The story of Sigurd Fafnesbane

The Sigurd carving is a rock carving at Ramsundet nearby Sundbyholms Manor outside Eskilstuna, Sweden. It is known as ”Sigurdsristningen”, ”Sigurd carving” or the ”Ramsund carving” and it was made during the middle of 11th century. This place was once a well trafficked water passage for ships from the lake Mälaren to other lakes that doesn’t exist today. 1000 years ago the water level was about 5 meters higher and the water surface was very close to the place of the Sigurd carving. The carving tells us two things: the pictures tells the story of Sigurd the Dragonslayer and the runic inscription, made inside Fafnir’s body, tells us the carving´s origin:  “Sigrid made this bridge, Alrik’s mother [and] Orm’s daughter, for the soul of Holmger, Sigröd’s father, her husband.”

Sigrid had the power and wealth to build a bridge across the Ramsundet, about 65 meters long and today there is remains of stones where the bridge started and ended. Sigrid knew what she has made this landmark for all to see, a giant carving with a heroic saga, runes that tells of the memory of Holmger and of course Sigrid herself as the raiser of both bridge and the carving. Building bridges were highly appreciated by the church and we can guess that Sigrid won great favours from the church. It is common for runestones during the 11th century to have cross carved on them but this Sigurd carving is ”missing” the cross.

We at Fehu Crafts are very proud to present a precise wooden replica of Sweden’s most impressive runic carving – The Sigurd Carving (Sigurdsristningen). Let us guide you what the pictures on the Sigurd carving is telling.

This is the story from the pictures on the Sigurd carving

Otter, one of three sons to the farmer Reidmar can take animal form in the shape of an otter and that makes him a great fisherman. The three gods Odin, Hörnir and Loki passes the lake where Otter is fishing and Loki kills Otter unaware of his true identity. Otter´s skin is saved and given to the nearby farmer Reidmar, as a gift for hospitality, but Reidmar recognizes directly the otter skin as his son. Reidmar is enraged and demands the gods too cover the skin with gold.

Loki is allowed to leave Reidmars farm to get the gold needed to pay their deed. Soon he finds the rich dwarf Andvare and takes he´s treasures, even an gold ring that Andvare tries to hide from Loki. Andvare curses the treasure and especially the ring for all who owns it.

All the treasure except for the golden ring that Loki has hide is now covering the otter skin. Reidmar examines the skin and suddenly he see the otter whiskers and tell the gods of their failure. Loki is then demanded by the other gods to put the ring on the whiskers and after that the fine is paid and they leave Reidmar´s farm.

Reidmar´s two surviving sons, Fafnir and the smith Regin wants part of the treasure but Reidmar refuses. Fafnir kills his father and takes alone the treasure to a place called Gnitaheden and there he takes the shape of a dragon to guard the treasure.

The brother Regin, who is a skilled smith started to make plans how to take the treasure from the fearsome dragon Fafnir. Regin sends after his foster son, Sigurd to convince him to kill Fafnir for a part of the treasure. Regin smiths the mighty sword called Gram and give it to aid Sigurd in the killing of the dragon. Sigurd grasps the sword and feel the power of it while Regin tells Sigurd how he should dig a deep hole along the way from Gnitaheden to the nearby lake where Fafnir drinks water every day. And when Fafnir crawls to the lake Sigurd must be in the hole, ready to stab his sword upward straight in Fafnir´s heart. Finally, when Fafnir is dead, Sigurd must take out the heart and cook it and give it to Regin to be eaten. Sigurd is also given the horse Grane, a descendant of Odin´s famous eight legged steed Sleipner.

As Sigurd cooks the heart he accidently burn his thumb and quickly put it in his mouth. When he tasted the blood from Fafnir’s heart he suddenly could understand the sounds of the birds around him. The bird was telling that Regin wanted to eat the heart for him self to gain Fafnir´s magical powers and after that kill Sigurd to get the whole treasure for him self. The birds advice Sigurd to kill Regin before he will be betrayed, and Sigurd then cuts of Regins head. Sigurd then takes his horse Grane to Gnitaheden to load the treasure on the horseback.

Here ends the story on the Sigurd carving but in the full version Sigurd is not safe from Andvares curse that follows those who posses the treasure. Death, intrigue and betrayal have always been important ingredients for an exciting story, then as now.