Opera Stories from Wagner
By Florence Akin
Public Domain Books
One morning, when the sun was shining very brightly, the Rhine-daughters were startled by a strange sound in the depths of the water.
“Look!” whispered one. “What is that scowling at us from the rocks below?”
There, stealing along the river-bed, they saw a hideous little black dwarf.
“Who are you, and what do you want?” asked the Rhine-daughters.
“I am Alberich,” answered the dwarf as he tried to climb up on the slippery rocks. “I came from the kingdom of the Nibelungs, down under the earth.”
“What!” said the Rhine-daughters. “Surely you do not live down in the dark earth where there is no sunshine?”
“Yes,” answered Alberich. “But I have come up to frolic in the sunshine with you"; and he held out his ugly, misshapen little hands to take the hands of the Rhine-daughters.
They only laughed at him and darted away to a higher rock.
Alberich hurried after them.
He blinked and scowled in the sunshine, because his eyes were not used to the light.
The maidens laughed and shouted in their play.
They called to Alberich and teased him.
They went very close to him, pretending that they would take his hand, that he, too, might play in the sunshine. Then they would quickly dart away, mocking him, and laughing at him more loudly than ever.
Alberich grew fierce and angry.
He clenched his fists and cried:–
“Woe be to you if I should catch you now.”