Summary of the Thidrekssaga

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Witig and Heime

108

Dietrich sat on his throne next to his father king Dietmar, and his companions were around him. And this day Heime served him and poured him wine. He filled a golden bowl and served him well. Then Dietrich saw his sword Nagelring, showed it to his companion, and said: Good Nagelring, you have gone through a lot when I left Bern with you, both weapons and stone, and I don't think a better sword could be found; Heime, for your services I would grant this sword to no one but you, take it, friend, and use it.

Heime took Nagelring and thanked his lord for this gift. And there were many other people around who praised Dietrich for this.

Then Witig spoke: You are served badly, Nagelring, and you should have been given to a better man. And as long as I have been in Bern I did not like your company more than a woman's, because when I was in need when two men rode into the house of five, and you sat on your horse and did nothing. Jarl Hornboge and Hildebrand could not come to me because the river was in the way, and when the jarl finally came I did not need you any more, and I don't owe you a lot of thanksSee 89 for this episode..

Then Dietrich said he had heard a great shame, that somebody would not help his companion when he was in need. You evil dog, he said, go from my eyes! It would be better if you were hanged in Bern before the day is over.

Then Heime left the hall, took his horse Rispa and all his weapons, and rode away.

109

Heime went northward to the mountains, several days on unknown roads, and he wondered what kind of heroic deed he would do.

Then he heard of a man called Ingram, a powerful robber and warrior. He was mostly to be found in the Falsterwald, and had ten companions. This Falsterwald lies between Sachsenland and Denmark. Ingram had a feud with a duke in Sachsenland, and did as much damage as he could.

Heime decided to look for this Ingram, and when he found him Ingram took him among his companions. Now they lived in the forest and did many evil deeds.

110

It is said that some merchants traveled from Sachsenland to Denmark, nd they carried many goods, and they were with 60 men, and believed that no one would be able to attack them. They traveled into the Falsterwald.

When the robbers had discovered them, Ingram said: See, even though they are with many, those who call themselves heroes will be able to take their riches. So they armed themselves and rode to the merchants. The merchants readied their swords, spears, and shields, and battle begon.

It didn't take long before Ingram and his companions were victorious, and they had no dead on their side, but they didn't stop before all 60 people were dead. Then they took their wares, weapons, and horses, and were very content with their actions. And they considered themselves more famous than before, and that they had won against a great many more peopleNeatly sets the stage for 116. Heime, too, considered himself braver than before.

134

All this time there had been a feud between king Attila of Hunnenland and king Osantrix of Wilkinenland, and both had had victories and defeats. King Attila had grown stronger, and had made friendships with many powerful lords, and he was loved in his realm with all peoplesThe saga really presses this point home.

King Osantrix had aged, and had become harsher, and the people in his realm could hardly bear the heavy yoke he put on to them, and everybody suffered from him, rich and poor, courtiers and subjects, and foreign merchants. And although he gave his knights land, he still managed these lands himself and gave it to whomever he wanted. And the heavy wars with king Attila cost him a lot of money, so he demanded more and more tributeThe saga really presses this point home.

King Osantrix still had with him the two giants, Widolf with the Pole and Aventrod, his brother. But he had sent another brother of these giants, Etger, to king Isung of Bertangaland because of their friendship, and there he guarded the entry to that realm.

135

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.

136

King Osantrix also had a large army, and when he met the army that did not flee from himDid the army flee from him earlier? The saga is unclear they clashed with one another, and a great battle began.

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.

137

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 separatedWho? Osantrix and Hertnit, or Osantrix and Attila?, but Osantrix threw Witig in his prison.

146

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 passedApparently neither Dietrich nor Witig feel it's necessary to do anything about it..

147

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.

148

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.

149

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 tentsof Ermenrik and Dietrich and the castle and encountered the man that Dietrich had set on watch, and this was Witig. The six rode against him, and Witig was alone, and when they found out they were enemies they descended from their horses. Witig fought very well, and with one hew he split the jarl's helmet, head, and belly until his girdle, so that he fell dead. The jarl's men fled back to the castle.

150

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 saidjust now, when Witig returned had only been a joke. Witig accepted this apology, and they ended their strife for the time beingIt is not mentioned explicitly, but from this time on Witig again carries Mimung..

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.

151

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.

Status: summary of 13 chapters complete.

Other parts

  1. Samson (1-13)
  2. Hildebrand and Heime (14-20)
  3. Wieland the Smith (57-79)
  4. Witig (80-95)
  5. Journey to Osning (96-107)
  6. Witig and Heime (108-110,134-137,146-151)
  7. Detlef the Dane (111-129)
  8. Amelung, Wildeber, and Herbrand (130-133)
  9. Wildeber and Isung (138-145)
  10. Sigmund and Sisibe (152-161)
  11. Sigfrid's youth (162-168)
  12. Origins of the Niflungen (169-170)
  13. Dietrich's feast (171-191)
  14. The road to Bertangaland (192-199)
  15. The tournament (200-222)
  16. Dietrich's fellowship falls apart (223-226,240)
  17. Gunther and Brunhild (227-230)
  18. Walther and Hildegund (241-244)
  19. Ake and Iron (269-275)
  20. Dietrich's flight (276-290)
  21. The Wilkinen wars (291-315)
  22. The battle of Gransport (316-341)
  23. Sigfrid's death (342-348)
  24. Hertnit and Isung (349-355)
  25. Grimhild's revenge (356-394)
  26. Dietrich's return (395-415)
  27. Attila's death (423-428)
  28. Heime's death (429-437)
  29. Dietrich's death (438-441)