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Andvaranaut (also known as Andvarinaut)


In Norse mythology, there was a wealthy dwarf named Andvari (Alberich). The source of his wealth was a gold ring called Andvaranaut, which allowed him to find additional sources of gold. Loki needed Andvari's treasure in order to pay a blood debt, so he captured the dwarf and stole both his treasure hoard and the ring. In revenge, Andvari cursed the ring to bestow misfortune upon its owner. Loki gave the treasure including the ring to Hreidmar in payment of the blood debt.

Hreidmar's two sons, Fafnir and Regin, wanted a share of the treasure but Hreidmar refused. Fafnir then killed his father and banished Regin. His greed transformed him into a mighty dragon. His brother Regin still desired the treasure, so he forged a sword for his foster-son, the hero Sigurd (Siegfried), so that he might slay Fafnir. However, the sword broke on the anvil during forging. Regin reforged the sword with a shard from the Balmung, the magical sword that belonged to Sigurd's father, Sigmund. Balmung was shattered by Odin, but the shards were passed down to his son.

The new blade was named Gram and with it Sigurd was able to kill Fafnir after which he and Regin cooked his heart on a spit. Sigurd tasted the blood of the dragon's heart, which granted him the ability to understand the birds. They warned him that Regin meant to betray him and take the treasure for himself, so Sigurd killed Regin. He took Regin's sword Ridill and then plundered Fafnir's treasure taking two chests of gold, the sword Hrotti, a golden coat of mail, and the helmet Aegishjalmarr. The story of Fafnir's death is told in the Fafnismol (The Ballad of Fafnir) and the Saga of the Volsungs.

In some versions of the story, Sigurd later encounters the shieldmaiden Brynhild and marries her, using the Andvaranaut as a promise ring. The ring's curse may be the reason that Sigurd drinks an "ale of forgetfulness" and marries another, and then unknowingly helps his brother in law win the hand of Brynhild in marriage. Sigurd's new wife tells Brynhild all that has transpired and she orchestrates Sigurd's death and then wastes away herself.

Mythology, Norse, Ring


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