Summary of the Thidrekssaga

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Wildeber and Isung

138

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.

139

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.

140

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 himIt is very important to treat minstrels well! The saga, especially the parts featuring Isung, is very clear about that.

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 goorlof; apparently Attila has some say in this, while otherwise it appears Wildeber is a guest at his court, and wouldn't need permission to go..

141

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 cityInteresting but unclear. Apparently there was a town around Osantrix' castle..

Isung asked how the king felt about the victoryYou see? 136 was lying. he had won in the campaign. The man replied that the king had little to say about it, but others say he lost more than he won. except that he captured one of Dietrich von Bern's heroes, and even him he would not have captured if Hertnit hadn't been there.

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.

142

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 violinfiðlu ok gígju, or other strings. And the king handed him a harp, and Isung played it and everyone said they had never heard a better harpist. And when Isung played the harp his bear danced, and Isung had given his bear a name, Weisleue, and everybody was amazed that the bear danced so awell. Thus Isung and his bear entertained the king for the evening, but the bear didn't allow anyone to come near it, except for Isung, and he bit and scratched anyone else.

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.

143

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.

144

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 friendThis friendship is not mentioned anywhere else, had come, and suspected he wanted to free him with some plot at the request of king Dietrich and his companions. Witig broke his fetters.

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 headthis last clause is missing from Von der Hagen and then ran to the giant Aventrod and killed him, and then sprang on Widolf with the Pola and killed him as well. And thus king Osantrix ended his life, and with him two of his giants.

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 prisoncan't have a major hero sitting around passively waiting for a rescue and together they ran through the town and killed sixteen men. They found many goods and weapons and horses, among which Witig's horse Schimming, and all his weapons except for his good sword Mimung, which he could find nowhere.

Now Wildeber took off the bear skin, and all saw he was a man and not a monstertroll, and they understood they had been tricked, and went for their weapons. Witig, Wildeber, and Isung thought it inadvisable to stay longer, and thought they had done well. They had found as much gold and silver and treasures as they could carry, and rode out of town. And they rode through wild lands until they came to Hunnenland and king Attila.

145

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.

Status: summary of 8 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)