Opera Stories from Wagner
By Florence Akin
Public Domain Books
Still Alberich stood and stared at the gold.
“What is it?” he gasped. “What is it?”
The Rhine-daughters shouted back to him:–
“Heigh-ho! and heigh-ho! Dear little imp of woe, Laugh with us, laugh with us! Heigh-ho and heigh-ho!”
But Alberich did not laugh with them.
He would not take his eyes off the gold.
“That,” said the maidens, “is our Rhine-gold.”
“A very pretty plaything it is,” said Alberich.
“Yes,” replied the careless sisters, “it is magic gold. Who moulds this gold into a ring shall have all power upon the earth, save love.”
Alberich muttered to himself: “What do I care for love if I have all the gold I want?”
Then he sprang upon the slippery rock and snatched the gold. With one wild leap he plunged into the depths below.
Down, down he went to his deep, dark kingdom, clutching fast the precious gold and muttering:–
“Now all the earth is mine. It is mine, all mine. Now I shall rule the world.”
Poor foolish Alberich! He did not know that the best things in this world are the things which gold cannot buy.
The power of love is greater than the power of gold.
The maidens shrieked and screamed: “Our gold! Our gold! Our precious gold!”
Too late! Far, far below, they heard a laugh, the rough, rude laugh of Alberich, the dwarf.