The Icelandic Sagas

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Forums -> Norse Paganism -> The Icelandic Sagas

The Icelandic Sagas
Post # 1

The sagas of Iceland that tell us of great heroes and events are more than entertaining. They are valuable bits of lore. I would like this thread to become a thread where heathens and other folk get together and share their favorite bits of the sagas. My bit for today is from the Volsung Saga, which contains the story of Sigurd the Dragonslayer.

Now there are tons of good stories from this saga, but I shall cover the slaying of Fafnir. King Volsung was a mighty king that was cut down and his only remaining son (Sigmund) and grandson avenged him. Sigmund was later killed but his pregnant wife escaped with a king to Denmark and there she gave birth to the mighty hero Sigurd. There Sigurd grew into manhood and learned runes, smithing, fighting, and all the trades of a king from his teacher, the dwarf Regin.

One day Regin makes mention about a mighty horde of gold that is guarded by a great dragon named Fafnir. The dragon Fafnir is actually Regin's brother who took the form of a dragon, killed their father, and stole the family treasure. There is a more complicated story to the horde of gold but the basic story is that Loki paid weregild to Regin and Fafnir's father after he slew a member of their family.

So Sigurd is inspired to claim this vast fortune. Sigurd takes up his father's broken sword and has it reforged into the legendary sword called Gram. He then takes a side quest to avenge his father and reclaim his homeland. After this test of his strength and heroism he finally decides to confront the dragon.

He finally journeys to the lair of the dragon, there he meets Odin in disguise. Odin warns him to dig ditches to catch the flow of blood and to hide Sigurd. Sigurd does this and awaits in a trench until Fafnir walks over him. Then with a mighty thrust Sigurd pierces the dragon's heart. Fafnir and Sigurd exchange words like noble warriors and then Fafnir died. I want to stress that Fafnir is not a wholly evil character.

Regin then drinks the dragon's blood and bids Sigurd to roast the heart so that Regin can eat it. When Sigurd touches the meat and licks his hand he starts to hear the birds talking. He learns from the birds that the heart has magical properties and that Regin plans to kill him. Here we learn that Regin is a wicked character.

Regin is slain by Sigurd and Sigurd takes a magical helm and armor from the horde and continues his adventures. Sigurd goes on to become one of the greatest heroes of the North.

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