Below the bones of Ymir, some men have called the keel,
lay the mighty house of Hrothgar of legendary weal.
I pounded on the gatepost and was led into the hall,
they sat me in an honored seat 'tween carven timbers tall.
Hrothgar bid me welcome as the thralls lay trestles down
and the hunger burned within me when his daughter's face I found.
I had heard the tale from suitors that had come to seek her hand,
how none could meet her bride-price in all this northern land.
Hrothgar's eyes were glowing across the longfire's light
as my horn was filled by his daughter's hand the wolves howled in the night.
"The season's ill for journey," Hrothgar said to me.
"And your clothes so rich and your manner high bespeak nobility.
What is it that brings you here so far from kith and kin?
Know that I might aid you that you might call me friend."
"My journey ended sudden when I saw your daughter fair,
for I have found what I have sought in maiden beauty rare.
But, sleep of late eludes me for her face is in my mind,
so ask the price you seek for her so peace at last I'll find."
"Oh! Many have sought my daughter's hand but none could meet the price
And all now gaze on the face of Hel in the land of fire and ice.
For half the price is in your purse, and half," he said to me,
"is a treasure hoard in the northern crags that you will fetch for me.
But, death is there and madness, for a dragon guards the gold.
But I will have his treasure if my daughter you would hold."
And his eyes burned in the firelight as greed sparked through his brain.
My purse I threw before his feet and laughed at rede of bane.
Oh, you shall have your dragon gold," I said, "And more besides.
I'll show to you the dragon's head and then I'll claim my bride."
In three days time I stood before the greedy Hrothgar's seat
and the dragon gold was spread about and shining at his feet.
"I will take your daughter now, " I said, "Upon your word. "
But he ran his fingers through the gold as if he had not heard
"My daughter's beauty brings me wealth," Hrothgar told me then.
"And the flow of gold from a suitor's purse might likely never end."
And his henchmen then surrounded me at a signal from their lord.
"I fear that I must take your life and keep the dragon's hoard.
But if others come a-seeking you I'll tell them of your fame,
of how you slew the dragon e'er it brought you to your bane."
Then his daughter smiled upon me, then upon the dragon gold
and I found the girl was like her sire with a heart all frozen cold.
"I'd have settled for your daughter to end her suitor's quest.
Although I slew them one and all, they dared disturb my rest.
Now you would slay me out-of-hand for naught but mortal greed,
when you have broken faith with me and so the dragon freed."
Then the mist rolled back from off their sight and I stood in splendor dread.
With breath of fire and fangs of bronze and scales of crimson red.
"You'll have no need of a treasure hoard in the land of fire and cold."
Then I pulled the house of Hrothgar down and then took back my gold.