Opera Stories from Wagner
By Florence Akin
Public Domain Books
“Loki, why are you so late?” complained Wotan, when Loki came.
Loki was much excited.
“The Rhine-daughters are in great trouble, Wotan. As I was coming by the river I heard them weeping and wailing. Black Alberich has stolen their gold, and I promised them that I would tell you about it. Perhaps you could help them.”
“I have no time for the Rhine-daughters now,” said Wotan. “I have trouble of my own. Tell me how I can save poor Freya!”
For many years Fafner had heard of this lump of gold. So he listened to all that Loki told. Then he asked: “Why does Alberich want the gold?”
“Because,” replied Loki, “the gold can be made into a magic ring; if the one who would make the ring will forever give up all love, the magic ring will make its owner master of the whole wide world. Alberich declared that love was nothing to him if he could have all the gold he wanted.”
To himself Fafner thought: “Perhaps it would be better for me to have the gold than to have Freya and her golden apples.” Then aloud he said: “Let me tell you what I am willing to do, Wotan. If you will get that gold for me, I will accept it in place of Freya.”
“You rascal!” roared Wotan. “How can I give you gold that is not mine?”
“Very well,” said Fafner. “I did not come here to quarrel. Already I have waited too long. I shall take my pay. Come, Freya, you must go with me.”
Poor, frightened Freya wept and cried aloud as Fafner picked her up and carried her off over the mountain.
He called back to Wotan and Loki: “I will keep Freya until evening. Then I shall come again, and if you have that glittering Rhine-gold for me, then you may have your sister. If you do not give me the gold, then Freya is mine and I will keep her always.”