Summary of the Thidrekssaga

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Samson

3

Several days later jarl Rodger learned that his daughter had been taken, and who had done it and how. He did not know how to take revenge, but had all of Samson's lands burned down, banished him from his realm, and told all his men to kill him on sight.

When Samson heard about this he rode from the forest to the jarl's holdings, burned them, and killed many people and cattle, and everyone who came in his way fled. But when he returned to the forest jarl Rodger and sixty men came to him. As soon as Samson saw them he turned his horse and rode towards them with spear and sword, shield and armour. And on his first hit he drove his spear through a knight's breast so that it exited between the shoulders and he was thrown far onto the field. Then Samson drew his sword and with his first hit he killed the jarl's banner bearer under the left armpit so that he went through his breast and also right through the banner pole, and on his right he hit a man in his back so that his sword went right through him and the man fell down in two parts. And now he hit the jarl himself so that his helmet and armour split, and he also severed the horse's head so that jarl and horse fell dead. And in a short while he killed fifteen men and did not receive any wounds, and the others fled.

Now Samson went back into the forest to his wife, and stayed there for a while. But the knights went back to Salerni and told about the death of the jarl and fifteen knights, and now Salerni was without a ruler.

Detlef the Dane

129

Then they went to a field, took a stone that weighed no less than two ship's pounds skippund, and Walther threw it nine feet, but Detlef threw it ten feet. Then Walther threw it thirteen feet, but Detlef threw it eighteen feet. Then Walther acknolwedged Detlef had won, and everyone was amazed.

Now they took a banner pole merkistöng; like Ermenrik uses in 282 that belonged to king Attila, whom Ermenrik had also invited to his feast. This banner pole was the heaviest of them all, and Walther took it and threw it over the king's hall so that one end hit the further wall. And all who saw that thought it was a strong throw.

Then Detlef took the pole and threw it back across the hall, and as soon as he had thrown it he ran through the hall, which had two doors, and caught it in the air. And all said that Detlef had won the contest and had acquired Walther's head.

But king Ermenrik said, Good man, I'd like to ransom my nephew's head with gold, silver, and jewelry. And Detlef said, What should I do with his head? He is a good knight, and I'll gladly give you his head, and pay me whatever you think fitting. And the king agreed.

And then the king paid his as much money as he had spent, and bought back the horses and arms Detlef had pawned, and also the money Detlef had spent from his own pocket, and he knighted him.

Then Detlef revealed his name and ancestry, and Diet­rich made him one of his companions. And then Diet­rich went home with all his men, including Detlef, and the chief minstrel Isung went with them.

Dietrich's flight

282

King Ermenrik gathered his army. Meanwhile Fritila and his son came to the Rhine, and swam through the strong stream, and pulled their horses with them.

Trelinborg stands on the Rhine, and Egard saw them swimming, and he thought that Fritila was bringing word of trouble because he didn't want to wait for the ship.

Fritila told them Ermenrik was coming with his army, but Egard thought they would be reconciled, and he was not afraid of his uncle. Frtilia told them everything he had heard, and now the brothers sent for their own men.

King Ermenrik came to the castle, took his banner, rode to the dyke and shot the banner pole merkistöng, like Walther borrows from Attila in 129 across the dyke díki; maybe the moat, but I still find this sentence hard to interpret. Egard asked why he wanted to take their castle, and what they were guilty of. Ermenrik replied that whatever he blamed them for, they would hang from the highest tree he could find before the day was done. Ake said that they would defend themselves.

Now king Ermenrik had a throwing engine erected, and had fire flung into the castle so that it burned. Fritila said they should go out, so that they would die fighting instead of burning like mice. They went out with 60 men, and fought king Ermenrik, until Ermentik had lost 500 men. But the brothers were captured and hanged, and so they died, as Sibich had wanted. Then Ermenrik went home.

The battle of Gransport

330

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.

331

Now the six army groups met. Diet­rich rode in front on his good stallion Falke with his sword Eckisax, and killed men and horses on both sides, and before him rode master Hildebrand carrying his banner and slaying men with his free hand, and their companion Wildeber followed them, and many Amelungen from Sibich's army fell.

Then king Diet­rich called loudly: You have fought against the Reussen and Wilkinenmen, and we were usually victorious, but in this battle we fight for our lands and realm, so let's win great fame by reconquering it.

Now king Diet­rich rode in the middle of Sibich's army and slew man and horse, and when he had come in the middle he went back by another way, and he was much feared. And by another route Wildeber rode through the Amelungen army, and no man held against him.

Walther of Waskastein saw how much damage Wildeber was doing to the Amelungen, and how they fled for him, and rode against him and hit him with his spear in the breast so that it exited between the shoulder blades. And Wildeber struck off the spear's shaft and struck Walther's thigh in the saddle, and pierced the armour and his sword got stuck in the saddle, and both fell dead from their horses It is unclear to me why Walther would die instantly of this wound..

When Sibich saw that his banner had fallen, and the strong Walther with it, he turned his horse and fled, and his men with him. But king Diet­rich and his men pursued the fugitives for a long time and killed them all day long, and it took quite a while before he returned.

332

Witig saw that Sibich fled, and knew the Amelungen would lose if the same happened elsewhere. Therefore he pressed the attack and rode against duke Nudung, who had killed many men. Quickly a fight ensued, which ended when Witig hacked the banner pole in two with his sword and the banner fell to the ground. And then he gave Nudung a blow on the neck that pierced the armour so that head and body fell to the ground.

And the three young men saw this, and Ortwin said to Helfrich: Do you see how that evil dog Witig kills duke Nudung? Let's ride to him and not let him get away.

333

Then Ortwin bravely rode against Witig, and Helfrich with him, and against them came the strong Runga, and a fight broke out, and before it ended Ortwin and Helfrich fell dead on the ground.

And when Erp and Diether saw that the rode forward and Diether and Runga fought with great bravery, and Diether hit Runga on the helmet and went through helmet and head to the shoulders, so that Runga fell dead. But in the mean time Witig had killed Erp, and when Diether saw that both his friends were dead, he rode against Witig and wanted to either lose his life or avenge his foster brothers, and hit Witig hard and often.

But Witig said: Aren't you Diether, king Diet­rich's brother? I know you, now ride elsewhere, because for his sake I will not harm you, so go fight other men.

But Diether replied: God knows, since you killed Erp and Ortwin, you vile dog, I'll take revenge for them. and one of us will die. And again he hit Witig as strongly as he could.

Witig said: God knows I hate to do this, for your brother Diet­rich's sake. Then Diether hit Witig on his helmet, but the helmet was so hard that his steel could not penetrate it, and the sword sprang from the helmet down along the saddle bow and hit the head of his horse, and thus Schimming, Witig's war stallion, died.

Now Witig said, when he stood on the ground: Great necessity forces me to do something I'd rather not do. And now Witig took his sword Mimung in both hands and hit Diether in the back so that armour and body were rent apart and he fell to the ground in two pieces. And now the battle continued, and Witig killed many men, but also lost many men from the Amelungen.

334

The good knight Wolfhart fought with great courage all day, and he carried margrave Rodinger's banner and had ridden far into the Amelung army. And margrave Rodinger followed him. In the same way Reinald rode into the Hun army and killed many men. Now he saw what great damage Wolfhart his relative did, and his men wanted to flee from Rodinger and Wolfhart. So he rode against them and hit his relative Wolfhart in the breast with his spear, so that it exited through the shoulder blades and he fell dead from his horse.

Margrave Rodinger was close by and took the banner pole and carried his banner himself, and attacked Reinald's banner bearer and beheaded him and also cut the banner pole so that the banner fell to the ground. When Reinald's men saw their banner fall and Sibich had fled they fled as well, and when Reinald saw that he went after them.

Status: summary of 8 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)