Summary of the Thidrekssaga

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Sigfrid's youth

167

Eckehart stood outside and saw how Sigfrid came back. And he want to his master and said: Sigfrid comes home, and he has the dragon's head in his hand. He must have killed it. Now everyone should save himself, because even though there's twelve of us, and even if there were half again as many, he would still kill all of us. And with that they all ran into the forest and hid.

But Mime went to Sigfrid alone and welcomed him. Sigfrid said: No welcomes! You will gnaw on this head like a dog. And Mime said: Don't do that. I will make up for what I did to you. I'll give you the helmet and armour that I made for king Hertnit in Holmgard, and I will give you a stallion called Grani, who is in Brunhild's herd, and also a sword named Gram, it is the best of all swords.

And Sigfrid said: I agree, if you do as you promise. And Mime gave him amrour and helmet and shield, and finally the sword, and when Sigfrid took the sword he swung it as powerfully as he could and gave Mime the death blow.

Dietrich's feast

190

Now Herbrand the Wise, the king's banner bearer, said that Diet­rich was speaking out of ignorance, because Herbrand knew a country called Bertangaland, with a king named Isung, who is the strongest of all men and feared in duels, and he has eleven sons who are exactly like their father, and he has a banner bearer called Sigfrid, who is so great and wonderful in all heroic things that no better man can be found.

His skin is like horn everywhere, and few weapons bite him. His sword is Gram, and his horse is Grani, a brother of Falke Diet­rich's horse, Schimming Witig's horse, and Rispa Heime's horse. Gram, too, is the best of all swords, and so are all his other weapons.

If you would fight this man, you would say before you returned home, if you returned at all, that you've never been in this much danger.

The tournament

219

Now king Diet­rich drew his sword Eckisax from its sheath, and came forth from his men to the field, and he was ready to fight. Sigfrid walked to meet him and drew his sword Gram. They drew closer courageously, and as soon as they met they exchanged great blows. Most blows were incredibly strong, and they did not spare their each other's? shield and armour. Such a strength projected from their weapons that the spectators on both sides were afraid, each most for their own man. And although the battle was terrible, neither had received a wound, so good was their armour. And thus they fought the entire day until night fell, and still no one knew who had had the better of the other.

Then king Isung took his shield, and Witig too, and they entered the battlefield and separated the two. "Enough fighting for today, and let's rest for the night, but tomorrow you may conclude your duel." And thus they parted, and king Isung and his men rode to the castle, while king Diet­rich and his men went to their tents. They were quite happy, since things had gone well. And then they slept.

222

And when the night had passed king Isung came back with his men to fight. And king Diet­rich was ready with his men. And when king Diet­rich came on to the battlefield he had drawn his sword, but put his shield in front of it. Sigfrid had not come onto the battlefield yet, and Diet­rich called out for him to come fight.

Sigfrid replied: I'm coming, and we'll fight like yesterday, provided you again swear you won't use Mimung, Witig's sword. And once you do so I'll gladly fight with you. Diet­rich replied he'd rather swear that oath than not fight, and called Sigfrid again.

Now Sigfrid came to the battlefield, but king Diet­rich drew the sword behind his back and stuck its point in the earth, and supported the hilt with his back, and swore that, so help him God, Mimung's point was not above the earth and its hilt in no man's hand.

That was enough for Sigfrid, and he drew his sword Gram, but Diet­rich took Mimung and they came together and fought. After a short while Diet­rich made one hit after the other, and he cut off pieces of Sigfrid's shield or helmet or armour the horn skin is gone again, and Sigfrid suffered five wounds in a short time.

Now Sigfrid realised exactly which oath Diet­rich had sworn, and that he used Mimung, and he said: Lord Diet­rich, I wish to surrender my arms and become your man follower, because it is no shame to serve such a lord as you. And you are such a famous hero that I'd rather surrender myself to you than lose my life.

And Sigfrid surrendered his weapons, and king Diet­rich took him gladly into his following, and it seemed to him that he had won the greatest and strongest hero in the world. And thus they parted.

And now king Diet­rich and his men were quite happy and considered themselves to have succeeded in this expedition. But king Isung and his men were unhappy, because their best man and most famous hero was defeated.

Grimhild's revenge

358

Quickly after king Attila prepared his journey to Niflungenland to his fiancĂ©e Grimhild, and he took five hundred knights with him. When king Gunther heard kings Attila and Diet­rich had come to his realm he rode to them with his best men, and when they came near king Gunther rode to king Attila and greeted him, and his brother Hagen rode to Diet­rich and they kissed one another, and welcomed one another as the best friends.

Now they all rode to the town of Vernica, and there a most glorious feast was prepared, and at this feast king Gunther gave his sister Grimhild to king Attila.

And when the feast had ended king Attila and king Diet­rich rode home. And when they departed king Gunther gave Grani, Sigfrid's horse, to king Diet­rich, and the sword Gram he gave to margrave Rodinger the saga just says 'the margrave', and to king Attila and Grimhild as much silver as he thought right, and they separated as good friends.

King Attila and king Diet­rich From the rest of the sentence it's clear that 'and king Diet­rich' was added' rode home to his realm, and guarded the kingdom for a while. But his wife Grimhild cried every day for her dear husband Sigfrid.

370

When day came Rodinger invited the Niflungen to stay for a few days, but they wanted to ride on. And margrave Rodinger told them he wanted to ride with them. And during breakfast Rodinger had a helmet carried in, and gave it to king Gunther. And the king thanked him for this gift. Then Rodinger gave a new shield to Gernot.

Then he had his daughter brought in and gave her to Giselher, and said: Good Giselher, this maiden I would like to give you for your wife, if you want to tak her. And Giselher replied he would become the happiest of men with her, and took her with many thanks.

And again Rodinger spoke: See here, young Giselher, the sword Gram that I would like to give you. It used to be Sigfrid's sword, and I think it would be the best of weapons to carry where you are going. And again Giselher thanked Rodinger.

Then margrave Rodinger said to Hagen: My good friend, what do you see around here that you would like to have? And Hagen said: I see a shield that is sea blue, and large, and it ought to be strong and has large cuts in it. I would like that for a gift.

And Rodinger said: That shield was carried by a good hero, duke Nudung, and the cut is from Mimung, strong Witig's sword, before he fell. And when Gotelinde heard this she cried many tears for her brother Nudung. And Hagen received the shield, and everyone thanked Rodinger again.

Then alll rode from the castle, including margrave Rodinger and his men. Gotelinde wished them well, and hoped they would return with honour. And margrave Rodinger kissed his wife and asked her to rule his realm until he returned.

384

Now Hagen and Gernot heard the Huns call that king Gunther had been taken prisoner. Hagen became so angry that he jumped from the doors down onto the street and struck Huns with both hands, and no one dared to stand before him. When Gernot saw that he also jumped on to the street and hewed Huns with both hands, and his sword stopped nowhere but in the ground. And Giselher followed him and killed many men with his sword Gram. And they distinguished themselves so much that no Hun dared to stand before them, and they fled. And now the Niflungen came forth from the garden on to the street, and they shouted that the Huns were cowardly dogs who ran when the Niflungen wanted to avenge themselves. And they spread through the town and killed them men they encountered, and it was night and quite dark. And the Huns fought them only? in groups.

King Attila went to his hall and had the house closed and guarded, so that the Niflungen could not do anything there. And margrave Rodinger went to king Diet­rich's hall thus indicating that he, too, was neutral and stayed there for a while. And duke Osid and his men and Irung and his men also went to halls. That night, a multitude of men Hunnic reinforcements? Or the Niflungen on their killing spree? rushed into town. And now it was dark.

388

Margrave Rodinger went forward and killed the Niflungen, but against him came Giselher, and they fought, and Giselher's sword Gram cut through shield, armour, and helmet like through clothes. And margrave Rondinger fell with great wounds beforre Giselher, killed with the same sword he had given to Giselher as a gift.

And Gernot and Giselher attacked king Attila's hall and killed many Huns. But Volker went to the hall where Hagen stood, and killed one man after the other so that he never walked on the ground, but always from body to body.

And now Hagen saw a Niflung was coming to help him, and he asked: Who is this man who comes here so bravely? And he replied: I am Volker One ms. adds: the minstrel; Von der Hagen doesn't tell us which one your companion; now look at the street I have cut here. And Hagen said: Thank God that you let your sword sing on Hunnish helmets.

Status: summary of 8 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)