Opera Stories from Wagner
By Florence Akin
Public Domain Books
Alberich held the ring close under his breast and muttered to himself: “They may have the gold! What do I care! With this ring I can soon make my slaves dig more.”
Then aloud he said: “You may take the gold. My slaves shall heap it at your feet.”
He slyly slipped his hand to his lips and, kissing the ring, called his slaves with its magic.
In a moment the little black Nibelungs came in swarms from every shaft, bearing the precious gold.
Alberich did not like to have them see him under Wotan’s foot.
“Heap up the treasure!” he yelled. “Don’t stop to stare at me. I am still your master. Now, crawl back into your shafts and drudge. I am coming in a minute, and it will not be well for you if I do not find you digging!”
Trembling with fear, they scurried to the darkest depths.
“Now, there is your gold!” said Alberich. “Give back my helmet and let me go!”
But Loki quickly tossed the helmet upon the shining heap.
“Take it, then,” snarled the dwarf, thinking he could easily, with the power of the ring, force Mimi to make another, “but let me go, I say!”
“Just wait a minute, Alberich,” said Wotan. “That ring I saw glittering on your finger,–I must have that too.”
“The ring!” Alberich screamed in horror. “No, you shall never have the ring!”
Wotan’s face grew stern.
“That ring does not belong to you. You stole its gold from the Rhine-children,” he said.
“Think twice, Wotan, before you take this ring from me! I warn you now a curse goes with it.”
But Wotan drew the ring from the dwarf’s finger, then set him free.
“Farewell, Alberich! Farewell!”
“Ha!” laughed Alberich in scorn. “It will never bring you happiness. Its owner shall always feel its curse of care, sorrow, and unrest.”
Then, turning, he groped his way down the cavern, far poorer than the day he went stealing along the slippery bed of the river. Then, he had no gold. Now, he had no gold and no friends.