Summary of the Thidrekssaga

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Sigmund and Sisibe


A king named Sigmund ruled over TarlungalandAccording to Ritter the Darlingau in the Harz mountains. His father king Sisian was a rich man and a powerful prince. When he took over his father's realm, Sigmund sent messengers westward to king Nidung in Hispanien and his son Ortwangis for the hand of Nidung's daughter Sisibe. Nidung and his son received Sigmund's messengers well, but Nidung said that he would not send his daughter into an unkonwn country with men who were unknown to him. Still, he knew Sigmund by reputation, and would gladly give him his daughter in marriage if he would come himself. And the messengers returned with gifts and told Sigmund what had happened.


Not long after Sigmung went to Hispanien himself, and he took four hundredMss. A and B: 300 knights with him. King Nidung received him with a great feast. And afterwards Sigmund asked for the hand of Nidung's daughter, and he agreed because Sigmund had come himself.


Now the marriage was celebrated in style, and Nidung gave his daughter and son in law towns and strong castles, almost half of his realm. The rest he gave to his son Ortwangis, because Nidung was already weak with age.

And when the marriage feast had been celebrated for five days king Sigmund rode away with his knights and his wife Sisibe, back to his realm.


When he had been home for seven days two messengers of king Drasolf arrived, handed their letter and seal, and told him: King Drasolf and your sisterMss. A and B call her Signy, as in the Vǫlsungasaga; apparently she is Drasolf's wife send you greetings, and also note he created a great army with all his dukes and counts, and wants to go on an expedition to Pulinaland, and he asks for your help with as many men as you can gather.

Sigmund replied: If my brother in law and my sister need my help, I should give it. And on the same day he sent out letters and seals to his vassalsfollowers? ríkismanna that they should come within four nights if they wanted to give him help, and that each should carry supplies as if they wouldn't come home for twelve months. And when his army had gathered he led it from his realm to his brother in law.


When king Sigmund rode off he called his counselors Hartwin and Herman, counts in Svava, and he transferred his wife and realm into their care because he trusted them completely. But it has often happened that if a man trusted another man completely he was still betrayed.

The two counts rode with the king for a while, and he told him what to do while he was away, but above all he told them to do what Sisibe wanted. And they promised to do so.

When king Sigmund met his brother in law Drasolf had no less than three thousand knights, and an armyincluding non-knights of seven thousand. But king Sigmund had no less of an army than his brother in law, and together they rode to Pulinaland and worked many heroic deed.


When the two counts had ruled the realm for a while, Hartwin came to Sisibe and told her: I now rule this realm and its treasure, and I have chosen you as my dearest wife. It is unclear that king Sigmund will ever return, and even if he does he will not get his realm back from me, or from us, if you wish. I am not a worse knight than king Sigmund, in fact, I'm a bit better.

Sisibe replied: I will not take another husband than king Sigmund. For now I will keep silent about what you said, but if you ever say this again I will have words with king Sigmund when he comes home and you'll be hanged.

He said: Lady, don't talk like that. You must have heard I'm as powerful in my lands as king Sigmund is in hisNot entirely clear what that means; 'I'm powerful enough to do what I want'?. And she said: Even if you're so powerful you're still king Sigmund's servant, and I want him, not you. Don't say another word if you value your life. Then Hartwin went away.


Now Hartwin told Herman all that had happened and asked him for counsel. And Herman said: I think you should not do this. But if you must, I'll help you as much as I can. And Hartwin said: I will do this or lose my life, or she loses hers. Now Herman said: If you make a great effort it can still go as we want.

A few hours later Herman went to Sisibe and told her the same Hartwin had said, and she answered the same, and became angry. Then Herman told his companion how it had gone. Thus many hoursFeels more like days or even weeks, but the text says stundir passed, and Hartwin often tried to talk to the queen, but never got what he wanted.

Meanwhile king Sigmund and his brother in law Drasolf fought in Pulinaland and killed and burned and looted, and often fought with the men of the land, and sometimes won, sometimes lost. And when they returned home they had left many men there, but they themselves came back safe.


When Hartwin and Herman heard king Sigmund had returned to the marksoutlying or border territories, I assume of his realm they held counsel. Hartwin said: I'm afraid that queen Sisibe will tell king Sigmund all that has happened, and the king will hold us for guilty. And before they separated they had taken a decision on what to do.

Then they went to the queen and told her they would go meet the king and see how he was. She asked them to do so quickly, and thus they did. When they came to king Sigmund they asked for a secret meeting, and then Hartwin said: My lord, I have bad news; please do not hold it against me. Hardly had you gone away that queen Sisibe started taking up an indecent life, she took a handsome slave and took him to bed. And when we tried to forbid this, she threatened to slander us to you when you came back. And this slave has slept in her arms nearly every night, and she is pregnant now. We did not want you to come home before you knew all of this.

King Sigmund replied: Surely you know that if you lie it will be your death. And Herman swore that all they had said was true. And king Sigmund said: Good friends, how shall we punish this woman? Hartwin said: Decide, my lord, and we'll do it. Then the king said: She could be hanged, but we could also blind her and cut off her feet and sent her back to her father like that.

Hartwin said: We could also send her into the Svava forest, where no man has returned from, and cut out her tongue there, and then she will live as long as God wills. And the king took this counsel.

Sigfrid's youth


Now Signfrid went away and took the road that he was told went to Brunhild's castle. And when he came to the castle he found an iron door and nobody was there to open it for him. Then he hit the door so hard that the irons on the door were torn apart and went into the castle. Seven guards came to him, and they were guarding the gate, and didn't like him breaking open the door and wanted to kill him. But Sigfrid drew his sword and didn't stop until all these servants were slain. When the knights noticed this they took their weapons and attacked him, but he defended himself well.Brunhild now heard of all of this in her room, and she said: That must be Sigfrid Sigmund's son. And even though he may have killed seven of my knights ans seven servantsm he should still be welcome. And she went to the fight and told them to stop. And she asked who the man was that had come, and he said he was Sigfrid. She asked him for his ancestors, but he did not know.

And she said: If you don't know, then I can tell you you are Sigfrid, son of king Sigmund and Sisibe, and you are welcome here. But where do you travel to?

Sigfrid replied: I came here, because my foster father Mime told me to go here to get a stallion called Grani that you have. And I'd like to have him, if you please.

She said: I will give you a horse, or even several, if you want.Von der Hagen adds that she offered him hospitality and everything he wanted, but that is not in Jónsson

She ordered her men to catch the horse, and they took all day to do so, but they could not take it and in the evening they came home without it.

Sigfrid stayed the night. But in the morning she called twelve of her men, and went herself as the thirteenth. And the twelve men chased the horse for a long time and could not catch it. In the end Sigfrid asked for the bridle, and with it he went to the stallion, and the stallion wehnt to him and he caught it and jumped on his back.

Now Sigfrid rode away and thanked Brunhild for her hospitality. He stayd in no place for more than one night until he came to Bertangaland. There ruled a king named Isung, who had eleven sons. He took in Sigfrid and made him his counselor and banner bearer, and Sigfrid felt welcome here.

Status: summary of 9 chapters complete.

Other parts

  1. Dietrich's family (1-14)
  2. Hildebrand (15-17)
  3. Heime (18-20)
  4. Osantrix and Oda (21-38)
  5. Attila and Erka (39-56)
  6. Wieland the Smith (57-79)
  7. Witig (80-95)
  8. Journey to Osning (96-107)
  9. Witig and Heime (108-110,134-137,146-151)
  10. Detlef the Dane (111-129)
  11. Amelung, Wildeber, and Herbrand (130-133)
  12. Wildeber and Isung (138-145)
  13. Sigmund and Sisibe (152-161)
  14. Sigfrid's youth (162-168)
  15. Origins of the Niflungen (169-170)
  16. Dietrich's feast (171-191)
  17. The road to Bertangaland (192-199)
  18. The tournament (200-222)
  19. Dietrich's fellowship falls apart (223-226,240)
  20. Gunther and Brunhild (227-230)
  21. Walther and Hildegund (241-244)
  22. Ake and Iron (269-275)
  23. Dietrich's flight (276-290)
  24. The Wilkinen wars (291-315)
  25. The battle of Gransport (316-341)
  26. Sigfrid's death (342-348)
  27. Hertnit and Isung (349-355)
  28. Grimhild's revenge (356-394)
  29. Dietrich's return (395-415)
  30. Attila's death (423-428)
  31. Heime's death (429-437)
  32. Dietrich's death (438-442)