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to call gold by such terms; and in divers ways these periphrases have been varied, so that gold is called Hail, or Rain, or Snow-Storm, or Drops, or Showers, or Waterfalls, of Freyja's Eyes, or Cheeks, or Brows, or Eyelids.
XXXVIII. "In this place one may hear that gold is called Word, or Voice, of Giants, as we have said before; thus sang Bragi the Skald:
Then had I the third friend
Fairly praised: the poorest
In the Voice of the Botched-Knob's Ali,
But best of all to me.
He called a rock Botched Knob, and a giant Ali of Rock, and gold Voice of the Giant.
XXXIX. "For what reason isgoldcalled Otter's Wergild? It is related that when certain of the ./Esir, Odin and Loki and Hoenir, went forth to explore the earth, they came to a certain river, and proceeded along the river to a waterfall. And beside the fall was an otter, which had taken a salmon from the fall and was eating, blinking his eyes the while. Then Loki took up a stone and cast it at the otter, and struck its head. And Loki boasted in his catch, that he had got otter and salmon with one blow. Then they took up the salmon and the otter and bore them along with them, and coming to the buildings of a certain farm,they went in. Now the husbandman who dwelt there was named Hreidmarr: he was a man of much substance, and very skilled in black magic. TheiEsir asked him for a night's lodging, saying that they had sufficient food with them,and showed him their catch. But when Hreidmarr saw the otter, straightway he called to him his sons, Fafnir and Reginn, and told them that the otter their brother was slain, and who had done that deed.
"Now father and sons went up to the iEsir, seized them, bound them, and told them about the otter, how he was Hreidmarr's son. The Msir offered a ransom for their lives, as much wealth as Hreidmarr himself desired to appoint; and a covenant was made between them on those terms, and confirmed with oaths. Then the otter was flayed, and Hreidmarr, taking the otter-skin, bade them fill the skin with red gold and also cover it altogether; and that should be the condition of the covenant between them. Thereupon Odin sent Loki into the Land of the Black Elves, and he came to the dwarf who is called Andvari, who was as a fish in the water. Loki caught him in his hands and required of him in ransom of his life all the gold that he had in his rock; and when they came within the rock, the dwarf brought forth all the gold he had, and it was very much wealth. Then the dwarf quickly swept under his hand one little gold ring, but Loki saw it and commanded him to give over the ring. The dwarf prayed him not to take the ring from him, saying that from this ring he could multiply wealth for himself if he might keep it. Loki answered that he should not have one penny left, and took the ring from him and went out; but the dwarf declared that that ring should be the ruin of every one who should come into possession of it. Loki replied that this seemed well enough to him, and that this condition should hold good provided that he himself brought it to the ears of them that should receive the ring and the curse. He went his way and came to Hreidmarr's dwelling, and showed the gold to Odin; but when Odin saw the ring, it seemed fair to him, and he took it away from the treasure, and paid the gold to Hreidmarr. Then Hreidmarr filled the otterskin as much as he could, and set it up when it was full. Next Odin went up, having the skin to cover with gold, and he bade Hreidmarr look whether the skin were yet altogether hidden. But Hreidmarr looked at it searchingly, and saw one of the hairs of the snout, and commanded that this be covered, else their covenant should be at an end. Then Odin drew out the ring, and covered the hair, saying that they were now delivered from their debt for the slaying of the otter. But when Odin had taken his spear, and Loki his shoes, and they had no longer any need to be afraid, then Loki declared that the curse which Andvari had uttered should be fulfilled: that this ring and this gold should be the destruction of him who received it; and that was fulfilled afterward. Now it has been told wherefore gold is called Otter's Wergild, or Forced Payment of the iEsir, or Metal of Strife.
XL." What more is to be said of the gold? Hreidmarr took the gold for his son's wergild, but Fafnir and Reginn claimed some part of their brother's blood-money for themselves. Hreidmarr would not grant them one penny of the gold. This was the wicked purpose of those brethren: they slew their father for the gold. Then Reginn demanded that Fafnir share the gold with him, half for half. Fafnir answered that there was little chance of his sharing it with his brother, seeing that he had slain his father for its sake; and he bade Reginn go hence, else he should fare even as Hreidmarr. Fafnir had taken the helmet which Hreidmarr had possessed, and set it upon his head (this helmet was called the Helm of Terror, of which all living creatures that see it are afraid), and the sword called Hrotti. Reginn had that sword which was named Refill. So he fled away, and Fafnir went up to Gnita Heath, and made himself a lair, and turned himself into a serpent, and laid him down upon the gold.
"Then Reginn went to King Hjalprekr at Thjod, and there he became his smith; and he took into his fostering Sigurdr, son of Sigmundr, Volsungr's son, and of Hjordis, daughter of Eylimi. Sigurdr was most illustrious of all Host-Kings in race, in prowess, and in mind. Reginn declared to him where Fafnir lay on the gold, and incited him to seek the gold. Then Reginn fashioned the sword Gramr, which was so sharp that Sigurdr, bringing it down into running water, cut asunder a flock of wool which drifted down-stream onto the sword's edge. Next Sigurdr clove Reginn's anvil down to the stock with the sword. After that they went, Sigurdr and Reginn, to Gnita Heath, and there Sigurdr dug a pit in Fafnir's way and laid himself in ambush therein. And when Fafnir glided toward the water and came above the pit, Sigurdr straightway thrust his sword through him, and that was his end.
"Then Reginn came forward, saying that Sigurdr had slain his brother,and demanded as a condition of reconciliation that he take Fafnir's heart and roast it with fire; and Reginn laid him down and drank the blood of Fafnir, and settled himself to sleep. But when Sigurdr was roasting the heart, and thought that it must be quite roasted, he touched it with his finger to see how hard it was; and then the juice ran out from the heart onto his finger, so that he was burned and put his finger to his mouth. As soon as the heart's blood came upon his tongue, straightway he knew the speech of birds, and he understood what the nuthatches were saying which were sitting in the trees. Then one spake:
There sits Sigurdr
There lies Reginn — sang another—
Rede he ponders,
Would betray the youth
Who trusteth in him:
In his wrath he plots
The smith of bale
Would avenge his brother.
Then Sigurdr went over to Reginn and slewhim,and thence to his horse, which was named Grani, and rode till he came to Fafnir's lair. He took up the gold, trussed it up in his saddle-bags, laid it uponGrani's back, mounted up himself, and then rode his ways. Now the tale is told why gold is called Lair or Abode of Fafnir, or Metal of Gnita Heath, or Grani's Burden.
XLI. "Then Sigurdr rode on till he found a house on the mountain, wherein a woman in helm and birnie lay sleeping. He drew his sword and cut the birnie from her: she