The Lay of Fafnir

Excerpted

(Fáfnismál)

 

Once Sigurd and Regin reach the peak of Gnita-heath they find the dragon Fafnir’s

footprints falling to the shore. So Sigurd digs a pit mid-path and hides himself, waiting

until Fafnir climbs away from his gold-hoard. While heaving up the hill, Fafnir hoarks

poison, some of which splashes on Sigurd’s head. But Sigurd holds fast until Fafnir’s

directly over the pit — then slips his blade through Fafnir’s heart. Fafnir topples and

wails his head and tail. Sigurd springs from the pit and the two stare at each other for a

moment before Fafnir says:

 

1          Aren’t you a cocksure and callow little cub.

            Are you your father’s son? Who do you come from?

            Yes, yes, the reason your blade’s bathed rust-red  

            is it’s sunk hilt-high in my thudding hub.

 

Sigurd holds the old belief that the words of the dying contain great power, if they are

used to curse another by name. So, Sigurd conceals his for a moment.

 

Sigurd says:

2          Reigning Stag’s my name, I’m a motherless one,

            my father is no one, I am no one’s son. I wander

            the world alone, without anyone.

 

Fafnir says:

3          If not born like most men, then what

            chemistry forced you to suck a birth-breath?

 

Sigurd says:

         My genealogy, like me, will be unknown

            to you. But okay, Sigmund was my father

            and I am called Sigurd­ — the one who beat

            your blood-drum with a sharp steel stick.

 

Fafnir says:

5          Bug-eyed boy, Sigmund was a ferocious father,

            sure, but who told you to burst my beating bird?

Published online September 01 2009.


The Open Issue cover image

This piece was published in ‘The Open Issue,’ the Fall 2009 issue of CV2.

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