Opera Stories from Wagner
By Florence Akin
Public Domain Books
The dragon vanished and there stood Alberich again.
“Now do you believe?” he asked.
“Indeed, I do,” replied Loki. “It is wonderful. But if you could shrink to some tiny thing, it would be even much more clever, because you could creep into a crevice and spy upon your enemies. But, of course, getting small would be too hard a thing to do.”
“Only tell me what you would have me be,” said Alberich.
“Now I shall catch him,” thought Loki. “Could you make yourself as little as a toad that quickly slinks under the rock when there is danger near?”
“Ha! Nothing easier,” laughed Alberich.
And again putting the helmet on his head he coaxed:–
“Come, little toad! Creep from your cranny!” Alberich was gone, and there at Wotan’s feet hopped the tiny toad.
“Quick, Wotan!” cried Loki.
And in an instant Wotan put his heavy foot upon the toad.
Loki reached down and took the magic wishing-cap.
As soon as the cap was off, the toad disappeared, and there lay Alberich, held fast by Wotan’s giant foot.
“Let me go!” shrieked the dwarf. “Take your foot off of me, this minute!”
Wotan calmly answered: “You may go when you have promised all I ask.”
“Then what do you want?” groaned Alberich.
“I want all your glittering gold,” said Wotan.