Summary of the Thidrekssaga

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Dietrich's death


When king Dietrich was advanced in age but still good with weapons he took a bath at what’s called Dietrichsbadwhich he founded in 415. A servant called out: My lord, there runs a deer, and I’ve never seen an animal this big or fast! When he heard that the king got up, wrapped himself in his bathing cape, and called as he saw the animal: Quick, get my horse and my dogs! His servants ran to fetch his horse, but the king became impatient while the animal ran away, and saw a great horse with a saddle standing, and it was black like a raven. He ran to the horse and jumped on its back. At that moment the servants let loose the dogs, but they did not want to follow this horse.

The horse ran faster than any bird can fly, and Dietrich’s best squire rode after him on his horse Blanka, and all the dogs behind it. Then king Dietrich realised he was not really on a horse, and wanted to jump off, but he was held so tight he was unable to lift his thighs from the horse’s sides. Then the squire called after him: Lord, will you come back? Why are you riding so fast? And king Dietrich replied: I am riding badly, because what I’m sitting on must be a fiend. But I will return if God and Saint Mary will it. Then the horses were too far apart and the squire could not see the king any more. And since then no one has heard anything from him.

No one can say what has become of king Dietrich. But German men say that it has been revealed in dreams that king Dietrich was helped by God and Saint Mary because he cried out their names at his death.

Here we end the telling of this saga.


As was said before336 at Gransport Witig Wieland’s son fled into the lake. And he came to a mermaid, his grandfather’s motherSee 23 who took him to Seelandin Denmark. There he staid for a long time, until he heard that Dietrich von Bern had become emperor at Rome. Then he went to an island called Fimber, and built himself a farm, and a little tower at the crossing to the mainland. And in that tower he put a ferryman and a statueSee also 66 of Dietrich von Bern, and forbade the ferryman to ever bring across someone who looked like the statue.


Dietrich von Bern secretly traveled to find Witig in order to avenge his brotherDiether, killed by Witig in 333, and he had no one with him but two squires. When he came to the crossing to the island he was ferried over. But when the ferryman saw that he resembled the statue he told Dietrich: I’ll have to take you back again, you are forbidden from entering the island. Therefore Dietrich was brought back.

Dietrich understood what this all meant, and preferred to die rather than leave his brother unavenged. Therefore he went to a town and had a doctor take out one of his eyes. When he had recovered he went back to the crossing and was taken to the island, and the ferryman let him go wherever he wanted.

Dietrich entered Witig’s farm and went to his house. There Witig stand next to his bed and was dressing, and there was no one else inside. When Dietrich appeared in the door he saw Mimung laying in a chest. He took it from the sheath and tossed it on to the roof so that it got stuck there. When Witig saw Dietrich he welcomed him, fell on his knees, and put himself and all his goods in his power.

And Dietrich replied: Since we separated at Gransport, where you killed my brother and king Attila’s sons, you never had truce in my heart. So arm yourself and defend yourself. And Witig said: Give me my sword Mimung. And Dietrich said: Take another good sword. And Witig armed himself and the fought long until Witig fell dead before his own bed.


King Dietrich had many heavy wounds, and he took the sword Mimung and went through Holstein to Sachsen. When he came to Schwaben his wounds had swelled and developed gangrene, and he understood he would not live long. Then he went to a river or lake, drew Mimung, and threw it in the water as far as he could, so that it would never come into anyone’s hands again.

Then he went to a castle called Hoffert and stayed for the night. When he recognised he was going to die he forbade his two squires to tell anyone who he was. Shortly after he died from the wounds that Witig Wieland’s son had given him, and was buried in that town as a merchant.

His two squires went home to Rome and did not tell much about their trip. But everyone in Denmark knew that Witig had been slain in his own house, but no one knew who had killed him.

And German men knew too that king Dietrich never returned to his realm, since he rode from the baths called Dietrichsbad. Therefore all Romans held it for true that Dietrich died as described beforeIn 438.

Status: summary of 4 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)