Summary of the Thidrekssaga

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Hildebrand and Heime

18

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 says B; A says twelve winters old when the saga comes to him. He was cruel and hard-hearted, greedy and ambitious, so that he wanted to serve no one and hated almost everyone.

He was later called Heime, and lost his original name, because there was a snake ormr; or dragon? out on the fields called Heime, and it was the strongest and most poisonous of all snakes so that all feared to come near its lair. And thus Studa got his name, because everyone compared him to this snake, and the Northmen Væringjar called him Heime. He got a strong stallion from the best herd which Studa had trained, and it was called Rispa.

19

One day when Heime had taken his horse and his sword Blutgang he stood before his father and told him he didn't want to stay in this forest but ride forth, and meet famous men and win fame himself. And Studa asked where he wanted to go.

Heime replied that he wanted to go southwards to the town called Bern, there is a famous man there called Diet­rich, and I want to find out if he or I is stronger with weapons. Studa said that wise men had told him of Diet­rich, and that is was madness for Heime to measure himself against him, and that he should ride elsewhere. Heime angrily said he wanted to be a greater man than Diet­rich or be killed quickly. Now I am sixteen says B; A says seventeen winters old, and he is not quite twelve yet, and where is the man I don't dare to fight against i.e. I can handle anyone?

Angry as he was he jumped on his horse Rispa and rode away, along a long unknown road, and he didn't stop until he came to Bern, and rode into the town to the king's hall. He asked a man to hold his horse and spear, and went into the hall to the king's throne, greeted him, and , in the eyes of all who were there, came before Diet­rich and said: Lord Diet­rich, much have I heard from you, and a long way I have gone to see you, and I challenge you to a duel today outside of Bern, then we will find out who the stronger man is.

Diet­rich thought this man was bold to speak these words, because no one had challenged him to a duel yet. But he did not hesitate and had confidence that this man would get what he deserved. He sprang up and left the hall, and Hildebrand and several other men with him, and had his weapons fetched. They brought him his armour and his red shield with a golden lion, and his helm Hildegrim, and his sword Nagelring, and his horse, which was saddled, and they gave him his spear, and Hildebrand held his stirrup for him when he mounted.

Witig

89

Then they continued their journey happily, and rode on until they came to the river called Wisar Weser. There had been a bridge between its two steep stone banks, and Sigstab and his men had fled there, and they had demolished the bridge and didn't want to let them across Unclear. I picture that they were waiting on the other side with weapons drawn because they preferred not to meet Witig and his companions again, nor their weapons.

When Witig saw all this he spurred on his horse Schimming, rode to the stone banks where the bridge had been, and then Schimming jumped from the one bank to the other as if an arrow sped there, and until this day the saga writer's, or his source's one can see the imprints of his hoofs and horseshoes where he sprang.

Hildebrand, Heime and jarl Hornboge rode after him. Hildebrand's horse also jumped, but didn't make it to the other bank and fell in the rivier, and swam to land. The same happened to Hornboge, but he reached the bank before Hildebrand. But Heime, who rode Rispa, Schimming's brother, jumped to the other bank.

As soon as Witig came down he rode at Sigstab and his five companions and they fought, and Witig gave many men heavy blows. But Heime sat on his horse and refused to help him See 108 for the consequences. When jarl Hornboge came on land he bravely rode to help Witig, and they did not stop until all five companions were dead I thought it was five + Sigstab, but he seems to have disappeared. But Witig had not yet noticed he didn't use his own sword Mimung.

90

Now they rode on and in the evening they came to a fort called Her which belonged to king Dietmar Mss. A and B say: belonged to Hildebrand, Diet­rich's father, and Hildebrand's wife lived there Manuscript A calls her Oda; the others do not have a name. There they stayed overnight, and the next day they went on to Bern.

Now Diet­rich was told while he was eating that Hildebrand, jarl Hornboge and Heime had come, and he rose and went out to greet them and asked for news. He didn't say a word to Witig, because he didn't know what kind of man he was. Then Witig took a silver-plated glove and gave it to Diet­rich, who asked what that meant. Witig replied: Hereby I challenge you to a duel. We are the same age, but I have heard much about you, and I have gone through a great deal to see if you are as great a hero as is said. Now I have reached you, and since the day I left home I have waited for the moment the two of us will fight.

Diet­rich said: I will keep the peace in the lands of my father and myself, so that not every tramp or scoundrel will challenge me to a duel. Hildebrand said: My lord, you don't know whom you're talking to. I'm not sure who would win a duel between the two of you; it is even likely that you would lose, when no one helps you.

Reinald, a follower of Diet­rich's, said: It's a great shame, my lord, that any country bumpkin can challenge you in your own lands. But when Hildebrand heard this he told him not to insult his companions with such words, and he hit Reinald on the ear with his fist so that he fell unconscious.

Then Diet­rich said to Hildebrand: I see you're taking the trouble to help this man, but you'll see how he will enjoy it: today he will hang outside Bern. Hildebrand said: If he comes into your power by bravery and strength i.e. after losing the duel then he will have to submit to your harsh judgement, but I think he'll fight better than that. But he is still unbound i.e. doesn't have a lord ... I think, and I think he'll stay here all day until the two of you fight Unclear; retranslate.

91

Then Diet­rich called for his weapons. He donned his armour, put his helmet Hildegrim on his head, girded himself with his sword Nagelring, and took his shield with the golden lion on a red field, and took his lance. His horse Falke was brought to him and he mounted, and Falke was a brother of Schimming, Witig's horse, and Rispa, Heime's horse. Then Diet­rich rode forth out of Bern with a large retinue of knights and chiefs. When he exited Bern he found Hildebrand and Witig with a few men. Witig sat fully armed on his horse, and was ready.

Now Heime came to Diet­rich with a bowl full of wine, and said: Drink, mylord, and God grant you victory today and forever. Diet­rich took the bowl, drank, and returned it. Then Hildebrand brought Witig the bowl, but Witig said he should bring the bowl to Diet­rich first and ask him to drink to his Witig's health. Now Hildebrand took the bowl to Diet­rich, but he was so angry that he refused to take it.

Then Hildebrand said: You still don't know who you're angry at, but you'll quickly find he is a hero, and not a scoundrel. Then he walked back to Witig and offered him the bowl again, and said: Now drink, and defend yourself with bravery, and may God help you. Then Witig took the bowl and drank, and with the bowl he also gave Hildebrand a golden armring and thanked him for his help.

Then Diet­rich called to Witig if he was ready, and Witig said he was.

Witig and Heime

108

Diet­rich sat on his throne next to his father king Dietmar, and his companions were around him. And this day Heime served him and poured him wine. He filled a golden bowl and served him well. Then Diet­rich saw his sword Nagelring, showed it to his companion, and said: Good Nagelring, you have gone through a lot when I left Bern with you, both weapons and stone, and I don't think a better sword could be found; Heime, for your services I would grant this sword to no one but you, take it, friend, and use it.

Heime took Nagelring and thanked his lord for this gift. And there were many other people around who praised Diet­rich for this.

Then Witig spoke: You are served badly, Nagelring, and you should have been given to a better man. And as long as I have been in Bern I did not like your company more than a woman's, because when I was in need when two men rode into the house of five, and you sat on your horse and did nothing. Jarl Hornboge and Hildebrand could not come to me because the river was in the way, and when the jarl finally came I did not need you any more, and I don't owe you a lot of thanks See 89 for this episode..

Then Diet­rich said he had heard a great shame, that somebody would not help his companion when he was in need. You evil dog, he said, go from my eyes! It would be better if you were hanged in Bern before the day is over.

Then Heime left the hall, took his horse Rispa and all his weapons, and rode away.

Detlef the Dane

116

That day Heime kept watch for Ingram and his companions, When he saw them, he reported back and said that their helmets were well-made, and that the robbers had their work laid out for them.

Ingram decided that they didn't all have to go, five men would be enough. But father and son fought mightily, and after a while all five lay dead on the ground. When Ingram saw that he ordered everyobody to attack, but Biterolf cleaved Ingram's helmet and head while Detlef killed two men. And they didn't stop until all robbers but Heime were dead. Now Heime hit Biterolf on the helmet so that he fell unconscious, but Detlef hit him on the helmet, and Heime sank to one knee. Quickly he recovered, sprang on his horse and rode as quickly as he could, all day long, and was glad he was still alive. He said, what many have proven, that the best piece of iron was the spur, since it saved him that day, and many others did the same.

But when Heime came to a river his stallion Rispa sprang so mightily that Heime flew off him. And it is said that there was a watermill there, and it was milling, but Heime heard the sounds as "hit, hit, strike, strike", and he rode day and night until he came back to Bern. Here he reconciled himself with Diet­rich, and became his follower again.

Biterolf and Detlef took all gear from the dead robbers, and took them home, and they had achieved great honour.

125

Detlef didn't want to go into the king's hall for food and drink, but preferred to arrange things for himself. So when the feast started, Detlef went to the market with a few other boys servants? squires? and bought wine and mead, and bread so that even the king's dish wouldn't be better served with food and drink. And everything was brought to the inn, where Detlef gave a feast for the servants and squires, three days long.

And then all his 30 marks of gold were spent. Still, he didn't want to give up his feast while the king's went on, so again he went to the market and bought new food and drink, and he pawned Heime's horse Rispa and his sword Nagelring for ten marks of gold. And thus they ate and drank until everything was gone.

And Detlef went to the market again, and now he pawned Witig's horse Schimming and his sword Mimung for twenty marks of gold. Then he again invited his guests, and also he had the inn hung with tapestries.

And when everything was eaten and drunk the king's feast had gone on for seven days and would go on for two more. And again he went to the market, and when someone asked 12 pennies for something, he would bid 20. And he pawned Diet­rich's horse Falke, and his sword Eckisax and his helm Hildegrim for 30 marks of gold, and now he had no fewer than thirty hundreds of guests, servants and squires, fiddlers and minstrels. And on the day the feast ended, Detlef gave the golden ring his mother had given to him to the chief minstrel Isung It is important to treat your minstrels well! Said the minstrel, because Isung was the best of them all. And Detlef gave him purple clothes with golden seams, and those were the clothes of Diet­rich the king's son, and thus he rewarded Isung for his playing, and the other minstrels also got a mark or two of gold.

Dietrich's feast

190

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

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

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

Dietrich's flight

288

Now Witig and Heime went back to king Ermenrik. Heime angrily confronted Ermenrik, and said that he had done many evils to his relatives, his sons Fridrich, Reginbald, and Samson, and his brother-sons Egard and Ake, and now his nephews Diet­rich and Diether, and his sister-son Wolfhart, and that Sibich was guilty of all of this.

Then Sibich said that Ermenrik had done wrong by raising Heime so high, and that it would be better if he sent him to the same forest where his father is, and minds your Ermenrik's horses.

Then Heime said that if he had had his good sword Nagelring Why doesn't he have his sword? Because he's in the presence of Ermenrik?, he would slay Sibich like a dog. And he hit Sibich on the cheek with his fist, and Sibich fell at Ermenrik's feet, and lost five teeth and his consciousness.

Then Ermenrik ordered his men to hang Heime, but Heime hurried away to where his weapons were, armed himself, saddled his horse Rispa, and rode away with sixty men. But Witig came to the doors, Mimung in hand, and no one but Heime himself dared ride through the doors. Now Heime rode into the forest, and wherever he found a farmstead or other property of Ermenrik or Sibich he burned it. But Sibich didn't dare to ride out with fewer than 60 men, and they still feared Heime.

Status: summary of 10 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)