Sigurd (Old Norse: Sigurðr) is a legendary hero of Norse mythology, as well as the central character in the Völsunga saga. The earliest extant representations for his legend come in pictorial form from seven runestones in Sweden and most notably the Ramsund carving (c. 1000) and the Gök Runestone (11th century).
As Siegfried, he is the hero in the German Nibelungenlied, and Richard Wagner's operas Siegfried and Götterdämmerung.
As Sivard Snarensven(d) he was the hero of several medieval Scandinavian ballads.
The name Sigurðr is not the same name as the German Siegfried. The Old Norse form would have been Sigruþr, a form which appears in the Ramsund carving that depicts the legend. Sivard is another variant name of Sigurðr; these name forms all share the first element Sig-, which means victory.
In the Völsunga saga, Sigurd is the posthumous son of Sigmund and his second wife, Hiordis. Sigmund dies in battle when he attacks Odin (who is in disguise), and Odin shatters Sigmund's sword. Dying, Sigmund tells Hiordis of her pregnancy and bequeaths the fragments of his sword to his unborn son.
Hiordis marries King Alf, and then Alf decided to send Sigurd to Regin as a foster. Regin tempts Sigurd to greed and violence by first asking Sigurd if he has control over Sigmund's gold. When Sigurd says that Alf and his family control the gold and will give him anything he desires, Regin asks Sigurd why he consents to a lowly position at court. Sigurd replies that he is treated as an equal by the kings and can get anything he desires. Then Regin asks Sigurd why he acts as stableboy to the kings and has no horse of his own. Sigurd then goes to get a horse. An old man (Odin in disguise) advises Sigurd on choice of horse, and in this way Sigurd gets Grani, a horse derived from Odin's own Sleipnir.
Finally, Regin tries to tempt Sigurd by telling him the story of the Otter's Gold. Regin's father was Hreidmar, and his two brothers were Ótr and Fafnir. Regin was a natural at smithing, and Ótr was natural at swimming. Ótr used to swim at Andvari's waterfall, where the dwarf Andvari lived. Andvari often assumed the form of a pike and swam in the pool.
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