Witig Wieland's son was now twelve winters old when Wieland asked him if he also wanted to learn the craft of smithing so that even if one looked in the entire world there would be no third who could forge iron as well as the two of them did. But Witig said that, for the sake of his mother, he hoped he'd never touch hammer and tongues.
Then Wieland asked him what else he would do to get food and clothes. And Witig said he wanted a good horse, a strong spear, a sharp sword, a new shield, a hard helmet, and armour, and serve a famous prince and ride with him as long as he was alive. Wieland promised to give him all that, but asked where he wanted to go. And Witig said he wanted to ride to Amelungenland to find Dietrich, son of king Dietmar of Bern, who was now the most famous hero in the world, and they were the same age, and him Witig wanted to search and challenge to a duel. And when Witig would not be able to withstand his strong blows and fall, he knew that Dietrich, who was a noble hero, would give Witig his life back if he surrendered his sword and became his follower; but it could also be the duel went better than that.
Wieland said he didn't advise Witig to go to Dietrich, because he was such a great hero Witig would not be able to withstand him. Instead, Wieland added, in a forest nearby lives a giant who does great harm to many people. And I'll help you to defeat him, and when you have done so the king of Sweden will give you his daughter and half of his realm.
But Witig said he did not want to do this because of a woman, because if the giant would defeat him all would say he had lost his life dishonourably. So he would travel south and fight with Dietrich von Bern. And Wieland said that because Witig would not change his mind, Wieland would give him what he had asked for.
Then Wieland gave him armour and Witig armed himself. Now Wieland took a sword, and said to Witig: My son, this sword is called Mimung, keep it and use it well. I made this sword myself, and I kept it for you to use, and I expect you to make good cuts with it, since you're not a weakling.
Then Witig donned his helmet, which was forged with the hardest steel, with large nails, and it was hard and strong. And he took his shield that was so heavy no man could hold it with one hand
Now Witig went to his mother, kissed her and they wished one another well, and he also said goodbye to his father. Then he took his spear and jumped into the saddle without using his stirrups. And Wieland laughed when he saw that, and he went with Witig for a while and explained to him the roads he had to travel, and good advice besides. And then father and son separated and Wieland went back home.
Now Witig rode a long way through forests and lands inhabited and uninhabited. He came to a large river called Eiðisá
Meanwhile three knights rode by, and these were Hildebrand, Dietrich's foster, and the other Heime, and the third was jarl Hornboge. Dietrich had sent the first two to jarl Hornboge to invite him to come to Bern, since he had heard the jarl was a great hero, and he wanted to make Hornboge his companion.
Now Hildebrand said to his companions: In this river I see a dwarf, which might well be the dwarf Alberich that Dietrich once defeated and won his sword Nagelring from, and his helmet Hildegrim, and I was there as well
They dismounted and walked to the river. But Witig had heard them quite clearly and called: Allowe me to come to land unharmed and I'll show you I'm not a dwarf. And they allowed him, and Witig jumped from the river, and he covered nine feet in one jump. Then Hildebrand asked who he was, and Witig said: If you're a good hero, do you ask such questions of a naked man? Let me first find my clothes and weapons, and then you can ask.
Witig clothed and armed himself, mounted his horse, and rode to the three. Good sirs knight, he said, God help me, I'd name all of you by name if I but knew them. But ask me anything you like. Hildebrand asked for his name and what he was doing here traveling alone. And Witig said he was a Dane named Witig, and his father was Wieland the Smith, and his mother was daughter to king Nidung of Jutland, and he was traveling to Dietrich Dietmar's son to challenge him to a duel.
When Hildebrand saw how strong this man was, and how well-made his weapons and armour were, he understood his lord Dietrich would come to great danger if he fought against this man, and he wasn't sure who would win. Therefore he joyously replied: Thank God I finally found a man courageous enough to swing his sword against Dietrich, and I hope you will win, because Dietrich thinks no one is braver and stronger than he. Come, now let's swear brotherhood, that we will help one another when we need it most.
Witig said he felt Hildebrand was a noble man, and he would love to swear brotherhood, but he'd first liked to know their names. And Hildebrand said he was Voltram son of Reginbald, jarl of Wenden, and here is Sintram Herbrand's son, and the third is jarl Hornboge of Vindland. Now Witig and Hildebrand held hands and swore brotherhood. And Hildebrand knew where the ford was, and they rode over it and continued.
Now they came to a place where the road split, and Hildebrand said: Both these roads lead to Bern, the one is long and hard
Witig said: We will surely take the short road, for a foreigner may ride in peace wherever he wants. And they took the road Witig wanted, and came to a forest named Lurwald
Witig rode to the fort and the stone bridge. Those that were in the fort looked down from the battlements and saw him coming.
Then Gramaleif said: That man has a good shield, and I want it. But take from him whatever you like.
Studfus said: No doubt this man has a good sword, I want it.
And Thräla said: I want his armour.
And Sigstab said: I wat his helmet.
And the fifth said: He has a good horse, I want it.
The sixth said: I want his clothes.
The seventh: Well, then nothing is left for me but his leg protectors.
The eighth said: I want his belt with the sack on it.
THe ninth said: I want his right hand.
The tenth: Then I want his right foot.
And the eleventh said: And I want his head.
Then Studfus said: No one should kill this man, since he'll have so little left. Then Gramaleif, their leader, said: So ride to him and take everything, but leave him his left hand, left foot, and his life.
When the three came to the one
And Gramaleif rose, armed himself and all his twelve companions and rode across the stone bridge. Witig again welcomed him, and Gramaleif said: You're not welcome, because we have already divided your belongings among ourselves, and you'll keep one hand and one foot. Now give me your shield.
Witig said he wouldn't give his shield, since if he returned to Denmark his father would say Dietrich had taken it from him. Then Studfus told Witig: Then give me your sword, because that's my share. And Witig said: If you take my sword, how would I defend myself if I come to Dietrich? One after the other demanded his share, and Witig asked again for free passage, but he would not give them even a penny.
Then Studfus said: Look, we're with twelve standing before a single man who replies haughtily, so draw your swords and he'll leave his belongings here and his life as well. Studfus drew his sword and hit Witig on his helmet, but the helmet was so hard that it withstood the blow like a stone would do. Then Witig drew his sword Mimung and hit Studfus in the shoulder so that he was hacked in two through breast and armour and both pieces fell to the ground.
The other robbers took fright from this blow, and many would have preferred to be at home, but all of them drew their swords and attacked Witig, and they spurred on one another. Gramaleif hit Witig on the helmet, but it was so hard that nothing happened. On the other hand, when Witig hit Gramaleif on the helmet he cleaved his head and torso to the belt, and he fell dead.
Then Hildebrand said to his companions: Let's move closer and see what happens. When Witig defeats these men alone and we don't come to his aid, they'd say we abandonded him, and the oath of brotherhood I swore requires me to help him.
Heime said: I think we should ride there and help him once we see he has the upper hand, but if he falls we ride away as quickly as we can, so that we don't go into danger for the sake of an unknown man. Hildebrand said that would be ignominious. And Hornboge said that since we have sworn brotherhood we must help him.
Then they rode forward to the stone bridge, where Witig had meanwhile killed seven of the twelve. Sigstab and five others fled.
Then Witig and his companions greeted one another cheerfully. They rode into the fort, where they found wine and food, and they took all the treasure and went to sleep there.
Hildebrand thought carefully about Witig and how strong he was, and doubted that Dietrich would be able to defeat him. He also considered how good Witig's weapon was. And when midnight had come, Hildebrand stood up and drew his sword, and then took Witig's sword Mimung, drew it from the sheath, and put his own sword in there after he had swapped their hilts. Then he sheathed Mimung himself and went to sleep.
They rose and prepared to travel on. Witig asked Hildebrand what they would do with the fort. Hildebrand said they'd do what the two of them would consider best. But, he added, I no longer wish to be silent but tell you the truth. I am Hildebrand, and I am Dietrich's follower, and all of us are his companions. And although I didn't tell you our true names before, we still want to retain the brotherhood that we swore. But it is my counsel that we leave the fort as it is, and leave our two companions here to guard it. I will follow you to Bern, and once you become good friends and brothers the two of you will own this fort jointly, and he will certainly reward you. But if you separate without friendship the fort will belong to you alone.
Witig said: A heavy toll rested on this bridge, for locals and foreigners alike, but this is an important road for many people, and they don't dare to pass by this place because of this fort and the robbers who lived here. As far as I'm concerned all, locals and foreigners, young and old, rich and poor will henceforth travel this road in peace.
Hornboge said: He who won this fort by his sword has the right to decide on its fate. Then Witig set one of the buildings on fire, after they had taken all goods, and they did not travel on until the fort was burned down completely.
Then they continued their journey happily, and rode on until they came to the river called Wisar
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
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
Now they rode on and in the evening they came to a fort called Her which belonged to king Dietmar
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
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
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.
Then they spurred their stallions and rode at one another like a hungry hawk at its prey. Dietrich's spear glanced off Witig's shield, but Witig's hit Dietrich's shield squarely, and the shaft broke into three pieces.
Then Witig called: Turn your horse and ride at me again! You still have your spear, so I'll keep still, but you'll break your spear just like I did mine. And he drew his sword.
Then Dietrich rode at him with all his might and hit Witig's breast with his spear, and he expected to kill him with that blow, but Witig hacked his spear in two with his sword, and with the same blow he hacked off a bit of his own shield. He was not wounded, since his hard armour protected him.
Then both dismounted and attacked one another, and they hit each other mightily with their swords. Dietrich gave Witig many heavy blows with Nagelring, and Witig wanted to give Dietrich a blow that would wound him, and he swung his sword with all his might against Dietrich's helmet Hildegrim, but the helmet was so hard that this marvelous blow did break something, but it was the sword that sprang in two pieces.
Then Witig called: Ha, Wieland, my father, have God's wrath for forging this sword so badly. I would have fought like a hero had I but had a good sword, but this brings shame and injury to me, and also to the one who made it.
Now Dietrich swung Nagelring with both hands and wanted to behead Witig. But Hildebrand jumped between them and said to Dietrich: Give this man peace and take him as your companion. You will never get a better hero than him: he defeated twelve men at fort Brictan all by himself, and you couldn't conquer the fort with all your men. It would honour you if such a man would serve you.
But Dietrich said he would stick with what he said before: Witig would hang before Bern today. Hildebrand praised Witig's descent of royal houses on his father's and mother's side, and again asked him to make Witig his follower.
But Dietrich said: I'd like to make it a law in my father's lands that not every slave's son
When Hildebrand saw that Dietrich did not want to listen, he said: Now I see that my good counsel will not be heeded, and therefore the child shall have what it cries for.
Then Hildebrand drew his sword from the sheath and said to Witig: See now, good sir knight, how I keep my vow of brotherhood. Here, take the sword Mimung and defend yourself.
Then Witig became as happy as a bird at the crack of dawn. He kissed the sword and said: God forgive the words I said about my father Wieland. See, Dietrich, my good hero, this is Mimung. Now I am as eager to fight you as a thirsty man to drink, or a hungry dog to eat
Now he hit Dietrich blow after blow, and each time he took away a piece of his armour or shield or helmet, and Dietrich didn't manage to strike one blow, and could do nothing but defend himself, and he had five wounds already. Then he saw he would lose this fight, and called to Hildebrand his teacher: Come here and separate us! Because I do not see how to separate us by myself!
Then Hildebrand said: When I tried to separate you you didn't want to take good advice, but now I think you'll agree that Witig is a good hero. And it seems to me that with your armour is pierced, your helmet is broken, your shield split, and you yourself wounded, and you'll finish this fight with shame and dishonour, and that's what your pride bought you. So separate yourself if you can. And he will have the power to do to you what you sentenced him to
When king Dietmar saw that his son would be defeated he took a red shield
Then the king said: Good sir knight, I merely want to ask you to spare my son, because I see that when you fight on his end is near. And if you do I'll give you a castle
Then Witig said: I won't spare him; he will receive the same sentence he wanted to give me, unless you prevent me with your multitude of men.
Then the king stepped back and the fight recommenced, and Dietrich defended himself bravely, but in the end Witig hit the helmet Hildegrim so hard that it was cut from left to right, and the upper part flew off Dietrich's head and some of his hair with it.
When Hildebrand saw that Hildegrim had been broken he sprang between the two and said: My dear friend Witig, please give Dietrich peace for the sake of our brotherhood, and take him as your companion, because when the two of you fight together, no one in the entire world will be your peer.
Then Witig said: Although he doesn't deserve it I will do as you ask for the sake of our brotherhood. Then they put down their weapons, shook hands, and became good friends and companions. They rode back to Bern and were all happy.
King Dietmar was home in Bern, and his son Dietrich with him, who was still suffering from his wounds. And these four heroes were with the king: Hildebrand, Witig, jarl Hornboge, and Heime.
When Dietrich had healed he rode away from Bern alone, and nobody knew of it except for Witig. Because he had lost his fight, Dietrich did not want to return to Bern before he had performed a heroic deed that would increase his fame.
He rode for seven days until he came to the forest called Osning, and he found lodging. There he heard of a castle on the other side of the forest called Drekanfils, and once this castle had been owned by king Drusian, who had died, and the queen had married
Dietrich wasn't sure how to get through the forest without meeting Ecke. He didn't feel like fighting Ecke, since the wounds that Witig had given him still pained him, and he preferred to first fight a lesser man first.
Now Dietrich rode off at midnight, when it was darkest, and hoped to make it through the forest without Ecke noticing him. But Ecke saw him and asked who rode there. Dietrich said: I am Heime Studa's son, riding to Bertangaland for my father, but I have nothing to do with you, and am not searching you out.
Ecke said that his voice sounded like Dietrich von Bern, and if he was as brave a man as was said he shouldn't use a false name. Dietrich acknowledged his name, but said he wanted to continue on his way. But Ecke had heard that he had lost his fight with Witig, and assumed he came here to find new honour. Also Dietrich had lost good weapons in the fight, and here he could win others.
Dietrich said he was not ready for a duel, and besides, how could they fight if they couldn't see one another? If it were day it would be another matter.
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
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 took residence in the same house as Dietrich and his men, and Dietrich asked him who he was. Detlef said he was Amelrich Soti's son from Denmark. Dietrich asked him where he was going, and Detlef said he was looking for a worthy lord who would allow him to care for his arms and horse, and if that lord were Dietrich von Bern, it would be all the better. And in return he asked Dietrich who he was and who his lord was.
Witig spoke up, and informed Detlef that he was looking at Dietrich von Bern himself, and Heime, and many others with him. Detlef greeted Dietrich, and offered his services. Dietrich accepted, and told him he was riding to the feast, and that Detlef should care for his horse and arms.
The next morning they rode on, and Ake came with them, and they arrived in Rome right when the feast started. The heroes and other lords went to the king's halls, but the squires and servants were lodged in inns, where the horses were also stabled.
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
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
Now Dietrich called Detlef and demanded his weapons and horse, and also those of his men. And Detlef said that he had to pay money first, since he had pawned them so that the servants and squires could also have a feast, and I didn't want to go to the king's dish to take food and drink, since the city is unknown to me
And Dietrich said: Sure, but how much is it?
Well, Detlef said, not a lot, and the 30 marks I brought with me you don't have to pay, but I did pawn Heime's horse and arms, and Witig's, and your own, for 60 marks of gold. And I also gave your cloak to the chief minstrel, and also my golden ring. And when I came here the gate to the garden was locked, so that I jumped on the door with my left foot
Now Heime thought he recognised this man
One day, when Dietrich sat on his throne, and his heroes were with him, a man came there, large and strong, but without good clothes or weapons, and he wore a deep hat so that no one could see his face
He replied: I am Wildeber, my family is in Amelungland, and I came here to offer uou my services and become your man. Dietrich said that, although he was an unknown man, he still would take his service, and my good heroes here around me will admit you to their companionship.
And Witig said: No one will gainsay you, my lord, if you want to take him into your service, since it is better to take up a good knight than to refuse him.
And the king gave him a seat at his table, but before Wildeber sat down he want to the washbasin, and when he rolled up his sleeves Witig saw that he had a gold ring around his arm, and knew he had to be from a noble family, even though he looked poor.
Now Dietrich gave him good clothes, a good horse and weapons, and he liked Wildeber. And Witig and Wildeber became good friends.
King Osantrix also had a large army, and when he met the army that did not flee from him
Herbrand, king Dietrichs banner carrier, rode in front, and hit with both hands both men and horses, and behind him came king Dietrich and his heroes, and they all tried their swords on hard helmets and strong shields and armour, and all the companions helped one another where necessary.
Then Widolf with the Pole came to them and with his pole he hit Witig, who was out in the very front, on the helmet, so that he fell from his horse onto the ground unconscious. Heime was close by, and when Witig had fallen he took his sword Mimung and hurried from there.
The Wilkinen also fought bravely, but king Dietrich told all his men to advance and show the enemies their handiwork. Now king Osantrix saw that the battle was lost and fled, after he had lost 500 knights. Attila, who had lost only 300, chased after him.
Now Hernit, Osantrix' brother's son, arrived with his army, and they saw Witig laying there, and they took him with them. But then Hertnit saw that the battle was lost, since his uncle Osantrix had already fled, and also fled, like all the others. Thus the Wilkinen lost, and they separated
King Attila and king Dietrich now rode home to Soest, which was king Attila's capital, and stayed there for the night. The next morning, however, king Dietrich wanted to go home to Bern. He had lost 60 men, and Witig too.
Then Wildeber came to king Dietrich, and requested permission to stay behind and find out if Witig was dead or alive. King Dietrich allowed this, and thus Wildeber stayed with king Attila.
A few days later king Attila rode to the Lurwald for a hunt, and Wildeber went with him, and many others. And when the day was done Attila went homeward.
But Wildeber staid behind with two large hunting dogs, and he found a forest bear and killed it. Then he peeld off its skin and rode home. He took the bear skin and hid it in a place only he knew about.
One day Isung, the chief minstrel, came to king Attila from king Dietrich in Bern. Dietrich had sent him out to find out if Witig was still alive, because minstrels can always go from prince to prince in peace, while other men may be distrusted. And king Attila received him well and entertained him
Wildeber told Isung he wanted to get Witig back, and wondered if Isung could make sure he could go into Osantrix' court undetected. Isung replied he was willing to do so.
The next morning Wildeber went to king Attila and told him he wanted to visit his relatives for a short while. King Attila offered him some knights to accompany him, but Wildeber said he'd travel with Isung, and they'd travel through peaceful lands. Then Attila allowed him to go
They now left the city of Soest, and when they were alone Wildeber showed the bear skin and asked Isung whether they could do anything with it. Isung inspected it and said that it might come in useful. He told Wildeber to wear the skin over his armor, and took needle and thread and sowed the skin as tightly as he could around Wildeber's back and feet, and so skilled was he that it would seem to everyone Wildeber was a bear. Now Isung put a collar around his neck and lead him, and so they traveled day after day until they reached Wilkinenland.
Close to king Osantrix' castle they encountered a man, who told them king Osantrix was in his castle but had few men with him, because he had recently conducted an expedition, as you may have heard, and most of his knights have returned to their houses, if they have one, because it is costly to live in a merchant city
Isung asked how the king felt about the victory
Then Isung asked if Hertnit was still with Osantrix, and which hero they had captured and if he was still alive. The man replied Hernit was not there, and that the hero was Witig, and was currently in a dark prison in heavy chains, and the man believed Witig was suffering much and waiting for his final day.
Then Isung went into the castle to the king himself. And when this famous minstrel came there he was well received. Then king Osantrix asked him to play some of the things that had made him so famous.
Isung replied that he thought little was being played here in Wilkinenland that he couldn't do better, singing songs, or playing harp, fiddle and violin
The king said that the bear had been trained well, but could it do more than cance? Isung replied that his bear could do many things. Then they went to bed.
The next morning the king asked to be entertained again by Isung and his bear, by setting a pack of dogs on it and see what happened. Isung said he did not like this proposal, for either his bear would be killed, and he was worth more to him than any gold or silver Osantrix would give him, or the dogs would lose, and the king would get angry and kill the bear. Osantrix said he would set his dogs on the bear, but promised that neither he nor any of his men would hurt the bear.
And during this day, and also the previous evening, they had heard how Witig was in a dark prison in strong fetters and a heavy collar.
The next morning the king and all his men went out of the castle to a field, and with them as well Widolf with the Pole and Aventrod, and Widolf was in strong chains, since he should never be released except in battle. And they and all of the other king's men were without weapons. Many other people, young and old, men and women and children, came to see what would happen.
And now Witig in his prison heard that Isung, his friend
The people outside let loose sixty large dogs who all attacked the bear at the same time, but the bear took the largest of them with his front paws and with it killed twelve of the best dogs. King Osantrix became angry, walked to the bear, drew his sword, and slashed him at the top of his back, and although the sword went through the skin the armor.
Now Wildeber snatched his sword from the hands of Isung, went after the king and cut off his head
Then all of the king's men, who were unarmed, ran away, and all thought the devil himself had entered the bear, and most of them didn't know what to do.
Wildeber now went to the castle and asked where his good friend Witig was. Witig had already broken out of prison
Now Wildeber took off the bear skin, and all saw he was a man and not a monster
The king received them well, and acted as if Witig had been brought back from Hell. He also asked how king Osantrix was. And Witig told him everything about their journey and Osantrix' death.
And king Attila marveled at how wonderful of a leader king Dietrich was, that he had so many good heroes willing to give their lives for one another. And he mused that Osantrix would have done better to make peace and accept reconciliation.
Then Witig, Wildeber and Isung went south to Bern. King Dietrich was very happy about their return, and they told him everything that had happened. King Dietrich was pleased and thanked Wildeber for his expedition, and it became famous for its victory.
Now Witig was back home but miserable, and when king Dietrich asked why he said it was because he did not know where his good sword Mimung was. And, said he, if he found the man bearing Mimung, they would have things to say to one another, and he wanted to retrieve Mimung or lose his life.
King Dietrich said that he did not have to wonder any longer: Heime our companion carries Mimung, he took it as soon as you fell.
A few days passed
When Witig had been home for six days, king Ermenrik sent a message that Dietrich should come with all his men to help him in a campaign against a jarl named Rimstein. This jarl owed tribute to king Ermenrik but refused to pay, and his castle was Gerimsheim. Dietrich was happy to do so.
When Witig heard about the campaign he went to Heime and asked him to return Mimung. Heime said he was willing to loan Mimung to him for the campaign on the condition that Witig returned it to him when they had come home. Witig agreed.
Now king Dietrich rode from Bern with 500 men and his heroes, which he called his companions, and went to find his uncle. King Ermenrik had 6000 men with him, and then both kings with their armies entered the jarl's territory and burned everything they could find and killed many men. When they came to the castle of Gerimsheim they burned all buildings outside it, and made camp. King Ermenrik and his army lay before one tower, and king Dietrich and his men before the other. They besieged the castle for two months but could not take it.
One evening jarl Rimstein and six knights rode from the castle to scout. Before he had commanded his men to arm themselves and stand ready inside the towers, and attack if it turned out the enemy was unarmed at the moment. When the jarl had found out what he wanted and was returning to the castle, he rode between the tents
Now Witig rode back to the tents, and he was very pleased and had his stallion make jumps, and the others knew Witig had done some heroic deed or other.
Heime said: Very proudly Witig rides there, and he has probably done something heroic that makes him feel even better about himself than before.
Witig told them they did not need to stay here any longer, since the jarl was dead. And they asked who had done that, and he told him he'd seen the man that had done the deed. And Heime said he didn't have to hide any longer that he had done that deed himself, but it was only a minor heroic deed that even a woman could have done if she could handle weapons, because the jarl was so old he had hardly any strength left.
Then Witig became angry and drew Mimung, and he took Nagelring and threw it at Heime's feet, and challenged him to a duel. And Heime accepted.
Then king Dietrich and several of his companions sprang between them, because they did not want them to fight, and they asked Witig to leave it be. But Witig said he would not sheathe Mimung before it had cut through Heime's head and body, and that there was bad blood between them, and they had to fight sooner or later, and he preferred sooner. Also, Heime had not behaved manly in the battle against king Osantrix, when he left Witig laying on the ground while he could have saved him, but instead he took my weapon, as if he had been my enemy instead of my companion.
Now king Dietrich said that Heime had not done well, and told him to apologise. And thus it came to pass that Heime said that what he had said
Then king Dietrich asked Witig: Dear friend, did you really kill the jarl? Yes, said Witig, he rode against me with five knights, and he pulled the short straw in our encounter, and the others fled. Then Dietrich praised him for his courage and thanked him.
All these sat on one bench
And everyone said that they had never seen such noble and brave men, so perfect in all virtues in one hall together.
Witig the Strong, Wieland's son, used a white colour in his armour, and on his coat of arms was a red hammer and tongs and three carbuncle stones to denote his descent, for his father was a smith, and the three precious stones denoted his mother. A dragon of red gold crowned his helmet.
Wildeber the Bold was a good counselor, daring and bold when ruling over other men, but artful and courteous when he served others. On his coat of arms he had a boar and a bear in dark red, but the colour of his coat was gold, with a dark red stripe, and his armour has the same colour.
This coat of arm signifies Villigöltr, which in German is Wildeber
Now they came to a large forest their road went through. Herbrand held his horse and told king Dietrich they had reached the Bertangaland forest, and in the forest lives a giant called Etger, a son of king Nordian and a brother of the giants Wildeber killed
Witig replied: If all that is the case, Herbrand, you and king Dietrich and all the others should wait outside, but I will ride into the forest and talk to the giant, and it could be I get him to allow us to pass through, since we are relatives. And if he refuses, my stallion will not carry me slower back to you than forward to the giant. The king and all companions agreed to this.
Although they did not cultivate it much, Witig and Etger the giant were related. Because Witig was the son of Wieland the Smith, whom the Northmen
Now Witig rode into the forest, and he saw a man sleeping who was very large and terrible, and he snored so hard that the branches on the trees shook. Witig dismounted and tied his horse to an olive tree, drew his sword Mimung, and poked the giant with his left foot. Rise, giant, he said, and defend yourself. The man has come who will take your life. The one who guards this country for a rich chieftain should not sleep.
The giant awoke, and saw a man had come here, but he was not afraid. He said: I don't always sleep, I awake when there is need. But when you are concerned I can either sleep or wake
Then Witig again poked him with his foot, so hard that two ribs broke, and now the giant jumped up and was angry. He took his iron pole and swung at Witig. Witig jumped aside, and the giant hit the ground so hard the pole was stuck between two rocks
Now king Dietrich and the others heard a great crash when the pole came down, and Herbrand said: We may well have heard Witig's death, so let's ride away as quickly as we can, because if we don't we'll get killed as well.
The giant now took his spear and threw it at Witig, but Witig ran towards him and the spear went over his head and deep into the ground, where it remained stuck. And now Witig struck the giant on his thigh, and carved off a piece so large no horse could carry it, and then he struck another blow and another until the giant fell down with many wounds. And while he had no more weapons he saw he would be defeated in this duel, so he fell to the ground in such a way that he hoped to catch Witig under him and thus kill him. But Witig ran through his legs and thus escaped.
When they heard this mighty fall, Witig's companions said: Now the giant has surely killed Witig. But others said that maybe Witig had won and the giant had fallen.
Now Witig told the giant he would cut off his head unless he bought himself free. And the giant offered gold and silver for his head, and Witig told him to bring him to the treasure. Then the giant rose, tired and blood-soaked, and went further into the forest, where they came to a large stone that had an iron ring in it.
The giant said: now remove this stone, and you will find the treasure. Witig pulled with all his might, but the stone didn't move. Then Witig said: if you want to keep your life, remove this stone.
Then the giant perforce took the stone and removed it with one hand, and under the stone was a door, and the giant opened it and below it was a hole in the ground
Witig considered that, when he went into the hole, the giant might close the door behind him and put the stone on top of it, and then he might never escape. So he told the giant: Go in and bring me your treasure. The giant stepped down into the hole, and Witig swung his sword with both hands and struck the giant's neck so that his head was cut off. And thus the giant fell.
Then Witig cut the giant's tongue out of his head and covered himself in the blood that flowed from it, then went to his horse and also covered it in blood, and he bound the tongue to his horse's tail, because he wanted to have it as evidence. Now he jumped on his horse and rode beack to his companions as quickly as he could.
Then he held up his sword as high as he could and crief: Away, my friends! The giant wounded me mortally, and you can expect the same when you don't flee now.
And when they heard this, all became afraid, and fled, except for king Dietrich. He courageously turned his horse toward Witig, drew his sword, and called: Good friend, turn around and come with me. We must remember that we said we would never flee, even when it is certain we'll be killed, but it won't matter since we'll be together.
When they met each other Witig explained to king Dietrich what he had done, and Dietrich thought Witig had done well, as was to be expected.
When king Gunther
Then Witig said to king Gunther and the others: Dear friends, I beg you, don't hold it against me that I did not tell you the truth. I know that among you many are not less than me. But if I have done you a bad turn, then let me make up with gold and jewelry.
Now they all rode on, and they saw how deep the pole had gone into the earth, and the place where the spear had gone into the earth, and then to the hole in the ground where the giant had fallen, and there they found innumerable treasures of gold, silver, and jewelry, because that was all the treasure of king Isung
Then king Dietrich said: Witig, I counsel you to leave this treasure here, and not take a penny with you. Now I first want to go to king Isung and fight him, and when we win we will take this treasure with us and do what we like. But if we lose, people could say we took booty here but still lost in our main endeavour
Witig replied the king but had to command him, as in everything. And so it was done.
Now they exited the forest and saw a mountain, and on it a beautiful and large castle. King Dietrich had his tents erected under the mountain, and camped there.
One day king Isung and his eleven sons were in their castle, and Sigfrid came to them and said to them: My lord, I saw a tent on the field before your castle, of a different type than I saw before. In the middle of this tent is a pole, and on it a knot of gold. And there is a second, red tent before it, and a third, green tent behind it, and on the right a golden tent, and on the left a white tent.
And before the tents there are thirteen shields, and on the outer shield there is a horse, and that is Heime's, and on the next a golden hawk with two birds, and that is my relative
And from that, Sigfrid continued, it seems to me that foreign warriors have come to our land, and I am prepared, if you wish, to ride to them and find out who they are
King Isung said: I'll send one of my men to them to tell them that if they want to keep their lives they should pay me tribute, as our laws require, and my emissary will ask them who they are, where they come from, where they were born, and where they're going, and if they have any other goal here than to pay me tribute.
And Sigfrid said: the man you're going to send should be none other than me.
Then Sigfrid took a bad horse without a saddle
Then Sigfrid said: My lord king Isung sends me to demand tribute from you, as our laws require, but if you do not give tribute you will leave your goods and your life here.
King Dietrich replied: We came here for reasons other than to give your king tribute. I offer him a challenge
Sigfrid replied: With your permission, who is your leader, and where do you come from? You're doing something no one has done before with your challenge. Haven't you heard how great he is? And I think he will not refuse battle, whatever men you are.
Witig said: King Dietrich rules these men, and there is another king here, that is Gunther of Niflungenland, and there are also many good heroes here. But do you think that king Isung and Sigfrid will truly battle us?
Sigfrid said: King Isung and Sigfrid will not flee from you, even though it's Dietrich von Bern and his men who have come here. But you cannot break the law and refuse tribute, so you should send him something that honours both you and him.
King Dietrich said: Since you bring us this message with so much courtesy I'm willing to send him an honourable gift. And he turned to his men and decided they would send one horse and shield, and they would cast lots to see who would lose them. And they did so
Amelung didn't like losing his horse and wanted to ride after Sigfrid. He went to his father Hornboge and asked to borrow his horse, but the jarl refused him.
Then Amelung went to Witig and asked the same. Witig said that he thought Amelung would not get back his horse, and if he lost Witig's in the process, what would Witig have left?
Amelung promised that if he also lost Witig's horse, he would give him twelve strong castles in Vindland, which his father had given him, and ind addition Witig would be Hornboge's heir. But if I return with your horse, I'll also have mine, and if I don't return I'll be dead. Witig agreed to this, because Amelung took most of the risk in this endeavour.
Then Amelung mounted Schimming, rode after Sigfrid and overtook him close to the castle where a linden tree grew
Amelung said: Get off that horse, or you will lose both horse and life. Sigfrid started to suspect that this man was jarl Hornboge's son, his relative
Now Amelung gave Schimming the spurs and rode to Sigfrid, and his spear hit his shield, but Sigfrid staid in the saddle, although his horse sank on its hindlegs. And the spear shaft broke.
Sigfrid said: That was well done for a young man, and you may well have relatives who are as knightly as you are. Now it's my turn.
And Sigfrid gave his horse the spurs and rode to Amelung, and his spear hit his shiled so hard that Amelung was carried far back off his horse. Now Sigfrid took Schmming's reins and said: Good man, now you have neither your own horse nor the other one, which appears to be Schimming, Witig's horse. You will likely have pledged a great deal to get it. It would have been better if you had sat still this time.
Amelung replied that it might still turn out otherwise, and Sigfrid asked him what we wanted to do. Amelung said he'd do anything honourable to get his horse back. Then Sigfrid asked him who he was. Amelung refused to tell him, because Sigfrid still held his horse and his companions would say he told him out of fear, which would be dishonourable.
Then Sigfrid asked him if he was the son of jarl Hornboge, his kinsman, because he would never do dishonour to kinsmen. Also he told Amelung he was Sigfrid. Amelung still refused, unless Sigfrid swore with God as witness the facy would never be used to shame him. This Sigfrid promised.
Then Amelung told him he was Amelung Hornboge's son and they were related. Then Sigfrid said he had done well, and proposed that Amelung would take both horses back to the tents, but before he left he would bind Sigfrid to the linden tree and take his spear and shield as well.
And they did this, and Amelung rode back with both horses, and when he neared the tents he behaved quite heroically.
Now king Dietrich and Witig stood outside their tents and saw Amelung ride back. Witig said: Amelung has his horse back, and now I can guess that it was Sigfrid who came to us, because I believe Amelung asked for the horse as a gift, since they are related, and Amelung will have spoken quite humbly because he'd never have received the horse in any other way.
King Dietrich said: He would not have taken the horse back against Sigfrid's wishes, but it could be that the man who came to us was another man, and thus
Now Amelung rode to the tents, and his father and his companions asked him how he'd got the horse. Then Amelung said: When I came to the foot of the mountain I found the man who had taken my horse, and I rode at him as hard as I could and hit his shield with my spear - and you can see the shield here - and my spear broke in two, but I still threw him off his horse, and I beat him with the pieces of my spear, and I bound him to a linden tree using his belt and shield strap, and I also cut my sword strap in pieces to bind him as tightly as I wanted. And I assume he still stands there, because he can't free himself. Now everyone agreed he had behaved quite knightly.
Then Witig said to king Dietrich: I want to ride to where the man is bound, and when it is Sigfrid, as I suspect, then this was done with cunning, and if he still awaits me at the tree I'll be certain if it's Sigfrid or someone else
Dietrich agreed, and Witig mounted and said: It's a great shame if the man you have bound can't free himself, and I want to free him. And he rode there.
But when Sigfrid saw that a man rode to him he tore apart his bonds and walked up the mountain, because he did not want to encounter the man. When Witig arrived he saw the staps lie there, and the broken spear shafts, and thought that everything Amelung had said was true, and that's what he told his companions.
Now Sigfrid came to king Isung's hall and told him what had happened, and that Dietrich von Bern with twelve of his heroes had come, and that he had challenged them to a duel, and that Sigfrid had had a horse as a gift of friendship
And king Isung said that he willingly accepted the challenge.
The next morning king Isung and his men
And king Dietrich said: Don't doubt we've come here to fight. We have ridden a long road and encountered many dangers to find out who of us has the better swords and shields, the harder helmets, and more strength and valour.
King Isung and his men dismounted while king Dietrich and his men armed themselves. And they decided to hold thirteen duels between two heroes on foot. King Dietrich would fight Sigfrid, king Gunther would fight king Isung, and Witig Isung's oldest son, and so man was paired with man.
Now Witig the Strong took the field, and against him the eleventh prince, and this was the strongest of them all. Now they went at each other so powerfully that each blow was half as strong again as the previous one, and nobody saw a braver fight then this one. And they came so close to one another that they were barely able to hit one another
Now Witig considered what Mimung had done before, when he had carried that sword into a duel
Witig spoke: You, king Isung, choose: either release all my companions, or lose your son. King Isung replied: I won't release them before I see that the man can be killed, but he has not yet received a mortal wound.
The prince called: Do what he desires at once, or I'll lose my life. He has the Devil himself in his hand, and I cannot stand against it, nor anyone else; but still it's expensive to trade man against man
Then Witig said: If you, king Isung, do not release all my companions I'll cut off your son's head, and then I'll cut you a killing blow, and Mimung will not be sheathed before all my companions are free.
Now Witig walked to where his companions were kept, and he broke one spear shaft after the other until they were all free. And then he walked to the man he had fought with and wanted to kill him. Then king Isung and Sigfrid sprang between them and separated them, and king Dietrich agreed with this. And they were reconciled, and it was decided that both sides were unbound now, and that the fights so far were equal. And with that they parted, and Witig had released all his friends.
Now king Dietrich drew his sword Eckisax from its sheath, and came forth from his men to the field, and he was ready to fight. Sigfrid walked to meet him and drew his sword Gram. They drew closer courageously, and as soon as they met they exchanged great blows. Most blows were incredibly strong, and they did not spare their
Then king Isung took his shield, and Witig too, and they entered the battlefield and separated the two. "Enough fighting for today, and let's rest for the night, but tomorrow you may conclude your duel." And thus they parted, and king Isung and his men rode to the castle, while king Dietrich and his men went to their tents. They were quite happy, since things had gone well. And then they slept.
The next morning, when it hadn't been light for long, king Isung came down from his castle, and king Dietrich and Sigfrid armed themselves for a new day of combat. And when they continued they fought as if they had not met one another before, and both seemed fresh, and they hacked at one another until both were tired and they rested for a while. And then they fought on, the entire day until nightfall, and they only rested when neither of them could stay on his feet. And still their armours were unbroken, so that neither of them had suffered a wound, and still nobody knew who would vanquish the other. And again they were separated by king Isung and Witig. And then king Isung rode to his castle, and Dietrich and his men slept in their tents.
That night king Dietrich and Witig met, and Witig asked Dietrich: My lord, how do you think this battle with Sigfrid will end? He seems to be a brave and strong man, and both of you are, so I cannot say which one of you will win the prize
King Dietrich replied: I don't know either, but I'd feel better if my sword could penetrate his skin, which seems harder than any weapon
Witig replied: You may not ask for Mimung, because since it was forged it was but once in another man's hands than mine, and that was when Heime took it
This angered the king, and he said: Now hear what great shame this is, that you compare your king to a stable boy. We will never be as good friends as we were before because of these words.
Witig replied: My lord, if I spoke ill of you that was not deliberate
And when the night had passed king Isung came back with his men to fight. And king Dietrich was ready with his men. And when king Dietrich came on to the battlefield he had drawn his sword, but put his shield in front of it. Sigfrid had not come
Sigfrid replied: I'm coming, and we'll fight like yesterday, provided you again swear you won't use Mimung, Witig's sword. And once you do so I'll gladly fight with you. Dietrich replied he'd rather swear that oath than not fight, and called Sigfrid again.
Now Sigfrid came to the battlefield, but king Dietrich drew the sword behind his back and stuck its point in the earth, and supported the hilt with his back, and swore that, so help him God, Mimung's point was not above the earth and its hilt in no man's hand.
That was enough for Sigfrid, and he drew his sword Gram, but Dietrich took Mimung and they came together and fought. After a short while Dietrich made one hit after the other, and he cut off pieces of Sigfrid's shield or helmet or armour
Now Sigfrid realised exactly which oath Dietrich had sworn, and that he used Mimung, and he said: Lord Dietrich, I wish to surrender my arms and become your man
And Sigfrid surrendered his weapons, and king Dietrich took him gladly into his following, and it seemed to him that he had won the greatest and strongest hero in the world. And thus they parted.
And now king Dietrich and his men were quite happy and considered themselves to have succeeded in this expedition. But king Isung and his men were unhappy, because their best man and most famous hero was defeated.
Then jarl Iron rode home, but not long after his wife Isolde died.
King Attila of Soest
The next morning they went on to the feast, and Dietrich von Bern and Witig and Heime were also there. This was the feast where Detlef the Dane battled with Walther of Waskastein
The same night king Dietrich von Bern came to Fritila, and Witig the Strong and Heime were with him, and they staid there for the night. Early next morning they rode on, came to the forest and found a dead man, and also a horse with a knight's saddle, and the horse bit them and didn't want them to separate it from its lord. There were also two dogs who did not let them touch their lord, and two hawks came from the trees and screamed loudly.
Dietrich remarked this had to be a great man, and then he recognised jarl Iron. They decided to bury him, and took a large tree
And while they were doing this duke Ake and his men came by, greeted Dietrich, and suggested they would all ride to Rome together. Dietrich asked him who could have slain jarl Iron, and Ake replied he had done it. Dietrich asked why, and Ake replied the jarl was hunting for a two-legged animal to his dishonour, with the cunning of both of them
Nordian and the three knights felt that jarl Iron had been away for too long, searched from him, and heard the howling of his dogs at Iron's grave. Nordian recognised the animals, and they opened the grave and found their lord Iron with many wounds, and they considered it likely Ake had done this.
They took the horse, dogs, and hawks, and staid in Amelungenland until they were certain Ake had done this. Then they rode home to Hunnenland and told king Attila the story. He set a new man over Brandenborg, that jarl Iron had once ruled.
Now news came to Longobardenland that a count by name of Ake Harlungtrost had died, who left behind a wife, Bolfriana, and two young sons, Egard and Ake. The older Ake was a half-brother of king Ermenrik.
Then king Dietrich set out with a hundred knights and his good friend Witig to Rome to king Ermenrik. He proposed that Witig should marry Bolfriana of Drekanfils
One day Odilia, Sibich's wife, went to the queen, Ermenrik's wife, and they drank and were merry. But then she spoke of Egard and Ake
Then king Ermenrik came in, and drank with them. Odilia said: "Now we have west and south wind, and sunshine and warmth, and then light rain and it's clear in the east and north, what else would come but Egard and his brother Ake? No wild animal or forest bird will be safe from them." The king was silent and didn't reply.
Then the queen said: "They give peace to neither animal nor bird, and each time they come here the serving girls won't have peace, either." Still Ermenrik did not reply, though he thought about what the women were saying, and Fritila, Egard's and Ake's foster, was with him.
Then the queen said: "I myself should take care, and they would certainly do me dishonour if it were in their power."
Then the king spoke angrily: "If you are not safe from them, then they should not be safe from me. They'll hang so high no one will hang higher."
Then Fritila said that Egard and Ake would suffer because Witig
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
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.
Witig came home, and found his castle burned, and he found his wife in a village hut. Then Witig took all his men and his possessions, and went to king Dietrich to ask for advice. Together with Witig King Dietrich went to Ermenrik, and asked why all this happened, and whether Witig was to blame for anything. The king replied that Witig was blameless, and that he would not think less of him. And he gave Witig the castle named Rana, and Witig ruled that castle. King Dietrich went home, but was perturbed about how Ermenrik treated his relatives.
One day king Ermenrik and Sibich were talking, and Sibich said that Ermenrik should worry about his nephew Dietrich, because Dietrich was plotting high treason against him, and was a great hero besides. He has increased his kingdom by many cities, but refuses to pay tribute over the land your father took with his sword. While Dietrich rules in Bern Ermenrik would get nothing.
The king agreed that his father had held the land, and that he was not of lesser birth than Dietrich. Sibich counseled to send the knight Reinald to Amelungenland to demand tribute. The king took this counsel, and when the ambassadors reached Amelungenland they called all the men to a meeting
The men said that they were already paying tribute to king Dietrich, and that when he wanted to give Ermenrik some that was fine, but they would not give twice. And they send messengers to king Dietrich, who came to the meeting and talked to them, and at the end he told Reinald to go home to tell Ermenrik he would never get tribute from Amelungenland as long as Dietrich was king.
After Reinald told Ermenrik what had happened, Sibich said it was as he had feared: Dietrich wanted to be equal to Ermenrik.
King Ermenrik replied that he now saw Dietrich wanted to measure himself against him, and that he should hang before he could attain his goal, because everyone knew who was the most powerful.
Then Heime said that Ermenrik would pay for the evil he did to so many of his kinsmen, and that Sibich was the cause of it all. And Witig agreed that this was a great dishonour that would always be told as long as the world remained. And Witig jumped onto his horse and rode day and night as quickly as he could.
But king Ermenrik had his war horns blown, gathered his army, rode away and gathered even more men as he moved.
By midnight Witig arrived at Bern, and all doors were closed. The gurds asked who came there, and Witig named himself and asked the doors to be opened. And they did so, and warned king Dietrich. When the two met, king Dietrich asked what news he had, and if Witig knew why king Ermenrik demanded tribute from his lands. Witig told him Ermemnrik's army was coming, and that he wanted to kill Dietrich, like all his other relatives. King Dietrich called together all his men, and said they could either stay, fight, and be defeated and killed, or leave the castle, and God knows when we will get it back. And he wanted to do the latter.
Then Hildebrand his best friend agreed, even though it was unseemly, and king Dietrich should prepare himself, because there was no time for more talk.
And when Hildebrand has spoken the women and children began to wail for their men, sons, and brothers, and fathers, while the knights took their arms and horses. And in that night there were loud sounds from calls and horns, and when all had armed themselves they went into the king's hall, sat there for a while, and drank wine.
Then Heime came to Bern, and told them king Ermenrik was now close by and had 5,000 knights with him, while king Dietrich only had 800. And Heime said that they would leave the castle with dishonour, but king Ermenrik would receive more harm than good from them.
Then Hildebrand took king Dietrich's banner, and told all to follow him. And now they, Hildebrand in front, rode to Langobardenland and Munia, into Ermenrik's realm, and they burned castles, villages, and farms, before they went north over the mountains.
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
Then Heime said that if he had had his good sword Nagelring
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.
But king Ermenrik sent messengers over all his realm to gather all of his warriors, young or old, who could carry weapons and had the courage to fight. And three days and three nights passed.
And when that time was up sixteen thousand knights had gathered in Rome, ready for battle, and their chief was duke Witig Wieland's son of Fritila, and the army was equipped with strong horn bows
Then Witig said to king Ermenrik: All my men have come here, and I've never brought together a larger army in less time, and they are willing to fight the Huns, but I myself will not fight Dietrich von Bern or his brother Diether, but I must still
And now Rome was filled with calls and shouts throughout the city, and weapons clanging, and horses neighing, and all the streets were full with warriors.
Then king Ermenrik went on to the highest tower and said: My good friend Sibich, you will carry my banner and my personal guard, and no less than six thousand warriors. And when you get to the battle, you shall stand against Dietrich von Bern, and your men will attack his men, and it would be best if you carried his sword in your hand when the battle ends.
Then he said: My good relative Reinald
And now hear, my good friend Witig, my best duke, you shall have six thousand knights and you should not return in defeat. I would like to see Dietrich and Diether killed in this battle, and do not let king Attila's sons get away with their lives. May God grant you victory, and may you have great fame from this war.
Then Witig replied that he was quite ready to fight the Huns and Attila's sons, but he would not harm king Dietrich when it was in his power. Now they blew all their horns, mounted on their hroses, and rode with shouts and calls and horns from the city.
They followed the road northward over the mountains, and did not stop until they came to Gransport, and there they saw king Dietrich and his army on the northern side of the river. Then the Amelungen
This night master Hildebrand was king Dietrich's watchman, and when everyone was asleep he rode down to the river, alone and stealthily, until he found a ford in the river. He rode through the river, but before he found it
Master Hildebrand said
Then Hildebrand replied: You are right, I am truly Hildebrand, king Dietrich's best friend, and I will never hide that. And welcome to you, my friend Reinald, please tell me news about your army.
Reinald said: The first piece of news is, that king Ermenrik's army is led by duke Witig, your good friend, and the next Sibich, your great enemy, and I can also tell you that I rode away so silently that everybody thinks I'm still in bed, but I wanted to ride to king Dietrich and tell him all this if I hadn't met you, and I truly wish that he will do well, even though I will lead my men against him, but I do not want to hide from Dietrich whatever he desires to know.
Now they rode up the river
Then Hildebrand said: And where is our dear friend Witig with his people? And Reinald replied: You can see a green tent with a large silver knot on the pole. Witig sleeps there, and many Amelungen who have sworn to cleave many a Hunnish helmet tomorrow.
Then Hildebrand asked: And whose is the black tent? And Reinald said: That is mine, and my men sleep there. Then Hildebrand said: ou did well, to show me how you divided your army. Now come with me up the river, where our tents are, and I will tell you our division. And they did that.
And as they rode up from the river, five men rode towards them; they were Amelungen from Sibich's following. They assumed that these
Then Hildebrand drew his sword and rode to them. And Reinald ordered them not to come towards them, because this man
But they thought they recognised master Hildebrand, and one of them hit his helmet hat
Now Hildebrand and Reinald came to the river bank opposite the
Then Reinald said: Sibich has also decided to fight against king Dietrich. But I will lead my banner against margrave Rodinger, because the Huns who follow him are not our friends. But Witig, your friend, will attack Diether and Attila's sons, although he is loath to fight against Diether because he is king Dietrich's brother, but it must be done.
And now they separated, and wished each other safe travel.
Hildebrand rode back through the ford. But when Reinald came to his tent he found there Sibich with many of his men, ready for battle. He had heard about Hildebrand's mission and wanted to ride after him and kill him.
Then Reinald said: If you want to kill my good friend Hildebrand I can get no fewer men than you have in a short time, and then you'll have to fight me rather than him, and you'll have many fewer men before you catch up with him. And it is more likely than not that he will ride his way, whether you pursue him or not
Then Sibich replied: Reinald, do you want to become king Ermenrik's enemy, who made me chief of this campaign? Do you want to help our enemies?
Reinald said: I don't want to become king Ermenrik's enemy. Instead, I will fight for him, even though I fight against my relatives and friends, but I will not let you kill Hildebrand while he rides alone. You will have plenty of opportunity to kill him before the day is over, and when he leads his men I will not prevent anyone from riding against him. But it could be that he defends himself. And these words stopped Sibich and his men from riding after Hildebrand.
But Hildebrand rode to king Dietrich's tent and told him all he had learned that night. And the king said he had done well, as before.
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 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
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.
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.
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.
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.
Then one of Dietrich's followers rode after the king and called: Good lord Dietrich, turn back, that vile dog Witig has killed first duke Nudung, then Ortwin and Erp, then Helfrich, and now your brother Diether. Go back, my lord, and avenge them.
Then king Dietrich said: What have I done that God grants me such an evil day? No weapon hit me today, and I have no wounds, but the princes are dead and so is Diether. I can never return to Hunnenland now. I will avenge them or be killed myself.
Then he turned his stallion Falke, spurred him on, and his entire army followed him, and he rode so quickly that nobody could keep up with him, and he was so angry that fire came forth from his mouth, and nobody dared to stand against him.
And when Witig saw that he fled, like the other men
But Witig pretended he hadn't heard Dietrich, and continued his flight. Dietrich called again, and now Witig replied: I killed your brother out of necessity, and did it only to stay alive, and if I can pay you back with silver and gold I will.
But still he fled as quickly as his horse could go, but Dietrich came after him. And thus Witig rode into the lake
When day came Rodinger invited the Niflungen to stay for a few days, but they wanted to ride on. And margrave Rodinger told them he wanted to ride with them. And during breakfast Rodinger had a helmet carried in, and gave it to king Gunther. And the king thanked him for this gift. Then Rodinger gave a new shield to Gernot.
Then he had his daughter brought in and gave her to Giselher, and said: Good Giselher, this maiden I would like to give you for your wife, if you want to tak her. And Giselher replied he would become the happiest of men with her, and took her with many thanks.
And again Rodinger spoke: See here, young Giselher, the sword Gram that I would like to give you. It used to be Sigfrid's sword, and I think it would be the best of weapons to carry where you are going. And again Giselher thanked Rodinger.
Then margrave Rodinger said to Hagen: My good friend, what do you see around here that you would like to have? And Hagen said: I see a shield that is sea blue, and large, and it ought to be strong and has large cuts in it. I would like that for a gift.
And Rodinger said: That shield was carried by a good hero, duke Nudung, and the cut is from Mimung, strong Witig's sword, before he fell. And when Gotelinde heard this she cried many tears for her brother Nudung. And Hagen received the shield, and everyone thanked Rodinger again.
Then alll rode from the castle, including margrave Rodinger and his men. Gotelinde wished them well, and hoped they would return with honour. And margrave Rodinger kissed his wife and asked her to rule his realm until he returned.
Status: summary of 87 chapters complete.