Summary of the Thidrekssaga

Search for chapters:

See all parts of the saga.

Witig

90

Now they rode on and in the evening they came to a fort called Her which belonged to king Dietmar Mss. A and B say: belonged to Hildebrand, Diet­rich's father, and Hildebrand's wife lived there Manuscript A calls her Oda; the others do not have a name. There they stayed overnight, and the next day they went on to Bern.

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 i.e. after losing the duel then he will have to submit to your harsh judgement, but I think he'll fight better than that. But he is still unbound i.e. doesn't have a lord ... I think, and I think he'll stay here all day until the two of you fight Unclear; retranslate.

Dietrich's flight

284

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 Ă¾ing, and Reinald told them about his errand.

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.

The battle of Gransport

324

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 Their exact relation is unknown, you will be duke over five thousand knights, and you will lead them against the Huns, and my nephews Diet­rich and Diether should be killed in this battle.

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.

325

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 Ermenrik's army erected their tents on the south side of the river, but the Huns on the north side, and thus they spent the night.

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 don't know what that means; from 328 it becomes clear he crossed the river a man rode to him, and the night was so dark that neither saw the other until they were on top of one another.

Master Hildebrand said Von der Hagen gives this first line to Reinald Who are you, man, and why do you ride so fiercely?

Reinald Von der Hagen: Hildebrand replied: I do not need to tell you my name, since you ride alone, like I do, but I do not have to ask for your name, because I know it, even though we haven't seen each other for twenty winters. Von der Hagen adds: The man said You are master Hildebrand, king Diet­rich's follower.

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.

326

Now they rode up the river unclear. Upstream? and talked, and the moon rose and made the night so clear they could see both armies. Then Hildebrand said: Where is Sibich's army and tent? He is our worst enemy, and I'd like to do something bad to him, unless you prevent it. And Reinald replied: You can see a large tent with three golden knots on the pole. The tent belongs to king Ermenrik, and Sibich sleeps there. I will not prevent you from doing him harm, but you won't be able to, since a large army lies around it.

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.

327

And as they rode up from the river, five men rode towards them; they were Amelungen from Sibich's following. They assumed that these two riders must be Hunnish spies, and drew their swords and wanted to kill them.

Then Hildebrand drew his sword and rode to them. And Reinald ordered them not to come towards them, because this man Hildebrand is my man.

But they thought they recognised master Hildebrand, and one of them hit his helmet hat this is apparently a thing so that it broke in two, but the helmet itself was unscathed. Then master Hildebrand beheaded him, but they were separated because Reinald did not want them to fight on. Now Reinald and Hildebrand rode on to their destination, while the patrol went its way.

328

Now Hildebrand and Reinald came to the river bank opposite the Hunnish army, and Hildebrand said: You can see a tent with five poles, and golden knots on every one, that is king Diet­rich's tent. And on the right you can see a tent of red silk with nine poles and nine golden knots, and that is king Attila's tent, where his sons and Diether sleep. And to the right of king Diet­rich's tent you can see a green tent, which is margrave Rodinger's, who wants to aid king Diet­rich nd Diether. Now I have told you how our tents are ordered. And Sibich will find out that king Diet­rich will lead his banner mostly against him, oh yes he will.

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.

329

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 likely means: he will kill the lot of you even if I don't.

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.

330

And when light came king Diet­rich rose and had his horns blown, and then Diether did the same, as did margrave Rodinger. And now all rose and armed themselves. And when they had mounted master Hildebrand rode in front with king Diet­rich's banner pole in his hands, and close behind him king Diet­rich with all his men. And they rode to the same ford that Hildebrand had used during the night.

And when the Amelungen saw this, Sibich had king Ermenrik's horns blown, and Witig and Reinald did the same, and all their men armed themselves. Witig mounted his horse Schimming and was ready to fight; and so too Reinald with his army.

Walther of Waskastein bore king Ermenrik's banner in his hand, this banner had the outer part in black like a raven's, and the next part gold, and the third one green as grass, and seventy golden bells were sewn into this banner, so that one could hear it throughout the entire army as soon as the banner was moved or touched by the wind. And behind him came Sibich with his men.

And when king Diet­rich saw king Ermenrik's banner and knew Sibich followed it, he called on master Hildebrand to carry his banner that way; and this banner was made of white silk, and had a golden lion with a crown, and no fewer than seventy bells hung from it; queen Erka had had this banner made and gave it to king Diet­rich. So these two armies rode to one another.

Then rode Reinald with his troupe; and his banner was red silk like blood, and on the tip of the pole were three golden knots. And he led his army against margrave Rodinger.

Then rode Witig with his army, and his banner was carried by the strong Runga - no giant was found with equal strength - and this banner was black, and a white hammer, tongues, and anvil on it. Against him rode duke Nudung, and he bore a white banner with a golden lion, and this banner queen Erka had given to Diether. And after him rode Diether and Erp and Ortwin, Attila's sons, and the good knight Helfrich. Their shoes were covered with red gold so that they had a glow as if of fire.

334

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

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

Status: summary of 10 chapters complete.

Other parts

  1. Samson (1-13)
  2. Hildebrand and Heime (14-20)
  3. Wieland the Smith (57-79)
  4. Witig (80-95)
  5. Journey to Osning (96-107)
  6. Witig and Heime (108-110,134-137,146-151)
  7. Detlef the Dane (111-129)
  8. Amelung, Wildeber, and Herbrand (130-133)
  9. Wildeber and Isung (138-145)
  10. Sigmund and Sisibe (152-161)
  11. Sigfrid's youth (162-168)
  12. Origins of the Niflungen (169-170)
  13. Dietrich's feast (171-191)
  14. The road to Bertangaland (192-199)
  15. The tournament (200-222)
  16. Dietrich's fellowship falls apart (223-226,240)
  17. Gunther and Brunhild (227-230)
  18. Walther and Hildegund (241-244)
  19. Ake and Iron (269-275)
  20. Dietrich's flight (276-290)
  21. The Wilkinen wars (291-315)
  22. The battle of Gransport (316-341)
  23. Sigfrid's death (342-348)
  24. Hertnit and Isung (349-355)
  25. Grimhild's revenge (356-394)