Summary of the Thidrekssaga

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The battle of Gransport

340

Two winters after the battle of Gransport queen Erka fell ill, and she knew she did not have long to live. And one day she sent a message to king Dietrich to come to her. And he did so.

And Dietrich said that it would be a great loss for Hunnenland if the illness would take her, and he would have lost his best friendfeminine. Queen Erka said: Dear Dietrich, you have always been my and king Attila's best friend. It could be that my illness separates us, and therefore I want to give you fifteen marks of red gold in a beaker, and a purple cloak for your festive garb. And also lady Herrat, my relative, you should marry her.

Then king Dietrich replied: Good lady, your illness is dangerous, but may God cure you. You have shown great friendship to me, but it will be worse for King Attila; he would rather lost most of Hunnenland than miss a wife like you. And so full of sorrow was Dietrich that he wept like a child, could not say more, and went out.

Then Erka asked: And where is master Hildebrand. Here am I, he said, and went to her, and she took her best gold ring from her hand and said they should separate as friends, and stay friends when we meet again. And Hildebrand thanked here, started to cry as well, and all who were there with him.

Then Erka had her knights call king Attila, and he went to her, and she said: Great king Attila, it could happen that we are separated and you become a widower. But you won't stay one for long, and you should take a good, worthy woman. But, good king Attila, do not take a wife from Niflungenland and Aldrian's family, because if you do you will pay for it, and great harm will come to you and your children if you do so.

And when she had said that she turned away from him and passed away.

And when it became known that queen Erka had died all people in Hunnenland wailed and cried, and all said, that a woman as good as she had never come to Hunnenland, and that no one had done as much good for as many people as queen Erka, and that no one had cried for more people than she had.

Grimhild's revenge

393

Now king Dietrich went to Hagen and asked if he could still be healed, but Hagen said he might live a few more days but there was no doubt he would die from these wounds.

Now king Dietrich had Hagen carried to his hall, and had his wounds tended to. And he gave Hagen his relative Herrat to tend to his wounds. And in the evening Hagen asked Dietrich for a woman for his last night, and Dietrich did so.

And in the morning Hagen told this woman: It could happen you get a son from me, and he should be called Aldrian. And here are keys you will keep and give to the boy, for these keys go to Sigfrid's cellar, where the Niflungen treasure isForeshadowing 423-427. And then Hagen died.

And thus the Niflungen had ended their lives, and also the most powerful men in Hunnenland except for king Attila, king Dietrich, and master Hildebrand. In this struggle a thousand Niflungen fell, and four thousand Hunnen and Amelungen. And German men say that no battle has been more famous in old sagas than this one. And after the battle Hunnenland was empty of men for king Attila's remaining days.

Now queen Erka's prophecy340 was fulfilled, that the Huns would lose greatly if Attila married a Niflung.

Dietrich's return

396

And Hildebrand also said: Shall we tell king Attila?

And Dietrich replied: We have decided to return, whether king Attila likes it or not, so we should conceal it from him and the other men until we're ready to go. And he added: Lady Herrat should come with us if she wishes; go and tell her.

So master Hildebrand went to Herrat and told her in secret what king Dietrich was planning. And she replied: If king Dietrich leaves Hunnenland I will follow him, but I want to hear it from his mouth.

The Dietrich went to her and said: Lady Herrat, do you want to come home with me to Amelungenland? I want my kingdom back, or death, but I do not longer wish to stay in Hunnenland where I lost many of my dearest friends. Hildebrand my best friend will come with me, and I have left my realm thirty two years agowhich would mean about twelve years, maybe slightly less, elapsed between Gransport and the death of the Niflungen

And Herrat said: I will follow you gladly, and may God give you your realm back. And Dietrich said: Then prepare, for we'll leave Soest this night.

397

And that night Hildebrand had arranged for three horses for them, and a fourth to carry their gold, silver, and clothes. And they helped Herrat on her horse and packed their load. Then master Hildebrand said: Lord, you should not leave king Attila in dishonour without speaking to him. And Dietrich replied: Then take lady Herrat to the gates, while I visit king Attila.

Then he went to the hall where king Attila slept, and he told his guards that he wanted to visit him. And the guards let him in, because they knew he was a great friend of king Attila. Thus king Dietrich went into the hall where king Attila slept and woke him.

And king Attila welcomed him and asked him what he was doing here with all his weapons. Dietrich asked for a private conversation and Attila agreedApparently a few more people were present in the same hall. Then Dietrich told him he wanted to return home. Attila asked where he was going to find an army. Dietrich replied he was going in secret because he had no more men left. Attila asked him to stay for a while more, and offered him a Hunnish army to conquer his realm. But Dietrich refused with many thanks, because he did not want to waste Attila's warriors again.

Then Attila accompanied him to the gate, and they said goodbye and kissed one another, and Attila wept. But Dietrich jumped on his horse Falkewho's getting a bit long in the tooth and they left.

Master Hildebrand led the way with the pack horse, and Dietrich and Herrat followed him. They took the road to Mundiacf 287, and they rode night and day without meeting anyone, and they did not go into any towns.

398

Then they came to Bakalar, and Dietrich turned his horse towards the castle and grieved for margrave Rodinger who had taken him in as a guest when he fled from Ermenrik289. And Hildebrand remembered how Rodinger had saved him in the battle against the Reussen308. Then they rode on into the Lurwald84.

399

Jarl Elsung the Youngerwho was mentioned in 365 had crossed the Rhine with thirty-two warriors and had heard Dietrich was traveling there. He remembered how the old Samson with his sons Ermenrik and Dietmar had killed Elsung the Elder12, and he wanted to avenge his kinsman.

When the sun set Dietrich wanted to press on into the night, and he now led, with Hildebrand, Herrat, and the pack horse following. Hildebrand saw a great dust cloud and light glancing off shields and armour, and they were riding after them. Then Herrat cried that those were the enemy, and that they could not withstand them. Now Dietrich also saw them, and asked Hildebrand who they would be. Hildebrand replied that it might be Elsung who had heard of their travels.

Then Dietrich asked: What shall we do? Ride into the forest to save ourselves, or dismount and get ready for battle? Hildebrand now counted thirty-two men, and proposed to stand and fight, so that the people in Hunnenland would hear how they had killed many and driven off the rest.

Then Dietrich and Hildebrand dismounted, helped Herrat down, and drew their swords.

403

Dietrich told Hildebrand they would travel over the Mundia mountains397, and before them was a forest. Dietrich and Herrat remained in the forest, but Hildebrand rode on to a castle belonging to old earl Ludwig and his son Konrad. Then Hildebrand spotted a man that lived in the castle, and he asked him who ruled there, and the man told him it was earl Ludwig and his son Konrad. Then Hildebrand asked who ruled Bern. The man told him it was lord Alebrand, son of old Hildebrand.

Hildebrand laughed and asked: How good of a warrior is Alebrand? And what kind of man is he? The man replied that Alebrand was the best of all warriors, and he exceeds all in courtesy and generosity, but he is grim towards his enemies.

Hildebrand said: You're a good man. What more can you tell me? And the man replied that there was important and likely true news: Ermenrik was dead.

415

Late in king Dietrich’s days the Arian heresy was condemned by Christian men, and all who had followed that heresy went over to the true faith. King Dietrich and Hildebrand went over to Christianity as well, and the entire realm of Romans and Langobards was baptised againThis sentence comes from the Raszmann translation quoted by Ritter. It is not in J√≥nsson. The Svava has more or less this sentence, but leaves out the bits about Arianism.. Shortly thereafter master Hildebrand fell ill. This was a serious illness, and the king never left him.

Then master Hildebrand said: I believe this illness will lead to my death. I bid you to let my son Alebrand enjoy our friendship, and that he has my weapons. And a little later Hildebrand died, and king Dietrich wept many tears over him. He had his body prepared and gave him a rich funeral. In all these stories no man is more praised than Hildebrand, mostly for his loyalty to king Dietrich and while he was the bravest and best in battle, and the most generous of men. German men say he was a hundred and fifty when he died, but German songs say he was two hundred. And Alebrand now wore the sword Gram and the helmet that had belonged to his father.

Shortly after king Dietrich’s wife, lady Herrat, became ill and she also died. She was a good woman, courteous and beloved, like her kinswomen Erka and Gotelinde369-370, jarl Rodinger’s wife. These three women are the best and most generous of all women mentioned in this saga.

Status: summary of 8 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)