Then king Dietrich, together with the count
When king Attila had been home for half a year he decided on an expedition, had his horns blown, and sent messengers across his realm to gather all his men. When that was done he had eight thousands knights and many other people. But Dietrich was so wounded that this time he could not go with king Attila to help him.
Now queen Erka went to king Attila and said: I would like to ask you to release Didrik Waldemar's son, my cousin
But king Attila said: I cannot grant you this. If he is healthy again while I am away I may never get him in my power any more
But Erka said: I give my head as security that he will not ride off even when he his healty. This annoyed the king, who said: Do you want to release my greatest enemy from prison and cure him? If he would get away to Russland I would lose more than if I lost Soest, because his relatives will buy his release with cities and realms. But since you offer your head as security, do not doubt that I will cut it off if you let him ride away.
Now Erka had her cousin Didrik taken from prison and had him put in a tower, and had him taken care of and personally kept watch and healed him.
Meanwhile king Attila went to Polen and Russland with his army, and he burned and looted king Waldemar's lands.
Now we should speak of what queen Erka did and how she healed her cousin Didrik. She gave him one of the best beds, and day after day brought him good meals, and bathed him, and gave him treasure. But she had one of her servant girls take care of Dietrich von Bern, but she did not understand healing as well as the queen, and thus his wounds turned bad and he healed slowly, and an evil smell came from him.
When Didrik was healed he took his weapons and donned his armour, and put his helmet on his head. And he said to the helmet: You have received so many blows from Dietrich von Bern, but I gave his as many, and he is still wounded while I am cured. And if anyone else had done this I'd have killed him, but he is such a good knight that I cannot do that when he is defenseless. But now I will ride from Soest to Russland, neither king Attila nor Dietrich can prevent that.
When queen Erka became aware of this she asked him what he planned. And he said he had been in Hunnenland for too long, and would go home. Then queen Erka said: So this is how you will repay my kindness? I have given my head as security for you, but you don't care if I'm dead or not, as long as you get away.
Didrik said: You are a powerful queen, and king Attila cannot kill you, but when I wait for him
Then Didrik went to his horse, saddled it, and rode away. But that horse belonged to king Attila
Queen Erka cried long and bitterly, and she tore her clothing, and went where Dietrich lay, and said: Dietrich, my hero, I need your advice. And she explained the matter.
King Dietrich said: You were right to heal him, but you send an inexperienced woman to me, and she did not and could not heal my wounds, because she lay with a man every night, and that's not what doctors do. Now my wounds are half again as bad as when I received them. And I cannot even sit, let alone fight a man, and this is the first time you came to me as long as I laid here.
Then queen Erka cried, and she knew he was right, and she said: Good king Dietrich, you are the best of all men in the world in courage and strength, and woe to me for not healing you, because now you cannot help me. And if I had done so Didrik wouldn't have left. Now I have no man in my realm who can help me, and king Attila will cut of my head and proclaim it throughout all lands. Oh king Dietrich, if you were only healed I would keep my life and realm.
And afterwards she cried and repeated herself, and tore her clothing and her hair, and hit herself on the breast
Then king Dietrich said: Bring my armour and weapons. And again: Bring my shield, for Didrik and I will meet today. When Dietrich had armed himself he ordered his horse saddled and brought to him, and he mounted and rode as quickly as he could, but while he rode his wounds bled so that his armour and horse were all red.Now he rode to Wilkinenburg, where Fridrich Ermenrik's son had been killed
And king Dietrich came so close they could talk with one another, and he said: Lady, did you see a man ride past with a white armour and shield, and a grey horse? He is my companion, and I want to follow him to his realm. And she said she had seen him not long ago. Then Dietrich spurred on his horse Falke and rode even faster than before.
Now the lady started to doubt that this man was a friend of the man that had come before, but rather wanted to kill him, and she deplored having said there was little distance between them. And she called out: Good lord, com here, I see that you are wounded. I will dress your wounds, and after that you can still ride after this man. Now your wounds bleed so much you may not reach him, but if you let me dress them you can overtake him all the quicker.
But Dietrich didn't want to stop, and he rode off. And now she considered they were truly enemies, and that the one had wounded the other, and she didn't want to leave before she knew how the fight ended.
Now king Dietrich rode to the forest called Burgwald; this forest lies between Hunnenland and Pulinaland. There Dietrich saw Didrik and called to him: Return, and I will give you gold and silver as much as I have in Hunnenland, and I will secure friendship from king Attila.
But Didrik said: Why does my enemy offer me gold and silver? I will never become your friend. If I wouldn't be dishonoured
Dietrich said: Return, there is no honour in riding from Hunnenland like this, because the head of queen Erka, your cousin, is at stake. And both of us will help you reconciliate with king Attila. But Didrik said the same as before.
Now Dietrich said: If you do not want to return for gold or silver, or to spare queen Erka's head, then dismount and fight. And if you don't you will be called a coward by everyone, since you fled for a single man. But my horse is so good that I will overtake you anyway and kill you, and you will still be known as a coward.Then Didrik turned his horse and wanted to fight instead of flee, although he knew he was going to die. And now they dismounted and fought for a long time, and cut up one another's armour and shields. But Dietrich became tired from the wounds he had received before and received now, and Didrik also became tired, and each put his shield in front of him and leaned on it to rest.
Then Dietrich said: Now good friend and namesake, come back with me and we'll go home and you will reconciliate with king Attila, but if he refuses to, I will take my arms and men and follow you into your realm.
But Didrik did not want that at all. Now they fought again with great anger, and in the end Dietrich cut off Didrik's head so that it flew leftward.
Now the jarl had a feast laid out for king Dietrich, and he stayed there for many days. Then the jarl had six of his best knights decked out in purple and other fineries, and said to Dietrich: These knights I'd like to give to you in exchange for your good will. And Dietrich thanked him and accepted. Then the jarl added: There is one thing I'd like to ask you, though. And Dietrich asked him what, and said he would likely grant it due to the honour the jarl had done him.
And the jarl said: I would ask that you forgive me for killing your kinsman Fridrich due to Sibich's treason. I would not have done so if I had known the truth. And Dietrich said: I forgive you, since you have received me so graciously. But if you had not done so I'd have avenged my cousin.
And now Dietrich was ready to depart with his six knights. And the jarl went to Dietrich's horse and took off the cloth and thus saw Didrik's head. Then Dietrich mounted and rode to Hunnenland with the six knights.
And when he came home to Soest queen Erka came to him and, seeing the knights, thought that Didrik was also returning, and she was happy about that. But king Dietrich took his namesake's head and threw it at her feet. Then queen Erka cried because so many of her relatives lost their lives because of her
But Dietrich went back to bed because he was still wounded, and the six knights served him from now on with honour and loyalty.
King Dietrich von Bern came to king Attila in Soest when he fled his realm for his uncle king Ermenrik. In Soest his brother
King Attila had two sons, Erp and Ortwin. These three boys were of the same age and they loved one another so much they were rarely separated. Queen Erka loved her sons very much, as well as her foster Diether, and so did king Attila.
One day king Dietrich von Bern went to the hall where Erka lived
But Dietrich was full of grief, and water flowed from his eyes
Queen Erka replied: You have been in our realm for a long time and given us aid. Therefore, if you want to try to retake it, it is fitting that the Huns give you an army to help you. And I would like to be the first
Now queen Erka took her cloak and went to the hall where king Attila sat
Queen Erka replied: Lord, I do have business. King Dietrich wants to go back to his lands and take revenge, if he gets help from you. King Dietrich has been in Hunnenland for a long time and has suffered many perils
Then king Attila answered angrily, and he didn't like being asked to do so. He said: If king Dietrich wants help, why doesn't he ask me? Or is he so proud that he doesn't want our help unless we offer it?
The queen replied: King Dietrich can discuss this himself, but I spoke instead of him because we believed that you would more readily accept than if he had asked alone. But I will give him my
Then king Attila said: What you said is true, and it is fitting that we offer him help now. Since you have given him your two sons and a thousand knights, I will give him margrave Rodinger and two thousand knights.
Then king Dietrich said to king Attila: It went as I thought, that queen Erka's help would be of benefit to me, and I will take your offer with many thanks and gladness, and may God reward you.
Now this army prepared all winter, and nothing was forged in Hunnenland but swords and spears, helms and armour, shields and saddles, and all other things knights need when they go on an expedition. And in early spring the army gathered in Soest.
And when that army was ready it happened that king Attila's sons Erp and Ortwin, and Diether with them as well as other young knights, sat in a garden, and queen Erka came to them and said: My dear sons, I want to arm you for your expedition with king Dietrich.
And she had armour brought to them, light as silver and hard as steel and inlaid with red gold, and helmets shining like swords, and all the nails had red gold on them, and two thick shields, and they were red with a golden banner with pole on them; and that they did not have an animal or bird on them was because they weren't yet of age to have received their knighthoods.
Then queen Erka said crying: Now I have prepared you for battle, my sons, and I have never seen two king's sons bear better arms. Now, be brave, and although I hope you will return safely, it is more important to me that you'll be called brave men and good warriors when you've been to battle.
Now she called her foster son Diether and threw her arms around his neck and kissed him, and said: My dear foster son Diether, see here my sons Erp and Ortwin who I have prepared for war. The three of you love each other much and always help one another in games; now do the same on this expedition.
Diether replied: My lady, your two sons and me are ready for battle, and may God help me to bring your sons back safe, but when they fall in battle, I, too, will not come home. You will not hear that they are dead while I am alive. And the queen said she hoped he would keep his promise. Then she had steel armour brought, and a helmet, and a red shield with a golden lion on it.
And now the three boys were aremed, and it is said in ancient sagas
Now Soest was filled with sounds of weapons, and shouts, and neighing of horses. The entire town was so full of men that no one could pass through, and no one could hear anyone unless they were close to them.
Now king Attila went up into a tower and called loudly: Hear me, men, and be quiet, and hear my commands. And the town fell silent.
Then the king said: Now a great army has gathered here, and now you must go as I will tell you. King Dietrich will travel alone with his army, and my man margrave Rodinger will go with another part of the knights that I have given to king Dietrich, and all the other men will follow my sons and young Diether. And all did as king Attile had commanded.
Now margrave Rodinger rode forth from Soest with his army. And Erp and Ortwin mounted, and in their following were duke Nudung of Walkaburg, who bore Dietrich's banner
And when the latter mounted queen Erka said: Good friend Helfrich, guard my sons well, and let them ride beside you when the armies meet. And Helfrich said: I swear by God, I won't come home from this war if I lose your sons. And queen Erka thanked him.
Now duke Nudung rode from Soest, and next Diether, and then Erp and Ortwin and the good knight Helfrich, then Wolfhart, and then all their warriors. Now king Dietrich mounted his horse Falke, and master Hildebrand bore his banner and went before king Dietrich, and then Wildeber and the warriors who followed Dietrich's banner
And when light came king Dietrich rose and had his horns blown, and then Diether did the same, as did margrave Rodinger. And now all rose and armed themselves. And when they had mounted master Hildebrand rode in front with king Dietrich's banner pole in his hands, and close behind him king Dietrich with all his men. And they rode to the same ford that Hildebrand had used during the night.
And when the Amelungen saw this, Sibich had king Ermenrik's horns blown, and Witig and Reinald did the same, and all their men armed themselves. Witig mounted his horse Schimming and was ready to fight; and so too Reinald with his army.
Walther of Waskastein bore king Ermenrik's banner in his hand, this banner had the outer part in black like a raven's, and the next part gold, and the third one green as grass, and seventy golden bells were sewn into this banner, so that one could hear it throughout the entire army as soon as the banner was moved or touched by the wind. And behind him came Sibich with his men.
And when king Dietrich saw king Ermenrik's banner and knew Sibich followed it, he called on master Hildebrand to carry his banner that way; and this banner was made of white silk, and had a golden lion with a crown, and no fewer than seventy bells hung from it; queen Erka had had this banner made and gave it to king Dietrich. So these two armies rode to one another.
Then rode Reinald with his troupe; and his banner was red silk like blood, and on the tip of the pole were three golden knots. And he led his army against margrave Rodinger.
Then rode Witig with his army, and his banner was carried by the strong Runga - no giant was found with equal strength - and this banner was black, and a white hammer, tongues, and anvil on it. Against him rode duke Nudung, and he bore a white banner with a golden lion, and this banner queen Erka had given to Diether. And after him rode Diether and Erp and Ortwin, Attila's sons, and the good knight Helfrich. Their shoes were covered with red gold so that they had a glow as if of fire.
Now king Dietrich rode back to the battlefield, and he saw how many of his relatives and friends had fallen. And he went to where his brother Diether lay, and said: There you lay, Diether, and I rue what has been done to you. And Dietrich took Diether's shield and threw it away, because it was all hacked up and useless.
And then he went to where the princes lay, and he said: My dear princes, losing you is the gravest harm I could have had, because how can I now return to Soest? I'd rather be severely wounded if you had been healthy.
Then king Dietrich went away
The margrave replied, and many other chiefs with him: Don't do that. It often happens in war that leaders lose their best warriors and still win the battle, as has happened here. So recognised you were victorious here even though you lost the princes. We will ask queen Erka to be content with that, even though she has lost her sons, and we will all make sure that king Attila won't be less of a friend to you than he was before.
Dietrich said he would never return as matters stood now, because he had promised queen Erka to return her sons, but had not kept his promise. But then all chiefs and knights went to king Dietrich and said: Good lord Dietrich, come back with us to Hunnenland, we will support you before king Attila and queen Erka. But if you do not want to return, then we will follow you to reconquer your realm, and we will fight against king Ermenrik, and we will never return until you have your realm back.
King Dietrich replied: I truly do not wish to lead king Attila's army any more, now that I have lost his two sons, and I would prefer to go home with you.
And now the entire army turned back and rode on the roads that brought them back to Hunnenland to king Attila in Soest.
When king Dietrich came to Soest he went into a cooking house
But margrave Rodinger went into Attila's hall and greeted him. And Attila asked for news, and whether they had won, and if king Dietrich had survived.
And margrave Rodinger replied: King Dietrich is alive and the Huns have won, but still it was an evil dau, since we lost your sons Erp and Ortwin. Then queen Erka cried, and almost all who were in that hall. And king Attila asked: Who else of the Huns fell along with my sons?
And Rodinger replied: Many good warriors, young Diether von Bern, and your good fried Helfrich, and duke Nudung, and Wildeber, and many other good men and chiefs, but the Amelungen lost half as many men, and those who live had to flee.
Then king Attila said, and he was courageous under these tidings: Now it happened as before, those who are fated will fall, and good weapons and strength do not help when you have to die. And we have seen that in this expedition, because Erp and Ortwin and Diether all had the best weapons, but still they all lie dead. And then he asked: But where is my good friend king Dietrich?
Someone replied: In a cooking house sit king Dietrich and master Hildebrand, and they put down their weapons and do not want to come under your eyes, my lord, so bad they feel about losing the princes.
Then king Attila said: Two of my knights, go there and ask my friend king Dietrich to come inside. He should still be close to me, despite all that has happened.
The two knights went to where king Dietrich sat, and gave him the message. But king Dietrich replied that his mood was so heavy and sad that he did not want to meet other people. And the knights went back to king Attila and told him what had happened.
Then queen Erka rose crying, and went to king Dietrich followed by her ladies. And when she entered the cooking house she said: Good king Dietrich, how did my sons fight before they died?
And king Dietrich said with great sorrow: My lady, they were good warriors, and fought well, and did not want to be separated from one another.
Then she went to him, put her hands around his neck, and kissed him, and said: My good friend, now come with me to king Attila's hall, and be welcome and glad. It has often happened that men fell in battle, and those who survive must still take care of themselves. It helps nothing to bewail the dead
Now king Dietrich rose and went after queen Erka into the hall. And when he came before king Attila the king rose, welcomed Dietrich, and kissed him, and offered him a seat on the high table. And king Dietrich accepted, and he stayed with king Attila for a long time, and their friendship was no less than it had been.
Two winters after the battle of Gransport queen Erka fell ill, and she knew she did not have long to live. And one day she sent a message to king Dietrich to come to her. And he did so.
And Dietrich said that it would be a great loss for Hunnenland if the illness would take her, and he would have lost his best friend
Then king Dietrich replied: Good lady, your illness is dangerous, but may God cure you. You have shown great friendship to me, but it will be worse for King Attila; he would rather lost most of Hunnenland than miss a wife like you. And so full of sorrow was Dietrich that he wept like a child, could not say more, and went out.
Then Erka asked: And where is master Hildebrand. Here am I, he said, and went to her, and she took her best gold ring from her hand and said they should separate as friends, and stay friends when we meet again. And Hildebrand thanked here, started to cry as well, and all who were there with him.
Then Erka had her knights call king Attila, and he went to her, and she said: Great king Attila, it could happen that we are separated and you become a widower. But you won't stay one for long, and you should take a good, worthy woman. But, good king Attila, do not take a wife from Niflungenland and Aldrian's family, because if you do you will pay for it, and great harm will come to you and your children if you do so.
And when she had said that she turned away from him and passed away.
And when it became known that queen Erka had died all people in Hunnenland wailed and cried, and all said, that a woman as good as she had never come to Hunnenland, and that no one had done as much good for as many people as queen Erka, and that no one had cried for more people than she had.
King Attila had queen Erka's body buried beneath the town wall, and over her grave stood king Attila and king Dietrich and all best men in Soest, and they again bewailed her death.
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
Then they went out into the courtyard
And now king Attila went onto the balcony
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
Now king Dietrich went to Hagen and asked if he could still be healed, but Hagen said he might live a few more days but there was no doubt he would die from these wounds.
Now king Dietrich had Hagen carried to his hall, and had his wounds tended to. And he gave Hagen his relative Herrat to tend to his wounds. And in the evening Hagen asked Dietrich for a woman for his last night, and Dietrich did so.
And in the morning Hagen told this woman: It could happen you get a son from me, and he should be called Aldrian. And here are keys you will keep and give to the boy, for these keys go to Sigfrid's cellar, where the Niflungen treasure is
And thus the Niflungen had ended their lives, and also the most powerful men in Hunnenland except for king Attila, king Dietrich, and master Hildebrand. In this struggle a thousand Niflungen fell, and four thousand Hunnen and Amelungen. And German men say that no battle has been more famous in old sagas than this one. And after the battle Hunnenland was empty of men for king Attila's remaining days.
Now queen Erka's prophecy
Status: summary of 21 chapters complete.