Summary of the Thidrekssaga

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Grimhild's revenge

356

Attila, king of Soest, heard that Sigfrid was dead and that Grimhild had become a widow. He himself was also a widower 340. He sent to Hunnenland for his nephew Osid A bit vague; apparently Osid lives in Hunnenland but not in Soest, and when Osid arrived Attila told him to go to Niflungenland to ask Grimhild, king Gunther's sister and Sigfrid's widow, to become his wife. Osid agreen and rode off with forty knights.

He found king Gunther in Vernica and stayed there for a few days.

357

One day king Gunther called Osid to a conversation, and Hagen and Gernot were with him. Then duke Osid said: King Attila of Soest sends you his greetings, and wants to marry your sister Grimhild, with as many goods as you care to send him Her dowry; does this mean Gunther can set the dowry himself? and he will be your friend, and before I ride from here I'd like to know your reply.

And king Gunther replied: King Attila is a rich man and a great leader, and if Hagen and Gernot agree, I will not deny him this. And Hagen added: I think we should consider it a great honour that the powerful king Attila takes our sister in wedding; he is the richest and most powerful of kings, and we can also become more powerful. But this matter will have to be laid before her herself; her will temper? skap is so great that neither king Attila nor anyone else in the world can get her without her will. And Gernot also agreed.

Then king Gunther and Osid went to Grimhild, and king Gunther told her the news and asked her what she thought of marrying Attila. She replied that she did not dare to deny king Attila because he was such a mighty king, and the man who brought her the request Osid was so respectable that she would gladly agree, provided it was also the counsel of king Gunther her brother. And the king replied he would not refuse the marriage, provided she wanted it as well.

King Gunther and his brothers discussed the matter with duke Osid, and it was decided. Then Osid prepared to depart, and when he was ready king Gunther took a gold-plated shield and helm that had belonged to Sigfrid and gave them to Osid This is a gift to Osid personally, it seems, and not to Attila, and they separated as good friends. The duke went home to Hunnenland and told king Attila about his journey, and the king thanked him, and said his journey had had the best outcome.

358

Quickly after king Attila prepared his journey to Niflungenland to his fiancée Grimhild, and he took five hundred knights with him. When king Gunther heard kings Attila and Diet­rich had come to his realm he rode to them with his best men, and when they came near king Gunther rode to king Attila and greeted him, and his brother Hagen rode to Diet­rich and they kissed one another, and welcomed one another as the best friends.

Now they all rode to the town of Vernica, and there a most glorious feast was prepared, and at this feast king Gunther gave his sister Grimhild to king Attila.

And when the feast had ended king Attila and king Diet­rich rode home. And when they departed king Gunther gave Grani, Sigfrid's horse, to king Diet­rich, and the sword Gram he gave to margrave Rodinger the saga just says 'the margrave', and to king Attila and Grimhild as much silver as he thought right, and they separated as good friends.

King Attila and king Diet­rich From the rest of the sentence it's clear that 'and king Diet­rich' was added' rode home to his realm, and guarded the kingdom for a while. But his wife Grimhild cried every day for her dear husband Sigfrid.

359

When seven winters had passed since Grimhild came to Hunnenland, one night she said to king Attila: I haven't seen my brothers in seven years now, couldn't you invite them over? And I can tell you, and maybe you already know, that my husband Sigfrid had so much gold that no king in the world was as wealthy. Now my brothers own this, and they haven't even offered me a penny. But if I were to get the gold, it would be seemly if you owned it together with me.

When king Attila heard these words he knew they were true. And since he was the most avaricious of people he desired the treasure, and said: I know Sigfrid had much gold, the gold he took from the dragon In 166 Sigfrid kills the dragon, but no gold is mentioned, and also the gold he won in his campaigns Not mentioned anywhere, and also the gold his father Sigmund left him. We want it all, but still king Gunther is our friend. Now, wife, I want you to invite your brothers, and I will prepare a great feast. And with that the conversation ended.

Not long after Grimhild called two men to her, and told them to go to Niflungenland to bring her message, and for this journey she would equip them with gold and silver and good clothes and horses. And the minstrels leikmenn said thet would do what she wanted. And she prepared their journey and gave them a letter and king Attila's and her seal.

360

These men went to Niflungenland and found king Gunther in Verniza. The king received the messengers of his brother in law king Attila well, and the one that brought the message said: King Attila of Soest and queen Grimhild send greetings to king Gunther and his brothers Hagen, Gernot, and Giselher. We want to invite you to a feast in our lands. King Attila is now old, and it becomes difficult for him to rule his kingdom, but his son Aldrian is still young, and it would seem to us you, as his mother's brothers, would be best suited to rule his realm with your nephew, as long as he isn't old enough. So come and let us talk about what to do with the land, and take as many men as you like.

361

When the king had read the letter the messenger spoke, but never mind, he called his brothers Hagen, Gernot, and Giselher for a council, and told them what message he had received, and asked them what they should do.

Hagen spoke: If you go to Hunnenland you will not return, and neither will anyone who follows you. Grimhild is a sly woman, and it could very well be she has treason in mind.

King Gunther replied: So it is your counsel, Hagen, not to go there? You give my counsel like your mother gave my father, worse each time than last time. Therefore I will not take it. I want to travel to Hunnenland, and I assume I'll return, and before I come home all of Hunnenland could be in my power. But you, Hagen, follow me if you want, or sit home if you don't want to come.

Hagen said: I am not more worried about my life than you about yours, and I am not more afraid of a fight than you are. But I can tell you that if you go to Hunnenland, whether with many men or with few, no one will return home alive to Niflungenland. But if you want to go to Hunnenland, I will not Mb. omits the 'not', which is only found in A and B stay home. Or don't you remember how we said goodbye to Sigfrid? And when you don't remember, I know someone in Hunnenland who does remember, and when you come to Soest she will remind you.

King Gunther replied: Even though you are so afraid of Grimhild that you don't dare to go, I will still travel to Hunnenland.

Now Hagen was angry that he was so often reproached for his mother, and he rose and went to his friend Volker and said to him: You should come with us to Hunnenland, as king Gunther had decided, and all our men should come with us, so arm and equip everyone, but only those should come who are ready for battle.

362

Then queen Oda, Gunther's and Giselher's mother, went to the king and said to him: Lord, I dreamed that I saw so many dead birds in Hunnenland that all the land was empty of birds. Now I hear that you want the Niflungen to go to Hunnenland, but great misfortune will befall both the Niflungen and the Hunnen if you do so. So do not go there; only evil will come of it, when you go.

Hagen replied: King Gunther had decided on this journey, and we don't care for dreams of an old woman. And Oda replied: King Gunther may do as he likes, and so may you, Hagen, but my young son Giselher should stay home. No, said Giselher, when my brothers go I will not stay behid. And he jumped up and took his weapons.

363

Now king Gunther sent messengers across his lands that all the best and bravest men should come to him, and soon he had a thousand well-armed men. But at home many a beautiful woman sat without her husband, or son, or brother.

Then Hagen took king Gunther's banner, and this banner was gold on the top, but white in the middle with a red crowned eagle, and the lower part was green. And king Gunther and Hagen bore the same eagle on their armour, though Hagen did not have a crown. But Gernot and Giselher had red shields with a golden hawk, and their banners were of the same colours.

Now the Niflungen went their way until they came to the Rhine there were Duna According to Ritter this is the Dhünn, which used to flow into the Rhine north of Cologne. Since 1840 it flows into the Wupper before that river reaches the Rhine and Rhine join, and the water was broad where the rivers joined, and they did not find a ship, and stayed there for the night.

364

King Gunther said to Hagen: Who of our men will keep watch tonight? Name whomever you like. Hagen replied: Put whomever you want on watch up by the river, but here below I myself will keep watch, because we should try to get a ship somewhere This entire sequence is vague.

When the other men had gone to sleep Hagen took all his weapons and walked downriver. There was bright moonlight, so that he could see where he was going. Hagen came to a water named Mæri, and he saw some women in the water, and that their clothes were on land between the two rivers, and he took their clothes and hid them. These were women we call sea-women sjókonur, and their nature is of lakes and sea, and these women had gone from the Rhine into this water to enjoy themselves i.e. swim?. Now one of the women called to him to give them back their clothes, and came from the water.

Hagen said: Tell me this first: will we cross this stream safely and return? If you don't reply you'll never see your clothes again. And she said: You can cross safely, but none of you will return, and you will have great difficulties retranslate.

Then Hagen drew his sword and killed the woman, and her daughter with her.

365

Hagen went on downriver for a while, and saw a ship in the middle of the river, and a man on it, and he asked him to come to land to fetch a man from Elsung. He said this because they were in the realm of jarl Elsung the Younger and he thought the pilot would come to him quicker.

The pilot replied: I don't pick up men of Elsung quicker than any other, and I won't row without wages. Hagen took a golden ring and held it up: See here, good man, your wages. I'll give you this golden ring when you ferry me over.

When the pilot saw this he considered how he had married a short while ago, and he wanted to give his wife the money, so he rowed to the shore. Hagen got on the ship and have the pilot his ring. Now the pilot wanted to row across, but Hagen told him to go upstream, but the pilot refused. Hagen told him to row upstream if he wanted to or not, and the pilot took fright and rowed where Hagen wanted him to go, and now they rowed on until theu came to the Niflungen.

366

King Gunther and his people were on their feet, and they had found a ship, but it was very small, and with this ship a few men had already crossed the stream, but as soon as they landed the ship filled with water, I presume and capsized, and they barely came ashore.

When Hagen came to them with the large ship the Niflungen became happy, and king Gunther himself boarded the ship, and with him a hundred men, and they rowed into the stream. But Hagen rowed so storngly that he broke both oars in one stroke ok af keipana Don't understand; not even Von der Hagen's translation, and said that the one who made fun of them would never thrive, and drew his sword and cut off the pilot's head, who was seated in front of him on the benches.

Then king Gunther said: Wy did you do that evil deed? What has he done to you?

And Hagen said: I don't want messengers to go to Hunnenland to tell them about our journey, and this man can't tell them any more.

Then king Gunther said: You just want to do evil, and you are never happy unless you've done some evil.

And Hagen replied: Why wouldn't I do evil when we go forth? Not even a child will return from our journey.

Now king Gunther steered, but the rudder broke in two, and the ship ran before current and wind. Hagen jumped to the rudder and reattached the rudder not sure how to picture this with a strong hand, and when he had mended the rudder they were close to land. And at that moment the ship capsized, and they came to shore with their clothes wet.

Then they repaired the ship and had their men cross the stream again to their other men until all had crossed the river. And they went on their way all day.

367

By evening they lay down and Hagen took the watch again. And when everyone was asleep Hagen went out to scout far from his people. And he found a sleeping man in armour who had laid his sword under him, but the hilt was visible. Hagen took the sword and threw it from him, and then he poked the man with his right foot, and told him to wake up.

The man jumped up and reached for his sword, but saw it was gone, and said: Woe to me for this sleep! I lost my sword, and now I guarded my lord's realm badly Von der Hagen adds: my lord margrave Rodinger's; and: I waited for three days and nights, and therefore I slept.

Hagen said: You are a good man, see here a golden ring for your courage sarcasm? and you will enjoy it more than the previous man who got it apparently Hagen took his golden ring back from the pilot, and also I'll return your sword.

The man replied: Thank you for my sword, and also your ring. And Hagen said: Don't be afraid of this army if you guard margrave Rodinger's land. He is our friend, and king Gunther of the Niflungen leads this army with his brothers. But tell me, where do you want us to spend the night? And who are you?

The man said: I am Eckeward, and now I understand where you go. Are you Hagen Aldrian's son, who killed my lord Sigfrid? Take care while you are in Hunnenland, because you may have many enemies here. But for spending the night I can't bring you to a better place than Bakalar, with margrave Rodinger.

Hagen said: You directed us to where we wanted to go anyway. Now ride home to the castle and tell them that we are coming. Also tell them we are rather wet.

368

Eckeward rode home, and Hagen went back to his men, and told king Gunther what had happened, and ordered everyone to get up and ride to the castle as quickly as possible. And so they did.

Eckeward rode home as fast as he could, and when he arrived in the hall margrave Rodinger had just eaten and was about to go to sleep. Then Eckward told him what had happened. Then margrave Rodinger rose and ordered all his men to prepare the best meal they could. And he himself jumped on his horse, and when he rode out he met king Gunther with all his men. Margrave Rodinger received the Niflungen well.

369

Now the Niflungen rode into Rodinger's courtyard garð and dismounted, and the margrave's men received them well. And the margrave had ordered two large fires to be made because they were still wet. And king Gunther, his brothers, and several of his men sat with one fire, and the other men with the other. Those who were dry were led to the hall and placed on the benches.

Now the Niflungen undressed near the fires, and Gotelinde, margrave Rodinger's wife, and she was sister to duke Nudung who fell at Gransport, said: The Niflungen have brought many white armours, and hard helemts, and sharp swords, and new shields, but Grimhild still cries for her husband Sigfrid every day. When the fires had gone out king Gunther and Hagen and their brothers went into the hall, sat there and drank with joy, and then they went to sleep.

Now margrave Rodinger lay in bed with his wife, and he asked her: What honourable gift shall I give to king Gunther and his brothers? And she replied: Anything you would like to give, I will agree with. And he said: If you agree, I would like to give our daughter to young Giselher as my first gift. And Gotelinde said: If he could enjoy our daughter it would be well done, but I am afraid he won't.

370

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.

371

Now nothing more is said of their travel than that they rode on day after day, and when they entered Soest it was rainy and windy, and all Niflungen were wet. And when they came to Thorta Dortmund they met a messenger from king Attila, who had been sent to Bakalar to invite Rodinger to the feast. And Rodinger asked him news from Soest.

The man replied: The latest news is that the Niflungen have come to Hunnenland, and king Attila is preparing them a feast, and I was sent to invite you, but I could just as well return with you, since I have done my errand. And then Rodinger asked how many men king Attila expected to receive. And the messenger said: I think there are no fewer men in this company than king Attila has invited i.e. Attila has roughly as many men as the Niflungen, but queen Grimhild has about half again as many of her friends, and is gathering men across her realm Does she have her own realm? Unclear to help her. And there will be many men at this feast, and it will go on for a long time.

Then Rodinger told the man to ride to king Attila and tell him that the Niflungen and he had arrived. Then king Attila ordered that all houses in the town should be prepared, some with tents or draperies?, others with fires, and there was a big bustle in Soest.

Now king Attila asked king Diet­rich to ride out and meet them. And he did so, met the Niflungen, and they all went to the town.

372

Queen Grimhild stood on a tower and saw her brothers coming into Soest, and she said: Now it is a nice green summer, and my brothers come here with many new shields, white armours, and brave heroes, and I still remember Sigfrid's great wound. And she cried bitterly over Sigfrid.

Then she went to the Niflungen and welcomes them, and kissed those who were nearest to her standing closest to her, or those she loved most? If the latter we'd like to know who, one after the other.

And now the town was filled with men and horses, and even before there were many hundreds of men and horses in Soest i.e. it is a large, important town so that they could not be counted.

373

King Attila led his brothers in law to his hall, and had fires made, but the Niflungen did not take off their armour, and did not lay down their weapons. Now Grimhild came into the hall where her brothers were drying near the fires, and she saw their armour under their cloaks.

Then Hagen saw his sister Grimhild, and he took his helmet, put it on his head, and tightened it, and Volker did the same. Then Grimhild said: Hagen, did you bring he the Niflungen treasure that Sigfrid once had?

But Hagen replied: I bring you a strong enemy who follows my shield and my helmet with my sword, and I will never take off my armour. Then king Gunther said: My sister, come and sit here. And then Grimhild went to her young brother Giselher and kissed him, and she sat down between him and king Gunther Some manuscripts have Gernot; don't know which one(s); figure out, and cried bitterly.

Then Giselher asked: Why do you cry? And she replied: That I can tell you. I am pained most by the great wounds Sigfrid received between his shoulders, and no weapon has touched his shield.

Then Hagen replied: Let's not remember Sigfrid's wounds for now. King Attila should be as dear to you as Sigfrid used to be, and he is half as much richer, but it is not possible any more to heal Sigfrid's wounds, and what has happened has happened. Then Grimhild rose and went away.

Now Diet­rich von Bern came to invite the Niflungen to the meal, and he was followed by Aldrian, king Attila's son. King Gunther took Aldrian on his arm and carried him with him.

But king Diet­rich and Hagen were such good friends that they took each other's hands Thus Diet­rich indicates to everyone he will not fight Hagen, and thus they went all the way to the hall. And on every tower and every window, and in every garden, and on the town wall there were noble kurteisar women who wanted to see Hagen, so famous was he in all lands for his bravery. Thus they came to the hall.

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King Attila now sat on his throne, and to his right sat king Gunther, and next to him young Giselher, then Gernot, then Hagen, then their relative Volker. On Attila's left sat king Diet­rich von Bern, then margrave Rodinger, then master Hildebrand, and these sat at king Attila's high table.

And in the hall were also the noblest of men one next to the other, and they drank good wine and feasted. And such a large amount of people were in town that all houses were filled. And they all slept in peace this night.

375

The next morning they got up, and king Diet­rich and Hildebrand and many other knights came to the Niflungen. Diet­rich asked how they had slept, and Hagen said he had slept well, but that his mood was still average.

Then king Diet­rich said: Be merry, good friend Hagen, and be welcome; but be aware that your sister Grimhild still grieves for Sigfrid, and you will notice that before you go home. And thus Diet­rich was the first man to warn the Niflungen One manuscript adds 'in Soest', which is correct, because this is certainly not the first warning.

Then they went out into the courtyard or garden; út í garðinn, and king Gunther walked on one side of king Diet­rich, and Hildebrand on the other, and with Hagen went Volker, and now all Niflungen had awoken and they walked through town.

And now king Attila went onto the balcony or window; í svalirnar and looked at the Niflingen. And many men went to see their walk, but most of all everyone asked where Hagen went, because he was that famous. King Attila looked for Hagen and Volker, but he did not see them, because they wore deep helmets helmets that hid their faces, I assume, and he asked who came with Diet­rich and Gunther. And Osid said that he thought they were Hagen and Volker. And Attila replied: I should have recognised Hagen, because I and queen Erka made him a knight Not otherwise attested; maybe around 241-244?, and he was our good friend back then.

Now Hagen and Volker went forth through the town, and they each had their hand around the other's shoulder, and they saw many well-bred women. And how they took off their helmets and showed themselves. And Hagen was white like ash, and he had but one eye.

Now the Niflungen stood out by the town wall and saw the town, but Diet­rich von Bern went back to his court, where he had business to do.

Now king Attila saw how many people there were in town, and he could not fit them all into his great hall. But since it was nice weather he had a feast prepared in his garden apaldrsgarðr; seems to mean crab apple garden.

376

Meanwhile queen Grimhild entered Diet­rich's hall to speak to him. And she wailed and wept and said: Good friend Diet­rich, I have come to ask for your help to avenge Sigfrid, I want to pay back Hagen and Gunther and their brothers. If you help me I'll give you as much gold and silver as you want, and I will also help you when you go back over the Rhine to avenge yourself on Ermenrik. But Diet­rich said: Lady, I will not do that, and if you do so it will be against my will, because they are my good friends.

Then she went away weeping and went to the hall where duke Osid was, and again she spoke: Lord Osid, don't you want to help me avenge my grief? I want to pay the Niflungen back for the death of Sigfrid, and if you do so I'll give you a large realm and anything you should ask for. But Osid said: If I did that, I would have king Attila's enmity, since he is a good friend of them.

Then the queen went to king Attila and said to him: Lord king, where is the gold or silver that my brothers brought here? And the king said he had not seen any gold or silver, but he would still treat them well as guests in his house. And Grimhild said: Then who will avenge my disgrace if you won't? Sigfrid was murdered! Now help me, and you can win the Niflungen treasure and all of Niflungenland.

The king said: Do not speak of that any more. How could I betray my brothers in law? They have come here in good faith, and neither you nor anyone else should offend them. Then she went away and she felt quite bad.

377

Now Attila went into the garden where the feast would take place and called all others in. And the queen told the Niflungen: Now give your weapons to me for safe keeping. No one should bear arms here, and you will see the Huns do so as well.

Then Hagen said: You are a queen I think he means: you are a woman, what would you do with my weapons? My father taught me never to trust my weapons to a woman, and as long as I am in Hunnenland I will never let my weapons far from me. And Hagen put his helmet on his head and bound it as tightly as he could. And all saw how angry Hagen was, and did not know what that meant.

Then Gernot said: Hagen was never in a good mood since we set out on this journey, and it could be he will prove his courage even today. And now Gernot, too, started to suspect betrayal, and recalled that Hagen had said so before they ever went on this journey, and he, too, bound his helmet tightly on his head.

Now king Attila, too, saw this happening, and he asked Diet­rich who those were that bound their helmets so tightly. And Diet­rich told him they were Hagen and Gernot, and both are brave heroes in foreign lands, Von der Hagen adds: 'And the king said'; presumably Attila and they do so from great courage. And again Diet­rich spoke, and said: They are brave heroes, and it is likely that they will show it even this day, if things go as I suspect.

Now king Attila went to king Gunther and Giselher, and took their hands, Gunther's in his right hand, and Giselher's in his left, and called to Hagen and Gernot, and he placed them all on the high table to his right, as was said before 374. A great fire had been made in the garden, and around it were tables and seats.

And all Niflungen had come to the garden in their armour with their swords, but their shields and spears they had given to their squires for safe keeping, and twenty squires were set by the door to the room where the shields and spears were kept? to warn them of treason. Hagen and Gernot had decided this.

Volker sat with the foster of Aldrian, Attila's son, and Grimhild had her chair set opposite king Attila, and duke Osid was with her.

378

At this time queen Grimhild went to the knight who was set over her other knights and who was called Irung. And she said: Good friend Irung, don't you want to avenge my dishonour? Neither king Attila wants to do so, nor king Diet­rich, nor any other of my friends. Irung asked: What should we avenge, my lady, and why do you cry so bitterly Irung is not what you'd call clued in?

And the queen replied: I remember how Sigfrid was mudered, and I want to avenge him, if anyone wants to help me. And she took his gold-plated shield and said: Good friend Irung, do you want to avenge my dishonour? I will fill this shield with red gold if you do, and you'll also have my friendship. And Irung replied: Lady, your friendship is worth more than gold. He got up, armed himself, called his knights, and unfurled his banner.

The queen told him to first go to the squires and kill them, and then make sure none of the Niflungen entered the garden, and that those who were already inside would not escape with their lives.

379

Quickly the queen went to the garden and sat on the high table. And her son Aldrian ran to her and kissed her. Then the queen said: My dear son, if you want to be equal in courage to your relatives, then go to Hagen and when he leans over the table to take something from a plate, then hit him with your fist as hard as you can. Then you will be a hero.

The boy ran over to Hagen, and when Hagen leaned forward the boy struck him with his fist on the chin Ms. A adds: so that Hagen's blood streamed from his nose on to the table, and this blow was stronger than one would expect from such a young man.

Then Hagen took the boy by the hairs with his left hand, and said: You did not do this of your own accord, and also not at the command of your father king Attila, but this is an idea of your mother's, and you won't enjoy it for long. And with his right hand he drew his sword and beheaded the boy, and he hurled the head to Grimhild's breast.

Then he said: In this garden we drink good wine, but it will now turn out to be expensive. I now pay the first part of the price to my sister Grimhild. And again he struck, right over Volker's head, and beheaded the boy's foster, and said: Now the queen has been paid as she deserves, and how you brought up this boy.

King Attila jumped up and called: Arise, Huns, all my men, arm yourselves and kill the Niflungen. And everyone in the garden jumped up, but the Niflungen now drew their swords.

At queen Grimhild's command raw, wet cow skins had been placed outside the door to the garden, and when the Niflungen ran out of the garden they slipped on the skins, and thus many men were killed, because Irung and his men stood there and killed many good hero, and already many hundreds lay dead in the garden This last clause is missing from mss. A and B.

380

Once the Niflungen understood that they lost the men who managed to get out of the garden, they turned around and fought the Huns still in the garden, and they slew every one of them that didn't flee.

King Attila stood on a tower and spurred on his men to fight against the Niflungen. But king Diet­rich von Bern went home to his hall with all his men Thus he declares his neutrality, although he was sad that so many of his good friends fought one another.

But queen Grimhild did nothing all day but bring armour and helmets and swords and shields, as many as king Attila had, and thus armed many men. And sometimes she went out into the city and told everyone to attack, and that everyone who desired gold, silver, and jewelry to attack and kill the Niflungen. This she did all day.

381

Now a sharp battle ensued, when the Huns tried to enter the garden but the Niflungen defended it; and this garden was called the Holmgarten, and even to this day the saga writer's day it is called the Niflungen's Holmgarten. Many men from both sides fell here, but from the Huns half more than from the Niflungen. But from the countryside and other twons more men arrived in Soest, so that the Huns had an army half greater than before.

Now Hagen said to Gunther: It seems to me that many of the Huns and Amelungen Diet­rich's people, but Diet­rich is not yet fighting. Besides, he doesn't have that many warriors. Odd. have fallen, but more and more Huns come in from the countryside, and their heroes don't show themselves; we only fight with their servants þræla þeira. But our biggest problem is that we can't get out of this garden. If we did, we could decide whom to fight ourselves, but without escaping the Niflungen must fall to the Huns' spears and arrows, since we cannot use our swords agains them This makes clear that the Niflungen now fully occupy the garden, but the Huns are shooting from the tower and maybe the walls around the garden.

A stone wall stood around this garden, as strong as a city wall, and this same wall is still around today in the writer's days. Now Hagen and the others went to the west side of the garden, where the wall was weakest, and they started to tear down the wall until an opening was made. Quickly Hagen jumped through the opening, and there was a wide street there with houses on both sides. Gernot and Giselher followed him with many Niflungen, and advanced between the houses. But duke Osid and his men came against them, and fighting commenced.

382

Now the Huns let their horns sound, and shouted that the Niflungen had escaped the garden. All Huns hurried to the fight so that all streets were filled with them, and the Niflungen were outnumbered and driven back into the garden.

But Hagen sprang up to the hall A hall generally has a kind of veranda around it, higher than the ground, and Hagen is standing on it. It's unclear which hall this is, though and put his back against the doors, and put his shield in front of him, and he struck one man after the other with his hand sword, I presume and chopped off hands, feet, and even some heads, and some were hacked in two, and no one came near him without meeting such a fate non-literal; at eigi hefir þvílíka kaupferð, and there was such a great throng of people that those who fell barely had space to reach the ground, and Hagen defended himself so well with his shield that he was not wounded.

And to the left side of the Niflungen To the left of the garden where the Niflungen were driven back in to, or to the left of Hagen? stood Diet­rich's hall, and he himself stood on the battlements, with his men all armed still neutral, but observing the battle.

Now Gernot, Giselher and Volker turned from the street to the hall Diet­rich's hall and put their backs against it, and defended themselves and killed many men.

Then Gernot said to king Diet­rich: When will you come with your men to help us? You cannot let so few fight against so many! And Diet­rich replied: My good friend Gernot, it saddens me to see this storm i.e. battle take place. I will lose a good many friends here, but I can't do anything. I do not want to fight against the men of king Attila, my lord, but I also do not wish to harm the Niflungen in any way.

383

Now king Gunther knew that Hagen, Gernot, and Giselher, his brothers, had sallied forth from the garden, and also that a much larger army of Huns had attacked them. All of them except for the heroes, who are with their backs against halls now fled back into the garden. King Gunther had been defending the eastern gate i.e. the one that had been there all along, with the raw cow hides where Irung and his men stood. When king Gunther heard that Hagen needed his help he went out of the west opening with his men. But outside were many fully armed Huns remember: the Niflungen are still not fully armed; they never got their spears and shields, and had to scavenge them from the battlefield, something the men inside the garden had been unable to do and a sharp battle ensued. King Gunther advanced, but none of his men were so strong that they could follow him.

Now duke Osid, king Attila's nephew, came against king Gunther, and they fought long and hard until night fell. And because king Gunther was all alone in the middle of the Hun army, and had to fight against their greatest hero, he was overwhelmed and taken prisoner. He surrendered his weapons and was bound. And when the Huns had scored this great victory they started a great shouting. And king Attila and the queen called that they should not kill Gunther but bring him to them, and Osid led Gunther before Attila's knees i.e. Gunther was forced to go to his knees. And at the queen's counsel the king stood and with a great many people brought Gunther to a tower Ms B: snake tower and threw him in; and there were poisonous snakes there, and here Gunther died. This tower still, add mss. Sv and A stands in the middle of Soest.

384

Now Hagen and Gernot heard the Huns call that king Gunther had been taken prisoner. Hagen became so angry that he jumped from the doors down onto the street and struck Huns with both hands, and no one dared to stand before him. When Gernot saw that he also jumped on to the street and hewed Huns with both hands, and his sword stopped nowhere but in the ground. And Giselher followed him and killed many men with his sword Gram. And they distinguished themselves so much that no Hun dared to stand before them, and they fled. And now the Niflungen came forth from the garden on to the street, and they shouted that the Huns were cowardly dogs who ran when the Niflungen wanted to avenge themselves. And they spread through the town and killed them men they encountered, and it was night and quite dark. And the Huns fought them only? in groups.

King Attila went to his hall and had the house closed and guarded, so that the Niflungen could not do anything there. And margrave Rodinger went to king Diet­rich's hall thus indicating that he, too, was neutral and stayed there for a while. And duke Osid and his men and Irung and his men also went to halls. That night, a multitude of men Hunnic reinforcements? Or the Niflungen on their killing spree? rushed into town. And now it was dark.

385

Then Hagen had his horns blown, and called all Niflungen to him. and Hagen now had reached the town wall. All the Niflungen came to him, and Hagen asked Gernot: How many men did we lose with king Gunther? And Gernot said they would now muster their men. To Hagen's right Giselher should go with his banner, but, said Gernot, with my men, but to Hagen's left and with me the men who followed the other banners Which banners? Did the Niflungen have other chiefs?, and on Giselher's other side the men who followed king Gunther's banner, and Volker with them.

And thus the Niflungen ordered their army. Now they counted how many men they had lost, and it turned out they'd lost 300 men, but 700 were still alive. And Hagen said they still had a large army, and the Huns would lose many men before the Niflungen bowed to them i.e. died or surrendered, and all agreed.

And Hagen continued: If it were day now and we could fight, we would likely win. King Attila has only a few more men than we do. But if we wait here for morning, many people from the countryside will come to town, and we will have to deal with such a large army that we will be overwhelmed, and I'm not sure if we'll do anything heroic before we give up our lives. But if we had fire we could fight on.

And Hagen and a few men went to a cooking shed and took fire, and threw it into a house, and then the whole town was lighted.

386

The Niflungen raised their banners and marched around the town with calls and horn blasts, and challenged the Huns to come out and fight them when they came to the hall Probably Attila's. But the Huns stood on the battlements and shot at them, so that the two parted again i.e. the Niflungen left. And the Huns only wanted to fight by day, but still the Niflungen killed many men this night.

When dawn came the Huns from the countryside came into town, and they now had a quite large army. Both sides now raised their banners and blew their horns, and then a long, sharp battle started. The Huns attacked bravely and encouraged one another. And queen Grimhild egged all men on to kill Niflungen, and offered them gold and silver.

This day duke Osid and Irung fought along, but king Attila did not. Gernot had his banner carried against Osid, and both armies fought with great courage. Now Gernot went forth before all his men and hacked on both sides and killed many men. Duke Osid attacked him, and they started a duel and fought bravely for a long time, but it ended with Gernot cutting off Osid's head. And the Niflungen rejoiced that a chief of the Huns had fallen.

387

When margrave Rodinger heard that duke Osid had fallen he became very angry and told his men they should now fight and kill the Niflungen. And he had his banner carried against the Niflungen, and fought for a long time.

Meanwhile Hagen went forth alone into the Hun army and killed Huns on both sides with his hands as far as his sword could reach, and he also killed many with his spear, and his arms were now bloody up to the shoulders. And he fought so long and went so far into the Hunnic army that he became quite tired and did not know how to get back to his own men. So he went into a hall, kicked open the door to see if anyone was in the hall, I presume and positioned himself in the doorway and rested.

Margrave Rodinger now marched against the Niflungen, and the Huns moved against the hall where Hagen stood, but he defended the door and slew many men. Grimhild saw this, and she called on the Huns to set fire to the hall, because the roof was made of wood, and thus they did.

Then Grimhild called Irung and said: My good Irung, now you can attack Hagen while he is in a house one house? Von der Hagen says his house? Vague. Bring me his head and I'll fill your shield with red gold. And Irung turned to the hall, which was meanwhile filled with smoke. Irung jumped bravely into the hall and struck Hagen with his sword into his thigh, so that the armour was torn apart, and he took a piece from his thigh as large as one would put in a kettle, but then he jumped out of the hall.

Now Grimhild saw that Hagen bled, and went to Irung and said: Now, my dear Irung, best of all heroes, you have wounded Hagen, the next time you will kill him. And she took two golden rings from her arm and put one under his helmet band to the right, and the other to the left Ms. B instead says: and she embraced him, and said: Now bring me Hagen's head, and you will have as much gold and silver as your shield can hold, and then again as much.

Now Irung jumped into the hall a second time, but Hagen was warned and walked to him and pierced him with his spear in the breast, so that it tore through armour and body and exited between the shoulders. And there Irung sank down on the stone road that until this day is called Irung's Road, and Hagen's spear was stuck in the road.

Then Hagen said: If I had avenged Grimhild's evil like I avenged my wound on Irung, then my sword would have sung throuhgout Hunnenland.

388

Margrave Rodinger went forward and killed the Niflungen, but against him came Giselher, and they fought, and Giselher's sword Gram cut through shield, armour, and helmet like through clothes. And margrave Rondinger fell with great wounds beforre Giselher, killed with the same sword he had given to Giselher as a gift.

And Gernot and Giselher attacked king Attila's hall and killed many Huns. But Volker went to the hall where Hagen stood, and killed one man after the other so that he never walked on the ground, but always from body to body.

And now Hagen saw a Niflung was coming to help him, and he asked: Who is this man who comes here so bravely? And he replied: I am Volker One ms. adds: the minstrel; Von der Hagen doesn't tell us which one your companion; now look at the street I have cut here. And Hagen said: Thank God that you let your sword sing on Hunnish helmets.

389

Now king Diet­rich saw that margrave Rondinger was dead, and he called loudly: Now my best friend is dead I can no longer keep still. Take your arms, men, and I will now fight against the Niflungen.

Now Diet­rich went forth from his hall, and in German songs it is said that worthy men were not there something like: made sure not to be around; but this is a difficult sentence when Diet­rich and the Niflungen clashed. And all over town they heard how Eckisax sang on Niflungen helmets, and Diet­rich was very angry. The Niflungen defended themselves well and killed many of the Amelungen, king Diet­rich's men, but they themselves also fell in this battle This sentence is missing from Von der Hagen.

Now Diet­rich advanced so much with his men that Hagen von Troja First time this nickname appears; clearly related to the Nibelungenlied's von Troneck retreated with his sword into the hall. With him where Giselher and Gernot and Volker, and king Diet­rich and master Hildebrand went towards them.

Now king Diet­rich entered the hall, and Volker stood in the door and defended it, but Diet­rich's first stroke hit his helmet so that his head flew off. Then Hagen attacked him and their duel started.

And master Hildebrand attacked Gernot, and they fought, but Hildebrand killed Gernot with strong Lagulf Apparently his sword's name; not attested elsewhere.

And now there were only four in the hall who carried weapons: Diet­rich and Hagen in their duel, and Hildebrand and Giselher.

390

Now king Attila descended from his tower and went to the fighting. And Hagen said to him: It would be a brave man's work, king Attila, if you gave young Giselher peace. He is innocent of Sigfrid's death, because I alone gave him the fatal wound. So do not hold Giselher responsible for it, he could become a good warrior if he lives.

But Giselher said: Don't tell me not to defend myself. My sister knows that I was but five years old when Sigfrid was killed, and I was in bed with my mother, and I am not to blame for this struggle. But I do not want to live alone among my brothers.

And Giselher jumped to master Hildebrand and gave him one blow after the other, but their duel ended as one could suspect, that master Hildebrand gave him a fatal wound. And so Giselher fell.

391

Then Hagen said to king Diet­rich: It seems our friendship will end like this, and one of us most lose his life here. But let us fight bravely, and let neither of us insult the other with his ancestry See 169 for Hagen; an unusual ancestry is not mentioned anywhere for Diet­rich, but see Hagen's remark later. And Diet­rich replied: I want no man's help in this duel; now let's fight with art and courage með list ok drengskap.

They fought long and hard, and it was difficult to see which one would win, and the duel went on for so long that both became wounded and tired. And now king Diet­rich became angry at having to fight one man for so long, and said: This is truly a great shame, that I stay here all day to fight with an elf's son.

And Hagen replied: What's worse, an elf's son or the devil himself?

And now king Diet­rich became so angry that fire came from his mouth, and Hagen's armour became so hot that it glowed, and it did not protect him, but burn him instead. And Hagen said: Now I will give up my arms. I burn through my armour, and if I had been a fish instead of a man, I'd be so fried that my flesh would be edible.

Then king Diet­rich gripped him and tore off his armour.

392

Grimhild took a big branch from where the hall had burned above Hagen, and went to her brother Gernot, and put the branch in his mouth to find out if he was dead or alive, but Gernot was truly dead. Then she went to Giselher and did the same, but he wasn't dead yet, and so Giselher died.

Now king Diet­rich von Bern saw what Grimhild was doing, and said to king Attila: See how this devil Grimhild, your wife, torments her brothers, and how many have died for her sake, Huns and Amelungen and Niflungen, and if she can she will kill you as well.

And king Attila said: She is truly a devil, so kill her, and it would have been better if you'd done so seven nights ago. And king Diet­rich went to Grimhild and cut her in two.

393

Now king Diet­rich went to Hagen and asked if he could still be healed, but Hagen said he might live a few more days but there was no doubt he would die from these wounds.

Now king Diet­rich had Hagen carried to his hall, and had his wounds tended to. And he gave Hagen his relative Herrat to tend to his wounds. And in the evening Hagen asked Diet­rich for a woman for his last night, and Diet­rich did so.

And in the morning Hagen told this woman: It could happen you get a son from me, and he should be called Aldrian. And here are keys you will keep and give to the boy, for these keys go to Sigfrid's cellar, where the Niflungen treasure is Foreshadowing 423-427. And then Hagen died.

And thus the Niflungen had ended their lives, and also the most powerful men in Hunnenland except for king Attila, king Diet­rich, and master Hildebrand. In this struggle a thousand Niflungen fell, and four thousand Hunnen and Amelungen. And German men say that no battle has been more famous in old sagas than this one. And after the battle Hunnenland was empty of men for king Attila's remaining days.

Now queen Erka's prophecy 340 was fulfilled, that the Huns would lose greatly if Attila married a Niflung.

394

And one can hear how these things happened one can hear in sagas of German men that were either born in Soest, where these events took place, and have seen unchanged the places where these things happened, where Hagen fell, and where Irung was killed, and where the snake tower was where king Gunther died. And the garden was called Niflungengarden and still stands in the same way as when the Niflungen were killed, the old gate where the struggle started, and the western gate which is now called Hagen's gate, where the Niflungen broke out of the garden, and today it is called the same as it was then.

Men from Bremen and Münster have told us the same, and none of them knew of the others, but they still told the same story. And it is also according to the old songs in the German language made by wise men of the great deeds that took place in that country.

Status: summary of 39 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)