Summary of the Thidrekssaga

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Wieland the Smith


The giant Wade, son of king Wilkinus and the sea-womanSee 23 lived in Seelandthe main island of Denmark on an estate granted to him by his father. And he was no particularly great warrior, but was content with what has father had given him.

In these days Sigfrid also lived with Mime, and did bad things to his fellow pupilsSee especially 165. When Wade heard that his son was often beat up by Sigfrid he returned and took his son home to Seeland. Wieland had been in Hunnenland for three years, and he was now twelvesays Mb; A and B say fifteen winters old. He stayed with his father for twelve months.


Now the giant Wade in Seeland heard how two dwarves lived in a mountain called BallovaAccording to Ritter Balve in Sauerland. These dwarves were better smiths than any other dwarf or human, and they made excellent swords, armour, and helmets; and also they could make gold and silver into jewelry.

Wade took his son Wieland and traveled there. And on the way they had to cross the sea, but found no ship. And there they stayed for a while. When they had waited a long time Wade took the boy, put him on his shoulders and waded through the sea, which was nine ells deep6.3 meters if we stick to the High-Medieval definition of an ell. Nothing more is said about their travels until they came to the mountain.

Wade now negotiated with the dwarves and asked them to teach his son for twelve months, and he would give them as much gold as they wanted. The dwarves agreed and asked for a mark in gold, and he paid them immediately. They agreed on the day he would come back to pick up his son.


Wade went back to Seeland, but Wieland stayed behind and learned the craft of smithing. And he was so eager to learn that he copied anything they made. And he served the dwarves so well that when his father Wade returned on the agreed date they didn't want to let him go. And they asked Wade if he could stay for another twelve months and offered to return the mark of gold, and they promised to teach him as much as he had already learned. Wade agreed, and they made another appointment a year from them when he would return.

But the dwarves repented having bought his service for so much money, and they stipulated that if Wade did not return on exactly the correct day they would behead Wieland. Wade agreed to this as well, and wanted to travel back home. He called his son to him, and asked him to go down the mountain with him. Wade had a sword with him, and he hid that in a moor so that it was not visible. And he told Wieland that if he did not come on the agreed date, and Wieland needed help he should take that sword and defend himself, because that was better than being killed by two dwarves, and Wade wanted his friends to say he had raised a man, not a woman. But he did promise to come on the agreed day. Then father and son parted and Wade went back home.

Wieland went back to the mountain and learned as much as he already knew, and he did not stop learning until he knew all of the dwarves' craft. The dwarves eagerly took his services, but they misliked how good he had become, but comforted themselves that he would not anjoy his craft for long, since his head was forfeit.


When the twelve months ended giant Wade preferred to come sooner rather than later, so he traveled by day and night until he came to the agreed place, and he was three days early. But the mountain was closed and he could not enter, so he sat down on the agreed spot and waited. And because the quick travel had exhausted him he fell asleep, and he snored so loudly it could be clearly heard. Meanwhile a heavy rain fell, which caused a landslide higher up, and that broke off a cliff that came down with water and trees and soil, and all that fell straight on to Wade. And this is how he died.


When the agreed day had come the dwarves opened the mountain, went outside and looked for Wade. Wieland, too, went out of the mountain to search for his father, but could not find him. But then he came to a cliff that had broken off, and he suspected his father had been crushed under it. Then he saw that he could not take revenge for his death, but remembered his father's counsel and searched for the sword Wade had hidden. Initially he searched near the cliff, but then he remembered the sword was in a moor, but the moor had changed considerably due to the landslide.

Then Wieland saw he was in dire straits. His father, dead, he himself, sentenced to death. But then he saw the sword's hilt above the ground and took it. He saw the dwarves on the mountain looking for Wade, Wieland went to them but hid the sword under his clothes. Then he went to the one closest to him and killed him, and then the other one. Then Wieland went into the mountain and took all the smithing tools and also all the gold and silver he could find. Then he took a horse that belonged to the dwarves, packed it with treasure and went north to Denmark.

When he had traveled for three days he came to the Weser river and he could not cross it. Along the river was a large forest, and he stayed there for a while. It was close to the sea. Then Wieland went to work: he felled a large tree close to the river bank, cleaved it in two and hollowed out the parts, and on the thinner side he hid his tools and treasure, and in the thicker part he put his food and drink and himself, and then closed it so firmly that river and sea would not do him damage, and before the holes in the tree he put glass in such a way that he could take them out, but when the glass was in the holes no water could come through them, except as much as when the tree had been whole.

Then the tree lay on the bank, and Wieland and all his goods in it, and he moved within the tree as long as was necessary to get the tree into the river. And this tree now floated into the sea, and floated there for eighteen days until it finally came to land.


A king named Nidung ruled over the part of Jutland called Thiodicurrent Thy in the northwesternmost part of Jutland. One day the king's people were close to the shore with nets to bring the king fresh fish for his table, when the net they hauled back was so heavy that they barely managed to pull it back into their boats. And they saw a large tree in the net, and brought it to shore. They inspected it and saw that it was fashioned in a miraculous way and suspected treasure could be found within it because it was so very heavy.

They sent someone to the king and asked him to come look at the tree. And when the king arrived and saw the tree he ordered it to be opened, and when Wieland became aware of them he asked them to be careful, because a man was inside. And when they heard him they thought the Devil himself was in the tree, And they fled, some one way, others another, and told the king the Devil was in the tree.

Then Wieland opened the trunk, got out, and went before the king and said: I am a man, and not a troll, and if you allow me to keep life and goods I will serve you. The king saw he was a foreigner, and a good man instead of a scoundrel, despite his strange manner of coming there, and agreed. Then Wieland hid his tools and treasure, together with the tree, under the earth, but one of the king's knights called Regin saw him do that.


Now Wieland lived with king Nidung, and his duties consisted of keeping three knives for the king which should lie on his table when he ate. And when twelve months had passed, Wieland went to the sea to wash the king's knives, but one of them fell into the water, and it was so deep that there was no hope of finding it. Wieland went home and considered the king would be angry with him when the knife was missing, and he cursed himself for not doing his service better now that he served a good king, and that the king would never make him responsible for more than what he did now.

There was a smith with king Nidung and he was called Amilias, and he forged everything for the king that was made out of iron. Wieland went to this Amilias, but he was not in his smithy because he was having dinner with his servants. Wieland sat down to forge a knife that was the same as the one he had lost, and in addition a three-ridged nail which he laid on the anvil. And he did all of this before Amilias came back and before the king went to dinner.

When Amilias returned to the smithy he found the nail on the anvil, and wondered who had made it, but none of his servants spoke up, and they never saw such a well-forged nail either before or after.


But Wieland stood by king Nidung's table and served him as usual. When the king sat down Wieland brought him his knives, and the king took a knife and sliced a piece of bread, but the knife sliced not only through the bread but also through the table. And the king marveled at how sharp this knife was and asked Wieland who had made it.

Wieland said: Who else but Amilias, your smith? And Amilias heard this conversation and said that he had made the knife, just like all the others, and that king Nidung had no smith but him. But the king said he had never seen a knife like this come from his hands, and he didn't know who made this knife, but Amilias didn't. And then the king turned to Wieland and asked him if he had made the knife. But Wieland still maintained that it had been Amilias. Then the king warned him that if Wieland was lying he would become angry. And Wieland said he did not want the king's displeasure, and told him what had happened.

The king said he knew Amilias couldn't have made this knife, and wondered aloud if Wieland was maybe a better smith than Amilias. Now Amilias could no longer be silent and said that while Wieland may have made this knife, he, Amilias, would be equally able to make such a thing if he but gave all his skill, and he did not want to admit Wieland was the better smith before they were both put to the test. And Wieland said that his forgecraft was but small, but he was willing to put it to the test by both of them making a tool from which others could tell who was the better smith.

Amilias proposed they bet on it, and Wieland said he had hardly any treasure. And Amilias said that if that were true they should bet their heads: whoever was the better smith would behead the other. And Wieland said: Bet whatever you like, but what will we make? And how will we decide which one is best? Then Amilias said: You will make a sword, as well as you can, but I will make a helmet and armour. If your sword can pierce my armour and wound me you shall have my head, but if it cannot penetrate my armour I'll have yours. And we both shall do this within twelve months.

And Wieland accepted, provided Amilias would keep his word. Amilias said he would have guarantors who would keep him to his word. And two knights of king Nidung came forward and guaranteed Amilias' word. But, Amilias asked Wieland, who will be your guarantor? Wieland replied he did not know, since he knew no one in this country.

Then the king himself said: He has done well in all that he has built. And he remembered the tree that Wieland had come in, and how wonderfully it was fashioned, and said that he himself would guarantee Wieland's word. And in this way they completed their bet.

The same day Amilias went to his smithy and started to work with all his journeymen, and he worked for the full twelve months. But Wieland served the king as before, as if nothing had happened, and continued doing so for half a year.


One day king Nidung asked Wieland when he would start working, and Wieland said: My lord, since you counsel me to do so I will, but I wish you would have built a good smithy to work in. And so it happened. When the smithy had been built Wieland went to where he had buried the tree, but the trunk was broken open and all his tools and treasure had disappeared. This displeased him, and he now remembered a man had seen where he hid his possessions, and he assumed that man had taken his possessions, and he knew his face but not his name.

Then Wieland went to the king and told him what had happened, and the king became angry and asked Wieland if he would recognise this man, and Wieland said he would. Then the king called a general meetingĂ¾ing and called all men of his realm together to hear his commands. And all men came to his court, and thought it unusual that he would do so, and nobody knew why.

When all had gathered Wieland went to everyone in the meeting and looked at him to see if he recognised the man who had stolen his gear, but he did not find him, and told the king do. The king became angry with him, and thought he was stupid, and that he should have heavy chains around his feet, that you made me call a meeting without need, and the man you're looking for must be here, but you didn't even recognise him, and I should have never become your guarantor.

Wieland misliked that he had lost his possessions but gained the anger of the king.


A short while later Wieland went to his smithy and secretly made a statue of the man he had seen, even up until the hair on his head. And one night he went to the king's hall and put the statue in a corner where the king had to pass by. Then Wieland went into the hall and served like the other squires.

Now the king wanted to enter his hall with his men, and Wieland bore a candle before him as usual. When the king came to the hall he saw the statue and said: Hail, good friend Regin, what are you doing there by yourself? And how went the message that I sent you to Sweden for? But the man was silent.

And Wieland said: Lord, this man is quite proud, and he will never answer you because I fashioned him with my own hands froo memory, and now you have recongised him, because this was the man who stole my possessions. The king laughed and admitted Wieland would not have found him in his realm, because Nidung had sent him to Sweden on an important errand. And he added that Wieland was a good man, and he'd get his possesions back, and the king would also give him recompense for the harsh words he had spoken.

Shortly after Regin came home, and the king sent for him immediately. He asked Regin if he had taken Wieland's goods, and Regin admited it, but said he had meant it for a joke. And the king ordered him to return everything, and Regin did so, and thus Wieland got his tools back.

But still Wieland served the king at his table every day, and pretended he had nothing else to do, and again four months went by.


And when the time was up king Nidung asked Wieland why he didn't forge the sword that he needed for his bet. And Wieland pretended he was ready to do so, and said that if the king counseled him to do so, he would do so. The king said it seemed to him that Wieland had to deal with a talented, quite evil manAmilias, so he should go and forge the sword.

Now Wieland went to his smithy, went to work and forged a sword in sevenMb & Sv: seven; A & B: four days. On the seventh day the king himself came to him, and Wieland had a sword ready that the king thought was the best he had ever seen. Now they went to a stream, and Wieland took a flake of wool one foot thick, threw it into the water and let the current carry it against the sword, and the sword cut the flake in two. The king said this was a good sword, and he wanted to carry it himself. But Wieland said this wasn't a good sword yet, and it would become much better before he parted with it. They went home, and the king sat in his hall and was quite happy.

But Wieland went back to his smithy, took a file, and filed the sword into iron dust, then took the iron dust and put it in milk, and he mixed this with flour and kneaded it together. Then he took geeseEveryone assumes these are geese, but the saga doesn't specify and says alifugla that had been starved for three days, and fed them the flour. Then he took the birds' feces and smelted it, and separated the iron from what was left of the dough, and with this he forged a new sword that was a little bit smaller than the previous one. And when fourteen days had gone by this sword was ready.

When the sword had hardened completely the king came to the smithy, and when he saw the sword he thought it was the most precious thing he'd ever seen, and he wanted to take it. But Wieland said: My lord, this is a good sword, but it will become even better. Again they went to the stream, and now Wieland threw a flake of wool two feet thick into the water, and the sword cut the flake in half, like before. The king said he'd never seen a better sword, even though it was slightly smaller than the previous one. Wieland said it wasn't a really good sword yet, and he would make it even better. The king went back to his hall and was happy.

And Wieland went back to his smithy and filed this sword to dust as well, and did the same he had done before. And when three weeks had passed Wieland had made a sword that sparkled, and its grip was inlaid with gold. The king came to Wieland and saw the sword, and he had never seen a sharper sword, and it was a large one, larger than the ones he had made before. Again they went to the stream, and now Wieland took a flake of wool three feet thick, and threw it into the water, and calmly held the sword in the current, and when the flake touched the sword it cut it in two as smoothly as the water itselfas the water itself is cut in two, I suppose.

And the king said he wanted this sword, because he had never seen a better one and he wanted no one else to have it, and he would carry it against his enemies. And Wieland said he would give the sword to no one else, but first he would fashion the sheath and the carrying strap, and give it to the king when it was fully ready. The king agreed, went back to his hall, and was happy.

But Wieland went back to his smithy and forged another sword that was so simiar to the first that no one could keep them apart. Wieland hid the good sword under his bellows, and said: "Lie there, Mimung, and who knows if I'll need you before the end?"


Now Wieland was done with his smithing and he served king Nidung each day. When the day had come, early in the morning Amilias strapped on his armoured leggings and went out to the market and showed himself, and all who saw him said they had never seen such good armour, and it was all double-platedor double-forged? Retranslate. And he went to breakfast in the king's hall with his ring mail on, and everyone admired it. Amilias was cheerful and praised himself and his armour. And when he sat down for breakfast he donned his iron helmet, which was shiny and hard and thick, and the king liked those armour pieces.

And when the king had eaten and breakfast had ended Amilias went out to a field where a chair stood, and sat on it. Now the king and his men also went out, and Wieland with them, to view the end of this bet. And Amilias was quite ready for it.

Then Wieland went to his smithy and took the sword Mimung, and went back to the king with the sword in his hand. And he stood behind Amilias' chair and put the sword's edge on his helmet, and asked Amilias if he felt something. Amilias said: Strike with all your might!

Now Wieland pressed the sword strongly against the helmet, and it cut through helmet and head, and armour and torso until the belt, and again asked Amilias if he felt anything. And Amilias said he felt as if cold water ran over his back. Then Wieland said: Now shake yourself, and you'll understand. And Amilias shook himself and fell apart in two pieces on both sides of the chair and thus Amilias came to his end. And many quoted the saying that he who carried his head highest would fall deepest.

Now the king asked Wieland to give him the sword, and Wieland said he wanted to fetch the sheath which was in the smithy, and give everything together. And the king agreed. Then Wieland went back to the smithy and hid Mimung under his bellows and took the other sword he had made, put it in the sheath, and gave it to the king. And the king thought he had the same sword that Wieland had done this great deed with. And then much time went by.


Chapter 69-79 not yet summarised.

Status: 12 of 23 chapters summarised (52%)

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)