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« The Legend of Sigurd and Gudrún » (cont'd)

After the death of Sigmund, Sigrlinn was married to the king of another country; and when her son, who was named Sigurd, was born he was sent to be fostered by Regin the son of Hreidmar. Regin was a famous smith, but skilled in many other matters beside. He told Sigurd the story of Ándvari's gold; and he told how Fáfnir, his brother, had slain their father Hreidmar for the treasure; he would give no piece of it to Regin, but he had transformed himself into a great dragon, and made himself a lair in the wilderness of Gnitaheiði.
Now Regin egged Sigurd on to slay Fáfnir, and he forged for him two swords, but Sigurd broke both of them in turn. Then from his mother Sigrlinn he acqired the fragments of Gram that had belonged to his father; and from them Regin forged an incomparable sword.
Guided by Ódin Sigurd chose for himself a horse named Grani, famous in legend, and with Regin he rode to Gnitaheiði. There he hid in a hollow dug in the dragon's path until he came from his lair to drink, and then with his sword Gram he pierced Fáfnir to the heart from beneath as he passed over.
When Fáfnir lay dead Regin cut out his heart, and he asked Sigurd to roast it. This he did, but he touched it with his finger and put the finger to his mouth, and so he tasted Fáfnir's heart. Immediately he could understand what birds in the thicket were saying of Regin's treacherous intent towards him, and he turned, and seeing Regin creeping through the grass towards him he slew him. Then he went to Fáfnir's lair, and loading the treasure onto Grani's back he departed from Gnitaheiði.


Now Sigurd came to a mountain named Hindarfell, and he saw a fire and lightning at its summit. He rode Grani up to it and through the flames, and he found that they encircled a man in armour lying asleep; but when he lifted the helm he saw that it was a woman. He learned that she was Brynhild, and she was a Valkyrie, a warrior woman of Ódin, whom the God had laid to sleep because she had disobeyed his command.
On the mountain-top Sigurd and Brynhild pledged themselves to one another; but soon they parted, she to her own land, and he to the land of the Niflungs on the Rhine. (cont'd)


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