The Story of the Volsungs

Chapter xix.

Of the Slaying of Regin, Son of Hreidmar.

Thereafter came Regin to Sigurd, and said, “Hail, lord and master, a noble victory hast thou won in the slaying of Fafnir, whereas none durst heretofore abide in the path of him; and now shall this deed of fame be of renown while the world stands fast.”

Then stood Regin staring on the earth a long while, and presently thereafter spake from heavy-mood: “Mine own brother hast thou slain, and scarce may I be called sackless of the deed.”

Then Sigurd took his sword Gram and dried it on the earth, and spake to Regin —

“Afar thou faredst when I wrought this deed and tried this sharp sword with the hand and the might of me; with all the might and main of a dragon must I strive, while thou wert laid alow in the heather-bush, wotting not if it were earth or heaven.”

Said Regin, “Long might this worm have lain in his lair, if the sharp sword I forged with my hand had not been good at need to thee; had that not been, neither thou nor any man would have prevailed against him as at this time.”

Sigurd answers, “Whenas men meet foes in fight, better is stout heart than sharp sword.”

Then said Regin, exceeding heavily, “Thou hast slain my brother, and scarce may I be sackless of the deed.”

Therewith Sigurd cut out the heart of the worm with the sword called Ridil; but Regin drank of Fafnir’s blood, and spake, “Grant me a boon, and do a thing little for thee to do. Bear the heart to the fire, and roast it, and give me thereof to eat.”

Then Sigurd went his ways and roasted it on a rod; and when the blood bubbled out he laid his finger thereon to essay it, if it were fully done; and then he set his finger in his mouth, and lo, when the heart-blood of the worm touched his tongue, straightway he knew the voice of all fowls, and heard withal how the wood-peckers chattered in the brake beside him —

“There sittest thou, Sigurd, roasting Fafnir’s heart for another, that thou shouldest eat thine ownself, and then thou shouldest become the wisest of all men.”

And another spake: “There lies Regin, minded to beguile the man who trusts in him.”

But yet again said the third, “Let him smite the head from off him then, and be only lord of all that gold.”

And once more the fourth spake and said, “Ah, the wiser were he if he followed after that good counsel, and rode thereafter to Fafnir’s lair, and took to him that mighty treasure that lieth there, and then rode over Hindfell, whereas sleeps Brynhild; for there would he get great wisdom. Ah, wise he were, if he did after your redes, and bethought him of his own weal; ‘for where wolf’s ears are, wolf’s teeth are near.’”

Then cried the fifth: “Yea, yea, not so wise is he as I deem him, if he spareth him whose brother he hath slain already.”

At last spake the sixth: “Handy and good rede to slay him, and be lord of the treasure!”

Then said Sigurd, “The time is unborn wherein Regin shall be my bane; nay, rather one road shall both these brothers fare.”

And therewith he drew his sword Gram and struck off Regin’s head.

Then heard Sigurd the wood-peckers a-singing, even as the song says. 38

For the first sang:

“Bind thou, Sigurd,

The bright red rings!

Not meet it is

Many things to fear.

A fair may know I,

Fair of all the fairest

Girt about with gold,

Good for thy getting.”

And the second:

“Green go the ways

Toward the hall of Giuki

That the fates show forth

To those who fare thither;

There the rich king

Reareth a daughter;

Thou shalt deal, Sigurd,

With gold for thy sweetling.”

And the third:

“A high hall is there

Reared upon Hindfell,

Without all around it

Sweeps the red flame aloft.

Wise men wrought

That wonder of halls

With the unhidden gleam

Of the glory of gold.”

Then the fourth sang:

“Soft on the fell

A shield-may sleepeth

The lime-trees’ red plague

Playing about her:

The sleep-thorn set Odin

Into that maiden

For her choosing in war

The one he willed not.

“Go, son, behold

That may under helm

Whom from battle

Vinskornir bore,

From her may not turn

The torment of sleep.

Dear offspring of kings

In the dread Norns’ despite.”

Then Sigurd ate some deal of Fafnir’s heart, and the remnant he kept. Then he leapt on his horse and rode along the trail of the worm Fafnir, and so right unto his abiding-place; and he found it open, and beheld all the doors and the gear of them that they were wrought of iron: yea, and all the beams of the house; and it was dug down deep into the earth: there found Sigurd gold exceeding plenteous, and the sword Rotti; and thence he took the Helm of Awe, and the Gold Byrny, and many things fair and good. So much gold he found there, that he thought verily that scarce might two horses, or three belike, bear it thence. So he took all the gold and laid it in two great chests, and set them on the horse Grani, and took the reins of him, but nowise will he stir, neither will he abide smiting. Then Sigurd knows the mind of the horse, and leaps on the back of him, and smites and spurs into him, and off the horse goes even as if he were unladen.

38 The Songs of the Birds were inserted from “Reginsmal” by the translators.

http://ebooks.adelaide.edu.au/m/morris/william/volsungs/chapter19.html

Last updated Thursday, March 6, 2014 at 22:07