Osantrix invades Attila’s realm, and Attila decides to retaliate. Dietrich rides with him.
When king Osantrix heard king Attila had arrived he rode out
Now Hildebrand rode forth with king Dietrich's banner, and he slew Wilkimen one after the other. And behind him rode ming Dietrich, and also his relative Wolfhart, and the Amelungen
King Osantrix saw that, and he rode at the front of his army against the Huns. Now Wolfhart attacked him, and they fought a hard battle that ended with king Osantrix' fall. And when the king had fallen the Wilkinen fled, and the Huns pursued them. Thus king Attila won this battle.
Now king Attila rode home, having freed his realm from the Wilkinen. But the Wilkinen took Hertnit, Osantrix' son, as their king.
This is the second time Osantrix dies. The first time was in
Now follows an excellent illustration of the pointless wars that plagued the Middle Ages.
When king Attila had been home for a short while he got the message that Waldemar, king of Holmgard and brother of Osantrix, had come to Hunnenland with a large army. And one day king Dietrich stood on the highest tower and oversaw Hunnenland, and he saw large fires and much smoke in the lands, and he went to king Attila and said: Rise, my lord, and arm your men. Waldemar is burning your lands, and if you do not ride against him now he will come to you and you must fight anyway. Then king Attila stood up, had his horns blown and rode forth with his army.
Meanwhile king Waldemar had taken a castle of king Attila, and had captured a good knight named Rudolf who had been sent there, and bound him. He had already burned a thousand villages, and taken fifteen towns and castles. But when he heard king Attila was coming with his army he fled back to his own land.
Now king Attila marched to Russland
Now the battle broke out, and they fought bravely. Dietrich von Bern rode into the enemy army and killed Russen on both sides. But Didrik Waldemar's son rode against him, and they fought long and hard without help from anyone. Dietrich received nine wounds, but Didrik got five, all of them serious, and in the end he was captured and bound.
Then they became aware that king Attila and his Huns had fled. Dietrich rallied his men, and fought on.
Didrik is Waldemar’s son, who is Osantrix’ brother, who is Erka’s father. Thus Didrik and Erka are cousins. Didrik bears the same name as Dietrich. In order to distinguish them I continue to call him Didrik.
The following account of a siege is fairly realistic. It also contains the single heroic act of Wolfhart, Dietrich’s nephew who will die in the next chapter.
Now Dietrich and his men went to a place where a town had been destroyed, and here they stayed. King Waldemar besieged him, and they fought every day and killed many men.
Dietrich had few men and little food. He found out when Waldemar's army had dinner, and at that moment he had five hundred knights made ready, and put half of them near each castle gate. And they sallied forth and shouted loudly.
Now king Waldemar and his men thought king Attila had returned, and they fled. Thus Dietrich killed many men and captured food and wine. But Waldemar quickly found out which strategem had been used, and turned around and besieged the town again, until Dietrich's men had no food but were forced to eat the horses.
Then Dietrich said to master Hildebrand: We should send a messenger to king Attila, if we can find someone who is courageous enough to do so. And Hildebrand said: No one is better suited than Wildeber the hero. And Dietrich asked Wildeber to take on this mission.
But Wildeber replied: I am seriously wounded, so I cannot ride through such a great army, although I will still fight for you. But ask your relative Wolfhart, he would be suitable.
So Dietrich asked Wolfhart, who replied that Wildeber would be better suited, since he himself was younger and less experienced. But Dietrich told him Wildeber was too wounded to travel. And Wolfhart agreed to the mission, but asked Dietrich for his sword Eckisax and his helmet Hildegrim and his horse Falke, and Dietrich granted him that.
Now Wolfhart rode from the town at midnight. He went straight to a fire and took a burning branch and thus rode through the army of his enemies. And the Russen thought he must be one of them, since he rode so fearlessly through their camp. When he came to the centre of the army he saw many tents, among which one that was very beautiful and expensive, and he threw the burning branch into it.
In this tent king Waldemar slept, and most of his chiefs. Now the tent started burning, and all that were in the tent rose. But Wolfhart jumped from his horse, entered the tent, and killed eleven chiefs, but he wasn't sure if he had killed the king himself, since the night was dark. Then Wolfhart mounted again and rode away as quickly as he could. King Dietrich and master Hildebrand stood on the town wall, and were quite happy
Now Wolfhart rode day and night until he came to Hunnenland to king Attila and margrave Rodinger. And when Rodinger saw his weapons he though Dietrich had returned. But Wolfhart said: Welcome, margrave Rodinger, king Dietrich sends his greetings. And now Rodinger understood it was one of Dietrich's men, but not he himself. and he said: Thank God Dietrich is still alive. We will ride to his aid as soon as possible. And then Wolfhart told Rodinger everything, and the margrave went to the king and told him the story.
King Attila now had his horns blown and tear down his tents
King Waldemar's men noticed that a mighty army had entered Russland and told their king. And king Waldemar had his horns blown and gathered his men and rode away.
Saved, Dietrich and his men return to Attila’s court, but pretty quickly a new war breaks out. When Attila rides away, Erka asks him if she can take her cousing Didrik out of prison and care for him herself. Attila initially refuses, because once healthy Didrik would ride away, but Erka pledges her own head as security for Didrik’s good behaviour. Then Attila agrees and rides off.
Guess what happens? And who has to save queen Erka’s head?
Now we should speak of what queen Erka did and how she healed her cousin Didrik. She gave him one of the best beds, and day after day brought him good meals, and bathed him, and gave him treasure. But she had one of her servant girls take care of Dietrich von Bern, but she did not understand healing as well as the queen, and thus his wounds turned bad and he healed slowly, and an evil smell came from him.
When Didrik was healed he took his weapons and donned his armour, and put his helmet on his head. And he said to the helmet: You have received so many blows from Dietrich von Bern, but I gave his as many, and he is still wounded while I am cured. And if anyone else had done this I'd have killed him, but he is such a good knight that I cannot do that when he is defenseless. But now I will ride from Soest to Russland, neither king Attila nor Dietrich can prevent that.
When queen Erka became aware of this she asked him what he planned. And he said he had been in Hunnenland for too long, and would go home. Then queen Erka said: So this is how you will repay my kindness? I have given my head as security for you, but you don't care if I'm dead or not, as long as you get away.
Didrik said: You are a powerful queen, and king Attila cannot kill you, but when I wait for him
Then Didrik went to his horse, saddled it, and rode away. But that horse belonged to king Attila
Queen Erka cried long and bitterly, and she tore her clothing, and went where Dietrich lay, and said: Dietrich, my hero, I need your advice. And she explained the matter.
King Dietrich said: You were right to heal him, but you send an inexperienced woman to me, and she did not and could not heal my wounds, because she lay with a man every night, and that's not what doctors do. Now my wounds are half again as bad as when I received them. And I cannot even sit, let alone fight a man, and this is the first time you came to me as long as I laid here.
Then queen Erka cried, and she knew he was right, and she said: Good king Dietrich, you are the best of all men in the world in courage and strength, and woe to me for not healing you, because now you cannot help me. And if I had done so Didrik wouldn't have left. Now I have no man in my realm who can help me, and king Attila will cut of my head and proclaim it throughout all lands. Oh king Dietrich, if you were only healed I would keep my life and realm.
And afterwards she cried and repeated herself, and tore her clothing and her hair, and hit herself on the breast
Then king Dietrich said: Bring my armour and weapons. And again: Bring my shield, for Didrik and I will meet today. When Dietrich had armed himself he ordered his horse saddled and brought to him, and he mounted and rode as quickly as he could, but while he rode his wounds bled so that his armour and horse were all red.Now he rode to Wilkinenburg, where Fridrich Ermenrik's son had been killed
And king Dietrich came so close they could talk with one another, and he said: Lady, did you see a man ride past with a white armour and shield, and a grey horse? He is my companion, and I want to follow him to his realm. And she said she had seen him not long ago. Then Dietrich spurred on his horse Falke and rode even faster than before.
Now the lady started to doubt that this man was a friend of the man that had come before, but rather wanted to kill him, and she deplored having said there was little distance between them. And she called out: Good lord, com here, I see that you are wounded. I will dress your wounds, and after that you can still ride after this man. Now your wounds bleed so much you may not reach him, but if you let me dress them you can overtake him all the quicker.
But Dietrich didn't want to stop, and he rode off. And now she considered they were truly enemies, and that the one had wounded the other, and she didn't want to leave before she knew how the fight ended.
Now king Dietrich rode to the forest called Burgwald; this forest lies between Hunnenland and Pulinaland. There Dietrich saw Didrik and called to him: Return, and I will give you gold and silver as much as I have in Hunnenland, and I will secure friendship from king Attila.
But Didrik said: Why does my enemy offer me gold and silver? I will never become your friend. If I wouldn't be dishonoured
Dietrich said: Return, there is no honour in riding from Hunnenland like this, because the head of queen Erka, your cousin, is at stake. And both of us will help you reconciliate with king Attila. But Didrik said the same as before.
Now Dietrich said: If you do not want to return for gold or silver, or to spare queen Erka's head, then dismount and fight. And if you don't you will be called a coward by everyone, since you fled for a single man. But my horse is so good that I will overtake you anyway and kill you, and you will still be known as a coward.Then Didrik turned his horse and wanted to fight instead of flee, although he knew he was going to die. And now they dismounted and fought for a long time, and cut up one another's armour and shields. But Dietrich became tired from the wounds he had received before and received now, and Didrik also became tired, and each put his shield in front of him and leaned on it to rest.
Then Dietrich said: Now good friend and namesake, come back with me and we'll go home and you will reconciliate with king Attila, but if he refuses to, I will take my arms and men and follow you into your realm.
But Didrik did not want that at all. Now they fought again with great anger, and in the end Dietrich cut off Didrik's head so that it flew leftward.
Now Dietrich tied Didrik's head to his saddle and rode back to Wilkinenburg. And he saw the same lady as before that had offered to dress his wounds. And when she did so he put cloth over Didrik's head so that she wouldn't see it.
Then the jarl her father came, and asked who this man was. Dietrich said: I don't know if I should tell you my name, because I suspect one of my relatives was killed here, but I'll still tell you I'm Dietrich Dietmar's son of Bern.
When the jarl heard this he invited him for the evening, and Dietrich accepted, since he was wounded and tired. And thus Dietrich and the jarl's daughter lay together in one bed that night.
The jarl, who remains unnamed, like his daughter, offers him six knights as compensation for Fridrich’s killing. Dietrich accepts, returns to Soest, and throws Didrik’s head at Erika’s feet.
Shortly after Hildebrand returns from accompanying Attila with Dietrich’s warriors. He criticises Attila, much to Dietrich’s chagrin.
Master Hildebrand went to where king Dietrich lay, and told him: I'm happy you're still alive, but I'd be happier if you'd been healed. And Dietrich asked him how things had gone in Reussland.
Hildebrand replied: Not well. You often told me how courageous king Attila is, but it seems to me he's no hero. As soon as we fought against king Waldemar and the fight was at its height, he fled like an evil dog, and his banner dropped down, and he took the entire Hun army with him. Rodinger and I turned against the enemy three more times, but a count of Greken, king Waldemar's brother, threw me from my horse, and Rodinger saved my life. But then we had to flee, and we had dishonour from this expedition.
King Dietrich replied: Be silent, Hildebrand, and don't speak of your journey. But if I heal I will once more ride to Reussland and I will see for myself who will flee first, and the Reussen will not long enjoy their victory.
And king Dietrich's wounds healed.
In the story Hildebrand’s criticism of Attila doesn’t really have a function. Dietrich tells him to shut up, and that’s it. Is it nonetheless included because it was part of the original story? Did the audience expect it at this point? Or am I reading too much in an essentially random chapter?
And yet another war breaks out. Attila, Dietrich, and Rodinger, each leading one part of the army, besiege yet another town but cannot take it.
Dietrich proposes Attila’s army corps should strike deeper into the Reussen’s land. Attila thinks Dietrich wants the honour of taking the town for himself, and refuses, but in the end Dietrich is allowed to take his own corps deeper into enemy territory while Attila and Rodinger continue the siege.
King Dietrich tore down his camp and led his army further into Reussland. He laid siege to a town called Smaland, and fought with the townsmen. And when he had been there for six days king Waldemar came there with a great army, forty thousand men. King Dietrich had his horns blown and ordered Amelungen and Hunnen to arm themselves, and they rode against king Waldemar. And they said that this day king Waldemar would die or flee, or king Dietrich would die.
Now Dietrich rode at the head of his army, and with him Hildebrand and Wolfhart his relative, and their friend Wildeber, and battle broke loose. King Dietrich rode into the middle of the Reussen army, and killed men and horse on both sides, and his heroes followed him. And Dietrich fought like a lion in a flock of cattle, and all feared his weapons, and he and his horse were covered with blood.
Finally he saw king Waldemar's banner before him, and rode to it, and hit the knight who bore the banner on his right hand so that it was hacked off, and thus the banner fell to the ground. And then he gave king Waldemar the death blow. A great cry went up from Amelungen and Hunnen, and the Reussen fled, but many were killed. The Amelungen and Hunnen fought all day, and all night, and the next day, and killed every man they saw, and only a small number escaped.
And three days after king Dietrich had ridden away king Attila attacked the walls so strongly that they won the town. And the Hunnen went into town and killed many men, and took incredible riches, and they tore down the place almost to the ground, and thus was done what people who come to this town can see until today.
King Attila led his army deeper into Reussland to where he heard king Dietrich was. And since king Dietrich had gone against Smaland, king Attila came there as well, and told him what had happened.
In this town was jarl Iron, king Waldemar's brother, and he told his men this: I see two options. Either we fight king Attila as long as we can, but it's likely we cannot withstand his power. Or we give ourselves and this town into king Attila's power.
Then the jarl took off his shoes and his armour, and the chiefs did the same, and they went out of the town barefoot and defenceless and thus showed they had been defeated. And on this day the kingdom of the Reussen came into Attila's power.
Now king Attila discussed with king Dietrich whether he should give jarl Iron peace. And Dietrich said: I would counsel that you give peace to the jarl and his men, since he has given himself into your power, and the kingdom is now subjected to you. Do not kill them, since they are defenceless, but take the kingdom.
King Attila told the jarl: If you will serve us loyally we'll give you peace, on the advice of king Dietrich and our other chiefs. And the jarl replied: Lord, if we'd had enough men to keep this town from your power we wouldn't have surrendered. Do what you wish with us, but we gave you the town and laid down our arms because we knew what great men you have with you. Also, the greatest leaders of the Reussen are dead, and we will serve you loyally. And now king Attila took jarl Iron and placed him among his chiefs.
Now king Attila called king Dietrich and many other chiefs to a meeting
The last chapter gives interesting information about empire building in the (early?) middle ages. Attila becomes the overlord of the lands he conquered, but leaves them in the hands of the original prince, who had to pay tribute. And thus his realm was extended.
Thus Dietrich had helped both king Attila and queen Erka. Quickly the time would come where he asked for their help in return.
The next chapter is The battle of Gransport. How Dietrich, supported by Attila and Erka, tries to reconquer Bern but fails.