(Mime's cave, deep in the forest, Mime working over his anvil)
Mime: Forced into slavery! No thanks, no reward, no end to my work! This is the best sword I've ever made - worthy to be carried into battle by the giants themselves! But that...that kid I made it for - HA! - He'll shatter it, break it in two, as if I'd made him a plaything! Well, there's one sword that could stand up to even his abuse: Nothung's fragments wouldn't fail me, even in his hands. If I could only weld the mighty pieces of that sword together, if only I had the skill...! If I could give the fearless boy that sword, then all the crap I've had to put up with all these years would finally be worth it! Fafner, the evil dragon, lies waiting in the forest, guarding the Nibelung's treasure with his huge, terrifying bulk. Siegfried's brash, young strength could well do him in. Then, I'd have the Ring all for myself. But one thing stands in the way - only one sword will do for the job, only Siegfried can use it as it needs to be used, and as good as I am, I can't forge the damned thing! Nothung, that elusive sword!! Working for nothing! Slaving without end! This is the best sword I've ever made, but it'll never be good enough for the one thing I need most. The boy insists I keep hammering away though, wasting my time making things he just goes out and destroys. But if I stopped working for him, I shudder to think what he'd do to me!
(Siegfried enters, leading a bear)
Siegfried: Hey Mime! I'm home! (To the bear) All right, go get him! Kill him and eat him for dinner, that ugly, rotten excuse for a blacksmith there!
Mime: What the...?? A BEAR?? What do you think you're doing, bringing a bear into our house?
Siegfried: I brought a friend home with me, to help inspire you to work harder. (to the bear) All right, buddy, go get my new sword from him...if he's finished with it!
Mime: No! Get him away from me! Your sword's over there; I just now finished it for you.
Siegfried: Well then, I guess I'll let you live another day. (to the bear) All right, you can go - I don't need your help any more. (the bear leaves)
Mime: It's one thing to kill bears in the forest. I mean, it's fine with me when you do things like that, but why would you want to bring one home with you?
Siegfried: I was just looking for a little companionship. I mean, better than what I have here at "home", that is. I was playing my horn in the forest, thinking about how nice it'd be to have some company I enjoyed for a change. That bear must have read my mind through the music I was playing, because he came out of the bushes growling at me. I know that one day I'll find better, but I figured he'd do for now. So, I bridled him and brought him here with me to ask you for my sword. By the way, where did you say it was?
Mime: Right here. You'll love how well this one cuts; I made it especially sharp just for you.
Siegfried: Well, I hope this one'll be good for something. The edges aren't that important if the metal isn't strong enough. (He breaks the sword.) Just like I thought! Another toy!! You call this knitting needle a sword?? (Throws it at Mime.) Here, take the damned thing back, and try again! Why didn't I just break it over your head this time? How much longer do I have to put up with this? You know, you're full of talk - talk about terrifying giants and glorious battles, of brave deeds and mighty weapons. You say you'll make those weapons for me with all your skill, as if you had any! But every time I touch anything you make, it breaks in my bare hands! I'd like to take you and melt you down in your own furnace, if I didn't think that would ruin it! But at least then I'd be rid of you, once and for all!!
Mime: Siegfried, please listen to reason! Please don't treat me this way! Your ungratefulness hurts my feelings so much, I can't take it! I can't ever seem to do anything good enough for you; you only curse me for being human, and forget everything I've ever tried to do for you. Remember what I taught you about gratitude? You should at least give me a little respect, considering all I've done for you. Oh well, you don't want to hear all that again. You must be hungry - can I bring you some meat from the fire? Or maybe you'd like some nice hot soup? I knew how hungry you'd be, and made it especially for you.
Siegfried: I cook my own food. Eat that slop yourself!! (Throws it at Mime)
Mime: So that's the thanks I get? It's always the same: I slave all day long for you, and you have the nerve to treat me like this! You don't appreciate anything I do for you! I brought you up! I raised you all by myself! When you were a helpless little baby, I kept you warm. I gave you food and drink, and protected you like you were a part of my own body. I watched with joy as you grew up, and provided a safe place for you to call home. I made toys for you to play with, even that horn you love so much. Anything you wanted! No sacrifice was too great for me to make, as long as you were happy! But that wasn't all: I also taught you everything you know. I shared every bit of wisdom and knowledge I have with you. I sat at home working my fingers to the bone, while you were out doing... who knows what?? Whatever you wanted!! You got anything and everything you ever dreamed of, while I suffered in silence, living my life solely for your pleasure. All for you, with never a thought for myself. Look at me, a tired, haggard old dwarf! And for everything I gave you, now you give me this? Insults? Threats? Hateful, spiteful ingratitude? Siegfried, why do you hate me? Don't you appreciate anything I've ever done for you?
Siegfried: Yes, I guess you have taught me a lot, Mime. I've learned quite a bit from you, but you know something? There's one thing I wanted to you to teach me more than anything else, but I've never been able to learn it from you: How to stand the sight of you! Yes, you brought me food and drink, but the only thing that really fills me up is my hatred for you. Yes, I've got a nice bed here to sleep in, if I could ever really sleep well in this dungeon! You teach me things to try to make me smart, but I'd rather be ignorant than learn from you! All I have to do is look at you, and I see everything that's evil in the world. Every move you make disgusts me; I want to take you by the throat and wring your neck so I won't have to look at you any more! The thought of doing that is the only thing that lets me stand being around you. But since you claim to be so smart, help me understand something I've wondered about a lot: Maybe a thousand times I've gone off into the forest, thinking that this would finally be the time I wouldn't come back. Why is it, when I think I'm finally rid of you forever, that I always come back? The animals I see in the forest are more my friends than you are. The trees, the birds, the fish in the stream: I could be more at home with any of them than with you. So why do I come back to you every time? Figure that one out for me, will you?
Mime: Well, isn't it obvious? This must feel like home to you. Deep in your heart, you must really miss me.
Siegfried: But I can't stand you, remember?
Mime: You're just young, and haven't discovered your true feelings yet. All young ones need the care and attention they get from their parents at home. This need is called Love. You always come home to me; therefore, you must love me! Do you hear? You have to love me!! What the mother bird is to the fledgling, as it feeds in the nest, helpless, unable to fly on its own: that's what I am to you, my boy. That's what I am for you!
Siegfried: All right, Mime, explain something else to me, since you think you know so much. In the springtime, I've often seen birds singing to each other. They seemed so...happy together. I asked, and you told me it was because they were husband and wife. They were always together, never leaving each other. They built their home together and raised their little ones there. Even when the chicks were ready to leave and go off on their own, the parents seemed like they were so happy for them, because they had been a family. I've seen deer do the same thing, too, and foxes, and wolves - the father provided for the family, and the mother watched over the babies. By seeing that, I learned perfectly well what love should be like. I would never have taken those little ones from their parents, because I knew they were all happy together. Now tell me, Mime, where is your wife? She must be my mother, and I'd like to see her myself!
Mime: What's wrong with you? Where have I gone wrong? Do you really think you're a bird or a fox?
Siegfried: "You brought me up. You raised me all by yourself. When I was a helpless little baby, you kept me warm." But where did you get this helpless little baby? With all that skill you're supposed to have, did you manage to make me all by yourself?
Mime: You have to believe me: I'm both your father and mother in one!
Siegfried: You're lying!! Do you really expect me to believe that? I've seen how babies look like their parents. Once I came across a quiet brook, and saw how the trees, the animals, the sun and the clouds were all reflected in the water exactly the way they really look. I looked in, saw the reflection of my own face, and I'll tell you, it didn't look anything like you at all! We're as different as a slimy horned toad and a brilliant, shimmering goldfish. And I know that no fish ever had a toad for a father!!
Mime: That's nonsense!
Siegfried: Well, now I've figured it out for myself, why I always seem to come back to you. You must be the only one who can tell me who my father and mother really are!
Mime: What father? What mother? Stupid questions!
Siegfried: It's obvious I can't get anything out of you by being nice. Everything I've ever learned from you, I had to force out! It's a miracle I even learned to talk from you before I strangled the life out of your throat! Well, I've about had enough of your sweet talk - OUT with it! Who are my father and mother?? (grabs Mime by the throat)
Mime: You're killing me! Let me go, and I'll tell you what you want to know, at least as much as I know about it myself. (Siegfried lets him go) All right, you spoiled, hateful, selfish brat! Shut up and listen to the reasons why you hate me so much! No, I'm not your father, nor any relation to you whatsoever, but you still owe me your life!! You were a total stranger, nothing to me at all; but still, I felt sorry for you and raised you as my own. And this is the thanks I get for my compassion! I was a complete fool to think I'd ever get any kind of love from you in return.
Once, I was out in the cold, cruel forest, and found a poor woman lying helpless, crying as if her heart would break. I helped her back to my cave to take care of her, and warmed her by my fire. She was in labor pretty bad, and the birth was incredibly hard. She suffered like you wouldn't believe! I almost couldn't bear it, but I helped as much as I could. She was beyond help, though, and I couldn't do anything for her. She died. Yes, Siegfried, she died, but her baby - you, Siegfried - you lived.
Siegfried: My mother...died because of me?
Mime: She gave you over to my care. As I said, I gladly took you in and raised you as my own. All the trouble I went through for you - all the good things I tried to do for you! "I brought you up. I raised you all by myself."
Siegfried: I think we've already established that! But tell me why my name is "Siegfried".
Mime: That was the name your mother told me to call you; with the name of "Siegfried" you'd grow up brave and strong. "When you were a helpless little baby, I kept you warm."
Siegfried: What was my mother's name?
Mime: I really don't remember. "I gave you food and drink."
Siegfried: Tell me her name...NOW!
Mime: How could I have forgotten it? Wait a minute - it was "Sieglinde", that was her name. She suffered more than you'll ever know, but "I protected you as if you were a part of my own body."
Siegfried: All right, what was my father's name?
Mime: I never saw him.
Siegfried: But surely my mother told you about him?
Mime: He'd been killed; that was all she said. She entrusted me with your life, helpless and fatherless though you were. "I watched with joy as you grew up, and provided a safe place for you to call home."
Siegfried: I've heard enough of that! If I'm going to believe what you've said to me, if you're going to convince me that it's not just more lies you've made up, then show me some proof.
Mime: What would it take to convince you?
Siegfried: I don't believe anything you say to me any more. You'll have to show me something that I can see and feel, something that will let me know you're not lying to me again.
Mime: (going to a hidden cupboard) Well, your mother did give me this in return for all the trouble I went to for her. It was hardly enough, considering all I did for you, but...see? An old broken sword! She said it had been broken when your father was carrying it in battle, when he was killed. Lot of good it did him.
Siegfried: My father's sword! This is what I've been waiting for! Quick, Mime! Get to work! You finally have the chance now to show me how great a smith you are. Forge this sword for me. Forget all the trash you've made me in the past - I know this sword will be the one for me. Oh, but if you screw this one up, if you do anything to ruin this sword, I'll take care of you good. Your life isn't hardly worth the effort it would take to kill you, but don't tempt me. Don't mess this one up! I WILL have this sword, and I WILL have it today!!
Mime: (trembling) What are you going to do with it?
Siegfried: I'll finally be able to leave this forest, and go out into the world on my own! Free at last! I'm finally free! I know everything I need to know, and now, with my father's sword, I'll have everything I need to have! I knew all along I wasn't related to you - I knew this wasn't my home, that I didn't really belong here. Now I'm as happy as a fish in the Flood, free as a bird to fly off wherever I want, like the wind blowing through the forest, out into the world at last!! Free, Mime, never to have to look at you again!!!
Mime: Hold on! Wait! Come back! Siegfried! Hey! Siegfried! Siegfried!! Oh, no! There he goes, and here I sit, with yet another problem to add to the ones I've already got. Oh, what am I going to do? How can my plans succeed now? How can I keep him here against his will? How can I get him to kill Fafner? And how can I forge this sword for him so he won't kill me?? There's no furnace in the world that can fix this sword; no master smith has the skill it takes to work this kind of steel. It'll take magic, or a miracle, and I can't do either one! No amount of cunning, scheming, bargaining, or outright cheating will get this sword back together again. All my plans, all that work, all for nothing! Oh, God, I'm in big trouble now!