Poetic Edda/Fáfnismál

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Sigurd and Regin went up to Gnitaheid, and there found Fáfnir's slot, or track, along which he crawled to the water. There on the way Sigurd made a large pit, and went down into it. When Fáfnir crawled from the gold he blew forth venom, but it flew over Sigurd's head. When Fáfnir crept over the pit, Sigurd with his sword pierced him to the heart. Fáfnir shook himself, and beat with his head and tail. Sigurd leapt from the pit, and each looked at the other. Fáfnir said:

1. «Young fellow! Young fellow!
By what fellow art thou begot?
Of what people are thou the son?
That thou in Fáfnir
reddenst thy glittering falchion?
Thy sword has pierced my heart.»

Sigurd concealed his name, because it was the belief in those times, that the words of dying persons were of great power, if they cursed an enemy by his name. He said:

2. «Deer I am called,
but I have wandered
a motherless child;
nor have I a father
like the sons of men:
alone I wander.»

«If thou hast no father
like the sons of men,
by what wonder art thou begotten?
- - - - - - - - -
- - - - - - - - -
- - - - - - - - -.»

«My kin, I tell thee,
is to' thee unknown,
and myself also.
Sigmund was my father named;
Sigurd is my name,
who with weapon have assailed thee.»

«Who drove thee on?
Why wert thou driven
my life to make me lose?
Youth of the sparkling eyes!
Thou hadst a cruel father.
for bold in boyhood thou art.»

«My heart incited me,
my hands gave me aid,
and my keen sword.
Rarely a man is bold,
when of mature age,
if in childhood
he was faint-hearted.»

«I know if thou hadst dianced
to grow in the lap of friends,
they would have seen thee fierce in fight.
Now thou art a captive,
taken in war, and, 'tis said,
slaves ever tremble.»

«Why Fáfnir!
Dost thou upbraid me
that I am far from my paternal home?
I am not a captive,
although in war I was taken:
thou hast found that I am free.»

«In all I say
dost thou hatred see,
yet truth alone do I tell;
The sounding gold,
the glow-red wealth,
and the rings thy bane shall be.»

«Treasure at command
every one desires,
ever till that one day;
for at some time
each mortal shall
hence to Hel depart.»

«The norns' decreet
hou wilt hold in contempt
as from a witless wight:
In water thou shalt be drowned,
if in wind thou rowest.
All things bring peril to the fated.»

«Tell me, Fáfnir!
As thou art wise declared,
and many things to know:
who those norns are,
who help in need,
and from babes loose the mothers.»

«Very diversely born
I take those norns to be:
they have no common kin.
Some are of esir,
some of elves;
some are Dvalin's daughters.»

«Tell me, Fáfnir!
As thou art wise declared,
and many things to know,
how that holm is called,
where Surt and the esir
will sword-liquor together mingle?»

«Oscopnir it is called;
there shall the gods
with lances play;
Bilrast shall be broken,
when they go forth,
and their steeds in the river swim.

16. An eyehelm I bore
among the sons of men,
while I o'er the treasures lay;
stronger than all
I thought myself to be;
stronger I found not many!»

«An eyehelm
is no protection,
where men impelled by anger fight:
soon he finds,
who among many comes,
that no one is alone the boldest.»

«Venom I blew forth,
when on my father's
great heritage I lay;
- - - - - - - - -
- - - - - - - - -
- - - - - - - - -.»

«Thou, glistening serpent!
Didst a great belching make,
and wast so hard of heart.
Fierceness so much the greater
have the sons of men,
when they possess that helm.»

«Sigurd! I now counsel thee,
do thou take my counsel;
and hence ride home.
The jingling gold,
and the gleed-red treasure,
those rings shall be thy bane.»

«Counsel regarding thee is taken,
and I to the gold will ride,
on the heath that lies.
But lie thou, Fáfnir!
In the pangs of death,
until Hel have thee!»

«Regin betrayed me,
he will thee betray,
he of us both will be the bane.
Fáfnir must, I trow,
let forth his life:
thine was the greater might!»

Regin had gone away while Sigurd slew Fáfnir, but came back as Sigurd was wiping the blood from his sword.

23. REGIN:
«Hail to thee now, Sigurd!
Now hast thou victory
won and Fáfnir slain:
of all the men
who tread the earth,
thou art, I say, the bravest born.»

«Uncertain 'tis to know,
when we all come together,
sons of victorious heroes,
which is the bravest born.
Many a one is bold,
who sword has never broken
in another's breast.»

25. REGIN:
«Glad art thou, Sigurd!
Of battle gained,
as Gram with grass thou cleansest;
my brother fierce
in fight hast slain,
and somewhat I did myself.»

«Thou didst me counsel,
that I should ride
o'er high fells hither.
Treasure and life
had still possess'd that glistening serpent,
hadst thou my anger not excited.»

Regin then approached Fáfnir and cut out his heart with a sword named Rideill, and afterwards drank blood from his wound.

27. REGIN:
«Sit now, Sigurd!
- but I must go to sleep -
and Fáfnir's heart hold to the fire.
Of this refection
I would fain partake,
after that drink of blood.»

«Thou wentst far off,
while I in Fáfnir
my keen sword reddened.
With my strength I strove
against the serpent's might,
while in the ling thou layest.»

29. REGIN:
«Long hadst thou allowed
in the ling to
lie that jotun old,
hadst thou the sword
not used that I forged for thee,
thy keen-edged glave.»

«Valour is better
than might of sword,
when foes embittered fight;
for a brave man
I have ever seen
gain victory with a dull sword.

31. For the brave 'tis better
than for the timid to join
in the game of war;
for the joyous it is better
than for the sad,
let come whatever may.»

Sigurd took Fáfnir's heart and roasted it on a stick. When he thought it roasted enough, and the blood frothed from it, he touched it with his finger, to try whether it were quite done. He burnt his finger and put it in his mouth; and when Fáfnir's heart's blood touched his tongue he understood the language of birds. He heard the eagles chattering among the branches.

32. EAGLE:
«There sits Sigurd
sprinkled with blood;
Fáfnir's heart
at the fire he roasts.
Wise methinks
were the ringdispenser,
if he the glistening
life-pulp ate.»

«There lies Regin
communing with himself;
he will beguile the youth,
who in him trusts:
in rage he brings
malicious words together,
the framer of evil
will avenge his brother.»

«By the head shorter,
let him the hoary babbler
send hence to Hel;
then can he all the gold
possess alone,
the mass that under Fáfnir lay.»

«He would, methinks, be prudent,
if he could have
your friendly counsel,
my sisters!
If he would bethink himself,
and Hugin gladden.
There I expect the wolf,
where his ears I see.»

«Not so prudent
is that tree of battle,
as I that martial leader
had supposed,
if he one brother
lets depart,
now he the other
has of life bereft.»

«He is most simple,
if he longer spares
that people's pest.
There lies Regin,
who has betrayed him.
He cannot guard against it.»

«By the head shorter
let him make the ice-cold jotun,
and of his rings deprive him;
then of that treasure thou,
which Fáfnir owned,
sole lord wilt be!»

«Fate shall not
so resistless be,
that Regin shall
my death-word bear;
for the brothers both shall
speedily go hence to Hel.»

Sigurd cut off the head of Regin, and then ate Fáfnir's heart, and drank the blood of both Regin and Fáfnir. He then heard the eagles saying:

40. «Bind thou, Sigurd!
The red-gold rings.
It is not kingly
many things to fear.
I a maid know
by far the fairest,
with gold adorned.
Couldst thou but her obtain!

41. To Give lead
all-verdant ways;
the fates point
out to wayfarers
where the good king
a born daughter has;
her wilt thou, Sigurd!
Purchase with bridal gifts.

42. There stands a hall
on Hindarhill,
with out 'tis all
with fire surrounded;
warriors wise
did make it once
out of the flaming
light of the flood.

43. On the fell I know
a warrior maid to sleep,
over her waves
the linden's bane.
Ygg whilom stuck
a sleepthorn in the robe
of the maid who
would heroes choose.

44. Thou, youth! Mayest see
the helmed maiden,
her whom Vingscorni
from battle bore.
May not Sigrdrífa's
slumber break
the son of warriors,
against the norns' decrees.

Sigurd rode along Fáfnir's track to his lair, which he found open. The doors and doorposts were of iron; of iron also were all the beams in the house; grounded in the earth. Sigurd found there a great quantity of gold, and filled two chests with it. He took thence the eyehelm, a golden corslet, the sword named Hrotta, and many animal traps, all which he laid on Grana; but the horse would not proceed until Sigurd had mounted on his back.