Summary of the Thidrekssaga

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Samson

1

Here the saga starts with a knight born in the town of Salerni. A powerful jarl named Rodger ruled there with his brother Brunstein. The jarl had a daughter named Hildeswid, and the jarl and all men in the town loved her very much,

A knight was named Samson, who served the jarl well, and he was honoured as he deserved. Knight Samson loved Hildeswid and wanted to win her favour, whether with good or with evil.

4

The same day Brunstein, jarl Rodger's brother, called a meeting þing and made hisemf king over the entire realm that Rodger had possessed. Now Brunstein rode many days with many men to find Samson, but Samson valiantly rode into the king's possessions and killed people and took loot.

This feud had gone on for two winters when king Brunstein with a hundred knights but did not find him. And at night he came to a castle in the forest and stayed there. But at midnight Samson came there all alone, and the castle was closed and the guards asleep. Samson went to a small village close to the castle, where poor people lived. He tied his horse and set a house on fire, and took a burning branch and threw it into the castle which is apparently made of wood, and quickly all buildings were burning and the guards awoke. They woke the entire castle sating that the enemy was within, and everyone took his arms and told the others to hurry. This noise also reached the king, who hurried out of the castle and rode away with six knights into the forest. Everyone assumed an army had attacked the castle because there was so much noise and blaring of horns, and thus they frightened themselves most of all. Then all fled, on horse or foot, armed or not, and some undressed, and Samson killed many of them.

5

Now Brunstein rode in the forest and came to a house, where a woman stood, and he recognised his kinswoman Hildeswid. He asked her what she was doing here and where her lover was and if she wanted to come with him, and she said she lived in this small house, and Samson rode forth last night, and she didn't know where. Then she asked what he was doing so deep in the forest at night, and where his night camp was, and Samson had told her that from here it would take an entire day to reach the forest's edge. And Brunstein told her what had happened.

Hildeswid thought it had been Samson who had burned the castle and killed the men, but Brunstein said was crazy to think Samson alone could have done that. And she should take her clothes and belongings and come with him, because she had stayed here long enough to the shame of her relatives.

She refused to come with him because she knew he'd do something else quickly not entirely clear and he should turn his horse and now talk to the one who had come to speak with him. And Brunstein turned and saw that Samson was riding towards him. And they both took their swords, and Samson split Brunstein's helmet and head so that the sword ended up in his armpit, and with his next blow he hit a knight in the armpit, and he ran through the third knight with his sword. The rest fled, but Samson chased them until he had slain another two, and the last one got away with a heavy wound. This man went back to the castle and told everyone what had happened. All said that Samson was an incomparable knight.

Now Samson went back to his wife and said: I've been in this forest for too long, and I don't want to hide from my enemies any more. So take your possession and perpare yourself. Then he took three horses and loaded them with treasure, a fourth one for Hildeswid and a fifth one for himself.

6

Now they rode their way until they were not far outside the forest. Then twelve men rode against them, with large horses, broad shields, and strong spears. And Samson said to his wife: Who would those be? And she said she didn't know, and if he reconised their coat of arms. And he said he didn't know themselves, but their coat of arms I do know: the first man has a red shield with a golden lion See also 172, and that was my father's coat, and his brother Dietmar's. They must be my relatives.

When they'd drawn close Samson asked who they were and where they were going. Their leader replied: We have ridden a long road, but now we have found our goal, because we have heard how sorely you were beset by your over-powerful enemies and were driven from your lands. Because you are our relative Samson, and I am your father's brother Dietmar, and my two sons are here, and all others are relatices as well. And we've come to help you. Samson thanked them for their offer.

Then they rode to a town that had belonged to king Brunstein, and the people from the town didn't see them until they were close by. Then they recognised Samson, who had killed jarl Rodger and king Brunstein, and they considered he was a great warrior and they were currently without a laeader, The wisest men took counsel, and decided to reconcile themselves with Samson.

Thus they went to him and found him in a hall where he had made quarter, where they fell on their knees and bowed to him and gave themselves into his power, so that they became his men and would surrender the town and accept them as their lord. Samson received this well, and bade them to stand up. And now a meeting þing was called and the men of the town declared him their duke.

7

Soon after duke Samson rode with five knights and a large retinue to another town that was richer and more populated. He sent men to tell the inhabitants to either surrender or defend themselves.

When the inhabitants heard this they held a meeting of prominent citizens, I assume, and then a meeting of the full people Check translation. Von der Hagen seems to add things that are not in Jónsson's text, and there one of the notable citizens held a long speech about Samson and how he was good to his friends but a bad enemy, and how he had paid back jarl Rodger and king Brunstein. And how could they keep their town safe when even such mightly lords had fallen before Samson? He ended with: And now I counsel to receive him the best we can. Many others agreed, and no one was so bold as to speak against it.

And when duke Samson rode into the town all gates were opened, and he rode in with his entire army. And a general meeting þing, finally; this chapter hasn't used that word before and they surrendered the town to him and all lands and castles belonging to it. Also, the townsmen offered him the king's name konungs nafn. Does this mean the title of king, or an actual name that the king bore? Right here it seems to mean the first, but see also 41.. But he replied that he wouldn't accept that title until he had planted his banner in Salerni. In this town he stayed for five days.

8

When duke Samson rode from this town he had two thousand knights and a large retinue of other people. He led this army onto the road to Salerni, and all towns and castles on the way surrendered. He sent messengers to Salerni that he wanted to occupy the town peacefully or with violence. When the townsmen heard this they became worried, and they held a meeting with the leading citizens and the wise men, and this went on for several days before a decision was taken.

And when the townspeople hard that the duke had come near the town the rode out with their weapons and banners, and all manner of harps, violins, and drums, and praises retranslate. And when they neared the duke they dismounted, first the chief townsmen and then the knights, and told him they wanted to give the town into his power. The duke thanked them, and everyone remounted and followed the duke to the town. And on the same day they gave him the king's name and opened the entire town for him, including king Brunstein's treasure.

Then the king sent messengers throughout Brunstein's realm that all men likely the upper class should obey and serve him. Thus king Samson ruled for quite a while.

Status: summary of 6 chapters complete.

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)