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Correspondence Der Ring des Nibelungen

A comment

by Benjamin

I’m still following your Ring updates. I felt very moved by Wotan’s honour-bound burden, particularly listening to the music you attached. More so than Alberich, of whom it could be expected, and despite the chronology, I found myself very angry at the lord of Valhalla’s wife, the rules of hospitality relativised with regard to a racial enemy’s transgression. The duty is misunderstood and ranked above the love for kin.

The spiralling consequences for Wotan… The need for his intervening spear. The great loss of his daughter. The father’s heart was torn. His wife had the satisfaction of impressing her social function, but her rigidity to an awarded task measured against a god’s honour, the lesson was disregarded beyond its action alone.

There’s no racial consciousness there. I think this insistent, mechanical absolutism, contrasted with the sheer implications from a man’s perspective (who, I would feel, could somehow have ‘bent the rules’, just a little, in private, and then in swift male decision and action, given that Hunding was a racial enemy, where it not for the naïve, sympathetic literality of his wife’s open opinion having curtailed all hope of that)—that’s the tragedy of this story to me, in essence. The mundane and the terrible ramifications of a woman’s love for obedience to more than the man beside her.

Der Ring des Nibelungen

The Ring of the Nibelung, 9

The fight against the dragon

When Mime and Siegfried arrived at Fafner’s cave, Fafner, transformed into a dragon, was dozing at the entrance. As soon as he heard the sound of footsteps, he raised his ugly head. Mime, frightened, backed away and hid behind a log.

“There you have it! Aren’t you afraid, Siegfried?”

Without heeding the dwarf’s question, Siegfried advanced cautiously, watching the dragon’s movements, as he did when fighting a bear, panther or boar.

The monster let out a hideous roar, but the young man did not flinch. He continued to advance with his sword in his right hand, and when the dragon swung to fall upon him, he stepped back a few paces. The beast fell heavily, and before it could recover and get to its guard, Siegfried advanced with lightning speed and buried the sword in its throat.

The dragon swung again, and the hero fell back again. A thick stream of blood gushed from his throat and soaked the ground.

After several attempts to crush his attacker, the monster raised its tail to reach him despite the distance. With the effort, he slipped on his blood and lay down. Siegfried, attentive to the dying creature’s every move, seized the moment to plunge his sword into its chest. Bellowing roars and gasps of agony, the beast thrashed for more than an hour. Finally, its body became rigid. Thus Mime’s wishes were satisfied.

Siegfried reached over to pull out the sword, which had been sunk into the monster’s chest. As he grasped it and withdrew it, a gush of blood gushed into his hand. The blood was so hot that the hero put his hand to his mouth.

Feeling the warmth and taste of blood on his lips, Siegfried heard a gurgling sound in the silence of the forest. He looked up at a high branch of a lime tree and saw that a little bird was singing to him. Little by little he understood the bird’s language: “The dragon’s blood gives you the power to understand my language, Siegfried. That monster you have slain was the giant Fafner. In his cavern, you will find treasure. You are now the owner of all his riches. Enter and take possession of the magic helmet, which will allow you to change your shape or countenance, transforming you into a ferocious animal or any object, if you prefer; and the ring forged from the gold of the Rhine, a sign of power and dominion over the world.”

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Der Ring des Nibelungen

The Ring of the Nibelung, 8

Part Three: Siegfried


The non-white Mime

Sieglinde lived for nine months in the shelter of a rock in the middle of a vast forest. She fed on wild fruits all that time and carefully kept the pieces of Sigmund’s sword.

When she felt that the day of her son’s birth was near, she travelled through the forest in search of a hut where she could give birth.

One night, after so much walking, she came to a cave that looked like a blacksmith’s workshop. She went in and lay down on a bed of straw in a corner.

After a few hours, the owner of the workshop came in. It was Mime, Alberich’s brother, whom Alberich had forced to do hard labour when he wore the gold ring of the Rhine on his finger. Both one brother and the other had taken up residence near the giant Fafner’s cave. Fafner kept watch day and night to ensure that no greedy Nibelung would steal his treasure. To guard it better, the giant had transformed himself into a dragon, to terrify, with his monstrous form, those who dared to steal it.

Neither Alberich nor Mime dared to confront the terrible monster, who never left the treasure.

When Mime reached his workshop, he heard a creature wailing. He found Sieglinde, who had just given birth, dying. The unhappy mother recommended the dwarf take charge of her child’s upbringing.

“Call him Siegfried, a name that means ‘joy of victory’. He will be a strong and valiant hero. Here are the fragments of his father’s sword. It is a gift from the gods. With it my son will be invincible,” she told him in a faint voice, feeling death approaching.

Siegfried, cared for by the dwarf smith, grew strong and healthy in the middle of the forest. Mime forged arrows for him, with which the sturdy boy hunted birds and deer. When he grew out of childhood, he began to face bears and wild boars.

More than once, the young boy had asked his guardian for the name of his father.

“I am your father,” replied Mime; “I have seen you born and raised you; I have taught you to handle the bow so that you will be invincible.”

“You have brought me up and trained me in the handling of weapons, but you are not my father,” replied Siegfried. “I see that the nestlings of the nests are like the birds that raise them. I observe that the cubs of wild beasts are similar to the mothers that nurse them. How can you pretend to be my father when I am white and blond, tall and slender, and you are swarthy and wrinkled, short and hunchbacked? Or do you think you are deceiving me?”

Mime was silent then and continued to pound on his anvil.

Siegfried spent his time hunting, fishing or chasing the wild beasts that crossed his path. Since he knew no fear, he dared everything. His powerful arm would tear apart animals that would have taken a giant, and his accurate arrows would shoot down the swiftest flying birds.

Towards evening he would return to the cave and pester the dwarf with his questions.

“For the last time! Who was my father?”

“Your father was the hero Sigmund. He died in a duel. Hundingo killed him.”

“You haven’t taught me how to handle a sword yet. I’m old enough for that. I want to avenge my father.”

“Fine. I’ll forge you a sword. See these two pieces of steel? I’ll put them together and you’ll have a weapon worthy of your strong arm.”

And indeed, Mime worked day and night in his attempt to weld the fragments of Sigmund’s sword together. In vain. As soon as Siegfried took the weapon and struck a blow on the anvil, the two pieces separated.

“What is it about this steel that does not bind?” wondered the dwarf.

And Siegfried answered:

“You are an unskilful smith, Mime.”

“That’s all we needed, that you pretend to teach me how to forge swords.”

“You teach me, then, and I’ll try to put those pieces together.”

Siegfried and the Nibelung Mime
by Hans Toepper

Siegfried could not put the two fragments together either. Then the young man had an idea. He filed the steel and reduced it to powder, a task that took him days and days of hard work. Then he melted the powder, strained the liquid and finally tempered a new weapon.

“Here is my sword, Mime!”

“Try it on my anvil,” the dwarf replied.

And Siegfried, without a word, struck such a blow on the anvil that it was split to the core.

“Admirable, my son, I congratulate you!”

“I told you not to call me son!” shouted the young man, advancing with a menacing air.

Mime recoiled in fright. He realised that he no longer had any ascendancy over the young man. The hero was ripe for great deeds, and it was necessary to handle him with cunning to make use of him.

“Siegfried, listen to me,” he said to him one night before going to bed, “there is one thing you have yet to learn, and that is fear.”

“Fear? What is that?”

“It is a feeling that shakes the heart and paralyses the will.”

“I don’t understand.”

“Didn’t you feel your heart pounding when you faced the bear that afternoon?”

“No. I couldn’t take care of my heart. I was attentive to the beast’s movements.”

“Did you feel nothing strange that stormy night when you got lost and arrived at dawn in the cave?”

“I only felt cold that night.”

“Well then. If you want to know fear you must face a dragon.”

“I’ve never seen a dragon. Are there any around here?”

“Yes, it lives in a nearby cavern.”

“Tomorrow you will lead me there. I want to see this animal.”

“It’s a monster that will pounce on you as soon as you get close.”

“I’ll keep my distance.”

“It will chase you. He’ll take you down with a single blow of the tail.”

“Then I’ll stand up to it. I’ll carry my sword.”

“Yes, but be careful.”

“That dragon can be no more agile than a panther, no stronger than a bear, no more furious than a wild boar. Tomorrow we will set out at dawn, and you will lead me to the dragon’s cavern. In a short time, I will give an account of him.”

Der Ring des Nibelungen

Wotan’s farewell to Brunhild

YouTube commenter:

When I first heard this recording (‘Highlights of the Ring’ under conductor Karl Bohm at Bayreuth circa 1966), I was blown away. Theo Adam is Wotan. He breathes so much personality life and fatherly divinity to this role that to this day I can’t think of a better interpreter even with all the ones that have sung the part—George London a close second James Morris. Theo has such a command for his native German language and for the music. Bohm conducts at a slow and very meaningful pace. The scene is set Wotan king of the gods on a lonely mountain top with his daughter the Valkyrie Brunnhilde whom he casts a sleeping spell upon and puts her in a magic circle of fire. This is one of the most beautiful moments if the Ring. Always gets to me.

Der Ring des Nibelungen

The Ring of the Nibelung, 7

The fatal duel

At dawn, the voice of Hunding’s horn began to echo across the valley. It was a terrible sound, an inexorable challenge.

Siegmund and Sieglinde were sitting at the foot of a tree in the heart of the forest. She slept, resting her head on her beloved’s shoulder.

Brunhild, perched on a wooded promontory, was mournfully watching the young couple. Before the sun dissolved the mist that hung in the atmosphere of the forest, the Valkyrie descended, leading her steed from the cradle.

“A Valkyrie!”, cried Sigmund, startled at the sight of Wotan’s favourite daughter.

“You know, young man, that only heroes in danger of death can see Valkyries. I have come to warn you…”

“Yes, I know that soon I will have to measure myself against Hunding. I have heard the challenge of the horn.”

“So say goodbye to Sieglinde. Wake her up.”

“If I perish in battle, will you take me to Valhalla?”

“My horse will carry your body to the abode of the gods. There you will be part of the heroic guard.”

“Will you also take Sieglinde?”

“No. She has a mission to accomplish on Earth.”

“Your answer, Brunhild, increases my faith in the courage of my arm. Last night I plucked from the sacred ash tree the sword that Wotan promised me.”

“Your destiny will be fulfilled!” cried the Valkyrie, retreating behind some bushes.

Sigmund left Sieglinde asleep and went to meet his enemy, guided by the sound of the horn.

When the two warriors came face to face they crossed swords. Brunhild approached unseen by the combatants and covered Sigmund with her shield to protect him from his enemy’s blows. Wotan, who had expected her to break the hero’s sword, as he had commanded her, seeing his daughter’s disobedience, descended from Valhalla with lightning speed. He thrust his spear between the two blades, and Sigmund’s was shattered to pieces. With that, the god disappeared.

Hunding seized the advantage. With one blow he knocked down the hero of the Völsung and immediately fled from the scene.

In the meantime, Sieglinde had woken up. She ran towards the scene of the battle, guided by the clashing of swords. When she got there she saw that Brunhild was placing Sigmund’s corpse on her steed. She cried out in pain and collapsed. The Valkyrie carried her onto her horse and, after picking up the pieces of Sigmund’s sword, rode towards Valhalla. When she arrived she was reproached by her eight sisters. A Valkyrie could not disobey Wotan. The punishment that awaited Brunhild would surely be terrible.

When Sieglinde awoke from her faintness, she asked for death.

“I can no longer tolerate life on earth,” she cried in a pained accent.

“You must live, Sieglinde!” said Brunhild; “Sigmund’s son, who will be born of you, will avenge him. You shall call him Siegfried. He will be the bravest hero the ages have ever seen. Take the pieces of his father’s sword. He will unite them and accomplish with it the highest deeds. Let’s go! I will take you away before Wotan comes and punishes me for my disobedience.”

When the Valkyrie returned to Valhalla, Wotan was waiting for her with an angry gesture.

“How do you justify your disobedience, rebellious daughter?”

“Sigmund was my protégé, father. You raised him brave and strong so that one day he would bring glory to the Völsung race and honour the gods of Valhalla. That is why I tried to protect him with my shield.”

“You knew well that when I ordered you to break his sword, my heart bled. But Fricka forced me to obey the law of hospitality, which Sigmund had inflicted.”

“In any case, my father, I could not tolerate that before my eyes a hero of Sigmund’s stature should die in an unequal fight. If you had provided him with a sword, I could not break it, leaving the brave Völsung defenceless.”

“My orders are not disputed, neither in Valhalla nor on earth! No speeches can justify your disobedience. Therefore, the punishment reserved for rebellious gods will befall you. You will lose your immortal status. Valhalla will be closed to you. I will take you to Earth and put you to sleep on a mountaintop. The man who finds you and wakes you up will be your companion in your mortal life.”

Hearing this cruel sentence, the eight-sister Valkyries uttered exclamations of horror.

Brunhild knelt before Wotan and begged:

“Father, I accept your condemnation with submission. Make my sleep long, if possible, eternal. But if I am to be the companion of a mortal, make it so that he may not be a common man. Surround my sleeping body with such obstacles and dangers, that only a hero of indomitable courage can overcome them.”

“Granted, daughter. I will surround you with a ring of unquenchable fire. Only a man who is not afraid to break through that ring of flame will be able to make you his wife. Then you will be a hero’s wife.”

Father and daughter descended to earth. On a high mount, by a deep and dark valley, the Valkyrie lay on a bed of moss. When he had put her to sleep, Wotan looked at her for a long time, and it could be seen that his tough sentence broke his heart. Then he struck the hard ground three times, invoking Loge. The god of fire came and drew a ring of fire around Brunhild.

Wotan takes leave of Brunhild (1892) by Konrad Dielitz


Macgregor again

During the interview, I liked it when the colonel said: ‘Economists exist to make astrologers look professional’, referring to orthodox economists.

Der Ring des Nibelungen

The Ring of the Nibelung, 6

The condemnation of Siegmund

Meanwhile, in Valhalla, Wotan was anxious about the fate of his favourite Siegmund. He called his daughter, the Valkyrie Brunhild, and said to her:

“A deadly duel will take place tomorrow in the region of the Neidings. Siegmund has fled from Hunding’s hut, taking Sieglinde with him. When he wakes up, the fierce hunter will pursue the youths. The fight will be fierce. Siegmund is armed with the sword he plucked from the ash tree. Try to protect him and let the vultures take Hunding’s body.”

The Valkyrie was hastening down to earth to do Wotan’s bidding, when from afar was heard the cry of Wotan’s wife, Fricka, the goddess of the hearth, and therefore the jealous guardian of the laws of hospitality. It was up to her to see that they were observed. She approached her husband and said in an angry tone:

“A hunter named Hunding has brought his complaint to me. A man stayed in his hut and, abusing the hospitality he had received, fled during the night, taking the mistress of the house with him.”

Fricka, the goddess of marriage
and wife of the main god, Wotan.

“Yes,” answered Wotan with a sad accent. “It is true that the young Siegmund had been taken in at Hunding’s hut.”

“Taken in and cured of his wounds.”

“But it was Sieglinde who took him in and cured him.”

“Is not Sieglinde Hunding’s wife? Did she not act on behalf of the master of the house in taking in and healing the wounded man?”

“You must bear in mind, dear Fricka, that Sieglinde belongs to the Völsungs.”

“What does that matter?”

“Remember that she was brought to that Neiding home by force. Hunding killed all the members of her family and dragged her to the forest when she was still a child, forcing her to be his wife.”

“That does not justify or mitigate Siegmund’s fault. Sieglinde had a right to escape if she was forcibly held in that home which was an enemy of her race, but Siegmund should not go away from the hut by stealing the owner’s wife. It is an unpardonable act.”

“Your zealous application of the laws of hospitality comes to thwart my plans, dear Fricka.”

“I don’t know what plans you speak of, Wotan; I have never understood your continual entanglements.”

“It is not a question of entanglements, my wife; listen: I am very much afraid that the cunning Alberich will succeed in taking the ring from the giant Fafner, in which case we would again be exposed to the fatal power of that Nibelung dwarf. I cannot take the ring from Fafner. I gave it to him myself as a reward for his work. It would be a breach of contract. And so: Siegmund is the hero that I have bred so that one day he may seize the ring that Fafner keeps together with the magic helmet and the treasure of the Nibelung. For that, I will provide him with an invincible sword. But if you stand in the way, Siegmund, lacking my protection, will die at the hands of the spiteful Hunding.”

“When it is a question of circumventing a law or a covenant that you yourself have established, you string words and more words into a long speech. I am not here to listen to speeches. I have come to demand that the law of hospitality be observed. Here it is a very simple matter: a man was taken into a home, and he, in return for the hospitality he received, fled, taking the wife of the owner of the house with him.”

Wotan looked at Brunhild, who was waiting for his decision.

“Did you hear Fricka, my child?”

“Yes, father. I heard her. Stiff and implacable, as always.”

“It is her duty. The law of hospitality protects Hunding. For him not to succumb, my sword must break in Siegmund’s fist.”

“And you forsake your hero?” cried the Valkyrie.

“It is the law, my daughter. Siegmund has failed. He must die.”

Der Ring des Nibelungen

The Ring of the Nibelung, 5

Part Two: The Valkyrie



Alberich, of the race of the Nibelungs, had stolen the gold of the Rhine and forged a ring from it, which gave him power and wealth. The god Wotan was to reward the giants Fasolt and Fafner for having built Valhalla, and he gave them the riches and the golden ring which he had taken from Alberich the Nibelung. As Alberich had cursed the ring, as soon as Fasolt put it on his finger, his companion Fafner smashed his skull with a sledgehammer and he became the sole owner of everything.


The hero of the Völsungs

A long time had passed since the Nibelung Alberich had stolen the gold from the Rhine. In the meantime, men had begun their bloody feuds. The struggle was between two opposing sides: the Völsungs, protected by Wotan, and the Neidings, favourites of the Nibelungen.

The nine Valkyries, daughters of the lord of Valhalla, were present in the thick of the fighting and picked up the heroes who fell on the battlefields. On their horses, invisible as they were, the brave Amazons carried the bodies of the warriors to the abode of the gods, where their immortal souls formed the heroic guard of Valhalla.

Wotan reigned omnipresent over the gods, but he always thought of the ring forged by Alberich from the gold of the Rhine, which he, the god of justice, had torn from the hand of the Nibelung by doing violence to the Nibelung. He had then been forced to give the jewel to the giants in exchange for Freia, the goddess of eternal youth.

The ring was still in the possession of the giant Fafner, along with the magic helmet and all the riches that Wotan had taken from Alberich. The god could not take it from him; he was prevented from doing so by the pact made with the giant, inscribed on his ash-tree shaft; but he could conquer it by some hero of the Völsung race, who were his protégés.

On one of his wanderings through the earth, Wotan, wrapped in a wolf skin, entered the forest. In a hut, he heard the wandering of a child. He was alone, beside his dead mother.

The little boy was robust and vigorous. From his features, the prince of the gods saw that he was a Völsung and thought: “This may be the hero who will snatch the ring from Fafner. He named him Siegmund, raised him in the middle of the jungle and accustomed him to face the greatest dangers.

When he was barely out of infancy, Siegmund began to fight the enemies of his race. Over the years, many Nibelungs fell under his blows, but in an ambush, he lost his weapons, was wounded, and could only avoid death by fleeing through the forest amid a horrible storm.

After wandering through the forest all night, he came to a large hut. A young woman gave him hospitality and dressed his wounds. After several hours of rest, Siegmund sat up and asked the young woman her name and lineage.

“My name is Sieglinde,” she answered with a sad accent. “I am of Völsung stock, but my husband is not; he is a Neiding. His name is Hunding. He attacked my people and brought me here. I was almost a child then and he forced me to be his wife; from that day on I have been with him, much to my regret.”

Siegmund tried to get up.

“I am in the house of an enemy of my race,” he said. “I will not stay here a minute longer.”

“At this moment I am the mistress of this house, and I am of your race. For some days past Hunding has been engaged in a hunting party far away from here. Tomorrow, when you are recovered from your wounds, you may go.”

It was not yet dark when the door opened and Hunding entered.

Seeing the man lying by the fire, he questioned Sieglinde:

“He sleeps; he is wounded,” she answered. Let him rest until dawn, even if we don’t know who he is. Hospitality is sacred. Prepare me some mead. I am thirsty and tired. I will sleep soundly tonight, and rise early tomorrow.”

And indeed, Hunding fell into a much deeper sleep than he had imagined. Sieglinde poured a narcotic into the flask of mead she offered to the rough hunter. Confident that her husband would not wake before dawn, the young woman approached Siegmund and said:

“Let us flee, Siegmund! I can no longer be the slave of a man who destroyed my home and murdered my people.”

“I can leave the house of my enemy, but if I flee with you I will be committing a grave offence against the laws of hospitality. Consider that you are the wife of the owner of this hut in which you have sheltered me. Hunding will hunt us down and kill us both. The gods would protect him in the event of a fight, for he would act in defence of his sullied honour.”

“He is your enemy, and I am one of your blood, whom he holds prisoner as spoils of war! You have not received hospitality from him. It was I who took you into the hut. He would not have done so, surely.”

“We are running to certain death, believe me, Sieglinde. Hunding will kill us both. Me as a perfidious guest, an enemy of his race; you as a wife who has betrayed him. That is what will happen, and we cannot avoid it. “

“Don’t you trust your courage and strength, Sigmund?”

“I am unarmed. In my fight with Hunding, I could only win with the sword that Wotan promised me when I was a boy.”

“Have you ever seen Wotan? Did the lord of Valhalla speak to you?”

“Throughout my orphaned childhood, the god cared for me with loving solicitude. When I was no longer a child, he exposed me to the dangers of animals and men and accustomed me to the rigours of fighting. Because of the education I have received, nothing frightens me; I fear no one. In parting, Wotan said that when I possessed the necessary strength to be able to pull out a sword sunk in a log…”

“A sword sunk in a log, you say? Outside is the ash tree, in the trunk of which the hilt of Wotan’s sword glows at night. No Neiding has ever been able to pull it out of there, despite several attempts.”

As he said this. Sieglinde led Sigmund out of the hut and pointed to a dry tree with a tormented trunk. In the moonlight, the hilt of a sword gleamed in the strong wood.

Sigmund was overjoyed; at last he had found the promised sword! With it, he would be invincible and have nothing to fear. He approached the ash tree, grasped the hilt and gave a strong, vigorous tug.

The sword glittered like a jewel in the hero’s hand.

“Let us flee, Sieglinde. Destiny binds us together. No one shall separate us.”

And they walked away through the tangle of dense forest, through the branches of which the sun’s rays were beginning to filter.

Der Ring des Nibelungen

The Ring of the Nibelung, 4

The Barter

When the gods of Valhalla saw the immense treasure brought there by the Nibelungs, they understood the reason for Votan and Loge’s journey to the realm where Alberich ruled. With these riches, it was possible to seduce Fafner and Fasolt. They would agree to give Freia in exchange for jewels and precious stones so that the goddess could continue to cultivate the fruits that conferred eternal youth on the inhabitants of Valhalla.

Votan ordered Loge to call the giants to arrange the barter. When the giants saw the huge treasure deposited on the spacious esplanade of Valhalla, they opened their eyes wide.

“Come closer,” commanded Votan.

The giants approached the treasure and the lord of Valhalla continued:

“Do you see these jewels, these precious stones, these chests full of gold? I offer you all this in Freia’s stead.”

Fasolt was about to nod when he was stopped by a gesture from Fafner. He replied:

“Great and valuable is this treasure of the Nibelungenland; but Freia is worth more than all the riches of the world. She, and she alone, can confer eternal youth on the gods. Since the day she left Valhalla you have all grown somewhat older. As the days go by, your faces will be covered with wrinkles…”

“Enough!” cried Votan angrily.

The giants backed away in fear, and the god continued:

“Do you want more than this treasure to leave Freia to us?”

“I understand that in addition to the precious stones, the metal bars and the carved jewels, there was a helmet forged by Mime.”

“Take the helmet too,” interrupted Votan, tossing it onto the pile of jewels.

The giants remained mute. They neither denied nor nodded.

“Do you want anything else? Answer me!”

“On your hand shines the ring that Alberich forged from the gold of the Rhine,” continued Fafner.

“The ring was not part of Alberich’s treasure. The gold with which he forged it had been stolen.”

“Stolen or not, it was his until you and Loge took it from him.”

Votan hesitated for a moment. He looked at the faces of the gods who witnessed the scene and noticed in them obvious signs of ageing. In the eyes of all his sons, the lord of Valhalla read the desire not to prolong Freia’s absence any longer.

Throwing the ring on the pile of jewels, Votan exclaimed:

“Take the ring, and along with it, the curse of Alberich!”

Fasolt was the first to throw himself on the treasure and seized the ring.

Fafner demanded the jewel.

“Why should I give you the ring,” asked Fasolt.

“Because I got it. If it hadn’t been for me, you would have accepted Votan’s first offer, without the helmet and the ring.”

“That is not sufficient reason to claim the preference. The jewel is on my finger, and no speech of yours will suffice…”

Fasolt was unable to continue, for a tremendous blow from Fafner cracked his skull.

Fafner kills Fasolt by
Arthur Rackham (1867-1939)

The murderer, after returning Freia, took the treasure, the magic helmet and the fatal ring.

Fasolt’s corpse lay there, at the mercy of the vultures’ voracity.

The Nibelung’s curse bore its first fruit.