Adventure V. In AEgir's Kingdom. The vessel in which Siegfried sailed was soon far out at sea; for the balmy south wind, and the songs of the birds, and the music from Bragi's harp, all urged it cheerily on. And Siegfried sat at the helm, and guided it in its course.
Then he went boldly into the great hall, and stood up before the wonder-stricken guests at the table. When the Asa-folk saw who it was that had darkened the doorway, and was now in their midst, a painful silence fell upon them, and all their merriment was at an end. And Loki stretched himself up to his full height, and said to them: "Hungry and thirsty came I to Aegir's gold-lit hall.
"Business always before pleasure!" he cried, as he gave the word to his swift, strong goats, and rattled away at a wonderful rate through the air. In old AEgir's hall glad music resounded on every side; and the gleeful Waves danced merrily as the Asa-folk sat around the festal-board, and partook of the Ocean-king's good fare.
On the appointed morning they appeared at Aegir's palace, and while at first they forced themselves to smile and appear cheerful, in compliment to their host, they soon found themselves, because of the novelty of all about them, becoming genuinely interested.
The Asa-folk rose up from the table, and drove the Mischief-maker out from among them; and in their wrath they chased him across the waters, and forced him to hide in the thick greenwood. After this they went back to Aegir's hall, and sat down again to the feast.
Then old AEgir's brow grew dark, and his breath came quick and fast; and, had not Niord held the winds tightly clutched in his hand, there would have been a great uproar in the hall. Even as it was, the mermaids fled away in great fright, and the white-veiled Waves stopped dancing, and a strange silence fell upon all the company. "Some enemy has done this!" crier AEgir, as soon as he could speak.
That was her long silken hair, which fell in glossy waves almost to her feet. On calm, warm days, she liked to sit by the side of some still pool, and gaze at her own beauty pictured in the water below, while, like the sea-maidens of old AEgir's kingdom, she combed and braided her rich, flowing tresses.
Be that as it may, AEgir's thralls, Funfeng and Elder, brewed great store of ale in the kettle which Thor had brought; and, when the guests were seated at the table, the foaming liquor passed itself around to each, and there was much merriment and glad good cheer. Such was the story which the wise harper told to Siegfried as they sailed gayly along the Norwegian shore.
Aegir's two thralls, the faithful Funfeng and the trusty Elder, waited upon the guests and carefully supplied their wants. Never in all the world had two more thoughtful servants been seen; and every one spoke in praise of their quickness, and their skill, and their ready obedience.
"As for Sif," he began, "I could tell a tale of her that " But he went no further, for a peal of thunder drowned his words, and a blinding flash of lightning made him cover his eyes with his hands. The gods sighed in relief, for Thor stood among them, his eyes shooting fire. "Already," he cried, "has Aegir's palace been stained with blood to-day. I will not, therefore, kill you here.