Summary of the Thidrekssaga

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Origins of the Niflungen

169

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 I think Siegfried's death is meant here.. Their sister was Grimhild.

When king Aldrian left his realm and died, his oldest son Gunther took up the kingship.

170

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 This is the only mention of Guthorm anywhere; maybe he died from his illness?. Gunther accepted with thanks, and said he would come with Hagen, but Guthorm would stay home because he was ill. And then Gunther and his men went to the feast and were well received.

Dietrich's feast

171

All these sat on one bench or platform; pall: king Diet­rich, king Gunther and Hagen, Hildebrand and jarl Hornboge. To his Diet­rich's left hand sat Witig and Amelung, Detlef and Fasold, Sintram and Wildeber, Herbrand the wise and well-traveled, and Heime the Cruel.

And everyone said that they had never seen such noble and brave men, so perfect in all virtues in one hall together.

183

King Gunther's coat of arms was white as silver, and it had a crowned eagle, which he used for all his weapons, and the eagle was crowned because he was a king and the eagle was the king of all birds.

184

Hagen, Gunther's brother, has only one eye 244, and was merciless. He had a similar coat of arms to Gunther's, silver with an eagle. His weapons were red, but if his silver-inlaid shield glistened in the sunlight so that no one could look at it for a long time, and that was a wise choice of his. Now it is a law among German men that no one may carry such a silver shield or buckler into duels. His eagle did not have a crown because he was no king.

The road to Bertangaland

198

When they met each other Witig explained to king Diet­rich what he had done, and Diet­rich thought Witig had done well, as was to be expected.

When king Gunther he is probably mentioned here because he's the next highest in rank. and the other companions noticed that Diet­rich and Witig were not with them, and nobody was pursuing them, they thought Witig had fooled them, and returned to king Diet­rich and Witig, and misliked what they had done.

Then Witig said to king Gunther and the others: Dear friends, I beg you, don't hold it against me that I did not tell you the truth. I know that among you many are not less than me. But if I have done you a bad turn, then let me make up with gold and jewelry.

Then nearly One would like to know who dissented. Heime? all replied: We will forgive you, and you bear no guilt for our reaction, but we did it to ourselves.

199

Now they all rode on, and they saw how deep the pole had gone into the earth, and the place where the spear had gone into the earth, and then to the hole in the ground where the giant had fallen, and there they found innumerable treasures of gold, silver, and jewelry, because that was all the treasure of king Isung I sure assume this means: the treasure Isung had given to Etger as well as what Etger This is the first time since 194 that his name is mentioned. had taken with him from Denmark.

Then king Diet­rich said: Witig, I counsel you to leave this treasure here, and not take a penny with you. Now I first want to go to king Isung and fight him, and when we win we will take this treasure with us and do what we like. But if we lose, people could say we took booty here but still lost in our main endeavour not to mention that Isung would take it back from them. And if we part as good friends after the battle, we will share this treasure with them in friendship.

Witig replied the king but had to command him, as in everything. And so it was done. This sentence is not in Jónsson's Old Norse text. I’m not sure where Von der Hagen got it. A or B?

Now they exited the forest and saw a mountain, and on it a beautiful and large castle. King Diet­rich had his tents erected under the mountain, and camped there.

The tournament

200

One day king Isung and his eleven sons were in their castle, and Sigfrid came to them and said to them: My lord, I saw a tent on the field before your castle, of a different type than I saw before. In the middle of this tent is a pole, and on it a knot of gold. And there is a second, red tent before it, and a third, green tent behind it, and on the right a golden tent, and on the left a white tent.

And before the tents there are thirteen shields, and on the outer shield there is a horse, and that is Heime's, and on the next a golden hawk with two birds, and that is my relative see 203 for this relation jarl Hornboge's, and on the third shield is the same, and that is of his son Amelung, and on the fourth there is a tongues, hammer and anvil, and that is Witig's, and on the fifth is a crowned lion, and that is king Diet­rich's. On the sixth is a crowned eagle, and that is king Gunther's, and on the seventh an eagle without a crown, and that is his brother Hagen's, and on the eighth there are flames of gold, and that is Herbrand's, and on the ninth there is also a lion, but without a crown, and that is Fasold's, and on the tenth is a dragon, and that is Sintram's, and on the eleventh is the castle of Bern, and that is Hildebrand's, and on the twelfth are a boar and a bear, and that is Wildeber's, and on the thirteenth there are a man and an elephant, and that is Detlef's.

And from that, Sigfrid continued, it seems to me that foreign warriors have come to our land, and I am prepared, if you wish, to ride to them and find out who they are A bit pointless, since he just identified them, but that's how sagas work and why they have erected their tents against your will.

King Isung said: I'll send one of my men to them to tell them that if they want to keep their lives they should pay me tribute, as our laws require, and my emissary will ask them who they are, where they come from, where they were born, and where they're going, and if they have any other goal here than to pay me tribute.

And Sigfrid said: the man you're going to send should be none other than me.

201

Then Sigfrid took a bad horse without a saddle Why? and rode from the castle and down the mountain to king Dierich's tent. He dismounted and said: Welcome, good sir knight, and I'd greet you by name if I but knew it. They replied in similar vein and welcomed him.

Then Sigfrid said: My lord king Isung sends me to demand tribute from you, as our laws require, but if you do not give tribute you will leave your goods and your life here.

King Diet­rich replied: We came here for reasons other than to give your king tribute. I offer him a challenge vígr. Let him come to me with as many men as I have, and before we part we will see what kind of heroes have come here retranslate.

Sigfrid replied: With your permission, who is your leader, and where do you come from? You're doing something no one has done before with your challenge. Haven't you heard how great he is? And I think he will not refuse battle, whatever men you are.

Witig said: King Diet­rich rules these men, and there is another king here, that is Gunther of Niflungenland, and there are also many good heroes here. But do you think that king Isung and Sigfrid will truly battle us?

Sigfrid said: King Isung and Sigfrid will not flee from you, even though it's Diet­rich von Bern and his men who have come here. But you cannot break the law and refuse tribute, so you should send him something that honours both you and him.

King Diet­rich said: Since you bring us this message with so much courtesy I'm willing to send him an honourable gift. And he turned to his men and decided they would send one horse and shield, and they would cast lots to see who would lose them. And they did so One would love a few more details about the process, and Amelung Hornboge's son's lot came up. Thus king Diet­rich gave Amelung's horse and shield to Sigfrid, who rode away.

206

The next morning king Isung and his men sons, one presumes armed themselves, and Sigfrid took his banner and they rode from the castle to king Diet­rich's tent. There king Isung said: Let king Diet­rich stand up and arm himself and come against thirteen of us with thirteen of his men. And if he now rides home without fighting we will tell everyone about his scandalous behaviour.

And king Diet­rich said: Don't doubt we've come here to fight. We have ridden a long road and encountered many dangers to find out who of us has the better swords and shields, the harder helmets, and more strength and valour.

King Isung and his men dismounted while king Diet­rich and his men armed themselves. And they decided to hold thirteen duels between two heroes on foot. King Diet­rich would fight Sigfrid, king Gunther would fight king Isung, and Witig Isung's oldest son, and so man was paired with man.

217

Now king Gunther of Niflungenland took the field, and against him king Isung. The two kings attacked each other sharply, and both hit strongly and well, but still king Isung was a long stronger. But king Gunther did not fall back, and returned many blows. When this had gone on for a while king Isung became angry that a man could stand against him for so long, and decided to risk himself boldly, so that one of them would get a quick defeat, and spared no force and hit the helmet of king Gunther, and his sword broke; and this was such a strong blow that it was a wonder. But the helmet was so hard that the sword didn't bite.

Now king Isung took the spear shaft that Hagen had been bound to from the earth and hit king Gunther's helmet with all might, and the helmet bent and king Gunther fell, blood streaming from nose and mouth.

Then king Isung took him and bound him, and went away saying: "May the men who are left do equally well."

Dietrich's fellowship falls apart

226

Then king Diet­rich and all his heroes rode with king Gunther to Niflungenland. And there the marriage was decided that later became famous, that Sigfrid would take Grimhild, sister to king Gunter and Hagen, as his wife, and with it half of king Gunther's realm.

And a great feast was given, and all the best and noblest men in the country were invited. And this marriage took five days and was wonderful in all things.

When king Diet­rich, king Gunther and Sigfrid sat together, Sigfrid said to Gunther, his brother-in-law: I know a woman who surpasses all women in the world in beauty and virtue frægð ok kurteisi allri, and she is above all women in wisdom and greatness, and she is called Brunhild and she rules over the castle called Seegard. This is the woman you should take for your wife, and I’ll help you This sentence is missing in Jónsson because I know all the roads that lead there. And king Gunther said he liked this counsel.

Gunther and Brunhild

227

Then they rode away from the feast, king Diet­rich, king Gunther, Hagen and Sigfrid with all their men, and they traveled long and didn't stop before they reached Brunhild's castle.

Brunhild received king Diet­rich and king Gunther well, but Sigfrid not so much, since she already knew he had a wife, and the first time they met he had sworn not to take another woman than her, and she not another man than him See 168 for their earlier meeting, but no oaths were sworn by anyone..

Now Sigfrid went to Brunhild and told her why they had come, and that she should marry king Gunther. She replied: I heard how badly you kept your word, that we had promised ourselves to each other, and even though I can pick whichever man in the world I'd like, I still want you for my husband.

Sigfrid replied: What had been decided before fate? has happened now, but because you are the most wonderful woman I know, and we cannot do as we intended, I have brought king Gunther to you, since he is a mighty hero and a powerful king, and I think the two of you are well matched. And I took his sister instead of you because you have no brothers, but he and I have sworn brotherhood.

Then Brunhild replied: I see now that I cannot have you, so I will take your and king Diet­rich's counsel in this. Now king Diet­rich and king Gunther joined this conversation, and they did not part before king Gunther and Brunhild decided to marry.

228

Now a great marriage feast was held, and king Gunther married Brunhild. And on the first night, when king Gunther and Brunhild went to bed, no third man maðr; I assume the saga means 'person' should be in their house, but outside two men would take guard It is unclear why this detail matters.

And when the two newlyweds were together, king Gunther wanted to make love to Brunhild, but she didn't want that at all, and she took both their belts and tied him hand and foot and hung him on a nail in the wall. And there he hung until daylight, when she released him so that he could go and drink. Neither he nor she spoke of this to anyone.

And the next night the same happened, and the third night as well. And king Gunther became unhappy and did not know what to do. Then it occurred to him that Sigfrid and he had sworn brotherhood, and that he was also wise, so he had a talk with Sigfrid alone and told him what had happened.

Sigfrid replied: I'll tell you why this happens. As long as she keeps her virginity hardly any man can be found who has power over her, but once her virginity is taken she is not stronger than other women.

Then king Gunther said: Because of our blood relation and friendship I trust no man but you to keep silent about this, and I also know you're strong enough to take her virginity; but I trust that if we do this it will never become common knowledge. And Sigfrid said he'd do as Gunther asked, so that was decided.

229

When evening came and Gunther would go to bed, Sigfrid went instead, and Gunther went away in Sigfrid's clothes. And all thought that Gunther was in bed. But Sigfrid had thrown clothes on his head, and pretended he was very tired, and he lay there until everyone had fallen asleep or gone away. Then he went to Brunhild and took her virginity. And in the morning he took from her hand a finger ring and not one of the more common arm rings, and put another one in its place.

And now a hundred men came out to meet him, and king Gunther was the first, who went to the bed and Sigfrid came to him, and they swapped their clothes again, and nobody knew what had happened.

230

When the wedding had gone on for seven days and nights, they made ready to ride home. Now Gunther put a chieftain over the castle, but he rode home to Niflungenland with his wife Brunhild. And when he came home he sat quietly in his realm and ruled it in peace, and with him his brother in law Sigfrid and his brothers Hagen and Gernot. But king Diet­rich and all his man rode home to Bern, and they parted as good friends.

Sigfrid's death

342

In these days, in the town called Vernisa According to Ritter Virnich close to Zülpich, king Gunther ruled over Niflungenland, and with him his brother Hagen, and as the third their brother in law, the most famous of all heroes and chiefs, both in the Southlands and in the Northlands, Sigfrid, who was married to Grimhild, daughter of Aldrian and sister of Hagen and Gunther, who Gunther was married to Brunhild the rich and beautiful.

And from the moment that Sigfrid married Grimhild this realm stood in great splendor, mostly because everyone was afraid of the mighty lords who ruled there, and also because they had more cattle, gold, and silver than any other king. They were cruel to their enemies, but among one another they were good friends. But Sigfrid excelled above the others in all things, his skin was as hard as horn, like the breast of a wild boar, and no weapn could pierce it, except between the shoulders, where his skin was like that of other people.

343

One day queen Brunhild went into her hall As in 317 the queen has her own hall, apart from the king and there sat before her Grimhild, king Gunther's sister and Sigfrid's wife, and when Brunhild came to her seat she said: Are you so proud that you don't rise for me, the queen?

And Grimhild replied: I'll tell you why not. You are sitting on the throne that once belonged to my mother, and I have as much right as you to sit there.

Brunhild replied: Although your mother had this seat, and your father this town and land, now it is mine, and not yours Ms. A adds: With deceit you came to Sigfrid, but I will still rule over you.. Go into the forest and mount behind retranslate your husband Sigfrid A reference to his youth in the forest.

Then Grimhild said: Why would it be a disgrace to me that Sigfrid is my husband? You start this game now, and you clearly want us to speak more of what is an honour and a dishonour to you. So answer my question promptly: who took your virginity? Who was your first man?

And Brunhild replied: I can easily answer that with honour: king Gunther came to my castle with his men, and on the counsel of my friends I took him for my husband and was duly married with many precious gifts and guests Ms. A adds: since Sigfrid turned away from me by fraud, and with king Gunther I went to Niflungenland, and I will not hide that he was my first man.

Then Grimhold said: You lie, as I thought you would. The man who took your virginity was Sigfrid. And Brunhild said: I was never Sigfrid's wife, and he never my husband.

And Grimhild said: I can prove it by this finger ring that he took from you when he had taken your virginity. He drew this gold from your hand and gave it to me.

And when Brunhild saw this gold she knew it had once been hers, and she understood what must have happened in 229, and she deplored that so many people had heard this and this story had come to light. And her body became as red as freshly shed blood She blushed; ms. A has: And she was filled with anger against Sigfrid, because he had deceived her so often and so bitterly. And she was silent and didn't speak a word, but went out from the town.

344

She saw three men coming to here, and the first was king Gunther, and his brother Hagen, and the third was Gernot. They met her, and she cried and wailed and tore her clothes. King Gunther and Hagen had rode to hunt that day, and when they saw queen Brunhild act like that they didn't know what ailed her and halted their horses.

Then the queen said: Noble king Gunther, I gave myself into your power and left my realm and friends and relatives, and I did all of that for your sake. Will you or another man now avenge my disgrace? And if you do not want to avenge me, you should do it for your own sake. Sigfrid has broken his promise of silence and has told his wife Grimhild about everything that you had confided to him: that you were not the first to lie with me, but had Sigfrid take my virginity. And Grimhild said all that in the presence of everyone.

Hagen replied: Noble queen Brunhild, don't cry any longer. Instead, act as if nothing has happened.

Brunhild said: I will do as you say. Sigfrid came to you as a traveler or homeless? vallarr, but now he so proud and mighty that it won't be long before all must serve him. And the first time he came to me he did not know who his father or mother were 168.

King Gunther said: My wife, don't cry, and be silent right now. Sigfrid will not be our lord for much longer, and my sister Grimhild will not be your queen. And Brunhild did as the king demanded.

King Gunther and Hagen his brother now rode into town to the hall. And they and Gernot pretended they knew nothing, and Brunhild did the same. Sigfrid had ridden into the forest to hunt, and was not at home at that time.

345

A few days later Sigfrid returned with his men. And when he came into the hall where king Gunther sat, the king rose and welcomed his brother in law, and so did Hagen and Gernot, and they were quite joyful that evening, but queen Brunhild was not.

A few days later Hagen said to his brother king Gunther: Lord, when do you want to ride into the forest to hunt, and we with you? And the king said he wanted to ride out as soon as the weather was better. And again a few days passed, and then Hagen went to the cooking house and told the cook: Tomorrow morning you will bring us breakfast, and make everything as salt as you can, and give Sigfrid the portion that is saltiest. And then he went to his cup-bearer and told him to give them their drinks very late. And then Hagen left.

346

The next morning king Gunther and Hagen said that they were going to ride out for a hunt and went to breakfast. Sigfrid came there and asked them what they were planning. Gunther told him they were going for a hunt, and asked if Sigfrid wanted to join them. And Sigfrid agreed to come with them. The king said: Then eat, and Sigfrid did so, and the cook and the cup-bearer did everything that Hagen had ordered them.

When they had eaten they took their horses, rode into the forest, and loosed their dogs. And when Sigfrid had departed from the castle Grimhild went back to bed because she was so angry with Brunhild that she didn't want to sit with her.

Hagen rode away later than the others, and had talked to queen Brunhild. And Brunhild asked Hagen to make sure Sigfrid did not come home that evening, and she offered him gold and silver and jewelry to do so. But Hagen said that Sigfrid was so strong that he wasn't sure he could kill him, but he promised to try. And then he rode out, and the queen wished him goodbye and told him to keep his promise.

347

Now they hunted, and rode until they were tired, and from time to time they ran. And Sigfrid was the first best here, as always. And they had found a great boar, which they had hunted before. And when the dogs had taken the boar gripped it, probably Hagen killed it with his spear. And they cut up the boar and gave the innards to the dogs. And by now they were so hot and tired that they could hardly walk.

Then they came to a brook, and king Gunther lay down and drank, and Hagen did the same, and then Sigfrid came and also lay down to drink. And when Hagen had drunk he rose, took his spear in both hands, and stuck Sigfrid right between the shoulder blades so that it went through his heart and exited through his breast The horn skin is not mentioned.

Then Sigfrid said, when he received the spear: I had not expected that tretranslate of my brother in law, and if I'd known you'd do this when I was still on my feet my shield would be broken, my helmet split, and my sword blunt, and it is more likely I'd have killed the four four? Gunther, Hagen, Gernot. Who is number four? of you.

Then Hagen said: This morning we hunted a boar, and we four now including Sigfrid? Or the mysterious fourth? could hardly catch it, and now I alone have caught a bear and a wisent, but it was even harder for us four to catch Sigfrid, if he was ready for us retranslate than to kill a bear and a wisent.

Then king Gunther said: You have hunted well, and this wisent we will take home with us to bring it to my sister. Then they took Sigfrid's body and took it back to the castle.

348

Queen Brunhild stood on the rampart and saw king Gunther and Hagen and Gernot ride back to the castle, and also saw they brought Sigfrid dead. She went to them and said they were the luckiest hunters, and asked them to bring the body to Grimhild. She sleeps in her bed, she said, let her now embrace the dead, he has what he deserves now, and so does Grimhild.

They now went to her room, which was locked, and they broke open the door and carried the body inside, and threw it onto the bed into her arms, and she woke up and saw that Sigfrid was in her bed and was dead.

Then Grimhild said to Sigfrid: Your wounds are evil. How did you receive them? Your shield and helmet are untouched, how were you wounded like that? You must be murdered. If I knew who'd done it I'd avenge it.

Hagen said: He was not murdered/ We hunted a wild boar, and that boar gave him the fatal wound. And Grimhild said: That boar, that was you, Hagen, and no one else. And she cried bitterly.

Then they went to the hall and were quite happt, and Brunhild was no less happy. But Grimhild called her people and had Sigfrid's body buried.

And when the tale made the rounds that Sigfrid was dead, everyone said that no man like that was in the world any more, nor would ever be born, so strong and brave, and possessed of such noble virtues, and his name would never be forgotten in the German language, nor in the Norse one.

Grimhild's revenge

356

Attila, king of Soest, heard that Sigfrid was dead and that Grimhild had become a widow. He himself was also a widower 340. He sent to Hunnenland for his nephew Osid A bit vague; apparently Osid lives in Hunnenland but not in Soest, and when Osid arrived Attila told him to go to Niflungenland to ask Grimhild, king Gunther's sister and Sigfrid's widow, to become his wife. Osid agreen and rode off with forty knights.

He found king Gunther in Vernica and stayed there for a few days.

357

One day king Gunther called Osid to a conversation, and Hagen and Gernot were with him. Then duke Osid said: King Attila of Soest sends you his greetings, and wants to marry your sister Grimhild, with as many goods as you care to send him Her dowry; does this mean Gunther can set the dowry himself? and he will be your friend, and before I ride from here I'd like to know your reply.

And king Gunther replied: King Attila is a rich man and a great leader, and if Hagen and Gernot agree, I will not deny him this. And Hagen added: I think we should consider it a great honour that the powerful king Attila takes our sister in wedding; he is the richest and most powerful of kings, and we can also become more powerful. But this matter will have to be laid before her herself; her will temper? skap is so great that neither king Attila nor anyone else in the world can get her without her will. And Gernot also agreed.

Then king Gunther and Osid went to Grimhild, and king Gunther told her the news and asked her what she thought of marrying Attila. She replied that she did not dare to deny king Attila because he was such a mighty king, and the man who brought her the request Osid was so respectable that she would gladly agree, provided it was also the counsel of king Gunther her brother. And the king replied he would not refuse the marriage, provided she wanted it as well.

King Gunther and his brothers discussed the matter with duke Osid, and it was decided. Then Osid prepared to depart, and when he was ready king Gunther took a gold-plated shield and helm that had belonged to Sigfrid and gave them to Osid This is a gift to Osid personally, it seems, and not to Attila, and they separated as good friends. The duke went home to Hunnenland and told king Attila about his journey, and the king thanked him, and said his journey had had the best outcome.

358

Quickly after king Attila prepared his journey to Niflungenland to his fiancée 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.

359

When seven winters had passed since Grimhild came to Hunnenland, one night she said to king Attila: I haven't seen my brothers in seven years now, couldn't you invite them over? And I can tell you, and maybe you already know, that my husband Sigfrid had so much gold that no king in the world was as wealthy. Now my brothers own this, and they haven't even offered me a penny. But if I were to get the gold, it would be seemly if you owned it together with me.

When king Attila heard these words he knew they were true. And since he was the most avaricious of people he desired the treasure, and said: I know Sigfrid had much gold, the gold he took from the dragon In 166 Sigfrid kills the dragon, but no gold is mentioned, and also the gold he won in his campaigns Not mentioned anywhere, and also the gold his father Sigmund left him. We want it all, but still king Gunther is our friend. Now, wife, I want you to invite your brothers, and I will prepare a great feast. And with that the conversation ended.

Not long after Grimhild called two men to her, and told them to go to Niflungenland to bring her message, and for this journey she would equip them with gold and silver and good clothes and horses. And the minstrels leikmenn said thet would do what she wanted. And she prepared their journey and gave them a letter and king Attila's and her seal.

360

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.

361

When the king had read the letter the messenger spoke, but never mind, he called his brothers Hagen, Gernot, and Giselher for a council, and told them what message he had received, and asked them what they should do.

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 Mb. omits the 'not', which is only found in A and B stay home. Or don't you remember how we said goodbye to Sigfrid? And when you don't remember, I know someone in Hunnenland who does remember, and when you come to Soest she will remind you.

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.

362

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.

363

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 According to Ritter this is the Dhünn, which used to flow into the Rhine north of Cologne. Since 1840 it flows into the Wupper before that river reaches the Rhine and Rhine join, and the water was broad where the rivers joined, and they did not find a ship, and stayed there for the night.

364

King Gunther said to Hagen: Who of our men will keep watch tonight? Name whomever you like. Hagen replied: Put whomever you want on watch up by the river, but here below I myself will keep watch, because we should try to get a ship somewhere This entire sequence is vague.

When the other men had gone to sleep Hagen took all his weapons and walked downriver. There was bright moonlight, so that he could see where he was going. Hagen came to a water named Mæri, and he saw some women in the water, and that their clothes were on land between the two rivers, and he took their clothes and hid them. These were women we call sea-women sjókonur, and their nature is of lakes and sea, and these women had gone from the Rhine into this water to enjoy themselves i.e. swim?. Now one of the women called to him to give them back their clothes, and came from the water.

Hagen said: Tell me this first: will we cross this stream safely and return? If you don't reply you'll never see your clothes again. And she said: You can cross safely, but none of you will return, and you will have great difficulties retranslate.

Then Hagen drew his sword and killed the woman, and her daughter with her.

365

Hagen went on downriver for a while, and saw a ship in the middle of the river, and a man on it, and he asked him to come to land to fetch a man from Elsung. He said this because they were in the realm of jarl Elsung the Younger and he thought the pilot would come to him quicker.

The pilot replied: I don't pick up men of Elsung quicker than any other, and I won't row without wages. Hagen took a golden ring and held it up: See here, good man, your wages. I'll give you this golden ring when you ferry me over.

When the pilot saw this he considered how he had married a short while ago, and he wanted to give his wife the money, so he rowed to the shore. Hagen got on the ship and have the pilot his ring. Now the pilot wanted to row across, but Hagen told him to go upstream, but the pilot refused. Hagen told him to row upstream if he wanted to or not, and the pilot took fright and rowed where Hagen wanted him to go, and now they rowed on until theu came to the Niflungen.

366

King Gunther and his people were on their feet, and they had found a ship, but it was very small, and with this ship a few men had already crossed the stream, but as soon as they landed the ship filled with water, I presume and capsized, and they barely came ashore.

When Hagen came to them with the large ship the Niflungen became happy, and king Gunther himself boarded the ship, and with him a hundred men, and they rowed into the stream. But Hagen rowed so storngly that he broke both oars in one stroke ok af keipana Don't understand; not even Von der Hagen's translation, and said that the one who made fun of them would never thrive, and drew his sword and cut off the pilot's head, who was seated in front of him on the benches.

Then king Gunther said: Wy did you do that evil deed? What has he done to you?

And Hagen said: I don't want messengers to go to Hunnenland to tell them about our journey, and this man can't tell them any more.

Then king Gunther said: You just want to do evil, and you are never happy unless you've done some evil.

And Hagen replied: Why wouldn't I do evil when we go forth? Not even a child will return from our journey.

Now king Gunther steered, but the rudder broke in two, and the ship ran before current and wind. Hagen jumped to the rudder and reattached the rudder not sure how to picture this with a strong hand, and when he had mended the rudder they were close to land. And at that moment the ship capsized, and they came to shore with their clothes wet.

Then they repaired the ship and had their men cross the stream again to their other men until all had crossed the river. And they went on their way all day.

367

By evening they lay down and Hagen took the watch again. And when everyone was asleep Hagen went out to scout far from his people. And he found a sleeping man in armour who had laid his sword under him, but the hilt was visible. Hagen took the sword and threw it from him, and then he poked the man with his right foot, and told him to wake up.

The man jumped up and reached for his sword, but saw it was gone, and said: Woe to me for this sleep! I lost my sword, and now I guarded my lord's realm badly Von der Hagen adds: my lord margrave Rodinger's; and: I waited for three days and nights, and therefore I slept.

Hagen said: You are a good man, see here a golden ring for your courage sarcasm? and you will enjoy it more than the previous man who got it apparently Hagen took his golden ring back from the pilot, and also I'll return your sword.

The man replied: Thank you for my sword, and also your ring. And Hagen said: Don't be afraid of this army if you guard margrave Rodinger's land. He is our friend, and king Gunther of the Niflungen leads this army with his brothers. But tell me, where do you want us to spend the night? And who are you?

The man said: I am Eckeward, and now I understand where you go. Are you Hagen Aldrian's son, who killed my lord Sigfrid? Take care while you are in Hunnenland, because you may have many enemies here. But for spending the night I can't bring you to a better place than Bakalar, with margrave Rodinger.

Hagen said: You directed us to where we wanted to go anyway. Now ride home to the castle and tell them that we are coming. Also tell them we are rather wet.

368

Eckeward rode home, and Hagen went back to his men, and told king Gunther what had happened, and ordered everyone to get up and ride to the castle as quickly as possible. And so they did.

Eckeward rode home as fast as he could, and when he arrived in the hall margrave Rodinger had just eaten and was about to go to sleep. Then Eckward told him what had happened. Then margrave Rodinger rose and ordered all his men to prepare the best meal they could. And he himself jumped on his horse, and when he rode out he met king Gunther with all his men. Margrave Rodinger received the Niflungen well.

369

Now the Niflungen rode into Rodinger's courtyard garð and dismounted, and the margrave's men received them well. And the margrave had ordered two large fires to be made because they were still wet. And king Gunther, his brothers, and several of his men sat with one fire, and the other men with the other. Those who were dry were led to the hall and placed on the benches.

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.

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.

373

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 Some manuscripts have Gernot; don't know which one(s); figure out, and cried bitterly.

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 Thus Diet­rich indicates to everyone he will not fight Hagen, and thus they went all the way to the hall. And on every tower and every window, and in every garden, and on the town wall there were noble kurteisar women who wanted to see Hagen, so famous was he in all lands for his bravery. Thus they came to the hall.

374

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.

375

The next morning they got up, and king Diet­rich and Hildebrand and many other knights came to the Niflungen. Diet­rich asked how they had slept, and Hagen said he had slept well, but that his mood was still average.

Then king Diet­rich said: Be merry, good friend Hagen, and be welcome; but be aware that your sister Grimhild still grieves for Sigfrid, and you will notice that before you go home. And thus Diet­rich was the first man to warn the Niflungen One manuscript adds 'in Soest', which is correct, because this is certainly not the first warning.

Then they went out into the courtyard or garden; út í garðinn, and king Gunther walked on one side of king Diet­rich, and Hildebrand on the other, and with Hagen went Volker, and now all Niflungen had awoken and they walked through town.

And now king Attila went onto the balcony or window; í svalirnar and looked at the Niflingen. And many men went to see their walk, but most of all everyone asked where Hagen went, because he was that famous. King Attila looked for Hagen and Volker, but he did not see them, because they wore deep helmets helmets that hid their faces, I assume, and he asked who came with Diet­rich and Gunther. And Osid said that he thought they were Hagen and Volker. And Attila replied: I should have recognised Hagen, because I and queen Erka made him a knight Not otherwise attested; maybe around 241-244?, and he was our good friend back then.

Now Hagen and Volker went forth through the town, and they each had their hand around the other's shoulder, and they saw many well-bred women. And how they took off their helmets and showed themselves. And Hagen was white like ash, and he had but one eye.

Now the Niflungen stood out by the town wall and saw the town, but Diet­rich von Bern went back to his court, where he had business to do.

Now king Attila saw how many people there were in town, and he could not fit them all into his great hall. But since it was nice weather he had a feast prepared in his garden apaldrsgarðr; seems to mean crab apple garden.

376

Meanwhile queen Grimhild entered Diet­rich's hall to speak to him. And she wailed and wept and said: Good friend Diet­rich, I have come to ask for your help to avenge Sigfrid, I want to pay back Hagen and Gunther and their brothers. If you help me I'll give you as much gold and silver as you want, and I will also help you when you go back over the Rhine to avenge yourself on Ermenrik. But Diet­rich said: Lady, I will not do that, and if you do so it will be against my will, because they are my good friends.

Then she went away weeping and went to the hall where duke Osid was, and again she spoke: Lord Osid, don't you want to help me avenge my grief? I want to pay the Niflungen back for the death of Sigfrid, and if you do so I'll give you a large realm and anything you should ask for. But Osid said: If I did that, I would have king Attila's enmity, since he is a good friend of them.

Then the queen went to king Attila and said to him: Lord king, where is the gold or silver that my brothers brought here? And the king said he had not seen any gold or silver, but he would still treat them well as guests in his house. And Grimhild said: Then who will avenge my disgrace if you won't? Sigfrid was murdered! Now help me, and you can win the Niflungen treasure and all of Niflungenland.

The king said: Do not speak of that any more. How could I betray my brothers in law? They have come here in good faith, and neither you nor anyone else should offend them. Then she went away and she felt quite bad.

377

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 I think he means: you are a woman, what would you do with my weapons? My father taught me never to trust my weapons to a woman, and as long as I am in Hunnenland I will never let my weapons far from me. And Hagen put his helmet on his head and bound it as tightly as he could. And all saw how angry Hagen was, and did not know what that meant.

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, Von der Hagen adds: 'And the king said'; presumably Attila and they do so from great courage. And again Diet­rich spoke, and said: They are brave heroes, and it is likely that they will show it even this day, if things go as I suspect.

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 374. A great fire had been made in the garden, and around it were tables and seats.

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 to the room where the shields and spears were kept? to warn them of treason. Hagen and Gernot had decided this.

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.

383

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 except for the heroes, who are with their backs against halls now fled back into the garden. King Gunther had been defending the eastern gate i.e. the one that had been there all along, with the raw cow hides where Irung and his men stood. When king Gunther heard that Hagen needed his help he went out of the west opening with his men. But outside were many fully armed Huns remember: the Niflungen are still not fully armed; they never got their spears and shields, and had to scavenge them from the battlefield, something the men inside the garden had been unable to do and a sharp battle ensued. King Gunther advanced, but none of his men were so strong that they could follow him.

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 i.e. Gunther was forced to go to his knees. And at the queen's counsel the king stood and with a great many people brought Gunther to a tower Ms B: snake tower and threw him in; and there were poisonous snakes there, and here Gunther died. This tower still, add mss. Sv and A stands in the middle of Soest.

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.

385

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 Which banners? Did the Niflungen have other chiefs?, and on Giselher's other side the men who followed king Gunther's banner, and Volker with them.

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 i.e. died or surrendered, and all agreed.

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.

394

And one can hear how these things happened one can hear in sagas of German men that were either born in Soest, where these events took place, and have seen unchanged the places where these things happened, where Hagen fell, and where Irung was killed, and where the snake tower was where king Gunther died. And the garden was called Niflungengarden and still stands in the same way as when the Niflungen were killed, the old gate where the struggle started, and the western gate which is now called Hagen's gate, where the Niflungen broke out of the garden, and today it is called the same as it was then.

Men from Bremen and Münster have told us the same, and none of them knew of the others, but they still told the same story. And it is also according to the old songs in the German language made by wise men of the great deeds that took place in that country.

Status: summary of 47 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)