The Cursed Ring: A Norse Myth
Odin, the greatest deity, was travelling across the nine worlds with two companions, Hoenir and Loki. The three of them arrived at a waterfall in Nidavellir, the dwarven homeland, and halted for a drink after a hard journey. Odin and Hoenir, in particular, were eager to see Hreidmarr, the dwarven monarch, but Loki found the voyage tedious. He noticed an otter nearby and killed it by throwing a stone at its head. He retained its pelt and followed the others to the castle.
They welcomed Monarch Hreidmarr with civility when they eventually arrived at the palace, though the king didn’t look too pleased with them. The pelt Loki brought along really belonged to his shapeshifting son, who had assumed the appearance of an otter. Fafnir and Regin, his two surviving sons, were called and the gods were imprisoned right away. They would only be released if they turned in gold, according to tradition. However, the king made it more difficult for them by demanding that they load the otter pelt with the finest gold they could locate until not a single hair was visible. This was a near-impossible task because of how it stretched.
But Loki had a plan. The dwarfs were skilled artisans. Andvari, who was rumoured to construct marvellous things, was one of the best among them. Andvari would frequently disguise himself as a fish and plunge into the river in search of treasure. He went deeper than he had ever dived before, eventually reaching the country of the water nymphs, who guarded piles upon heaps of wealth. Andvari had just come in to have a look, but they all burst out laughing at his odd appearance. Andvari, enraged by the misbehaviour, made a ring out of part of the gold. It would increase his riches exponentially once he wore it.
This, Loki thought, was the ideal answer to their predicament. So he went to the waterfall one day, conjured out a massive net, and extracted Andvari. He threatened him, stating he would murder him if he didn’t give over all of his fortunes. Andvari nodded silently. He led Loki to his lair and was delighted after seeing the gold heaps there. But all it took was a gleam from the dwarf’s finger to alert him to the fact that he had overlooked one of the most valuable items. Loki tore the ring off Andvari’s finger despite his protests. Andvari cursed the ring, dooming all succeeding owners, enraged.
The otter’s skin appeared to be totally covered in Andvari’s gold. Hreidmarr noticed a stray whisker upon closer scrutiny. As a result, the gods gave the ring to the King. The hunger in his eyes intensified as he wore it. Fafnir stared on in jealousy as Regin trembled at the sight. He insisted that his father share his fortune with him, to which he flatly refused. As a result, Fafnir opted to kill his father by force. He snatched the treasure and bolted.
Fafnir was eventually distorted inside out by the ring, transforming him into a massive, bloodthirsty dragon. In the meantime, Regin had Sigurd, his foster son, slaughter the beast and cook its heart for him to eat. Sigurd did as he was instructed, but first, he tasted the blood before serving the heart to Regin. He was able to understand the birds’ chatter then after. Regin was going to murder him, they all claimed. Thus, he killed Regin and took the money for himself.
This was only the beginning; the ring would continue to destroy relationships and drive families apart for millennia. The ring would ultimately overpower and destroy ALL of its owners as time went on. But it had a positive impact on some of the most well-known works of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. The renowned J.R.R. Tolkein’s ‘Lord of the Rings is one of them.