« The Legend of Sigurd and Gudrún » (cont'd)
Then the Gods went on their way until they came to the house of a certain Hreidmar, and they showed him the otter's skin. But the otter was Hreidmar's son, who took the form of an otter when fishing; and Hreidmar called out to his other sons, Fáfnir and Regin, and they laid hands on the Æsir and bound them, demanding that they ransom themselves by filling the otter-skin with gold, and covering it on the outside with gold, so that no trace of the skin could be seen.
Then Loki went over land and sea to find Rán, the wife of the sea-god; and he got from her the net with which she drew down men drowning in the sea. With that net he captured the dwarf Ándvari, who was fishing in his falls. Ándvari ransomed himself with his great hoard of gold, but he tried to save for himself a little gold ring; and when Loki saw that, he took the ring from him. Then Ándvari laid a curse upon it.
When Loki returned to Heidmar's house Ódin saw the ring, and he desired it, and took it for himself. Then Hreidmar and his sons filled up the otter-skin with the gold of Ándvari and covered it; but Hreidmar looking at it very closely saw a hair, and he demanded that that too should be hidden; then Ódin drew out the ring, and covered the hair.
There was a king in the North, a descendant of Ódin, who was named Völsung. Sigmund was his eldest son, and Signý was his sister: she was wise and could foresee much that would come to pass. There were nine other sons besides.
Völsung's hall was upheld by a towering tree; its boughs were the rafters, and birds sang in them. A king named Siggeir sought Signý to be his bride; but Signý was unwilling. Yet despite her foreboding Siggeir's wooing was accepted; and in due time Siggeir with many men came to Völsung's land, and a great feast was held.
At that feast, on a dark night of wind, the door of the hall was suddenly opened, and a man, tall, very old, white-bearded, and covered with a great cloak, entered; and it was Ódin. From under his cloak he swept out a sword, and thrust it into the bole of the great tree, inviting any of those present to try to draw it forth. Many strove, but none could move it, until Sigmund, Völsung's son, easily released it. Siggeir offered to purchase it at a great price, but Sigmund haughtily refused him; and this was the beginning of hatred. (cont'd)