X. The battle of Gransport

Now that he has served both Attila and Erka well, Dietrich decides it is time to ask for a favour in return.

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King Diet­rich von Bern came to king Attila in Soest when he fled his realm for his uncle king Ermenrik. In Soest his brother Ritter postulates Diether may be his son Diether was with him. Diether was one winter old when he came to Soest, and spent twenty winters with Attila, and he was a great knight.

King Attila had two sons, Erp and Ortwin. These three boys were of the same age and they loved one another so much they were rarely separated. Queen Erka loved her sons very much, as well as her foster Diether, and so did king Attila.

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One day king Diet­rich von Bern went to the hall where Erka lived Apparently the queen has her own hall; see also 343 with her women, and the queen received him well, offered him wine, and asked him what she could do for him. And again she asked: Why do you come? Do you have any business to discuss with us? Or do you have any new tidings?

But Diet­rich was full of grief, and water flowed from his eyes he cried, and he responded: My lady, I have no new tidings, only old ones. I remember how I left my kingdom, my good town of Bern and the wealthy Ravenna, and many other cities, and how it drove me into the mercy and protection of king Attila. And it’s been twenty years now.

Queen Erka replied: You have been in our realm for a long time and given us aid. Therefore, if you want to try to retake it, it is fitting that the Huns give you an army to help you. And I would like to be the first to offer you help, so I will send my twon sons Erp and Ortwin and a thousand knights, and I will also ask king Attila to send you help as well. And Diet­rich thanked the queen.

Note that it is Erka who sends out her sons to help Dietrich. Attila doesn’t appear to have any say in the matter.

Then Erka convinces Attila to help Dietrich. Then she arms her sons and Diether.

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Now Soest was filled with sounds of weapons, and shouts, and neighing of horses. The entire town was so full of men that no one could pass through, and no one could hear anyone unless they were close to them.

Now king Attila went up into a tower and called loudly: Hear me, men, and be quiet, and hear my commands. And the town fell silent.

Then the king said: Now a great army has gathered here, and now you must go as I will tell you. King Diet­rich will travel alone with his army, and my man margrave Rodinger will go with another part of the knights that I have given to king Diet­rich, and all the other men will follow my sons and young Diether. And all did as king Attile had commanded.

Now margrave Rodinger rode forth from Soest with his army. And Erp and Ortwin mounted, and in their following were duke Nudung of Walkaburg, who bore Diet­rich's banner presumably because of Diether's presence in this group?, and Wolfhart and Helfrich, both Diet­rich's relatives Helfrich's relation is not mentioned anywhere else, and the details of Wolfhart's are unclear..

And when the latter mounted queen Erka said: Good friend Helfrich, guard my sons well, and let them ride beside you when the armies meet. And Helfrich said: I swear by God, I won't come home from this war if I lose your sons. And queen Erka thanked him.

Now duke Nudung rode from Soest, and next Diether, and then Erp and Ortwin and the good knight Helfrich, then Wolfhart, and then all their warriors. Now king Diet­rich mounted his horse Falke, and master Hildebrand bore his banner and went before king Diet­rich, and then Wildeber and the warriors who followed Diet­rich's banner i.e. the personal retainers Diet­rich brought with him on his flight. And in these three groups there were no less than ten thousand knights which would give Diet­rich 7,000 knights; seems rather too much to me and a great lot of other people.

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Now they traveled over the roads with their armies, and there is nothing to say about their travel.

When king Diet­rich had traveled with his army for a while he called two of his men and told them to travel to king Ermenrik as quickly as possible, day and night, and tell him that king Diet­rich, and his brother Diether, were coming home to Amelungenland with a great army, and when king Ermenrik wanted to defend him self, they should meet at Gransport According to Ritter the Gänsefürtchen where the Mosel runs into the Rhine at Koblenz.

And these two men rode away and didn't find Ermenrik until they came to Rome. And they delivered the message, and berated Ermenrik for his faithless grabbing of Diet­rich's realm, and warned the army was already on its way.

Then king Ermenrik had two good horses brought, and two good men's cloaks, and gave them to the messengers, and told them to ride back and thanked them for warning him, because he wasn't afraid of the Hunnish army as long as it didn't catch him unprepared. And with this message he sent the messengers back.

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But king Ermenrik sent messengers over all his realm to gather all of his warriors, young or old, who could carry weapons and had the courage to fight. And three days and three nights passed.

And when that time was up sixteen thousand knights had gathered in Rome, ready for battle, and their chief was duke Witig Wieland's son of Fritila, and the army was equipped with strong horn bows the same as jarl Hornboge's name and black helmets and white armour.

Then Witig said to king Ermenrik: All my men have come here, and I've never brought together a larger army in less time, and they are willing to fight the Huns, but I myself will not fight Diet­rich von Bern or his brother Diether, but I must still or: will otherwise? do as you tell me.

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And now Rome was filled with calls and shouts throughout the city, and weapons clanging, and horses neighing, and all the streets were full with warriors.

Then king Ermenrik went on to the highest tower and said: My good friend Sibich, you will carry my banner and my personal guard, and no less than six thousand warriors. And when you get to the battle, you shall stand against Diet­rich von Bern, and your men will attack his men, and it would be best if you carried his sword in your hand when the battle ends.

Then he said: My good relative Reinald Their exact relation is unknown, you will be duke over five thousand knights, and you will lead them against the Huns, and my nephews Diet­rich and Diether should be killed in this battle.

And now hear, my good friend Witig, my best duke, you shall have six thousand knights and you should not return in defeat. I would like to see Diet­rich and Diether killed in this battle, and do not let king Attila's sons get away with their lives. May God grant you victory, and may you have great fame from this war.

Then Witig replied that he was quite ready to fight the Huns and Attila's sons, but he would not harm king Diet­rich when it was in his power. Now they blew all their horns, mounted on their hroses, and rode with shouts and calls and horns from the city.

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They followed the road northward over the mountains, and did not stop until they came to Gransport, and there they saw king Diet­rich and his army on the northern side of the river. Then the Amelungen Ermenrik's army erected their tents on the south side of the river, but the Huns on the north side, and thus they spent the night.

This night master Hildebrand was king Diet­rich's watchman, and when everyone was asleep he rode down to the river, alone and stealthily, until he found a ford in the river. He rode through the river, but before he found it don't know what that means; from 328 it becomes clear he crossed the river a man rode to him, and the night was so dark that neither saw the other until they were on top of one another.

Master Hildebrand said Von der Hagen gives this first line to Reinald Who are you, man, and why do you ride so fiercely?

Reinald Von der Hagen: Hildebrand replied: I do not need to tell you my name, since you ride alone, like I do, but I do not have to ask for your name, because I know it, even though we haven't seen each other for twenty winters. Von der Hagen adds: The man said You are master Hildebrand, king Diet­rich's follower.

Then Hildebrand replied: You are right, I am truly Hildebrand, king Diet­rich's best friend, and I will never hide that. And welcome to you, my friend Reinald, please tell me news about your army.

Reinald said: The first piece of news is, that king Ermenrik's army is led by duke Witig, your good friend, and the next Sibich, your great enemy, and I can also tell you that I rode away so silently that everybody thinks I'm still in bed, but I wanted to ride to king Diet­rich and tell him all this if I hadn't met you, and I truly wish that he will do well, even though I will lead my men against him, but I do not want to hide from Diet­rich whatever he desires to know.

Reinald explains the deployment of the Amelung army under Sibich, Witig, and himself.

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And as they rode up from the river, five men rode towards them; they were Amelungen from Sibich's following. They assumed that these two riders must be Hunnish spies, and drew their swords and wanted to kill them.

Then Hildebrand drew his sword and rode to them. And Reinald ordered them not to come towards them, because this man Hildebrand is my man.

But they thought they recognised master Hildebrand, and one of them hit his helmet hat this is apparently a thing so that it broke in two, but the helmet itself was unscathed. Then master Hildebrand beheaded him, but they were separated because Reinald did not want them to fight on. Now Reinald and Hildebrand rode on to their destination, while the patrol went its way.

Hildebrand explains the deployment of the Hun army under Dietrich, Rodinger, and Diether (coached by Nudung).

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Hildebrand rode back through the ford. But when Reinald came to his tent he found there Sibich with many of his men, ready for battle. He had heard about Hildebrand's mission and wanted to ride after him and kill him.

Then Reinald said: If you want to kill my good friend Hildebrand I can get no fewer men than you have in a short time, and then you'll have to fight me rather than him, and you'll have many fewer men before you catch up with him. And it is more likely than not that he will ride his way, whether you pursue him or not likely means: he will kill the lot of you even if I don't.

Then Sibich replied: Reinald, do you want to become king Ermenrik's enemy, who made me chief of this campaign? Do you want to help our enemies?

Reinald said: I don't want to become king Ermenrik's enemy. Instead, I will fight for him, even though I fight against my relatives and friends, but I will not let you kill Hildebrand while he rides alone. You will have plenty of opportunity to kill him before the day is over, and when he leads his men I will not prevent anyone from riding against him. But it could be that he defends himself. And these words stopped Sibich and his men from riding after Hildebrand.

But Hildebrand rode to king Diet­rich's tent and told him all he had learned that night. And the king said he had done well, as before.

The next morning the armies march against one another. Dietrich takes on Sibich, Nudung and Diether fight Witig, and Rodinger attacks Reinald.

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Now the six army groups met. Diet­rich rode in front on his good stallion Falke with his sword Eckisax, and killed men and horses on both sides, and before him rode master Hildebrand carrying his banner and slaying men with his free hand, and their companion Wildeber followed them, and many Amelungen from Sibich's army fell.

Then king Diet­rich called loudly: You have fought against the Reussen and Wilkinenmen, and we were usually victorious, but in this battle we fight for our lands and realm, so let's win great fame by reconquering it.

Now king Diet­rich rode in the middle of Sibich's army and slew man and horse, and when he had come in the middle he went back by another way, and he was much feared. And by another route Wildeber rode through the Amelungen army, and no man held against him.

Walther of Waskastein saw how much damage Wildeber was doing to the Amelungen, and how they fled for him, and rode against him and hit him with his spear in the breast so that it exited between the shoulder blades. And Wildeber struck off the spear's shaft and struck Walther's thigh in the saddle, and pierced the armour and his sword got stuck in the saddle, and both fell dead from their horses It is unclear to me why Walther would die instantly of this wound..

When Sibich saw that his banner had fallen, and the strong Walther with it, he turned his horse and fled, and his men with him. But king Diet­rich and his men pursued the fugitives for a long time and killed them all day long, and it took quite a while before he returned.

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Witig saw that Sibich fled, and knew the Amelungen would lose if the same happened elsewhere. Therefore he pressed the attack and rode against duke Nudung, who had killed many men. Quickly a fight ensued, which ended when Witig hacked the banner pole in two with his sword and the banner fell to the ground. And then he gave Nudung a blow on the neck that pierced the armour so that head and body fell to the ground.

And the three young men saw this, and Ortwin said to Helfrich: Do you see how that evil dog Witig kills duke Nudung? Let's ride to him and not let him get away.

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Then Ortwin bravely rode against Witig, and Helfrich with him, and against them came the strong Runga, and a fight broke out, and before it ended Ortwin and Helfrich fell dead on the ground.

And when Erp and Diether saw that the rode forward and Diether and Runga fought with great bravery, and Diether hit Runga on the helmet and went through helmet and head to the shoulders, so that Runga fell dead. But in the mean time Witig had killed Erp, and when Diether saw that both his friends were dead, he rode against Witig and wanted to either lose his life or avenge his foster brothers, and hit Witig hard and often.

But Witig said: Aren't you Diether, king Diet­rich's brother? I know you, now ride elsewhere, because for his sake I will not harm you, so go fight other men.

But Diether replied: God knows, since you killed Erp and Ortwin, you vile dog, I'll take revenge for them. and one of us will die. And again he hit Witig as strongly as he could.

Witig said: God knows I hate to do this, for your brother Diet­rich's sake. Then Diether hit Witig on his helmet, but the helmet was so hard that his steel could not penetrate it, and the sword sprang from the helmet down along the saddle bow and hit the head of his horse, and thus Schimming, Witig's war stallion, died.

Now Witig said, when he stood on the ground: Great necessity forces me to do something I'd rather not do. And now Witig took his sword Mimung in both hands and hit Diether in the back so that armour and body were rent apart and he fell to the ground in two pieces. And now the battle continued, and Witig killed many men, but also lost many men from the Amelungen.

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The good knight Wolfhart fought with great courage all day, and he carried margrave Rodinger's banner and had ridden far into the Amelung army. And margrave Rodinger followed him. In the same way Reinald rode into the Hun army and killed many men. Now he saw what great damage Wolfhart his relative did, and his men wanted to flee from Rodinger and Wolfhart. So he rode against them and hit his relative Wolfhart in the breast with his spear, so that it exited through the shoulder blades and he fell dead from his horse.

Margrave Rodinger was close by and took the banner pole and carried his banner himself, and attacked Reinald's banner bearer and beheaded him and also cut the banner pole so that the banner fell to the ground. When Reinald's men saw their banner fall and Sibich had fled they fled as well, and when Reinald saw that he went after them.

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Then one of Diet­rich's followers rode after the king and called: Good lord Diet­rich, turn back, that vile dog Witig has killed first duke Nudung, then Ortwin and Erp, then Helfrich, and now your brother Diether. Go back, my lord, and avenge them.

Then king Diet­rich said: What have I done that God grants me such an evil day? No weapon hit me today, and I have no wounds, but the princes are dead and so is Diether. I can never return to Hunnenland now. I will avenge them or be killed myself.

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Then he turned his stallion Falke, spurred him on, and his entire army followed him, and he rode so quickly that nobody could keep up with him, and he was so angry that fire came forth from his mouth, and nobody dared to stand against him.

And when Witig saw that he fled, like the other men unclear which ones are meant. He had taken Diether's horse and fled to the Mosel river, but king Diet­rich rode after him. And he called to Witig: You evil dog, wait for me, I'll avenge my brother and you won't live much longer. If you have the courage to stand against one man, wait for me.

But Witig pretended he hadn't heard Diet­rich, and continued his flight. Diet­rich called again, and now Witig replied: I killed your brother out of necessity, and did it only to stay alive, and if I can pay you back with silver and gold I will.

But still he fled as quickly as his horse could go, but Diet­rich came after him. And thus Witig rode into the lake according to Ritter the lake where the Mosel flows into the Rhine, and Diet­rich had come very close. In this moment Witig sank into the lake, and king Diet­rich threw a spear at him, and the spear shaft struck the river mouth, and stayed there until this day, and anyone who goes there may see it.

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Now king Diet­rich rode back to the battlefield, and he saw how many of his relatives and friends had fallen. And he went to where his brother Diether lay, and said: There you lay, Diether, and I rue what has been done to you. And Diet­rich took Diether's shield and threw it away, because it was all hacked up and useless.

And then he went to where the princes lay, and he said: My dear princes, losing you is the gravest harm I could have had, because how can I now return to Soest? I'd rather be severely wounded if you had been healthy.

Then king Diet­rich went away from the bodies, I suppose, and all his men had now come to him, and he said: Listen, margrave Rodinger, now bring my greetings to king Attila and queen Erka, and tell them that I will not come back to Hunnenland now that king Attila has lost so many warriors for my sake.

The margrave replied, and many other chiefs with him: Don't do that. It often happens in war that leaders lose their best warriors and still win the battle, as has happened here. So recognised you were victorious here even though you lost the princes. We will ask queen Erka to be content with that, even though she has lost her sons, and we will all make sure that king Attila won't be less of a friend to you than he was before.

Diet­rich said he would never return as matters stood now, because he had promised queen Erka to return her sons, but had not kept his promise. But then all chiefs and knights went to king Diet­rich and said: Good lord Diet­rich, come back with us to Hunnenland, we will support you before king Attila and queen Erka. But if you do not want to return, then we will follow you to reconquer your realm, and we will fight against king Ermenrik, and we will never return until you have your realm back.

King Diet­rich replied: I truly do not wish to lead king Attila's army any more, now that I have lost his two sons, and I would prefer to go home with you.

And now the entire army turned back and rode on the roads that brought them back to Hunnenland to king Attila in Soest.

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When king Diet­rich came to Soest he went into a cooking house a small house separate from the main structure meant for baking bread and other food that required fire and refused to see king Attila and queen Erka.

But margrave Rodinger went into Attila's hall and greeted him. And Attila asked for news, and whether they had won, and if king Diet­rich had survived.

And margrave Rodinger replied: King Diet­rich is alive and the Huns have won, but still it was an evil dau, since we lost your sons Erp and Ortwin. Then queen Erka cried, and almost all who were in that hall. And king Attila asked: Who else of the Huns fell along with my sons?

And Rodinger replied: Many good warriors, young Diether von Bern, and your good fried Helfrich, and duke Nudung, and Wildeber, and many other good men and chiefs, but the Amelungen lost half as many men, and those who live had to flee.

Then king Attila said, and he was courageous under these tidings: Now it happened as before, those who are fated will fall, and good weapons and strength do not help when you have to die. And we have seen that in this expedition, because Erp and Ortwin and Diether all had the best weapons, but still they all lie dead. And then he asked: But where is my good friend king Diet­rich?

Someone replied: In a cooking house sit king Diet­rich and master Hildebrand, and they put down their weapons and do not want to come under your eyes, my lord, so bad they feel about losing the princes.

Then king Attila said: Two of my knights, go there and ask my friend king Diet­rich to come inside. He should still be close to me, despite all that has happened.

The two knights went to where king Diet­rich sat, and gave him the message. But king Diet­rich replied that his mood was so heavy and sad that he did not want to meet other people. And the knights went back to king Attila and told him what had happened.

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Then queen Erka rose crying, and went to king Diet­rich followed by her ladies. And when she entered the cooking house she said: Good king Diet­rich, how did my sons fight before they died?

And king Diet­rich said with great sorrow: My lady, they were good warriors, and fought well, and did not want to be separated from one another.

Then she went to him, put her hands around his neck, and kissed him, and said: My good friend, now come with me to king Attila's hall, and be welcome and glad. It has often happened that men fell in battle, and those who survive must still take care of themselves. It helps nothing to bewail the dead check translation. Now come with me.

Now king Diet­rich rose and went after queen Erka into the hall. And when he came before king Attila the king rose, welcomed Diet­rich, and kissed him, and offered him a seat on the high table. And king Diet­rich accepted, and he stayed with king Attila for a long time, and their friendship was no less than it had been.

Two years later queen Erka dies. On her deathbed she tells Attila not to marry a woman of the Niflungen. Guess what Attila does next?

Continue

The next chapter is Sigfrid's death. Early history of the Niflungen about Sigfrid, Hagen, Gunther, Grimhild, and Brunhild.