The Story of the Volsungs and Niblungs. The Harvard Classics. 190914.
The Story of the Volsungs and Niblungs
XIII. Of the Birth and Waxing of Sigurd Fafnirs-Bane
THE TALE tells that Hjordis brought forth a man-child, who was straightly borne before King Hjalprek, and then was the king glad thereof, when he saw the keen eyes in the head of him, and he said that few men would be equal to him or like unto him in any wise. So he was sprinkled with water, and had to name Sigurd, of whom all men speak with one speech and say that none was ever his like for growth and goodliness. He was brought up in the house of King Hjalprek in great love and honour; and so it is, that whenso all the noblest men and greatest kings are named in the olden tales, Sigurd is ever put before them all, for might and prowess, for high mind and stout heart, wherewith he was far more abundantly gifted than any man of the northern parts of the wide world.
Now Sigurds foster-father was hight Regin, the son of Hreidmar; he taught him all manner of arts, the chess play, and the lore of runes, and the talking of many tongues, even as the wont was with kings sons in those days. But on a day when they were together, Regin asked Sigurd, if he knew how much wealth his father had owned, and who had the ward thereof; Sigurd answered, and said that the kings kept the ward thereof.
They did so, and drave the horses down into the deeps of the river, and all swam back to land but one horse; and that horse Sigurd chose for himself; grey he was of hue, and young of years, great of growth, and fair to look on, nor had any man yet crossed his back.
Not enough is thy wealth, and I grieve right sore that thou must needs run here and there like a churls son; but I can tell thee where there is much wealth for the winning, and great name and honour to be won in the getting of it.
Regin answered, Fafnir is his name, and but a little way hence he lies, on the waste of Gnita-heath; and when thou comest there thou mayest well say that thou hast never seen more gold heaped together in one place, and that none might desire more treasure, though he were the most ancient and famed of all kings.
Regin said, Nay it is not so, the fashion and the growth of him is even as of other lingworms,1 and an over great tale men make of it; and even so would thy forefathers have deemed; but thou, though thou be of the kin of the Volsungs, shalt scarce have the heart and mind of those, who are told of as the first in all deeds of fame.
Sigurd said, Yea, belike I have little of their hardihood and prowess, but thou hast naught to do, to lay a cowards name upon me, when I am scarce out of my childish years. Why dost thou egg me on hereto so busily?