The next section is remarkable modern in the sense that it unites two war stories and a search-and-rescue story by an overarching story line about the quarrel between Witig and Heime about Mimung.
First one more hero joins Dietrich, who is to play a major role in the next story. Dietrich now has ten heroes.
One day, when Dietrich sat on his throne, and his heroes were with him, a man came there, large and strong, but without good clothes or weapons, and he wore a deep hat so that no one could see his face
He replied: I am Wildeber, my family is in Amelungland, and I came here to offer uou my services and become your man. Dietrich said that, although he was an unknown man, he still would take his service, and my good heroes here around me will admit you to their companionship.
And Witig said: No one will gainsay you, my lord, if you want to take him into your service, since it is better to take up a good knight than to refuse him.
And the king gave him a seat at his table, but before Wildeber sat down he want to the washbasin, and when he rolled up his sleeves Witig saw that he had a gold ring around his arm, and knew he had to be from a noble family, even though he looked poor.
Now Dietrich gave him good clothes, a good horse and weapons, and he liked Wildeber. And Witig and Wildeber became good friends.
Now the saga switches back to the main story. A war breaks out.
King Attile sought reconciliation with king Osantrix, and sent men to him, but Osantrix refused. When Attile found out, he sent a letter with his seal to king Dietrich to request him to come to Hunnenland with his best warriors for a campaign against king Osantrix, since they had sworn friendship. And king Dietrich wanted to come immediately, since his friend needed his help.
So he rode forth from Bern with 500 knights and his heroes. And when they came to Hunnenland king Attila received them well, and was ready to go to Wilkinenland with them.
So they went forth to Wilkinenland and made many prisoners and killed many, and some fled from them. They also burned many castles, villages and farmsteads, and gathered great booty, both people and gold and silver.
King Osantrix also had a large army, and when he met the army that did not flee from him
Herbrand, king Dietrichs banner carrier, rode in front, and hit with both hands both men and horses, and behind him came king Dietrich and his heroes, and they all tried their swords on hard helmets and strong shields and armour, and all the companions helped one another where necessary.
Then Widolf with the Pole came to them and with his pole he hit Witig, who was out in the very front, on the helmet, so that he fell from his horse onto the ground unconscious. Heime was close by, and when Witig had fallen he took his sword Mimung and hurried from there.
The Wilkinen also fought bravely, but king Dietrich told all his men to advance and show the enemies their handiwork. Now king Osantrix saw that the battle was lost and fled, after he had lost 500 knights. Attila, who had lost only 300, chased after him.
Now Hernit, Osantrix' brother's son, arrived with his army, and they saw Witig laying there, and they took him with them. But then Hertnit saw that the battle was lost, since his uncle Osantrix had already fled, and also fled, like all the others. Thus the Wilkinen lost, and they separated
I have always been wondering if the saga isn’t gaslighting us here and Osantrix really won. Why else would Attila leave the battlefield and Osantrix take Witig captive? See also
King Attila and king Dietrich now rode home to Soest, which was king Attila's capital, and stayed there for the night. The next morning, however, king Dietrich wanted to go home to Bern. He had lost 60 men, and Witig too.
Then Wildeber came to king Dietrich, and requested permission to stay behind and find out if Witig was dead or alive. King Dietrich allowed this, and thus Wildeber stayed with king Attila.
A few days later king Attila rode to the Lurwald for a hunt, and Wildeber went with him, and many others. And when the day was done Attila went homeward.
But Wildeber staid behind with two large hunting dogs, and he found a forest bear and killed it. Then he peeld off its skin and rode home. He took the bear skin and hid it in a place only he knew about.
Wild-eber is the wild boar. Wilde-ber is the wild bear. Now Wildeber's name is definitely the former (Vildifer in Old Norse), but he still takes up a bear skin here for his heroic act later on.
One day Isung, the chief minstrel, came to king Attila from king Dietrich in Bern. Dietrich had sent him out to find out if Witig was still alive, because minstrels can always go from prince to prince in peace, while other men may be distrusted. And king Attila received him well and entertained him
Wildeber told Isung he wanted to get Witig back, and wondered if Isung could make sure he could go into Osantrix' court undetected. Isung replied he was willing to do so.
The next morning Wildeber went to king Attila and told him he wanted to visit his relatives for a short while. King Attila offered him some knights to accompany him, but Wildeber said he'd travel with Isung, and they'd travel through peaceful lands. Then Attila allowed him to go
They now left the city of Soest, and when they were alone Wildeber showed the bear skin and asked Isung whether they could do anything with it. Isung inspected it and said that it might come in useful. He told Wildeber to wear the skin over his armor, and took needle and thread and sowed the skin as tightly as he could around Wildeber's back and feet, and so skilled was he that it would seem to everyone Wildeber was a bear. Now Isung put a collar around his neck and lead him, and so they traveled day after day until they reached Wilkinenland.
Close to king Osantrix' castle they encountered a man, who told them king Osantrix was in his castle but had few men with him, because he had recently conducted an expedition, as you may have heard, and most of his knights have returned to their houses, if they have one, because it is costly to live in a merchant city
Isung asked how the king felt about the victory
Then Isung asked if Hertnit was still with Osantrix, and which hero they had captured and if he was still alive. The man replied Hernit was not there, and that the hero was Witig, and was currently in a dark prison in heavy chains, and the man believed Witig was suffering much and waiting for his final day.
Note how Isung takes all the credit for the plan of sowing Wildeber into his bear skin. I am kind of assuming that the original version of this story didn't have Isung in it; just Wildeber disguised as a bear, or just as berserker.
Then Isung went into the castle to the king himself. And when this famous minstrel came there he was well received. Then king Osantrix asked him to play some of the things that had made him so famous.
Isung replied that he thought little was being played here in Wilkinenland that he couldn't do better, singing songs, or playing harp, fiddle and violin
The king said that the bear had been trained well, but could it do more than cance? Isung replied that his bear could do many things. Then they went to bed.
The next morning the king asked to be entertained again by Isung and his bear, by setting a pack of dogs on it and see what happened. Isung said he did not like this proposal, for either his bear would be killed, and he was worth more to him than any gold or silver Osantrix would give him, or the dogs would lose, and the king would get angry and kill the bear. Osantrix said he would set his dogs on the bear, but promised that neither he nor any of his men would hurt the bear.
And during this day, and also the previous evening, they had heard how Witig was in a dark prison in strong fetters and a heavy collar.
The next morning the king and all his men went out of the castle to a field, and with them as well Widolf with the Pole and Aventrod, and Widolf was in strong chains, since he should never be released except in battle. And they and all of the other king's men were without weapons. Many other people, young and old, men and women and children, came to see what would happen.
And now Witig in his prison heard that Isung, his friend
The people outside let loose sixty large dogs who all attacked the bear at the same time, but the bear took the largest of them with his front paws and with it killed twelve of the best dogs. King Osantrix became angry, walked to the bear, drew his sword, and slashed him at the top of his back, and although the sword went through the skin the armor.
Now Wildeber snatched his sword from the hands of Isung, went after the king and cut off his head
Then all of the king's men, who were unarmed, ran away, and all thought the devil himself had entered the bear, and most of them didn't know what to do.
Wildeber now went to the castle and asked where his good friend Witig was. Witig had already broken out of prison
Now Wildeber took off the bear skin, and all saw he was a man and not a monster
It could be that Wildeber is a berserker; someone who fights in a bear skin. (The alternative explanation is that ber means bare, i.e. someone who fights naked, but that doesn't fit here.) Given his name it would have been better if he fought in a boar skin, but that's not what the saga says.
There is some confusion about Osantrix' death, msotly because the saga has him die again in
Now that Witig has been freed the saga switches back to his quarrel with Heime about Mimung in the context of yet another war. Also, Isung disappears from the saga again.
The king received them well, and acted as if Witig had been brought back from Hell. He also asked how king Osantrix was. And Witig told him everything about their journey and Osantrix' death.
And king Attila marveled at how wonderful of a leader king Dietrich was, that he had so many good heroes willing to give their lives for one another. And he mused that Osantrix would have done better to make peace and accept reconciliation.
Then Witig, Wildeber and Isung went south to Bern. King Dietrich was very happy about their return, and they told him everything that had happened. King Dietrich was pleased and thanked Wildeber for his expedition, and it became famous for its victory.
Now Witig was back home but miserable, and when king Dietrich asked why he said it was because he did not know where his good sword Mimung was. And, said he, if he found the man bearing Mimung, they would have things to say to one another, and he wanted to retrieve Mimung or lose his life.
King Dietrich said that he did not have to wonder any longer: Heime our companion carries Mimung, he took it as soon as you fell.
A few days passed
When Witig had been home for six days, king Ermenrik sent a message that Dietrich should come with all his men to help him in a campaign against a jarl named Rimstein. This jarl owed tribute to king Ermenrik but refused to pay, and his castle was Gerimsheim. Dietrich was happy to do so.
When Witig heard about the campaign he went to Heime and asked him to return Mimung. Heime said he was willing to loan Mimung to him for the campaign on the condition that Witig returned it to him when they had come home. Witig agreed.
Now king Dietrich rode from Bern with 500 men and his heroes, which he called his companions, and went to find his uncle. King Ermenrik had 6000 men with him, and then both kings with their armies entered the jarl's territory and burned everything they could find and killed many men. When they came to the castle of Gerimsheim they burned all buildings outside it, and made camp. King Ermenrik and his army lay before one tower, and king Dietrich and his men before the other. They besieged the castle for two months but could not take it.
One evening jarl Rimstein and six knights rode from the castle to scout. Before he had commanded his men to arm themselves and stand ready inside the towers, and attack if it turned out the enemy was unarmed at the moment. When the jarl had found out what he wanted and was returning to the castle, he rode between the tents
Now Witig rode back to the tents, and he was very pleased and had his stallion make jumps, and the others knew Witig had done some heroic deed or other.
Heime said: Very proudly Witig rides there, and he has probably done something heroic that makes him feel even better about himself than before.
Witig told them they did not need to stay here any longer, since the jarl was dead. And they asked who had done that, and he told him he'd seen the man that had done the deed. And Heime said he didn't have to hide any longer that he had done that deed himself, but it was only a minor heroic deed that even a woman could have done if she could handle weapons, because the jarl was so old he had hardly any strength left.
Then Witig became angry and drew Mimung, and he took Nagelring and threw it at Heime's feet, and challenged him to a duel. And Heime accepted.
Then king Dietrich and several of his companions sprang between them, because they did not want them to fight, and they asked Witig to leave it be. But Witig said he would not sheathe Mimung before it had cut through Heime's head and body, and that there was bad blood between them, and they had to fight sooner or later, and he preferred sooner. Also, Heime had not behaved manly in the battle against king Osantrix, when he left Witig laying on the ground while he could have saved him, but instead he took my weapon, as if he had been my enemy instead of my companion.
Now king Dietrich said that Heime had not done well, and told him to apologise. And thus it came to pass that Heime said that what he had said
Then king Dietrich asked Witig: Dear friend, did you really kill the jarl? Yes, said Witig, he rode against me with five knights, and he pulled the short straw in our encounter, and the others fled. Then Dietrich praised him for his courage and thanked him.
The next morning king Dietrich told his uncle king Ermenrik about the fall of the jarl, and Ermenrik blew the horns and stormed the castle. The men in the castle saw no solution except to surrender, and king Ermenrik granted them their life and goods, and set his relative Walther of Waskastein over them.
Then the kings rode home, and both said in their realm, king Ermenrik in Rome, and king Dietrich with his heroes in Bern. And king Dietrich sat at home quietly for a while, as he rarely did in his days, because he preferred to be involved in battles and duels that will be famous through all times.
Although Witig now has Mimung back, and the saga doesn't report overtly about any subsequent quarrel between him and Heime, the behaviour of the two heroes during Dietrich's flight makes me think their quarrel didn't end here. We'll get back to that.
In any case, Dietrich has now reunited his ten heroes. He has to hit the full twelve and then do something truly heroic with his magnificent team.
Now the saga switches to the final introduction by telling us about Sigfrid's parents and youth, which we'll get back to in a later chapter. Then it briefly introduces the Niflungen. Then, finally, the true story can start.
The next chapter is The tournament in Bertangaland. How Dietrich and his heroes fight a tournament against king Isung, his sons, and Sigfrid. Afterwards, some marriages take place.