is brought up at the court of King Elf, the second husband of his mother, after Sigmund has been slain in battle. With a sword, fashioned from the shards of his father's weapon, he slays Fafnir, a huge worm or dragon, and possesses himself of the treasure watched by the monster, including a ring and the "helm of aweing," the latter in the Nibelungenlied, converted into the "Tarnkappe", a magic cap which makes the bearer invisible and endows him with supernatural strength. Tasting of the blood of the dragon, he understands the language of birds, and an eagle tells him of a beautiful maiden lying asleep on a rock called Hindfell, surrounded by a wall of wavering fire. Through it Sigurd rides and awakes Brynhild the sword maiden, or Valkyrie, from her magic slumber. Love naturally follows. The pair live together on Hindfell for a season and Brynhild teaches the youth the runes of her wisdom, a conception of woman's refining and civilising mission frequently met with in old Germanic tales. When Sigurd l
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