Summary of the Thidrekssaga

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Gunther and Brunhild

227

Then they rode away from the feast, king Dietrich, king Gunther, Hagen and Sigfrid with all their men, and they traveled long and didn't stop before they reached Brunhild's castle.

Brunhild received king Dietrich and king Gunther well, but Sigfrid not so much, since she already knew he had a wife, and the first time they met he had sworn not to take another woman than her, and she not another man than himSee 168 for their earlier meeting, but no oaths were sworn by anyone..

Now Sigfrid went to Brunhild and told her why they had come, and that she should marry king Gunther. She replied: I heard how badly you kept your word, that we had promised ourselves to each other, and even though I can pick whichever man in the world I'd like, I still want you for my husband.

Sigfrid replied: What had been decided beforefate? has happened now, but because you are the most wonderful woman I know, and we cannot do as we intended, I have brought king Gunther to you, since he is a mighty hero and a powerful king, and I think the two of you are well matched. And I took his sister instead of you because you have no brothers, but he and I have sworn brotherhood.

Then Brunhild replied: I see now that I cannot have you, so I will take your and king Dietrich's counsel in this. Now king Dietrich and king Gunther joined this conversation, and they did not part before king Gunther and Brunhild decided to marry.

228

Now a great marriage feast was held, and king Gunther married Brunhild. And on the first night, when king Gunther and Brunhild went to bed, no third manmaĆ°r; I assume the saga means 'person' should be in their house, but outside two men would take guardIt is unclear why this detail matters.

And when the two newlyweds were together, king Gunther wanted to make love to Brunhild, but she didn't want that at all, and she took both their belts and tied him hand and foot and hung him on a nail in the wall. And there he hung until daylight, when she released him so that he could go and drink. Neither he nor she spoke of this to anyone.

And the next night the same happened, and the third night as well. And king Gunther became unhappy and did not know what to do. Then it occurred to him that Sigfrid and he had sworn brotherhood, and that he was also wise, so he had a talk with Sigfrid alone and told him what had happened.

Sigfrid replied: I'll tell you why this happens. As long as she keeps her virginity hardly any man can be found who has power over her, but once her virginity is taken she is not stronger than other women.

Then king Gunther said: Because of our blood relation and friendship I trust no man but you to keep silent about this, and I also know you're strong enough to take her virginity; but I trust that if we do this it will never become common knowledge. And Sigfrid said he'd do as Gunther asked, so that was decided.

229

When evening came and Gunther would go to bed, Sigfrid went instead, and Gunther went away in Sigfrid's clothes. And all thought that Gunther was in bed. But Sigfrid had thrown clothes on his head, and pretended he was very tired, and he lay there until everyone had fallen asleep or gone away. Then he went to Brunhild and took her virginity. And in the morning he took from her hand a finger ringand not one of the more common arm rings, and put another one in its place.

And now a hundred men came out to meet him, and king Gunther was the first, who went to the bed and Sigfrid came to him, and they swapped their clothes again, and nobody knew what had happened.

230

When the wedding had gone on for seven days and nights, they made ready to ride home. Now Gunther put a chieftain over the castle, but he rode home to Niflungenland with his wife Brunhild. And when he came home he sat quietly in his realm and ruled it in peace, and with him his brother in law Sigfrid and his brothers Hagen and Gernot. But king Dietrich and all his man rode home to Bern, and they parted as good friends.

Status: summary of 4 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)