Summary of the Thidrekssaga

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Walther and Hildegund

241

King Attila of Soest was rich and powerful, and subjected many lands. He concluded an alliance with king Ermenrik of Puli Why not Rome?. The two kings confirmed their alliance by exchanging hostages. King Attila sent his nephew Osid and twelve knights to king Ermenrik, while king Ermenrik sent his Walther of Waskastein, his sister's son, with twelve knights.

Walther was then twelve So say A and B; Mb. has four, but that seems too young winters old, and stayed there for seven winters. Two winters after his arrival came to Soest Hildegund, daughter of jarl Ilias of Greken, she was sent to the king as hostage and was then seven winters old. The two young people loved each other very much, without king Attila knowing about it.

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.

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.

381

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 the saga writer's day it is called the Niflungen's Holmgarten. Many men from both sides fell here, but from the Huns half more than from the Niflungen. But from the countryside and other twons more men arrived in Soest, so that the Huns had an army half greater than before.

Now Hagen said to Gunther: It seems to me that many of the Huns and Amelungen Diet­rich's people, but Diet­rich is not yet fighting. Besides, he doesn't have that many warriors. Odd. have fallen, but more and more Huns come in from the countryside, and their heroes don't show themselves; we only fight with their servants þræla þeira. But our biggest problem is that we can't get out of this garden. If we did, we could decide whom to fight ourselves, but without escaping the Niflungen must fall to the Huns' spears and arrows, since we cannot use our swords agains them This makes clear that the Niflungen now fully occupy the garden, but the Huns are shooting from the tower and maybe the walls around the garden.

A stone wall stood around this garden, as strong as a city wall, and this same wall is still around today in the writer's days. Now Hagen and the others went to the west side of the garden, where the wall was weakest, and they started to tear down the wall until an opening was made. Quickly Hagen jumped through the opening, and there was a wide street there with houses on both sides. Gernot and Giselher followed him with many Niflungen, and advanced between the houses. But duke Osid and his men came against them, and fighting commenced.

382

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 A hall generally has a kind of veranda around it, higher than the ground, and Hagen is standing on it. It's unclear which hall this is, though and put his back against the doors, and put his shield in front of him, and he struck one man after the other with his hand sword, I presume and chopped off hands, feet, and even some heads, and some were hacked in two, and no one came near him without meeting such a fate non-literal; at eigi hefir þvílíka kaupferð, and there was such a great throng of people that those who fell barely had space to reach the ground, and Hagen defended himself so well with his shield that he was not wounded.

And to the left side of the Niflungen To the left of the garden where the Niflungen were driven back in to, or to the left of Hagen? stood Diet­rich's hall, and he himself stood on the battlements, with his men all armed still neutral, but observing the battle.

Now Gernot, Giselher and Volker turned from the street to the hall Diet­rich's hall and put their backs against it, and defended themselves and killed many men.

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 i.e. battle take place. I will lose a good many friends here, but I can't do anything. I do not want to fight against the men of king Attila, my lord, but I also do not wish to harm the Niflungen in any way.

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.

386

The Niflungen raised their banners and marched around the town with calls and horn blasts, and challenged the Huns to come out and fight them when they came to the hall Probably Attila's. But the Huns stood on the battlements and shot at them, so that the two parted again i.e. the Niflungen left. And the Huns only wanted to fight by day, but still the Niflungen killed many men this night.

When dawn came the Huns from the countryside came into town, and they now had a quite large army. Both sides now raised their banners and blew their horns, and then a long, sharp battle started. The Huns attacked bravely and encouraged one another. And queen Grimhild egged all men on to kill Niflungen, and offered them gold and silver.

This day duke Osid and Irung fought along, but king Attila did not. Gernot had his banner carried against Osid, and both armies fought with great courage. Now Gernot went forth before all his men and hacked on both sides and killed many men. Duke Osid attacked him, and they started a duel and fought bravely for a long time, but it ended with Gernot cutting off Osid's head. And the Niflungen rejoiced that a chief of the Huns had fallen.

387

When margrave Rodinger heard that duke Osid had fallen he became very angry and told his men they should now fight and kill the Niflungen. And he had his banner carried against the Niflungen, and fought for a long time.

Meanwhile Hagen went forth alone into the Hun army and killed Huns on both sides with his hands as far as his sword could reach, and he also killed many with his spear, and his arms were now bloody up to the shoulders. And he fought so long and went so far into the Hunnic army that he became quite tired and did not know how to get back to his own men. So he went into a hall, kicked open the door to see if anyone was in the hall, I presume and positioned himself in the doorway and rested.

Margrave Rodinger now marched against the Niflungen, and the Huns moved against the hall where Hagen stood, but he defended the door and slew many men. Grimhild saw this, and she called on the Huns to set fire to the hall, because the roof was made of wood, and thus they did.

Then Grimhild called Irung and said: My good Irung, now you can attack Hagen while he is in a house one house? Von der Hagen says his house? Vague. Bring me his head and I'll fill your shield with red gold. And Irung turned to the hall, which was meanwhile filled with smoke. Irung jumped bravely into the hall and struck Hagen with his sword into his thigh, so that the armour was torn apart, and he took a piece from his thigh as large as one would put in a kettle, but then he jumped out of the hall.

Now Grimhild saw that Hagen bled, and went to Irung and said: Now, my dear Irung, best of all heroes, you have wounded Hagen, the next time you will kill him. And she took two golden rings from her arm and put one under his helmet band to the right, and the other to the left Ms. B instead says: and she embraced him, and said: Now bring me Hagen's head, and you will have as much gold and silver as your shield can hold, and then again as much.

Now Irung jumped into the hall a second time, but Hagen was warned and walked to him and pierced him with his spear in the breast, so that it tore through armour and body and exited between the shoulders. And there Irung sank down on the stone road that until this day is called Irung's Road, and Hagen's spear was stuck in the road.

Then Hagen said: If I had avenged Grimhild's evil like I avenged my wound on Irung, then my sword would have sung throuhgout Hunnenland.

Status: summary of 13 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)