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"Youth, oh, youth! | of whom then, youth, art thou born?
Say whose son thou art,
Who in Fafnir's blood | thy bright blade reddened,
And struck thy sword to my heart.

[...]

My race, methinks, | is unknown to thee,
And so am I myself;
Sigurth my name, | and Sigmund's son,
Who smote thee thus with the sword."


The dragon Fafnir pleads with his slayer in this excerpt from the Norse poem Fáfnismál.

Norse mythology and Germanic literature have many examples of serpent-slaying heroes. These include (among others) the aforementioned Sigurd, the Anglo-Saxon/Geatish literary hero Beowulf, the Viking hero Ragnar Lodbrok and, of course, the thunderer himself - Thor.

That sky gods such as Thor clash with mighty wyrms is a common theme in myth and is by no means limited to Norse mythology; Greek, Hindu and Mesopotamian (etc.) mythology also have their fair share of serpent-slaying deities, whose mighty battles epitomes the eternal struggle to bring order from chaos.

According to Joseph Campbell, perhaps the most renowned modern scholar of myth (now deceased), the dragon-slaying theme should be interpreted as a spiritual and mental journey, where the dragon is a symbol of the self, and the transformation the hero undergoes after the act of slaying (in Sigurd's case gaining the ability to understand birdsong) symbolizes a merging and realignment with nature after the self has been eradicated.




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