Northward of the mountains in Svava there stood a castle names Seegard, and the wealthy and proud Brunhild ruled over it. And she was the most beautiful and most famous of all women in the South- and Northlands because of her wisdom and the heroic deeds done because of her, which have been told in many languages and will never be forgotten.
In a forest not far from there was a large estate owned by Brunhild, which was run by a man named Studa. In this forest there were many horses, and one herd was the best in the entire Northlands, and these horses were grey in colour, or white, or black, but always in one colour. Among this herd there were stallions big and strong, quick like a bird in flight, but they were easy to tame and well-tempered. Studa knew best of all men to train these horses for both tournaments and travel.
Studa was old, but he had a son also named Studa after his father. He was sixteen
He was later called Heime, and lost his original name, because there was a snake
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.
Now Signfrid went away and took the road that he was told went to Brunhild's castle. And when he came to the castle he found an iron door and nobody was there to open it for him. Then he hit the door so hard that the irons on the door were torn apart and went into the castle. Seven guards came to him, and they were guarding the gate, and didn't like him breaking open the door and wanted to kill him. But Sigfrid drew his sword and didn't stop until all these servants were slain. When the knights noticed this they took their weapons and attacked him, but he defended himself well.Brunhild now heard of all of this in her room, and she said: That must be Sigfrid Sigmund's son. And even though he may have killed seven of my knights ans seven servantsm he should still be welcome. And she went to the fight and told them to stop. And she asked who the man was that had come, and he said he was Sigfrid. She asked him for his ancestors, but he did not know.
And she said: If you don't know, then I can tell you you are Sigfrid, son of king Sigmund and Sisibe, and you are welcome here. But where do you travel to?
Sigfrid replied: I came here, because my foster father Mime told me to go here to get a stallion called Grani that you have. And I'd like to have him, if you please.
She said: I will give you a horse, or even several, if you want.
She ordered her men to catch the horse, and they took all day to do so, but they could not take it and in the evening they came home without it.
Sigfrid stayed the night. But in the morning she called twelve of her men, and went herself as the thirteenth. And the twelve men chased the horse for a long time and could not catch it. In the end Sigfrid asked for the bridle, and with it he went to the stallion, and the stallion wehnt to him and he caught it and jumped on his back.
Now Sigfrid rode away and thanked Brunhild for her hospitality. He stayd in no place for more than one night until he came to Bertangaland. There ruled a king named Isung, who had eleven sons. He took in Sigfrid and made him his counselor and banner bearer, and Sigfrid felt welcome here.
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
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
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
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.
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
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.
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 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.
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.
In these days, in the town called Vernisa
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.
One day queen Brunhild went into her hall
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
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
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
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
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.
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.
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.
Now they hunted, and rode until they were tired, and from time to time they ran. And Sigfrid was the first
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
Then Sigfrid said, when he received the spear: I had not expected that
Then Hagen said: This morning we hunted a boar, and we four
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.
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.
Status: summary of 15 chapters complete.