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Fafnir Forever!

the real story about Siegfried's fight with the dragon (as it was not told in The Ring of the Nibelungs)!


After a friend sent me the link to an article of the London Evening Standard depicting the preserved dragon in the picture, I couldn't help but wonder...
...if dragons aren't bount to any serious growth spurts – and it doesn't look like a chibi-dragon, does it? – then how did Siegfried of Xanten, the blond warrior in the old myth of The Nibelungen (Wagner made an opera out of it much later), become a hero at all? By killing Fafnir, the dragon on the mountain above the River Rhine? Well...

Siegfried who'd just returned from the Dragon Rock, stood in front of King Siegmund, his father, and reported rather sullenly. "Sorry, Dad. There wasn't much of a fight."
     King Siegmund was shocked. "What? There was no fight?! Son, how could you?! Xanten needs a hero, dammit. What now?" 
     Siegfried shrugged defensively and pouted. "The stones were slippery. I tripped and fell on him and–" He made a helpless gesture. "–smushed him." 
     "Fafnir smushed." The king buried his face in his hands. "How ever shall we make a hero out of you?" He sighed. "Okay, we do the following: Fafnir was fifteen meters large–" 
     "More like 15 centimeters, Dad." 
     Siegmund glared angrily at his dense son. "Forget that. 15 meters, clear?!" 
     "Yes, dad." 
     "Good. You took the better of a day to slay him and then you took a bath in his blood!" 
     "Eeew... why would I do something as disgusting as that?" 
     "Because the blood of a dragon makes you invulnerable." 
     "Really?" Siegfried blinked wide-eyed. 
     "Rubbish." Siegmund waved it aside. "But it sounds good. Now–" 
     "Shall I make my toes or my nose invulnerable, Dad?" Siegfried asked. 
     "I mean, there wasn't too much blood in the little critter, you know?"  
     Siegmund groaned audibly. "For once, try not to be as blond inside as outside and use your brain! If the beast were 15 meters large there would have been a whole swimming pool of blood for you to dunk in!" 
     Siegfried showed his tongue in disgust and repeated, "Eeew." 
     "Don't be such a ninny!" Siegmund scolded him. "Had you killed Fafnir by sword as I told you instead of by your big butt, there wouldn't be a problem at all! So shut up and learn the story!" 

Ann-Kathrin Kniggendorf 2004-01-26 

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