Summary of the Thidrekssaga

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Heime's death


Heime Studa’s son had lived in the forest for a long time and had done damage to Sibich’s lands, burning farms and killing people. In this fashion he lived for thirtyA: twenty years, the time that Dietrich was gone from his realm. And when Heime heard Sibich had been killed he realised how much evil he had done and wanted to repent. Therefore he rode to a monastery with all his weapons on his horse Rispa.

When he arrived Heime told the abbot: I am Ludwig, and I come from Amelungenland. And he took his shield from his shoulders, and took off his sword Nagelring, and his armour, and laid them all at the feet of the abbot. Then he abased himself and said: These weapons and this horse, all my belongings, worth no less than ten gold marks, I wish to give to the monastery, and myself with them.

The abbot felt that this man might be someone else than he said he wasVon der Hagen. Haymes has: "that this man would not be obedient if he were in the monastery", but the money was good, so he took Ludwig by the hand, and brought his to a small room next to the church choir. Here Heime took off his rich clothes and took the black cloak like the other monks. The same day he was consecrated as a monk.

The abbot took all the goods and and made it his own, and Ludwig followed the monastic rule. But if the monks had known he was Heime Studa’s son they would not have taken him in, no matter how many goods he brought. Thus Heime served in the monastery for a while.


The giant Aspilian owned many estates in this Langobardenland. He was as big and strong as beforeThis giant has never been mentioned before and unpleasant to deal with. He had a large treasure because people didn’t dare to refuse him anything he wanted.

The monks owned a rich estate, but Aspilian took possession. The abbot sent monks to the giant, and he said he had more rights to the estate than the monks. The monks replied that the estate had been given to them for God’s sake.

Then Aspilian said: Appoint a man to fight me. When I lose the estate is yours, when I win it’s mine. This is the law of the land: where two men have a conflict over something, they shall fight a duelholmgang. The monks could do nothing because the giant followed the law, but they didn’t know which man would fight such a strong giant.

They informed the abbot, who told all monks and said that they would have to let the estate go if they did not find a suitable man. The monks were displeased and sent men far and wide to find someone who would fight the giant, but found no one.


One day they discussed the matter again, and Ludwig said: Why do you monks complain? What has Aspilian done? And the abbot explained the matter. Then Ludwig said: I gave my treasure and weapons to this monastery for God's sake, and now I will fight this giant. Where are my sword and my armour? The abbot suspected he was some sort of warrior, and said his sword had been made into doorhinges for the monastery, and his armour sold at the market.

And Ludwig said: You monks understand books, but not weapons. If you’d known how good these weapons were you would never have parted with them. Then he jumped up and took the abbot’s hood in both hands and said: You are a fool if you didn’t have other iron but my good sword Nagelring that beheaded many a giant to make your hinges. He shook the hood so hard that the abbot lost four teeth. When the monks heard the name Nagelring they understood that it was Heime Studa’s son and became frightened. They took some keys and opened a chest that contained Nagelring and his armour, and they were well kept.

Heime took Nagelring and saw how beautiful its cutting edge was, and how the gold shone. And he remembered the days that he rode with his companions, and became first red, then pale. Then he asked for his horse Rispa. The abbot said it had pulled stone for the church and was dead for many years.


The monks brought many stallions from the surroundings to the monastery and invited Heime to choose. Heime went to one and hit him in the flanks with his hand, and he fell down. Then he went to a handsome horse and hit his back with his hands, so that his spine shattered. Then he said these horses were worthless and they should give him the best one. The monks brought forward a strong enough horse, but he was very old and skinny. But Heime quickly saw he was Rispa. He took his manes and pulled down with all his might, but the stallion remained upright. Then he pulled his tail, but the horse remained where it was.

Heime laughed and said: You came back, old Rispa, and I know you. As old and skinny as you are, I know no other horse I’d rather have. And he told the monks to care for the stallion as best as they could. And Rispa was brought to the stables, where he stood for six weeks until he was as fat and sleek as usual, and as lively as in his younger years.


The abbot sent word to Aspilian that he would find their man on a certain island. Aspilian armed himself and had an alpandil brought for his mount, which we call an elephantfil The abbot and monks went with Heime and rowed to the island. And there Heime armed himself. The abbot wished him good luck and God’s protection. There he saw Aspilian on his elephant, and he rode towards him, praying for God’s help.

The giantLike in 195-196, the giant is not named during the fight said: Who is this little man? What do you want? Fight me? It would be shameful to kill you. Go home and save yourself. And Heime replied: As small as my legs and body are, I will not flee for you. Then he spurred his horse and and aimed his spear at the giant’s arm pit, but his armour was so good that the blow did not hurt him. Then the giant hurled his own spear at Heime, but Heime ducked and the spear flew over him and went so deep into the earth that no one has found it since.

Heime jumped from his horse and drew his sword. The giant did the same, and struck at Heime with his sword, but Heime ducked and the sword hit the earth. Then Heime quickly cut off the giant’s right hand, above the sword hilt, so that hand and sword fell to the ground. Heime gave the giant another blow in the thigh, and German songs say that he cut off such a big piece that a horse would not be able to carry it. The giant, seeing he was defeated, tried to fall on Heime, which would kill him. Heime saw the danger, but did not want to flee. Thus he moved forward until he stood between the giant’s legs, and when he fell one leg was on one side of Heime and the other on the other, leaving Heime unscathed.

The monks in the ship heard a thump that was so loud that the earth moved. And when they saw the giant had fallen they sang Kyrie Eleison. Then Heime came to the ship and they all sailed away to the monastery. The abbot and the prior took Heime by the hand and brought him to is seat in the choir. Heime kept to the rule like before.


The tiding that Aspilian had been defeated by a monk became widely known. When king Dietrich of Bern heard about it he wondered who that monk was. He considered that all his heroes were dead, and wondered what had become of his good friend Heime. And he felt that this deed could not have been done by anyone but Heime.

Dietrich rode to the monastery that was called WadincusanAssumed to be Wedinghausen and asked if there was a monk called Heime Studa’s son. And the abbot replied he could tell him the names of all monks, but Heime was not among them.

At that moment a monk came from the cloister, short, with broad shoulders and a long beard that was grey like a dove. And this monk was silent and didn’t speak to king Dietrich. But Dietricht thought he recognised Heime, and he said: We’ve seen many snows since we parted as good friends, and thus we meet again. You are Heime, my dear friend. But Heime replied: The one you call Heime I do not know, and I’m not him. Then Dietrich said: Brother, don’t you remember how our horses drank during the campaign in FrisiaVon der Hagen says this refers to 40, but Dietrich or Heime do not appear there, so that the water level dropped? And Heime said: How should I remember that if I never saw you before?

And Dietrich said: But surely you remember the day that you followed me I was driven me from my realm, and returned to Ermenrik but he drove you away like an outlaw288? Heime replied: I cannot remember any of that. I have heard of Dietrich of Bern and Ermenrik of Rome, but know nothing of them. But, Dietrich asked, don’t you remember how we went to Rome for a feast and found jarl Iron with his heavy wounds, guarded by his falcons and dogs273. But Heime said he didn’t remember. But don’t you remember, asked Dietrich, how we came to Ermenrik’s court at Rome275, and how our horses neighed nobly, and how all the beautiful women stood and looked at us, for back then our hair was golden and curly, but now it is grey like a dove. And all your clothes had the same colours as mine. Do you remember that, my friend? And don’t let me stand before you for longer.

Then Heime said: Good king Dietrich, now I remember all that you said, and I want to come with you. And Heime threw off his monk’s cloak, collected his belongings and his horse, and went with Dietrich to Rome. And Dietrich took Heime in and placed him over his knights. There they remained for some time.


One day king Dietrich and Heime discussed tribute they could collect from their lands. And Heime pointed out that the monastery did not pay tribute to anyone, and there was a lot of gold and silver. Dietrich agreed that he had never received tribute from them, and decided that if they were to require it, Heime would be the man to ask for it.

And a few days later Heime rode to the monastery. When he arrived the monks were angry at him because he had left the monastery without the abbot’s permission, but on the other hand they didn’t mind because they were all afraid of him. He spent the night there, and the next morning he called all monks to the chapter and told him king Dietrich sent him, and that the monastery had far more gold and silver than it needed. Thus, Heime said, he wants tribute, like from all other places. Will you give him a tribute fitting for a king?

The abbot replied that the money belonged to Saint Mary and God, and that it was free from the crown and no king would receive tribute from it. Heime said that they would have to face the king’s wrath, and that it was strange they collected so much money that did not do anyone any good. The abbot said: Heime, you’re an evil man. You ran away from here, went to the king’s court, and now you return to rob us. Go back home, where the devil brought you before, and be a devil yourself, like king Dietrich.

Heime became so angry he drew Nagelring and beheaded the abbot, and the next monk, until all monks were dead. Then he took all the gold and silver and loaded many horses with it. And before he left he set the monastery on fire. When he returned to king Dietrich he told him everythingA says Dietrich burned the monastery and took the treasure.


Then Dietrich heard of a giant who had so much gold and silver that no one knew a larger hoard. This giant was very old and so big and strong even an elephant could not carry him. He was lazy and mostly stayed in one place, and therefore few people had heard of him. Heime told Dietrich of this giant and offered to get tribute.

Heime went alone to a mountain with a great forest. There he found a large cave, and he jumped from his horse and went in. Inside he saw a giant with hair white like a dove, and he was so long that it covered his entire face. Heime said: Get up, giant, and defend yourself. I want to fight you.

The giant replied: You are bold, but I don’t want to get up and fight you. But Heime said: If you don’t get up and fight now I’ll draw my sword and kill you. The giant jumped up and shook his head and hair so that it stood out and he was awful to see. He took his staff and gave Heime such a blow that Heime flew away as fast as an arrow from a bow and was dead before he hit the ground.

This is said of Heime’s death. And it became known that such a great hero had lost his life.


When Dietrich heard this he decided to avenge him or lose his life. And he prepared his horse Blanka and his weapons, rode to where the giant lived, and asked him: Do you admit having killed my good friend Heime? And the giant said that he didn't know Heime was his friend, but he had killed him because otherwise he himself would have been killed. Dietrich challenged him, the giant took his staff, and Dietrich drew Eckisax. The giant raised his staff in both hands and Dietrich, who didn’t want to flee, moved forward. The giant hit the ground behind king Dietrich, and Dietrich cut off his hands, together with the staff. Thus the giant was without victory and also without hands. And Dietrich did not leave until the giant was dead. The king jumped back on to his horse, and had thus won the final duel that this saga tells about, and it became known how he had avenged his friend.

After that it is not told that king Dietrich heard of a hero or giant famous enough for him to fight, because he was such a great hero that no one dared. The only thing he did was hunt great animals that even other heroes didn’t dare to hunt. Often he rode with a few companions and accomplished many hunting feats, but we cannot write about those because we have not heard about them.

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)