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.
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
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.
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.
When they'd been home for a few days, a young man came there called Amelung, Hornboge's son, and he came there to his father and wanted to stay. Dietrich received him well, and now he had nine companions.
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.
Jarl Hornboge was a good warrior with sword, spear, and shield, but above all he excelled in archery and spear-throwing. Also he was an excellent horseman that he was never separated from his horse
Jarl Hornboge had brown as his colour, and on his coat of arms a golden hawk before which two birds flew, and his son Amelung had the same coat of arms. It meant his knighthood, and how, like the hawk, he often pursued enemies with great speed.
Jarl Hornboge had many lands and castles, and many knights and a wealth of cattle
Amelung, jarl Hornboge's son, looked a lot like his father [and carried the same coat of arms].
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 Amelung said: "It was an unfortunate day
And now he called on his father jarl Hornboge and told him to bind his helmet onto his head as firmly as he could, and to bind his shield to his left hand as firmly as he could so that it could not be lost, and he swore that he'd rather be chopped as small as the smallest pieces that went into a kettle before he would be bound and the Bertanga-men would support his back with a spear shaft.
Now he took the field, and against him the sixth prince, and they fought with great courage for a long time. Amelung saw that the fight would take a long time if he didn't take some more risk. Despite his shield being bound to his left hand, he took his sword in both hands and hit the prince on the helmet as hard as he could, and the sword would not cut it, so hard was that helmet. But still the prince fell, and Amelung threw himself onto him and told him: If you want to keep your life, surrender your weapons and you'll be bound to a spear shaft like your brothers did to my companions. But if you want to free yourself, then they should let go my good friend Fasold and Herbrand.
The prince agreed, and it happened, and now each went back to his men; and the duel had gone as Sigfrid had thought it would.
Now jarl Hornboge took the field, and against him the seventh prince. They fought courageously, and jarl Hornboge acquitted himself honourably for a while, but he was overpowered by the prince, due to strong blows and knightly bravrery, and he could not hold but was defeated and bound.
And the prince went back to his men and the Bertanga-men were well pleased with the outcome.
And when king Dietrich and king Isung separated they swore friendship and gave one another great gifts. And Sigfrid, too, gave great gifts to his relatives
And the feast was celebrated with the best, and it took five days with great splendour and all sorts of festivities, and games and entertainment.
Now king Dietrich and his men rode away, and with him came Sigfrid, whom they admitted to their brotherhood. And when kings Dietrich and Isung separated they swore friendship. And Amelung was followed by his wife Fallburg with a great treasure of gold, silver, and jewelry.
Now king Dietrich rode the entire road that he had come by until he and his companions came home to Bern. There they were received with all honours.
And now everyone praised him for his strength and courage, wherever his name was heard, and that was in almost the entire world, and no one could name the man who would be willing to measure himself against Dietrich in strength or weapons. And he knew he could sit undisturbed in his kingdom for all his life, or as long as he wished.
When king Dietrich and his men had made sure that no man in the world would dare to carry a shield against them
Thus jarl Hornboge went home to Windland, and with him his son Amelung and his wife Fallburg, and they ruled their realm for a long time with honour and fame. And Sintram went east to Fenedi and became duke there, and was one of the most famous men, like his ancestors had been. And Herbrand went back to his realm, and also became a powerful duke.
Status: summary of 21 chapters complete.