Зображення сторінки

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
Fafnir's heart
With flame he roasteth:
Wise seemed to me
The Spoiler of Rings
If the gleaming
Life-fibre he ate.

There lies Reginn—sang another—

Rede he ponders,

Would betray the youth

Who trusteth in him:

In his wrath he plots

Wrong accusation;

The smith of bale

Would avenge his brother.

Then Sigurdr went over to Reginn and slew him,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 awoke then, and gave her name as Hildr: she is called Brynhildr, and was a Valkyr. Sigurdr rode away and came to the king who was named Gjuki, whose wife was Grimhildr; their children were Gunnarr, Hogni, Gudriin, Gudn^; Gotthormr was Gjiiki's stepson. Sigurdr tarried there a long time, and then he obtained the hand of Gudriin, daughter of Gjuki, and Gunnarr and Hogni swore oaths of bloodbrotherhood with Sigurdr. Thereafter Sigurdr and the sons of Gjuki went unto Atli, Budli's son, to sue for the hand of Brynhildr his sister in marriage to Gunnarr. Brynhildr abode on Hinda-Fell, and about her hall there was a flaring fire; and she had made a solemn vow to take none but that man who should dare to ride through the flaring fire.

"Then Sigurdr and the sons of Gjuki (who were also called Niflungs) rode up onto the mountain, and Gunnarr should have ridden through the flaring fire: but he had the horse named Goti, and that horse dared not leap into the fire. So they exchanged shapes, Sigurdr and Gunnarr, and names likewise; for Grani would go under no man but Sigurdr. Then Sigurdr leapt onto Grani and rode through the flaring fire. That eve he was wedded with Brynhildr. But when they came to bed, he drew the Sword Gramr from its sheath and laid it between them. In the morning when he arose and clothed himself, he gave Brynhildr as linen-fee the same gold ring which Loki had taken from Andvari, and took another ring from her hand for remembrance. Then Sigurdr mounted his horse and rode to his fellows, and he and Gunnarr changed shapes again and went home to Gjuki with Brynhildr. Sigurdr and Gudriin had two children, Sigmundr and Svanhildr.

"It befell on a time that Brynhildr and Gudriin went to the water to wash their hair. And when they came to the river, Brynhildr waded out from the bank well into the river, saying that she would not touch to her head the water which ran out of the hair of Gudrun, since herself had the more valorous husband. Then Gudriin went into the river after her and said that it was her right to wash her hair higher upstream, for the reason that she had to husband such a man as neither Gunnarr nor any other in the world matched in valor, seeing that he had slain Fafnir and Reginn and succeeded to the heritage of both. And Brynhildr made answer: 'It was a matter of greater worth that Gunnarr rode through the flaring fire and Sigurdr durst not.' Then Gudrun laughed, and said: 'Dost thou think that Gunnarr rode through the flaring fire? Now I think that he who went into the bride-bed with thee was the same that gave me this gold ring; and the gold ring which thou bearest on thine hand and didst receive for linen-fee is called Andvari's Yield, and I believe that it was not Gunnarr who got that ring on Gnita Heath.' Then Brynhildr was silent, and went home.

"After that she egged on Gunnarr and Hogni to slay Sigurdr; but because they were Sigurdr's sworn blood-brothers, they stirred up Gotthormr their brother to slay him. He thrust his sword through Sigurdr as he slept; but when Sigurdr felt the wound, he hurled his sword Gramr after Gotthormr, so that it cut the man asunder at the middle. There fell Sigurdr and Sigmundr, his son of three winters, whom they slew. Then Brynhildr stabbed herself with a sword, and she was burned with Sigurdr; but Gunnarr and Hogni took Fafnir's heritage and Andvari's Yield, and ruled the lands thereafter.

"King Atli, Budli's son, and brother of Brynhildr, then wedded Gudrun, whom Sigurdr had had to wife; and they

« НазадПродовжити »