Summary of the Thidrekssaga

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Osantrix and Oda


A king was named Melias and he ruled over Hunnenland and he was the richest, most powerful, and most proud man. He had a daughter named Oda, and she was the most beautiful of women. The greatest kings and dukes had already asked for her hand, but her father the king loved her so much he didn’t want to give her to any man.

King Osantrix was now a widower, and he heard about king Melias and Oda. He sent twelve knights with a letter that asked for the hand of his daughter, and rich estates, gold and silver with her, or he would invade Hunnenland.


King Melias had the letter read out to him and then said: Now king Osantrix wants me to give up my daughter, who grew up here for fifteen years and whom I denied marriage with kings and dukes. But he expects me to give her up or face his army. And he called his shepherdféhirðir; why is a shepherd in charge of prisoners? and had him throw the messengers into the dungeons to await Osantrix there.


In this time two young men came to king Osantrix, they were the sons of jarl Ilias von Greken, and thus Osantrix' brother-sons. They were Hertnit and HirdVon der Hagen: Osid. Hertnit was eleven winters old and Hird tenIn other words: they are not fully grown yet. King Osantrix made Hertnit a jarl and set him over his knights, and thus Hertnit became one of the great men of Wilkinenland and received large fiefs.


When king Osantrix found out Melias had had his messengers thrown in the dungeon he called together his chiefs and knights and complained about it, and wanted to wage war against him and take his daughter.

A wise man advised him to try messengers of a much higher station, and Osantrix accepted this advice. Thus he told his nephew Hertnit to go to Hunnenland and ask for king Melias' daughter, first with words and gifts, and if those fail with a threat of war. And Osantrix gave him a letter that told Melias that Hertnit had come to take the knights in the dungeon as well as his daughter. And if Melias didn’t cooperate he could lose his life as well as his lands.


Jarl HertnitVon der Hagen: and his brother Osid with him rode south to Hunnenland, and when he was admitted to king Melias he gave a speech about his mission, but the king listened gloomily. Jarl Hertnit gave him a purple cloth, and two golden drinking cups, and a silken tent bordered with gold as gifts, but king Melias replied he would not sell his daughter for these gifts, only a concubine.

Now jarl Hertnit showed Osantrix' letter — and Melias read the letter himselfClause not in Von der Hagen — and Melias became angry and had Hertnit and Osid thrown in the dungeon.


When king Osantrix heard about this he gathered his armyIn Von der Hagen Osantrix explains the situation and his chieftains agree to follow him, and he also called up king Aspilian and his brothers Etger, Aventrod, and Widolf with the Staff, who was the oldest and strongest of the brothers.


Now king Osantrix came into Hunnenland with his army, but he told his men to call him ThidrekVon der Hagen gives "Fridrich (Mb)" as variant, and Ritter uses that name throughout his redaction of this part, and they rode peacefully, and did not harm anyone and bought what they needed in market places. They went to king MeliasVon der Hagen adds: in his capital of Walterburg and asked to meet the kingFollowing Haymes/Jónsson. Von der Hagen adds a considerable amount of text having to do with how Melias and the citizens of the town reacted, with the citizens allowing Thidrek into the town because they didn't see any disadvantage, but Melias was unhappy with the army. Also, before entering Melias' hall Thidrek tells Etger and Aventrod to keep hold of Widolf..

Brought before Melias Thidrek tells him he was a duke in Wilkinenland but incurred the displeasure of Osantrix, and that he now wants to offer himself and all his men to king Melias. And Thidrek fell to his knees. Melias asked why Thidrek hadn't made peace with his king, since Thidrek was a powerful man in his realm. And, Melias added, you're supposed to serve him. Return to your realm and reconcile yourself with your king. The king said this because he wasn’t sure who this man was.

Thidrek fell down on the floor before Melias' feet and put himself into his power and begged him to accept him. But Melias saidIn Von der Hagen Melias is first unhappy with the large army, and Thidreks says he brought it into town with the permission of the citizens.: You have brought a large army into this country, and if you now become my man it might be you don’t serve me well and we would become enemies and I would have to destroy your army before you destroy usVon der Hagen has: if we were to disagree and fall out, you’d have brought such a large force into town that you would not submit to us, and therefore I cannot trust you..

Then princess Oda spoke: Why don’t you want to give me to the king who is so powerful that he can exile this chieftain from his lands? This man could win all of your country with his sword if you were to battle.

But still the king refused to accept Thidrek, who lay before his feet.


When Widolf with the Staff heard this he became so angry he wanted to kill the king, but the other giants held him. He stomped on the ground so that both feet disappeared up to the ankles and said: Lord, why are you at king Melias’ feet? You are much nobler than he, let’s destroy his castle and plunder his country, and take his daughter as your servant.

When Thidrek heard this he had Aspilian told to bind Widolf to the city wall, and they did so with strong iron fetters. Then Thidrek fell to his knees for a third time and again asked to be taken in as Melias’ follower, since Osantrix, when he caught him, would surely hang him.

Melias said he should get up and leave in peace, because they did not want a foreign army in their town. And if they didn’t leave Melias would call up his men and fight. King Aspilian heard these words and became angry that his lord wad threated thus, and went into the hall and hit Melias’ ear so that he fell unconscious. Now king OsantrixNo more Thidrek also jumped up and drew his sword, and the Wilkinenmen with him did the same.

And when Widolf noticed his brother Aspilian had become angry he broke apart all fetters and took his iron staff. He went into the hall and killed men and women, people and cattle, and called out: Where are you, jarl Hertnit? Be happy because I’m here to free you. Jarl Hertnit and the other prisoners started to stir in their dungeon, and one knight, Hermann, was so strong that he managed to to break open the door, and they joined the other Wilkinenmen, who killed a great number of men, but king Melias escaped.


The men took Oda and all portable wealth to their chieftainOsantrix, but Oda doesn’t know that yet. And he said to her: Although your father did not want to give you to king Osantrix, I will take you with me to my lord, and gain peace and his friendship. And she said he could do whatever he pleased, since she was in his power.

Then the chieftain took a shoe made of polishedor pure silver, took the princess on his knee, and placed the shoe on her foot, and it seemed to be neither too large, nor too small, but made for her. Then he took off the shoe and placed another shoe, made from red gold, on the same foot, and he wanted to see which one looked better on her, and this one was better by half than the other.

Then the princess stroked her leg and said, looking upward to the sky: God in Heaven, give me the day that I may stroke my legVon der Hagen: decorate my foot on king Ostantrix’ throne. The king laughed and said that that day was today. Thus she became aware that king Osantrix himself had come to her, and she received him happily.


King Osantrix went home and took the princess with her. Soon after he sent messengers to king Melias to arrange a reconciliation. King Melias had given his daughter half his kingdom and the men withinVon der Hagen: given his daughtern and the man that would receive (maary) her half his kingdom. And although king Osantrix wanted to marry Oda, he did not want to decrease his father in law’s domains, but leave him the lordship over it all as long as he lived. Only after Melias' death he wanted to take the entire realm of Oda, his wife. And in this way the kings reached a reconciliation.

Now king Osantrix had a wonderful wedding prepared, and ruled his realm peacefully, like king Melias did in Hunnenland. King Osantrix and his wife had a daughter Erka, and she was the most beuatiful and courteous of all girls.

Attila and Erka


A king named Osid ruled over Frisia. He had two sons, the elder was Ortnit, the younger Attila, and Osid set him over his chieftains as he was twelve winters old. Often, Attila and his army would ride into king Melias' realm, and since Melias was old and feeble and didn’t have a son to protect him, Attila did grave damage and took many castles and towns.

In these days king Melias became gravely ill and called together his chieftains and talked to them in secret about the fact that he didn’t have a son, and his daughter was married in Wilkinenland to the north, and his son in law, Osantrix, was too far away to protect Hunnenland. But Attila made great progress in Hunnenland, and therefore Melias believed the realm would pass out of his family, even though he wished king Osantrix to take it and defend it against Attila.

Beset by these concerns, and also because he was very ill, Melias died. He was mourned throughout Hunnenland because he had been peaceful and generous, and had kept the laws.


When Attila heard this he called a large meetingþing and had all of his friends come. He held a long speech about how lucky his expeditions into Hunnenland had been and how many towns he’d taken from king Melias. And he swore he would never be home in his father’s realm before he had taken all of Hunnenland.

His speech found great applause, and for a long time people praised him for his generosity and valour, and the fact he’d become much more powerful than his kinsmen.


Now Attila was made king over the army, and his retainers gave him the king’s nameNú er Attila tekinn til konungs yfir herinn, ok gefa liðsmenn honnm konungsnafn, and in return he swore to uphold justice and law, and at another time he swore that he would not return to his father’s realm before he had conquered all of Hunnenland, all that king Melias had owned.

Melias had had his capital in Walterborg, but when Attila subdued the entire realm he moved his capital to Soest, and he had his seat here for a long time and he was the first to buildDoes this mean found? and inhabit this city, and it is still impressive and powerful to this dayThese last two clauses are only in Von der Hagen. Attila was now made king of all HunnenlandAlso only in Von der Hagen; previously Attila had merely been king of the army.

King Osantrix thought king Attila had taken by force the land that belonged to his wife, queen Oda, Melias' daughter. But Attila kept it all and never sent Osantrix tributeVon der Hagen adds a long piece about how they waged many wars, and how Attila boasts that his father doesn’t have as large a realm as he does.

Then king Osid, king Attila’s father, died, and his elder son Ortnit, Attila’s brother, took over the realm. Ortnit has a son called Osid whom he sent to king Attila to be raisedVon der Hagen: when Osid was a man, he wanted to visit Hunnenland. Attila made him a chieftain over many knights. Thus the realm remained for a long time.

Status: summary of 13 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)