Summary of the Thidrekssaga

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Sigfrid's death

342

In these days, in the town called Vernisa According to Ritter Virnich close to Z├╝lpich, king Gunther ruled over Niflungenland, and with him his brother Hagen, and as the third their brother in law, the most famous of all heroes and chiefs, both in the Southlands and in the Northlands, Sigfrid, who was married to Grimhild, daughter of Aldrian and sister of Hagen and Gunther, who Gunther was married to Brunhild the rich and beautiful.

And from the moment that Sigfrid married Grimhild this realm stood in great splendor, mostly because everyone was afraid of the mighty lords who ruled there, and also because they had more cattle, gold, and silver than any other king. They were cruel to their enemies, but among one another they were good friends. But Sigfrid excelled above the others in all things, his skin was as hard as horn, like the breast of a wild boar, and no weapn could pierce it, except between the shoulders, where his skin was like that of other people.

343

One day queen Brunhild went into her hall As in 317 the queen has her own hall, apart from the king and there sat before her Grimhild, king Gunther's sister and Sigfrid's wife, and when Brunhild came to her seat she said: Are you so proud that you don't rise for me, the queen?

And Grimhild replied: I'll tell you why not. You are sitting on the throne that once belonged to my mother, and I have as much right as you to sit there.

Brunhild replied: Although your mother had this seat, and your father this town and land, now it is mine, and not yours Ms. A adds: With deceit you came to Sigfrid, but I will still rule over you.. Go into the forest and mount behind retranslate your husband Sigfrid A reference to his youth in the forest.

Then Grimhild said: Why would it be a disgrace to me that Sigfrid is my husband? You start this game now, and you clearly want us to speak more of what is an honour and a dishonour to you. So answer my question promptly: who took your virginity? Who was your first man?

And Brunhild replied: I can easily answer that with honour: king Gunther came to my castle with his men, and on the counsel of my friends I took him for my husband and was duly married with many precious gifts and guests Ms. A adds: since Sigfrid turned away from me by fraud, and with king Gunther I went to Niflungenland, and I will not hide that he was my first man.

Then Grimhold said: You lie, as I thought you would. The man who took your virginity was Sigfrid. And Brunhild said: I was never Sigfrid's wife, and he never my husband.

And Grimhild said: I can prove it by this finger ring that he took from you when he had taken your virginity. He drew this gold from your hand and gave it to me.

And when Brunhild saw this gold she knew it had once been hers, and she understood what must have happened in 229, and she deplored that so many people had heard this and this story had come to light. And her body became as red as freshly shed blood She blushed; ms. A has: And she was filled with anger against Sigfrid, because he had deceived her so often and so bitterly. And she was silent and didn't speak a word, but went out from the town.

344

She saw three men coming to here, and the first was king Gunther, and his brother Hagen, and the third was Gernot. They met her, and she cried and wailed and tore her clothes. King Gunther and Hagen had rode to hunt that day, and when they saw queen Brunhild act like that they didn't know what ailed her and halted their horses.

Then the queen said: Noble king Gunther, I gave myself into your power and left my realm and friends and relatives, and I did all of that for your sake. Will you or another man now avenge my disgrace? And if you do not want to avenge me, you should do it for your own sake. Sigfrid has broken his promise of silence and has told his wife Grimhild about everything that you had confided to him: that you were not the first to lie with me, but had Sigfrid take my virginity. And Grimhild said all that in the presence of everyone.

Hagen replied: Noble queen Brunhild, don't cry any longer. Instead, act as if nothing has happened.

Brunhild said: I will do as you say. Sigfrid came to you as a traveler or homeless? vallarr, but now he so proud and mighty that it won't be long before all must serve him. And the first time he came to me he did not know who his father or mother were 168.

King Gunther said: My wife, don't cry, and be silent right now. Sigfrid will not be our lord for much longer, and my sister Grimhild will not be your queen. And Brunhild did as the king demanded.

King Gunther and Hagen his brother now rode into town to the hall. And they and Gernot pretended they knew nothing, and Brunhild did the same. Sigfrid had ridden into the forest to hunt, and was not at home at that time.

345

A few days later Sigfrid returned with his men. And when he came into the hall where king Gunther sat, the king rose and welcomed his brother in law, and so did Hagen and Gernot, and they were quite joyful that evening, but queen Brunhild was not.

A few days later Hagen said to his brother king Gunther: Lord, when do you want to ride into the forest to hunt, and we with you? And the king said he wanted to ride out as soon as the weather was better. And again a few days passed, and then Hagen went to the cooking house and told the cook: Tomorrow morning you will bring us breakfast, and make everything as salt as you can, and give Sigfrid the portion that is saltiest. And then he went to his cup-bearer and told him to give them their drinks very late. And then Hagen left.

346

The next morning king Gunther and Hagen said that they were going to ride out for a hunt and went to breakfast. Sigfrid came there and asked them what they were planning. Gunther told him they were going for a hunt, and asked if Sigfrid wanted to join them. And Sigfrid agreed to come with them. The king said: Then eat, and Sigfrid did so, and the cook and the cup-bearer did everything that Hagen had ordered them.

When they had eaten they took their horses, rode into the forest, and loosed their dogs. And when Sigfrid had departed from the castle Grimhild went back to bed because she was so angry with Brunhild that she didn't want to sit with her.

Hagen rode away later than the others, and had talked to queen Brunhild. And Brunhild asked Hagen to make sure Sigfrid did not come home that evening, and she offered him gold and silver and jewelry to do so. But Hagen said that Sigfrid was so strong that he wasn't sure he could kill him, but he promised to try. And then he rode out, and the queen wished him goodbye and told him to keep his promise.

347

Now they hunted, and rode until they were tired, and from time to time they ran. And Sigfrid was the first best here, as always. And they had found a great boar, which they had hunted before. And when the dogs had taken the boar gripped it, probably Hagen killed it with his spear. And they cut up the boar and gave the innards to the dogs. And by now they were so hot and tired that they could hardly walk.

Then they came to a brook, and king Gunther lay down and drank, and Hagen did the same, and then Sigfrid came and also lay down to drink. And when Hagen had drunk he rose, took his spear in both hands, and stuck Sigfrid right between the shoulder blades so that it went through his heart and exited through his breast The horn skin is not mentioned.

Then Sigfrid said, when he received the spear: I had not expected that tretranslate of my brother in law, and if I'd known you'd do this when I was still on my feet my shield would be broken, my helmet split, and my sword blunt, and it is more likely I'd have killed the four four? Gunther, Hagen, Gernot. Who is number four? of you.

Then Hagen said: This morning we hunted a boar, and we four now including Sigfrid? Or the mysterious fourth? could hardly catch it, and now I alone have caught a bear and a wisent, but it was even harder for us four to catch Sigfrid, if he was ready for us retranslate than to kill a bear and a wisent.

Then king Gunther said: You have hunted well, and this wisent we will take home with us to bring it to my sister. Then they took Sigfrid's body and took it back to the castle.

348

Queen Brunhild stood on the rampart and saw king Gunther and Hagen and Gernot ride back to the castle, and also saw they brought Sigfrid dead. She went to them and said they were the luckiest hunters, and asked them to bring the body to Grimhild. She sleeps in her bed, she said, let her now embrace the dead, he has what he deserves now, and so does Grimhild.

They now went to her room, which was locked, and they broke open the door and carried the body inside, and threw it onto the bed into her arms, and she woke up and saw that Sigfrid was in her bed and was dead.

Then Grimhild said to Sigfrid: Your wounds are evil. How did you receive them? Your shield and helmet are untouched, how were you wounded like that? You must be murdered. If I knew who'd done it I'd avenge it.

Hagen said: He was not murdered/ We hunted a wild boar, and that boar gave him the fatal wound. And Grimhild said: That boar, that was you, Hagen, and no one else. And she cried bitterly.

Then they went to the hall and were quite happt, and Brunhild was no less happy. But Grimhild called her people and had Sigfrid's body buried.

And when the tale made the rounds that Sigfrid was dead, everyone said that no man like that was in the world any more, nor would ever be born, so strong and brave, and possessed of such noble virtues, and his name would never be forgotten in the German language, nor in the Norse one.

Status: summary of 7 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)