Opera Stories from Wagner
By Florence Akin
Public Domain Books
Siegfried Learns What Fear Is
Siegfried hurried up the mountain-side.
The fierce flames leaped as if to meet him.
They grew redder, and lapped their fiery tongues.
Siegfried bounded toward them with joy.
Lifting his silver horn to his lips, and blowing his Comrade Call so sweet and clear, he plunged into their depths.
The maddened flames leaped and crackled as if to devour him.
But on he went, blowing his horn, until at length the sea of flames slowly sank to earth.
The redness of the sky gave way to blue, and all grew clear and beautiful.
Siegfried looked upon the sleeping figure.
All the world seemed wrapped in silence. Not a leaf moved on the trees.
There was not a sound to mar that perfect sleep.
Siegfried looked in wonder at the shining coat of mail.
“It is some valiant knight,” he whispered.
“How heavy seems the armor. It should be lifted so that he may rest better.”
Carefully Siegfried lifted the glittering shield and laid it to one side.
Eagerly he raised the helmet. There fell a mass of waving golden hair. “A burst of glorious sunshine,” whispered Siegfried.
Then he sought to loosen the rings that held the coat of mail.
Finding it difficult, he drew his sword and cut them.
The shining armor fell jingling to the ground.
The soft white folds of her woman’s gown fell loosely about her.
Siegfried started back and stared in silence.
He trembled from head to foot.
He pressed his hand to his fast-beating heart.
“At last!” he cried. “At last! I know what fear is.”