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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.”

One reply on “The Ring of the Nibelung, 9”

The fight against the dragon its very prominent in Indo-European legends.

Fafner, Beowulf’s dragon (Dæghrefn?), the slavic Gorynych, the Greco Roman lernean Hydra…

They always represents a mighty foe that seems unlikely to be defeated.

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