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Saga of the Golden Curse - Part Two

 Introducing Part Two of The Saga of the Golden Curse. You may recall in Part One that Odin and two friends, Loki and Heinir, journeyed to a dark green forest for the first time. They met Hreidmar, an ugly dwarf who just learned the three had killed his son, Ottar, who was also disguised as an otter in the forest. Hreidmar and his other two sons bound the three travelers and Hreidmar demanded a ransom of gold before releasing them. To get the gold, however, either Odin or one his friends needed to be released. Hreidmar realized this was necessary chose to release Loki.

 

We left Part One where Loki had donned his shoes and ran towards the sea where he had hoped to raise Ran, the goddess of the sea..... 

 

 

The Saga of The Golden Curse - Part Two


“Oh, radiant Ran, please rise.”


Ran heard Loki and rose from the sea. She queried in her soft yet clear bubbly voice, “What brings you to the sea, Loki?”


“Radiant Ran, I have come on behalf of the AllFather, Odin and our friend Haenir, as they have been captured and bound, and I have a plan to free them. But I need to borrow one of your nets.”


Ran replied, “I can honour your request and be of assistance to Odin and Haenir. Take this net of many knots and gnarls.”


And with that she offered Loki one of her rare and enchanted nets.


Loki thanked her and sped off further into Svartalfheim. He first heard the falls, and following the sound he found Andvara Falls. He spread the mystical net over the falls and waited. In a matter of moments, Andvari found himself caught up in Ran’s magical net of knots and gnarls.


Once Andvari was caught, Loki bargained with him. He offered Andvari his life for all of the gold in his possession. Loki said, “Do you know who is the fish that swims these waters, and does not know how to protect himself? Ha ha, that is you, Andvari! Now give me the fire of the well, or I will eat you for my supper.”


“It is true, I am Andvari and a son of Odin. In ancient times a norn turned me into this pike that you see before you. I want my life, so I will bring the gold to you.”


As Loki pulled him out, he shouted, “Andvari, if you value your life, you better fin over all your gold because I have a delirious desire to eat pike, my friend, and you look delicious.”


There was no bargaining with Loki and the agitated Andvari brought all the gold to him. Andvari struggled to conceal one golden ring, but Loki saw him do this and demanded what Andvari was concealing.


“You are holding out on me, Andvari, give it here.”


Andvari confided, “You have all of the gold and I will be left with nothing for all my work, unless this one ring remains in my possession. With this one ring I will be able to make more gold for myself.” And with that, Andvari showed the ring to Loki.


When Loki saw the ring, he snatched it and began preparing to leave with all the gold. Andvari pleaded to keep the ring but Loki refused and continued preparing. As he was about to leave, the devastated dwarf sourly snarled at him, “Since the ring and all my gold will not be with me, I put a curse on it. All the gold you carry will bring misfortune and death to whomever possesses it, and will be of no use to anyone.”


Loki was more concerned with returning to Odin and Haenir with the gold, to free them from the dwarf’s magic, than to heed the words of Andvari that spouted a curse on the gold.


Loki raced back to the house of Hreidmar where Haenir and Odin were still bound. When Odin saw the gold and the ring, he was elated. He hoped to be finally free of the binds. Hreidmar ordered Odin, Haenir, and Loki to fill the bag of Ottar with the red gold. He unbound Odin and Haenir for this purpose. Somehow, Odin managed to slip the ring Loki had into his pocket. The three did as Hreidmar commanded. The empty bag of Ottar was filled on the inside with the red gold and covered completely on the outside with yellow gold. When they were finished filling and covering the bag of Ottar, Hreidmar walked around inspecting it.


He said, “One whisker is uncovered. If it is not covered, there is no agreement.”


Odin felt the ring in his pocket. With a reluctance that pulled at him that he did not fully comprehend, he took the ring out of his pocket and placed it on the whisker of the otter. The otter was completely covered. Hreidmar made another check around the otter and this time he was satisfied.


“You are free to go. Odin, take your spear. But if you or any of your kind set foot on my land again, you will feel the full force of my wrath.”


Odin, Haenir, and Loki gratefully agreed to never return. They were free to go and free of the Ottar’s ransom. Odin took his spear and as they were about to leave Loki recounted the words of Andvari: “All the red gold inside and all the yellow gold outside of Ottar and the ring that covers his whisker, were cursed by the distraught dwarf, Andvari. He said the gold will be the death of anyone who owns it and it will be of no use to anyone.”


Hreidmar smirked and although Odin was curious about the curse, he really wanted to learn the knowledge and the mystical magic of Hreidmar. But from the gruesome looks of the gnarled dwarf, Odin turned with Loki and Haenir and they fled as fast as they could.


Hreidmar smiled and gloated over the gold. He obsessed over it. Fafnir finally confronted him, “Father, it is time for you to give us our share of the gold in compensation for our brother, Ottar.”


Hreidmar growled, “I am not sharing any of my gold with you or anyone else. It is all mine!”


Fafnir argued, “We are in our rights to have our portion of the compensation. Ottar was our brother as well as your son.”


Hreidmar was angry and they fought a heated battle, until Fafnir drew out his father’s sword Hrotti and slew him with it. Next, Fafnir went and found his father’s helmet called Aegis-Helm (meaning the Helm of Dread). The helmet was so terrifying that it brought fear into all living creations who placed their eyes on it. He placed it on his own head. He then went and stood beside Ottar, who was filled with gold inside and outside. The grimmest of grins lurked over his face and a strange sensation spread throughout his gnarled body as he gleamed and gloated over the gold.


Regin suggested, “Brother, let us share the gold amongst ourselves and with our sisters, Lyngheid and Lofnheid, and our mother, Runa, as now we do not have to live with only this meagre existence. We can all live a better life. Let us share one fifth of the gold, as we do not have to divide it into sevenths, since Ottar and father are both gone.”


Fafnir snarled and growled and laughed and said a blunt, “No!”


Regin went and found his sister Lyngheid and told her what had happened. He then asked her, “How can we get Fafnir to share the gold?”


Lyngheid suggested to Regin, “Well, go and ask him nicely.”


Regin went back to his home and asked Fafnir as nicely as he could, but Fafnir sneered and jeered him. “If you think there is any hope of my sharing the gold with you, when I have killed father for it, then you are mistaken. I will never share this gold with you or with anyone else. Begone from here!” He let out a gruesome growl. “Or feel the bite of the bloody blade of Hrotti like father did!”


Regin pleaded, “Fafnir, how can you say this? I am your brother!”


Fafnir rose Hrotti high in the air and was about to plunge the sword down upon the head of Regin when Regin ran. As he fled the house, he snatched his sword called Refill that rested by the door. Running on fear, he raced and stumbled through the night and fell into the realm of King Hjalprek in Thjod. He had no idea where he was. He humbly came before the king and pleaded for a place in his service.


“What skills do you offer?” the king asked.


Regin showed him all he owned, his sword, and said, “I am a smith and a craftsman.”


King Hjalprek closely inspected the sword, Refill, and he liked what he saw. He offered Regin the position of the craftsmith. Regin was grateful to be accepted and have a new home and a new place in which to work. He diligently fulfilled all of King Hjalprek’s work orders.

 

Meanwhile, Fafnir drooled all day and all night over what once was his brother, Ottar. His form filled on the inside with red gold and yellow gold on the outside was still standing in the middle of the room where Hreidmar had left it. The ring on the whisker produced more gold, as Andvari had said it would.


Fafnir became obsessed with the gold and desired to hide and hoard the gold all for himself. He went to an area called Gnita-Heath, and dug himself out a huge cave. He made doors and fastenings cleverly cast in a strong iron. They were securely attached to the front opening of his lair. All the posts in the cave were also cast of iron and were sunk deep into the earth. He built his lair long and huge. He gradually placed all the gold there and when he was finished, he lay on the glittering gold. Day after day he sat on the gold and obsessed. As he sat, he began changing. He slowly grew one hundred times larger and scales evolved on his outer skin. He growled and spit venomous flames if anyone came near. He changed into a huge and fearsome dragon. People knew of him and his story, as he came to be known as the dreadful dragon, Fafnir.

 


The Dragon Fafnir by Arthur Rackham
The Dragon Fafnir by Arthur Rackham
 

We hope you have enjoyed this chapter from A Viking Legend: The Descendants of Odin.  If you would like to read more about Odin and his descendants, it can be purchased as an ebook or paperback from Amazon or Kobo (ebook only).


Note: The colour images above were AI generated for the purposes of this blog article and are not included in the author's chapter of The Saga of the Golden Curse.

  

 

 

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