkled with a light that was
more than human. And he knew that he had again
talked with Odin. Then, with a braver heart than be-
fore, he went forwards, along the river-bank, until he
came to Fafnir’s trail,—a deep, wide furrow in the
earth, beginning at the river’s bank, and winding far
away over the heath, until it was lost to sight in the
darkness. The bottom of the trail was soft and slimy,
and its sides had been worn smooth by Fafnir’s frequent
travel through it.

In this road, at a point not far from the river, Sieg-
fried, with his trusty sword Balmung, scooped out a
deep and narrow pit, as Odin had directed. And
when the gray dawn began to appear in the east he hid
himself within this trench, and waited for the coming
of the monster. He had not long to wait; for no
sooner had the sky begun to redden in the light of the
coming sun than the dragon was heard bestirring him-
self. Siegfried peeped warily from his hiding-place,
and saw him coming far down the road, hurrying with
~ all speed, that he might quench his thirst at the slug-
gish river, and hasten back to his gold; and the sound
Fafnir, the Dragon. 61



which he made was like the trampling of many feet and
the jingling of many chains. With bloodshot eyes, and
gaping mouth, and flaming nostrils, the hideous creature
came rushing onwards. His sharp, curved claws dug
deep into the soft earth; and his bat-like wings, half
trailing on the ground, half flapping in the air, made a
sound like that which is heard when Thor rides in his
goat-drawn chariot over the dark thunder-clouds. It
was a terrible moment for Siegfried, but still he was
not afraid. He crouched low down in his hiding-place,
and the bare blade of the trusty Balmung glittered in
the morning light. On came the hastening feet and
the flapping wings: the red gleam from the monster’s
flaming nostrils lighted up the trench where Siegfried
lay. He heard a roaring and a rushing like the sound
of a whirlwind in the forest; then a black, inky mass
rolled above him, and all was dark. Now was Sieg-
fried’s opportunity. The bright edge of Balmung
gleamed in the darkness one moment, and then it
smote the heart of Fafnir as he passed. Some men
say that Odin sat in the pit with Siegfried, and
strengthened his arm and directed his sword, or else
he could not thus have slain the Terror. But, be this
as it may, the victory was soon won. The monster
stopped short, while but half of his long body had
glided over the pit; for sudden death had overtaken
him. His horrid head fell lifeless upon the ground;
his cold wings flapped once, and then lay, quivering
and helpless, spread out on either side; and streams
62 The Story of Steg fried.

of thick black blood flowed from his heart, through
the wound beneath, and filled the trench in which Sieg-
fried was hidden, and ran like a mountain-torrent down
the road towards the river. Siegfried was covered from
head to foot with the slimy liquid, and, had he not
quickly leaped from his hiding-place, he would have
been drowned in the swift-rushing stream.?

The bright sun rose in the east, and gilded the
-mountain-tops, and fell upon the still waters of the river,
and lighted up the treeless plains around. The south
wind played gently against Siegfried’s cheeks and
in his long hair, as he stood gazing on his fallen
foe. And the sound of singing birds, and rippling
waters, and gay insects,—such as had not broken
the silence of the Glittering Heath for ages, —came
to his ears. The Terror was dead, and Nature had
awakened from her sleep of dread. And as the lad
leaned upon his sword, and thought of the deed he
had done, behold! the shining Greyfell, with the beam-
ing, hopeful mane, having crossed the now bright river,
stood by his side. And Regin, his face grown won-
drous cold, came trudging’ over the meadows; and
his heart was full of guile. Then the mountain vultures
came wheeling downwards to look upon the dead dragon ;
and with them were two ravens, black as midnight.
And when Siegfried saw these ravens he knew them to
be Odin’s birds, — Hugin, thought, and Munin, memory.
And they alighted on the ground near by; and the lad

1 See Note 11 at the end of this volume.


THE DEATH OF FAFNIR,
Fafuir, the Dragon. 63



listened to hear what they would say. Then Hugin
flapped his wings, and said, —

“The deed is done. Why tarries the hero?”

And Munin said, —

“The world is wide. Fame waits for the hero.”

And Hugin answered, —

“What if he win the Hoard of the Elves? That is
not honor. Let him seek fame by nobler deeds.”

Then Munin flew past his ear, and whispered, —

“Beware of Regin, the master! His heart is
poisoned. He would be thy bane.”

And the two birds flew away to carry the news to
Odin in the happy halls of Gladsheim.

When Regin drew near to look upon the dragon,
Siegfried kindly accosted him: but he seemed not to
hear; and a snaky glitter lurked in his eyes, and his
mouth was set and dry, and he seemed as one walking
in a dream. °

“Jt is mine now,” he murmured: “it is all mine,
now, —the Hoard of the swarthy elf-folk, the garnered
wisdom of ages. The strength of the world is mine.
I will keep, I will save, I will heap up; and none shall
have part or parcel of the treasure which is mine
alone.”

Then his eyes fell upon Siegfried; and his cheeks
grew dark with wrath, and he cried out, —

“Why are you here in my way? I am the lord of
the Glittering Heath: I am the master of the Hoard
I am the master, and you are my thrall.”
64 The Story of Siegfried.

Siegfried wondered at the change which had taken
place in his old master; but he only smiled at his
strange words, and made no answer.

“You have slain my brother!” Regin cried; and his
face grew fearfully black, and his mouth foamed with
rage.

“Tt was my deed and yours,” calmly answered Sieg-
fried. “I have rid the world of a Terror: I have righted
a grievous wrong.”

“You have slain my brother,” said Regin; “and a
murderer's ransom you shall pay!”

“Take the Hoard for your ransom, and let us each
wend his way,’’ said the lad.

“The Hoard is mine by rights,” answered Regin still
more wrathfully. “Iam the master, and you are my
thrall. Why stand you in my way?”

Then, blinded with madness, he rushed at Siegfried
as if to strike him down; but his foot slipped in a
puddle of gore, and he pitched headlong against the
sharp edge of Balmung. So sudden was this move-
ment, and so unlooked for, that the sword was twitched
out of Siegfried’s hand, and fell with a dull splash into
the blood-filled pit before him; while Regin, slain by
his own rashness, sank dead upon the ground. Full of
horror, Siegfried turned away, and mounted Greyfell.

“This is a place of blood,” said he, “and the way to
glory leads not through it. Let the Hoard still lie on
the Glittering Heath: I will go my way from hence;
and the world shall know me for better deeds than this.”

' See Note 12 at the end of this volume.
Fafnir, the Dragon. 65



And he turned his back on the fearful scene, and rode
away; and so swiftly did Greyfell carry him over the
desert land and the mountain waste, that, when night
came, they stood on the shore of the great North Sea,
and the white waves broke at their feet. And the
lad sat for a long time silent upon the warm white sand
of the beach, and Greyfell waited at his side. And he
watched the stars as they came out one by one, and the
moon, as it rose round and pale, and moved like a queen
across the sky. And the night wore away, and the
stars grew pale, and the moon sank to rest in the wil-
derness of waters. And at day-dawn Siegfried looked
towards the west, and midway between sky and sea he
thought he saw dark mountain-tops hanging above a
land of mists that seemed to float upon the edge of the
sea.

While he looked, a white ship, with sails all set, came
speeding over the waters towards him. It came nearer
and nearer, and the sailors rested upon their oars as it
glided into the quiet harbor. A minstrel, with long
white beard floating in the wind, sat at the prow; and
the sweet music from his harp was wafted like incense
to the shore. The vessel touched the sands: its white
sails were reefed as if by magic, and the crew leaped
out upon the beach.

“Hail, Siegfried the Golden!” cried the harper
“Whither do you fare this summer day?”

“JT have come from a land of horror and dread,”
answered the lad; “and I would fain fare to a brighter.”
66 | The Story of Siegfried.

—



“Then go with me to awaken the earth from its slum-
ber, and to robe the fields in their garbs of beauty,”
said the harper. And he touched the strings of his
harp, and strains of the softest music arose in the still
morning air. And Siegfried stood entranced, for never
before had he heard such music.

“Tell me who you are!” he cried, when the sounds
died away. ‘Tell me who you are, and I will go to the
ends of the earth with you.”

“I am Bragi,’ answered the harper, smiling. And
Siegfried noticed then that the ship was laden with
flowers of every hue, and that thousands of singing
pirds circled around and above it, filling the air with
the sound of their glad twitterings.

Now, Bragi was the sweetest musician in all the
world. It was said by some that his home was with
the song-birds, and that he had learned his skill from
them. But this was only part of the truth: for wher-
ever there was loveliness or beauty, or things noble and
pure, there was Bragi; and his wondrous power in
music and song was but the outward sign of a blame-
less soul. When he touched the strings of his golden
harp, all Nature was charmed with the sweet harmony :
the savage beasts of the wood crept near to listen; the
birds paused in their flight ; the waves of the sea were
becalmed, and the winds were hushed; the leaping
waterfall was still, and the rushing torrent tarried in
its bed; the elves forgot their hidden treasures, and
joined in silent dance around him; and the strom-karls
Fafnir, the Dragon. 67
eee ee ee
and the musicians of the wood vainly tried to imitate
him. And he was as fair of speech as he was skilful in
song. His words were so persuasive that he had been
known to call the fishes from the sea, to move great
lifeless rocks, and, what is harder, the hearts of kings.
He vuderstood the voice of the birds, and the whisper-
ing of the breeze, the murmur of the waves, and the
roar of the waterfalls. He knew the length and breadth
of the earth, and the secrets of the sea, and the lan-
guage of the stars. And every day he talked with
Odin the All-Father, and with the wise and good in the
sunlit halls of Gladsheim. And once every year he
went to the North-lands, and woke the earth from its
long winter’s sleep,’ and scattered music and smiles
and beauty everywhere."

Right gladly did Siegfried agree to sail with Bragi
over the sea; for he wot that the bright Asa-god
would be a very different guide from the cunning, evil-
eyed Regin. So he went on board with Bragi, and the
gleaming Greyfell followed them, and the sailors sat at
their oars. And Bragi stood in the prow, and touched
the strings of his harp. And, as the music arose, the
white sails leaped up the masts, and a warm south
breeze began to blow; and the little vessel, wafted by
sweet sounds and the incense of spring, sped gladly
away over the sea.

1 See Note 13 at the end of this volume.
68 The Story of Sregfried.

ADVENTURE V.

IN AEGIR’S KINGDOM.

Tue vessel in which Siegfried sailed was soon far
out at sea; for the balmy south wind, and the songs
of the birds, and the music from Bragi’s harp, all urged
it cheerily on. And Siegfried sat at the helm, and
guided it in its course. By and by they lost all sight
of land, and the sailors wist not where they were; but
they knew that Bragi, the Wise, would bring them
safely into some haven whenever it should so please
him, and they felt no fear. And the fishes leaped up
out of the water as the white ship sped by on woven
wings; and the monsters of the deep paused, and listened
to the sweet music which floated down from above.
After a time the vessel began to meet great ice-moun-
tains in the sea,— mountains which the Reifriesen, and
old Hoder, the King of the winter months, had sent
drifting down from the frozen land of the north. But
these melted at the sound of Bragi’s music and at
the sight of Siegfried’s radiant armor. And the cold
breath of the Frost-giants, which had driven them in
their course, turned, and became the ally of the south
wind.
In Aégir’s Kingdom. 69



At length they came in sight of a dark shore, which
stretched on either hand, north and south, as far as the
eye could reach; and as they drew nearer they saw a
line of huge mountains, rising, as it were, out of the
water, and stretching their gray heads far above the
clouds. And the overhanging cliffs seemed to look
down, half in anger, half in pity, upon the little white-
winged vessel which had dared thus to sail through
these unknown waters. But the surface of the sea
was smooth as glass; and the gentle breeze drove the
ship slowly forwards through the calm water, and along
the rock-bound coast, and within the dark shadows of
the mountain-peaks. Long ago the Frost-giants had
piled great heaps of snow upon these peaks, and built
huge fortresses of ice between, and sought, indeed, to
clasp in their cold embrace the whole of the Norwegian
land. But the breezes of the South-land that came
with Bragi’s ship now played among the rocky steeps,
and swept over the frozen slopes above, and melted the
snow and ice; and thousands of rivulets of half-frozen
water ran down the mountain-sides, and tumbled into
rocky gorges, or plunged into the sea. And the grass
began to grow on the sunny slopes, and the flowers
peeped up through the half-melted snow, and the music
of spring was heard on every side. Now and then the
little vessel passed by deep, dark inlets enclosed be-
tween high mountain-walls, and reaching many leagues
far into land. But the sailors steered clear of these
shadowy fjords; for they said that Ran, the dread
70 The Story of Siegfried.



Ocean-queen, lived there, and spread her nets in the
deep green waters to entangle unwary seafaring men.
And the sound of Bragi’s harp awakened all sleeping
things ; and it was carried from rock to rock, and from
mountain-height to valley, and was borne on the breeze
far up ‘the fjords, and all over the land.

One day, as they were sailing through these quiet
waters, beneath the overhanging cliffs, Bragi tuned his
harp, and sang a song of sea. And then he told Sieg-
fried a story of A&gir and his gold-lit hall.

Old AEgir was the Ocean-king. At most times he
was rude and rough, and his manners were uncouth
and boisterous. But when Balder, the Shining One,
smiled kindly upon him from above, or when Bragi
played his harp by the seashore, or sailed his ship on
the waters, the heart of the bluff old king was touched
with a kindly feeling, and he tried hard to curb his
ungentle passions, and to cease his blustering ways.
He was one of the old race of giants; and men believe
that he would have been a very good and quiet giant,
had it not been for the evil ways of his wife, the
crafty Queen Ran. For, however kind at heart the
king might be, his good intentions were almost always
thwarted by the queen. Ran could never be trusted ;
and no one, unless it were Loki, the Mischief-maker,
could ever say any thing in her praise. She was
always lurking among hidden rocks, or in the deep sea,
or along the shores of silent fjords, and reaching out
with her long lean fingers, seeking to clutch in her
ln AEgir’s Kingdom. 71
wen i ee
greedy grasp whatever prey might unwarily come near
her. And many richly-laden vessels, and many brave
seamen and daring warriors, had she dragged down to
ner blue-hung chamber in old Aégir’s hall.

And this is the story that Bragi told of

THE FEAST IN GIR’S HALL.

It happened long ago, when the good folk at Glad-
sheim were wont to visit the mid-world oftener than
now. On a day in early autumn Queen Ran, with her
older daughters, — Raging Sea, Breaker, Billow, Surge,
and Surf,—went out to search for plunder. But old
A€gir staid at home, and with him his younger daugh-
ters, —fair Purple-hair, gentle Diver, dancing Ripple,
and smiling Sky-clear. And as they played around
him, and kissed his old storm-beaten cheeks, the heart
of the king was softened into gentleness, and he began
to think kindly of the green earth which bordered his
kingdom, and of the brave men who lived there; but
most of all did he think of the great and good Asa-folk,
who dwell in Asgard, and overlook the affairs of the
world. Then he called his servants, Funfeng and
Elder, and bade them prepare a feast in his gold-lit
hall. And he sent fleet messengers to invite the Asa-
folk to come and partake of the good cheer. And his
four young daughters played upon the beach, and
smiled and danced in the beaming sunlight. And the
hearts of many seafaring men were gladdened that
day, as they spread their sails to the wind; for they
72 The Story of Siegfried.



saw before them a pleasant voyage, and the happy
issue of many an undertaking.

Long before the day had begun to wane, the Asa-
folk arrived in a body at Aégir’s hall; for they were
glad to answer the bidding of the Ocean-king. Odin
came, riding Sleipner, his eight-footed steed; Thor
rode in his iron chariot drawn by goats; Frey came
with Gullinburste, his golden-bristled boar. There, too,
was the war-like Tyr, and blind Hoder, and the silent
Vidar, and the sage Forsete, and the hearkening Heim-
dal, and Niord, the Ruler of the Winds, and Bragi,
with his harp; and lastly came many elves, the thralls
of the Asa-folk, and Loki, the cunning Mischief-maker.
In his rude but hearty way old A®gir welcomed them;
and they went down into his amber hall, and rested
themselves upon the sea-green couches that had been
spread for them. Anda thousand fair mermaids stood
around them, and breathed sweet inelodies through
sea-shells of rainbow hue, while the gentle white-veiled
daughters of the Ocean-king danced to the bewitching
music.

Hours passed by, and the sun began to slope towards
the west, and the waiting guests grew hungry and ill
at ease; and then they began to wonder why the feast
was so long in getting ready. At last the host himself
became impatient; and he sent out in haste for his ser-
vants, Funfeng and Elder. Trembling with fear, they
came and stood before him.

“Master,” said they, “we know that you are angry
In 4egir’s Kingdom. 73



because the feast is not yet made ready; but we beg
that your anger may not fall upon us. The truth is, that
some thief has stolen your brewing-kettle, and we have
no ale for your guests.”

Then old A®gir’s brow grew dark, and his breath
came quick and fast ; and, had not Niord held the winds
tightly clutched in his hand, there would have been a
great uproar in the hall. Even as it was, the mermaids
fled away in great fright, and the white-veiled Waves
stopped dancing, and a strange silence fell upon all the
company.

“Some enemy has done this!” cried Aégir, as soon
as he could speak. ‘Some enemy has taken away my
brewing-kettle ; and, unless we can find it, I fear our
feast will be but a dry one.”

Then Thor said, —

“Tf any one knows where this kettle is, let him speak,
and I will bring it back; and I promise you you shall
not wait long for the feast.”

But not one in all this company knew aught about the
missing kettle. At last Tyr stood up and said, —

“Tf we cannot find the same vessel that our host has
lost, mayhap we may find another as good. I knowa
dogwise giant who lives east of the Rivers Elivagar, and
who has a strong kettle, fully a mile deep, and large
enough to brew ale for all the world.”

“That is the very kettle we want!” cried Thor.
“Think you that we can get it?”

“If we are cunning enough, we may,” answered Tyr.
“But old Hymer will never give it up willingly.”
74 Lhe Story of Siegfried.



“Ts it Hymer of whom you speak?” asked Thor.
“Then I know him well; and, willingly or not willingly,
he must let us have his kettle. For what is a feast
without the gladsome ale?”

Then Thor and Tyr set out on their journey towards
the land of Elivagar ; and they travelled many a league
northwards, across snowy mountains and barren plains,
until they came to the shores of the frozen sea. And
there the sun rises and sets but once a year, and even
in summer the sea is full of ice. On the lonely beach,
stood Hymer’s dwelling, —a dark and gloomy abode.
Tyr knocked at the door ; and it was opened by Hymer’s
wife, a strangely handsome woman, who bade them
come in. Inside the hall they saw Hymer's old mother,
sitting in the chimney-corner, and crooning over the
smouldering fire. She was a horribly ugly old giantess,
with nine hundred heads; but every head was blind and
deaf and toothless. Ah, me! what a wretched old age
that must have been!

“Is your husband at home?” asked Thor, speaking
to the pretty woman who had opened the door.

“He is not,”

2

was the answer. “He is catching fish
in the warm waters of the sheltered bay ; or, mayhap,
he is tending his cows in the open sea, just around the
headland.”

For the great icebergs that float down from the
frozen sea are called old Hymer’s cows.

“We have come a very long journey,” said Livres
“Will you not give two tired strangers food and lodging
until they shall have rested themselves?”
ln Aigir’s Kingdom. 75





The woman seemed in nowise loath to do this; and
she set before the two Asa-folk a plentifu! meal of the
best that she had in the house. When they had eaten,
she told them that it would be far safer for them to
hide themselves under the great kettles in the hall;
for, she said, her husband would soon be home, and he
might not be kind to them. So Thor and Tyr hid
themselves, and listened for Hymer’s coming. After a
time, the great hall-door opened, and they heard the
heavy steps of the giant.

“Welcome home!” cried the woman, as Hymer shook
the frost from his hair and beard, and stamped the snow
from his feet. “Iam so glad that you have come! for
there are two strangers in the hall, and they have asked
for you. One of them I know is Thor, the foe of the
giants, and the friend of man. The other is the one-
armed god of war, the brave Tyr. What can be their
errand at Hymer’s hall?”

“Where are they?” roared Hymer, stamping so
furiously, that even his deaf old mother seemed to hear,
and lifted up her heads.

“They are under the kettles, at the gable-end of the
hall,” answered the woman.

Hymer cast a wrathful glance towards the place.
The post at the end of the hall was shivered in pieces
by his very look; the beam that upheld the floor of the
loft was broken, and all the kettles tumbled down with
a fearful crash. Thor and Tyr crept out from among
the rubbish, and stood before old Hymer. The giant
70 The Story of Siegfried.
was not well pleased at the sight of such guests come
thus unbidden to his hall. But he knew that his rude
strength would count as nothing if matched with their
skill and weapons: hence he deemed it wise to treat
the two Asas as his friends, and to meet them with
cunning and strategy.

‘‘Welcome to my hall!” he cried. ‘Fear no hurt
from Hymer, for he was never known to harm a guest.”

And Thor and Tyr were given the warmest seats at
the fireside. And the giant ordered his thralls to kill the
fatted oxen, and to make ready a great feast in honor of
his guests. And, while the meal was being got ready,
he sat by Thor’s side, and asked him many questions
about what was going on in the great South-land.
And Thor answered him pleasantly, meeting guile with
guile. When the feast was in readiness, all sat down
at the table, which groaned beneath its weight of meat
and drink; for Hymer’s thralls had killed three fat
oxen, and baked them whole for this meal, and they
had filled three huge bowls with ale from his great
brewing-kettle. Hymer ate and drank very fast, and
wished to make his guests fear him, because he could
eat so much. But Thor was not to be taken aback in
this way; for he at once ate two of the oxen, and
quaffed a huge bowl of ale which the giant had set
aside for himself. The giant saw that he was outdone,
and he arose from the table, saying, —

“Not all my cows would serve to feed two guests so
hungry as these. We shall be obliged to live on fish

”

now.
In AEgir’s Kingdom. 77



He strode out of the hall without another word, and
began getting his boat ready for a sail. But Thor
followed him.

“It is a fine day for fishing,” said Thor gayly.
“ How I should like to go out with you!” =

“Such little fellows as you would better stay at
home,” growled Hymer.

“But let me go with you,” persisted Thor. “I can
certainly row the boat while you fish.”

“T have no need of help from sucha stunted pygmy,”
muttered the giant. ‘You could not be of the least
use to me: you would only be in my way. Still, if
you are bent on doing so, you may go, and you shall
take all the risks. If I go as far as I do sometimes,
and stay as long as I often do, you may make up your
mind never to see the dry land again; for you will cev-
tainly catch your death of cold, and be food for the
fishes —if, indeed, they would deign to eat such a
scrawny scrap!”

These taunting words made Thor so angry, that he
grasped his hammer, and was sorely tempted to crush
the giant’s skull. But he checked himself, and coolly
said, —

“T pray you not to trouble yourself on my account.
I have set my head on going with you, and go I will.
Tell me where I can find something that I can use for
ait, and I will be ready in a trice.”

“JT have no bait for you,” roughly aaswered Hyme:
“You must look for it yourself.”
78 The Story of Siegfried.



Half a dozen oxen, the very finest and fattest of
Hymer’s herd, were grazing on the short grass which
grew on the sunnier slopes of the hillside ; for not all of
the giant’s cattle had yet taken to the water. When
Thor saw these great beasts, he ran quickly towards
them, and seizing the largest one, which Hymer called
the Heaven-breaker, he twisted off his head as easily as
he would that of a small fowl, and ran back with it to
the boat. Hymer looked at him in anger and amaze-
inent, but said nothing; and the two pushed the boat
off from the shore. The little vessel sped through the
water more swiftly than it had ever done before, for
Thor plied the oars.

In a moment the long, low beach was out of sight;
and Hymer, who had never travelled so fast, began to
feel frightened.

“Stop!” he cried. ‘Here is the place to fish: I have
often caught great store of flat-fish here. Let us out
with our lines!”

“No, no!” answered Thor; and he kept on plying
the oars. ‘We are not yet far enough from shore.
The best fish are still many leagues out.”

And the boat skimmed onwards through the waters,
and the white spray dashed over the prow; and Hymer,
now very much frightened, sat still, and looked at his
strange fellow-fisherman, but said not a word. On and
on they went; and the shore behind them first grew
dim, and then sank out of sight; and the high moun-
tain-tops began to fade away in the sky, and then were
In Algir’s Kingdom. 79
seen no more. And when at last the fishermen were
so far out at sea that nothing was in sight but the
rolling waters on every side, Thor stopped his rowing.

“We have come too far!” cried the giant, trembling
in every limb. ‘The great Midgard snake lies here-
abouts. Let us turn back!”

“Not yet,” answered Thor quietly. ‘We will fish
here a little while.”

Without loss of time he took from his pocket a strong
hook, wonderfully made, to which he fastened a long
line as strong as ten ships’ cables twisted together ;
then he carefully baited the hook with the gory head
of the. Heaven-breaker ox, and threw it into the water.
As the giant had feared, they were now right over the
head of the great Midgard snake. The huge beast
looked upward with his sleepy eyes, and saw the tempt-
ing bait falling slowly through the water; but he did
not see the boat, it was so far above him. Thinking
of no harm, he opened his leathern jaws, and greedily
gulped the morsel down ; but the strong iron hook stuck
fast in his throat. Maddened by the pain, he began to
lash his tail against the floor of the sea; and he twisted
and writhed until the ocean was covered with foam, and
the waves ran mountain-high. But Thor pulled hard
upon the line above, and strove to lift the reptile’s head
out of the water ; then the snake darted with lightning
speed away, pulling the boat after him so swiftly, that,
had not Thor held on to the oar-locks, he would have
been thrown into the sea. Quickly he tightened his
80 The Story of Stegfried.
magic girdle of strength around him, and, standing up
in the boat, he pulled with all his might. The snake
would not be lifted. But the boat split in two ; and Thor
slid into the water, and stood upon the bottom of the
sea. He seized the great snake in his hands, and raised
his head clean above the water. What a scene of fright-
ful turmoil was there then! The earth shook; the
mountains belched forth fire; the lightnings flashed;
the caves howled; and the sky grew black and red.
Nobody knows what the end would have been, had not
Hymer reached over, and cut the strong cord. The
slippery snake glided out of Thor’s hands, and hid him-
self in the deep sea; and every thing became quiet again.
Silently Thor and Hymer sat in the brok_n boat, and
rowed swiftly back towards land. Thor felt really
ashamed of himself, because he had gained nothing by
his venture. And the giant was not at all happy.
When they reached the frozen shore and Hymer’s
cheerless castle again, they found Tyr there, anxiously
waiting for them. He felt that they were tarrying too
long in this dreary place; and he wished to be back
among his fellows in old A®gir’s hall. Hymer felt very
cross and ugly because his boat had been broken ; and,
when they came into the hall, he said to Thor, —
“You may think that you are very stout, — you whe
dared attack the Midgard snake, and lifted him out of
the sea. Yet there are many little things that you
cannot do. For instance, here is the earthen goblet
from which I drink my ale. Great men, like myself,
In igir’s Kingdom. 81



can crush such goblets between their thumbs and
fingers ; but such puny fellows as you will find that
they cannot break it by any means.”

“Let me try!” cried Thor.

He took the great goblet in his hands, and threw it
with all his strength against a stone post in the middle
of the hall. The post was shattered into a thousand
pieces, but the goblet was unharmed.

“Ha, ha!” laughed the giant. “Try again!”

Thor did so. This time he threw it against a huge
granite rock that stood like a mountain near the sea-
shore. The rock crumbled in pieces and fell, but the
goblet was whole as ever.

“What a very stout fellow you are!” cried Hymer
in glee. “Go home now, and tell the good Asa-folk
that you cannot even break a goblet!”

“Let me try once more,” said Thor, amazed, but not
disheartened.

“ Throw it against Hymer’s forehead,” whispered some
one over his shoulder. ‘It is harder than any rock.”

Thor looked, and saw that it was the giant’s hand-
some wife who had given him this kind advice. He
took the goblet, and hurled it quickly, straight at old
Hymer’s head. The giant had no time to dodge. The
vessel struck him squarely between the eyes, and was
shattered into ten thousand little pieces. But the
giant’s forehead was unhurt.

“That drink was rather hot!” cried Hymer, trying
to joke at his ill luck. “But it doesn’t take a very
82 The Story of Steg fried.





great man to break a goblet. There is one thing, how-
ever, that you cannot do. Yonder is my great brewing-
kettle, a mile deep. No man has ever lifted it. Now,
if you will carry it out of the hall, where it sits, you
may have it for your own.”

.“ Agreed!” cried Thor. “It is a fair bargain; and,
if I fail, I will go home and never trouble you again.”

Then he took hold of the edge of the great kettle,
and lifted it with all his might. The floor of Hymer’s
hall broke under him, and the walls and roof came
tumbling down; but he turned the kettle over his head,
and walked away with it, the great rings of the vessel
clattering at his heels. Tyr went before him, and
cleared the way; and Hymer gazed after him in utter
amazement. The two Asa-folk had fairly won the
brewing-kettle.

In due time they reached old A®gir’s hall, where
the guests were still waiting for them. Some said that
they had been gone three days, but most agreed that
it was only three hours. Be that as it may, Aégir’s
thralls, Funfeng and Elder, brewed great store of ale
in the kettle which Thor had brought; and, when the
guests were seated at the table, the foaming liquor
passed itself around to each, and there was much mer-
riment and glad good cheer. And old A%gir was so
happy in the pleasant company of the Asa-folk, that
men say that he forgot to blow and bluster for a full
six months thereafter.

! See Note 14 at the end of this volume.
ln ZEgir’s Kingdom. 83
ee ee oe ee ee
Such was the story which the wise harper told to
Siegfried as they sailed gayly along the Norwegian
shore. And with many other pleasant tales did they
beguile the hours away. And no one ever thought of
danger, for the sky was blue and cloudless. And,
besides this, Bragi himself was on board; and he could
charm and control the rudest’ elements.

One day, however, the sea became unaccountably
ruffled. There was no wind; but yet the waves rose
suddenly, and threatened to overwhelm the little ship.
Quickly the sailors sprang to their oars, and tried by
rowing to drive the vessel away from the shore and
into the quieter waters of the open sea. But all their
strength was of no avail: the swift stream carried the
little bark onward in its course, as an autumn leaf is
borne on the bosom of a mighty river. Then the whole
surface of the water seemed lashed into fury. The
waves formed hundreds of currents, each stronger than
a mountain torrent, and each seeming to follow a course
of its own. They dashed wildly against each other ;
they heaved, and boiled, and hissed, and threw great
clouds of spray high into the air; they formed deep
whirlpools, which twisted and twirled, and broke into a
thousand eddies, and then plunged deep down into
rocky caverns beneath, or laid bare the bottom of the
sea. The helpless ship was carried round and round,
swiftly and more swiftly still; and vain were the efforts
of the crew to steer her out of the seething caldron of
waters. Then the cheeks of the sailors grew white
84 The Story of Siegfried.



with fear; and they dropped their oars, and clung to
the masts and ropes, and cried out, —

“Alas, we are lost! This is old Atgir’s brewing-
kettle!”
~ But Siegfried stood by the helm, and said, —

“Jf that be true, then we may sup with him in his
gold-lit hall.”

And all this time Bragi slept in the hold, and no one
dared awaken him. Faster and faster the ship was
carried round the seething pool. The flying spray was
frozen in the air; andvit filled the masts with snow, and
pattered like heavy hail upon the deck. The light of
the sun, seemed shut out, and darkness closed around.
A dismal chasm yawned deep before them, and in
the gray gloom the ship’s crew saw many wondrous
things. Great sea-monsters swam among the rocks,
and seemed not to heed the uproar above them.
Lovely mermaids sat in their green-and-purple caves,
and combed their tresses of golden hair; and thought-
ful mermen groped among the seaweeds, searching
hopefully for lost or hidden treasures, Then Siegfried
caught a glimpse of the mighty Atgir, sitting in his
banquet-room ; and, as he quaffed his foaming ale, he
called aloud to his daughters to leave their play, and
come to their father in his gold-lit hall. And the
white-veiled Waves answered to their names, and came
at his call. First, Raging Sea entered the wide hall,
and sat by the Ocean-king’s side; then Billow, then
Surge, then Surf, and Breakers ; then came the Purple:
In 4Egir’s Kingdom. 85

——_—_"



haired, and the Diver; but Aégir’s two youngest
daughters, Laughing Ripple and Smiling Sky-clear,
came not at their father’s beck, but lingered to play
among the rocks and in the open sea.

So deeply engaged was Siegfried in watching ‘his
scene, that he did not notice Bragi, who now came upon
the deck with his harp in his hand. And sweet music
arose from among the dashing waves, and was heard far
down in the deep sea-caverns, and even in Aégir’s hall.
And, when Siegfried looked up again, the eddying
whirlpools, and the threatening waves, and the flying
spray, were no more; but the ship was gliding over the
quiet waters of a deep blue sea, and the sun was shin-
ing brightly in the clear sky above. Then an east wind
filled the sails; and, as Bragi’s music rose sweeter and
higher, they glided swiftly away from the coast, and
soon the snow-capped mountain-peaks grew dim in the
distance, and then sank from sight.

Many days they sailed over an unknown sea, and
towards an unknown land; and none but Bragi knew
what the end of their voyage would be. And yet no one
doubted or was afraid, for the secrets of the earth and
the sea were known to the sweet singer. After a time,
the water became as smooth as glass: not a ripple
moved upon its surface, and not the slightest breath of
air stirred among the idly-hanging sails. Then the
sailors went to their oars; but they seemed overcome
with languor and sleepiness, and only when Bragi
played upon his harp did they move their oars with
86 The Story of Siegfried.

their wonted strength and quickness. And at last they
came in sight of a long, low coast, and a shelving
beach up which the tide was slowly creeping in drowsy
silence. And not half a league from-the shore was a
grand old castle, with a tall tower and many turrets,
and broad halls and high battlements; and in the light
of the setting sun every thing was as green as emerald
or as the fresh grass of early spring. And a pale
flickering light gleamed on the castle-walls, and the
moat seemed filled with a glowing fire.

The ship glided silently up to the sandy beach, and
the sailors moored it to the shore. But Siegfried heard
no sound upon the land, nor could he see any moving,
living thing. Silence brooded everywhere, and the
castle and its inmates seemed to be wrapped in
slumber. The sentinels could be seen upon the ram-
parts, standing like statues of stone, and showing no
signs of life; while above the barbacan gate the
watchman was at his post, motionless and asleep.
Brunhild, 87

ADVENTURE VI.

BRUNHILD.

SIEGFRIED and the harper sat together in the little
ship as it.lay moored to the sandy shore; and their
eyes were turned towards the sea-green castle and its
glowing walls, and they looked in vain for any move-
ment, or any sign of wakeful life. Every thing was
still. Not a breath of air was stirring. The leaves of
the trees hung motionless, as if they, too, were asleep.
The great green banner on the tower’s top clung
around the flagstaff as if it had never fluttered to the
breeze. No song of birds, nor hum of insects, came
to their ears. There was neither sound nor motion
anywhere.

“Play your harp, good Bragi, and awaken all these
sleepers,” said Siegfried.

Then the harper touched the magic strings, and
strains of music, loud and clear, but sweet as a baby’s
breath, rose up in the still air, and floated over the
quiet bay, and across the green meadows which lay
around the castle-walls ; and it was borne upward over
the battlements, and among the shining turrets and
83 The Story of Siegfried.

towers, and was carried far out over the hills, and
among the silent trees of the plain. And Bragi sung
of the beginning of all things, and of whatsoever is
beautiful on the land, or in the sea, or inthesky. And
Siegfried looked to see every thing awakened, and
quickened into life, as had oft been done before by
Bragi’s music; but nothing stirred. The sun went
down, and the gray twilight hung over sea and land,
and the red glow in the castle-moat grew redder still ;
and yet every thing slept. Then Bragi ended his
song, and the strings of his harp were mute.

“Music has no charms to waken from sleep like
that,” he said. ;

And then he told Siegfried what it all meant; and,
to make the story plain, he began by telling of Odin’s
bright home at Gladsheim and of the many great halls
that were there.

One of the halls in Gladsheim is called Valhal. This
hall is so large and wide, that all the armies of the earth
might move within it. Outside, it is covered with gold
and with sun-bright shields. A fierce wolf stands guard
before it, and a mountain-eagle hovers over it. It has
five hundred and forty doors, each large enough for
eight hundred heroes to march through abreast. Inside,
every thing is glittering bright. The rafters are made
of spears, and the ceiling is covered with shields, and
the walls are decked with war-coats. In this hall Odin
sets daily a feast for all the heroes that have been slain
in battle. These sit at the great table, and eat of the
Brunhild. 89
food which Odin’s servants have prepared, and drink of
the heavenly mead which the Valkyries, Odin’s hand-
maids, bring them.

But the Valkyries have a greater duty. When the
battle rages, and swords clash, and shields ring, and the
air is filled with shouts and groans and all the din of
war, then these maidens hover over the field of blood
and death, and carry the slain heroes home to Valhal.t

One of Odin’s Valkyries was named Brunhild, and
she was the most beautiful of all the maidens that
chose heroes for his war-host. But she was wilful
too, and did not always obey the All-Father’s behests.
And when Odin knew that she had sometimes snatched
the doomed from death, and sometimes helped her
chosen friends to victory, he was very angry. And he
drove her away from Gladsheim, and sent her, friend-
less and poor, to live among the children of men, and to
be in all ways like them. But, as she wandered weary
and alone over the earth, the good old King of Isen-
land saw her beauty and her distress, and pity and
love moved his heart; and, as he had no children of his
own, he took her for his daughter, and made her his
heir. And not long afterward he died, and the match-
less Brunhild became queen of all the fair lands of
Isenland and the hall of Isenstein. When Odin heard
of this, he was more angry still; and he sent to Isen-
stein, and caused Brunhild to be stung with the thorn |
of Sleep. And he said, —

' See Note 1g at the end of this volume.
90 Lhe Story of Siegfried.



“She shall sleep until one shall come who is brave
enough to ride through fire to awaken her.”

And all Isenland slept too, because Brunhild, the
Maiden of Spring, lay wounded with the Sleepful thorn.

When Siegfried heard this story, he knew that the
land which lay before them was Isenland, and that
the castle was Isenstein, and that Brunhild was sleeping
within that circle of fire. ¥

“My songs have no power to awaken such a sleep-
er,’ said Bragi. “A hero strong and brave must ride
through the flame to arouse her. It is for this that 1
have brought you hither; and here I will leave you, while
I sail onwards to brighten other lands with my music.”

Siegfried’s heart leaped up with gladness; for he
thought that here, at last, was a worthy deed for him to
do. And he bade his friend Bragi good-by, and stepped
ashore; and Greyfell followed him. And Bragi sat at »
the prow of the ship, and played his harp again; and
the sailors plied their oars; and the little vessel moved
swiftly out of the bay, and was seen no more. And
Siegfried stood alone on the silent, sandy beach.

As he thus stood, the full moon rose white and drip-
ping from the sea; and its light fell on the quiet water,
and the sloping meadows, and the green turrets of the
castle. And the last notes of Bragi’s harp came float-
ing to him over the sea.

Then a troop of fairies came down to dance upon the
sands. It was the first sign of life that Siegfried had
Brunhild. | gI



seen. As the little creatures drew near, he hid himself
among the tall reeds which grew close to the shore; for
he wished to see them at their gambols, and to listen to
their songs. At first, as if half afraid of their own tiny
shadows, they danced in silence; but, as the moon rose
higher, they grew bolder, and began to sing. And their
music was so sweet and soft, that Siegfried forgot almost
every thing else for the time: they sang of the pleasant
summer days, and of cooling shades, and still fountains,
and silent birds, and peaceful slumber. And a strange
longing for sleep took hold of Siegfried; and his eyes
grew heavy, and the sound of the singing seemed dim
and far away. But just as he was losing all knowledge
of outward things, and his senses seemed moving in a
dream, the fairies stopped dancing, and a little brown
elf came up from the sea, and saluted the queen of the
tiny folk.

« What news bring you from the great world beyond
the water?” asked the queen.

“The prince is on his way hither,” answered the elf.

«“ And what will he do?”

“Tf he is brave enough, he will awaken the princess,
and arouse the drowsy people of Isenstein; for the
Norns have said that such a prince shall surely come.”

“But he must be the bravest of men ere he can enter
the enchanted castle,” said the queen; “for the wide
moat is filled with flames, and no faint heart will ever
dare battle with them.”

“But I will dare!” cried Siegfried ; and he sprang
92 Lhe Story of Stes fried.





from his hiding-place, forgetful of the little folk, who
suddenly flitted away, and left him alone upon the beach.
He glanced across the meadows at the green turrets
glistening in the mellow moonlight, and then at the
flickering flames around the castle walls, and he re-
solved that on the morrow he would at all hazards per-
form the perilous feat.

In the morning, as soon as the gray dawn appeared,
he began to make ready for his difficult undertaking.
But, when he looked again at the red fiames, he began
to hesitate. He paused, uncertain whether to wait for
a sign and for help from the All-Father, or whether to
go straightway to the castle, and, trusting in his good
armor alone, try to pass through the burning moat.
While he thus stood in doubt, his eyes were dazzled by
a sudden flash of light. He looked up. Greyfell came
dashing across the sands; and from his long mane a
thousand sunbeams gleamed and sparkled in the morn-
ing light. Siegfried had never seen the wondrous crea-
ture so radiant; and as the steed stood by him in all
his strength and beauty he felt new hope and courage,
as if Odin himself had spoken to him. He hesitated
no longer, but mounted the noble horse ; and Greyfell
bere him swiftly over the plain, and paused not until
he had reached the brink of the burning moat.

Now, indeed, would Siegfried’s heart have failed him,
had he not been cheered by the sunbeam presence of
Greyfell. For filling the wide, deep ditch, were angry,
hissing flames, which, like a thousand serpent-tongues,
Brunhild. 93

reached out, and felt here and there, for what they
might devour; and ever and anon they took new
forms, and twisted and writhed like fiery snakes, and
then they swirled in burning coils high over the castle-
walls. Siegfried stopped not a moment. He spoke
the word, and boldly the horse with his rider dashed
into the fiery lake; and the vile flames fled in shame
and dismay before the pure sunbeam flashes from Grey-
fell’s mane. And, unscorched and unscathed, Siegfried
rode through the moat, and through the wide-open
gate, and into the castle-yard.

The gate-keeper sat fast asleep in his lodge, while
the chains and the heavy key with which, when awake,
he was wont to make the great gate fast, lay rusting
at his feet; and neither he, nor the sentinels on the
ramparts above, stirred or awoke at the sound of Grey-
fell’s clattering hoofs. As Siegfried passed from one
part of the castle to another, many strange sights met
his eyes. In the stables the horses slumbered in their
stalls, and the grooms lay snoring by their sides. ‘The
birds sat sound asleep on their nests beneath the eaves.
The watch-dogs, with fast-closed eyes, lay stretched at
full-length before the open doors. In the garden the
fountain no longer played, the half-laden bees had gone
to sleep among the blossoms of the apple-trees, and
the flowers themselves had forgotten to open their
petals to the sun. In the kitchen the cook was dozing
over the half-baked meats in front of the smouldering
fire; the butler was snoring in the pantry; the dairy-
94 The Story of Siegfried.





maid was quietly napping among the milk-pans; and
even the house-flies had gone to sleep over the crumbs
of sugar on the table. In the great banquet-room a
thousand knights, overcome with slumber, sat silent at
the festal board; and their chief, sitting on the dais,
slept, with his half-emptied goblet at his lips.

Siegfried passed hurriedly from room to room and
from hall to hall, and cast but one hasty glance at the
strange sights which met him at every turn; for he
knew that none of the drowsy ones in that spacious
castle could be awakened until he had aroused the
Princess Brunhild. In the grandest hall of the palace
he found her. The peerless maiden, most richly dight,
reclined upon a couch beneath a gold-hung canopy ;
and her attendants, the ladies of the court, sat near and
around her. Sleep held fast her eyelids, and her
breathing was so gentle, that, but for the blush upon
her cheeks, Siegfried would have thought her dead.
For long, long years had her head thus lightly rested
on that gold-fringed pillow ; and in all that time neither
her youth had faded, nor her wondrous beauty waned.

Siegfried stood beside her. Gently he: touched his
lips to that matchless forehead ; softly he named her
naine, -—

“ Brunhild!”

The charm was broken. Up rose the peerless prin-
cess in all her queen-like beauty; up rose the courtly
ladies round her. All over the castle, from cellar to
belfry-tower, from the stable to the oanquet-hall, there




THE AWAKENING OF BRUNHILD.
Brunhilda. 95



was a sudden awakening, —a noise of hurrying feet
and mingled voices, and sounds which had long been
strangers to the halls of Isenstein. The watchman on
the tower, and the sentinels on the ramparts, yawned,
and would not believe they had been asleep ; the porter
picked up his keys, and hastened to lock the long-forgot-
ten gates; the horses neighed in their stalls ; the watch-
dogs barked at the sudden hubbub; the birds, ashamed
at having allowed the sun to find them napping, hastened
to seek their food in the meadows; the servants hur-
ried here and there, each intent upon his duty; the
warriors in the banquet-hall clattered their knives and
plates, and began again their feast; and their chief
dropped his goblet, and rubbed his eyes, and wondered
that sleep should have overtaken him in the midst of
such a meal.?

And Siegfried, standing at an upper window, looked
out over the castle-walls; and he saw that the flames
no longer raged in the moat, but that it was filled with
clear sparkling water from the fountain which played in
the garden. And the south wind blew gently from the
sea, bringing from afar the sweetest strains of music from
Bragi’s golden harp; and the breezes whispered among
the trees, and the flowers opened ‘heir petals to the sun,
and birds and insects made the air melodious with their
glad voices. Then Brunhild, radiant with smiles, stood
by the hero’s side, and welcomed him kindly to Isen-
land and to her green-towered castle of Isenstein.

' See Note 16 at the end of this volume.
96 Lhe Story of Sregfried.

ADVENTURE VII.



IN NIBELUNGEN LAND.

Every one in the castle of Isenstein, from the prin.
cess to the kitchen-maid, felt grateful to the young hero
for what he had done. The best rooms were fitted up
for his use, and a score of serving men and maidens
were set apart to do his bidding, and ordered to be
mindful of his slightest wish. And all the earl-folk and
brave men, and all the fair ladies, and Brunhild, fairest
of them all, besought him to make his home there, nor
ever think of going back to Rhineland. Siegfried
yielded to their persuasions, and for six months he
tarried in the enchanted land in one long round of
merry-making and gay enjoyment. But his thoughts
were ever turned toward his father’s home in the Low-
lands across the sea, and he longed to behold again his
gentle mother Sigelind. Then he grew tired of his
life of idleness and ease, and he wished that he might
go out again into the busy world of manly action and
worthy deeds. And day by day this feeling grew
stronger, and filled him with unrest.

One morning, as he sat alone by the seashore, and
In Nibelungen Land. 97





watched the lazy tide come creeping up the sands, two
ravens lighted near him. Glad was he to see them, for
he knew them to be Hugin and Munin, the sacred
birds of Odin, and he felt sure that they brought him
words of cheer from the ‘All-Father. Then Hugin
flapped his wings, and said, “In idleness the stings of
death lie hidden, but in busy action are the springs
of life. For a hundred years fair Brunhild slept, but
why should Siegfried sleep? The world awaits him,
but it waits too long.”

Then Munin flapped his wings also, but he said
nothing. And busy memory carried Siegfried back to
his boyhood days; and he called to mind the wise words
of his father Siegmund, and the fond hopes of his gentle
mother, and he thought, too, of the noble deeds of his
kinsfolk of the earlier days. And he rose in haste, and
cried, “Life of ease, farewell! I go where duty leads.
To him who wills to do, the great All-Father will send
strength and help.”

While he spoke, his eyes were dazzled with a flash of
light. He looked; and the beaming Greyfell, his long
mane sparkling like a thousand sunbeams, dashed up
the beach, and stood beside him. As the noble steed in
all his strength and beauty stood before him, the youth
felt fresh courage; for, in the presence of the shining
hope which the All-Father had given him, all hinder-
ances seemed to vanish, and all difficulties to be already
overcome. He looked toward the sea again, and saw
in the blue distance a white-sailed ship drawing swiftly
98 Lhe Story of Sregfried.

near, its golden dragon-stem ploughing through the
waves like some great bird of the deep. And as with
straining, eager eyes, he watched its coming, he felt that
Odin had sent it, and that the time had come wherein
he must be upand doing. The hour for thriving action
comes to us once: if not seized upon and used, it may
never come again.

The ship drew near the shore. The sailors rested on
their oars. Siegfried and the steed Greyfell sprang
upon the deck; then the sailors silently bent again to
their rowing. The flapping sails were filled and tight-
ened by the strong west wind; and the light vessel
leaped from wave to wave like a thing of life, until
Isenstein, with its tall towers and its green marble halls,
sank from sight in the distance and the mist. And
Siegfried and his noble steed seemed to be the only liv-
ing beings on board; for the sailors who plied the oars
were so silent and phantom-like, that they appeared to
be nought but the ghosts of the summer sea-breezes.
As the ship sped swiftly on its way, all the creatures in
the sea paused to behold the sight. The mermen rested
from their weary search for hidden treasures, and the
mermaids forgot to comb their long tresses, as the
radiant vessel and its hero-freight glided past. And
even old King Aégir left his brewing-kettle in his great
hall, and bade his daughters, the white-veiled Waves,
cease playing until the vessel should safely reach its
haven.

When, at length, the day had passed, and the evening
In Nibelungen Land. 99



twilight had come, Siegfried saw that the ship was
nearing land; but it was a strange land.t Like a
fleecy cloud it appeared to rest above the waves, mid-
way between the earth and the sky; a dark mist hung
upon it, and it seemed a land of dreams and shadows.
The ship drew nearer and nearer to the mysterious
shore, and as it touched the beach the sailors rested
from their rowing. Then Siegfried and the horse
Greyfell leaped ashore; but, when they looked back,
the fair vessel that had carried them was nowhere to _
be seen. Whether it had suddenly been clutched by
the greedy fingers of the Sea-queen Ran, and dragged
down into her deep sea-caverns, or whether, like the
wondrous ship Skidbladner, it had been folded up, and
made invisible to the eyes of men, Siegfried never
knew. The thick mists and the darkness of night closed
over and around both hero and horse; and they dared
not stir, but stood long hours in the silent gloom, waiting
for the coming of the dawn.

At length the morning came, but the light was not
strong enough to scatter the fogs and thick vapors that
rested upon the land. Then Siegfried mounted Grey-
fell; and the sunbeams began to flash from the horse’s
mane and from the hero’s glittering mail-coat; and
the hazy clouds fled upward and away, until they were
caught and held fast by great mist-giants, who stood
like sentinels on the mountain-tops. As the shining
pair came up from the sea, and passed through the

! See Note 17 at the end of this volume.
100 The Story of Stregfried.

woods and valleys of the Nibelungen Land, there
streamed over all that region such a flood of sunlight
as had never before been seen.

In every leafy tree, and behind every blade of grass,
elves and fairies were hidden; and under every rock
and in every crevice lurked cunning dwarfs. But Sieg-
fried rode straight forward until he came to the steep
side of a shadowy mountain. There, at the mouth of
a cavern, a strange sight met his eyes. Two young
men, dressed in princes’ clothing, sat upon the ground:
their features were all haggard and gaunt, and pinched
with hunger, and their eyes wild with wakefulness and
fear; and all around them were heaps of gold and pre-
cious stones, — more than a hundred wagons could carry
away. And neither of the two princes would leave the
shining hoard for food, nor close his eyes in sleep, lest
the other might seize and hide some part of the treasure.
And thus they had watched and hungered through many
long days and sleepless nights, each hoping that the
other would die, and that the whole inheritance might
be his own.

When they saw Siegfried riding near, they called out
to him, and said, “Noble stranger, stop a moment!
Come and help us divide this treasure.”

“Who are you?” asked Siegfried; ‘and what treas-
ure is it that lies there?”

“We are the sons of Niblung, who until lately was
king of this Mist Land. Our names are Schilbung and
the young Niblung,” faintly answered the princes.
ln Nibelungen Land. 10]

“And what are you doing here with this gold and
these glittering stones?”

“This is the great Nibelungen Hoard, which our
father not long ago brought from the South-land. It is
not clear just how he obtained it.t Some say that he
got it unjustly from his brother, whose vassals’ had
digged it from the earth. Others say that he found it
lying on the Glittering Heath, where Fafnir the Dragon
had guarded it zealously for ages past, until he was slain
by a hero who cared nought for his gold. But, be this
as it may, our father is now dead, and we have brought
the hoard out of the cavern where he had hidden it, in
order that we may share it between us equally. But
we cannot agree, and we pray you to help us divide it.”

Then Siegfried dismounted from the horse Greyfell,
and.came near the two princes.

“JT will gladly do as you ask,” said he; “but first I
must know more about your father,—who he was,
and whether this is really the Hoard of the Glittering
Heath.”

Then Niblung answered, as well as his feeble voice
would allow, “Our father was, from the earliest times,
the ruler of this land, and the lord of the fog and the
mist. Many strongholds, and many noble halls, had he
in this land; and ten thousand brave warriors were
ever ready tc do his bidding. The trolls, and the
swarthy elves of the mountains, and the giants of the
cloudy peaks, were his vassals. But he did more than

1 See Note 18 at the end of this volume.
102 Lhe Story of Siegfried.

rule over the Nibelungen Land. Twice every year he
crossed the sea and rambled through the Rhine valleys,
or loitered in the moist Lowlands; and now and then
he brought rich trophies back to his island home.
The last time, he brought this treasure with him ; but,
as we have said, it is not clear how he obtained it. We
have heard men say that it was the Hoard of Andvari,
and that when Fafnir, the dragon who watched it, was
slain, the hero who slew him left it to be taken again by
the swarthy elves who had gathered it; but because of
a curse which Andvari had placed upon it, no one
would touch it, until some man would assume its own-
ership, and take upon himself the risk of incurring the
curse. This thing, it is said, our father did. And the
dwarf Alberich undertook to keep it for him; and he,
with the help of the ten thousand elves who live in these
caverns, and the twelve giants whom you see standing
on the mountain-peaks around, guarded it faithfully so
long as our father lived. But, when he died, we and
our thralls fetched it forth from the cavern, and spread
it here on the ground. And, lo! for many days we
have watched! and tried to divide it equally. But we
cannot agree.”

“What hire will you give me if I divide it for you?”
asked Siegfried.

“Name what you will have,” answered the princes.

“Give me the sword which lies before you on the

littering heap.”
Then Niblung handed him the sword, and said,
In Nibelungen Land. 103

“Right gladly will we give it. It is a worthless blade
that our father brought from the South-land. They say
that he found it also on the Glittering Heath, in the
trench where Fafnir was slain. And some will have it
that it was forged by Regin, Fafnir’s own brother. But
how that is, I do not know. At any rate, it is of no use
to us; for it turns against us whenever we try to use it.”

Siegfried took the sword. It was his own Balmung,
that had been lost so long.

Forthwith he began the task of dividing the treas-
ure; and the two brothers, so faint from hunger and
want of sleep that they could scarcely lift their heads,
watched him with anxious, greedy eyes. First he
placed a piece of gold by Niblung’s side, and then a
piece of like value he gave to Schilbung. And this
he did again and again, until no more gold was left.
Then, in the same manner, he divided the precious
gem-stones until none remained. And the brothers
were much pleased; and they hugged their glittering
treasures, and thanked Siegfried for his kindness, and
for the fairness with which he had given to each his
own, But one thing was left which had not fallen to
the lot of either brother. It was a ring of curious
workmanship, —a serpent coiled, with its tail in its
mouth, and with ruby eyes glistening and cold.

“What shall I do with this ring?” asked Siegfried.

‘Give it to me!” cried Niblung.

“ Give it to me!” cried Schilbung.

And both tried to snatch it from Siegfried’s hand.
104 The Story of Siegfried.

But the effort was too great for them. Their arms
fell helpless at their sides, their feet slipped beneath
them, their limbs failed: they sank fainting, each upon
his pile of treasures.

“O my dear, dear gold!”? murmured Niblung, try-
ing to clasp it all in his arms, — ‘‘my dear, dear gold!
Thou art mine, mine only. No one shall take thee
from me. Here thou art, here thou shalt rest. O
my dear, dear gold!’”’ And then, calling up the last
spark of life left in his famished body, he cried out to
Siegfried, “Give me the ring! — the ring, I say!”

He hugged his cherished gold nearer to his bosom ;
he ran his thin fingers deep down into the shining yel-
low heap; he pressed his pale lips to the cold and
senseless metal; he whispered faintly, “ My dear, dear
gold!” and then he died.

“OQ precious, precious gem-stones,” faltered Schil-
bung, “ how beautiful you are! And you are mine, all
mine. I will keep you safe. Come, come, my bright-
eyed beauties! No one but me shall touch you. You
are mine, mine, mine!” And he chattered and laughed
as only madmen laugh. And he kissed the hard stones,
and sought to hide them in his bosom. But his hands
trembled and failed, dark mists swam before his eyes;
he fancied that he heard the black dwarfs clamoring
for his treasure; he sprang up quickly, he shrieked —
and then fell lifeless upon his hoard of sparkling gems.

A strange, sad sight it was, — boundless wealth, and
miserable death; two piles of yellow gold and sun.
bright diamonds, and two thin, starved corpses stretche1
upon them. Some stories relate that the brothers were
slain by Siegfried, because their foolish strife and
greediness had angered him.t But I like not to think
so. It was the gold, and not Siegfried, that slew them.

“O gold, gold!” cried the hero sorrowfully, “truly
thou art the mid-world’s curse; thou art man’s banc.
But when the bright spring-time of the new world
shall come, and Balder shall reign in his glory, then
will the curse be taken from thee, and thy yellow
brightness will be the sign of purity and enduring
worth ; and then thou wilt be a blessing to mankind,
and the precious plaything of the gods.”

But Siegfried had little time for thought and speech.
A strange sound was heard upon the mountain-side.
The twelve great giants who had stood as watchmen
upon the peaks above were rushing down to avenge
their masters, and to drive the intruder out of Nibelun-
gen Land. Siegfried waited not for their onset; but he
mounted the noble horse Greyfell, and, with the sword
Balmung in his hand, he rode forth to meet his foes,
who, with fearful threats and hideous roars, came
striding toward him. The sunbeams flashed from
Greyfell’s mane, and dazzled the dull eyes of the giants,
unused as they were to the full light of day. Doubt
ful, they paused, and then again came forward. But
they mistook every tree in their way for an enemy, and
every rock they thought a foe; and in their fear they

t See Note 19 at the end of this volume.
106 The Story of Stegfried.



fancied a great host to be before them. Did you ever
see the dark and threatening storm-clouds on a sum-
mer’s day scattered and put to flight by the bright
beams of the sun? It was thus that Siegfried’s giant
foes were routed. One and all, they dropped their
heavy clubs, and stood ashamed and trembling, not
knowing what to do. And Siegfried made each one
swear to serve him faithfully; and then he sent them
back to the snow-covered mountain-peaks to stand
again as watchmen at their posts.

And now another danger appeared. Alberich the
dwarf, the master of the swarthy elves who guarded
the Nibelungen Hoard, had come out from his cavern,
and seen the two princes lying dead beside their treas-
ures, and he thought that they had been murdered by
Siegfried ; and, when he beheld the giants driven back
to the mountain-tops, he lifted a little silver horn to his
lips, and blew a shrill bugle-call. And the little brown
elves came trooping forth by thousands: from under
every rock, from the nooks and crannies and crevices
in the mountain-side, from the deep cavern and the
narrow gorge, they came at the call of their chief.
Then, at Alberich’s word, they formed in line of battle,
and stood in order around the hoard and the bodies
of their late masters. Their little golden shields and
their sharp-pointed spears were thick as the blades of
grass ina Rhine meadow. And Siegfried, when he saw
them, was pleased and surprised; for never before had
such a host of pygmy warriors stood before him.
ln Nibelungen Land. 107



While he paused and looked, the elves became sud-
denly silent, and Siegfried noticed that Alberich stood
no longer at their head, but had strangely vanished
from sight.

“Ah, Alberich!” cried the peron “Thou art indeed
cunning. I have heard of thy tricks. Thou hast
donned the Tarnkappe, the cloak of darkness, which
hides thee from sight, and makes thee as strong as
twelve common men. But come on, thou brave dwarf!”

Scarcely had he spoken, when he felt a shock which
almost sent him reeling from his saddle, and made
Greyfell plunge about with fright. Quickly, then, did
Siegfried dismount, and, with every sense alert, he
waited for the second onset of the unseen dwarf. It
was plain that Alberich wished to strike him unawares,
for many minutes passed in utter silence. Then a
brisk breath of wind passed by Siegfried’s face, and he
felt another blow; but, by a quick downward movement
of his hand, he caught the plucky elf-king, and tore off
the magic Tarnkappe, and then, with firm grasp, he
held him, struggling in vain to get free.

“Ah, Alberich!” he cried, “now I know thou art
cunning. But the Tarnkappe I must have for my own.
What wilt thou give for thy freedom?”

“Worthy prince,” answered Alberich humbly, “you
have fairly overcome me in fight, and made me your
prisoner. I and all mine, as well as this treasure, right-
fully belong to you. We are yours, and you we shall
obey.”
108 The Story of Stegfried.



“Swear it!” said Siegfried. “Swear it, ard thou
shalt live, and be the keeper of my treasures.”

And Alberich made a sign to his elfin host, and
every spear was turned point downwards, and every
tiny shield was thrown to the ground, and the ten
thousand little warriors kneeled, as did also their chief,
and acknowledged Siegfried to be their rightful master,
and the lord of the Nibelungen Land, and the owner of
the Hoard of Andvari.

Then, by Alberich’s orders, the elves carried the
Hoard back into the cavern, and there kept faithful
watch and ward over it. And they buried the starved
bodies of the two princes on the top of the mist-veiled
mountain ; and heralds were sent to all the strongholds
in Nibelungen Land, proclaiming that Siegfried, through
his wisdom and might, had become the true lord and
king of the land. Afterwards the prince, riding on
the beaming Greyfell, went from place to place, scatter-
ing sunshine and smiles where shadows and frowns had
been before. And the Nibelungen folk welcomed him
everywhere with glad shouts and music and dancing ;
and ten thousand warrrors, and many noble earl-folk,
came to meet him, and plighted their faith to him.
And the pure brightness of his hero-soul, and the
gleaming sunbeams from Greyfell’s mane, —the light of
hope and faith, — lifted the curtain of mists and fogs that
had so long darkened the lar 1, and let in the glorious
glad light of day and the genial warmth of summer.
Siegfried's Welcome Home. 10g





ADVENTURE VII.

SIEGFRIED’S WELCOME HOME.

In Santen Castle, one day, there was a strange up-
roar and confusion. Everybody was hurrying aimlessly
about, and no one seemed to know just what to do.
On every side there were restless whisperings, and
hasty gestures, and loud commands. The knights and
warriors were busy donning their war-coats, and buck-
ling on their swords and helmets. Wise King Sieg-
mund sat in his council-chamber, and the knowing men
of the kingdom stood around him; and the minds of
all seemed troubled with doubt, if not with fear.

What could have caused so great an uproar in the
once quiet old castle? What could have brought per-
plexity to the mind of the wisest king in all Rhine-
land? It was this: a herald had just come from the
seashore, bringing word that a strange fleet of a
hundred white-sailed vessels had cast anchor off the
coast, and that ¢n army of ten thousand fighting men
had landed, an¢ were making ready to march against
Santen. Nobody had ever heard of so large a fleet
before; and no one could guess who the strangers
110 The Story of Sregfried.



might be, nor whence they had come, nor why they
should thus, without asking leave, land in the country
of a peace-loving king.

The news spread quickly over all the land. People
from every part came hastening to the friendly shelter
of the castle. The townsmen, with their goods and
cattle, hurried within the walls. The sentinels on the
ramparts paced uneasily to and fro, and scanned with
watchful eye every stranger that came near the walls,
The warders stood ready to hoist the drawbridge, and
close the gate, at the first signal given by the watchman
above, who was straining his eyes to their utmost in
order to see the first approach of the foe.

A heavy mist hung over the meadow-lands between
,santen and the sea, and nothing was visible beyond the
gates of the town. The ten thousand strange warriors
might be within half a league of the castle, and yet the
sharpest eagle-eye could not see them.

All at once a clatter of horse’s hoofs was heard ;. the
dark mist rose up from the ground, and began to roll
away, like a great cloud, into the sky; and then strange
sunbeam-flashes were seen where the fog had lately
rested.

“They come!” cried one of the sentinels. “I see
the glitter of their shields and lances.”

“Not so,” said the watchman from his place on the
tower above. ‘I see but one man, and he rides with
the speed of the wind, and lightning flashes from the
mane of the horse which carries him.”
Siegfried’s Welcome Home. Ill

The drawbridge was hastily hoisted. The heavy
gates were quickly shut, and fastened with bolts and
bars. Every man in the castle was at his post, ready
to defend the fortress with his life. In a short time
the horse and his rider drew near. All who looked out
upon them were dazzled with the golden brightness ot
the hero’s armor, as well as with the lightning gleams
that flashed from the horse’s mane. And some whis-
pered, —

“This is no man who thus comes in such kingly
splendor. More likely it is Odin on one of his jour-
neys, or the Shining Balder come again to earth.”

As the stranger paused on the outer edge of the
moat, the sentinels challenged him, —

“Who are you who come thus, uninvited and un-
heralded, to Santen?”

“One who has the right to come,” answered the
stranger. “Iam Siegfried; and I have come to see my
father, the good Siegmund, and my mother, the gentle
Sigelind.”’

It was indeed Siegfried ; and he had come from his
kingdom in the Nibelungen Land, with his great fleet,
and the noblest of his warriors, to see once mere his
hoyhood’s home, and to cheer for a time the hearts of
his loving parents. For he had done many noble
deeds, and had ruled wisely and well, and he felt that
he was now not unworthy to be called the son of Sieg-
mund, and to claim kinship with the heroes of the
earlier days.
Fale? The Story of Siegfried.





As soon as it was surely known that he who stood
before the castle-walls was the young prince who had
been gone so many years, and about whom they had
heard so many wonderful stories, the drawbridge was
hastily let down, and the great gates were thrown wide
open. And Siegfried, whose return had been so long
wished for, stood once again in his father’s halls. And
the fear and confusion which had prevailed gave place
to gladness and gayety; and all the folk of Santen
greeted the returned hero with cheers, and joyfully
welcomed him home. And in the whole world there
was no one more happy than Siegmund and Sigelind.

On the morrow the ten thousand Nibelungen war-
riors came to Santen; and Siegmund made for them a
great banquet, and entertained them in a right kingly
way, as the faithful liegemen of his son. And Sieg-
fried, when he had given them rich gifts, sent them
with the fleet back to Nibelungen Land; for he meant
to stay for a time with his father and mother at Santen.

When the harvest had been gathered, and the fruit
was turning purple and gold, and the moon rode round
and fullin the clear autumn sky, a gay high-tide was
held for Siegfried’s sake; and everybody in the Low-
land country, whether high or low, rich or poor, was
asked to come to the feast. For seven days, nought
but unbridled gayety prevailed in Siegmund’s halls.
On every hand were sounds of music and laughter,
and sickness and poverty and pain were for the time
forgotten. A mock-battle was fought on the grassy
Steg fried’s Welcome Home. 113

plain not far from the town, and the young men vied
with each other in feats of strength and skill. Never
before had so many beautiful ladies nor so many brave
men been seen in Santen. And, when the time of
jollity and feasting had drawn to an end, Siegmund
called together all his guests, and gave to each choice
gifts, —a festal garment, and a horse with rich trap-
pings. And Queen Sigelind scattered gold without
stint among the poor, and many were the blessings
she received. Then all the folk went back to their
homes with light hearts and happy faces.?

The autumn days passed quickly by, and Siegfried
began to grow weary of the idle, inactive life in his
father’s halls; and Greyfell in his stall pined for the
fresh, free air, and his mane lost all its brightness.
When Siegmund saw how full of unrest his son had
become, he said to him, —

“ Siegfried, I have grown old and feeble, and have no
longer the strength of my younger days. My kingdom
would fare better were a younger ruler placed over it.
Take my crown, I pray you, and let me withdraw from
kingly cares.”

But Siegfried would not listen to such an offer. He
had his own kingdom of the Nibelungens, he said; and,
besides, he would never sit on his father’s throne while
yet that father lived. And although he loved the
pleasant companionship of his mother, and was de-
lighted to listen to the wise counsels of his father, the

1 See Note 20 at the end of this volume.
lig Lhe Story of Siegfried.

craving for action, and the unrest which would not be
satisfied, grew greater day by day. At last he said, —

“T will ride out into the world again. Mayhap I may
find some other wrong to right, or some other kingdom
towin. It was thus that my kin, in the golden age long
past, went faring over the land and sea, and met their
doom at last. They were not home-abiders, nor tillers
of the soil; but the world was their abiding-place, and
they tilled the hearts of men.”

And, when his father and mother heard this, they
tried no longer to keep him with them; for they knew
that it would be more cruel than the keeping of a caged
bird away from the sunlight.

“Only go not into Burgundy,” said his father. “The
kings of that country are not friendly to us, and they
may do you harm. Hagen, the kinsman of the kings,
and the chief of their fighting-men, is old and crafty,
and he cannot brook a greater hero than himself.”

Siegfried laughed.

“That is all the better reason why I should go to
Burgundy-land,” he said.

“Then take ten thousand of my warriors,” said his
father, “and make yourself master of the land.”

“No, no!” cried Siegfried. “One kingdom is
enough for me. My own Nibelungen Land is all I want.
I will take my twelve Nibelungen knights that I have
with me here, and we will fare forth to see the world
and its beauties, and men’s work; and, when we have
tired with riding, we will sail across the sea to our Nibe
lungen home.”
The Fourney to Burgundy-Land. TELS

ADVENTURE IX.

THE JOURNEY TO BURGUNDY-LAND.

For many days before Siegfried’s departure, the
queen, and all the women of the household, busily
plied their needles; and many suits of rich raiment
made they for the prince and his worthy comrades. At
length the time for leave-taking came, and all the in-
mates of the castle went out to the gate to bid the
heroes God-speed. Siegfried sat upon his noble horse
Greyfell, and his trusty sword Balmung hung at his
side. And his Nibelungen knights were mounted on
lordly steeds, with gold-red saddles and silver trappings
chased with gold; and their glittering helmets, and
burnished shields, and war-coats of polished steel, when
added to their noble bearing and manlike forms, made
up a picture of beauty and strength such as no one in
Santen had ever seen before, or would ever see again.

“Only go not into Burgundy-land,” were the parting
words of Siegmund.

And all who had come to bid them farewell wept
bitterly as the young men rode out of the city, and
were lost to sight in the distance.
116 The Story of Siegfried.



“Only go not into Burgundy-land!”” These words
of his father sounded still in Siegfried’s ears; and he
turned his horse’s head towards the west and south;
and they rode through the level country, and among the
fields, from which the corn had already been gathered ;
and at night they slept in the open air, upon the still
warm ground, Thus for many days they travelled.
And they left the Lowlands far behind them, and Bur-
gundy far to the left of them; and by and by they
came to a country covered with high hills, and moun-
tains that seemed to touch the sky. The crags and
peaks were covered with snow, and ice lay all summer
in the dales and in the deep gorges cleft long time ago
by giant hands. Here it is that the rivers take their
beginning. And here it is that the purple grapes and
the rare fruits of milder climes are found; for the sun
shines warm in the valleys and upon the plains, and the
soil is exceeding rich. It is said that these mountains
are midway between the cold regions of Jotunheim and
the glowing gardens of Muspelheim, and that, in ages
past, they were the scene of many battles between the
giants who would overwhelm the earth,—these with
ice, and those with fire. Here and there were frown-
ing caves dug out of the-solid mountain-side; while
higher up were great pits, half-filled with ashes, where,
it is said, the dwarf-folk, when they were mighty on
earth, had their forges.

Siegfried stopped not long in this land. Thoughts of
the Nibelungen Land, and of his faithful liegemen who
The Fourney to Burgundy-Land. 17



waited for his return, began to fill his mind. Then the
heroes turned their horses’ heads, and rode back to-
wards the north, following the course of the River
Rhine, as it wound, here and there, between hills and
mountains, and through meadows where the grass was
springing up anew, and by the side of woodlands, now
beginning to be clothed in green again; for the winter
was well over, and spring was hastening on apace.
And as they rode down the valley of the Rhine they
came, ere they were aware, into the Burgundian Land,
and the high towers of King Gunther’s castle rose up
before them. Then Siegfried remembered again his
father’s words, —

“Only go not into Burgundy-land.”

But it was now too late to go back, and they deter-
mined to stop fer a few days with the Burgundian
kings. They rode onwards through the meadows and
the pleasant farming-lands which lay around the city ;
and they passed a wonderful garden of roses, said to
belong to Kriemhild, the peerless princess of the Rhine
country ; and at last they halted before the castle-gate.
So lordly was their bearing, that a company of knights
came out to meet them, and offered, as the custom
was, to take charge of their horses and their shields.
But Siegfried asked that they be led at once to King
Gunther and his brothers; and, as their stay would
not be long, they said they would have no need to
part with horses or with shields, Then they followed
their guides, and rode through the great gateway, and
118 The Story of Siegfried.
into the open court, and halted beneath the palace-
windows.

And the three kings — Gunther, Gernot, and Gisel-
her —and their young sister, the matchless Kriemhild,
looked down upon them from above, and hazarded
many guesses as to who the lordly strangers might be.
And all the inmates of the castle stood at the doors and
windows, or gathered in curious groups in the court-
yard, and gazed with open-mouthed wonder upon the
rich armor and noble bearing of the thirteen heroes.
But all eyes were turned most towards Siegfried and
the wondrous steed Greyfell. Some of the knights
whispered that this was Odin, and some that it was
Thor, the thunderer, making a tour through Rhineland.
But others said that Thor was never known to ride on
horseback, and that the youth who sat on the milk-
white steed was little like the ancient Odin. And the
ladies who looked down upon the heroes from the pal-
ace windows said that this man could be no other than
the Sunbright Balder, come from his home in Breida-
blik, to breathe gladness and sunshine into the hearts
and lives of men.

Only one among all the folk in the castle knew who
the hero was who had ridden thus boldly into the heart
of Burgundy-land. That one was Hagen, the uncle
of the three kings, and the doughtiest warrior in all
Rhineland. With a dark frown and a sullen scowl he
looked out upon the little party, and already plotted in
his mind how he might outwit, and bring to grief, the
Lhe Fourney to Burgundy-Land. LIQ



youth whose name and fame were known the whole
world over. For his evil mind loved deeds of dark-
ness, and hated the pure and good. By his side, at
an upper window, stood Kriemhild, the peerless maiden
of the Rhine; but her thoughts were as far from his
thoughts as the heaven-smile on her face was unlike
the sullen scowl on his grim visage. As the moon in
her calm beauty is sometimes seen in the sky, riding
gloriously by the side of a dark thunder-cloud, —the
one more lovely, the other more dreadful, by their very
nearness, -—so seemed Kriemhild standing there by the
side of Hagen.

“Think you not, dear uncle,” she said, “that this is
the Shining Balder come to earth again?”

“The gods have forgotten the earth,’ answered
Hagen in surly tones. “But if, indeed, this should
be Balder, we shall, without doubt, find another blind
archer, who, with another sprig of mistletoe, will send
nim back again to Hela.”

“What do you mean?” asked Kriemhild earnestly.

But old Hagen said not a word in answer. He
quietly withdrew from the room, and left the maiden
and her mother, the good dame Ute, alone.

“What does uncle Hagen mean by his strange
words? and why does he look so sullen and angry?”
asked Kriemhild.

“Tndeed, I know not,” answered the queen-mother.
“His ways are dark, and he is cunning. I fear that
evil will yet come to our house through him.”
120 The Story of Sieg}: ted.

Meanwhile the three kings and their chiefs had gone
into the courtyard to greet their unknown guests.
Very kindly did Gunther welcome the strangers to his
home; and then he courteously asked them whence
they came, and what the favors they wished.

“T have heard,” answered Siegfried, “that many
knights and heroes live in this land, and that they are
the bravest and the proudest in the world. I, too, am
a knight; and some time, if I am worthy, I shall be a
king. But first I would make good my right to rule
over land and folk; and for this reason I have come
hither. If, indeed, you are as brave as all the world
says you are, ride now to the meadows with us, and let
us fight man to man; and he who wins shall rule over
the lands of both. We will wager our kingdom and
our heads against yours.”

King Gunther and his brothers were amazed at this
unlooked-for speech.

“Such is not the way to try where true worth lies!”
they cried. ‘We have no cause of quarrel with you,
neither have you any cause of quarrel with us. Why,
then, should we spill each other’s blood?”

Again Siegfried urged them to fight with him; but
they flatly refused. And Gernot said, —

“The Burgundian kings have never wished to rule
over folk that are not their own. Much less would
they gain new lands at the cost of their best heroes’
blood. And they have never taken part in needless
quarrels. Good men in Burgundy are worth more than
Lhe Fourney to Burgundy-Land. 121



the broadest lands, and we will not hazard the one for
the sake of gaining the other. No, we will not fight.
But we greet you most heartily as our friends and
guests,”

All the others joined in urging Siegfried and his
comrades to dismount from their steeds, and partake
of the cheer with which it was their use to entertain
strangers. And at last he yielded to their kind wishes,
and alighted from Greyfell, and, grasping King Gun-
ther’s hand, he made himself known. And there was
great rejoicing in the castle and throughout all the
land; and the most sumptuous rooms were set apart
for the use of Siegfried and his Nibelungen knights ;
and a banquet was at once made ready; and no pains
were spared in giving the strangers a right hearty wel-
come to the kingly halls of Burgundy. But Hagen,
dark-browed and evil-eyed, stood silent and alone in
his chamber and waited his time.
122 The Story of Siegfried.

ADVENTURE X.

KRIEMHILD’S DREAM.

EARLY on the morrow morning, ere the sun haa
risen high, the peerless Kriemhild walked alone amid
the sweet-scented bowers of her rose-garden. The
dewdrops still hung thick on flower and thorn, and the
wild birds carolled their songs of merry welcome to the
new-born day. Every thing seemed to have put on its
handsomest colors, and to be using its sweetest voice,
on purpose to gladden the heart of the maiden. But
Kriemhild was not happy. There was a shadow on
her face and a sadness in her eye that the beauty and
the music of that morning could not drive away.

“What ails thee, my child?” asked her mother,
Queen Ute, who met her. “Why so sad, as if thy
heart were heavy with care? Has any one spoken
unkindly, or has aught grievous happened to thee?”

“Oh, no, dearest mother!” said Kriemhild. “It
is nothing that saddens me,—nothing but a foolish
dream. I cannot forget it.”

“Tell me the dream,” said her mother: “mayhap it
betokens something that the Norns have written for
thee.”
Krienhild's Dream. 123

_— -

Then Kriemhild answered, “I dreamed that I sat at
my window, high up in the eastern tower; and the sun
shone bright in the heavens, and the air was mild and
warm, and I thought of nought but the beauty and the
gladness of the hour. Then in the far north I sawa
falcon flying. At first he seemed but a black speck in
the sky; but swiftly he drew nearer and nearer, until
at last he flew in at the open window, and I caught him
in my arms. Oh, how strong and beautiful he was!
His wings were purple and gold, and his eyes were as
bright as the sun. Oh, a glorious prize I thought him!
and I held him on my wrist, and spoke kind words to
him. Then suddenly, from out of the sky above, two
eagles dashed in at the window, and snatched my
darling from me, and they tore him in pieces before
my eyes, and laughed at my distress.”

“Thy dream,” said Queen Ute, “is easy to explain.
A king shall come from the north-land, and a mighty
king shall he be. And he shall seek thee, and love
thee, and wed thee, and thy heart shall overflow with
bliss. The two eagles are the foes who shall slay him;
but who they may be, or whence they may come, is
known only to the Norns.”

“But I slept, and I dreamed again,” said Kriemhild.
“This time I sat in the meadow, and three women
came to me. And they span, and they wove a woof
more fair than any I have ever seen. And methought
that another woof was woven, which crossed the first,
and yet it was no whit less beautiful. Then the women
124 Lhe Story of Siegfried.





who wove the woofs cried out, ‘Enough!’ And a fair
white arm reached out and seized the rare fabrics, and
tore them into shreds. And then the sky was over-
cast, and the thunder began to roll and the lightning
to flash, and red fires gleamed, and fierce wolves
howled around me, and I awoke.”

“This dream,” said Queen Ute, “is more than I can
understand. Only this I can see and explain, that in
the dim future the woof of another’s fate shall cross
thy own. But trouble not thyself because of that
which shall be. While yet. the sun shines for thee,
and the birds sing, and the flowers shed their sweet
perfume, it is for thee to rejoice and be light-hearted.
What the Norns have woven is woven, and it cannot
be undone,” !

' See Note 21 at the end of this volume.
How the Spring-Tirse came. 125

ADVENTURE XI.

HOW THE SPRING-TIME CAME.

SIEGFRIED, when he came to Gunther’s castle,
thought of staying there but a few days only. But
the king and his brothers made every thing so pleas-
ant for their honored guest, that weeks slipped by un-
noticed, and still the hero remained in Burgundy.

Spring had fairly come, and the weeping April
clouds had given place to the balmy skies of May.
The young men and maidens, as was their wont, made
ready for the May-day games; and Siegfried and his
knights were asked to take part in the sport.

On the smooth greensward, which they called
Nanna’s carpet, beneath the shade of ash-trees and
elms, he who played Old Winter’s part lingered with
his few attendants. These were clad in the dull gray
garb which becomes the sober season of the year, and
were decked with yellow straw, and dead, brown leaves.
Out of the wood came the May-king and his followers,
clad in the gayest raiment, and decked with evergreens
and flowers. With staves and willow-withes they fell
upon Old Winter’s champions, and tried to drive them
126 The Story of Siegfried.







from the sward. In friendly fray they fought, and
many mishaps fell to both parties. But at length the
May-king won; and grave Winter, battered and bruised,
was made prisoner, and his followers were driven from
the field. Then, in merry sport, sentence was passed
on the luckless wight, for he was found guilty of killing
the flowers, and of covering the earth with hoar-frost ;
and he was doomed to a long banishment from music
and the sunlight. The laughing party then set up a
wooden likeness of the worsted winter-king, and pelted
it with stones and turf; and when they were tired they
threw it down, and put out its eyes, and cast it into the
river. And then a pole, decked with wild-flowers and
fresh green leaves, was planted in the midst of the
sward, and all joined in merry dance around it. And
~ they chose the most beautiful of all the maidens to be
the Queen of May, and they crowned her with a wreath
of violets and yellow buttercups ; and for a whole day
all yielded fealty to her, and did her bidding.

It was thus that May Day came in Burgundy. And
in the evening, when the party were seated in King
Gunther’s hall, Siegfried, at the command of the May-
queen, — who was none other than Kriemhild the peer-
less, —amused them by telling the story of

IDUN AND HER APPLES,

It is a story that Bragi told while at the feast in
fEgir’s hall. Idun is Bragi’s wife. Very handsome
is she; but the beauty of her face is by no means
flow the Spring-Time came. 127



greater than the goodness of her heart. Right atten-
tive is she to every duty, and her words and thoughts
are always worthy and wise. A long time ago the
good Asa-folk who dwell in heaven-towering Asgard,
knowing how trustworthy Idun was, gave into her
keeping a treasure which they would not have placed
in the hands of any other person. This treasure was
a box of apples, and Idun kept the golden key safely
fastened to her girdle. You ask me why the gods
should prize a box of apples so highly? I will tell
you.

Old age, you know, spares none, not even Odin
and his Asa-folk. They all grow old and gray; and, if
there were no cure for age, they would become feeble
and toothless and blind, deaf, tottering, and weak-
minded. The apples which Idun guarded so carefully
were the priceless boon of youth. Whenever the gods
felt old age coming on, they went to her, and she gave
them of her fruit; and, when they had tasted, they
grew young and strong and handsome again. Once,
however, they came near losing the apples, — or losing
rather Idun and her golden key, without which no one
could ever open the box.

In those early days Odin delighted to come down
now and then from his high home above the clouds,
and to wander, disguised, among the woods and moun-
tains, and by the seashore, and in wild desert places.
For nothing pleases him more than to commune with
Nature as she is found in the loneliness of vast soli-
128 Lhe Story of Siegfried.

tudes, or in the boisterous uproar of the elements.
Once on a time he took with him his friends Hoenir
and Loki; and they rambled many days among the icy
cliffs, and along the barren shores, of the great frozen
sea. In that country there was no game, and no fish
was found in the cold waters; and the three wander-
ers, as they had brought no food with them, became
very hungry. Late in the afternoon of the seventh
day, they reached some pasture-lands belonging to the
giant Hymer, and saw a herd of the giant’s cattle
browsing upon the short grass which grew in the shel-
tered nooks among the hills.

“Ah!” cried Loki: “after fasting for a week, we
shall now have food in abundance. Let us kill and
eater

So saying, he hurled a sharp stone at the fattest of
Hymer’s cows, and killed her; and the three quickly
dressed the choicest pieces of flesh for their supper.
Then Loki gathered twigs and dry grass, and kindled a
blazing fire; Hoenir filled the pot with water from
melted ice; and Odin threw into it the bits of tender
meat. But, make the fire as hot as they would, the
water would not boil, and the flesh would not cook.

All night long the supperless three sat hungry around
the fire; and, every time they peeped into the kettle, the
meat was as raw and gustless as before. Morning came,
but no breakfast. And all day Loki kept stirring the
fire, and Odin and’ Hoenir waited hopefully but impa.
tiently, When the sun again went down, the flesh
How the Spring-Time came. 129



was still uncooked, and their supper seemed no nearer
ready than it was the night before. As they were
about yielding to despair, they heard a noise overhead ;
and, looking up, they saw a huge gray eagle sitting on
the dead branch of an oak.

“Ha, ha!” cried the bird. ‘You are pretty fellows
indeed! To sit hungry by the fire a night and a day,
rather than eat raw flesh, becomes you well. Do but
give me my share of it as it is, and I warrant you the
rest shall boil, and you shall have a fat supper.”

“Agreed,” answered Loki eagerly. “Come down
and get your share.”

The eagle waited for no second asking. Down he
swooped right over the blazing fire, and snatched not
only the eagle’s share, but also what the Lybians call
the lion’s share; that is, he grasped in his strong
talons the kettle, with all the meat in it, and, flapping
his huge wings, slowly rose into the air, carrying his
booty with him. The three gods were astonished. Loki
was filled with anger. He seized a long pole, upon the
end of which a sharp hook was fixed, and struck at the
treacherous bird. The hook stuck fast in the eagle’s
back, and Loki could not loose his hold of the other
end of the pole. The great bird soared high above the
tree-tops, and over the hills, and carried the astonished
mischief-maker with him.

But it was no eagle. It was no bird that had thus
outwitted the hungry gods: it was the giant Old Win-
ter, clothed in his eagle-plumage. Over the lonely
130 The Story of Siegfried.



woods, and the snow-crowned mountains, and the frozen
sea, he flew, dragging the helpless Loki through tree-
tops, and over jagged rocks, scratching and bruising his
body, and almost tearing his arms from his shoulders.
At last he alighted on the craggy top of an iceberg,
where the storm-winds shrieked, and the air was filled
with driving snow. As soon as Loki could speak, he
begged the giant to carry him back to his comrades, —
Odin and Hoenir.

“On one condition only will I carry you back,” an-
swered Old Winter. “Swear to me that you will betray
into my hands dame Idun and her golden key.”

Loki asked no questions, but gladly gave the oath;
and the giant flew back with him across the sea, and
dropped him, torn and bleeding and lame, by the side of
the fire, where Odin and Hoenir still lingered. And
the three made all haste to leave that cheerless place,
and returned to Odin’s glad home in Asgard.

Some weeks after this, Loki, the Prince of Mischief-
makers, went to Bragi’s house to see Idun. He fonnd
her busied with her household cares, not thinking ef a
visit from any of the gods.

“T have come, good dame,” said he, “to taste your
apples again; for I feel old age coming on apace.”

Idun was astonished

“You are not looking old,” she answered. “There
is not a single gray hair upon your head, and not a
wrinkle on your brow. If it were not for that scar vpon
your cheek, and the arm which you carry in a sling, you
flow the Spring-Time came. 131



would look as stout and as well as I have ever seen
you. Besides, I remember that it was only a year ago
when you last tasted of my fruit. Is it possible that a
single winter should make you old?”

“A single winter has made me very lame and feeble,
at least,” said Loki. “I have been scarcely able to walk
about since my return from the North. Another winter
without a taste of your apples will be the death of me.”

Then the kind-hearted Idun, when she saw that Loki
was really lame, went to the box, and opened it with her
golden key, and gave him one of the precious apples to
taste. He took the fruit in his hand, bit it, and gave it
back to the good dame. She put it in its place again,
closed the lid, and locked it with her usual care.

“Your apples are not so good as they used to be,”
said Loki, making a very wry face. ‘Why don’t you
fill your box with fresh fruit ?”

Idun was amazed. Her apples were supposed to be
always fresh, — fresher by far than any that grow now-
adays. None of the gods had ever before complained
about them; and she told Loki so.

“Very well,” said he. ‘I see you do not believe me,
and that you mean to feed us on your sour, withered
apples, when we might as well have golden fruit. If
you were not so bent on having your own way, I could
tell you where you might fill your box with the choicest
of apples, such as Odin loves. I saw them in the forest
over yonder, hanging ripe on the trees. But women
will always have their own way; and you must have
132 The Story of Siegfried.

yours, even though you do feed the gods on withered
apples.”

So saying, and without waiting to hear an answer, he
limped out at the door, and was soon gone from sight.

Idun thought long and anxiously upon the words
which Loki had spoken; and, the more she thought,
the more she felt troubled. If her husband, the wise
Bragi, had been at home, what would she not have
given? He would have understood the mischief-
maker’s cunning. But he had gone on a long journey
to the South, singing in Nature’s choir, and painting
Nature’s landscapes, and she would not see him again
until the return of spring. At length she opened the
box, and looked at the fruit. The apples were cer-
‘ainly fair and round: she could not see a wrinkle or
a blemish on any of them; their color was the same
golden-red, — like the sky at dawn of a summer’s day ;
yet she thought there must be something wrong about
them. She took up one of the apples, and tasted it.
She fancied that it really was sour, and she hastily put
it back, and locked the box again.

“He said that he had seen better apples than these
growing in the woods,” said she to herself. “I half
believe that he told the truth, although everybody
‘knows that he is not always trustworthy. I think I
shall go to the forest and see for myself, at any rate.”

So she donned her cloak and hood, and, with a bas-
ket on her arm, left the house, and walked rapidly away,
along the road which led to the forest. It was much
How the Spring-Time came. 133

ee SS SE



farther than she had thought, and the sun was almost
down when she reached the edge of the wood. But no
apple-trees were there. Tall oaks stretched their bare
arms up towards the sky, as if praying for help. There
were thorn-trees and brambles everywhere; but there
was no fruit, neither were there any flowers, nor even
green leaves. The Frost-giants had been there.

Idun was about to turn her footsteps homewards,
when she heard a wild shriek in the tree-tops over her
head; and, before she could look up, she felt herself
seized in the eagle-talons of Old Winter. Struggle as
she would, she could not free herself. High up, over
wood and stream, the giant carried her; and then he
flew swiftly away with her, towards his home in the
chill North-land; and, when morning came, poor Idun
found herself in an ice-walled castle in the cheerless
country of the giants. But she was glad to know that
the precious box was safely locked at home, and that
the golden key was still at her girdle.

Time passed ; and I fear that Idun would have been
forgotten by all, save her husband Bragi, had not the
gods begun to feel the need of her apples. Day after
day they came to Idun’s house, hoping to find the good
dame and her golden key at home; and each day they
went away some hours older than when they had come.
Bragi was beside himself with grief, and his golden
harp was unstrung and forgotten. No one had seen
the missing Idun since the day when Loki had visited
her, and none could guess what had become of her.
134 Lhe Story of Siegfried.

The heads of all the folk grew white with age; deep
furrows were ploughed in their faces; their eyes grew
dim, and their hearing failed; their hands trembled ;
their limbs became palsied; their feet tottered; and all
feared that Old Age would bring Death in his train.

Then Bragi and Thor questioned Loki very sharply ;
and when he felt that he, too, was growing old and
feeble, he regretted the mischief he had done, and told
them how he had decoyed Idun into Old Winter’s
clutches. The gods were very angry; and Thor threat-
ened to crush Loki with his hammer, if he did not at
once bring Idun safe home again.

So Loki borrowed the falcon-plumage of Freyja, the
goddess of love, and with it flew to the country of
the giants. When he reached Old Winter's castle, he
found the good dame Idun shut up in the prison-tower,
and bound with fetters of ice; but the giant himself
was on the frozen sea, herding old Hymer’s cows.
And Loki quickly broke the bonds that held Idun, and
led her out of her prison-house; and then he shut her
up in a magic nut-shell which he held between his
claws, and flew with the speed of the wind back towards
the South-land and the home of the gods. But Old
Winter coming home, and learning what had _ been
done, donned his eagle-plumage and followed swiftly
in pursuit.

Bragi and Thor, anxiously gazing into the sky, saw
Loki, in Freyja’s falcon-plumage, speeding homewards,
with the nut-shell in his talons, and Old Winter, in
flow the Spring-Time came. 135







his eagle-plumage, dashing after in sharp pursuit.
Quickly they gathered chips and slender twigs, and
placed them high upon the castle-wall; and, when
Loki with his precious burden had flown past, they
touched fire to the dry heap, and the flames blazed up
to the sky, and caught Old Winter’s plumage, as, close
behind the falcon, he blindly pressed. And his wings
were scorched in the flames ; and he fell helpless to the
ground, and was slain within the castle-gates. Loki
slackened his speed ; and, when he reached Bragi’s house,
he dropped the nut-shell softly before the door. As it
touched the ground, it gently opened, and Idun, radiant
with smiles, and clothed in gay attire, stepped forth, and
greeted her husband and the waiting gods. And the
heavenly music of Bragi’s long-silent harp welcomed
her home; and she took the golden key from her girdle,
and unlocked the box, and gave of her apples to the
aged company ; and, when they had tasted, their youth
was renewed.!

It is thus with the seasons and their varied changes.
The gifts of Spring are youth and jollity, and renewed
strength; and the music of air and water and all
things, living and lifeless, follow in her train. The
desolating Winter plots to steal her from the earth, and
the Summer-heat deserts and betrays her. Then the
music of Nature is hushed, and all creatures pine in
sorrow for her absence, and the world seems dying of
white Old Age. But at length the Summer-heat re-

! See Note 22 at the end of this volume.
136 The Story of Siegfried.





pents, and frees her from her prison-house ; and the icy
fetters with which Old Winter ‘sound her are melted
in the beams of the returning sun, and the earth is
young again.
The War with the North-Kings. 137



ADVENTURE XII.

THE WAR WITH THE NORTH-KINGS.

So swiftly and so pleasantly the days went by, that
weeks lengthened into months, and the spring-time
passed, and the summer came, and still Siegfried lin-
gered in Burgundy with his kind friends. The time
was spent in all manner of joyance,—in hunting the
deer in the deep oak-woods, in riding over the daisied
meadows or among the fields of corn, in manly games
and sports, in music and dancing, in feasting and in
pleasant talk. And of all the noble folk who had ever
sat at Gunther’s table, or hunted in the Burgundian
woods, none were so worthy or so fair as the proud
young lord o: the Nibelungens.

One day in early autumn a party of strange knights
rode up to the castle, and asked to speak with the
Burgundian kings. They were led straightway into
the great hall; and Gunther and his brothers welcomed
them, as was their wont, right heartily, and asked them
from what country they had come, and what was their
errand.

“We come,” they answered, “from the North coun-
138 The Story of Siegfried.



try ; and we bring word from our lords and kings, Leu-
diger and Leudigast.”

“ And what would our kingly neighbors say to us?”
asked Gunther.

Then the strangers said that their lords had become
very angry with the Burgundian kings, and that they
meant, within twelve weeks from that day, to come with
a great army, and lay the country waste, and besiege
their city and castle. All this they had sworn to do
unless the Burgundians would make peace with them
upon such terms as Leudiger and Leudigast should
please to grant.

When Gunther and his brothers heard this, they were
struck with dismay. But they ordered the messengers
to “be well cared for and handsomely entertained within
the palace until the morrow, at which time they should
have the Burgundians’ answer. All the noblest knights
and earl-folk were called together, and the matter was
laid before them.

“What answer shall we send to our rude neighbors
of the North?” asked Gunther.

Gernot and the young Giselher declared at once for
war. Old Hagen and other knights, whose prudence
was at least equal to their bravery, said but little. It
was known, that, in the armies of the North-kings, there
were at least forty thousand soldiers; but in Burgundy.
there were not more than thirty thousand fighting-men,
all told. The North-kings’ forces were already equipped,
and ready to march; but the Burgundians could by no
“The War with the North-Kings. 139

means raise and arm any considerable body of men in
the short space of twelve weeks. It would be the part
of wisdom to delay, and to see what terms could best
be made with their enemies. Such were the prudent
counsels of the older knights, but Gernot and the
young chief Volker would not listen to such words.

“The Burgundians are not cowards,” said they. ‘“‘We
have never been foiled in battle; never have we been
the vassals of a stranger. Why, then, shall we cringe
and cower before such men as Leudiger and Leudigast ?”

Then Hagen answered, “Let us ask our friend and
guest Siegfried. Let us learn what he thinks about
this business. Everybody knows that he is as wise in
council as he is brave in the field. We will abide by
what he says.”

But Gunther and Gernot and the young Giselher
were unwilling to do this; for it was not their custom
to annoy their guests with questions which should be
allowed to trouble themselves alone. And the kings and
their counsellors went out of the council-chamber, each
to ponder in silence upon the troublesome question.

As Gunther, with downcast head and troubled brow,
walked thoughtfully through the great hall, he unex-
pectedly met Siegfried.

“What evil tidings have you heard?” asked the
prince, surprised at the strange mien of the king.
“What has gone amiss, that should cause such looks
of dark perplexity?”

“That is a matter which I can tell only to friend
long tried and true,” answered Gunther.
140 The Story of Siegfried.



Siegfried was surprised and hurt by these words;
and he cried out, —

“What more would Gunther ask of me that I might
prove my friendship? Surely I have tried to merit his
esteem and trust. Tell me what troubles you, and I
will further show myself to be your friend both tried
and true.”

Then Gunther was ashamed of the words he had
spoken to his guest; and he took Siegfried into his own
chamber, and told him all; and he asked him what
answer they should send on the morrow to the over-
bearing North-kings,

“Tell them we will fight,” answered Siegfried. “I
myself will lead your warriors to the fray. Never shall
it be said that my friends have suffered wrong, and I
not tried to help them.”

Then he and Gunther talked over the plans which
they would follow. And the clouds fled at once from
the brow of the king, and he was no longer troubled
or doubtful; for he believed in Siegfried.

The next morning the heralds of the North-kings
were brought again before Gunther and his brothers;
and they were told to carry this word to their mas-
ters, —

“The Burgundians will fight. They will make no
terms with their enemies, save such as they make of
their own free-will.”

Then the heralds were loaded with costly presents,
and a company of knights and warriors went w:th them
The War with the North-Kings. i4l

to the border-line of Burgundy ; and, filled with wonder
at what they had seen, they hastened back to their liege
lords, and told all that had happened to them. And
Leudiger and Leudigast were very wroth when they
heard the answer which the Burgundians had sent to
them ; but, when they learned that the noble Siegfried
was at Gunther’s castle, they shook their heads, and
seemed to feel more doubtful of success.

Many and busy were the preparations for war, and
in a very few days all things were in readiness for the
march northwards. It was settled that Siegfried with
his twelve Nibelungen chiefs, and a thousand picked
men, should go forth to battle against their boastful
enemies. The dark-browed Hagen, as he had always
done, rode at the head of the company, and by his side
was Siegfried on the noble horse Greyfell. Next came
Gernot and the bold chief Volker, bearing the standard,
upon which a golden dragon was engraved; then fol-
lowed Dankwart and Ortwin, and the twelve worthy
comrades of Siegfried; and then the thousand warriors,
the bravest in all Rhineland, mounted on impatient
steeds, and clad in bright steel armor, with broad
shields, and plumed helmets, and burnished swords,
and sharp-pointed spears. And all rode proudly out
through the great castle-gate. And Gunther and the
young Giselher and all the fair ladies of the court bade
them God-speed.

The little army passec through the forest, and went
northwards, until, on the fifth day, they reached the
142 The Story of Siegfried.



boundaries of Saxon Land. And Siegfried gave spur to
his horse Greyfell, and, leaving the little army behind
him, hastened forwards to see where the enemy was
encamped. As he reached the top of a high hill, he
saw the armies of the North-kings resting carelessly in
the valley beyond. Knights, mounted on their horses,
rode hither and thither: the soldiers sauntered lazily
among the trees, or slept upon the grass; arms were
thrown about in great disorder, or stacked in piles near
the smoking camp-fires. No one dreamed of danger ;
but all supposed that the Burgundians were still at
home, and would never dare to attack a foe so numer-
ous and so strong.

For it was, indeed, a mighty army which Siegfried
saw before him. Full forty thousand men were there;
and they not only filled the valley, but spread over the
hills beyond, and far to the right and left.

While he stood at the top of the hill, and gazed upon
this sight, a warrior, who had spied him from below,
rode up, and paused before him. Like two black thun-
der-clouds, with lightning flashing between, the two
knights stood facing each other, and casting wrathful
glances from beneath their visors. Then each spurred
his horse, and charged with fury upon the other; and
the heavy lances of both were broken in shivers upon
the opposing shields. Then, quick as thought, they
turned and drew their swords, and hand to hand they
fought. But soon Siegfried, by an unlooked-for stroke,
sent his enemy’s sword flying from him, broken in a
The War with the North-Kings. 143

dozen pieces, and by a sudden movement he threw
him from his horse. The heavy shield of the fallen
knight was no hinderance to the quick strokes of Sieg-
fried’s sword; and his glittering armor, soiled by the
mud into which he had been thrown, held him down.
He threw up his hands, and begged for mercy.

“Tam Leudigast the king!” he cried. “Spare my
life. I am your prisoner.”

Siegfried heard the prayer of the discomfited king;
and, lifting him from the ground, he helped him to
remount his charger. But, while he was doing this,
thirty warriors, who had seen the combat from below,
came dashing up the hill to the rescue of their liege-
lord. Siegfried faced about with his horse Greyfell,
and quietly waited for their onset. But, as they drew
near, they were so awed by the noble bearing and
grand proportions of the hero, and so astonished at
sight of the sunbeam mane of Greyfell, and the cold
glitter of the blade Balmung, that in sudden fright
they stopped, then turned, and fled in dismay down
the sloping hillside, nor paused until they were safe
among their friends.

In the mean while Leudiger, the other king, seeing
what was going on at the top of the hill, had caused an
alarm to be sounded; and all his hosts had hastily
arranged themselves in battle-array. At the same time
Hagen and Gernot, and their little army of heroes,
hove in sight, and came quickly to Siegfried’s help,
and the dragon-banner was planted upon the crest of
144 The Story of Siegfried.

the hill. The captive king, Leudigast, was taken to the
rear, and a guard was placed over him. The cham-
pions of the Rhine formed in line, and faced their foes.
The great army of the North-kings moved boldly up
the hill: and, when they saw how few were the Bur.
gundians, they laughed and cheered most lustily ; for
they felt that the odds was in their favor —and forty
to one is no small odds.

Then Siegfried and his twelve comrades, and Hagen
and the thousand Burgundian knights, dashed upon
them with the fury of the whirlwind. The lances flew
so thick in the air, that they hid the sun from sight ;
swords flashed on every side; the sound of clashing
steel, and horses’ hoofs, and soldiers’ shouts, filled
earth and sky with a horrid din. And soon the boast-
ful foes of the Burgundians were everywhere worsted,
and thrown into disorder. Siegfried dashed hither and
thither, from one part of the field to another, in search
of King Leudiger. Thrice he cut his way through the
ranks, and at last he met face to face the one for whom
he sought.

King Leudiger saw the flashing sunbeams that
glanced from Greyfell’s mane, he saw the painted
crown upon the hero’s broad shield, and then he felt
the fearful stroke of the sword Balmung, as it clashed
against his own, and cut it clean in halves. He
dropped his weapons, raised his visor, and gave him-
self up as a prisoner.

“Give up the fight, my brave fellows,” he cried.
the War with the North-Kings. 145

“This is Siegfried the brave, the Prince of the Low-
lands, and the Lord of Nibelungen Land. It were fool-
ishness to fight against him. Save yourselves as best
you can.”

This was the signal for a frightful panic. All turned
and fled. Each thought of nothing but his own safety ;
and knights and warriors, horsemen and foot-soldiers,
in one confused mass, throwing shields and weapons
here and there, rushed wildly down the hill, and
through the valley and ravines, and sought, as best
they could, their way homeward. The Burgundian
heroes were the masters of the field, and on the morrow
they turned their faces joyfully towards Rhineland.
And all joined in saying that to. Siegfried was due the
praise for this wonderful victory which they had gained.

Heralds had been sent on the fleetest horses to carry
the glad news to Burgundy; and when, one morning,
they dashed into the court-yard of the castle, great was
the anxiety to know what tidings they brought. And
King Gunther, and the young Giselher, and the peer-
less Kriemhild, came out to welcome them, and eagerly
to inquire what had befallen the heroes. With breath-
less haste the heralds told the story of all that had
happened.

“And how fares our brother Gernot?” asked Kriem-
hild.

“There is no happier man on earth,” answered the
herald. “In truth, there was not a coward among
them all; but the bravest of the brave was Siegfried.
146 The Story of Siegfried.





He it was who took the two kings prisoners; and
everywhere in the thickest of the fight there was
Siegfried. And now our little army is on its homeward
march, with a thousand prisoners, and large numbers
of the enemy’s wounded. Had it not been for the
brave Siegfried, no such victory could have been won.”

In a few days the Rhine champions reached their
home. And gayly were the castle and all the houses in
the city decked in honor of them. And all those who
had been left behind went out to meet them as they
came down from the forest-road, and drew near to the
castle. And the young girls strewed flowers in their
path, and hung garlands upon their horses; and music
and song followed the heroes into the city, and through
the castle-gate.

When they reached the palace, the two prisoner
kings, Leudiger and Leudigast, were loosed from their
bonds, and handsomely entertained at Gunther’s table.
And the Burgundian kings assured them that they
should be treated as honored guests, and have the free-
dom of the court and castle, if they would pledge
themselves not to try to escape from Burgundy until
terms of peace should be agreed upon. This pledge
they gladly gave, and rich apartments in the palace
were assigned for their use. Like favors were shown
to all the prisoners, according to their rank; and the
wounded were kindly cared for. And the Burgundians
made ready for a gay high-tide,—a glad festival of
rejoicing, to be held at the next full moon
The War with the North-Kings. 147





When the day drew near which had been set for this
high-tide, the folk from all parts of Rhineland began
to flock towards the city. They came in companies,
with music and laughter, and the glad songs of the
spring-time. And all the knights were mounted on
‘gallant horses caparisoned with gold-red saddles, from
which hung numbers of tinkling silver bells. As they
rode up the sands towards the castle-gate, with their
dazzling shields upon their saddle-bows, and their gay
and many-colored banners floating in the air, King
Gernot and the young Giselher, with the noblest
knights of the fortress, went courteously out to meet
them; and the friendly greetings which were offered
by the two young kings won the hearts of all. Thirty
and two princes and more than five thousand warriors
came as bidden guests. The city and castle were
decked in holiday attire, and all the people in the land
gave themselves up to enjoyment. The sick and the
wounded, who until now had thought themselves at
death’s door, forgot their ailments and their pains as
they heard the shouts of joy and the peals of music
in the streets.

In a green field outside of the city walls, arrange-
ments had been made for the games, and galleries and
high stages had been built for the lookers-on. Here
jousts and tournaments were held, and the knights and
warriors engaged in trials of strength and skill: When
King Gunther saw with what keen enjoyment both his
awn people and his guests looked upon these games,
148 The Story of Siegfried.



and took part in the gay festivities, he asked of those
around him, —

“What more can we do to heighten the pleasures of
the day?”

And one of his counsellors answered, —

“My lord, the ladies of the court, and the little
children, pine in silence in the sunless rooms of the
palace, while we enjoy the free air and light of heaven,
the music, and the gay scenes before us. There is
nothing wanting to make this day’s joy complete, save
the presence of our dear ones to share these pleasures
with us.”

Gunther was delighted to hear these words; and he
sent a herald to the palace, and invited all the ladies of
the court and all the children to come out and view the
games, and join in the general gladness,

When Dame Ute heard the message which the
herald brought from her kingly son, she hastened to
make ready rich dresses and costly jewels wherewith to
adorn the dames and damsels of the court. And, when
all were in readiness, the peerless Kriemhild, with her
mother at her side, went forth from the castle; and a
hundred knights, all sword in hand, went with her as a
body-guard, and a great number of noble ladies dressed
in rich attire followed her. As the red dawn peers
torth from behind gray clouds, and drives the mists and
shadows away from earth, so came the lovely one. As
the bright full moon in radiant splendor moves in
queen-like beauty before her train of attendant stars,
The War with the North-Kings. 149





and outshines them all, so was Kriemhild the most
glorious among all the noble ladies there. And
the thousand knights and warriors paused in their
games, and greeted the peerless princess as was due
to one so noble and fair. Upon the highest platform,
under a rich canopy of cloth-of-gold, seats were made
ready for the maiden and her mother and the fair
ladies in their train; and all the most worthy princes
in Rhineland sat around, and the games were begun
again.

For twelve days the gay high-tide lasted, and nought
was left undone whereby the joy might be increased.
And of all the heroes and princes who jousted in the
tournament, or took part in the games, none could
equal the unassuming Siegfried; and his praises were
heard on every hand, and all agreed that he was the
most worthy prince that they had ever seen.

When at last the festal days came to an end, Gun-
ther and his brothers called their guests and vassals
around them, and loaded them with costly gifts, and
bade them God-speed. And tears stood in the eyes of
all at parting.

The captive kings, Leudiger and Leudigast, were not
forgotten.

“What will ye give me for your freedom?” asked
King Gunther, half in jest.

They answered, —

“Tf you will allow us without further hinderance to
go back to our people, we pledge our lives and our
150 The Story of Siegfried.
honor that we will straightway send you gald, as much
as half a thousand horses can carry.”

Then Gunther turned to Siegfried, and said, —

“What think you, friend Siegfried, of such princely
ransom ?”

“Noble lord,” said Siegfried, ‘I think you are in need
of no such ransom. Friendship is worth much more
than gold. If your kingly captives will promise, on their
honor, never more to come towards Burgundy as ene-
mies, let them go. We have no need of gold.”

“’Tis well said,” cried Gunther highly pleased.

And Leudiger and Leudigast, with tears of thankful-
ness, gladly made the asked-for promise, and on the
morrow, with light hearts and costly gifts, they set out
on their journey homewards.

When all the guests had gone, and the daily routine
of idle palace-life set in again, Siegfried began to talk of
going back to Nibelungen Land. But young Giselher,
and the peerless Kriemhild, and King Gunther, be-
sought him to stay yet a little longer. And he yielded
to their kind wishes. And autumn passed away with
its fruits and its vintage, and grim old winter came
howling down from the north, and Siegfried was still
in Burgundy. And then old Hoder, the king of the
winter months, came blustering through the Rhine val-
ley; and with him were the Reifriesen, — the thieves
that steal the daylight from the earth and the warmth
from the sun. And they nipped the flowers, and with-
ered the grass, and stripped the trees, and sealed up
The War with the North- Kings. 151



the rivers, and covered the earth with a white mantle
of sorrow.

But within King Gunther’s wide halls there was joy
and good cheer. And the season of the Yule-feast
came, and still Siegfried tarried in Burgundy-land.
152 Lhe Story of Ste,fried.



ADVENTURE XIII.

DHE STORY OP BALD DER,

THERE was mirth in King Gunther’s dwelling, for the
time of the Yule-feast had come. The broad banquet-
hall was gayly decked with cedar and spruce and sprigs
of the mistletoe; and the fires roared in the great chim-
neys, throwing warmth and a ruddy glow of light into
every corner of the room. The long table fairly groaned
under its weight of good cheer. At its head sat the
kings and the earl-folk; and before them, on a silver
platter of rare workmanship, was the head of a huge
wild boar, — the festal offering to the good Frey, in
honor of whom the Yule-feast was held. For now the
sun, which had been driven by the Frost-giants far away
towards the South-land, had begun to return, and Frey
was on his way once more to scatter peace and plenty
over the land.

The harp and the wassail-bowl went round; and each
one of the company sang a song, or told a story, or in
some way did his part to add to the evening’s enjoy-
ment. And a young sea-king who sat at Siegfried’s
side told most bewitching tales of other lands which
The Story of Balder. 153

lie beyond Old Aégir’s kingdom. Then, when the harp
came to him, he sang the wondrous song of the shap-
ing of the earth. And “all who heard were charmed
with the sweet sound and with the pleasant words.
He sang of the sunlight and the south winds and the
summer-time, of the storms and the snow and the
sombre shadows of the North-land. And he sang of
the dead Ymir, the giant whose flesh had made the
solid earth, and whose blood the sea, and whose bones
the mountains, whose teeth the cliffs and crags, and
whose skull the heavens. And he sang of Odin, the
earth’s preserver, the Giver of life, the Father of all;
and of the Asa-folk who dwell in Asgard; and of
the ghostly heroes in Valhal. Then he sang of the
heaven-tower of the thunder-god, and of the shimmer-
ing Asa-bridge, or rainbow, all afire; and, lastly, of the
four dwarfs who hold the blue sky-dome above them,
and of the elves of the mountains, and of the wood-
sprites and the fairies. Then he laid aside his harp,
and told the old but ever-beautiful story of the death
of Balder the Good.

THE STORY.

Balder, as you know, was Odin’s son; and he was the
brightest and best of all the Asa-folk. Wherever he
went, there were gladness and light-hearted mirth, and
blooming flowers, and singing birds, and murmuring
waterfalls. Balder, too, was a hero, but not one of the
blustering kind, like Thor. He slew no giants; he never
154 The Story of Siegfried.

ere es ee Se ee ee
went into battle; he never tried to make for himself a
name among the dwellers of the mid-world; and yet
he was a hero of the noblest type. He dared to do
right, and to stand up for the good, the true, and the
beautiful. There are still some such heroes, but the
world does not always hear of them.

Hoder, the blind king of the winter months, was
Balder’s brother, and as unlike him as darkness is un-
like daylight. While one rejoiced, and was merry and
cheerful, the other was low-spirited and sad. While
one scattered sunshine and blessings everywhere, the
other carried with him a sense of cheerlessness and
gloom. Yet the brothers loved each other dearly.

One night Balder dreamed a strange dream, and when
he awoke he could not forget it. Allday long he was
thoughtful and sad, and he was not his own bright,
happy self. His mother, the Asa-queen, saw that some-
thing troubled him ; and she asked, —

“Whence comes that cloud upon your brow? Will
you suffer it to chase away all your sunshine? and
will you become, like your brother Hoder, all frowns
and sighs and tears?”

Then Balder told her what he had dreamed; and she,
too, was sorely troubled, for it was a frightful dream,
and foreboded dire disasters. Then both she and Balder
went to Odin, and to him they told the cause of their
uneasiness. And the All-Father also was distressed ;
for he knew that such dreams, dreamed by Asa-folk,
were the forewarnings of evil. So he saddled his eight-
The Story of Balder. 155





footed steed Sleipner ; and, without telling any one where
he was going, he rode with the speed of the winds down
into the Valley of Death. The dog that guards the
gateway to that dark and doleful land came out to meet
him. Blood was on the fierce beast’s breast, and he
barked loudly and angrily at the All-Father and his
wondrous horse. But Odin sang sweet magic songs as
he drew near ; and the dog was charmed with the sound,
and Sleipner and his rider went onward in safety. And
they passed the dark halls of the pale-faced queen, and
came to the east gate of the valley. There stood the
low hut of a witch who lived in darkness, and, like
the Norns, spun the thread of fate for gods and men.

Odin stood before the hut, and sang a wondrous song
of witchery and enchantment ; and he laid a spell upon’
the weird woman, and forced her to come out of her
dark dwelling, and to answer his questions.

“Who is this stranger?” asked the witch. ‘Who is
this unknown who calls me from my narrow home, and
sets an irksome task for me? Long have I been leit
alone in my quiet house; nor recked I that the snow
sometimes covered with its cold white mantle both me
and my resting-place, or that the pattering rain and the
gently falling dew often moistened the roof of my dwell-
ing. Long have I rested quietly, and I do not wish
now to be aroused.”

“JT am Valtam’s son,” said Odin; ‘‘and I come to
iearn of thee. ‘Tell me, I pray, for whom are the soft
couches prepared that I saw in the broad halls of
156 The Story of Siegfried. .





Death? For whom are the jewels, and the rings, and
the rich clothing, and the shining shield?”

“All are for Balder, Odin’s son,” sh¢« answered.
“And the mead which has been brewed for him is
hidden beneath the shining shield.”

Then Odin asked who would be the slayer of Balder,
and she answered that Hoder was the one who would
send the shining Asa to the halls of Death.

“Who will avenge Balder, and bring distress upon
his slayer?” asked Odin.

“A son of Earth but one day old shall be Balder’s
avenger. Go thou now home, Odin; for I know thou
art not Valtam’s son. Go home; and none shall again
awaken me, nor disturb me at my task, until the new
day shall dawn, and Balder shall rule over the young
world in its purity, and there shall be no more Death.”

Then Odin rode sorrowfully homeward ; but he told
no one of his journey to the Dark Valley, nor of what
the weird witch had said to him.

Balder’s mother, the Asa-queen, could not rest be-
cause of the illomened dream that her son had had;
and in her distress she called all the Asa-folk together
to consider what should be done. But they were
speechless with sorrow and alarm; and none could offer
ad..ice, nor set her mind at ease. Then she sought out
every living creature, and every lifeless thing, upon the
earth, and asked each one to swear that it would not on
any account hurt Balder, nor touch hin to do him
harm. And this oath was willingly meade by fire and
Tne Story of Balder. 157



water, earth and air, by all beasts and creeping
things and birds and fishes, by the rocks and by
the trees and all metals; for every thing loved Balder
the Good.

Then the Asa-folk thought that great honor was
shown to Balder each time any thing refused to hurt
him; and to show their love for him, as well as to
amuse themselves, they often hewed at him with their
battle-axes, or struck at him with their sharp swords,
or hurled toward him their heavy lances. For every
weapon turned aside from its course, and would neither
mark nor bruise the shining target at which it wag
aimed; and Balder’s princely beauty shone as bright
and as pure as ever. i

When Loki the Mischief-maker saw how all things
loved aud honored Balder, his heart was filled with
jealous hate, and he sought all over the earth for some
beast or bird or tree or lifeless thing, that had not
taken the oath. But he could find not one. Then,
disguised as a fair maiden, he went to Fensal Hall,
where dwelt Balder’s mother. The fair Asa-queen was
busy at her distaff, with her golden spindles, spinning
flax to be woven into fine linen for the gods. And her
maid-servant, Fulla of the flowing hair, sat on a stool
beside her. When the queen saw Loki, she asked, —-

“Whence come you, fair stranger? and what favor
would you ask of Odin’s wife ?”

“T come,” answered the disguised Loki, “from the
plains of Ida, where the gods meet for pleasant pastime,
158 Lhe Story of Steg fried.

as well as to talk of the weightier matters of their
kingdom.”

“And how do they while away their time to-day?”
asked the queen.

“They have a pleasant game which they call Balder’s
Honor,” was the answer. “The shining hero stands
before them as a target, and each one tries his skill at
hurling some weapon toward him. First Odin throws
at him the spear Gungner, which never before was
known to miss its mark; but it passes harmlessly over
Balder’s head. Then Thor takes up a huge rock, and
hurls it full at Balder’s breast; but it turns in its course,
and will not smite the sun-bright target. Then Tyr
seizes a battle-axe, and strikes at Balder as though he
would hew him down; but the keen edge refuses to
touch him: and in this way the Asa-folk show honor
to the best of their number.”

The Asa-queen smiled in the glad pride of her
mother-heart, and said, “Yes, every thing shows
honor to the best of Odin’s sons; for neither metal
nor wood nor stone nor fire nor water will touch
Balder to do him harm.”

“Ts it true, then,” asked Loki, “that every thing has
made an oath to you, and promised not to hurt your
son?”

And the queen, not thinking what harm an un-
guarded word might do, answered, “Every thing has
promised, save a little feeble sprig that men call
the mistletoe. So small and weak it is, that I knew it
The Story of Balder. 159

could never harm any one; and so I passed it by, and
did not ask it to take the oath.”

Then Loki went out of Fensal Hall, and left the
Asa-queen at her spinning. And he walked briskly
away, and paused not until he came to the eastern side
of Valhal, where, on the branches of an old oak, the
mistletoe grew. Rudely he tore the plant from its
supporting branch, and hid it under his cloak. Then
he walked leisurely back to the place where the Asa-
folk were wont to meet in council.

The next day the Asas went out, as usual, to engage
in pleasant pastimes on the plains of Ida. When they
had tired of leaping and foot-racing and tilting, they
‘ placed Balder before them as a target again; and, as
each threw his weapon toward the shining mark, they
laughed to see the missile turn aside from its course,
and refuse to strike the honored one. But blind
Hoder stood sorrowfully away from the others, and did
not join in any of their sports. Loki, seeing this,
went to him and said, —

“Brother of the gloomy brow, why do you not take
part with us in our games?”

“T am blind,” answered Hoder. “I can neither leap,
nor run, nor throw the lance.”

“But you can shoot arrows from your bow,” said
Loki.

“ Alas!” said Hoder, “that I can do only as some
one shall direct my aim, for I can see no target.”

“Do you hear that laughter?” asked Loki. “Thor
160 The Story of Sregfried.



has hurled the straight trunk of a pine-tree at your
brother; and, rather than touch such a glorious mark,
it has turned aside, and been shivered to pieces upon
the rocks over there. It is thus that the Asa-folk, and
all things living and lifeless, honor Balder. Hoder is
the only one who hangs his head, and fears to do his
part. Come, now, let me fit this little arrow in your
‘bow, and then, as I point it, do you shoot. When you
hear the gods laugh, you will know that your arrow has
shown honor to the hero by refusing to hit him.”

And Hoder, thinking no harm, did as Loki wished.
And the deadly arrow sped from the bow, and pierced
the heart of shining Balder, and he sank lifeless upon
the ground. Then the Asa-folk who saw it were
struck speechless with sorrow and dismay; and, had it
not been that the Ida plains where they then stood
were sacred to peace, they would have seized upon
Loki, and put him to death.

Forthwith the world was draped in mourning for
Balder the Good; the birds stopped singing, and flew
with drooping wings to the far South-land; the beasts
sought to hide themselves in their lairs and in the holes
of the ground; the trees shivered and sighed until their
leaves fell withered to the earth; the flowers closed their
eyes, and died; the rivers stopped flowing, and dark
and threatening billows veiled the sea; even the sun
shrouded his face, and withdrew silently towards the
south.

When Balder’s good mother heard the sad news, she
The Story of Balder. 161

—-—



left her golden spindle in Fensal Hall, and with her
maidens hastened to the Ida-plains, where the body of
her son still lay. Nanna, the faithful wife of Balder,
was already there; and wild was her grief at sight of
‘the lifeless loved one. And all the Asa-folk —save
guilty Loki, who had fled for his life—stood about
them in dumb amazement. But Odin was the most
sorrowful of all; for he knew, that, with Balder, the
world had lost its most gladsome life.

They lifted the body, and carried it down to the sea,
where the great ship “ Ringhorn,” which Balder himself
had built, lay ready to be launched. And a great com-
pany followed, and stood upon the beach, and bewailed
the untimely death of the hero. First came Odin, with
his grief-stricken queen, and then his troop of hand-
maidens, the Valkyrien, followed by his ravens Hugin
and Munin. Then came Thor in his goat-drawn car,
and Heimdal on his horse Goldtop; then Frey, in his
wagon, behind the boar Gullinbruste of the golden
bristles. Then Freyja, in her chariot drawn by cats,
came weeping tears of gold. Lastly, poor blind Hoder,
overcome with grief, was carried thither on the back
of one of the Frost-giants. And Old Aégir, the Ocean-
king, raised his dripping head above the water, and
gazed with dewy eyes upon the scene; and the waves,
as if affrighted, left off their playing, and were still.

High on the deck they built the funeral-pile; and
they placed the body upon it, and covered it with costly
garments, and with woods of the finest scent; and the
162 The Story of Swegfried.

noble horse which had been Balder’s they slew, and
placed beside him, that he might not have to walk to
the halls of Death. And Odin took from his finger the
ring Draupner, the earth’s enricher, and laid it on the
pile. Then Nanna, the faithful wife, was overcome
with grief, and her gentle heart was broken, and she fell
lifeless at the feet of the Asa-queen. And they carried
her upon the ship, and laid her by her husband’s side.

When all things were in readiness to set fire to the
pile, the gods tried to launch the ship; but it was so
heavy that they could not move it. So they sent in
haste to Jotunheim for the stout giantess Hyrroken;
and she came with the speed of the whirlwind, and
riding on a wolf, which she guided with a bridle of
writhing snakes.

“What will you have me do?” she asked.

“We would have you launch the great ship ‘ Ring
horn,’ ”’ answered Odin.

“That I will do!” roared the grim giantess. And,
giving the vessel a single push, she sent it sliding with
speed into the deep waters of the bay. Then she gave
the word to her grisly steed, and she flew onwards and
away, no one knew whither. :

The “Ringhorn” floated nobly upon the water, —
a worthy bier for the body which it bore. The fire was
set to the funeral-pile, and the red flames shot upwards
to the sky; but their light was but a flickering beam
when matched with the sun-bright beauty of Balder,
whose body they consumed.
The Story of Balder. 163

Then the sorrowing folk turned away, and went back
to their homes: a cheerless gloom rested heavily where
light gladness had ruled before. And, when they reached
the high halls of Asgard, the Asa-queen spoke, and
said, —

“Who now, for the love of Balder and his stricken
mother, will undertake an errand? Who will go down
into the Valley of Death, and seek for Balder, and
ransom him, and bring him back to Asgard and the
mid-world ?”

Then Hermod the Nimble, the brother of Balder, an-
swered, “I will go. I will find him, and, with Hela’s
leave, will bring him back.”

And he mounted Sleipner, the eight-footed steed, and
galloped swiftly away. Nine days and nine nights he
rode through strange valleys and mountain gorges,
where the sun’s light had never been, and through
gloomy darkness and fearful silence, until he came to
the black river, and the glittering, golden bridge which
crosses it. Over the bridge his strong horse carried
him ; although it shook and swayed and threatened to
throw him into the raging, inky flood below. On the
other side a maiden keeps the gate, and Hermod
stopped to pay the toll.

“What is thy name?” she asked.

“My name is Hermod, and I am called the Nimble,”
he answered.

“What is thy father’s name?”

“His name is Odin. Mayhap you have heard of

”

him.
164 The Story of Siegfried.

“Why ridest thou with such thunderous speed?
Five kingdoms of dead men passed over this bridge
yesterday, and it shook not with their weight as it did
with thee and thy strange steed. Thou art not of the
pale multitude that are wont to pass this gate. What
is thy errand ? and why ridest thou to the domains of the
dead?”

“T go to find my brother Balder,” answered Hermod.
“Tt is but a short time since he unwillingly came down
into these shades.”

“Three days ago,” said the maiden, “ Balder passed
this way, and by his side rode the faithful Nanna.
So bright was his presence, even here, that the who!e
valley was lighted up as it had never before been
lighted. - The black river glittered like a gem; the
frowning mountains smiled for once; and Hela her-
self, the queen of these regions, slunk far away into
her most distant halls. But Balder went on his way,
and even now he sups with Nanna in the dark castle
over yonder.”

Then Hermod rode forward till he came to the castle-
walls. These were built of black marble; and the iron
gate was barred and bolted, and none who went in
had ever yet come out. Hermod called loudly to the
porter to open the gate and let him in; but no one
seemed to hear nor heed him, for the words of the
living are unknown in that place. Then he drew the
saddle-girths more tightly around the horse Sleipner,
and urged him forward. High up, the great horse
The Story of Balder. 165





leaped; and he sprang clear over the gates, and landed
at the open door of the great hall. Leaving his steed,
Hermod went boldly in; and there he found his
brother Balder and the faithful Nanna seated at the
festal board, and honored as the most, worthy of all
the guests. With Balder, Hermod staid until the
night had passed; and many were the pleasant words
they spoke. When morning came, Hermod went into
the presence of Hela, and said, —

“OQ mighty queen! I come to ask a boon of thee.
Balder the Good, whom both gods and men loved,
has been sent to dwell with thee here in thy darksome
house; and all the world weeps for him, and has donned
the garb of mourning, and cannot be consoled until his
bright light shall shine upon them again. And the gods
have sent me, his brother, to ask thee to let Balder ride
back with me to Asgard, to his noble, sorrowing mother,
the Asa-queen; for then will hope live again in the
hearts of men, and happiness will return to the earth.”

The Death-queen was silent for a moment ; and then
she said in a sad voice, ‘‘ Hardly can I believe that any
being is so greatly loved by things living and lifeless ;
for surely Balder is not more the friend of earth than
I am, and yet men love me not. But go thou back to
Asgard ; and, if every thing shall weep for Balder, then
I will send him.to you. But, if any thing shall refuse
to weep, then I will keep him in my halls.”

So Hermod made ready to return home; and Balder
gave him the ring Draupner to carry to his father as a
166 The Story of Steg fried.



keepsake; and Nanna sent to the queen-mother a rich
carpet of purest green. Then the nimble messenger
mounted his horse, and rode swiftly back over the dark
river, and through the frowning valleys, until he at last
reached Odin’s halls.

When the Asa-folk learned upon what terms they
might have Balder again with them, they sent heralds
all over the world to beseech every thing to mourn for
him. And men and beasts, and creeping things, and
birds and fishes, and trees and stones, and air and water,
—all things, living and lifeless, joined in weeping for
the lost Balder.

But, as the heralds were on their way back to Asgard,
they met a giantess named Thok, and they asked her to
join in the universal grief. And she answered, “What
good thing did Balder ever do for Thok? What glad-
ness did he ever bring her? If she should weep for
him, it would be with dry tears. Let Hela keep him
in her halls.” ?

“ And yet the day shall come,” added the story-teller,
“when the words of the weird woman to Odin shall prove
true; and Balder shall come again to rule over a new-
born world in which there shall be no wrong-doing and
no more death.”

See Note 23 at the end of this volume.
How Gunther outwitted Brushild. 167



ADVENTURE XIV.



HOW GUNTHER OUTWITTED
BRUNHILD.

WHILE still the festivities were at their height, an
old man of noble mien, and with snow-white beard and
hair, came into the great hall, and sang for the gay
company. And some whispered that this must be
Bragi, for surely such rare music could not be made
by any other. But he sang not of spring, as Bragi does,
nor yet of youth nor of beauty, nor like one whose
home is with the song-birds, and who lives beside the
babbling brooks and the leaping waterfalls. His song
was a sorrowful one,—of dying flowers, and falling
leaves, and the wailing winds of autumn, of forgotten
joys, of blasted hopes, of a crushed ambition, of gray
hairs, of tottering footsteps, of old age, of a lonely
grave. And, as he sang, all ‘were moved to tears by
the mournful melody and the sad, sad words.

“ Good friend,” said Siegfried, ‘thy music agrees not
well with this time and place; for, where nothing but
mirth and joy are welcome, thou hast brought sorrowful
thoughts and gloomy forebodings. Come, now, and
168 The Story of Siegfried.

pee ek i ee
undo the harm thou hast done, by singing a song which
shall tell only of mirth and gladness.”

The old man shook his head, and answered, ‘“‘ Were I
Bragi, as some think I am, or were I even a strolling
harper, I might do as you ask. But I am neither, and
I know no gladsome songs. Men have called me a
messenger of ill omen; and such, indeed, I have some-
times been, although through no wish of my own. I
come as a herald from a far-off land, and I bear a mes.
sage to all the kings and the noblest chiefs of Rhineland.
If King Gunther will allow me, I will now make that
message known.”

“Let the herald speak on,” said Gunther graciously.

“Far over the sea,” said the herald, “there lies a
dreamy land called Isenland; and in that land there is
a glorious castle, with six and eighty towers, built of
purest marble, green as grass. In that castle there
lives the fairest of all Earth’s daughters, Brunhild, the
maiden of the spring-time. In the early days she was
one of Odin’s Valkyrien; and with other heavenly
maidens it was her duty to follow, unseen, in the wake
of armies, and when they met in battle to hover over
the field, and with kisses to waken the dead heroes, and
lead their souls away to Odin’s glad banquet-hall. But
upon a day she failed to do the All-Father’s bidding,
and he, in anger, sent her to live among men, and like
them to be short-lived, and subject to old age and death.
But the childless old king of Isenland took pity upon
the friendless maiden, and‘called her his daughter, and
Flow Gunther outurtted Brunhild. 169
made her his heir. Then Odin, still more angered, sent
the thorn of sleep to wound the princess. And sleep
seized upon every creature in Isenland, and silence
reigned in the halls of the marble palace. For Odin
said, ‘Thus shall they all sleep until the hero comes,
who will ride through fire, and awaken Brunhild with a
kiss,’

“At last the hero so long waited for came. He
passed the fiery barrier safe, and awoke the slumbering
maiden ; and all the castle sprang suddenly into life
again. And Brunhild became known once more as the
most glorious princess in this mid-world. But the sun-
bright hero who freed her from her prison of sleep van-
ished from Isenland, and no one knew where he went ;
but men say that he rides through the noble world, the
fairest and the best of kings. And Brunhild has sought
for him in many lands; and, although all folk have heard
of his deeds, none know where he dwells. And so, as
a last resort, she has sent heralds into every land to
challenge every king to match his skill with hers in three
games of strength, —in casting the spear, in hurling
the heavy stone, and in leaping. The one who can
equal her in these feats shall be king of Isenland, and
share with her the throne of Isenstein. And by this
means she hopes to find the long-absent hero; for she
believes that there is no other prince on earth whose
strength and skill are equal to her own. Many men have
already risked their lives in this adventure, and all
have failed.
170 The Story of Stegfried.



“ And now, King Gunther,” continued the herald, “I
have come by her orders into Rhineland, and I deliver
the challenge to you. If you accept, and are beaten,
your life is forfeited. If you succeed, the fairest king-
dom and the most beautiful queen in the world are
yours ; for you will have proved that you are at least
the equal of the hero whom she seeks. What reply
shall I carry back to Isenland?”

King Gunther answered hastily, and as one dazed
and in a dream, “Say that I accept the challenge,
and that when the spring-time comes again, and the
waters in the river are unlocked, I shall go to Isenland,
and match my skill and strength with that of the fair
and mighty Brunhild.”

All who stood around were greatly astonished at
Gunther’s reply; for, although his mind was somewhat
weak, he was not given to rash and hazardous under-
takings. And Siegfried, who was at his side, whis-
pered, “Think twice, friend Gunther, ere you decide.
You do not know the strength of this mighty but
lovely warrior-maiden. Were your strength four times
what it is, you could not hope to excel her in those
feats. Give up this hasty plan, I pray you, and recall
your answer to the challenge. Think no more of
such an undertaking, for it surely will cost you your
life?

But these warnings, and the words of others who
tried to dissuade him, only made Gunther the more
determined ; and he vowed that nothing should hinder
How Gunther outwitted Brunhild. 171



him from undertaking the adventure. Then the dark.
browed Hagen said, —

“Our friend Siegfried seems to know much about
Isenland and its maiden-queen. And indeed, if there
is any truth in hearsay, he has had the best of means
for learning. Now, if our good King Gunther has set
his mind on going upon this dangerous enterprise,
mayhap Siegfried would be willing to bear him com-
pany.”

Gunther was pleased with Hagen’s words; and he
said to Siegfried, “My best of friends, go with me to
Isenland, and help me. If we do well in our under-
taking, ask of me any reward you wish, and I will give
it you, so far as in my power lies.”

“You know, kind Gunther,’ answered Siegfried,
“that for myself I have no fear; and yet again I
would warn you to shun the unknown dangers with
which this enterprise is fraught. But if, after all, your
heart is set upon it, make ready to start as soon as the
warm winds shall pave melted the ice from the river.
I will go with you.”

The king grasped Siegfried’s hand, and thanked him
heartily.

“We must build a fleet,” said he. “A thousand
fighting-men shall go with us, and we will land in
Isenland with a retinue such as no other prince has
had. A number of stanch vessels shall be built at
once, and in the early spring they shall be launched
upon the Rhine.”
172 The Story of Siegfried.



Siegfried was amused at Gunther’s earnestness, and
he answered, “Do not think of taking such a fcllow-
ing. You would waste twelve months in building and
victualling such a feet. You would take from Bur-
gundy its only safeguard against foes from without ;
and, after you should reach Isenland, you would find
such a large force to be altogether useless. Take my
advice: have one small vessel built and rigged and
victualled for the long and dangerous voyage; and,
when the time shall come, you and I, and your kins-
men Hagen and Dankwart,—we four only, — will
undertake the voyage and the emprise you have
decided upon.”

Gunther knew that his friend’s judgment in this
matter was better than his own, and he agreed readily
to all of Siegfried’s plans.

When, at length, the winter months began to wane,
many hands were busy makir.g ready for the voyage.
The peerless Kriemhild called together thirty of her
maidens, the most skilful seamstresses in Burgundy-
land, and began the making of rich clothing for her
brother and his friends.t_ With her own fair hands she
cut out garments from the rarest stuffs, —from the
silky skins brought from the sunny lands of Lybia;
from the rich cloth of Zazemang, green as clover ;
from the silk that traders bring from Araby, white as
the drifted snow. For seven weeks the clever maidens

1 See Note 24 at the end of this vol:mme.
How Gunther outwitted Brunhild. 173



and their gentle mistress plied their busy needles, and
twelve suits of wondrous beauty they made for each of
the four heroes. And the princely garments were cov-
ered with fine needle-work, and with curious devices
all studded with rare and costly jewels; and all were
wrought with threads of gold.

Many carpenters and ship-builders were busy with

axes and hammers, and flaming forges, working day
and night to make ready a vessel new and stanch, to
carry the adventurers over the sea. And great stores
of food, and of all things needful to their safety or
comfort, were brought together and put on board.
_ Neither were the heroes themselves idle; for when
not busy in giving directions to the workmen, or in
overseeing the preparations that were elsewhere going
on, they spent the time in polishing their armor (now
long unused), in looking after their weapons, or in pro-
viding for the management of their business while
away. And Siegfried forgot not his trusty sword Bal-
mung, nor his cloak of darkness the priceless Tarn-
kappe, which he had captured from the dwarf Alberich
in the Nibelungen Land.

Then the twelve suits of garments which fair fingers
had wrought were brought. And when the men tried
them on, so faultless was the fit, so rare and perfect
was every piece in richness and beauty, that even the
wearers were amazed, and all declared that such daz-
zling and kingly raiment had never before been seen.

At last the spring months had fairly vanquished all
174 The Story of Siegfried.



the forces of the cold North-land. The warm breezes
had melted the snow and ice, and unlocked the river ;
and the time had come for Gunther and his comrades
to embark. The little ship, well victualled, and made
stanch and stout in every part, had been launched upor.
the Rhine; and she waited with flying streamers and
impatient sails the coming of her crew. Down the
sands at length they came, riding upon their steeds ;
and behind them followed a train of vassals bearing
their kingly garments and their gold-red shields. And
on the banks stood many of the noblest folk of Bur-
gundy,— Gernot and the young Giselher, and Ute the
queen-mother, and Kriemhild the peerless, and a num-
ber of earl-folk, and warriors, and fair dames, and
blushing damsels. And the heroes bade farewell to
their weeping friends, and went upon the waiting ves-
sel, taking their steeds with them. And Siegfried
seized an oar, and pushed the bark off from the
shore,

“T myself will be the steersman, for I know the
way,” he said.

And the sails were unfurled to the brisk south wind,
and the vessel sped swiftly toward the sea; and many
fair eyes were filled tears as they watched it until it
could be seen no more. And with sighs and gloomy
forebodings the good people went back to their homes,
and but few hoped ever again to see their king and his
brave comrades.

Driven by favovable winds, the trusty little vessel
flow Gunther outwitted Brunhild. 175
sailed gayly down the Rhine, and, ere many days had
passed, was out in the boundless sea. Fora long time
the heroes sailed and rowed through Old Aégir’s
watery kingdom. But they kept good cheer, and their
hearts rose higher and higher; for each day they drew
nearer the end of their voyage and the goal of their
hopes. At length they came in sight of a far-reaching
coast and a lovely land; and not far from the shore
they saw a noble fortress, with a number of tall towers
pointing toward the sky.

“What land is that?” asked the king.!

And Siegfried answered that it was Isenland, and
that the fortress which they saw was the Castle of
Isenstein and the green marble hall of the Princess
Brunhild. But he warned his friends to be very wary
when they should arrive at the hall.

‘Let all tell this story,” said he: “say that Gunther
is the king, and that I am his faithful vassal. The
success of our undertaking depends on this.” And his
three comrades promised to do as he advised.

As the vessel neared the shore, the whole castle
seemed to be alive. From every tower and turret-
window, from every door and balcony, lords and ladies,
fighting-men and serving-men, looked out to see what
strangers these were who came thus unheralded to
Isenland. The heroes went on shore with their steeds,
leaving the vessel moored to the bank; and then
they rode slowly up the beach, and across the narrow

1} See Note 25 at the end of this volume.
\

176 The Story of Stegfried.





plain, and came to the drawbridge and the great
gateway, where they paused.

The matchless Brunhild in her chamber had been
told of the coming of the strangers ; and she asked the
maidens who stood around, —

“Who, think you, are the unknown warriors who
thus come boldly to Isenstein without asking leave?
What is their bearing? Do they seem to be worthy of
our notice? or are they some straggling beggars who
have lost their way?”

And one of the maidens, looking through the case-
ment, answered, “The first is a king, I know, from his .
noble mien and the respect which his fellows pay to
him. But the second bears himself with a prouder
grace, and seems the noblest of them all. He reminds
me much of the brave young Siegfried of former days.
Indeed, it must be Siegfried; for he rides a steed with
sunbeam mane, which can be none other than Greyfell.
The third is a dark and gloomy man: he wears a sullen
frown upon his brow, and his eyes seem to shoot quick
glances around. How nervously he grasps his sword-
hilt, as if ever guarding against surprise! I think his
temper must be grim and fiery, and his heart a heart of
flint. The fourth and last of the company is young and
fair, and of gentle port. Little business has he with
rude warriors; and many tears, methinks, would be
shed for him at home should harm overtake 1].im,
Never before have I seen so noble a company of
strangers in Isenland. Their garments are of dazzling
Flow Gunther outwitted Brunhild. . 177





lustre; their saddles are covered with gem-stones ;
their weapons are of unequalled brightness. Surely
they are worthy of your notice.”

When Brunhild heard that Siegfried was one of the
company, she was highly pleased, and she hastened to
make ready to meet them in the great hall. And she
sent ten worthy lords to open the gate, and to welcome
the heroes to Isenland.

When Siegfred and his comrades passed through the
great gateway, and came into the castle-yard, their
horses were led away to the stables, and the clanging
armor and the broad shields and swords which they
carried were taken from them, and placed in the castle
armory. Little heed was paid to Hagen’s surly com-
plaint at thus having every means of defence taken
away. He was told that such had always been the
rule at Isenstein, and that he, like others, must submit.

After a short delay the heroes were shown into the
great hall, where the matchless Brunhild already was
awaiting them. Clad in richest raiment, from every
fold of which rare jewels gleamed, and wearing a
coronet of pearls and gold, the warrior-maiden sat
on a throne of snow-white ivory. Five hundred earl-
folk and warriors, the bravest in Isenland, stood around
her with drawn swords, and fierce, determined looks.
Surely men of mettle less heroic than that of the four
knights from Rhineland wouid have quaked with fear
in such a presence.

King Gunther and his comrades went forward to
178 The Story of Siegfried.



salute the queen. With a winning smile she kindly
greeted them, and then said to Siegfried, “Gladly do
we welcome you back to our land, friend Siegfried.
We have ever remembered you as our best friend.
May we ask what is your will, and who are these war-
tiors whom you have with you?”

“Most noble queen,’ answered he, “right thankful
am I that you have not forgotten me, and that you
should deign to notice me while in the presence of this
my liege lord,” and he pointed towards King Gunther.
“The king of all Burgundy-land, whose humble vassal
I am, has heard the challenge you have sent into differ-
ent lands, and he has come to match his strength with

yours.”
“Does he know the conditions ?”’ asked Brunhild.
“He does,” was the answer. “In case of success,

the fairest of women for his queen: in case of failure,
death.”

“Yet scores of worthy men have made trial, and all
have failed,” said she. “I warn your liege lord to
pause, and weigh well the chances ere he runs so great
a risk.”

Then Gunther stepped forward and spoke :—

“The chances, fairest queen, have all been weighed,
and nothing can change our mind. Make your own’
terms, arrange every thing as pleases you best. We
accept your challenge, and ask to make a trial of our
strength.”

The warrior-maiden, without more words, bade hez
flow Gunther outwitted Brunhild. 179

servants help her to make ready at once for the contest.
She donned a rich war-coat, brought long ago from the
far-off Lybian shores, —an armor which, it was said, no
sword could dint, and upon which the heaviest stroke
of spear fell harmless. Her hemlet was edged with
golden lace, and sparkled all over with rich gem-stones.
Her lance, of wondrous length, a heavy weight for three
stout men, was brought. Her shield was as broad and
as bright as the sun, and three spans thick with steel
and gold.

While the princess was thus arming herself, the
heroes looked on with amazement and fear. But Sieg-
fried, unnoticed, hastened quietly out of the hall, and
through the open castle-gate, and sped like the wind
to the seashore and to their little ship. There he ar-
rayed himself in the Tarnkappe, and then, silent and
unseen, he ran back to his friends in the great hall.

“Be of good cheer,” he whispered in the ears of
the trembling Gunther.

But the king could not see who it was that spoke to
him, so well was the hero hidden in the cloak of dark-
ness. Yet he knew that it must be Siegfried and he
felt greatly encouraged.

Hagen’s frowning face grew darker, and the uneasy
glances which shot fron beneath his shaggy eyebrows
were not those of fear, but of anger and deep anxiety.
Dankwart gave up all as lost, and loudly bewailed their
folly.

“Must we, unarmed, stand still and see our liege lord
180 The Story of Stegfried.





slain for a woman’s whim?” he cried. ‘Had we only
our good swords, we might defy this maiden-queen and
all her Isenland.”

Brunhild overheard his words. Scornfully she called
to her servants, “Bring to these boasters their armor,
and let them have their keen-edged swords. Brunhild
has no fear of such men, whether they be armed or
unarmed.”

When Hagen and Dankwart felt their limbs again
enclosed in steel, and when they held their trusty
swords in hand, their uneasiness vanished, and hope
returned.

In the castle-yard a space was cleared, and Brun-
hild’s five hundred warriors stood around as umpires.
The unseen Siegfried kept close by Gunther’s side.

“Fear not,” he said. ‘Do my bidding, and you are
safe. Let me take your shield. When the time comes,
make you the movements, and trust me to do the
work.”

Then Brunhild threw her spear at Gunther’s shield.
The mighty weapon sped through the air with the swift-
ness of lightning; and, when it struck the shield, both
Gunther and the unseen Siegfried fell to the ground,
borne down by its weight and the force with which it
was thrown. Blood gushed from the nostrils of both;
and sad would have been their fate if the friendly
Tarnkappe had not hidden Siegfried from sight, and
given him the strength of twelve giants. Quickly
they rose. And Gunther seemed to pick up the heavy


THE TRIAL OF STRENGTH,
Flow Gunther outwitted Brunhild. 181



shaft, but it was really Siegfried who raised it from
the ground. For one moment he poised the great
beam in the air, and then, turning the blunt end fore-
most, he sent it flying back more swiftly than it had
come. It struck the huge shield which Brunhild held
before her, with a sound that echoed to the farthest
cliffs of Isenland. The warrior-maiden was dashed to
the earth ; but, rising at once, she cried, —

“That was a noble blow, Sir Gunther. I confess
myself fairly outdone. But there are two chances yet,
and you will do well if you equal me in those. We
will now try hurling the stone, and jumping.”

Twelve men came forward, carrying a huge rough
stone in weight a ton or more. And Brunhild raised
this mass of rock in her white arms, and held it high
above her head; then she swung it backwards once,
and threw it a dozen fathoms across the castle-yard.
Scarcely had it reached the ground when the mighty
maiden leaped after, and landed just beside it. And
the thousand lookers-on shouted in admiration. But
old Hagen bit his unshorn lip, and cursed the day that
had brought them to Isenland.

Gunther and the unseen Siegfried, not at all dis-
heartened, picked up the heavy stone, which was halt
buried in the ground, and, lifting“it with seeming ease,
threw it swiftly forward. Not twelve, but twenty, fath-
oms it flew; and Siegfried, snatching up Gunther in
his arms, leaped after, and landed close to the castle-
wall. And Brunhild believed that Gunther alone had
182 Lhe Story of Stegfrisd.

done these great feats through his own strength and
skill; and she at once acknowledged herself beaten in
the games, and bade her vassals do homage to Gunther
as their rightful liege lord.

Alas that the noblest of men-folk should have
stooped to such deed of base deception! The punish-
ment, although long delayed, came surely at last; for
not even the highest are exempt from obedience to
Heaven’s behests and the laws of right.

When the contest was ended, the unseen Siegfried
ran quickly back to the little ship, and hastily doffed
the magic Tarnkappe. Then, in his own form, he re-
turned to the castle, and leisurely entered the castle-
yard. When he met his pleased comrades and the
vanquished maiden-queen, he asked in careless tones
when the games would begin. All who heard his ques-
tion laughed ; and Brunhild said, —

“Surely, Sir Siegfried, the old sleep-thorn of Isen-
stein must have caught you, and held you in your ship.
The games are over, and Gunther, your liege lord, is
the winner.”

At this news Siegfried seemed much delighted, as
indeed he was. And all went together to the great
banquet-hall, where a rich feast was served to our
heroes and to the worthy earl-folk and warriors of
Isenland.
In Nibelungen Land Again. 183



ADVENTURE XV.

IN NIBELUNGEN LAND AGAIN.

WueENn the folk of Isenland learned that their queen
had been outwitted and won by a strange chief from
a far-off and unknown land, great was their sorrow and
dismay ; for they loved the fair maiden-queen, and they
feared to exchange her mild reign for that of an untried
foreigner. Nor was the queen herself at all pleased
with the issue of the late contest. She felt no wish to
leave her loved people, and her pleasant home, and the
fair island which was her kingdom, to take up her abode
in a strange land, as the queen of one for whom she
could feel no respect. And every one wondered how it
was that a man like Gunther, so commonplace, and so
feeble in his every look and act, could have done such
deeds, and won the wary warrior-maiden.

“If it had only been Siegfried!’’ whispered the
maidens among themselves.

“If it had only been Siegfried!” murmured the
knights and the fighting-men.

“Tf it had only been Siegfried!” thought the queen,
away down in the most secret corner of her heart.
184 The Story of Siegfried.

And she shut herself up in her room, and gave wild
vent to her feelings of grief and disappointment.

Then heralds mounted the swiftest horses, and hur-
rieé to every village and farm, and to every high-
towered castle, in the land. And they carried word to
all of Brunhild’s kinsmen and liegemen, bidding them
to come without delay to Isenstein. And every man
arose as with one accord, and hastened to obey the call
of their queen. And the whole land was filled with
the notes of busy preparation for war. And day by
day to the castle the warriors came and went, and the
sound of echoing horse-hoofs, and the rattling of ready
swords, and the ringing of the war-shields, were heard
on every hand.

“What means this treason?” cried Gunther in dis-
may. ‘The coy warrior-maiden would fain break her
plighted word; and we, here in our weakness, shall
perish from her wrath.”

And even old Hagen, who had never felt a fear when
meeting a host in open battle, was troubled at the
thought of the mischief which was brewing.

“’Tis true, too true,’ he said, and the dark frown
deepened on his face, “that we have done a foolish
thing. For we four men have come to this cheerless
land upon a hopeless errand; and, if we await the gather
ing of the storm, our ruin will be wrought.” And
he grasped his sword-hilt with such force, that his
knuckles grew white as he paced fiercely up and down
the hall.
In Nibelungen Land Again. 185



Dankwart, too, bewailed the fate that had driven them
into this net, from which he saw no way of escape. And
both the warriors besought King Gunther to take ship
at once, and to sail for Rhineland before it was too late.
But Siegfried said, —

‘What account will you give to the folk at home,
if you thus go back beaten, outwitted, and ashamed?
Brave warriors, indeed! we should be called. Wait a
few days, and trust all to me. When Brunhild’s war-
riors shall be outnumbered by our own, she will no
longer hesitate, and our return to Rhineland shall be
a triumphant one; for we shall carry the glorious
warrior-queen home with us.”

“Yes,” answered Hagen, mocking, “ we will wait unti!
her warriors are outnumbered by our own. But how
long shall that be? Will the lightning carry the word
to Burgundy? and will the storm-clouds bring our
brave men from across the sea? Had you allowed
- King Gunther’s plans to be followed, they would have
been here with us now, and we might have quelled this
treason at the first.”

And Dankwart said, “By this time the fields of the
South-land are green with young corn, and the mead-
ows are full of sweet-smelling flowers, and the summer
comes on apacé. Why should we stay longer in this
chilly and fog-ridden land, waiting upon the whims of
a fickle maiden, —as fickle as the winds themselves?
Better face the smiles and the jeers of the folk at home
than suffer shameful shipwreck in this cold Isenland.”
186 The Story of Siegfried.

But Siegfried would not be moved by the weak and
wavering words of his once valiant comrades. .

“Trust me,” he said, “and all will yet be well. Wait
here but a few days longer in quietness, while I go
aboard ship, and fare away. Within three days I will
bring to Isenstein a host of warriors such as you have
never seen. And then the fickle fancies of Brunhild
will flee, and she will no longer refuse to sail with us to
the now sunny South-land.”

Hagen frowned still more deeply; and as he strode
away he muttered, “He only wants to betray us, and
leave us to die in this trap which he himself has doubt-
less set for us.”

But Gunther anxiously grasped the hand of Siegfried,
and said, “Go! I trust you, and believe in you. But be
sure not to linger, for no one knows what a day may
bring forth in this uncertain and variable clime.”

Without saying a word in reply, Siegfried turned, and
hastened down to the shore. Without any loss of time
he unmoored the little ship, and stepped aboard. Then
he donned his Tarnkappe, spread the sails, and seized
the helm; and the vessel, like a bird with woven wings,
sped swiftly out of the bay, and Isenstein, with its wide
halls and glass-green towers, was soon lost to the sight
of the invisible helmsman. For four and twenty hours
did Siegfried guide the flying vessel as it leaped from
wave to wave, and sent the white foam dashing to left
and right like flakes of snow. And late on the morrow
he came to a rock-bound coast, where steep cliffs and
ln Nibelungen Land Again. 187

white mountain-peaks rose up, as it were, straight out
of the blue sea. Having found a safe and narrow inlet,
he moored his little bark ; and, keeping the Tarnkappe
well wrapped around him, he stepped ashore. Briskly
he walked along the rough shore, and through a dark
mountain-pass, until he came to a place well known to
him, —a place where, years before, he had seen a
cavern’s yawning mouth, and a great heap of shining
treasures, and two princes dying of hunger. But now,
upon the selfsame spot there stood a frowning fortress,
dark and gloomy and strong, which Siegfried himself
had built in after-years ; and the iron gates were barred
and bolted fast, and no living being was anywhere to be
seen.

Loud and long did Siegfried, wrapped: in his cloak of
darkness, knock and call outside. At last a grim old
giant, who sat within, and kept watch and ward of the
gate, cried out, —

“Who knocks there?”

Siegfried, angrily and in threatening tones, an-
swered, —

“Open the gate at once, lazy laggard, and ask no
questions. A stranger, who has lost his way among
the mountains, seeks shelter from the storm which is
coming. Open the gate without delay, or I will break
it down upon your dull head.”

Then the giant in hot anger seized a heavy iron beam,
and flung the gate wide open, and leaped quickly out to
throttle the insolent stranger. Warily he glanced around
188 The Story of Sitegfried.

on every side; but Siegfried was clad in the magic
Tarnkappe, and the giant could see no one. Amazed
and ashamed, he turned to shut the gate, and to go
again to his place; for he began to believe that a fool-
ish dream had awakened and deceived him. Then the
unseen Siegfried seized him from behind; and though
he struggled hard, and fought with furious strength,
our hero threw him upon the ground, and bound him
with cords of sevenfold strength.

The unwonted noise at the gate rang through the
castle, and awakened the sleeping inmates. The dwarf
Alberich, who kept the fortress against Siegfried’s
return, and who watched the Nibelungen treasure,
which was stored in the hollow hill, arose, and donned
his armor, and hurried to the giant’s help. A right
stout dwarf was Alberich; and, as we have seen in a
former adventure, he was as bold as stout. Armedina
war-coat of steel, he ran out to the gate, flourishing
a seven-thonged whip, on each thong of which a heavy
golden ball was hung. Great was his amazement and
his wrath when he saw the giant lying bound and help-
lest upon the ground; and with sharp, eager eyes he
peered warily around to see if, perchance, he might
espy his hidden foe. But, when he could find no one,
his anger grew hotter than before, and he swung his
golden scourge fiercely about his head. Well was it for
Siegfried then, that the Tarnkappe hid him from sight;
for the dwarf kept pounding about in air so sturdily
and strong, that, even as it was, he split the hero’s
ln Nibelungen Land Again. 189



shield from the centre to the rim. Then Siegfried
rushed quickly upon the dvoughty little fellow, and
seized him by his long gray beard, and threw him so
roughly upon the ground, that Alberich shrieked with
pain.

«Spare me, I pray you,” he cried. “I know that
you are no mean knight; and, if I had not promised
to serve my master Siegfried until death, I fain would
acknowledge you as my lord.”

But Siegfried bound the writhing dwarf, and placed
him, struggling and helpless, by the side of the giant.

“Tell me, now, your name, I pray,” said the dwarf;
“for I must give an account of this adventure to my
master when he comes.”

“Who is your master?”

“His name is Siegfried; and he is king of the Nibe-
lungens, and lord, by right, of the great Nibelungen
Hoard. To meand to my fellows he long ago intrusted
the keeping of this castle and of the Hoard that lies
deep hidden in the hollow hill; and I have sworn to
keep it safe until his return.”

Then Siegfried threw off his Tarnkappe, and stood
in his own proper perscn before the wonder-stricken
dwarf.

“Noble Siegfried,’ cried the delighted Alberich,
“right glad I am that you have come again to claim
your own. Spare my life, and pardon me, I pray, and
let me know what is your will. Your bidding shall be
done at once.”
190 The Story of Sieg fried.



“Hasten, then,” said Siegfried, loosing him from his
bonds, — ‘hasten, and arouse my Nibelungen hosts.
Tell them that their chief has come again to Mist
Land, and that he has work for them to do.”

Then Alberich, when he had set the giant gate-
keeper free, sent heralds to every town and castle in
the land to make known the words and wishes of Sieg-
fried. And the gallant Nibelungen warriors, when
they heard that their liege lord had come again, sprang
up joyously, and girded on their armor, and hastened to
obey his summons. And soon the strong-built castle
was full of noble men, —of earls, and the faithful liege-
men who had known Siegfried of old. And joyful and
happy were the words of greeting.

In the mean while, Alberich had busied himself in
preparing a great feast for his master and his master’s
chieftains. In the long low hall that the dwarfs had
hollowed out within the mountain’s heart, the table was
spread, and on it was placed every delicacy that could
be wished. There were fruits and wines from the
sunny South-land, and snow-white loaves made from the
wheat of Gothland, and fish from Old A¢gir’s kingdom,
and venison from the king’s wild-wood, and the flesh of
many a fowl most delicately baked, and, near the head
of the board, a huge wild boar roasted whole, And
the hall was lighted by a thousand tapers, each held in
the hands of a swarthy elf; and the guests were served
by the elf-women, who ran hither and thither, obedient
to every call. But Alberich, at Siegfried’s desire, sat
In Nibelungen Land Again. IQI

upon the dais at his lord’s right hand. Merriment
ruled the hour, and happy greetings were heard on
every side. And, when the feast was at its height, a
troop of hill-folk came dancing into the hall; and a
hundred little fiddlers, perched in the niches of the
wall, made merry music, and kept time for the busy,
clattering little feet. And when the guests had tired
of music and laughter, and the dancers had gone away,
and the tables no longer groaned under the weight of
good cheer, Siegfried and his earls still sat at their
places, and beguiled the hours with pleasant talk and
with stories of the earlier days. And Alberich, as the
master of the feast, told a tale of the dwarf-folk, and
how once they were visited in their hill-home by Loki
the Mischief-maker.,

V/,

\/ ALBERICH’S STORY.

i

My story begins with the Asa-folk, and has as much
to do with the gods as with my kinsmen the dwarfs.
It happened long ago, when the world was young, and
the elf-folk had not yet lost all their ancient glory.

Sif, as you all know, is Thor’s young wife, and she is
very fair. It is said, too, that she is as gentle and
lovable as her husband is rude and strong; and that
while he rides noisily through storm and wind, furiously
fighting the foes of the mid-world, she goes quietly
about, lifting up the down-trodden, and healing the
broken-hearted. In the summer season, when the
Thunderer has driven the Storm-giants back to their
192 The Story of Siegfried.

mist-hidden mountain homes, and the black clouds have
been rolled away, and piled upon each other in the far
east, Sif comes gleefully tripping through the meadows,
raising up the bruised flowers, and with smiles calling
the frightened birds from their hiding-places to frolic
and sing in the fresh sunshine again. The growing
fields and the grassy mountain slopes are hers; and the
rustling green leaves, and the sparkling dewdrops, and
the sweet odors of spring blossoms, and the glad songs
of the summer-time, follow in her footsteps.

Sif, as I have said, is very fair; and, at the time of
my story, there was one thing of which she was a trifle
vain. That was her long silken hair, which fell in
glossy waves almost to her feet. On calm, warm days,
she liked to sit by the side of some still pool, and gaze
at her own beauty pictured in the water below, while,
like the sea-maidens of old A®gir’s kingdom, she
combed and braided her rich, flowing tresses. And in
all the mid-world nothing has ever been seen so like
the golden sunbeams as was Sif’s silken hair.

At that time the cunning Mischief-maker, Loki, was
still living with the Asa-folk. And, as you well know,
this evil worker was never pleased save when he was
plotting trouble for those who were better than himself.
He liked to meddle with business which was not his
own, and was always trying to mar the pleasures of
others. His tricks and jokes were seldom of the harm-
less kind, and yet great good sometimes grew out of
them.
in Nibelungen Land Again. 193
Fans 9 tt gt eS eee eee

When Loki saw how proud Sif was of her long hair,
and how much time she spent in combing and arran-
ging it, he planned a very cruel piece of mischief. He
hid himself in a little rocky cavern, near the pool where
Sif was wont to sit, and slily watched her all the morn-
ing as she braided and unbraided her flowing silken
locks. At last, overcome by the heat of the mid-day
sun, she fell asleep upon the grassy bank. Then the
Mischief-maker quietly crept near, and with his sharp
shears cut off all that wealth of hair, and shaved her
head until it was as smooth as her snow-white hand.
Then he hid himself again in the little cave, and
chuckled with great glee at the wicked thing he had
done. -

By and by Sif awoke, and looked into the stream ;
but she started quickly back with horror and affright
at the image which she saw. She felt of her shorn
head; and, when she learned that those rich waving
tresses which had been her joy and pride were no
longer there, she knew not what to do. Hot, burning
tears ran down her cheeks, and with sobs and shrieks
she began to call aloud for Thor. Forthwith there’
was a terrible uproar. The lightning flashed, and the
thunder rolled, and an earthquake shook the rocks and
trees, Loki, looking out from his hiding-place, saw
that Thor was coming, and he trembled with fear; fou
he knew, that, should the Thunderer catch him, he
would have to pay dearly for his wicked sport. He ran
quickly out of the cavern, and leaped into the river, and
194 The Story of Siegfried.



changed himself into a salmon, and swam as swiftly as
he could away from the shore.

But Thor was not so easily fooled; for he had long
known Loki, and was acquainted with all his cunning
ways. So when he saw Sif bewailing her stolen hair,
and beheld the frightened salmon hurrying alone
towards the deep water, he was at no loss to know
whose work this mischief was. Straightway he took
upon himself the form of a sea-gull, and soared high up
over the water. Then, poising a moment in the air, he
darted, swift as an arrow, down into the river. When
he arose from the water, he held the struggling salmon
tightly grasped in his strong talons.

“Vile Mischief-maker!” cried Thor, as he alighted
upon the top of a neighboring crag: “I know thee
who thou art; and I will make thee bitterly rue the
work of this day. Limb from limb will I tear thee,
and thy bones will I grind into powder.”

Loki, when he saw that he could not by any means
get away from the angry Thunderer, changed himself
back to his own form, and humbly said to Thor, —

“What if you do your worst with me? Will that
give back a single hair to Sif’s shorn head? What I
did was only a thoughtless joke, and I really meant
no harm. Do but spare my life, and I will more than
make good the mischief I have done.”

“ How can that be?” asked Thor.

“JT will hie me straight to the secret smithies of
dwarfs,” answered Loki; “and those cunning little
In Nibelungen Land Agatn. 195





kinsmen of mine shall make golden tresses for fair Sif,
which will grow upon her head like other hair, and cause
her to be an hundred-fold more beautiful than before.”

Thor knew that Loki was a slippery fellow, and that
he did not always do what he promised, and hence he
would not let him go. He called to Frey, who had just
come up, and said, —

“Come, cousin Frey, help me to rid the world of
this sly thief. While I hold fast to his raven hair, and
his long slim arms, do you seize him by the heels, and
we will give his limbs to the fishes, and his body to the
birds, for food.”

Loki, now thoroughly frightened, wept, and kissed
Frey’s feet, and humbly begged for mercy. And he
promised that he would bring from the dwarf’s smithy,
not only the golden hair for Sif, but also a mighty ham-
mer for Thor, and a swift steed for Frey. So earnest
were his words, and so pitiful was his plea, that Thor
at last set the trembling Mischief-maker free, and bade
him hasten away on his errand. Quickly, then, he
went in search of the smithy of the dwarfs.

He crossed the desert moorlands, and came, after
three days, to the bleak hill-country, and the rugged
mountain-land of the South. There the earthquake had
split the mountains apart, and dug dark and bottom-
less gorges, and hollowed out many a low-walled cav-
ern, where the light of day was never secn. Through
deep, winding ways, and along narrow crevices, Loki
crept; and he glided under huge rocks, and downward
196 The Story of Siegfried.
through slanting, crooked clefts, until at last he came
to a great underground hall, where his eyes were dazzled
by a light which was stronger and brighter than day;
for on every side were glowing fires, roaring in wonder-
ful little forges, and blown by wonderful little bellows.
And the vaulted roof above was thickly set with dia.
monds and precious stones, that sparkled and shone
like thousands of bright stars in the blue sky. And
the little dwarfs, with comical brown faces, and wear-
ing strange leathern aprons, and carrying heavy ham-
mers, were hurrying here and there, each busy at his
task. Some were smelting pure gold from the coarse
rough rocks; others were making precious gems, and
rich rare jewels, such as the proudest king would be
glad to wear. Here, one was shaping pure, round
pearls from dewdrops and maidens’ tears; there, an-
other wrought green emeralds from the first leaves of
spring. So busy were they all, that they neither
stopped nor looked up when Loki came into their hall,
but all kept hammering and blowing and working, as if
their lives depended upon their being always busy.

After Loki had curiously watched their movements
for some time, he spoke to the dwarf whose forge was
nearest to him, and made known his errand. But the
little fellow was fashioning a flashing diamond, which
he called the Mountain of Light; and he scarcely
looked up as he answered, —

“T do not work in gold. Go to Ivald’s sons: they
will make whatever you wish.”
In Nibelungen Land Agatn. 197





To Ivald’s sons, then, in the farthest and brightest
corner of the hall, Loki went. They very readily
agreed to make the golden hair for Sif, and they began
the work at once. A lump of purest gold was brought,
and thrown into the glowing furnace; and it was melt-
ed and drawn, and melted and drawn, seven times.
Then it was given to a little brown elf with merry,
twinkling eyes, who carried it with all speed to another
part of the great hall, where the dwarfs’ pretty wives
were spinning. One of the little women took the yellow
lump from the elf’s hands, and laid it, like flax, upon
her spinning-wheel. Then she sat down and began to
spin; and, as she span, the dwarf-wives sang a strange,
sweet song of the old, old days when the dwarf-folk
ruled the world. And the tiny brown elves danced
gleefully around the spinner, and the thousand little
anvils rang out a merry chorus to the music of the sing-
ers. And the yellow gold was twisted into threads,
and the threads ran into hair softer than silk, and finer
than gossamer. And at last the dwarf-woman held in
her hand long golden tresses ten times more beautiful
than the amber locks that Loki had cut from Sif’s fair
head. When Ivald’s sons, proud of their skill, gave
the rare treasure to the Mischief-maker, Loki smiled
as if he were well pleased; but in his heart he was
angry because the dwarfs had made so fair a piece of
workmanship. Then he said, —

“This is, indeed, very handsome, and will be very
becoming to Sif. Oh, what an uproar was made about
198 The Story of Siegfried.

those flaxen tresses that she loved so well! And that
reminds me that her husband, the gruff old Giant killer,
wants a hammer. I promised to get him one; and, if
I fail, he will doubtless be rude with me. I pray you
make such a hammer as will be of most use to him in
fighting the Jotuns, and you may win favor both for
yourselves and me.”

“Not now,” said the elder of Ivald’s sons. ‘We
cannot make it now; for who would dare to send a
present to Thor before he has offered one to Odin, the
great All-Father?”

“Make me, then, a gift for Odin,” cried Loki; ‘and
he will shelter me from the Thunderer’s wrath.”

So the dwarfs put iron into their furnace, and heated
it toa glowing white-heat; and then they drew it out,
and rolled it upon their anvils, and pounded it with
heavy hammers, until they had wrought a wondrous
spear, such as no man had ever seen. Then they in-
laid it with priceless jewels, and plated the point with
gold seven times tried.

“This is the spear Gungner,” said they. “Take it
to the great All-Father as the best gift of his humble
earth-workers.”

~« “Make me now a present for Frey the gentle,” said
Loki. “I owe my life to him; and I have promised to
take him a swift steed that will bear him everywhere.”

Then Ivald’s sons threw gold into the furnace, and
blew with their bellows until the very roof of the great
cave-hall seemed to tremble, and the smoke rolled up
In Nibelungen Land Agatn. 199
PP is ine aa op ee ae ee
the wide chimney, and escaped in dense fumes from
the mountain-top. When they left off working, and the
fire died away, a fairy ship, with masts and sails, and
two banks of long oars, and a golden dragon stem, rose
out of the glowing coals; and it grew in size until it
filled a great part of the hall, and might have furnished
room for a thousand warriors with their arms and
steeds. Then, at a word from the dwarfs, it began to
shrink, and it became smaller and smaller until it was
no broader than an oak-leaf. And the younger of
Ivald’s sons folded it up like a napkin, and gave it to
Loki, saying, —

“Take this to Frey the gentle. It is the ship Skid-
bladner. When it is wanted for a voyage, it will carry
all the Asa-folk and their weapons and stores; and, no
matter where they wish to go, the wind will always
drive it straight to the desired port. But, when it is
not needed, the good Frey may fold it up, as I have
done, and carry it safely in his pocket.”

Loki was much pleased; and, although he felt dis-
appointed because he had no present for Thor, he
heartily thanked the dwarfs for their kindness ; and
taking the golden hair, and the spear Gungner, and the
ship Skidbladner, he bade Ivald’s sons good-by, and~
started for home. But, before he reached the narrow
doorway which led out of the cave, he met two crooked-
backed dwarfs, much smaller and much uglier than any
he had seen before.

“What have yon there?” asked one of them, whose
name was Brok,
200 The Story of Siegfried.

“Hair for Sif, a spear for Odin, and a ship for Frey,”
answered Loki.

“Let us see them,” said Brok.

Loki kindly showed them the strange gifts, and told
them, that, in his belief, no dwarfs in all the world had
ever before wrought such wonderful things.

“Who made them?” inquired Brok.

“Tvald’s sons.”

“Ah! Ivald’s sons sometimes do good work, but
there are many other dwarfs who can do better. For
instance, my brother Sindre, who stands here, can
make three other treasures altogether as good as those
you have.”

“Tt cannot be!” cried Loki.

“T tell you the truth,” said the dwarf. “And, to
show you that I mean just what I say, I will wager
against your head all the diamonds in the ceiling above
us, that he will make not only as good treasures, but
those which the Asas will esteem much higher.”

“Agreed!” cried Loki,— “agreed! I take the
wager. Let your brother try his skill at once.”

The three went straightway to Sindre’s forge, and
the brothers began their task. When the fire was roar-
ing hot, and the sparks flew from the chimney like
showers of shooting-stars, Sindre put a pig-skin into the
furnace, and bade Brok blow the bellows with all his
might, and never stop until he should speak the word.
The flames leaped up white and hot, and the furnace
glowed with a dazzling tight, while Brok plied the
In Nibelungen Land Again. 201



bellows, and Sindre, with unblinking eyes, watched
the slowly changing colors that played around the
melted and shapeless mass within. While the brothers
were thus intent upon their work, Loki changed him-
self to a great horse-fly, and settled upon Brok’s hand,
and bit him without mercy. But the dwarf kept on
blowing the bellows, and stopped not until his brother
cried out, —

“ Enough !”’

Then Sindre drew out of the flickering blue flames
a huge wild boar with long tusks of ivory, and golden
bristles that glittered and shone like the beams of the
sun.

“This is Golden Bristle,” said the dwarf. “It is the
gift of Brok and his brother to the gentle Frey. His
ship Skidbladner can carry him only over the sea;
but Golden Bristle shall be a trusty steed that will bear
him with the speed of the wind over the land or
through the air.”

Next the dwarfs threw gold into the furnace, and
Brok plied the bellows, and Sindre gazed into the
flames, as before. And the great horse-fly buzzed in
Brok’s face, and darted at his eyes, and at last settled
upon his neck, and stung him until the pain caused big
drops of sweat to roll off of his forehead. But the
dwarf stopped not nor faltered, until his brother again
cried out, —

“Enough!”

This time Sindre drew out a woridrous ring of solid
202 The Story of Siegfried.

gold, sparkling all over with the rarest and most costly
jewels.

“This is the ring Draupner,” said he. “It is well
worthy to be worn on Odin’s finger. Every ninth day
eight other rings, equal to it in every way, shall drop
from it. It shall enrich the earth, and make the desert
blossom as the rose; and it shall bring plentiful har-
vests, and fill the farmers’ barns with grain, and their
houses with glad good cheer. Take it to the All-
Father as the best gift of the earth-folk to him and to
mankind.”

After this the dwarfs took iron which had been
brought from the mountains of Norse Land; and, after
beating it upon their bellows until it glowed white and
hot, Sindre threw it into the furnace.

“This shall be the gift of gifts,” said he to Brok.
“Ply the bellows as before, and do not, for your life,
stop or falter until the work is done.”

But as Brok blew the bellows, and his brother gazed
into the glowing fire, the horse-fly came again. This
time he settled between the dwarf’s eyes, and stung his
eyelids until the blood filled his eyes, and ran down his
cheeks, and blinded him so that he could not see. At
last, in sore distress, and wild with pain, Brok let go of
the bellows, and lifted his hand to drive the fly away.
Then Sindre drew his work out of the furnace. It was
a blue steel hammer, well made in every way, save that
the handle was half an inch too short.

“This is the mighty Mjolner,” said Sindre to Loki,
In Nibelungen Land Again. 203





who had again taken his proper shape. “The Thun-
derer may have the hammer that you promised him ;
although it is our gift, and not yours. The stoutest
giant will not be able now to cope with Thor. No
shield, nor armor, nor mountain-wall, nor, indeed, any
thing on earth, shall be proof against the lightning-
strokes of Mjolner.” .

And Brok took the three treasures which Sindre had
fashioned, and went with Loki to Asgard, the home of
the Asa-folk. And they chose Odin and Thor and Frey
to examine and judge which was best, — Loki’s three
gifts, the work of Ivald’s sons; or Brok’s three gifts,
the work of Sindre. When the judges were seated,
and all were in readiness, Loki went forward and gave
to Odin the spear Gungner, that would always hit the
mark; and to Frey he gave the ship Skidbladner, that
would sail whithersoever he wished. Then he gave
the golden hair to Thor, who placed it upon the head
of fair Sif; and it grew there, and was a thousand-fold
more beautiful than the silken tresses she had worn
before.

After the Asas had carefully looked at these treasures,
and talked of their merits, little Brok came humbly
forward and offered his gifts. To Odin he gave the
precious ring Draupner, already dropping richness. To
Frey he gave the boar Golden Bristle, telling him that
wherever he chose to go this steed would serve him
well, and would carry him faster than any horse, while
his shining bristles would ligh. the way on the darkest
204 The Story of Siegfried.



night or in the gloomiest path. At last he gave to
Thor the hammer Mjolner, and said that it, like Odin’s
spear, would never miss the mark, and that whatever
it struck, it would crush in pieces, and whithersoever
it might be hurled, it would come back to his hand
again.

Then the Asas declared at once that Thor’s hammer
was the best of all the gifts, and that the dwarf had
fairly won the wager. But, when Brok demanded Loki’s
head as the price of the wager, the cunning Mischief-
maker said, —

“My head is, by the terms of our agreement, yours ;
but my neck is my own, and you shall not on any
account touch or harm it.”

So Brok went back to his brother and his smithy
without the head of Loki, but he was loaded with rich
and rare presents from the Asa-folk.

' See Note 26 at the end of this volume.
How Brunhild was welcomed Home. 205

ADVENTURE XVI.

HOW BRUNHILD WAS WELCOMED
HOME.

Wuen the next morning’s sun arose, and its light
gilded the mountain peaks, and fell in a flood of splen-
dor down upon the rich uplands and the broad green
fields of Nibelungen Land, Siegfried, with his earls and
mighty men, rode through the valley, and down to the
seashore. There a pleasant sight met his eyes: for the
little bay was white with the sails of a hundred gold-
beaked vessels which lay at anchor; and on the sandy
beach there stood in order three thoisand warriors,
—the bravest and the best of all the Nibelungens, —
clad in armor, and ready to hear and to do their
master’s bidding. And Siegfried told them why he
had thus hastily called them together; and he gave
to each one rich gifts of gold and jewels and costly
raiment. Then he chose from among them one thou-
sand of the most trustworthy, who should follow him
back to Isenland; and these went aboard the waiting
vessels, amid the cheers and the farewells of their com-
rades who were left behind. And when every thing
206 The Story of Siegfried.







was in readiness, the anchors were hoisted and the sails
were set, and the little fleet, wafted by pleasant winds,
sailed out of the bay, and eastward across the calm
blue sea. And Siegfried’s vessel, with a golden dragon
banner floating from the masthead, led all the rest.

On the fourth day after Siegfried’s departure from
Isenland, Dankwart and grim old Hagen sat in a room
of the castle at Isenstein. Outside and below they
heard the fair-haired warriors of Queen Brunhild
pacing to and fro, and ready, at a word, to seize
upon the strangers, and either to put them to death,
or to drive them forever from the land. Old Hagen’s
brows were closely knit, and his face was dark as a
thunder-cloud, and his hands played nervously with his
sword-hilt, as he said, —

“Where now is Gunther, the man whom we once
called king?”

“He is standing on the balcony above, talking with
the queen and her maidens,” answered Dankwart.

“The craven that he is!” cried Hagen hoarsely.
“Once he was a king, and worthy to be obeyed; but
now who is the king? That upstart Siegfried has
but to say what shall be done, and our master Gunther,
blindly and like a child, complies. Four days ago we
might have taken ship, and sailed safely home. Now
ou: vessel is gone, the boasted hero is gone, and nothing
is left for us to do but to fight and die.”

“ But we are sure of Odin’s favor,” returned Dank-
~vart; and a wild light gleamed from his eyes, and he
flow Brunhild was welcomed Home. 207
brandished his sword high over his head. “A place in
Valhal is promised to us; for, him who bravely dies
with his blood-stained sword beside him and his heart
unrent with fears, the All-Father’s victory-wafters will
gently carry home. Even now, methinks, I sit in the
banqueting-hall of the heroes, and quaff the flowing
mead.”

In the mean while Gunther stood with Queen Brun-
hild at an upper window, and looked out upon the great
sea that spread forever and away towards the setting
sun. And all at once, as if by magic, the water was
covered with white-sailed ships, which, driven by friendly
winds and the helping hands of Atgir’s daughters and
the brawny arms of many a stalwart oarsman, came
flying towards the bay.

“What ships are those with the snow-white sails and
the dragon-stems ?” asked Brunhild, wondering.

Gunther gazed for a moment towards the swift-coming
fleet, and his eyes were gladdened with the sight of
Siegfried’s dragon-banner floating from the vessel in
the van. A great load seemed lifted from his breast,
for now he knew that the hoped-for help was at hand.
And, smiling he answered the queen, —

“ Those white-sailed ships are mine. My body-guard
—a thousand of my trustiest fighting-men—are on
board, and every man is ready to die for me.”

And as the vessels came into the harbor, and the
sailors furled the sails, and cast the anchors into the
208 The Story of Siegfried.



sea, Siegfried was seen standing on the golden prow of
his ship, arrayed in princely raiment, with his earls and
chiefs around him. And their bright armor glittered
in the sunlight, and their burnished shields shone like
so many golden mirrors. A fairer sight had the folk of
Isenstein never seen.

Long and earnestly Queen Brunhild gazed, and then,
turning away, she burst into tears; for she knew that
she had been again outwitted, and that it was vain for
her to struggle against the Norns’ decrees. Then,
crushing back the grief and the sore longing that rose
in her heart, she spoke again to Gunther, and her
eyes shone stern and strange. .

“What now will you have me do?” she asked; “for
you have fairly won me, and my wayward fancies shall
no longer vex you. Shall I greet your friends with
kindness, or shall we send them back again over the
sea?”

“I pray you give them welcome to the broad halls
of Isenstein,” he answered; “for no truer, nobler men
live than these my liegemen.”’

So the queen sent word to Siegfried and his Nibe-
lungen warriors to leave the ships and come ashore.
And she herself, as radiant now as a morning in May,
went down to meet them and welcome them. Then
she had a great feast made in honor of the heroes, and
the long, low-raftered feast-hall rang with the sounds
of merriment, instead of with the clash of arms. The
fair-haired, blue-eyed warriors of the queen sat side by
Flow Brunhild was welcomed Home. 209

side with the tall strangers from over the sea. And
in the high-seat was Brunhild, her face exceeding pale,
yet beauteous to behold; and by her side sat Gunther,
smiling and glad, and clad in his kingly raiments. And
around them were the earls and chieftains, and many a
fair lady of Isenland, and Hagen, smiling through his
frowns, and Dankwart, now grown fearless, and Sieg-
cried, sad and thoughtful. Mirth and gladness ruled
the hour, and not until the morning star began to fade
in the coming sunlight did the guests retire to rest.

Only a few days longer did the heroes tarry in Isen-
land ; for the mild spring days were growing warmer,
and all faces were southward turned, and the queen
herself was anxious to haste to her South-land home.
When, at last, the time for leave-taking came, the folk
of Isenland gathered around to bid their queen God-
speed. Then Brunhild called to Dankwart, and gave
him her golden keys, and bade him unlock her closets
where her gold and jewels were stored, and to scatter
with hands unstinted her treasures among the poor.
And many were the tearful blessings, and many the
kind words said, as the radiant queen went down to
the waiting, white-winged vessel, and stepped aboard
with Gunther and the heroes of the Rhine. But she
was not to go alone to the land of strangers; for with
her were to sail a hundred fair young damsels, and
more than fourscore noble dames, and two thousand
blue-eyed warriors, the bravest of her land.

When all had gone on board the waiting fleet, the
210 ~ The Story of Stegfried.



anchors were hoisted, and the sails were unfurled to
the breeze; and amid the tearful farewells of friends,
and the ‘oyful shouting of the sailors, the hundred
heavy-laden vessels glided from the bay, and were soon
far out at sea. And the sorrowing folk of Isenland
turned away, and went back to their daily tasks, and to
the old life of mingled pain and pleasure, of shadow
and sunshine; and they never saw their loved warrior-
queen again.

The gay white fleet, with its precious cargo of noble
men and fair ladies, sped swiftly onwards through Old
fEgir’s kingdom; and it seemed as if Queen Ran had
forgotten to spread her nets, so smooth and quiet was
the sea; and the waves slept on the peaceful bosom of
the waters: only Ripple and Sky-clear danced in the
wake of the flying ships, and added to the general joy.
And on shipboard music and song enlivened the drag-
ging hours; and from morn till eve no sounds were
heard, save those of merriment and sport, and glad good
cheer. Yet, as day after day passed by, and no sight
met their eyes but the calm blue waters beneath, and
the calm blue sky above, all began to wish for a view,
once more, of the solid earth, and the fields, and the
wild greenwood. But the ships sailed steadily on-
ward, and every hour brought them nearer and nearer
to the wished-for haven.

At length, on the ninth day, they came in sight of a
long, flat coast, stretching far away towards the Low-
lands, where Old Aégir and his daughters — sometimes
How Brunhild was welcomed Home. 211



by wasting warfare, sometimes by stealthy strategy —
ever plot and toil to widen the Sea-king’s domains.
When the sailors saw the green shore rising up, as it
were, out of the quiet water, and the wild woodland
lying dense and dark beyond, and when they knew that
they were nearing the end of their long sea-voyage, they
rent the air with their joyful shouts. And a brisker
breeze sprang up, and filled the sails, and made the ships
leap forward over the water, like glad living creatures.

It was then that the thought came to King Gunther
that he ought to send fleet heralds to Burgundy-land
to make known the happy issue of his bold emprise,
and to tell of his glad home-coming, with Brunhild, the
warrior-maiden, as his queen. So he called old Hagen
to him, and told him of his thoughts, and asked him if
he would be that herald.

“Nay,” answered the frowning chief. ‘No bearer of
glad tidings am I. To every man Odin has given gifts.
To some he has given light hearts, and cheery faces,
and glad voices; and such alone are fitted to carry
good news and happy greetings. To others he has
given darker souls, and less lightsome faces, and more
uncouth manners; and these may bear the brunt of the
battle, and rush with Odin’s heroes to the slaughter:
but they would be ill at ease standing in the presence
of fair ladies, or telling glad tidings at court. Let me
still linger, I pray, on board this narrow ship, and send
your friend Siegfried as herald to Burgundy-land. He
is well fitted for such a duty.”
212 The Story of Siegfried.

So Gunther sent at once for Siegfried, to whom.
when he had come, he said, — .

“My best of friends, although we are now in sight of
land, our voyage still is a long one; for the river is yet
far away, and, when it is reached, its course is winding,
and the current will be against us, and our progress
must needs be slow. The folk at home have had no
tidings from us since we left them in the early spring ;
and no doubt their hearts grow anxious, and they long
to hear of our whereabouts, and whether we prosper
or no. Now, as we near the headland which juts out
dark and green before us, we will set you on shore,
with the noble Greyfell, and as many comrades as you
wish, to haste with all speed to Burgundy, to tell the
glad news of our coming to the loved ones waiting
there.”

Siegfried at first held back, and tried to excuse him-
self from undertaking this errand, — not because he felt
any fear of danger, but because he scorned to be any
man’s thrall, to go and do at his beck and bidding.
Then Gunther spoke again, and in a different tone.

“Gentle Siegfried,” he said, “if you will not do this
errand for my sake, I pray that you will undertake it
for the sake of my sister, the fair Kriemhild, who has
so long waited for our coming.” ;

Then willingly did the prince agree to be the king’s
herald. And on the morrow the ship touched land;
and Siegfried bade his companions a short farewell, and
went ashore with four and twenty Nibelungen chiefs,
How Brunhild was welcomed Home. 213



who were to ride with him to Burgundy. And, when
every thing was in readiness, he mounted the noble
Greyfell, as did also each warrior his favorite steed, and
they galloped briskly away; and their glittering armor
and nodding plumes were soon lost to sight among the
green trees of the wood. And the ship which bore
Gunther and his kingly party weighed anchor, and
moved slowly along the shore towards the distant
river’s mouth.

For many days, and through many strange lands, rode
Siegfried and his Nibelungen chiefs. They galloped
through the woodland, and over a stony waste, and
came to a peopled country rich in farms and meadows,
and dotted with pleasant towns. And the folk of that
land wondered greatly at sight of the radiant Siegfried,
and the tall warriors with him, and their noble steeds,
and their sunbright armor. For they thought that it
was a company of the gods riding through the mid-
world, as the gods were wont to do in the golden days
of old. So they greeted them with smiles, and kind,
good words, and scattered flowers and blessings in their"
way.

They stopped for a day in Vilkina-land, where dwelt
one Eigill, a famous archer, who, it is said, was a brother
of Veliant, Siegfried’s fellow-apprentice in the days of
his boyhood. And men told them this story of Eigill.
That once on a time old Nidung, the king of that land,
in order to test his skill with the bow, bade him shoot
an apple, or, as some say, an acorn, from the head of
214 Lhe Story of Siegfried.



his own little son. And Eigill did this; but two other
arrows, which he had hidden beneath his coat, dropped
to the ground. And when the king asked him what
these were for he answered, “ To kill thee, wretch, had I
slain my child.” :

After this our heroes rode through a rough hill-
country, where the ground was covered with sharp
stones, and the roads were steep and hard. And their
horses lost their shoes, and were so lamed by the
travel, that they were forced to turn aside to seek the
house of one Welland, a famous smith, who re-shod
their steeds, and entertained them most kindly three
days and nights.. And it is said by some that Welland
is but another name for Veliant, and that this was the
selfsame foreman whom we knew in Siegfried’s younger
days. But, be this as it may, he was at this time the
master of all smiths, and no one ever wrought more
cunningly. And men say that his grandfather was
Vilkinus, the first king of that land; and that his
grandmother, Wachitu, was a fair mermaid, who lived
in the deep green sea; and that his father, Wada, had
carried him, when a child, upon his shoulders through
water five fathoms deep, to apprentice him to the cun-
ning dwarfs, from whom he learned his trade. And
if this story is true, he could not have been Veliant.
He was wedded to a beautiful lady, who sometimes
took the form of a swan, and flew away to a pleasant
lake near by, where, with other swan-maidens, she

* See Note 27 at the end of this volume.
How Brunhild was welcomed Home. 215



spent the warm summer days among the reeds and the
water-lilies. And many other strange tales were told
of Welland the smith: how he had once made a boat
from the single trunk of a tree, and had sailed in it
all around the mid-world; how, being lame in one foot,
he had forged a wondrous winged garment, and flown
like a falcon through the air; and how he had wrought.
for Beowulf, the Anglo-Saxon hero, a gorgeous war-
coat that no other smith could equal.t_ And so pleas-
antly did Welland entertain his guests that they were
loath to leave him; but on the fourth day they bade
him farewell, and wended again their way. .

Now our heroes rode forward, with greater speed
than before, across many a mile of waste land, and
over steep hills, and through pleasant wooded dales.
Then, again, they came to fair meadows, and broad
pasture-lands, and fields green with growing corn ;
and every one whom they met blessed them, and bade
them a hearty God-speed. Then they left the farm-
lands and the abodes of men far behind them; and
they passed by the shore of a sparkling lake, where
they heard the swan-maidens talking to each other as
they swam among the rushes, or singing in silvery
tones of gladness as they circled in the air above.
Then they crossed a dreary moor, where nothing grew
but heather; and they climbed a barren, stony mountain,
where the feet of men had never been, and came at last
to a wild, dark forest, where silence reigned undisturbed

forever.
! See Note 28 at the end of this volume,
216 The Story of Siegfried.



It was the wood in which dwells Vidar, the silent
god, far from the sound of man’s busy voice, in the
solemn shade of century-living oaks and elms. There
he sits in quiet but awful grandeur, — strong almost as
Thor, but holding his mighty strength in check. Hoary
and gray, he sits alone in Nature’s temple, and com-
munes with Nature’s self, waiting for the day when
Nature’s silent but resistless forces shall be quickened
into dread action. His head is crowned with sear and
yellow leaves, and long white moss hangs pendent from
his brows and cheeks, and his garments are rusted-with
age. On his feet are iron shoes, with soles made thick
with the scraps of leather gathered through centuries
past; and with these, it is said, he shall, in the last
great twilight of the mid-world, rend the jaws of the
Fenris-wolf.!

“Who is this Fenris-wolf?” asked one of the Nibe-
lungens as they rode through the solemn shadows of
the wood.

And Siegfried thereupon related how that fierce crea-
ture had been brought up and cared for by the Asa-folk ;
and how, when he grew large and strong, they sought
to keep him from doing harm by binding him with an
iron chain called Leding. But the strength of the
monster was so great, that he burst the chain asunder,
and escaped. Then the Asas made another chain twice
as strong, which they called Drome. And they called
to the wolf, and besought him to allow them to bind

' See Note 2g at the end of this volume.
flow Brunhild was welcomed Home. 217
him again, so that, in bursting the second chain, he
might clear up all doubts in regard to his strength.
Flattered by the words of the Asas, the wolf complied ;
and they chained Fim with Drome, and fastened him to
a great rock. But Fenris stretched his legs, and shook
himself, and the great chain was snapped in pieces.
Then the Asas knew that there was no safety for them
so long as a monster so huge and terrible was unbound ;
and they besought the swarthy elves to forge them
another and a stronger chain. This the elves did.
They made a most wondrous chain, smooth as silk,
and soft as down, yet firmer than granite, and stronger
than steel. They called it Gleipner; and it was made
of the sinews of a bear, the footsteps of a cat, the beard
of a woman, the breath of a fish, the sweat of a bird,
and the roots of a mountain. When the Asas had
obtained this chain, they lured the Fenris-wolf to the
rocky Island of Lyngve, and by flattery persuaded him
to be bound again. But this he would not agree to do
until Tyr placed his hand in his mouth as a pledge of
good faith. Then they tied him as before, and laugh-
ingly bade him break the silken cord. The huge creature
stretched himself as before, and tried with all his might
to burst away; but Gleipner held him fast, and the
worst that he could do was to bite off the hand of
unlucky Tyr. And this is why Tyr is called the one-
armed god.

“But it is said,” added Siegfried, “that in the last
twilight the Fenris-wolf will break his chain, and that
218 The Story of Siegfried.

he will swallow the sun, and slay the great Odin him-
self, and that none can subdue him save Vidar the
Silent.”

It was thus that the heroes conversed with each other
as they rode through the silent ways of the wood.

At length, one afternoon in early summer, the little
company reached the Rhine valley; and looking down
from the sloping hill-tops, green with growing corn,
they saw the pleasant town of the Burgundians and
the high gray towers of Gunther’s dwelling. And not
long afterwards they rode through the streets of the
old town, and, tired and travel-stained, halted outside
of the castle-gates. Very soon it became noised about
that Siegfried and a company of strange knights, fair
and tall, had come again to Burgundy and to the home
of the Burgundian kings. But when it was certainly
known that neither Gunther the king, nor Hagen of
the evil eye, nor Dankwart his brother, had returned,
the people felt many sad misgivings; for they greatly
feared that some hard mischance had befallen their
loved king. Then Gernot and the young Giselher,
having heard of Siegfried’s arrival, came out with glad
but anxious faces to greet him.

“Welcome, worthy chief!” they cried. “But why
are you alone? What are your tidings? Where is our
brother? and where are our brave uncles, Hagen and
Dankwart? And who are those strange, fair men whe
ride with you? And what about Brunhild, the warrior-
maiden? Alas! if our brother has fallen by her cruel
flow Brunhild was welcomed Home. 219
might, then woe to Burgundy! Tell us quickly all about
Lely’

“ Have patience, friends!” answered Siegfried. “Give
me time to speak, and I will gladden the hearts of all
the folk of Burgundy with my news. Your brother
Gunther is alive and well; and he is the happiest man
in the whole mid-world, because he has won the match-
less Brunhild for his bride. And he is ere now making
his way up the river with a mighty fleet of a hundred
vessels and more than two thousand warriors. Indeed,
you may look for him any day. And he has sent me,
with these my Nibelungen earls, to bid you make ready
for his glad home-coming.”

Then, even before he had alighted from Greyfell, he
went on to tell of the things that had happened at
Isenstein; but he said nothing of the part which he
had taken in the strange contest. And a crowd of eager
listeners stood around, and heard with unfeigned joy
of the happy fortune of their king.

“ And now,” said Siegfried to Giselher, when he had
finished his story, “carry the glad news to your mother
and your sister; for they, too, must be anxious to learn
what fate has befallen King Gunther.”

“Nay,” answered the prince, “you yourself are the
king’s herald, and you shall be the one to break the
tidings to them. Full glad they'll be to hear the story
from your own lips, for long have they feared that our
brother would never be seen by us again. I will tell
them of your coming, but you must be the first to tell
them the news you bring.”
220 The Story of Stegfried.

“Very well,” answered Siegfried. “It shall be as
you say.”

Then he dismounted from Greyfell, and, with his
Nibelungen earls, was shown into the grand hall, where
they were entertained in a right kingly manner.

When Kriemhild the peerless, and Ute her mother,
heard that Siegfried had come again to Burgundy, and
that he brought news from Gunther the king, they
hastened to make ready to see him. And, when he
came before them, he seemed so noble, so bright, and
so glad, that they knew he bore no evil tidings.

“Most noble prince,” said Kriemhild, trembling in
his presence, “right welcome are you to our dwelling!
But wherefore are you come? How fares my brother
Gunther? Why came he not with you back to Bur.
gundy-land? Oh! undone are we, if, through the cruel
might of the warrior-queen, he has been lost to us.”

“Now give me a herald’s fees!” cried Siegfried,
laughing. “King Gunther is alive and well. In the
games of strength to which fair Brunhild challenged
him, he was the winner. And now he comes up the
Rhine with his bride, and a great retinue of lords and
ladies and fighting-men. Indeed, the sails of his ships
whiten the river for miles) And I am come by his
desire to ask that every thing be made ready for his
glad home-coming and the loving welcome of his peer-
less queen.” :

Great was the joy of Kriemhild and her queenly
mother when they heard this gladsome news ; and they
How Brunhild was welcomed Hlome 22:

Se ae



thanked the prince most heartily for all that he had
done.

“You have truly earned a herald’s fee,” said the
lovely maiden, “and gladly would I pay it you in gold;
for you have cheered us with pleasant tidings, and light-
ened our minds of a heavy load. But men of your noble
rank take neither gifts nor fees, and hence we have
only to offer our deepest and heartiest thanks.”

“Not so,” answered Siegfried gayly. ‘Think not I
would scorn a fee.’ Had Ia kingdom of thirty realms,
I should still be proud of a gift from you.”

“Then, you shall have your herald’s fee!” cried
Kriemhild; and she sent her maidens to fetch the gift.
And with her own lily hands she gave him twenty
golden bracelets, richly inwrought with every kind of
rare and costly gem-stones. Happy, indeed, was Sieg-
fried to take such priceless gift from the hand of so
peerless a maiden; and his face shone radiant with sun-
beams as he humbly bowed, and thanked her. But he
had no need for the jewels, nor wished he to keep them
long: so he gave them, with gracious wishes, to the fair
young maidens at court.

From this time forward, for many days, there was
great bustle in Gunther’s dwelling. On every side was
heard the noise of busy hands, making ready for the
glad day when the king should be welcomed home.
The broad halls and the tall gray towers were decked
with flowers, and floating banners, ard many a gay
device; the houses and streets of the pleasant burgh
222 The Story of Siegfried.



put on their holiday attire; the shady road which led
through Kriemhild’s rose-garden down to the river-banks
was dusted and swept with daily care; and the watch-
man was cautioned to keep on the lookout every moment
for the coming of the expected fleet. And heralds had
been sent to every burgh and castle, and to every country-
side in Burgundy, announcing the happy home-coming
of Gunther and his bride, and bidding every one, both
high and low, to the glad merry-making.

On the morning of the eleventh day, ere the sun had
dried the dew from the springing grass, the keen-eyed
watchman, in his perch on the topmost tower, cried out
in happy accents to the waiting folk below, —

“They come at last! I see the white-winged ships
still far down the stream. But a breeze springs up
from the northward, and the sailors are at the oars, and
swift speed the hastening vessels, as if borne on the
wings of the wind. Ride forth, O ye brave and fair, to
welcome the fair and the brave!”

Then quickly the king-folk, and the warriors, and fair
ladies, mounted their ready steeds, and gayly through
the gates of the castle they rode out river-wards. And
Ute, the noble queen-mother, went first. And the
company moved in glittering array, with flying banners,
and music, and the noisy flourish of drums, adown the
rose-covered pathway which led to the water’s side.
And the peerless Kriemhild followed, with a hundred
lovely maidens, all mounted on snow-white palfreys ; and
Siegfried, proud and happy, on Greyfell, rode beside her.
How Brunhild was welcomed Home. 223



When the party reached the river-bank, a pleasant
sight met their eyes; for the fleet had now drawn
near, and the whole river, as far as the eye could reach,
glittered with the light reflected from the shield-hung
rails and the golden prows of the swift-coming ships.
King Gunther’s own vessel led all the rest; and the
king himself stood on the deck, with the glorious Brun-
hild by his side. Nearer and nearer the fresh breeze
of the summer morning wafted the vessel to the shore,
where stood the waiting multitude. Softly the golden
dragon glided in to the landing-place, and quickly was
it moored to the banks; then Gunther, clad in his
kingly garments, stepped ashore, and with him his
lovely queen. Anda mighty shout of welcome, and an
answering shout of gladness, seemed to rend the sky as
the waiting hosts beheld the sight. And the queen-
mother Ute, and the peerless Kriemhild, and her kingly
brothers, went forward to greet the pair. And Kriem-
hild took Brunhild by the hand, and kissed her, and
said, —

“Welcome, thrice welcome, dear sister! to thy home
and thy kindred and thy people, who hail thee as queen.
And may thy days be full of joyance, and thy years be
full of peace!”

Then all the folk cried out their goodly greetings ;
and the sound of their glad voices rang out sweet and
clear in the morning air, and rose up from the riverside,
and was echoed among the hill-slopes, and carried over
the meadows and vineyards, to the farthest bounds of
224 Lhe Story of Siegfried.



Burgundy-land. And the matchless Brunhild, smiling,
returned the happy greeting; and her voice was soft
and sweet, as she said, —

“O kin of the fair Rhineland, and folk of my new-
found home! may your days be summer sunshine, and
your lives lack grief and pain; and may this hour of
glad rejoicing be the type of all hours to come!”

Then the lovely queen was seated in a golden wain
which stood in waiting for her; and Gunther mounted
his own war-steed ; and the whole company made ready
to ride to the castle. Never before had so pleasant a
sight been seen in Rhineland, as that glorious array of
king-folk and lords and ladies wenditig from river to for-
tress along the rose-strewn roadway. Foremost went
the king, and by his side was Siegfried on the radiant
Greyfell. Then came the queen’s golden wain, drawn by
two snow-white oxen, which were led with silken cords
by sweet-faced maidens; and in it, on an ivory throne
deep-carved with mystic runes, sat glorious Brunhild.
Behind rode the queen-mother and her kingly sons,
and frowning Hagen, and Dankwart, and Volker, and
all the earl-folk and mighty warriors of Burgundy and of
Nibelungen Land. And lastly came Kriemhild and her
hundred damsels, sitting on their snow-white steeds.
And they rode past the blooming gardens, and through
the glad streets of the burgh, and then, like a radiant
vision, they entered the castle-halls; and the lovely
pageant was seen no more.

For twelve days after this, a joyful high-tide was held
flow Brunhild was welcomed Home. 225
at the castle; and the broad halls rang with merriment
and music and festive mirth. And games and tourna-
ments were held in honor of the king’s return. Brave
horsemen dashed here and there at break-neck speed, or
contended manfully in the lists; lances flew thick in
the air; shouts and glad cries were heard on every hand;
and fora time the most boisterous tumult reigned. But
gladness and good-feeling ruled the hour, and no one
thought of aught but merry-making and careless joy.
At length, when the days of feasting were past, the
guests bade Gunther and his queen farewell ; and each
betook himself to his own home, and to whatsoever his
duty called him. And one would have thought that
none but happy days were henceforth in store for the
kingly folk of Burgundy. But alas! too soon the cruel
frost and the cold north winds nipped the buds and
blossoms of the short summer, and the days of gladness
gave place to nights of gloom.
226 Lhe Story of Sregfried.

ADVENTURE XVI.

HOW SIEGFRIED LIVED IN NIBE-
LUNGEN LAND.

WHEN the twelve-days’ high-tide at King Gunther’s
home-coming had been brought to an end, and the
guests had all gone to their homes, Siegfried, too,
prepared to bid farewell to the Rhineland kings, and
to wend to his own country. But he was not to go
alone; for Kriemhild, the peerless princess, was to
go with him as his bride. They had been wedded dur-
ing the merry festivities which had just closed, and that
event had added greatly to the general joy; for never
was there a fairer or a nobler pair than Siegfried the
fearless, and Kriemhild the peerless.

“It grieves my heart to part with you,” said Gunther,
wringing Siegfried’s hand. ‘It will fare but ill with us,
I fear, when we no longer see your radiant face, or hear
your cheery voice.”

“Say not so, my brother,” answered Siegfried; “for
the gods have many good things in store for you. And,
if ever you need the help of my arm, you have but to
say the word, and I will hasten to your aid.”
How Siegfried lived tu Nibelungen Land. 227





Then the Burgundian kings besought the hero to
take the fourth part of their kingdom as his own anc
Kriemhild’s, and to think no more of leaving them.
But Siegfried would not agree to this. His heart
yearned to see his father and mother once again, and
then to return to his own loved Nibelungen Land. So.
he thanked the kings for their kind offer, and hastened
to make ready for his intended journey.

Early on Midsummer Day the hero and his bride rode
out of Gunther’s dwelling, and turned their faces north-
ward. And with them was a noble retinue of warriors,
—five hundred brave Burgundians, with Eckewart as
their chief, —who had sworn to be Queen Kriemhild’s
vassals in her new, far-distant home. Thirty and two
fair maidens, too, went with her. And with Siegfried
were his Nibelungen earls.

As the company rode down the sands, and filed
gayly along the river-road, it seemed a lovely although
a sad sight to their kinsmen who gazed after them
from the castle-towers. Fair and young were all the
folk; and the world, to most, was still untried. And
they rode, in the morning sunlight, away from their
native land, nor recked that never again would they
return. Each warrior sat upon a charger, richly geared
with gilt-red saddle, and gorgeous bridle, and trappings
of every hue; and their war-coats were bright and daz-
zling; and their spears glanced in the sun; and their
golden shields threw rays of resplendent light around
them. The maidens, too, were richly dight in broi
228 The Story of Siegfried.



dered cloaks of blue, and rare stuffs brought from far-
off Araby ; and each sat on a snow-white palfrey geared
with silken housings, and trappings of bright blue.

For some days the company followed the course of
the river, passing through many a rich meadow, and
between lovely vineyards, and fields of yellow corn.
Then they rode over a dreary, barren waste, and
through a wild greenwood, and reached, at last, the
hills which marked the beginning of King Siegmund’s
domains. Then Siegfried sent fleet heralds before
them to carry to his father the tidings of his coming
with his bride, fair Kriemhild. Glad, indeed, were old
King Siegmund and Siegfried’s gentle mother when
they heard this news.

“Oh, happy is the day!” cried the king. “Thrice
happy be the day that’ shall see fair Kriemhild a
crowned queen, and Siegfried a king in the throne of
his fathers!”

And they showered upon the heralds who had brought
the happy news rich fees of gold and silver, and gave
them garments of silken velvet. And on the morrow
they set out, with a train of earl-folk and lovely ladies,
to meet their son and his bride. For one whole day they
journeyed to the old fortress of Santen, where in former
days the king’s dwelling had been. There they met
the happy bridal-party, and fond and loving were the
hearty greetings they bestowed upon Kriemhild and the
radiant Siegfried. Then, without delay, they returned
to Siegmund’s kingly hall; and for twelve days a high-
flow Siegfried lived in Nibelungen Land. 229

tide, more happy and more splendid than that which
had been held in Burgundy, was made in honor of Sieg-
fried’s marriage-day. And, in the midst of those days
of sport and joyance, the old king gave his crown and
sceptre to his son; and all the people hailed Siegfried,
king of the broad Lowlands, and Kriemhild his lovely
queen. ;

Old stories tell how Siegfried reigned in peace and
glad contentment in his fatherland; and how the joyous
sunshine shone wherever he went, and poured a flood
of light and warmth and happiness into every nook and
corner of his kingdom; and how, at length, after the
gentle Sigelind had died, he moved his court to that
other country of his, —the far-off Nibelungen Land.
And it is in that strange, dream-haunted land, in a
strong-built mountain fortress, that we shall next find
him.

Glad were the Nibelungen folk when their own king
and his lovely wife came to dwell among them; and the
mists once more were lifted, and the skies grew bright
and clear, and men said that the night had departed, and
the better days were near. Golden, indeed, and most
glorious, was that summer-time ; and long to be remem-
bered was Siegfried’s too brief reign in Nibelungen
Land. And, ages afterward, folk loved to sing of his
care for his people’s welfare, of his wisdom and bound-
less lore, of his deeds in the time of warring, and the
victories gained in peace. And strong and brave were
che men-folk, and wise and fair were the women, and
230 The Story of Stegfried.



broad and rich were the acres, in Siegfried’s well-ruled
land. The farm-lands were yellow with the abundant
harvests, fruitful orchards grew in the pleasant dales,
and fair vineyards crowned the hills. Fine cities
sprang up along the- seacoast, and strong fortresses
were built on every height. Great ships were made,
which sailed to every land, and brought home rich goods
from every clime,— coffee and spices from India, rich
silks from Zazemang, fine fruits from the Iberian
shore, and soft furs, and ivory tusks of the sea-beast,
from the frozen coasts of the north. Never before was
country so richly blessed; for Siegfried taught his
people how to till the soil best, and how to delve far
down into the earth for hidden treasures, and how to
work skilfully in iron and bronze and all other metals,
and how to make the winds and the waters, and even
the thunderbolt, their thralls and helpful servants.
And he was as great in war as in peace; for no other
peopie dared harm, or in any way impose upon, the
Nibelungen folk, or any of his faithful liegemen.

It is told how, once on a time, he warred against the
_Hundings, who had done his people an injury, and how
he sailed against them in a long dragon-ship of a hun-
dred oars. When he was far out in the mid-sea, and
no land was anywhere in sight, a dreadful storm arose.
The lightnings flashed, and the winds roared, and
threatened to carry the ship to destruction. Quickly
the fearful sailors began to reef the sails, but Siegfried
bade them stop.
How Siegfried lived in Nibelungen Land. 231

“Why be afraid?” he cried. “The Norns have
woven the woof of every man’s life, and no man can
escape his destiny. If the gods will that we should
drown, it is folly for us to strive against fate. We
are bound to the shore of the Hundings’ land, and
thither must our good ship carry us. Hoist the sails
hish on the masts, even though the wind should tear
them into shreds, and split the masts inte splinters!”

The sailors did as they were bidden; and the hur-
ricane caught the ship in its mighty arms, and hurried
it over the rolling waves with the speed of lightning.
And Siegfried stood calmly at the helm, and guided the
flying vessel. Presently they saw a rocky point rising
up out of the waters before them; and on it stood an
old man, his gray cloak streaming in the wind, and his
blue hood tied tightly down over his head.

“Whose ship is that which comes riding on the
storm?” cried the man.

“King Siegfried’s ship,” answered the man at the
prow. “There lives no braver man on earth than he.”

“Thou sayest truly,’ came back from the rock.
“Lay by your oars, reef the sails, and take me on
board!”

‘‘What is your name?” asked the sailor, as the ship
swept past him.

“When the raven croaks Biee ly over his battle-feast,
men call me Hnikar. But call me now Karl from the
mountain, Fengr, or Fjolner. Reef, quick, your sails,

1222.

and take me in!
232 The Story of Siegfried.



The men, at Siegfried’s command, obeyed. And at

once the wind ceased blowing, and the sea was calm,
and the warm sun shone through the rifted clouds, and
the coast of Hundings Land lay close before them.
But when they looked for Fjolner, as he called himself,
they could not find him.
. One day Siegfried sat in his sun-lit hall in Nibe-
lungen Land; and Kriemhild, lovely as a morning in
June, sat beside him. And they talked of the early
days when alone he fared through the mid-world, and
alone did deeds of wondrous daring. And Siegfried
bethought him then of the glittering Hoard of And-
vari, and the cave and the mountain fortress, where the
faithful dwarf Alberich still guarded the measureless
treasure.

“How I should like to see that mountain fastness
and that glittering hoard!” cried Kriemhild.

“You shall see,” answered the king.

And at once horses were saddled, and preparations
were made for a morning’s jaunt into the mountains.
And, ere an hour had passed, Siegfried and his queen,
and a small number of knights and ladies, were riding
through the passes. About noon they came to
Alberich’s dwelling, a frowning fortress of granite
built in the mountain-side. The gate was opened by
the sleepy giant who always sat within, and the party
rode into the narrow court-yard. There they were met
by Alberich, seeming smaller and grayer, and more
pinched and wan, than ever before,
flow Siegfried lived in Nibelungen Land. 233



“ Hail, noble master!” cried he, bowing low before
Siegfried. “How can Alberich serve you to-day ?”’

“Lead us to the treasure-vaults,” answered the king.
“My queen would fain feast her eyes upon the yellow,
sparkling hoard.”

The dwarf obeyed. Through a narrow door they
were ushered into a long, low cavern, so frowning and
gloomy, that the queen started back in affright. But,
re-assured by Siegfried’s smiling face, she went forward
again. The entrance-way was lighted by little torches
held in the hands of tiny elves, who bowed in humble
politeness to the kingly party. But, when once beyond
the entrance-hall, no torches were needed to show the
way ; for the huge pile of glittering gold and sparkling
jewels, which lay heaped up to the cavern’s roof,
lighted all the space around with a glory brighter than
day.

“There is the dwarf’s treasure!” cried Siegfried.
“Behold the Hoard of Andvari, the gathered wealth of
the ages! Henceforth, fair Kriemhild, it is yours —all
yours, save this serpent-ring.” ;

“ And why not that too?” asked the queen; for she
admired its glittering golden scales, and its staring
ruby eyes.

«“ Alas!” answered he, “a curse rests upon it, —the
curse which Andvari the ancient laid upon it when
Loki tore it from his hand. A miser’s heart — selfish,
cold, snaky —is bred in its owner’s being; and he
thenceforth lives a very serpent’s life. Or, should he
234 The Story of Swegzried.
resist its influence, then death through the guile of
pretended friends is sure to be his fate.”

“Then why,” asked the queen, — “ why do you keep
it yourself? Why do you risk its bane? Why not
give it to your sworn foe, or cast it into the sea, or
melt it in the fire, and thus escape the curse?”

Siegfried answered by telling how, when in the hey-
day of his youth, he had slain Fafnir, the keeper of this
hoard, upon the Glittering Heath; and how, while still
in the narrow trench which he had dug, the blood of
the horrid beast had flown in upon him, and covered
him up.

“And this I have been told by Odin’s birds,” he
went on to say, “that every part of my body that was
touched by the slimy flood was made forever proof
against sword and spear, and sharp weapons of every
kind. Hence I have no cause to fear the stroke, either
of open foes or of traitorous false friends.” :

“But was all of your body covered with the dragon’s
blood? Was there no small spot untouched?” asked
the queen, more anxious now than she had ever seemed
to be before she had known aught of her husband’s
strange security from wounds.

‘Only one very little spot between the shoulders
was left untouched,’ answered Siegfried. “I after-
wards found a lime-leaf sticking there, and I know
that the slimy blood touched not that spot. But then
who fears a thrust in the back? None save cowards
are wounded there.”
How Siegfried lived in Nibelungen Land. 235



“Ah!” said the queen, toying tremulously with the
fatal ring, “that little lime-leaf may yet bring us unut-
terable woe.”

But Siegfried laughed at her fears ; and he took the
serpent-ring, and slipped it upon his forefinger, and
said that he would wear it there, bane or no bane, so
long as Odin would let him live.

Then, after another long look at the heaps of glitter-
ing gold and priceless gem-stones, the company turned,
and followed Alberich back, through the gloomy en-
trance-way and the narrow door, to the open air again.
And mounting their steeds, which stood ready, they
started homewards. But, at the outer gate, Siegfried
paused, and said to the dwarf at parting, —

“ Hearken, Alberich! The Hoard of Andvari is no
longer mine. I have made a present of it to my queen.
Hold it and guard it, therefore, as hers and hers alone ;
and, whatever her bidding may be regarding it, that
do.”

“Your word is law, and shall be obeyed,” said the
dwarf, bowing low.

Then the drowsy gate-keeper swung the heavy gate
to its place, and the kingly party rode gayly away.

On their way home the company went, by another
route, through the narrow mountain pass which led to-
wards the sea, and thence through a rocky gorge
between two smoking mountains. And on one side of
this road a great cavern yawned, so dark and deep that
no man had ever dared to step inside of it. And as
236 Lhe Story of Sieg tried.

at
they paused before it, and listened, they heard, away
down in its dismal depths, horrid groans, sad moanings,
and faint wild shrieks, so far away that it seemed as if
they had come from the very centre of the earth. And,
- while they still listened, the ground around them trem-
bled and shook, and the smoking mountain on the other
side of the gorge smoked blacker than before.

“Loki is uneasy to-day,” said Siegfried, as they all
put spurs to their horses, and galloped swiftly home.

It was the Cavern of the Mischief-maker which the
party had visited; and that evening, as they again sat
in Siegfried’s pleasant hall, they amused themselves by
telling many strange old tales of the mid-world’s child-
hood, when the gods, and the giants, and the dwarf-
folk, had their dwelling on the earth. But they talked
most of Loki, the flame, the restless, the evil-doer.
And this, my children, is the story that was told of the
Doom of the Mischief-maker.'

THE STORY.

You have heard of the feast that old fEgir once
made for the Asa-folk in his gold-lit dwelling in the
deep sea; and how the feast was hindered, through the
loss of his great brewing-kettle, until Thor had obtained
a still larger vessel from Hymer the giant. It is ve-y
likely that the thief who stole King A€gir’s kettle was
none other than Loki the Mischief-maker ; but, if this
vas so, he was not long unpunished for his meanness.

There was great joy in the Ocean-king’s hall, when

t See Note 30 at the end of this volume.
How Siegfried lived in Nibelungen Leande, V237





at last the banquet was ready, and the foaming ale
began to pass itself around to the guests. But Thor.
who had done so much to help matters along, could not
stay to the merry-making: for he had heard that the
Storm-giants were marshalling their forces for a raid
upon some unguarded corner of the mid-world; and so,
grasping his hammer Mjolner, he bade his kind host
good-by, and leaped into his iron car.

“Business always before pleasure!” he cried, as he
gave the word to his swift, strong goats, and rattled away
at a wonderful rate through the air.

In old Aégir’s hall glad music resounded on every
side; and the gleeful Waves danced merrily as the
Asa-folk sat around the festal-board, and partook of
the Ocean-king’s good fare. Azgir’s two thralls, the
faithful Funfeng and the trusty Elder, waited upon
the guests, and carefully supplied their wants. Never
in all the world had two more thoughtful servants been
seen; and every one spoke in praise of their quickness,
and their skill, and their ready obedience.

Then Loki, unable to keep his hands from mischief,
waxed very angry, because every one seemed happy and
free from trouble, and no one noticed or cared for him.
So, while good Funfeng was serving him to meat, he
struck the faithful thrall with a carving-knife, and killed
him. Then arose a great uproar in the Ocean-king’s
feast-hall. The Asa-folk rose up from the table, and
drove the Mischief-maker out from among them ; and in
their wrath they chased him across the waters, and

“
238 The Story of Siegfried.

forced him to hide in the thick greenwood. After thi:
they went back to Azgir’s hall, and sat down again to
the feast. But they had scarcely begun to eat, when
Loki came quietly out of his hiding-place, and stole
slyly around to A®gir’s kitchen, where he found Elder,
the other thrall, grieving sadly because of his brother’s
death.

“T hear a great chattering and clattering over there
in the feast-hall,” said Loki. “The greedy, silly Asa-
folk seem to be very busy indeed, both with their teeth
and their tongues. Tell me, now, good Elder, what they
talk about while they sit over their meat and ale.”

“They talk of noble deeds,” answered Elder. “They
speak of gallant heroes, and brave men, and fair women,
and strong hearts, and willing hands, and gentle man-
ners, and kind friends. And for all these they have
words of praise, and songs of beauty ; but none of them
speak well of Loki, the thief and the vile traitor.”

“Ah!” said Loki wrathfully, twisting himself into
a dozen different shapes, “no one could ask so great a
kindness from such folk. I must go into the feast-hall,
and take a look at this fine company, and listen to their _
noisy merry-making. I havea fine scolding laid up for
those good fellows; and, unless they are careful with
their tongues, they will find many hard words mixed
with their ale.”

Then he went boldly into the great hall, and stood up
hefore the wonder-stricken guests at the table. When
the Asa-folk saw who it was that had darkened the

*
flow Siegfried lived in Nibelungen Land. 239



doorway, and was now in their midst, a painful silence
fell upon them, and all their merriment was at an end.
And Loki stretched himself up to his full height, and
said to them, —

“Hungry and thirsty come I to A®gir’s gold-lit hall.
Long and rough was the road I trod, and wearisome
was the way. Will no one bid me welcome? Will
none give mea seat at the feast? Will none offer me
a drink of the precious mead? Why are you all so
dumb? Why so sulky and stiff-necked, when your best
friend stands before you? Give me a seat among you.
— yes, one of the high-seats, —or else drive me from
your hall! In either case, the world will never forget
me. Iam Loki.”

Then one among the Asa-folk spoke up, and said,
“Let him sit with us.) Heis mad; and when he slew
Funfeng, he was not in his right mind. He is not
answerable for his rash act.”

But Bragi the Wise, who sat on the innermost seat,
arose, and said, “Nay, we will not give him a seat
among us. Nevermore shall he feast or sup with us,
or share our good-fellowship. Thieves and murderers
we know, and will shun.”

This speech enraged Loki all the more ; and he spared
not vile words, but heaped abuse without stint upon all
the folk before him. And by main force he seized hold
of the silent Vidar, who had come from the forest soli-
tudes to be present at the feast, and dragged him away
from the table, and seated himself in his place. Then,
240 The Story of Siegfried.



as he quaffed the foaming ale, he flung out taunts and
jeers and hard words to all who sat around, but chiefly
to Bragi the Wise. Then he turned to Sif, the beautiful
wife of Thor, and began to twit her about her golden hair.

“Oh, how handsome you were, when you looked at
your bald head in the mirror that day! Oh, what music
you made when your hands touched your smooth pate!
And now whose hair do you wear?”

And the wretch laughed wickedly, as he saw the tears
welling up in poor Sif’s eyes.

Then suddenly a great tumult was heard outside.
The mountains shook and trembled ; and the bottom of
the sea seemed moved; and the waves, affrighted and
angry, rushed hither and thither in confusion. All the
guests looked up in eager expectation, and some of ,
them fled in alarm from the hall. Then the mighty
Thor strode through the door, and up to the table,
swinging his hammer, and casting wrathful glances at
the Mischief-maker. Loki trembled, and dropped his
goblet, and sank down upon his knees before the terrible
Asa.

“T yield me!” he cried. “Spare my life, I pray you,
and I will be your thrall forever!”

“JT want no such thrall,” answered Thor. “And I
spare your life on one condition only, —that you go at
once from hence, and nevermore presume to come into
the company of Asa-folk.”

“TJ promise all that you ask,” said Loki, trembling
more than ever. “Let me go.”
How Siegfried lived in Nibelungen Land. 241



Thor stepped aside; and the frightened culprit fled
fiom the hall, and was soon out of sight. The feast
was broken up. The folk bade AXgir a kind farewell,
and all embarked on Frey’s good ship Skidbladner ; and
fair winds wafted them swiftly home to Asgard.

Loki fled to the dark mountain gorges of Mist Land,
and sought for a while to hide himself from the sight of
both gods and men. In a deep ravine by the side of a
roaring torrent, he built himself a house of iron and
stone, and placed a door on each of its four sides, so
that he could see whatever passed around him. There,
for many winters, he lived in lonely solitude, planning
with himself how he might baffle the gods, and regain
his old place in Asgard. And now and then he slipped
slyly away from his hiding-place, and wrought much
mischief for a time among the abodes of men. But
when Thor heard of his evil-doings, and sought to
catch him, and punish him for his evil deeds, he was
nowhere to be found. And at last the Asa-folk deter-
mined, that, if he could ever be captured, the safety of
the world required that he should be bound hand and
foot, and kept forever in prison.

Loki often amused himself in his mountain home by
taking upon him his favorite form of a salmon, and
lying listlesslv beneath the waters of the great Fanan-
der Cataract, which fell from the shelving rocks a
thousand feet above him. One day while thus lying,
he bethought himself of former days, when he walked
the glad young earth in company with the All-Father.
242 The Story of Siegfried.



And among other things he remembered how he had
once borrowed the magic net of Ran, the Ocean-queen,
and had caught with it the dwarf Andvari, disguised,
as he himself now was, in the form of a slippery salmon.

“T will make me such a net!” he cried. “TI will
make it strong and good; and I, too, will fish for men.”

So he took again his proper shape, and went ack to
his cheerless home in the ravine. And he gathered
flax and wool and long hemp, and spun yarn and strong
cords, and wove them into meshes, after the pattern of
Queen Ran’s magic net; for men had not, at that
time, learned how to make or use nets for fishing. And
the first fisherman who caught fish in that way is said
to have taken Loki’s net as a model.

Odin sat, on the morrow, in his high hall of Hlid-
skialf, and looked out over all the world, and saw, even
to the uttermost corners, what men-folk were every-
where doing. When his eye rested upon the dark line
which marked the mountain-land of the Mist Country,
he started up in quick surprise, and cried out, —

“Who is that who sits by the Fanander Force, and
ties strong cords together?”

But none of those who stood around could tell, for
their eyes were not strong enough and clear enough to
see so far.

“Bring Heimdal!” then cried Odin.

Now, Iieimdal the White dwells among the blue
mountains of sunny Himminbjorg, where the rainbow,
the shimmering Asa-bridge, spans the space betwixt
How Siegfried lived in Nibelungen Land. 243



heaven and earth. He is the son of Odin, golden-
toothed, pure-faced, and clean-hearted; and he ever
keeps watch and ward over the mid-world and the
homes of frail men-folk, lest the giants shall break in,
and destroy and slay. He rides upon a shining steed
named Goldtop; and he holds in his hand a horn called
Gjallar-horn, with which, in the last great twilight, he
shall summon the world to battle with the Fenris-wolf
and the sons of Loki. This watchful guardian of the
mid-world is as wakeful as the birds. And his hearing
is so keen, that no sound on earth escapes him, — not
even that of the rippling waves upon the seashore, nor
of the quiet sprouting of the grass in the meadows,
nor even of the growth of the soft wool on the backs
of sheep. And his eyesight, too, is wondrous clear
and sharp; for he can see by night as well as by day,
and the smallest thing, although a hundred leagues
away, cannot be hidden from him.

To Heimdal, then, the heralds hastened, bearing the
words which Odin had spoken. And the watchful
warder of the mid-world came at once to the call of
the All-Father. ;

“Turn your eyes to the sombre mountains that guard
the shadowy Mist-land from the sea,” said Odin.
“Now look far down into the rocky gorge in which the
Fanander Cataract pours, and tell me what you see.”

Heimdal did as he was bidden.

“T see a shape,” said he, “sitting by the torrent’s
side. It is Loki’s shape, and he seems strangely busy
with strong strings and cords.”
244 The Story of Siegfried.

“Call all our folk together!’’ commanded Odin.
“The wily Mischief-maker plots our hurt. He must
be driven from his hiding-place, and put where he
can do no further harm.”

Great stir was there then in Asgard. Every one
hastened to answer Odin’s call, and to join in the quest
for the Mischief-maker. Thor came on foot, with his
hammer tightly grasped in his hands, and lightning
flashing from beneath his red brows. Tyr, the one-
handed, came with his sword. Then followed Bragi
the Wise, with his harp and his sage counsels; then
Hermod the Nimble, with his quick wit and ready
hands; and, lastly, a great company of elves and wood-
sprites and trolls. Then a whirlwind caught them up
in its swirling arms, and carried them through the air,
over the hill-tops and the country-side, and the mead-
ows and the mountains, and set them down in the
gorge of the Fanander Force.

But Loki was not caught napping. His wakeful ears
had heard the tumult in the air, and he guessed who it
was that was coming. He threw the net, which he had
just finished, into the fire, and jumped quickly into the
swift torrent, where, changing himself into a salmon,
he lay hidden beneath the foaming waters. .

When the eager Asa-folk reached Loki’s dwelling,
they found that he whom they sought had fled; and
although they searched high and low, among the rocks
and the caves and the snowy crags, they could see no
signs of the cunning fugitive. Then they went back
How Siegfried lived in Nibelungen Land. 245



to his house again to consult what next todo. And,
while standing by the hearth, Kwaser, a sharp-sighted
elf, whose eyes were quicker than the sunbeam, saw
the white ashes of the burned net lying undisturbed
in the still hot embers, the woven meshes unbroken
and whole.

“See what the cunning fellow has been making!”
cried the elf. ‘It must have been a trap for catching
fish.”

“Or rather for catching men,” said Bragi; “for it
is strangely like the Sea-queen’s net.”

“In that case,” said Hermod the Nimble, “he has
made a trap for himself; for, no doubt, he has
changed himself, as is his wont, to a slippery salmon,
and lies at this moment hidden beneath the Fanander
torrent. Here are plenty of cords of flax and hemp
and wool, with which he intended to make other nets.
Let us take them, and weave one like the pattern
which lies there in the embers; and then, if I mistake
not, we shall catch the too cunning fellow.”

All saw the wisdom of these words, and all set
quickly to work. Ina short time they had made a net
strong and large, and full of fine meshes, like the model
among the coals. Then they threw it into the roaring
stream, Thor holding to one end, and all the other folk
pulling at the other. With great toil, they dragged it
forwards, against the current, even to the foot of the
waterfall. But the cunning Loki crept close down
between two sharp stones, and lay there quietly while
the net passed harmlessly over him.
246 The Story of Siegfried.

“Let us try again!” cried Thor. “I am sure that
something besides dead rocks lies at the bottom of the
stream.”

So they hung heavy weights to the net, and began
to drag it a second time, this time going down stream.
Loki looked out from his hiding-place, and saw that he
would not be able to escape again by lying between the
rocks, and that his only chance for safety was either to
leap over the net, and hide himself behind the rushing
cataract itself, or to swim with the current out to the
sea. But the way to the sea was long, and there were
many shallow places; and Loki had doubts as to how
old A®gir would receive him in his kingdom. He
feared greatly to undertake so dangerous and uncertain
a course. So, turning upon his foes, and calling up all
his strength, he made a tremendous leap high into the
air, and clean over the net. But Thor was too quick
for him. As he fell towards the water, the Thunderer
quickly threw out his hand, and caught the slippery
salmon, holding him firmly by the tail.

When Loki found that he was surely caught, and
could not by any means escape, he took again his
proper shape. Fiercely did he struggle with mighty
Thor, and bitter were the curses which he poured down
upon his enemies. But he could not get free. Into
the deep, dark cavern, beneath the smoking mountain,
where daylight never comes, nor the warmth of the
sun, nor the sound of Nature’s music, the fallen Mis-
chief-maker was carried. And they bound him firmly
How Siegfried lived in Nibelungen Land. 247



to the sharp rocks, with his face turned upwards
toward the dripping roof; for they said that never-
more, until the last dread twilight, should he be free to
vex the world with his wickedness. And Skade, the
giant wife of Niord and the daughter of grim Old Win-
ter, took a hideous poison snake, and hung it up above
Loki, so that its venom would drop into his upturned
face. But Sigyn, the loving wife of the suffering
wretch, left her home in the pleasant halls of Asgard,
and came to his horrible prison-house to soothe and
comfort him; and evermore she holds a basin above his
head, and catches in it the poisonous drops as they fall.
When the basin is filled, and she turns to empty it
in the tar-black river that flows through that home of
horrors, the terrible venom falls upon his unprotected
face, and Loki writhes and shrieks in fearful agony,
until the earth around him shakes and trembles, and
the mountains spit forth fire, and fumes of sulphur-
smoke.

And ‘there the Mischief-maker, the spirit of evil,
shall lie in torment until the last great day and the
dread twilight of all mid-world things. How strange
and how sad, that, while Loki lies thus bound and
harmless, evil still walks the earth, and that so much
mischief and such dire disasters were prepared for
Siegfried and the folk of Nibelungen Land!
248 Lhe Story of Siegfried.

ADVENTURE XVII,

HOW THE MISCHIEF BEGAN TO
BREW.

OnE day a party of strangers came to Siegfried’s
Nibelungen dwelling, and asked to speak with the
king.

“Who are you? and what is your errand?” asked the
porter at the gate.

“Our errand is to the king, and he will know who
we are when he sees us,” was the answer.

When Siegfried was told of the strange men who.
waited below, and of the strange way in which they
had answered the porter’s question, he asked, —

“From what country seem they to have come? For
surely their dress and manners will betray something
of that matter to you. Are they South-land folk, or
East-land folk? Are they from the mountains, or from
the sea?” :

“They belong to none of the neighbor-lands,” an-
swered the earl who had brought the word to tie king.
“No such men live upon our borders. They seem to
have come from a far-off land; for they are travel-
Flow the Mischief began to Brew. 249



worn, and their sea-stained clothing betokens a people
from the south. They are tall and dark, and their hair
is black, and they look much like those Rhineland war-
riors who came hither with our lady the queen. And
they carry a blood-red banner with a golden dragon
painted upon it.”

“Oh, they must be from Burgundy!” cried the
queen, who had overheard these words. And she
went at once to the window to see the strangers, who
were waiting in the courtyard below.

There, indeed, she saw thirty tall Burgundians, clad
in the gay costume of Rhineland, now faded and worn
with long travel. But all save one were young, and
strangers to Kriemhild. That one was their leader, —-
an old man with a kind face, and a right noble bearing.

“See!” said the queen to Siegfried: “there is our
brave captain Gere, who, ever since my childhood, has
been the trustiest man in my brother Gunther’s house-
hold. Those men are from the fatherland, and they
bring tidings from the dear old Burgundian home.”

“ Welcome are they to our Nibelungen Land!” cried
the delighted king.

And he ordered that the strangers should be brought
into the castle, and that the most sumptuous rooms
should be allotted to them, and a plenteous meal pre-
pared, and every thing done to entertain them in a
style befitting messengers from Kriemhild’s father-
land. Then Gere, the trusty captain, was led into the
presence of the king and queen. Right gladly did
250 The Story of Siegfried.



they welcome him, and many were the questions they
asked about their kin-folk, and the old Rhineland home.

“Tell us, good Gere,” said Siegfried, “what is thy
message from our friends; for we are anxious to know
whether they are well and happy, or whether some ill
luck has overtaken them. If any harm threatens them,
they have but to speak, and I, with my sword and my
treasures, will hasten to their help.”

“They are all well,’ answered the captain. “No ill
has befallen them, and no harm threatens them. Peace
rules all the land ; and fair weather and sunshine have
filled the people’s barns, and made their hearts glad.
And thus it has been ever since Gunther brought to
his dwelling the warrior-maiden Brunhild to be his
queen. And this is my errand and the message that I
bring: King Gunther, blessed with happiness, intends
to hold a grand high-tide of joy and thanksgiving at
the time of the harvest-moon. And nothing is want-
ing to complete the gladness of that time, but the sight
of you and the peerless Kriemhild in your old places at
the feast. And it is to invite you to this festival of
rejoicing that I have come, at the king’s command, to
Nibelungen Land.”

Siegfried sat a moment in silence, and then thought-
fully answered, —

“It is a long, long journey from this Jard to Bur-
gundy, and many dangers beset the road; and my own
people would sadly miss me while away, and I know
not what mishaps might befall.”
Flow the Mischief began to Brew 251
Then Gere spoke of the queen-mother Ute, now
grown old and feeble, who wished once more, ere
death called her hence, to see her daughter Kriemhild.
And he told how all the people, both high and low,
yearned for another sight of the radiant hero who in
former days had blessed their land with his presence
and his noble deeds. And his persuasive werds had
much weight with Siegfried, who said at length, —

“Tarry afew days yet for my answer. I will talk
with my friends and the Nibelungen earls; and what
they think best, that will I do.”

For nine days, then, waited Gere at Siegfried’s hall ;
but still the king put off his answer.

“Wait until to-morrow,” he said each day, for his
heart whispered dim forebodings.

At length, as midsummer was fast drawing near, the
impatient captain could stay no longer; and he bade
his followers make ready to go back forthwith to
Burgundy. When the queen saw that they were ready
to take their leave, and that Gere could wait no longer
upon the king’s pleasure, she urged her husband to say
to Gunther that they would come to his harvest
festival. And the lords and noble earl-folk added their
persuasions to hers.

“Send word back to the Burgundian king,” said
they, “that you will go, as he desires. We will see
to it that no harm comes to your kingdom while you
are away.”

So Siegfried called Gere and his comrades into the
252 The Story of Siegfried.





hall, and loaded them with costly gifts such as they
had never before seen, and bade them say to their
master that he gladly accepted the kind invitation he
had sent, and that, ere the harvest high-tide began,
he and Kriemhild would be with him in Burgundy.

And the messengers went back with all speed, and
told what wondrous things they had seen in Nibelungen
Land, and in what great splendor Siegfried lived. And,
when they showed the rare presents which had been
given them, all joined in praising the goodness and great-
ness of the hero-king. But old chief Hagen frowned
darkly as he said, —

“Tt is little wonder that he can do such things, for
the Shining Hoard of Andvariis his. If we had such
a treasure, we, too, might live in more than kingly
grandeur.”

Early in the month of roses, Siegfried and his peer-
less queen, with a retinue of more than a thousand
warriors and many fair ladies, started on their long
and toilsome journey to the South-land. And the
folk who went with them to the city gates bade them
many tearful farewells, and returned to their homes,
feeling that the sunshine had gone forever from the
Nibelungen Land. But the sky ‘vas blue and cloud-
less, and the breezes warm and muid, and glad was the
song of the reapers as adown the seaward highway the
kingly company rode. Two days they rode through
Mist Land, to the shore of the peaceful sea. Ten days
they sailed on the waters. And the winds were soft and
Flow the Mischief began to Brew. 233



gentle ; and the waves slept in the sunlight, or merrily
danced in their wake. But each day, far behind them,
there followed a storm-cloud, dark as night, and the
pleasant shores of Mist Land were hidden forever
behind it. Five days they rode through the Lowlands,
and glad were the Lowland folk with sight of their
hero-king. Two days through the silent greenwood,
and one o’er the barren moor, and three amid vine-
yards and fields, and between orchards fruitful and
fair, they rode. And on the four and twentieth day
they came in sight of the quiet town, and the tall gray
towers, where dwelt the Burgundian kings. And a
great company on horseback, with flashing shields and
fine-wrought garments and nodding plumes, came out
to meet them. It was King Gernot and a thousand of
the best men and fairest women in Burgundy; and
they welcomed Siegfried and Kriemhild and their
Nibelungen-folk to the fair land of the Rhine. And
then they turned, and rode back with them to the
castle. And, as the company passed through the
pleasant streets of the town, the people stood by
the wayside, anxious to catch sight of the radiant
Siegfried on his sunbright steed, and of the peerless
Kriemhild, riding on a palfrey by his side. And young
girls strewed roses in their pathway, and hung garlands
upon their horses ; and every one shouted, “ Hail to the
conquering hero! Hail to the matchless queen!”
When they reached the castle, King Gunther and
Giselher met them, and ushered them into the old




254 The Story of Siegfried.

familiar halls, where a right hearty welcome greeted
them from all the kingly household. And none
seemed more glad in this happy hour than Brunhild
the warrior-queen, now more gloriously beautiful than
even in the days of yore.

When the harvest-moon began to shine full and
bright, lighting up the whole world from evening till
morn with its soft radiance, the gay festival so long
looked forward to began. And care and anxiety, and
the fatigues of the long journey, were forgotten amid
the endless round of pleasure which for twelve days
enlivened the whole of Burgundy. And the chiefest
honors were everywhere paid to Siegfried the hero-
king, and to Kriemhild the peerless queen of beauty.

Then Queen Brunhild called to mind, how, on a
time, it had been told her in Isenland that Siegfried
was but the liegeman and vassal of King Gunther;
and she wondered why such honor should be paid to
an underling, and why the king himself should treat
him with so much respect. And as she thought of
this, and of the high praises with which every one
spoke of Kriemhild, her mind became filled with jeal-
ous broodings. And soon her bitter jealousy was
turned to deadly hate; for she remembered then, how,
in the days long past, a noble youth, more beautiful and
more glorious than the world would ever see again, had
awakened her from the deep sleep that Odin’s thorn
had given; and she remembered how Gunther had won
her by deeds of strength and skill which he never
flow the Mfischief began to Brew. 255





afterwards could even imitate; and she thought how
grand indeed was Kriemhild’s husband compared with
her own weak and wavering and commonplace lord.
And her soul was filled with sorrow and bitterness and
deepest misery, when, putting these thoughts together,
she believed that she had in some way been duped and
cheated into becoming Gunther’s wife.

When at last the gay feast was ended, and most of
the guests had gone to their homes, she sought her
husband, and thus broached the matter to him.

“Often have I asked you,” said she, “ why your sister
Kriemhild was given in marriage to a vassal, and as
often have you put me off with vague excuses. Often,
too, have I wondered why your vassal, Siegfried, has
never paid you tribute for the lands which he holds
from you, and why he has never come to render you
homage. Now he is here in your castle; but he sets
himself up, not as your vassal, but as your peer. I
pray you, tell me what such strange things mean. Was
an underling and a vassal e-er known before to put
himself upon a level with his liege lord?”

Gunther was greatly troubled, and he knew not what
to say; for he feared to tell the queen how they had
deceived her when he had won the games at Isenstein,
and how the truth had ever since been kept hidden from
her,

“Ask me not to explain this matter further than I
have already done,” he answered. “It is enough that
Siegfried is the greatest of all my vassals, and that his
256 Lhe Story of Siegfried.



lands are broader even than my own. He has helped
me out of many straits, and has added much to the
greatness and strength of my kingdom: for this reason
he has never been asked to pay us tribute, and for this
reason we grant him highest honors.”

But this answer failed to satisfy the queen.

“Ts it not the first duty of a vassal,” she asked, “to
help his liege lord in every undertaking? If so, Sieg-
fried has but done his duty, and you owe him nothing.
But you have not told me all. You have deceived me,
and you would fain deceive me again. You have a
secret, and I will find it out.”

The king made no answer, but walked silently and
thoughtfully away.

It happened one evening, not long thereafter, that
the two queens sat together at an upper window, and
looked down upon a company of men in the courtyard
below. Among them were the noblest earl-folk of
Burgundy, and Gunther the king, and Siegfried. But
Siegfried towered above all the rest; and he moved
like a god among men.

“See my noble Siegfried!” cried Kriemhild in her
pride. ‘How grandly he stands there! What a type
of manly beauty and strength! No one cares to look
at other men when he is near.”

“Fle may be handsome,” answered Brunhild sadly ;
‘‘and, for aught I know, he may be noble. But what
is all that by the side of kingly power? Were he but
the peer of your brother Gunther, then you might well
boast.”


THE QUARREL OF THE QUEENS,
flow the Mischief began to Brew. 257
“Fle is the peer of Gunther,” returned Kriemhild.
“And not only his peer, but more; for he stands as
high above him in kingly power and worth as in bodily
stature.”

“ How can that be?” asked Brunhild, growing angry.
“For, when Gunther so gallantly won me at Isenstein,
he told me that Siegfried was his vassal; and often
since that time I have heard the same. And even your
husband told me that Gunther was his liege lord.”

Queen Kriemhild laughed at these words, and an-
swered, “I tell you again that Siegfried is a king far
nobler and richer and higher than any other king on
earth. Think you that my brothers would have given
me to a mere vassal to be his wife?”

Then Brunhild, full of wrath, replied, “Your hus-
band is Gunther’s vassal and my own, and he shall do
homage to us as the humblest and meanest of our
underlings. He shall not go from this place until he
has paid all the tribute that has so long been due from
him, Then we shall see who is the vassal, and who is
the lord.”

“Nay,” answered Kriemhild. “It shall not be. No
tribute was ever due; and, if homage is to be paid, it is
rather Gunther who must pay it.”

“Tt shall be settled once for all!” cried Brunhild,
now boiling over with rage. “I will know the truth.
If Siegfried is not our vassal, then I have been duped;
and I will have revenge.”

“It is well,” was the mild answer. “ Let it be settled,
258 The Story of Swegfried.





once for all; and then, mayhap, we shall know who it
was who really won the games at Isenstein, and you for
Gunther’s wife.”

And the two queens parted in wrath.!

Kriemhild’s anger was as fleeting as an April cloud,
which does but threaten, and then passes away in tears
and sunshine. But Brunhild’s was like the dread winter
storm that sweeps down from Niflheim, and brings ruin
and death in its wake. She felt that she had been
cruelly wronged in some way, and that her life had
been wrecked, and she rested not until she had learned
the truth.

It was Hagen who at last told her the story of the
cruel deceit that had made her Gunther’s wife; and
then her wrath and her shame knew no bounds.

“Woe betide the day!” she cried, — “ woe betide the
day that brought me to Rhineland, and made me the
wife of a weakling and coward, and the jest of him who
might have done nobler things!”

Hagen smiled. He had long waited for this day.

“It was Siegfried, and Siegfried alone, who plotted
to deceive you,” he said. “Had it not been for him,
you might still have been the happy maiden-queen of
Isenland. And now he laughs at you, and urges his
queen, Kriemhild, to scorn you as she would an under-
ling.”

“T know it, I know it,” returned the queen in dis-
tress. “And yet how grandly noble is the man! How
he rushed through the flames to awaken me, when no

' See Note 31 at the end of this volume.
How the Mischicf began to Brew. 259



one else could save! How brave, how handsome, —
and yet he has been my bane, I can have no peace
while he lives.”

Hagen smiled again, and a strange light gleamed
from his dark eye. Then he said, “Truly handsome
and brave is he, but a viler traitor was never born.
He even now plots to seize this kingdom, and to add it
to his domain. Why else should he bring so great a
retinue of Nibelungen warriors to Burgundy? I will
see King Gunther at once, and we will put an end to
his wicked projects.”

“Do even so, good Hagen,” said Brunhild. ‘Take
him from my path, and bring low the haughty pride of
his wife, and I shall be content.”

“That I will do!” cried Hagen. “That I will do!
Gunther is and shall be the king without a peer; and
no one shall dare dispute the worth and the queenly
beauty of his wife.”

Then the wily chief sought Gunther, and with cun-
ning words poisoned his weak mind. The feeble old
king was easily made to believe that Siegfried was
plotting against his life, and seeking to wrest the king-
dom from him. And he forgot the many kind favors
he had received at the hero’s hand. He no longer
remembered how Siegfried had slain the terror of the
Glittering Heath, and freed the Burgundians from many
a fear; and how he had routed the warlike hosts of
the North-land, and made prisoners of their kings; and
how he had brought his voyage to Isenland to a happy
260 The Story of Siegfried.



and successful ending. He forgot, also, that Siegfried
was his sister’s husband. He had ears and mind only
for Hagen’s wily words.

“While this man lives,” said the dark-browed chief,
“none of us are safe. See how the people follow him!
Hear how they shout at his coming! They look upon
him as a god, and upon Gunther as a nobody. If we
are wise, we shall rid ourselves of so dangerous a
man.”

“Tt is but a week until he takes his leave of us,
and goes back to his own home in Nibelungen Land.
Watch him carefully until that time, but do him no
harm. When he is once gone, he shall never come
back again,” said the king. But he spoke thus, not
because of any kind feelings towards Siegfried, but
rather because he feared the Nibelungen hero.

“He has no thought of going at that time,” answered
Hagen. “He speaks of it, only to hide his wicked and
traitorous plots. Instead of going home, his plans will
then be ready for action, and it will be too late for us to
save ourselves. Still, if you will not believe me, take
your own course. You have been warned.”

The cunning chief arose to leave the room; but
Guntt er, now thoroughly frightened, stopped him.

“Hagen,” he said, “you have always been my friend,
and the words which you say are wise. Save us and
our kingdom now, in whatsoever way you may deem
best. I know not what to do.”

Then the weak king and the warrior-chief talked
How the Mischief began to Brew. 261



long together in low, hoarse whispers. And, when they
parted, shame and guilt were stamped in plain lines on
Gunther’s face, from which they were nevermore
erased; and he dared not lift his gaze from the floor,
fearing that his eyes would betray him, if seen by any
more pure-hearted than he. But a smile of triumph
played under the lurking gleams of Hagen’s eye; and he
walked erect and bold, as if he had done a praise-
worthy deed.

That night a storm came sweeping down from the
North, and the cold rain fell in torrents; and great hail-
stones pattered on the roofs and towers of the castle,
and cruelly pelted the cattle in the fields, and the birds
in the friendly shelter of the trees. And old Thor
fought bravely with the Storm-giants; and all night
long the rattle of his chariot-wheels, and the heavy
strokes of his dread hammer, were heard resounding
through the heavens. In his lonely chamber Hagen
sat and rubbed his hands together, and grimly smiled.

“The time so long waited for has come at last,” he
said.

But the guilty king, unable to sleep, walked rest-
lessly to and fro, and trembled with fear at every sound
of the storm-gust without.

When day dawned at last, a sad scene met the eyes
of all beholders. The earth was covered with the
broken branches of leafy trees; the flowers and shrubs
were beaten pitilessly to the ground; and here and
there lay the dead bodies of little feathered songsters,
262 Lhe Story of Stregfried.
who, the day before, had made the woods glad with
their music.

The sun had scarcely risen above this sorrowful
scene, gilding the gray towers and turrets and the
drooping trees with the promise of better things, than
a strange confusion was noticed outside of the castle-
gates. Thirty and two horsemen wearing the livery of
the North-lands stood there, and asked to be led to the
Burgundian kings.

“Who are you? and what is your errand?” asked the
gate-keeper.

“We come as heralds and messengers from Leudiger
and Leudigast, the mighty kings of the North,” they
answered. ‘But our errand we can tell to no man
save to Gunther your king, or to his brothers Gernot
and Giselher.”

Then they were led by the king’s command into the
council-hall, where sat Gunther, Gernot, and the noble
Giselher; and behind them stood their uncle and chief,
brave old Hagen.

“What message bring you from our old friends Leu-
diger and Leudigast?” asked Gunther of the stran-
gers.

“Call them not your friends,” answered the chief of
the company. “We bring you this message from our
liege lords, whom you may well count as enemies.
Many years ago they were sorely beaten in battle, and
suffered much hurt at your hends. And they vowed
then to avenge the injury, and to wipe out the disgrace
How the Mischief began to Brew. 263





you had caused them, just so soon as they were strong
enough to do so. Now they are ready, with fifty
thousand men, to march into your country. And they
- swear to lay waste your lands, and to burn your towns
and villages and all your castles, unless you at once
ack aowledge yourselves their vassals, and agree to pay
them tribute. This is the kings’ message. And we
were further ordered not to wait for an answer, but to
carry back to them without delay your reply, whether
you will agree to their terms or no.”

King Gunther, as was his wont, turned to Hagen for
advice.

“Send for Siegfried,” whispered the chief.

It was done. And soon the hero came into the hall.
His kingly grace and warlike bearing were such that
Gunther dared not raise his guilty eyes from the
ground; and Hagen’s furtive glances were, for the
moment, freighted with fear and shame. The message
of the heralds was repeated to Siegfried; and Gunther
said, —

“Most noble friend, you hear what word these trai-
torous kings dare send us. Now, we remember, that,
long years ago, you led us against them, and gave us a
glorious victory. We remember, too, how, by your
counsel, their lives were spared, and they were sent
home with costly gifts. It is thus they repay our kind-
ness. What answer shall we send them?”

«Say that we will fight,” answered Siegfried at once.
“J will lead my brave Nibelungens against them, and
264 The Story of Stegyried.



they shall learn how serious a thing it is to break an
oath, or to return treason for kindness.”

The news soon spread through all the town and
through the country-side, that Leudiger and Leudigast,
with fifty thousand men, were marching into Burgundy,
and destroying every thing in their way. And great
fright and confusion prevailed. Men and women hur-
ried hither and thither in dismay. Soldiers busily
sharpened their weapons, and burnished their armor,
ready for the fray. Little children were seen cowering
at every sound, and anxious faces were found every-
where.

When Queen Kriemhild saw the busy tumult, and
heard the shouts and cries in the street and the court-
yard, and learned the cause of it all, she was greatly
troubled, and went at once to seek Siegfried. When
she found him, she drew him aside, and besought him
not to take part in the war which threatened, but to
hasten with all speed back to their own loved Nibelun.
gen Land.

“And why would my noble queen wish me thus to
play the part of a coward, and to leave my friends
when they most need my help?” asked Siegfried in
surprise.

“T would not have you play the coward,” answered
Kriemhild, and hot tears stood in her eyes. “But
some unseen danger overhangs. There are other trai-
tors than Leudiger and Leudigast, and men to be more
feared than they. Last night I dreamed a fearful
Flow the Mischief began to Brew. 2065



dream, and it follows me still. I dreamed that you
hunted in the forest, and that two wild boars attacked
you. The grass and the flowers were stained with your
gore, and the cruel tusks of the beasts tore you in
pieces, and no one came to your help. And I cried
out in my distress, and awoke; and the storm-clouds
roared and threatened, and the hail pattered on the
roof, and the wind and rain beat against the window-
panes. Then I slept again, and another dream, as
fearful as the first, came to me. I dreamed that you
rode in the forest, and that music sprang up in your
footsteps, and all things living called you blessed, but
that suddenly two mountains rose up from the ground,
and their high granite crags toppled over, and fell upon
you, and buried you from my sight forever. Then I
awoke again, and my heart has ever since been heavy
with fearful forebodings. I know that some dread evil
threatens us; yet, what it is, I cannot tell. But go not
out against the North-kings. Our Nibelungen-folk wait
too long for your coming.”

Siegfried gayly laughed at his queen’s fears, and said,
“The woof of every man’s fate has been woven by
the Norns, and neither he nor his foes can change it.
When his hour comes, then he must go to meet his
destiny.”

Then he led her gently back to her room in the
castle, and bade her a loving farewell, saying, “ When
the foes of our Burgundian hosts are put to flight, and
there is no longer need for us here, then will we hasten
266 The Story of Stegfried.

back to Nibelungen Land. Have patience and hope
for a few days only, and all will yet be well. Forget
your foolish dreams, and think only of my glad return.”

It was arranged, that, in the march against the
North-kings, Siegfried with his Nibelungens should
take the lead; while Hagen, with a picked company of
fighting-men, should bring up the rear. Every one was
eager to join in the undertaking; and no one, save
King Gunther and his cunning counsellor, and Ortwin
and Dankwart, knew that the pretended heralds from
the North-kings were not heralds at all, but merely the
false tools of wicked Hagen. For the whole was but a
well-planned plot, as we shall see, to entrap unwary,
trusting Siegfried.

Soon all things were in readiness for the march ; but,
as the day was now well spent, it was agreed, that, at
early dawn of the morrow, the little army should set
out. And every one went home to put his affairs in
order, and to rest for the night.

Late that evening old Hagen went to bid Siegfried’s
queen good-by. Kriemhild had tried hard to drown
her gloomy fears, and to forget her sad, foreboding
dreams; but it was all in vain, for deep anxiety still
rested heavily upon her mind. Yet she welcomed her
dark-browed uncle with the kindest words.

“How glad I am,” she said, “that my husband is
here to help my kinsfolk in this their time of need! I
know right well, that, with him to lead, you shall win
But, dear uncle, remember, when you are in the battle,
flow the Mischief began to Brew. 267



that we have always loved you, and that Siegfried has
done many kindnesses to the Burgundians ; and, if any
danger threaten him, turn it aside, I pray you, for
Kriemhild’s sake. I know that I merit Queen Brun-
hild’s anger, because of the sharp words I lately spoke
to her; but let not my husband suffer blame for that
which is my fault alone.”

‘“‘Kriemhild,’ answered Hagen, “no one shall suffer
blame, — neither Siegfried nor yourself. We are all
forgetful, and sometimes speak hasty words; but that
which we say in angry thoughtlessness should not be
cherished up against us. There is no one who thinks
more highly of Siegfried than I, and there is nothing I
would not do to serve him.”

“T should not fear for him,” said she, “if he were
not so bold and reckless. When he is in the battle,
he never thinks of his own safety. And I tremble
lest at some time he may dare too much, and meet his
death. If you knew every thing, as I do, you would
fear for him too.”

“What is it?” asked Hagen, trying to hide his
eagerness, — “what is it that gives you cause for fear?
Tell me all about it, and then I will know the bette:
how to shield him from danger. I will lay down my
life for his sake.”

Then Kriemhild, trusting in her uncle’s word, and
forgetful of every caution, told him the secret of the
dragon’s blood, and of Siegfried’s strange bath, and of
the mischief-working lime-leaf.
268 Lhe Story of Siegfried.



“ And now,” she added, “since I know that there is
one spot which a deadly weapon might reach, I am in
constant fear that the spear of an enemy may, per-
chance, strike him there. Is there not some way of
shielding that spot?”

“There is,” answered Hagen. “Make some mark,
or put some sign, upon his coat, that I may know where
that spot is. And, when the battle rages, I will ride
close behind him, and ward off every threatened stroke.”

And Kriemhild joyfully promised that she would at
once embroider a silken lime-leaf on the hero’s coat,
just over the fatal spot. And Hagen, well pleased,
bade her farewell, and went away.

Without delay the chief sought the weak-minded
Gunther, and to him he related all that the trustful
Kriemhild had told him. And, until the midnight
hour, the two plotters sat in the king’s bed-chamber,
and laid their cunning plans. Both thought it best,
now they had learned the fatal secret, to give up the
sham march against the North-kings, and to seek by
other and easier means to lure Siegfried to his death.

“The chiefs will be much displeased,” said Gunther.
‘‘For all will come, ready to march at the rising of the
sun. What shall we do to please them, and make them
more ready to change their plans?”

Hagen thought a moment, and then the grim smile
that was wont to break the dark lines of his face when
he was pleased spread over his features.

“We will have a grand hunt in the Odenwald to-
morrow,” he hoarsely whispered.
Flow they Hunted in the Odenwald. 269



ADVENTURE XIX.

HOW THEY HUNTED IN THE
ODENWALD.

NEXT morning, at earliest daybreak, while yet the
stars were bright, and the trees hung heavy with dew-
drops, and the clouds were light and high, King Sieg-
fried stood with his warriors before the castle-gate.
They waited but for the sunrise, and a word from
Gunther the king, to ride forth over dale and woodland,
and through forest and brake and field, to meet, as they
believed, the hosts of the North-land kings. And Sieg-
fried moved among them, calm-faced and bright as a
war-god, upon the radiant Greyfell. And men said, long
years afterward, that never had the shining hero
seemed so glorious to their sight. Within the spacious
courtyard a thousand Burgundian braves stood waiting,
too, for the signal, and the king’s, word of command.
And at their head stood Hagen, dark as a cloud in
summer, guilefully hiding his vile plots, and giving out
orders for the marching. There, too, were honest
Gernot, fearless and upright, and Giselher, true as
gold; and neither of them dreamed of evil, or of the
270 The Story of Siegfried.

dark deed that day was doomed to see. Close by the
gate was Ortwin, bearing aloft the blood-red dragon-
banner, which the Burgundians were wont to carry in
honor of Siegfried’s famous fight with Fafnir. And
there was Dankwart, also, ever ready to boast when no
danger threatened, and ever willing to do chief Hagen’s
bidding. And next came Volker the Fiddler good,
with the famed sword Fiddle-bow by him, on which, it
is said, he could make the sweetest music while fight-
ing his foes in battle.

At length the sun began to peep over the eastern
hills, and his beams fell upon the castle-walls, and shot
away through the trees, and over the meadows, and
made the dewdrops glisten like myriads of diamonds
among the dripping leaves and blossoms. And a glad
shout went up from the throats of the waiting heroes ;
for they thought that the looked-for moment had come,
and the march would soon begin. And the shout was
echoed from walls to turrets, and from turrets to trees,
and from trees to hills, and from the hills to the vaulted
sky above. And nothing was wanting now but King
Gunther’s word of command.

Suddenly, far down the street, the sound of a bugle
was heard, and then of the swift clattering of horses’
hoofs coming up the hill towards the castle.

‘““Who are they who come thus to join us at the last
moment?” asked Hagen of the watchman above the gate.

“They are strangers,” answered the watchman ;
“and they carry a peace-flag.”
How they Flunted in the Odenwald. 271







In a few moments the strange horsemen dashed up,
and halted some distance from the castle-gate, where
Siegfried and his heroes stood.

“Who are you? and what is your errand?” cried
Hagen, in the king’s name.

They answered that they were heralds from the
North-land kings, sent quickly to correct the message
of the day before; for their liege lords, Leudiger and
Leudigast, they said, had given up warring against
Burgundy, and had gone back to theirhomes. And they
had sent humbly to ask the Rhineland kings to forget
the rash threats which they had made, and to allow
them to swear fealty to Gunther, and henceforth to be
his humble vassals, if only they might be forgiven.

“Right cheerfully do we forgive them!” cried
Gunther, not waiting to consult with his wise men.
« And our forgiveness shall be so full, that we shall ask
neither fealty nor tribute from them.”

Then he turned to Siegfried, and said, “ You hear,
friend Siegfried, how this troublesome matter has been
happily ended. Accept our thanks, we pray you, for
your proffered help; for, without it, it might have gone
but roughly with us in a second war with the North-
land kings. But now you are free to do what pleases
you. If, as you said yesterday, you would fain return
to Nibelungen Land, you may send your warriors on
the way to-day, for they are already equipped for the
journey. But abide you with us another day, and
to-morrow we will bid you God-speed, and you may
272 The Story of Stegfried.

easily overtake your Nibelungen friends ere they have
reached our own boundaries.”

Siegfried was not well pleased to give up an under-
taking scarce begun, and still less could he understand
why the king should be so ready to forgive the affront
which the North-land kings had offered him. And he
was not slow in reading the look of shame and guilt
that lurked in Gunther’s face, or the smile of jealous
hate that Hagen could no longer hide. Yet no word of
displeasure spoke he, nor seemed he to understand
that any mischief was brewing; for he feared neither
force nor guile. So he bade his Nibelungens to begin
their homeward march, saying that he and Kriemhild,
and the ladies of her train, would follow swiftly on the
morrow.

“Since it is your last day with us,” said Gunther,
grown cunning through Hagen’s teaching, “what say
you, dear Siegfried, to a hunt in Odin’s Wood?”

“Right glad will I be to join you in such sport,”
answered Siegfried. “I will change my war-coat for a
hunting-suit, and be ready within an hour.”

Then Siegfried went to his apartments, and doffed
his steel-clad armor, and searched in vain through his
wardrobe for his favorite hunting-suit. But it was
nowhere to be found ; and he was fain to put on the rich
embroidered coat which he sometimes wore in battle,
instead of a coat-of-mail. And he did not see the
white lime-leaf that Kriemhild with anxious care had
worked in silk upon it. Then he sought the queen,
flow they Hlunted in the Odenwald. 273



and told her of the unlooked-for change of plans, and
how, on the morrow, they would ride towards Nibe-
lungen Land; but to-day he said he had promised
Gunther to hunt with him in the Odenwald.

But Kriemhild, to his great surprise, begged him not
to leave her, even to hunt in the Odenwald: For she
had begun to fear that she had made a great mistake in
telling Hagen the story of the lime-leaf; and yet she
could not explain to Siegfried the true cause of her
uneasiness.

“Oh, do not join in the hunt!” she cried. “Some-
thing tells me that danger lurks hidden in the wood.
Stay in the castle with me, and help me put things in
readiness for our journey homewards to-morrow. Last
night I had another dream. I thought that Odin’s
birds, Hugin and Munin, sat on a tree before me.
‘And Hugin flapped his wings, and said, ‘What more
vile than a false friend? What more to be feared than
a secret foe? Harder than stone is his unfeeling heart;
sharper than the adder’s poison-fangs are his words; a
snake in the grass is he!’ Then Hunin flapped his
wings too, but said nothing. And I awoke, and thought
at once of the sunbright Balder, slain through Loki’s
vile deceit. And, as I thought upon his sad death, a
withered leaf came fluttering through the casement, °
and fell upon my couch. Sad signs and tokens are
these, my husband; and much grief, I fear, they fore-
telly

But Siegfried was deaf to her words of warning, and
274 Lhe Story of Siegfried.

ee Ee oY ee ey
he laughed at the foolish dream. Then he bade her
farewell till even-tide, and hastened to join the party
of huntsmen who waited for him impatiently at the
gate.

When the party reached the Odenwald, they sepa-
rated ; each man taking his own course, and following
his own game. Siegfried, with but one trusty hunts-
man and his own fleet-footed hound, sought at once
the wildest and thickest part of the wood. And great
was the slaughter he made among the fierce beasts of
the forest ; for nothing that was worthy of notice could
hide from his sight, or escape him. From his lair in a
thorny thicket, a huge wild boar sprang up; and with
glaring red eyes, and mouth foaming, and tusks gnash-
ing with rage, he charged fiercely upon the hero. But,
with one skilful stroke from his great spear, Siegfried
laid the beast dead on the heather. Next he met a
tawny lion, couched ready to spring upon him; but,
drawing quickly his heavy bow, he sent a quivering
arrow through the animal’s heart. Then, one after
another, he slew a buffalo, four bisons, a mighty elk
with branching horns, and many deers and stags and
savage beasts.

At one time the hound drove from its hiding-place
another wild boar, much greater than the first, and far
more fierce. Quickly Siegfried dismounted from his
horse, and met the grizzly creature as it rushed with
raving fury towards him. The sword of the hero cleft
the beast in twain, and its bloody parts lay lifeless on
Flow they Hunted in the Odenwald. 275

the ground. Then Siegfried’s huntsman, in gay mood,
said, “ My lord, would it not be better to rest a while?
If you keep on slaughtering at this rate, there will soon
be no game left in Odenwald.”

Siegfried laughed heartily at the merry words, and at
once called in his hound, saying, “You are right! We
will hunt no more until our good friends have joined
us.”

Soon afterward the call of a bugle was heard; and
Gunther and Hagen and Dankwart and Ortwin, with
their huntsmen and hounds, came riding up.

«What luck have you had, my friends?” asked Sieg-
fried.

Then Hagen told what game they had taken, —a
deer, a young bear, and two small wild boars. But,
when they learned what Siegfried had done, the old
chief’s face grew dark, and he knit his eyebrows, and
bit his lips in jealous hate: for four knights, ten hunts-
men, and four and twenty hounds, had beaten every
bush, and followed every trail; and yet the Nibelungen
king, with but one follower and one hound, had slain
ten times as much game as they.

While they stood talking over the successes of the
day, the sound of a horn was heard, calling the sports-
men together for the mid-day meal; and knights and
huntsmen turned their steeds, and rode slowly towards
the trysting-place. Suddenly a huge bear, roused by
the noise of baying hounds and tramping feet, crossed
their pathway.
276 Lhe Story of Siegfried.



“Ah!” cried Siegfried, “there goes our friend Bruin,
just in time to give us a bit of fun, and some needed
sport at dinner. He shall go with us, and be our
guest !” ne

With these words he loosed his hound, and dashed
swiftly forwards after the beast. Through thick under-
brush and tangled briers, and over fallen trees, the
frightened creature ran, until at last it reached a steep
hillside. There, in a rocky cleft, it stood at bay, and
fought fiercely for its life. When Siegfried came up,
and saw that his hound dared not take hold of the
furious beast, he sprang from his horse, and seized the
bear in his own strong arms, and bound him safely
with a stout cord. Then he fastened an end of the
cord to his saddle-bows, and remounted his steed.
And thus he rode through the forest to the place
where the dinner waited, dragging the unwilling bear
behind him, while the dog bounded gayly along by his
side.

No nobler sight had ever been seen in that forest
than that which Gunther’s people saw that day. The
Nibelungen king was dressed as well became so great a
hero. His suit was of the speckled lynx’s hide and rich
black silk, upon which were embroidered many strange
devices, with threads of gold. (But, alas! between the
shoulders was the silken lime-leaf that Queen Kriem-
hild’s busy fingers had wrought.) His cap was of the
blackest fur, brought from the frozen Siberian land.
Over his shoulder was thrown his well-filled quiver,
How they Hunted in the Odenwald. 277





made of lion’s skin; and in his hands he carried his
bow of mulberry, —a very beam in size, and so strong
that no man save himself could bend it. A golden
hunting-horn was at his side, and his sunbright shield
lay on his saddle-bow; while his mighty sword, the
fire-edged Balmung, in its sheath glittering with gem-
stones, hung from his jewelled belt.

The men who stood around chief Hagen, and who
saw the hero coming thus god-like through the green-
wood, admired and trembled ; and Dankwart whispered
a word of caution to his dark-browed brother. But the
old chief’s face grew gloomier than before; and he
scowled fiercely upon the faint-hearted Dankwart, as
he hoarsely whispered in return, —

“What though he be Odin himself, still will I dare!
It is not I: it is the Norns, who shape every man’s
fate.”

When Siegfried reached the camp with his prize,
the huntsmen shouted with delight; and the hounds
howled loudly, and shook their chains, and tried hard
to get at the shaggy beast. The king leaped to the
ground, and unloosed the cords which bound him;
and at the same time the hounds were unleashed, and
set upon the angry, frightened creature. Hemmed in
on every side, the bear rushed blindly forwards, and
leaped over the fires, where the cooks were busy with
the dinner. Pots and kettles were knocked about in
great confusion, and the scared cooks thrown sprawl-
ing upon the ground; and many a dainty dish and
278 The Story of Siegfried.



— on

savory mess was spoiled. The bear fled fast down the
forest road, followed by the baying hounds and the
fleet-footed warriors. But none dared shoot an arrow
at him for fear of killing the dogs; and it seemed as if
he would surely escape, so fast he ran away. Then
Siegfried bounded forwards, swifter than a deer, over-
took the bear, and with one stroke of the sword gave
him his death-blow. And all who saw this feat of
strength and quickness wondered greatly, and felt that
such a hero must indeed be without a peer.

When Gunther’s cooks had made the dinner ready,
the company sat down on the grass, and all partook of
a merry meal; for the bracing air and the morning’s
sport had made sharp appetites. But, when they had
eaten, they were surprised to find that there was noth-
ing to drink. Indeed, there was neither wine nor
water in the camp.

“How glad I am,” said Siegfried gayly, “that I am
not a huntsman by trade, if it is a huntsman’s way to
go thus dry! Oh for a glass of wine, or even a cup
of cold spring-water, to quench my thirst!”

“We will make up for this oversight when we go
back home,” said Gunther; and his heart was black
with falsehood. “The blame in this matter should
rest on Hagen, for it was he who was to look after the
drinkables.”’

“My lord,” said Hagen, “I fell into a mistake by
thinking that we would dine, not here, but at the Spes-
sart Springs ; and thither I sent the wine.”
flow they “Hunted in the Odenwald. 279



“And is there no water near?” asked Siegfried.

“Yes,” answered Hagen. “There is a cool; shady
spring not far from here, where the water gushes in a
clear, cold stream from beneath a linden-tree. Do but
forgive me for the lack of wine, and I will lead you to
it. It is a rare spring, and the water is almost as gooa
as wine.”

“Better than wine for me!” cried Siegfried. And
he asked to be shown to the spring at once.

Hagen arose, and pointed to a tree not far away,
beneath whose spreading branches Siegfried could see
the water sparkling in the sunlight.

“Men have told me,” said the chief, “that the
Nibelungen king is very fleet of foot, and that no one
has ever outstripped him in the race. Time was, when
King Gunther and myself were spoken of as very swift
runners ; and, though we are now growing old, I fancy
that many young men would, even now, fail to keep
pace with us. Suppose we try a race to the spring,
and see which of the three can win.”

“Agreed!” cried Siegfried. ‘We will run; and, if
I am beaten, I will kneel down in the grass to him who
wins. I will give the odds in your favor too; for I
will carry with me my spear, and my shield, and my
helmet and sword, and all the trappings cf the chase,
while you may doff from your shoulders whatever
might hinder your speed.”

So Gunther and Hagen laid aside all their arms, and
put off their heavy clothing; but Siegfried took up his
280 The Story of Siegfried.



bow and quiver, and his heavy shield, and his beam-
like spear. Then the word was given, and all three
ran with wondrous speed. Gunther and his chief flew
over the grass as light-footed as two wild panthers:
bu. Siegfried sped swift as an arrow shot from the hand
of a skilful bowman. He reached the spring when
yet the others were not half way to it. He laid his
spear and sword, and bow and quiver of arrows, upon
the ground, and leaned his heavy shield against the
linden-tree ; and then he waited courteously for King
Gunther to come up, for his knightly honor would
not allow him to drink until his host had quenched
his thirst.

Gunther, when he reached the spring, stooped over,
and drank heartily of the cool, refreshing water ; and,
after he had risen, Siegfried knelt upon the grass at
the edge of the pool to quaff from the same gushing
fountain. Stealthily then, and with quickness, did
chief Hagen hide his huge bow and his quiver, and
his good sword Balmung, and, seizing the hero’s spear,
he lifted it in air, and with too steady aim struck the
silken lime-leaf that the loving Kriemhild had embroi-
cered. Never in all the wide mid-world was known a
deed more cowardly, never a baser act. The hero was
pierced with his own weapon by one he had deemed his
friend. His blood gushed forth in torrents, and dyed
the green grass red, and discolored the sparkling water,
and even filled the face and eyes of vile Hagen.

Yet, in the hour of death, King Siegfried showed
flow they Flunted in the Odenwald. 281



how noble was his soui, how great his strength of
will. Up he rose from his bended knees, and fiercely
glanced around. Then, had not the evil-eyed chief,
who never before had shunned a foe, fled with fleet-
footed fear, quick vengeance would have overtaken
him. In vain did the dying king look for his bow and
his trusty sword: too safely had they been hidden
‘Then, though death was fast dimming his eyes, he
seized his heavy shield, and sprang after the flying
Hagen. Swift as the wind he followed him, quickly
he overtook him. With his last strength he felled the
vile wretch to the ground, and beat him with the shield,
until the heavy plates of brass and steel were broken,
and the jewels which adorned it were scattered among
the grass. The sound of the heavy blows was heard
far through the forest ; and, had the hero’s strength held
out, Hagen would have had his reward.t But Siegfried,
weak and pale from the loss of blood, now staggered,
and fell among the trampled flowers of the wood.

Then with his last breath he thus upbraided his false
friends : —

“Cowards and traitors, ye! A curse shall fall upon
you. My every care has been to serve and please you,
and thus Iam requited. Bitterly shall you rue this deed.
The brand of traitor is set upon your foreheads, and it

shall be a mark of loathing and shame to you forever.”
_ Then the weak old Gunther began to wring his
hands, and to bewail the death of Siegfried. But the
hero bade him hush, and asked him of what use it was

1 See Note 32 at the end of this volume
282 The Story of Siegfried.
to regret an act which could have been done only by
his leave and sanction.

“Better to have thought of tears and groans before,”
said he. “I have always known that you were a man
of weak mind, but never did I dream that you could
lend yourself to so base a deed. And now, if there is
left aught of manliness in your bosom, I charge you to
have a care for Kriemhild your sister. Long shall
my loved Nibelungen-folk await my coming home.”

The glorious hero struggled in the last agony. The
grass and flowers were covered with his blood ; the trees
shivered, as if in sympathy with him, and dropped their
leaves upon the ground; the birds stopped singing, and
sorrowfully flew away; and a solemn silence fell upon
the earth, as if the very heart of Nature had been
crushed.

And the men who stood around —all save the four
guilty ones — bowed their heads upon their hands, and
gave way to one wild burst of grief. Then tenderly
they took up Siegfried, and laid him upon a shield,
with his mighty weapons by him. And, when the
sorrowing Night had spread her black mantle over the
mid-world, they carried him silently out of the forest,
and across the river, and brought him, by Gunther’s
orders, to the old castle, which now nevermore would
resound with mirth and gladness. And they laid him
at Kriemhild’s door, and stole sadly away to their own
places, and each one thought bitterly of the morrow.!

' See Note 33 at the end of this volume.


THE DEATH OF SIEGFRIED.
Flow the [oard was brought to Burgundy. 283



ADVENTURE XX.

HOW THE HOARD WAS BROUGHT
Om BURG ONDE

Anp what was done on the morrow ?

Too sad is the tale of Kriemhild’s woe and her grief
for the mighty dead. Let us pass it by in tearful, pity-
ing silence, nor wish to awaken the echoes of that
morning of hopeless anguish which dawned on the
cold and cheerless dwelling of the kings. For peace
had fled from Burgundy, nevermore to return.

Siegfried was dead. Faded, now, was the glory of the
Nibelungen Land, and gone was the mid-world’s hope.

It is told in ancient story, how men built a funeral-
pile far out on the grassy meadows, where the quiet
river flows; and how, in busy silence, they laid the
sun-dried beams of ash and elm together, and made
ready the hero’s couch; and how the pile was dight
with many a sun-bright shield, with war-coats and
glittering helms, and silks and rich dyed cloths from
the South-land, and furs, and fine-wrought ivory, and
gem-stones priceless and rare; and how, over all, they
scattered sweet spices from Araby, and the pleasantest
284 The. Story of Siegfried.



of all perfumes. Then they brought the golden Sieg-
fried, and laid him on his couch; and beside him were
his battered shield, and Balmung with its fire-edge
bare. And, as the sun rose high in heaven, the noblest
earl-folk who had loved Siegfried best touched fire to
the funeral-pile. And a pleasant breeze from the South-
land fanned the fire to a flame, and the white blaze
leaped on high, and all the folk cried out in mighty
agony to the gods.

Such was the story that men told to each other
when the world was still young, and the heroes were
unforgotten.t And some said, too, that Brunhild, the
fair and hapless queen, died then of a broken heart and
of a hopeless, yearning sorrow, and that she was
burned with Siegfried on that high-built funeral-pile.

“They are gone, —the lovely, the mighty, the hope of the ancient
y g y: ghey.

earth:

It shall labor and bear the burden as before the day of their
births: 3. y.e. ;

It shall yearn, and be oft-times holpen, and forget their deeds no
more,

Till the new sun beams on Balder and the happy sealess
shore.”2

Another and much later story is sometimes told of
these last sad days, — how the hero’s body was laid in a
coffin, and buried in the quiet earth, amid the sorrowful
lamentations of all the Rhineland folk; and how, at

1 See Note 34 at the end of this volume.
2 Morris: Sigurd the Volsung, Bk, III.
Flow the Hoard was brought to Burgundy. 285
Kriemhild’s earnest wish, it was afterwards removed to
the place where now stands the little minster of
Lorsch. As to which of these stories is the true one,
it is not for me to say. Enough it is to know that
Siegfried was dead, and that the spring-time had fled,
and the summer-season with all its golden glories had
faded away from Rhineland, and that the powers of
darkness and of cold and of evil had prevailed.

To this day the city where was the dwelling of the
Burgundian kings is called Worms, in remembrance of
the dragon, or worm, which Siegfried slew; and a
figure of that monster was for many years painted upon
the city arms, and borne on the banner of the Bur-
gundians. And, until recently, travellers were shown
the Reisen-haus, —a stronghold, which, men say, Sieg-
fried built; and in it were many strange and mighty
weapons, which, they claim, were wielded by the hero.
The lance which was shown there was a great beam
nearly eighty feet in length; and the war-coat, wrought
with steel and gold, and bespangled with gem-stones,
was a wonder to behold. And now, in the Church of
St. Cecilia, you may see what purports to be the hero’s
grave. And a pleasant meadow, not far from the town,
is still called Kriemhild’s Rose-garden; while farther
away is the place called Drachenfels, or the dragon’s
field, where, they say, Siegfried met Fafnir. But
whether it is the same as the Glittering Heath of the
ancient legend, I know not.

And what became of the Hoard of Andvari?
286 The Story of Siegfried.

The story is briefly told." When the days of mourn-
ing were past, and the people had gone back sadly to
their homes, Queen Kriemhild began to speak of return-
ing to the land of the Nibelungens. But Ute, her aged
mother, could not bear to part with her, and besought
her to stay, for a while at least, in the now desolate
Burgundian castle. And Gernot and Giselher, her true
and loving brothers, added their words of entreaty also.
And so, though heart-sick, and with many misgivings,
she agreed to abide for a season in this cheerless and
comfortless place’ Many days, even months, dragged
by, and still she remained ; for she found it still harder
and harder to tear herself away from her mother, and
all that her heart held dear. Yet never, for three years
and more, did she even speak to Gunther, or by any sign
show that she remembered him. And, as for Hagen,
no words could utter the deep and settled hate she felt
towards him. But the dark-browed chief cared nought
either for love or hate; and he walked erect, as in the
days of yore, and he smiled and frowned alike for both
evil and good. And he said, “It was not I: it was the
Norns, who wove the woof of his life and mine.”

The years went by on leaden wings, and brought no
sunlight to Gunther’s dwelling; for his days were full
of sadness, and his nights of fearful dreams. At length
he said to chief Hagen, “If there is aught in the mid-
world that can drive away this gloom, I pray thee to
help me find it; for madness steals upon me.”

* See Note 35 at the end of this volume.
How the Hoard was brought to Burgundy. 287



“There is one thing,” answered Hagen, “which might
brighten our land again, and lift up your drooping spirits,
and bring gladness to your halls.”

“ What is that?”’ asked the king.

“Tt is the Nibelungen Hoard,” said the chief. “It
is the wondrous treasure of Andvari, which Siegfi!ed
gave as a gift to Kriemhild. If it were ours, we might
become the masters of the world.”

“But how can we obtain it?”

“Tt is Kriemhild’s,” was the answer. “But she does
not care for it; neither could she use it if she wished.
{f you could only gain her favor and forgiveness, I feel
sure that she would let you do with it as you wish.”

Then Gunther besought his younger brothers to in-
tercede for him with Kriemhild, that she would so far
forgive him as to look upon his face, and speak with
him once more. And this the queen at last consented
to do. And, when Gunther came into her presence,
she was so touched at sight of his haggard face and
whitened locks, and his earnest words of sorrow, that
she forgave him the great wrong that he had done, and
welcomed him again as her brother. And he swore
that never would he again wrong her or hers, nor do
aught to grieve her. But it was not until a long time
after this, that he proposed to her that they should
bring the Hoard of Andvari away from the Nibelungen
Land.

“For, if it were here, dear sister,” he said, “it might
be of great use to yeu.”
288 Lhe Story of Sregfried.





“Do whatever seems best to you,” answered Kriem-
hild. ‘Only remember the oath that you have given
THOS

Then Gunther, because he was anxious to see the
wondrous Hoard, but more because he was urged on by
Hagen, made ready to send to the Nibelungen Land
to bring away the treasure by Kriemhild’s command.
Eight thousand men, with Gernot and Giselher as their
leaders, sailed over the sea in stanch vessels, and landed
on the Nibelungen shore. And when they told who
they were, and whence they came, and showed the
queen’s signet-ring, they were welcomed heartily by
the fair-haired folk of Mist Land, who gladly acknowl-
edged themselves the faithful liegemen of the loved
Kriemhild.

When the Burgundians made known their errand to
Alberich the dwarf, who still held watch and ward over
the mountain stronghold, he was much amazed, and he
grieved to part with his cherished treasure,

“ But,” said he to his little followers, who stood around
him by thousands, each anxious to fight the intruders,
— “but there is Queen Kriemhild’s order and her signet-
ring, and we must, perforce, obey. Yet had we again
the good Tarnkappe which Siegfried took from us, the
Hoard should never leave us.”

Then sadly he gave up the keys, and the Burgundians
began to remove the treasure. For four whole days
and nights they toiled, carrying the Hoard in huge
wagons down to the sea. And on the fifth day they
How the Hoard was brought to Burgundy. 289
set sail, and without mishap arrived in good time at
Worms. And many of Alberich’s people, the swarthy
elves of the cave, came with Gernot to Rhineland; for
they could not live away from the Hoard. And it is
said, that hidden among the gold and the gem-stones
was the far-famed Wishing-rod, which would give to
its owner the power of becoming the lord of the wide
mid-world.

And the vast treasure was stored in the towers and
vaults of the castle. And Queen Kriemhild alone held
the keys, and lavishly she scattered the gold wherever
it was needed most. The hungry were fed, the naked
were clothed, the sick were cared for; and everybody
near and far blessed the peerless Queen of Nibelungen
Land.

Then Hagen, always plotting evil, whispered to King
Gunther, and said, “It is dangerous to suffer your sister
to hold so vast a treasure. All the people are even now
ready to leave you, and follow her. She will yet plot
to seize the kingdom, and destroy us.” ~

And he urged the king to take the keys and to make
the Nibelungen Hoard his own.

But Gunther answered, “I have already done too
great a wrong. And I have sworn to my sister never
to harm her again, or to do aught that will grieve her.”

“Let the guilt, then, rest on me,” said Hagen And
he strode away, and took the keys from Kriemhild by
force.

When Gernct and Giselher heard of this last vile
290 The Story of Siegfried.



act of the evil-eyed chief, they waxed very angry, and
vowed that they would help their sister regain that
which was her own. But the wary Hagen was not to
be foiled; for, while the brothers were away from the
burgh, he caused the great Hoard to be carried to the
river, at a place called Lochheim, and sunk, fathoms
deep, beneath the water. And then, for fear of the
vengeance which might be wreaked upon him, he fled
from Rhineland, and hid himself for a while among the
mountains and the barren hill-country of the South.
And this was the end of the fated Hoard of Andvari.
THE AFTER WORD.



Sucu is the story of Siegfried (or Sigurd), as we
gather it from various German and Scandinavian
legends. In this recital I have made no attempt to
follow any one of the numerous originals, but have
selected here and there such incidents as best suited
my purpose in constructing one connected story which
would convey to your minds some notion of the beauty
and richness of our ancient myths. In doing this, I
have drawn, now from the Volsunga Saga, now from the
Nibelungen Lied, now from one of the Eddas, and now
from some of the minor legends relating to the great
hero of the North. These ancient stories, although
differing widely in particulars, have a certain general
relationship and agreement which proves beyond doubt
a common origin. ‘The primeval myth,” says Thomas

Carlyle, “whether it were at first philosophical truth, or
2g.
292 The After Word.

historical incident, floats too vaguely on the breath of
men: each has the privilege of inventing, and the far
wider privilege of borrowing and new modelling from
all that preceded him. Thus, though tradition may
have but one root, it grows, like a banian, into a whole
overarching labyrinth of trees.”

If you would follow the tradition of Siegfried to the
end; if you would learn how, after the great Hoard had
been buried in the Rhine, the curse of the dwarf
Andvari still followed those who had possessed it, and
how Kriemhild wreaked a terrible vengeance upon Sieg-
fried’s murderers, — you must read the original story
as related in the Volsung Myth or in the Nibelungen
Song. Our story ends with Siegfried.

The episodes which I have inserted here and there —
the stories of A®gir, and of Balder, and of Idun, and of
Thor—do not, as you may know, belong properly to
the legend of Siegfried; but I have thrown them in,
in order to acquaint you with some of the most beau-
tiful mythical conceptions of our ancestors.

A grand old people were those early kinsmen of ours,
—not at all so savage and inhuman as our histories
would sometimes make us believe. For however mis- |

taken their notions may have been, and however
The After Word. 293



ignorant they were, according to our ideas of things,
they were strong-hearted, brave workers; and, so far
as opportunity was afforded them, they acted well their
parts. What their notions were of true manhood, —a
strong mind in a strong body, good, brave, and hand-

some, — may be learned from the story of Siegfried.
294 Notes.



NOTES.

NOTE I.— SIEGFRIED’S BoyHoop. Page 4.

“ ALL men agree that Siegfried was a king’s son. He was born,
as we here have good reason to know, ‘at Santen in Netherland,’
of Siegmund and the fair Siegelinde; yet by some family misfor-
tune or discord, of which the accounts are very various, he came
into singular straits during boyhood, having passed that happy
period of life, not under the canopies of costly state, but by the
sooty stithy, in one Mimer, a blacksmith’s shop.” —— THomas Car-
LYLE, The Wibelungen Lied.

The older versions of this story represent Siegfried, under the
name of Sigurd, as being brought up at the court of the Danish
King Hialprek; his own father Sigmund having been slain in
battle, as related in this chapter. He was early placed under
the tuition of Regin, or Regino, an elf, who instructed his pupil
in draughts, runes, languages, and various other accomplishments.
— See Preface to VOLLMER’s Mibelunge Not, also the Song of
Sigurd Fafnisbane, in the Elder Edda, and the Jcelandic Vol-
sunga Saga.

NoTE 2.— MIMER. Page 18.

“The Vilkinasaga brings before us yet another smith, Mimer,
by whom not only is Velint instructed in his art, but Sigfrit (Sieg-
fried) is brought up,—another smith’s apprentice. He is occa-
sionally mentioned in the later poem of Biterolf, as Mime the Old.
The old name of Miinster in Westphalia was Mimigardiford; the
Notes. 295





Westphalian Minden was originally Mimidun; and Memleben on
the Unstrut, Mimileba. . . . The elder Norse tradition names him
just as often, and in several different connections. In one place,
a Mimingus, a wood-satyr, and possessor of a sword and jewels,
is interwoven into the myth of Balder and Hoder. The Zdda
gives a higher position to its Mimer. He has a fountain, in which
wisdom and understanding lie hidden: drinking of it every morn-
ing, he is the wisest, most intelligent, of men. To Mimer’s foun-
{ain came Odin, and desired a drink, but did not receive it till he
had given one of his eyes in pledge, and hidden it in the fountain:
this accounts for Odin being one-eyed. . . . Mimer is no Asa, but
an exalted being with whom the Asas hold converse, of whom
they make use,—the sum total of wisdom, possibly an older
Nature-god. Later fables degraded him into a wood-sprite, or
clever smith.” —Grimm’s Deutsche Mythologie, 1. p. 379.

Concerning the Mimer of the Zddas, Professor Anderson says,
“The name Mimer means the Azowing. The Giants, being older
than the Asas, looked deeper than the latter into the darkness of
the past. They had witnessed the birth of the gods and the
beginning of the world, and they foresaw their downfall. Con-
cerning both these events, the gods had to go to them for knowl-
edge. It is this wisdom that Mimer keeps in his fountain.” —
Norse Mythology, p. 209.

In the older versions of the legend, the smith who cared for
Siegfried (Sigurd) is called, as we have before noticed, Regin.
He.is thus described by Morris : —

“The lore of all men he knew,
And was deft in every cunning, save’the dealings of the sword.
So sweet was his tongue-speech fashioned, that men trowed his every word.
His hand with the harp-strings blended was the mingler of delight
With the latter days of sorrow: all tales he told aright.
The Master of the Masters in the smithying craft was he;
And he dealt with the wind and the weather and the stilling of the sea ;
Nor might any learn him leech-craft, for before that race was made,
And that man-folk’s generation, all their life-days had he weighed.”

Sigurd the Volsung, Bk. IL
296 Notes.

NOTE 3.— THE SworD. Page 12.

“ By this sword Balmung also hangs a tale. Doub less it was
one of those invaluable weapons sometimes fabricated by the old
Northern smiths, compared with which our modern Foxes and
Ferraras and Toledos are mere leaden tools. Von der Hagen
seems to think it simply the sword Mimung under another name;
in which case, Siegfried’s old master, Mimer, had been the maker
of it, and called it after himself, as if it had been his son.” — Car-
LYLE, on the Nibelungen Lied, note.

In Scandinavian legends, the story of Mimer and Amilias is
given, differing but slightly from the rendering in this chapter. —
See WEBER and JAMIEsON’s //lustrations of Northern Antiqut-
ties.

In the older versions of the myth, the sword is called Gram,
or the Wrath. It was wrought from the shards, or broken pieces,
of Sigmund’s sword, the gift of Odin. It was made by Regin
for Sigurd’s (Siegfried’s) use, and its temper was tested as here
described.

NOTE 4.— SIGMUND THE VOLSUNG. Page 16.

Sigmund the Volsung, in the Volsunga Saga, is represented as
the father of Sigurd (Siegfried); but there is such a marked con-
trast between him, and the wise, home-abiding King Siegmund of
the later stories, that J have thought proper to speak of them here
as two different individuals. The word “Sigmund,” or “Sieg-
mund,” means literally the mouth of victory. The story of the
Volsungs, as here supposed to be related by Mimer, is derived
mainly from the Volsunga Saga.

NOTE 5.—SIEGFRIED’S JOURNEY INTO THE ForREST. Page 22.

“In the shop of Mimer, Siegfried was nowise in his proper ele-
ment, ever quarrelling with his fellow-apprentices, nay, as some
say, breaking the hardest anvils into shivers by his too stout ham-
Notes. 297

—





mering; so that Mimer, otherwise a first-rate smith, could by
no means do with him there. He sends him, accordingly, to the
neighboring forest to fetch charcoal, well aware that a monstrous
dragon, one Regin, the smith’s own brother, would meet him, and
devour him. But far otherwise it proved.”— CARLYLE, om The
Nibelungen Lied.

Note 6.— THE Norns. Pages 26, 53.

The Norns are the Fates, which watch over man through life.
They are Urd the Past, Verdande the Present, and Skuld the
Future. They approach every new-born child, and utter his
doom. They are represented as spinning the thread of fate, one
end of which is hidden by Urd in the far east, the other by Ver-
dande in the far west. Skuld stands ready to rend it in pieces.
— See Grimm’s Teutonic Mythology, p. 405, also ANDERSON’S
Norse Mythology, p. 209.

The three weird women in Shakspeare’s Tragedy of Macbeth
represent a later conception of the three Norns, now degraded to
mere witches.

Compare the Norns with the Fates of the Greek Mythology.
These, also, are three in number. They sit clothed in white, and
garlanded, singing of destiny. Clotho, the Past, spins; Lachesis,
the Present, divides; and Atropos, the Future, stands ready with
her shears to cut the thread.

Nore 7.— THE IDEA OF FATALITY. Pages 17, 53.

Throughout the story of the Nibelungs and Volsungs, of
Sigurd and of Siegfried, —whether we follow the older versions
or the more recent renderings, —there is, as it were, an ever-
present but indefinable shadow of coming fate, “a low, inarticulate
voice of Doom,” foretelling the inevitable. This is but in con-
‘sonance with the general ideas of our Northern ancestors regard.
ing the fatality which shapes and controls every man’s life
298 Notes.



These ideas are embodied in more than one ancient legend.
We find them in the old Anglo-Saxon poem of Beowulf. “To
us” cries Beowulf in his last fight, “to us it shall be as our Weird
betides, that Weird that is every man’s lord!” “Each man of
us shall abide the end of his life-work; let him that may work, work
his doomed deeds ere death comes!” Similar ideas prevailed
among the Greeks. Read, for example, that passage in the //ad
describing the parting of Hector and Andromache, and notice the
deeper meaning of Hector’s words.

Note 8.—REGIN. Page 28.

As we have already observed (Note 1), the older versions of this
myth called Siegfried’s master and teacher Regin, while the more
recent versions call him Mimer. We have here endeavored to
harmonize the two versions by representing Mimer as being merely
Regin in disguise.

NOTE 9.—GRIPIR. Page 30.

‘A man of few words was Gripir; but he knew of all deeds that bad been;
And times there came upon him, when the deeds to be were scen :
No sword had he held in his hand since his father fell to field,
And against the life of the slayer he bore undinted shield :
Yet no fear in his heart abided, nor desired he aught at all;
But he noted the deeds that had been, and looked for what should befall.”
Morris's Sigurd the Volsung, Bk. 11.

NoTE 10.— THE Hoarp. Page 51.

This story is found in both the Z/der and the Younger Eddas,
and is really the basis upon which the entire plot of the legend of
Sigurd, or Siegfried, is constructed. See also Note 18.

NOTE 11.— THE DRAGON. Page 62.

The oldest form of this story is the Song of Sigurd Fafnisbane,
in the Lider Edda. The English legend of St. George and the
Dragon was probably derived from the same original sources. A
Votes. 299

similar myth may be found among all Aryan peoples. Sometimes
it is a treasure, sometimes a beautiful maiden, that the monster
guards, or attempts to destroy. Its first meaning was probably
this: The maiden, or the treasure, is the earth in its beauty and
fertility. “The monster is the storm-cloud. The hero who fights
it is the sun, with his glorious sword, the lightning-flash. By his
victory the earth is relieved from her peril. The fable has been
varied to suit the atmospheric peculiarities of different climes in
which the Aryans found themselves. ... In Northern mythology
the serpent is probably the winter cloud, which broods over and
keeps from mortals the gold of the sun’s light and heat, till in the
spring the bright orb overcomes the powers of darkness and tem-
pest, and scatters his gold over the face of the earth.” This
myth appears in a great variety of forms among the Scandinavian
and German nations. In the Eddas, Sigurd (Siegfried) is rep-
resented as roasting the heart of Fafnir, and touching it to his
lips. We have ventured to present a less revolting version. —
See BARING-GOULD’s Curious Myths of the Middle Ages.

“The slaying of the dragon Fafnir reminds us of Python,
whom Apollo overcame; and, as Python guarded the Delphic
Oracle, the dying Fafnir prophesies.” —JAcoB GRIMM.

NoTE 12. Page 64.

In order to harmonize subsequent passages in the story as re-
lated in different versions, we here represent Siegfried as turning
his back upon the Glittering Heath, and leaving the Hoard to
some other hero or discoverer. In the Younger Edda, Siegfried
(Sigurd) rides onward until he comes to Fafnir’s bed, from which
“he took out all the gold, packed it in two bags, and laid it on
Grane’s (Greyfell’s) back, then got on himself and rode away.”

Note 13.—Braci. Page 67.

This episode of Bragi and his vessel is no part of the original
story of Siegfried, but is here introduced in order to acquaint you
300 Notes.



with some of the older myths of our ancestors. Bragi was the
impersonation of music and eloquence, and here represents the
music of Nature, —the glad songs and sounds of the spring-time.
“ Above any other god,” says Grimm, “one would like to see a
more general veneration of Bragi revived, in whom was vested the
gilt of poetry and eloquence. ... He appears to have stood in
pretty close relation to Agir.”

Note 14.— Aicir. Page 82.

“ Zegir was the god presiding over the stormy sea. He enter-
tains the gods every harvest, and brews ale for them. The name
still survives in provincial English for the sea-wave on rivers.” —
ANDERSON’S WVorse Mythology. See CARLYLE’S Heroes and Hero-
Worship.

NOTE I15.— THE VALKYRIES. Page 89.

See Grimm’s Teutonic Mythology, p. 417, and ANDERSON’S
Norse Mythology, p. 265.

NoTE 16.—BRUNHILD. Page 95.

In the Elder Edda, Brunhild’s inaccessible hall stands on a
mountain, where she was doomed to sleep under her shield until
Sigurd should release her. In the Nibelungen Lied, she is repre-
sented as ruling in Isenland, an island far over the sea. The well-
known story of the Sleeping Beauty is derived from this myth.

NoTE 17.— NIBELUNGEN LAND. Page 99.

“Vain were it to inquire where that Nibelungen Land specially
is. Its very name is Nebel-land, or Nifl-land, the land of Dark-
ness, of Invisibility... . Far beyond the firm horizon, that won-
der-bearing region swims on the infinite waters, unseen by bodily
eye, or, at most, discerned as a faint streak hanging in the blue
Notes. 301

depths, uncertain whether island or cloud.” — CARLYLE, on 7%e
NMibelungen Lied.

Note 18.—SCHILBUNG AND NIBELUNG. Page Iol.

“Old King Nibelung, the former lord of the land, had left, when
he died, a mighty hoard concealed within a mountain-cavern. As
Siegfried rode past the mountain-side alone, he found Schilbung
and Nibelung, the king’s sons, seated at the mouth of the cavern,
surrounded by more gold and precious stones than a hundred
wagons could bear away. Espying Siegfried, they called upon
him to settle their dispute, offering him as reward their father’s
mighty sword Balmung.”— AUBER FORESTIER’S 77 ranslation of
the Nibelungen Lied.

We have here made some slight variations from the original
versions. (See also Note 12.)

An ancient legend relates how King Schilbung had obtained
the Hoard in the upper Rhine valley, and how he was afterwards
slain by his brother Niblung. This Niblung possessed a magic
ring in the shape of a coiled serpent with ruby eyes. It had been
presented to him by a prince named Gunthwurm, who had come to
him in the guise of a serpent, desiring the hand of his daughter
in marriage. This ring, according to the Eddas, was the one
taken by Loki from the dwarf Andvari, and was given by Sigurd
(Siegfried) to Brunhild in token of betrothal. It was the cause of
all the disasters that afterwards occurred.— See W. JORDAN’S
Sigfridssaga. See also Note to.

NoTE 19. Page Io5.

|, . Siegfried the hero good
Failed the long task to finish: this stirred their angry mooa.
The treasure undivided he needs must let remain,
When the two kings indignant set on him with their train ;
But Siegfried gripped sharp Balmung (so hight their father’s sword),
And took from them their country, and the beaming, precious hoard.”
The Nibelungenlied, Lettsom, 96, 97
302 Notes.



NOTE 20.— SIEGFRIED’s WELCOME HOME. Page 113.

In the Mdelungen Lied this is our first introduction to the
hero. The “High-tide” held in honor of Siegfried’s coming ta
manhood, and which we suppose to have occurred at this time,
forms the subject of the Second Adventure in that poem.

NOTE 21.— KRIEMHILD’s DREAM. Page 124.

This forms the subject of the first chapter of the Videlungen
Lied. “The eagles of Kriemhild’s dream,” says Auber Forestier,
“are winter-giants, whose wont it was to transform themselves
into eagles; while the pure gods were in the habit of assuming the
falcon’s form.”

NOTE 22.—IDUN. Page 135.

The story of Idun and her Apples is related in the Younger
£dda. It is there represented as having been told by Bragi him-
self to his friend AXgir. This myth means, that the ever-renovat-
ing spring (Idun) being taken captive by the desolating winter
(Thjasse), all Nature (all the Asa-folk) languishes until she regains
her freedom through the intervention of the summer’s heat (Loki).
— See ANDERSON’S /Vorse Mythology.

NOTE 23.— BALDER. Page 166.

The story of Balder is, in reality, the most ancient form of the
Siegfried myth. Both Balder and Siegfried are impersonations of
the beneficent light of the summer’s sun, and both are represented
as he’ng treacherously slain by the powers of winter. The errand
of Hermod to the Halls of Death (Hela) reminds us of the errand
of Hermes to Hades to bring back Persephone to her mother
Demetre. We perceive also a resemblance in this story to the
myth of Orpheus, in which that hero is described as descending
intc the lower regions to bring away his wife Eurydice.
Notes. 303



Norte 24. Page 172.

The making of rich clothing for the heroes is frequently re-
ferred to in the Wibelungen Lied. Carlyle says, “ This is a never-
failing preparative for all expeditions, and is always specified and
insisted on with a simple, loving, almost female impressiveness.”

Note 25.— THE WINNING OF BRUNHILD. Page 175,

The story of the outwitting of Brunhild, as related in the pages
which follow, is essentially the same as that given in the Wébelun-
gen Lied. It is quite different from the older versions.

Norte 26.— Sir. Page 204.

Sif corresponds to the Ceres of the Southern mythology. (See
GRIMM, p. 309.) The story of Loki and the Dwarfs is derived
from the Younger Edda. \t has been beautifully rendered by the
German poet OELENSCHLAGER, a translation of whose poem on
this subject may be found in LONGFELLOWw’s Poets and Poetry of
Europe.

Note 27.—EIGILL. Page 214.

Eigill is the original William Tell. The story is related in the
Saga of Thidrik. For a full history of the Tell myth, see
Grimm’s Teutonic Mythology, p. 380, and BARInG-GouLp’s
Curious Myths of the Middle Ages, p. 110.

NOTE 28.— WELLAND THE SMITH. Page 215.

The name of this smith is variously given as Weland, Wieland,
Welland, Volundr, Velint, etc. The story is found in the /zina
Saga, and was one of the most popular of middle age myths.
(See Grimm’s AZythology.) Sir Walter Scott, in his novel of
Kenilworth, has made use of this legend in introducing the
episode of Wayland Smith.
304 Notes.



NoTE 29.—VIDAR! THE SILENT. Page 216,

“Vidar is the name of the silent Asa. He has a very thick
shoe, and he is the strongest next to Thor. From him the gods
have much help in all hard tasks.’ — The Younger Edda (Ander-
son’s translation).

NoTE 30.—LoxI. Page 236.

“Loki, in nature, is the corrupting element in air, fire, and
water. In the bowels of the earth he is the volcanic flame, in the
sea he appears as a fierce serpent, and in the lower world we
recognize him as pale death. Like Odin, he pervades all nature.
He symbolizes sin, shrewdness, deceitfulness, treachery, malice,
etc.’ — ANDERSON’S Mythology, p. 372.

He corresponds to the Ahriman of the Persians, to the Satan
of the Christians, and remotely to the Prometheus of the Greeks.

NOTE 31.— THE QUARREL OF THE QUEENS. Page 258.

In the ancient versions, the culmination of this quarrel occurred
while the queens were bathing in the river: in the MVibelungen
Lied it happened on the steps leading up to the door of the
church.

NOTE 32.—HaGEN. Page 281.
Hagen corresponds to the Hoder of the more ancient myth of

Balder. In the Sigurd Sagas he is called Hogni, and is a brother,
instead of an uncle, of Gunther (Gunnar).

Note 33.— THE.DEATH OF SIEGFRIED. Page 282.

This story is related here essentially as found in the Vébelun
gen Lied. It is quite differently told in the older versions. Sieg
fried’s invulnerability save in one spot reminds us of Achilles,

1 The word Vidar means forest.
Notes. 305
who also was made invulnerable by a bath, and who could be
wounded only in the heel.

Note 34.— THE BURIAL OF SIEGFRIED. Page 284.

The story of the burning of Siegfried’s body upon a funeral-pile,
as related of Sigurd in the older myths, reminds us of the burning
of Balder upon the ship “ Ringhorn.” (See p. 162.) The Wdelun-
gen Lied represents him as being buried in accordance with the
rites of the Roman-Catholic Church. This version of the story
must, of course, have been made after the conversion of the
Germans to Christianity. “When the Emperor Frederick III.
(1440-93) visited Worms after his Netherlands campaign,” says
Forestier, “he undertook to have the mighty hero’s bones disin-
terred, probably in view of proving the truth of the marvellous
story then sung throughout Germany; but, although he had the
ground dug into until water streamed forth, no traces of these
became manifest.”

NOTE 35.— THE Hoarp. Page 286.

The story of bringing the Hoard from Nibelungen Land
belongs to the later versions of the myth, and fitly closes the
First Part of the Mbelungen Lied. Lochheim, the place where
the Hoard was sunk, was not far from Bingen on the Rhine.

Note 36.— A SHORT VOCABULARY OF THE PRINCIPAL
PROPER NAMES MENTIONED IN THIS STORY.

AiciIr. The god of the sea.

ALBERICH and ANDVARI. Dwarfs who guard the great Hoard
Asa. A name applied to the gods of the Norse mythology.
ASGARD. The home of the gods.

BALDER. The god of the summer sunlight.

BraGi. The god of eloquence and of poetry.

DRAUPNER. Odin’s ring, which gives fertility to the earth.
306 Notes.

FAFNIR. The dragon whom Siegfried slays.

FENRIS-WOLF. The monster who in the last twilight slays
Odin.

FreyjA. The goddess of love.

Frey. The god of peace and plenty.

GripiR. The giant who gives wise counsel to Siegfried
(Sigurd).

GUNTHER. In the older myths called Gunnar.

HEIMDAL. The heavenly watchman.

HELA. The goddess of death.

Hermop. The quick messenger who is sent to Hela for
Balder.

Hoper. The winter-god. He slays Balder.

Henir. One of the three most ancient gods.

HuGIn. Odin’s raven, Thought.

IpuN. The goddess of spring.

IvaLp. A skilful dwarf.

JotunHEIM. The home of the giants.

KRIEMHILD. In the older myths called Gudrun.

Loki. The mischief-maker. The god of evil.

MimeEr. In the later German mythology a skilful smith. In
the older mythology a wise giant.

Norns. The three Fates, — Urd, Verdande, and Skuld.

Opin. The chief of the gods.

REGIN. The teacher of Sigurd, by whom he is slain.

SIEGFRIED. In the older myths called Sigurd.

Sir. Thor’s wife.

SLEIPNER. Odin’s eight-footed horse.

Tyr. The god of war.

THoR. The god of thunder. The foe of the giants.

Va.HAL. The hall of the slain.

VALKyYRIES. The choosers of the slain. Odin’s handmaidens

Vipar. The silent god.

Ymir. The huge giant out of whose body the world was made
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9 full-page illustrations by REGINALD B. BrrcH. Square 8vo, $1.50.

“Stories beautiful in tone, and style, and color.’—KATE DOUGLAS WIGGIN.

PICCINO, AND OTHER CHILD SToRIES. Fully illustrated by REGINALD B. BIRCH.
Square 8vo, $1.50.

“The history of Piccino’s ‘two days’ is as delicate as one of the anemones that
spring in the rock walls facing Piccino’s Mediterranean. . . . The other stor-
ies in the book have the charm of their predecessor in material and matter.
+ . . ?—Mrs, BURTON HARRISON.
2 SCRIBNER’S ‘BOOKS FOR THE YOUNG





BOOKS BY HOWARD PYLE

A NEW BOOK JUST PUBLISHED

BEHIND THE GARDEN OF THE MOON. A REAL Story oF THE Moon
ANGEL. Written and illustrated by HowarD PYLE. Square 12mo, $2.00.

Underneath the charm of this original and delightful fairy tale of Mr. Pyle’s isa
mystical moral significance which gives it the dignity of true literature in addition
to its interest of adventure. Out of the truth that great deeds are achieved and
high character moulded by entire spiritual consecration, rather than by direct and
interested effort, the author has evolved a winning and delightful piece of fanciful
fiction, and has illustrated it copiously in his happiest and most characteristically
poetical vein.

THE MERRY ADVENTURES OF ROBIN HOOD oF GREAT RENOWN IN
NOTTINGHAMSHIRE. With many illustrations. Royal 8vo, $3.00.

“This superb book is unquestionably the most original and elaborate ever pro-
duced by any American artist. Mr. Pyle has told, with pencil and pen, the com-
plete and consecutive story of Robin Hood and his merry men in their haunts in
Sherwood Forest, gathered from the old ballads and legends. Mr. Pyle’s admira-
ble illustrations are strewn profusely through the book.”—Boston Transcript.

OTTO OF THE SILVER HAND. With many illustrations. Royal 8vo, half
leather, $2.00.

“The scene of the story is medizeval Germany in the time of the feuds and robber
barons and romance. The kidnapping of Otto, his adventures among rough
soldiers, and his daring rescue, mace up aspirited and thrilling story. The draw-
ings are in keeping with the text, and in mechanical and artistic qualities as wellas in
literary execution the book must be greeted as one of the very best juveniles of
the year, quite worthy to succeed to the remarkable popularity of Mr. Pyle’s
‘Robin Hood.’ —Christian Union.

THE BUTTERFLY HUNTERS IN THE CARIBBEES

By Dr. EUGENE Murray-AARON. With 8 full-page illustrations. Square 12mo,
$2.00.
“Our author only reproduces the incidents and scenes of his own life, as an
exploring naturalist, ina way to capture the attention of younger readers. The
incidents are told entertainingly, and his descriptions of country and the methods
of capture of butterflies and bugs of rare varieties are full of interest.”

—Chicago Inter-Ocean.

A NEW MEXICO DAVID

AND OTHER STORIES AND SKETCHES OF THE SOUTH-WEST. By CHARLES F.
Lummis. Illustrated. 12mo, $1.25.

“Mr. Lummis has lived for years in the land of the Pueblos; has traversed it in
every direction, both on foot and on horseback; and it is an enthralling treat set
before youthful readers by him in this series of lively chronicles.” —Boston Beacon.

STORIES FOR BOYS
By RICHARD HARDING Davis. With 6 full-page illustrations. 12mo, $1.00.

“Tt will be astonishing indeed if youths of all ages are not fascinated with these
‘Stories for Boys.’ Mr. Davis knows infallibly what will interest his young
readers.’'—Boston Beacon.
SCRIBNER’S BOOKS FOR THE YOUNG 3



THE KANTER GIRLS

By Mary L. B. BRANCH. Illustrated by HELEN M. ARMSTRONG. Square 12mo,
$1.50.

The adventures of Jane and Prue, two small sisters, among different peoples of
the imaginative world—dryads, snow-children, Kobolds, etc.—aided by their
invisible rings, their magic boat, and their wonderful birds, are described by the
author with great naturalness and a true gift for story-telling. The numerous
illustrations are very attractive, and in thorough sympathy with the text.

THE WAGNER STORY BOOK

FIRELIGHT TALES OF THE GREAT Music DRAMAS. By WILLIAM HENRY FROST.
Illustrated by SIDNEY R. BURLEIGH. 12m0, $1.50.

“ A successful attempt to make the romantic themes of the music dramas intelligi-
ble to young readers. The author has full command of his subject, and the style
is easy, graceful, and simple.’’—Boston Beacon.

ROBERT GRANT’S TWO BOOKS FOR BOYS

JACK HALL; or, THE SCHOOL Days OF AN AMERICAN Boy. Illustrated by
F. G. ATTWOOD. I2m0, $1.25.

“A better book for boys has never been written. It is pure, clean, and healthy,
and has throughout a vigorous action that holds the reader breathlessly.”

—Boston Herald.
JACK IN THE BUSH; or, A SUMMER ON A SALMON RIVER. Illustrated by
F. T. MERRILL. 1I2mo, $1.25.

“A clever book for boys. It is the story of the camp life of a lot of boys, and is
destined toeplease every boy reader. It is attractively illustrated.”
—Detroit Free Press.

CZAR AND SULTAN

THE ADVENTURES OF A BRITISH LAD IN THE RuSSO-TURKISH WAR OF 1877-78.
By ARCHIBALD Fores. Illustrated. 12mo, $2.00.

“Very fascinating and graphic. Mr. Forbes is a forcible writer, and the present
work has the vigor and intensity associated with his name. It is sure to be popu-
lar with youthful readers.”—Boston Beacon.

JOSEPH THE DREAMER
By the author of ‘‘Jesus the Carpenter.”’” 12mo. Jn Press.

The story of Joseph, told in the same popular, interesting, and realistic manner as
that of Jesus in the author’s former book; not only setting forth truthfully and
graphically the life of Joseph, but picturing as well the marvelous state of Egypt
in which he lived.

JESUS THE CARPENTER

By A. LAYMAN. 12m0, $1.50.

“T think the idea of this book—the aim and the intention—excellent and the
execution beautiful.”—Prof. A. B. BRUCE.
4 SCRIBNER’S ‘BOOKS FOR THE YOUNG





A NEW BOOK BY KIRK MUNROE
AT WAR WITH PONTIAC

Or, THE TOTEM OF THE BEAR. A Tale of Redcoat and Redskin. By Kirk
Munroe. With 8 full-page illustrations by J. FINNEMORE. 120, $1.25.

A story of old days in America when Detroit was a frontier town and the shores of
Lake Erie were held by hostile Indians under Pontiac. The hero, Donald Hester,
goes in search of his sister Edith, who has been captured by the Indians, Strange
and terrible are his experiences: for he is wounded, taken prisoner, condemned to
be burned, and contrives to escape. In the end there is peace between Pontiac and
the English, and all things terminate happily for the hero. One dares not skipa
page of this enthralling story.

THE WHITE CONQUEROR

A TALE OF TOLTEC AND AzTEC. By KirK Munroe. With 8 full-page illustra-
tions by W. S. STACEY. I2m0, $1.25.

“The story is replete with scenes of vivid power; it is full of action and rapid
movement; and he must be deficient in receptive faculty who fails to gain valuable

historical instruction, along with the pleasure of reading a tale graphically told.”
—Philadelphia Bulletin,

STORIES OF LITERATURE, SCIENCE, AND HISTORY

By HENRIETTA CHRISTIAN WRIGHT.

A NEW VOLUME JUST ISSUED.

CHILDREN’S STORIES IN AMERICAN LITERATURE, 1660-1860. 12m0, $1.25,
Miss Wright here continues her attractive presentation of literary history begun in
her “ Children’s Stories in English Literature.” Elliot, the translator of the Bible
into the English language, Irving, Cooper, Prescott, Holmes, Longfellow, Haw-
thorne, Mrs. Stowe, Whittier, Poe, and Emerson are here considered, bringing the
history of the subject down to the period of the Civil War, and treated with con-
stant reference to that side of their works and personalities which most nearly
appeals to children.

CHILDREN’S STORIES IN ENGLISH LITERATURE. Two volumes: TALIE-
SIN TO SHAKESPEARE, SHAKESPEARE TO TENNYSON. 1I2mo, each, $1.25.

“It is indeed a vivid history of the people as well as a story of their literature;
and, brief as it is, the author has so deftly seized on all the salient points, that the
child who has read this book will be more thoroughly acquainted than many a
student of history with the life and thought of the centuries over which the work
reaches.’—The Evangelist.

cHIEDEENS STORIES OF THE GREAT SCIENTISTS. With portraits.

12mo, $1.25.

“The author has succeeded in making her pen-pictures of the grent scientists as

graphic as the excellent portraits that illustrate the work. Around each name she

has picturesquely grouped the essential features of scientific achievement.”
—Brooklyn Times.

CHILDREN’S STORIES OF AMERICAN PROGRESS. Illustrated. 12mo, $1.25.

“Miss Wright is favorably known by her volume of well-told ‘Stories in American
History’ ; and her ‘Stories of American Progress’ is equally worthy of commen-
dation. Taken together they present a series of pictures of great graphic interest.
The illustrations are excellent.””— 7he Nation. }

CHILDREN’S STORIES IN AMERICAN HISTORY. Illustrated. r12mo, $1.25,

“A most delightful and instructive collection of historical events, told in a simple
and pleasant manner. Almost every occurrence in the gradual development of our
country is woven into an attractive story for young people.”

—San Francisco Evening Post,
SCRIBNER’S BOOKS FOR THE YOUNG 5



G. A. HENTY’S POPULAR STORIES FOR BOYS

New Volumes for 1895-96. Each, crown 8vo, handsomely illustrated, $1.50.

Mr. Henty, the most popular writer of Books of Adventure in England, adds three
new volumes to his list this fall—books that will delight thousands of boys on this
side who have become his ardent admirers.

“Mr. Henty’s books never fail to interest boy readers. Among writers of stories
of adventure he stands in the very first rank.” —Academy, London.

“No country nor epoch of history is there which Mr. Henty does not know, and
what is really remarkable is that he always writes well and interestingly. Boys
like stirring adventures, and Mr. Henty is a master of this method Be composi-
tion.”—Vew York Times.

A KNIGHT OF THE WHITE CROSS

A TALE OF THE SIEGE OF RuopES. With 12 full-page illustrations.

e
Gervaise Tresham, the hero of this story, joins the Order of the Knights of St. John,
and leaving England he proceeds to the stronghold of Rhodes, and becomes a
page in the household of the Grand Master. Subsequently, Gervaise is made a
Knight of the Grand Cross for valor, while soon after he is appointed commander
of a war-galley, and in his first voyage destroys a fleet of Moorish corsairs. Dur-
ing one of his cruises the young knight is attacked on shore, captured after a
desperate struggle, and sold into slavery in Tripoli. He succeeds in escaping,
however, and returns to Rhodes in time to take part in the splendid defence of
that fortress. Altogether a fine chivalrous tale, of varied interest and full noble
aring.

THE TIGER OF MYSORE

A STORY OF THE WAR WITH Tippoo Sars. With 12 full-page illustrations.

Dick Holland, whose father is supposed to be a captive of Tippoo Saib, goes to
India to help him to escape. He joins the army under Lord Cornwallis, and takes
part in the campaign against Tippoo. Afterwards he assumes a disguise; enters
Seringapatum, the capital of Mysore, rescues Tippoo’s harem froma tiger, and is
appointed to high office by the tyrant. In this capacity Dick visits the hill fort-
resses, still in search of his father, and at last he discovers him in the great strong-
hold of Savandroog. The hazardous rescue which Dick attempts, and the perilous
night ride through the enemy’s country are at length accomplished, and the young
fellow’s dangerous mission is done.

THROUGH RUSSIAN SNOWS

ASrory oF NapoLeon’s RETREAT FROM Moscow. With8 full-page illustrations
and a map.

The hero, Julian Wyatt, after several adventures with smugglers, by whom he is
handed over a prisoner to the French, regains his freedom and joins Napoleon’s
army in the Russian campaign, and reaches Moscow with the victorious Emperor.
Then, when the terrible retreat begins, Julian finds himself in the rear guard of the
French army, fighting desperately, league by league, against famine, snow-storms,
wolves, and Russians. Ultimately he escapes. out of the general disaster, after
rescuing the daughter of a Russian count; makes his way to St. Petersburg, and
then returns to England. A story with an excellent plot, exciting adventures, and
splendid historical interests.
6 SCRIBNE‘R’S BOOKS FOR THE YOUNG



G. A. HENTY’S POPULAR STORIES FOR BOYS

Each, crown 8vo, handsomely illustrated, $1.50.

IN THE HEART OF THE ROCKIES. A Srory oF ADVENTURE IN COLoRADO.
“One of the most interesting and attractive stories for boys. It is a tale of adven-
ture thrilling enough for the most daring readers.”— Boston Journal.

WULF THE SAXON. A Story oF THE NORMAN CONQUEST.

‘* An unusually realistic picture of the times. _The scenes and incidents which Mr.
Henty introduces are calculated to awaken fresh interest in the influence of the
battle of Hastings upon the destiny of mankind.”—Zoston Herald.

WHEN LONDON BURNED. A Story oF RESTORATION TIMES AND THE
GREAT FIRE.

“An exciting story of adventure, at the same time dealing with historic truths
deftly and interestingly.”—Detroit Free Press.

ST. BARTHOLOMEW’S EVE. A TALE OF THE HUGUENOT Wars.
“Exciting enough to interest even the dullest of readers.”—Boston Transcript.

THROUGH THE SIKH WAR. A TALE oF THE CONQUEST OF THE PuNJAUB.

“Not only interesting but instructive. It is related with great spirit and anima-
tion.’—Boston Herald.

A JACOBITE EXILE. BEING THE ADVENTURES OF A YOUNG ENGLISHMAN
IN THE SERVICE OF CHARLES XII. OF SWEDEN.

“Remarkable for its thrilling adventures and its interesting historical pictures.”
—Herald and Presbyter.

BERIC THE BRITON. A Story OF THE ROMAN INVASION.
“It is a powerful and fascinating romance.’’—Boston Post.

IN GREEK WATERS. A Story OF THE GRECIAN WAR OF INDEPENDENCE
—1821-1827.
“Itis a stirring narrative, wholesome and stimulating.” —Congregationalist.

CONDEMNED AS A NIHILIST. A Srory or EscApE FROM SIBERIA.

“A narrative absorbing and thrilling. The scenes of Siberian prison-life give the
book a peculiar value.”’—Christian Advocate.

REDSKIN AND COWBOY. A TALE OF THE WESTERN PLAINS.

“Though it is full of hairbreadth escapes, none of the incidents are improbable. It
is needless to say that the adventures are well told.” —San Francisco Chronicle.

THE DASH FOR KHARTOUM. A TALE oF THE NILE EXPEDITION.
HELD FAST FOR ENGLAND. A TALE OF THE SIEGE OF GIBRALTAR.
#,% The above are Mr. Henty’s latest books. A full descriptive list containing

all of Mr. Henty’s books—now 47 in number—vwill be sent to any address on
application. They are all attractively illustrated and handsomely bound.


SCRIBNE‘R'S BOOKS FOR THE YOUNG 7



SAMUEL ADAMS DRAKE’S HISTORICAL BOOKS

THE NG OF THE OHIO VALLEY STATES. 1660-1837. Illustrated.
r2mo, $1.50.

THE MAKING OF VIRGINIA AND THE MIDDLE COLONIES. 1578-1701.
Illustrated. 12mo, $1.50.

THE MAKING OF NEW ENGLAND. 1580-1643. With 148 illustrations and
with maps. I2mo, $1.50.

THE MAKING OF THE GREAT WEST... 1812-1853. With 145 illustrations and
with maps. 12mo, $1.50.

“The author’s aim in these books is that they shall occupy a place between the
larger and lesser histories of the lands and of the periods of which they treat, and
that each topic therein shall be treated as a unit and worked out to a clear under-
standing of its objects and results before passing to another topic. In the further-
ance of this method each subject has its own deeeri pre notes, maps, plans, and
illustrations, the whole contributing to a thorough, though condensed, knowledge
of the subject in hand.”—New York Mail and Express.

POEMS OF CHILDHOOD BY EUGENE FIELD
LOVE SONGS OF CHILDHOOD. 16mo, $t.00.
WITH TRUMPET AND DRUM. By EuceENE FIELD. 16mo, $1.25.

“His poems of childhood have gone home, not only to the hearts of children, but
to the heart of the country as well, and he is one of the few contributors to that
genuine literature of childhood which expresses ideas from the stand-point ofa
child.’— The Outlook.

THE NORSELAND SERIES
By H. H. BoyEsEn.
NORSELAND TALES. Illustrated. 12mo, $1.25.

BOYHOOD IN NORWAY: Nine Stories oF DEEDS OF THE SONS OF THE
ViKINGS. With 8 illustrations. 12mo, $1.25.

AGAINST HEAVY ODDS, anv A FEARLESS TRIO. With 13 full-page illustra-
tions by W. L. TAyLor. 12mo, $1.25.

THE MODERN VIKINGS: Srories oF LIFE AND SporRT IN THE NORSE-
LAND. With many full-page illustrations. 12mo, $1.25.

The four above volumes in a box, $5.00.

“Charmingly told stories of boy-life in the Land of the Midnight Sun, illustrated
with pictures giving a capital ‘idea of the incidents and scenes described. The
tales have a delight all their own, as they tell of scenes and sports and circum-
stances so different from those of our American life."—New York Observer.

TWO BOOKS BY ROSSITER JOHNSON

THE END OF A RAINBOW. AN AMERICAN Story. Illustrated. 12mo, $1.50.

“Tt will be read with breathless interest. It is interesting and full of boyish ex-
perience.” — The Independent.

PHAETON ROGERS. A Nove or Boy Lire, Illustrated. I2mo, $1.50.
) SCRIBNER’S BOOKS FOR THE YOUNG



MRS. BURTON HARRISON’S TALES

BRIC=A-BRAC STORIES. With 24 illustrations by WALTER CRANE. 12mo,
$1.50.

“Tt is to be wished that every boy and girl might become acquainted with the con-
tents of this book.”—JULIAN HAWTHORNE.

THE OLD FASHIONED FAIRY BOOK. Illustrated by Rosina EMMET.
16m0, $1.25.

“The little ones, who so willingly go back with us to ‘Jack the Giant Killer,’
‘Bluebeard,’ and the kindred stories of our childhood, will gladly welcome Mrs,
Burton Harrison’s ‘Old-Fashioned Fairy Tales.’’’—FRANK R. STOCKTON.

BOOKS OF ADVENTURE BY ROBERT LEIGHTON

OLAF THE GLORIOUS. A Story or OLAF TRIGGVISON, KING oF Norway,
A.D. 995-1000. Crown 8vo, with numerous full-page illustrations, $1.50.

THE WRECK OF THE GOLDEN FLEECE. Tue Story or A NortTH SEA
FISHER Boy. Illustrated. Crown 8vyo, $1.50.

THE THIRSTY SWORD. A Story OF THE NorRSE INVASION OF SCOTLAND,
1262-65. With 8 illustrations and a map. Crown 8vo, $1.50.

THE PILOTS OF POMONA. A SrTory OF THE ORKNEY ISLANDS. With 8
illustrations and a map. Crown 8vo, $1.50.

“Mr. Leighton as a writer for boys needs no praise, as his books place him in the
front rank.’—Vew York Observer.

THINGS WILL TAKE A TURN

By BEATRICE HARRADEN, author of “ Ships That Pass in the Night.” Illustrated.
12mo, $1.00.

The charm of this tale is its delicate, wistful sympathy. It is the story of a sunny-
hearted child, Rosebud, who assists her grandfather in his dusty, second-hand
bookshop. One cannot help being fascinated by the sweet little heroine, she is so
engaging, so natural; and to love Rosebud is to love all her friends and enter
sympathetically into the good fortune she brought them.

AMONG THE LAWMAKERS

By Epmunp ALTON. Illustrated. Square 8vo, $1.50.

“The book is a diverting as well as an instructive one. Mr, Alton was in his
early days a page in the Senate, and he relates the doles of Congress from the
point of view he then obtained. His narrative is easy and piquant, and abounds
in personal anecdotes about the great men whom the pages waited on,”

— Christian Union.

EVENING TALES

DoNE INTO ENGLISH FROM THE FRENCH OF FREDERIC ORTOLI, BY JOEL

CHANDLER HARRIS. 12m0, $1.00.

“Tt is a veritable French ‘Uncle Remus’ that Mr. Harris has discovered in

Frederic Ortoli. The book has the genuine piquancy of Gallic wit, and will be

sure to charm American children. Mr. Harris’s version is delightfully written.”
—Boston Beacon.
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