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Andvari's Curse

Andvari's Curse - Viking Dragon Blogs
In the world of the Norse myths, great tragedies sometimes grew from small mistakes. Take, for instance, the tale of Andvari’s curse, which shadowed the lives of the gods and of many generations of mortal heroes, and which started with a stone thrown carelessly.
 
Once Odin All-father and Loki the mischief-god went wandering in the mortal world. As they came to a waterfall, Loki saw an otter which had just caught a salmon. He killed the otter with a stone, took up both the otter and its catch, and boasted about the skill and cleverness which had allowed him to kill two beasts with one stone.
 
As evening fell, the wandering gods sought shelter at a prosperous farmstead. They told the farmer, Hreidmar, that they had brought their supper with them, and Loki showed his kill. Hreidmar spoke them fair and urged them to come in and make themselves at home. The gods did not notice the shadow in his eyes as he left them—he said, to prepare their supper.
The dwarf Andvari standing on a pile of treasure, arms outflung, raging at the gods Odin and Loki: "Odin, Loki et Andvari" by F. von Stassen --Viking Dragon Blogs
 
But once Odin had set aside his never-failing spear and Loki his seven-league shoes, Hreidmar and his two sons, Regin and Fafnir, held blades to their throats and bound them. Then Hreidmar revealed that he was no simple husbandman, but a master of magic, and that his sons shared in his gift. His oldest son, Otr, often took the shape of an otter and fished in a pool at the base of a waterfall. The gods, Hreidmar said, had murdered Otr, and they would pay for that.
 
Odin and Loki swore binding oaths that they would pay Hreidmar whatever price he asked to ransom their lives and to repay him for the loss of his son. Hreidmar set his price high. He flayed the otter and told the gods that they must both fill and cover the pelt with gold.
 
Loki volunteered to go fetch their ransom, and apparently his oath was too powerful even for the trickster god to slip out of. However, he had no intention of paying his ransom with his own treasure. He hurried into the land of the Dwarves, the master-craftsmen, to a pool where a particularly wealthy dwarf named Andvari was relaxing in the shape of a fish. Loki caught him and demanded that he hand over all his gold immediately in exchange for his life.
 
Loki holding a fish-net with Andvari, in dwarf shape, caught in it: Willy Pogany's illustration for Padraic Colum's 1917 book "The Children of Odin"--Viking Dragon Blogs
 
Andvari gave his promise, returned to his own shape, led Loki into his cave and handed over his treasures. But he tried to hide his precious ring Andvaranaut under his hand. Loki demanded the ring as well. Andvari plead to be allowed to keep it, saying that if he only retained that he would soon be wealthy again. Loki said that Andvari would be penniless, and once again he demanded the ring.
Andvari's Cursed Ring - Viking Dragon Blogs
 
Andvari handed Andvaranaut over, but he cursed it as it left him, saying that it would ruin everyone who came to possess it.
 
Loki agreed, and added that he would be sure to inform the recipients of the ring about the curse that would be brought upon them. He went his way laughing, carrying Andvari’s treasure on his back, and in his hand the gold ring that would ruin both gods and men.

The first working of Andvari's curse will be described in a later blog.

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