A king named Aldrian ruled over Niflungenland, and his wife was the daughter of a mighty king. One day, when Aldrian was away, she was drunk with wine and fell asleep in a flower garden. A man came to her, and she thought she recognised Aldrian, but he left quickly.
The queen became pregnant, and when she once again was alone the same man came to her, and told her he was the child's father, and he was an elf. She should keep this a secret from everyone except the child, who would grow to become a great man. And when he would ever find himself in trouble, he should call upon his father. Having said that, the man disappeared.
The queen gave birth to Hagen, called Aldrian's son. When he was four winters old, the other children told him his face was like a ghost's, and when he looked at himself in water, he saw his face was as pale like ash. He went to his mother and asked why he was like this. His mother told him the truth about his father, but a woman stood nearby and overheard the conversation, and this woman later became a concubine of Dietrich von Bern, and she told him the secret, and thus it became known.
King Aldrian and his wife had three sons and a daughter: Gunther, Gernot, and Giselher, who was still a child when these things happened
When king Aldrian left his realm and died, his oldest son Gunther took up the kingship.
King Dietrich was preparing a great feast, and invited all noblest men in his kingdom, and other men and leaders besides.
He had heard of a good warrior and king named Irung, who ruled Niflungenland. His wife was Ute, and she was the daughter of a mighty king. Once, when Irung was away, a man came to Ute and slept with her without her being aware, and she gave birth to a son, Hagen, and although he appared human, he was actually an elf.
King Irung had four sons and a daughter named Grimhild with his wife, and the king's sons were Gunther, Guthorm, Gernot, and Giselher. When Irung died his oldest son Gunther took up the kingship.
King Dietrich had heard of him, and sent a message to king Gunther to invite him to the feast, and also his brothers Hagen and Guthorm
These men went to Niflungenland and found king Gunther in Verniza. The king received the messengers of his brother in law king Attila well, and the one that brought the message said: King Attila of Soest and queen Grimhild send greetings to king Gunther and his brothers Hagen, Gernot, and Giselher. We want to invite you to a feast in our lands. King Attila is now old, and it becomes difficult for him to rule his kingdom, but his son Aldrian is still young, and it would seem to us you, as his mother's brothers, would be best suited to rule his realm with your nephew, as long as he isn't old enough. So come and let us talk about what to do with the land, and take as many men as you like.
When the king had read the letter
Hagen spoke: If you go to Hunnenland you will not return, and neither will anyone who follows you. Grimhild is a sly woman, and it could very well be she has treason in mind.
King Gunther replied: So it is your counsel, Hagen, not to go there? You give my counsel like your mother gave my father, worse each time than last time. Therefore I will not take it. I want to travel to Hunnenland, and I assume I'll return, and before I come home all of Hunnenland could be in my power. But you, Hagen, follow me if you want, or sit home if you don't want to come.
Hagen said: I am not more worried about my life than you about yours, and I am not more afraid of a fight than you are. But I can tell you that if you go to Hunnenland, whether with many men or with few, no one will return home alive to Niflungenland. But if you want to go to Hunnenland, I will not
King Gunther replied: Even though you are so afraid of Grimhild that you don't dare to go, I will still travel to Hunnenland.
Now Hagen was angry that he was so often reproached for his mother, and he rose and went to his friend Volker and said to him: You should come with us to Hunnenland, as king Gunther had decided, and all our men should come with us, so arm and equip everyone, but only those should come who are ready for battle.
Then queen Oda, Gunther's and Giselher's mother, went to the king and said to him: Lord, I dreamed that I saw so many dead birds in Hunnenland that all the land was empty of birds. Now I hear that you want the Niflungen to go to Hunnenland, but great misfortune will befall both the Niflungen and the Hunnen if you do so. So do not go there; only evil will come of it, when you go.
Hagen replied: King Gunther had decided on this journey, and we don't care for dreams of an old woman. And Oda replied: King Gunther may do as he likes, and so may you, Hagen, but my young son Giselher should stay home. No, said Giselher, when my brothers go I will not stay behid. And he jumped up and took his weapons.
Now king Gunther sent messengers across his lands that all the best and bravest men should come to him, and soon he had a thousand well-armed men. But at home many a beautiful woman sat without her husband, or son, or brother.
Then Hagen took king Gunther's banner, and this banner was gold on the top, but white in the middle with a red crowned eagle, and the lower part was green. And king Gunther and Hagen bore the same eagle on their armour, though Hagen did not have a crown. But Gernot and Giselher had red shields with a golden hawk, and their banners were of the same colours.
Now the Niflungen went their way until they came to the Rhine there were Duna
Now the Niflungen rode into Rodinger's courtyard
Now the Niflungen undressed near the fires, and Gotelinde, margrave Rodinger's wife, and she was sister to duke Nudung who fell at Gransport, said: The Niflungen have brought many white armours, and hard helemts, and sharp swords, and new shields, but Grimhild still cries for her husband Sigfrid every day. When the fires had gone out king Gunther and Hagen and their brothers went into the hall, sat there and drank with joy, and then they went to sleep.
Now margrave Rodinger lay in bed with his wife, and he asked her: What honourable gift shall I give to king Gunther and his brothers? And she replied: Anything you would like to give, I will agree with. And he said: If you agree, I would like to give our daughter to young Giselher as my first gift. And Gotelinde said: If he could enjoy our daughter it would be well done, but I am afraid he won't.
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.
King Attila led his brothers in law to his hall, and had fires made, but the Niflungen did not take off their armour, and did not lay down their weapons. Now Grimhild came into the hall where her brothers were drying near the fires, and she saw their armour under their cloaks.
Then Hagen saw his sister Grimhild, and he took his helmet, put it on his head, and tightened it, and Volker did the same. Then Grimhild said: Hagen, did you bring he the Niflungen treasure that Sigfrid once had?
But Hagen replied: I bring you a strong enemy who follows my shield and my helmet with my sword, and I will never take off my armour. Then king Gunther said: My sister, come and sit here. And then Grimhild went to her young brother Giselher and kissed him, and she sat down between him and king Gunther
Then Giselher asked: Why do you cry? And she replied: That I can tell you. I am pained most by the great wounds Sigfrid received between his shoulders, and no weapon has touched his shield.
Then Hagen replied: Let's not remember Sigfrid's wounds for now. King Attila should be as dear to you as Sigfrid used to be, and he is half as much richer, but it is not possible any more to heal Sigfrid's wounds, and what has happened has happened. Then Grimhild rose and went away.
Now Dietrich von Bern came to invite the Niflungen to the meal, and he was followed by Aldrian, king Attila's son. King Gunther took Aldrian on his arm and carried him with him.
But king Dietrich and Hagen were such good friends that they took each other's hands
King Attila now sat on his throne, and to his right sat king Gunther, and next to him young Giselher, then Gernot, then Hagen, then their relative Volker. On Attila's left sat king Dietrich von Bern, then margrave Rodinger, then master Hildebrand, and these sat at king Attila's high table.
And in the hall were also the noblest of men one next to the other, and they drank good wine and feasted. And such a large amount of people were in town that all houses were filled. And they all slept in peace this night.
Now Attila went into the garden where the feast would take place and called all others in. And the queen told the Niflungen: Now give your weapons to me for safe keeping. No one should bear arms here, and you will see the Huns do so as well.
Then Hagen said: You are a queen
Then Gernot said: Hagen was never in a good mood since we set out on this journey, and it could be he will prove his courage even today. And now Gernot, too, started to suspect betrayal, and recalled that Hagen had said so before they ever went on this journey, and he, too, bound his helmet tightly on his head.
Now king Attila, too, saw this happening, and he asked Dietrich who those were that bound their helmets so tightly. And Dietrich told him they were Hagen and Gernot, and both are brave heroes in foreign lands,
Now king Attila went to king Gunther and Giselher, and took their hands, Gunther's in his right hand, and Giselher's in his left, and called to Hagen and Gernot, and he placed them all on the high table to his right, as was said before
And all Niflungen had come to the garden in their armour with their swords, but their shields and spears they had given to their squires for safe keeping, and twenty squires were set by the door
Volker sat with the foster of Aldrian, Attila's son, and Grimhild had her chair set opposite king Attila, and duke Osid was with her.
Now a sharp battle ensued, when the Huns tried to enter the garden but the Niflungen defended it; and this garden was called the Holmgarten, and even to this day
Now Hagen said to Gunther: It seems to me that many of the Huns and Amelungen
A stone wall stood around this garden, as strong as a city wall, and this same wall is still around today
Now the Huns let their horns sound, and shouted that the Niflungen had escaped the garden. All Huns hurried to the fight so that all streets were filled with them, and the Niflungen were outnumbered and driven back into the garden.
But Hagen sprang up to the hall
And to the left side of the Niflungen
Now Gernot, Giselher and Volker turned from the street to the hall
Then Gernot said to king Dietrich: When will you come with your men to help us? You cannot let so few fight against so many! And Dietrich replied: My good friend Gernot, it saddens me to see this storm
Now king Gunther knew that Hagen, Gernot, and Giselher, his brothers, had sallied forth from the garden, and also that a much larger army of Huns had attacked them. All of them
Now duke Osid, king Attila's nephew, came against king Gunther, and they fought long and hard until night fell. And because king Gunther was all alone in the middle of the Hun army, and had to fight against their greatest hero, he was overwhelmed and taken prisoner. He surrendered his weapons and was bound. And when the Huns had scored this great victory they started a great shouting. And king Attila and the queen called that they should not kill Gunther but bring him to them, and Osid led Gunther before Attila's knees
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
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
Then Hagen had his horns blown, and called all Niflungen to him. and Hagen now had reached the town wall. All the Niflungen came to him, and Hagen asked Gernot: How many men did we lose with king Gunther? And Gernot said they would now muster their men. To Hagen's right Giselher should go with his banner, but, said Gernot, with my men, but to Hagen's left and with me the men who followed the other banners
And thus the Niflungen ordered their army. Now they counted how many men they had lost, and it turned out they'd lost 300 men, but 700 were still alive. And Hagen said they still had a large army, and the Huns would lose many men before the Niflungen bowed to them
And Hagen continued: If it were day now and we could fight, we would likely win. King Attila has only a few more men than we do. But if we wait here for morning, many people from the countryside will come to town, and we will have to deal with such a large army that we will be overwhelmed, and I'm not sure if we'll do anything heroic before we give up our lives. But if we had fire we could fight on.
And Hagen and a few men went to a cooking shed and took fire, and threw it into a house, and then the whole town was lighted.
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
Now king Dietrich saw that margrave Rondinger was dead, and he called loudly: Now my best friend is dead I can no longer keep still. Take your arms, men, and I will now fight against the Niflungen.
Now Dietrich went forth from his hall, and in German songs it is said that worthy men were not there
Now Dietrich advanced so much with his men that Hagen von Troja
Now king Dietrich entered the hall, and Volker stood in the door and defended it, but Dietrich's first stroke hit his helmet so that his head flew off. Then Hagen attacked him and their duel started.
And master Hildebrand attacked Gernot, and they fought, but Hildebrand killed Gernot with strong Lagulf
And now there were only four in the hall who carried weapons: Dietrich and Hagen in their duel, and Hildebrand and Giselher.
Now king Attila descended from his tower and went to the fighting. And Hagen said to him: It would be a brave man's work, king Attila, if you gave young Giselher peace. He is innocent of Sigfrid's death, because I alone gave him the fatal wound. So do not hold Giselher responsible for it, he could become a good warrior if he lives.
But Giselher said: Don't tell me not to defend myself. My sister knows that I was but five years old when Sigfrid was killed, and I was in bed with my mother, and I am not to blame for this struggle. But I do not want to live alone among my brothers.
And Giselher jumped to master Hildebrand and gave him one blow after the other, but their duel ended as one could suspect, that master Hildebrand gave him a fatal wound. And so Giselher fell.
Then Hagen said to king Dietrich: It seems our friendship will end like this, and one of us most lose his life here. But let us fight bravely, and let neither of us insult the other with his ancestry
They fought long and hard, and it was difficult to see which one would win, and the duel went on for so long that both became wounded and tired. And now king Dietrich became angry at having to fight one man for so long, and said: This is truly a great shame, that I stay here all day to fight with an elf's son.
And Hagen replied: What's worse, an elf's son or the devil himself?
And now king Dietrich became so angry that fire came from his mouth, and Hagen's armour became so hot that it glowed, and it did not protect him, but burn him instead. And Hagen said: Now I will give up my arms. I burn through my armour, and if I had been a fish instead of a man, I'd be so fried that my flesh would be edible.
Then king Dietrich gripped him and tore off his armour.
Grimhild took a big branch from where the hall had burned above Hagen, and went to her brother Gernot, and put the branch in his mouth to find out if he was dead or alive, but Gernot was truly dead. Then she went to Giselher and did the same, but he wasn't dead yet, and so Giselher died.
Now king Dietrich von Bern saw what Grimhild was doing, and said to king Attila: See how this devil Grimhild, your wife, torments her brothers, and how many have died for her sake, Huns and Amelungen and Niflungen, and if she can she will kill you as well.
And king Attila said: She is truly a devil, so kill her, and it would have been better if you'd done so seven nights ago. And king Dietrich went to Grimhild and cut her in two.
Status: summary of 21 chapters complete.