Opera Stories from Wagner
By Florence Akin
Public Domain Books
The next moment the chieftain entered and glared fiercely at Siegmund.
The woman hastened to say: “I found this stranger lying on our hearth. He was faint and needed help.”
“And did you give it?” growled the chieftain.
“I gave him water. I could not drive him out into the stormy night.”
The chieftain grew dark with anger as he said: “Because it is the sacred law of my country that none shall be turned from the door who seek shelter from the night, this intruder may stay until the morning. Then he shall fight for his life.”
Siegmund knew now that he was in the house of the fierce Hunding.
Taking the woman by the arm, Hunding led her from the room, and Siegmund was left alone to think how he might save himself.
Long he leaned upon the hearth in troubled silence. Then, knowing he must flee, he turned toward the door.
That moment the last flickering light of the dying fire flashed upon the hilt of the magic sword in the ash tree.
Siegmund saw it, and, springing forward, he grasped its hilt. Then, bracing himself against the tree, with one mighty pull, behold! he drew the bright blade from its sheath.