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[Home] [Up] [Contents] [Preface] [Bibliographical Note] [A Note on the Text] [WHAT IS ART?] I  II  III  IV  V  VI  VII  VIII  IX  X  XI  XII  XIII  XIV  XV  XVI  XVII  XVIII  XIX  XX [CONCLUSION] [Appendix I] [Appendix II] [Notes]


WHAT IS ART?

예술은 무엇인가?


by Leo Tolstoy

TRANSLATED BY RICHARD PEVEAR
AND LARISSA VOLOKHONSKY

 
   

Appendix II

부록 II

 

Here is the content of the Ring of the Nibelungen.  
In the first part it is told that the nymphs, daughters of the Rhine, have for some reason been made the guardians of some sort of gold on the Rhine, and they sing: Weia, Waga, Wage du Welle, Walk zur Wiege, Wage zur Wiege, Wage la Weia, Wala la Welle, Weia, and so on. While thus singing, the nymphs are pursued by the dwarf Nibelung, who wishes to possess them. The dwarf cannot catch any of them. Then the nymphs who guard the gold tell the dwarf something they ought rather to have concealed — namely, that whoever renounces love can steal the gold they are guarding. The dwarf renounces love and carries off the gold. That is the first scene.  
In the second scene, a god and goddess lie in a field, within sight of a city; then they wake up and rejoice over the city that the giants have built for them, saying that they will have to give the giants the goddess Freya in return for their work. The giants come to get their pay. But the god Wotan does not want to give them Freya. The giants are angry. The gods learn that the dwarf has stolen the gold and promise to take it back and pay the giants for their work. But the giants do not believe it and seize the goddess Freya as a pledge.  
The third scene takes place underground. The dwarf Alberich, who stole the gold, gives the dwarf Mime a beating for some reason and snatches from him a helmet that has the property of making its wearer invisible or turning him into other creatures. The gods come, Wotan and others; they quarrel with each other and with the dwarfs, wishing to take the gold, but Alberich will not let them and, like everyone else, does all he can to ruin himself: puts the helmet on, turns into a dragon, then into a toad. The gods catch the toad, take the helmet off him, and lead Alberich away.  
In the fourth scene, the gods bring Alberich home with them and tell him to order his dwarfs to bring all the gold. The dwarfs bring it. Alberich gives them all the gold, saving a magic ring for himself. The gods take the ring from him as well. For that, Alberich puts a curse on the ring and says that it will bring misfortune to anyone who possesses it. The giants come, bringing Freya, and demand the ransom. They set up poles to measure Freya’s height and heap up the gold — this is the ransom. There is not enough gold. They throw in the helmet and ask for the ring. Wotan will not give it to them, but the goddess Erda comes and tells him to give the ring away because it brings misfortune. Wotan does so. Freya is released, but the giants, having got hold of the ring, start fighting, and one kills the other. This is the end of the Prelude; then the First Day begins.  
A tree is placed in the middle of the stage. Siegmund runs in, weary, and lies down. Enter Sieglinda, the mistress of the house, Hunding’s wife; she gives him a magic drink, and they fall in love with each other. Sieglinda’s husband comes, learns that Siegmund belongs to an enemy race, and wants to fight with him the next day, but Sieglinda gives her husband a potion and comes to Sieg­mund. Siegmund learns that Sieglinda is his sister, and that his father stuck a sword into a tree so that no one can pull it out. Siegmund snatches out the sword and commits incest with his sister.  
In the second act, Siegmund has a fight with Hunding. The gods discuss to whom they should give the victory. Wotan wants to spare Siegmund, approving of his incest with his sister, but, influ­enced by his wife Fricka, he tells the Valkyrie Brunhilda to kill Siegmund. Siegmund goes to the fight. Sieglinda swoons. Brunhilda comes and wants to slay Siegmund; Siegmund wants to kill Sieg­linda as well, but Brunhilda tells him not to, and so he fights with Hunding. Brunhilda defends Siegmund, but Wotan defends Hund­ing; Siegmund’s sword breaks and he is killed. Sieglinda flees.  
Act III. The Valkyries are on stage. They are warrior women. Enter the Valkyrie Brunhilda on horseback with Siegmund’s body. She is fleeing from Wotan, who is angry with her for her disobedi­ence. Wotan catches her and, as punishment for her disobedience, dismisses her from the Valkyries. He puts a spell on her so that she must fall asleep and sleep until a man awakens her. And when she is awakened, she will fall in love with this man. Wotan kisses her; she falls asleep. He produces a fire which encircles her.  
The content of the Second Day consists of the dwarf Mime forging a sword in the forest. Enter Siegfried. He is the son born of the incest committed by the brother and sister, Siegmund and Sieglinda, and has been brought up in the forest by the dwarf. Siegfried learns of his origin and that the broken sword is his father’s; he tells Mime to reforge it and exits. Enter Wotan in the guise of a wanderer. He says that one who has not learned to fear will reforge the sword and defeat everyone. The dwarf guesses that it is Siegfried and wants to poison him. Siegfried comes back, reforges the sword of his father, and runs off.  
In the second act, Alberich is sitting watching over the giant, who, in the guise of a dragon, is watching over the gold he was given. Enter Wotan, who for no apparent reason declares that Siegfried will come and kill the dragon. Alberich awakens the dragon and asks him for the ring, promising in return to protect him from Siegfried. The dragon will not give him the ring. Alberich exits. Enter Mime and Siegfried. Mime hopes that the dragon will teach Siegfried to fear. But Siegfried is not afraid; he chases Mime away and kills the dragon, after which he dips his finger in the dragon’s blood and puts it to his lips, which enables him to know the secret thoughts of men and the language of birds. The birds tell him where the treasure and the ring are, and that Mime wants to poison him. Enter Mime, who says aloud that he wants to poison Siegfried. This must signify that Siegfried, having tasted the dragon’s blood, understands the secret thoughts of men. Having learned his thoughts, Siegfried kills Mime. The birds tell him where Brunhilda is, and Siegfried goes to her.  
In the third act, Wotan calls up Erda. Erda prophesies to Wotan and advises him. Enter Siegfried, who quarrels with Wotan and fights with him. It suddenly happens that Siegfried’s sword breaks Wotan’s spear — the one that was most powerful of all. Siegfried goes to the fire where Brunhilda is; he kisses Brunhilda, she awakens, says farewell to her divinity, and throws herself into Siegfried’s arms.  
The Third Day.  
Three norns braid a golden rope and talk about the future. The norns exit; enter Siegfried and Brunhilda. Siegfried says goodbye to her, gives her the ring, and exits.  
Act I. On the Rhine, the king wants to get married and also to marry off his sister. Hagen, the king’s wicked brother, advises him to take Brunhilda and marry his sister to Siegfried.  
Enter Siegfried. He is given a love potion which makes him forget all the past, fall in love with Gutrune, and go with Gunther to get him Brunhilda for his bride. The set changes. Brunhilda sits with the ring; a Valkyrie comes to her, tells her that Wotan’s spear has been broken, and advises her to give the ring to the Rhine nymphs. Siegfried comes, transformed into Gunther by means of the magic helmet, demands the ring from Brunhilda, snatches it from her, and drags her off to sleep with him.  
Act II. On the Rhine, Alberich and Hagen discuss how to get the ring. Enter Siegfried. He tells how he has obtained the bride for Gunther and spent the night with her, having placed the sword between them. Brunhilda arrives, recognizes the ring on Siegfried’s hand, and reveals that it was he, not Gunther, who was with her. Hagen arouses everyone against Siegfried and decides to kill him the next day while hunting.  
Act III. The Rhine nymphs tell over again everything that has happened. Enter Siegfried, who is lost. The nymphs ask him for the ring; he will not give it to them. Enter hunters. Siegfried tells his story. Hagen gives him a drink which makes him recover his memory; he tells how he awakened and acquired Brunhilda, and everyone is surprised. Hagen stabs him in the back, and the set changes. Gutrune meets the body of Siegfried; Gunther and Hagen argue about the ring, and Hagen kills Gunther. Brunhilda weeps. Hagen wants to take the ring from Siegfried’s hand, but the hand rises. Brunhilda takes the ring from Siegfried’s hand, and, as Siegfried’s body is carried to the pyre, she mounts her horse and throws herself into the flames. The water of the Rhine rises and comes up to the fire. There are three nymphs in the river. Hagen throws himself into the fire to get the ring, but the nymphs seize him and draw him away with them. One of them holds the ring.  
And the work is over.  
The impression of my retelling is, of course, incomplete. But, incomplete as it may be, it is certain to be incomparably better than the impression one gets from reading the four booklets in which it has been published.    
   
   
 

Under Translation...
by

 

 

[Home] [Up] [Contents] [Preface] [Bibliographical Note] [A Note on the Text] [WHAT IS ART?] I  II  III  IV  V  VI  VII  VIII  IX  X  XI  XII  XIII  XIV  XV  XVI  XVII  XVIII  XIX  XX [CONCLUSION] [Appendix I] [Appendix II] [Notes]


   
 

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