The Gods then moved on and decided to look for lodgings for the night. With their new gained food in hand they walked to a farm and decided to ask for lodgings there. The farmer who lived there was called Hreidmar, and he was a powerful man who was skilled in the black arts of magic. The Gods asked Hreidmar for lodgings for the night and said that they had plenty of food to share with the farmer. Loki then showed Hreidmar their catch of otter and salmon. When Hreidmar saw the otter a look of anger came over his face, and he called his sons Fafnir and Regin over and told them that their brother had been killed by these three travelers. The farmer then, along with his sons, attacked the Aesir and made them their prisoners.
When the Gods were told that the otter was actually Hreidmar' s son they told the father that they would pay as large a ransom as the farmer demanded. They then confirmed that they would seal this deal with an oath. Hreidmar thought for a moment and then had his son otter flayed. He then took the skin and placed it before the Gods and demanded that they fill it, and completely cover it with red gold. Hreidmar said that this, and only this, would compensate him for the loss of his beloved son.
Odin upon hearing the farmer's terms sent Loki to the world of the Dark Elves in search of gold. It was there that Loki came upon a Dwarf whose name was Andvari. The Dwarf was swimming in a shallow pool in the shape of a fish when Loki approached him. Loki quickly jumped into the pool and seized the fish before it could react, and demanded from him all the gold that he possessed in his rock dwelling. When they reached the Dwarf' s home Andvari switched back into his Dwarf form and gave all the gold he had to Loki to gain his freedom, and it was quite a large amount I must tell you. Andvari, however, hid in his hand a little gold ring. Loki being the clever God that he is noticed this and told him to give the ring to him as well. The Dwarf got down on his knees and begged Loki not to take this one little ring from him. He told Loki that if he was allowed to keep just this one small piece he could regain his wealth. ( Possibly the ring replicated like Odin's ) Loki then grabbed the ring from out of the little Dwarf' s hand, and told him that he was to be left penniless. As Loki was walking away professed in a clear voice that the ring would destroy anyone and everyone who owned it. Loki turned and laughed replying that the curse was a good thing, and that he himself would fulfill the prophecy by telling the new owners, who were about to possess the ring, of the curse.
When Loki returned to the farm he showed the ring along with the hoard of gold to Odin. When Odin saw the shiny little ring he admired it for its great beauty and decided to keep it for himself. Odin gave the gold to Hreidmar who stuffed it into the skin of his son otter. When the skin was full to bursting, Hreidmar raised the skin on end and Odin stepped forward and covered it with gold. When Odin had covered the skin with all of Andvari' s gold he asked Hreidmar to examine the carcass and see if it was not totally covered. Hreidmar looked over the covered skin carefully and pointed out that one whisker was still visible. He looked over at Odin and demanded that it be covered as well, or the agreement for compensation would be ended. Odin, with a look of disgust on his face took off Andvari' s ring and covered the whisker. Odin then told Hreidmar that the ransom had been paid in full.
After Odin had taken back his spear and shoes, and as they were about to leave, Loki turned to the Farmer and his sons and told them where he had gotten the gold and what the Dwarf Andvari had said in connection with those who possessed his gold. As we will see in the next few parts the curse of Andvari would hold true, and all who possessed his gold or his ring, would be destroyed by the curse that the little Dwarf had placed upon it !
Next : Andvari' s Curse Begins !
Go with Odin' s wisdom, Freyja' s love, and Thor's protection !