Summary of the Thidrekssaga

Search for chapters:

See all parts of the saga.

Samson

13

Now king Samson ordered a great feast in Bern, and here Odilia, jarl Elsung's daughter, was married to Dietmar, and Samson gave him the king's name and Bern and all the lands jarl Elsung had held. And the town called Fritila, which the Northmen call Friðsæla he gave to his son Ake, called Harlungentrost, and with it the name of duke and not king because Ake's mother was of low birth.

Then Ermenrik went south to Rome with his father king Samson, and on this journey Samson died. Ermenrik took his entire realm and then fought against Rome, and had several battles with the men of Rome and did many heroic deeds and conquered the best part of the territory of Rome and many other strong towns until even in Puli. He also conquered the larger part of the realm on the Greek sea Grekin; according to Ritter this is Grach on the Mosel until the mountains in the north, and much of the Greek islands, and thus he became the richest and most powerful of all kings. He was friendly and peaceful in the first part of his reign.

Detlef the Dane

123

King Ermenrik had announced a great feast and had invited all manner of kings, princes, and jarls, dukes, counts, and barons, and also Diet­rich and his men.

Detlef knew Diet­rich was not at home, and when the road split he considered going to his grandfather, but in the end he decided he wanted to see Diet­rich and his heroes more, so he rode after Diet­rich.

He overtook Diet­rich in the town called Fritila-Burg in the home of Ake Harlungentrost, a brother of Ermenrik and Diether, and thus Diet­rich's uncle, but the saga doesn't mention that.

124

Detlef took residence in the same house as Diet­rich and his men, and Diet­rich asked him who he was. Detlef said he was Amelrich Soti's son from Denmark. Diet­rich asked him where he was going, and Detlef said he was looking for a worthy lord who would allow him to care for his arms and horse, and if that lord were Diet­rich von Bern, it would be all the better. And in return he asked Diet­rich who he was and who his lord was.

Witig spoke up, and informed Detlef that he was looking at Diet­rich von Bern himself, and Heime, and many others with him. Detlef greeted Diet­rich, and offered his services. Diet­rich accepted, and told him he was riding to the feast, and that Detlef should care for his horse and arms.

The next morning they rode on, and Ake came with them, and they arrived in Rome right when the feast started. The heroes and other lords went to the king's halls, but the squires and servants were lodged in inns, where the horses were also stabled.

Ake and Iron

269

Then jarl Iron rode home, but not long after his wife Isolde died.

King Attila of Soest Iron's lord rode south to Rome to a feast by king Ermenrik, and Iron went with him. Overnight they staid in the castle called Fritila, where they were received by duke Ake Harlungtrost, king Ermenrik's brother. Here Iron and Bolfriana saw one another for the first time, and they admired one another from afar, and Iron gave her the golden ring that had belonged to Herburg, king Salomon's daughter.

The next morning they went on to the feast, and Diet­rich von Bern and Witig and Heime were also there. This was the feast where Detlef the Dane battled with Walther of Waskastein 129, as has been written before.

270

When king Attila went home he again staid at Fritila as a guest of Ake's. This time Iron managed to talk to Bolfriana, and they declared their love. Then king Attila and all his men rode back to Hunnenland, and jarl Iron sat in his castle Brandenborg with his men.

271

A while after jarl Iron set out on a journey with his hunter Nordian and a few knights and many dogs, and they made sure they could stay away for two months. And they went hunting in the unpopulated areas, until they came in the realm of duke Ake.

Then jarl Iron heard that king Ermenrik would give a feast in Rome, and king Diet­rich had been invited as well as duke Ake. Then Iron sent a knight to the castle with a letter to Bolfriana and the message he'd come as soon as the duke had gone away.

The knight disguised himself as a minstrel and managed to give Bolfriana the right sign and the letter, and said jarl Iron would ride into the castle at nighttime.

When Bolfriana poured Ake's drink he offered her half, and she drank, and so it went throughout the evening, and she became drunk and fell asleep. The duke had some of his knights carry Bolfriana to bed, and he also went to bed. But he went through his wife's girdle and found the letter, that invited Bolfriana to come to him in the forest the night after Ake had left for the feast. But when Ake did not leave she should send Iron a message. When he had read the letter he went to sleep, and the next morning he woke Bolfriana and was friendly to her. Then he rode out to Rome.

272

At first they rode south through the forest, but once they had ridden for a while Ake said that it would be incourteous not to invite king Diet­rich von Bern, who would pass through Fritila, to a meal. Thus they turned around and headed back home. They re-entered the forest, and after sunset they saw a man riding, and before him ran two dogs, and a hawk on his left hand, and he had a shield bearing a coat of arms of a hawk and a dog. Duke Ake recognised it had to be Iron, and he called out to him, and drew his sword and attacked him with his knights.

Jarl Iron recognised from the coat of arms, a red shield with a golden lion, that he was attacked by duke Ake of Fritila, and they attacked one another. Jarl Iron fought bravely, but in the end he fell dead from his horse.

Duke Ake rode away with his men, and left jarl Iron's body there, and went to a house he had in the forest to stay overnight.

273

The same night king Diet­rich von Bern came to Fritila, and Witig the Strong and Heime were with him, and they staid there for the night. Early next morning they rode on, came to the forest and found a dead man, and also a horse with a knight's saddle, and the horse bit them and didn't want them to separate it from its lord. There were also two dogs who did not let them touch their lord, and two hawks came from the trees and screamed loudly.

Diet­rich remarked this had to be a great man, and then he recognised jarl Iron. They decided to bury him, and took a large tree Don't understand and made a grave and put jarl Iron and all his gear in it, and made a monument out of wood and stone.

And while they were doing this duke Ake and his men came by, greeted Diet­rich, and suggested they would all ride to Rome together. Diet­rich asked him who could have slain jarl Iron, and Ake replied he had done it. Diet­rich asked why, and Ake replied the jarl was hunting for a two-legged animal to his dishonour, with the cunning of both of them Iron and Bolfriana against his will. Then Diet­rich and Ake rode to Rome.

274

Nordian and the three knights felt that jarl Iron had been away for too long, searched from him, and heard the howling of his dogs at Iron's grave. Nordian recognised the animals, and they opened the grave and found their lord Iron with many wounds, and they considered it likely Ake had done this.

They took the horse, dogs, and hawks, and staid in Amelungenland until they were certain Ake had done this. Then they rode home to Hunnenland and told king Attila the story. He set a new man over Brandenborg, that jarl Iron had once ruled.

275

Now news came to Longobardenland that a count by name of Ake Harlungtrost had died, who left behind a wife, Bolfriana, and two young sons, Egard and Ake. The older Ake was a half-brother of king Ermenrik.

Then king Diet­rich set out with a hundred knights and his good friend Witig to Rome to king Ermenrik. He proposed that Witig should marry Bolfriana of Drekanfils Bolfriana is apparently one of the Nine Daughters.. King Ermenrik agreed, provided Witig would be as loyal to him as he has been so far to Diet­rich, and he would get the castle as well and be a count. And thus Witig became king Ermenrik's count.

Dietrich's flight

281

One day Odilia, Sibich's wife, went to the queen, Ermenrik's wife, and they drank and were merry. But then she spoke of Egard and Ake Sons of the elder Ake and thus Ermenrik's nephews in Amelungenland, and how Egard wouldn't even spare the queen, and that she should be careful. And the queen became angry, and believed Egard had done her dishonour.

Then king Ermenrik came in, and drank with them. Odilia said: "Now we have west and south wind, and sunshine and warmth, and then light rain and it's clear in the east and north, what else would come but Egard and his brother Ake? No wild animal or forest bird will be safe from them." The king was silent and didn't reply.

Then the queen said: "They give peace to neither animal nor bird, and each time they come here the serving girls won't have peace, either." Still Ermenrik did not reply, though he thought about what the women were saying, and Fritila, Egard's and Ake's foster, was with him.

Then the queen said: "I myself should take care, and they would certainly do me dishonour if it were in their power."

Then the king spoke angrily: "If you are not safe from them, then they should not be safe from me. They'll hang so high no one will hang higher."

Then Fritila said that Egard and Ake would suffer because Witig Now their stepfather and protector has gone to king Diet­rich, and that if Witig would come home and find his stepsons hanged war would break out. And the king said they would hang even higher than he had planned. Fritila and his son fled.

282

King Ermenrik gathered his army. Meanwhile Fritila and his son came to the Rhine, and swam through the strong stream, and pulled their horses with them.

Trelinborg stands on the Rhine, and Egard saw them swimming, and he thought that Fritila was bringing word of trouble because he didn't want to wait for the ship.

Fritila told them Ermenrik was coming with his army, but Egard thought they would be reconciled, and he was not afraid of his uncle. Frtilia told them everything he had heard, and now the brothers sent for their own men.

King Ermenrik came to the castle, took his banner, rode to the dyke and shot the banner pole merkistöng, like Walther borrows from Attila in 129 across the dyke díki; maybe the moat, but I still find this sentence hard to interpret. Egard asked why he wanted to take their castle, and what they were guilty of. Ermenrik replied that whatever he blamed them for, they would hang from the highest tree he could find before the day was done. Ake said that they would defend themselves.

Now king Ermenrik had a throwing engine erected, and had fire flung into the castle so that it burned. Fritila said they should go out, so that they would die fighting instead of burning like mice. They went out with 60 men, and fought king Ermenrik, until Ermentik had lost 500 men. But the brothers were captured and hanged, and so they died, as Sibich had wanted. Then Ermenrik went home.

Status: summary of 12 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)