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Siegfried and Kriemhild part 10

He looked on the maid right sweetly, and he said, “I will not cease to serve them. Never, while I live, will I lay head on pillow, till I have brought their desire to pass. For love of thee, dear lady, I will do this.”
And every day of twelve, in the sight of all the people, the youth walked by the side of the maiden as she went to the court. So they showed their love to the knight.

Merriment and Gladness

And there was merriment and gladness and delight in the hall of Gunther, without and within, among the valiant men. Ortwin and Hagen did many wonderful deeds, and if any devised a sport, warriors, joyous in strife, welcomed it straightway. So were the knights proven before the guests, and they of Gunther`s land won glory. The wounded also came forth to take part with their comrades, to skirmish with the buckler, and to shoot the shaft, and waxed strong thereby, and increased their might.

Gunther gave order that, for the term of the high tide, they should set before them meats of the daintiest, that he might fail in naught as a king, nor the people blame him.

And he came to his guests, and said, “Receive my gifts ere ye go hence, and refuse not the treasure that I would share with you.”

The Danes made answer, “Ere we turn again to our land, make thou a lasting peace with us. We have need of such, that have many dear friends, slain by thy warriors.”

Ludgast and eke the Saxon were healed of their wounds gotten in battle, but many tarried behind, dead.

Then Gunther sought Siegfried and said, “Now counsel me in this. On the morrow our guests ride forth, and they desire of me and mine a lasting covenant. What they offer I will tell thee: as much gold as five hundred horses may carry, they will give me to go free.”

And Siegfried answered, “That were ill done. Send them forth without ransom, that they ride no more hither as foemen. And they shall give thee the hand thereon for surety.”

“What thou counselest I will do. They shall depart as thou sayest.”
And they told it to his enemies; also that none desired their gold. They said it to the war tired men, by reason of whom the dear ones of their own land sorrowed.

And the king took shields full of treasure, and divided it among them without weighing it, five hundred marks and more. Gernot, the brave knight, counseled him thereto. And they took their leave, for they were aweary for home. And they passed before Kriemhild and Queen Uta; never were knights dismissed more courteously.

The chambers were void when they left, nevertheless the king abode there still with his lieges and his vassals and knights. And these ceased not to go before Kriemhild.

Then Siegfried, the hero, had also taken leave, for he thought not to attain his desire. But the king heard of it, and Giselher the youth turned him back. “Whither ridest thou, Sir Siegfried? Prithee yield to me in this. Go not from among our knights, and Gunther, and his men. Here are fair maidens Enow that thou mayest behold at will.”

Said bold Sir Siegfried, “Let stand the horses, bear hence the shields. I would have ridden forth and turned again to my land, but Giselher hath changed my intent.”

So he abode among them through love, nor in any land had it been sweeter for him. And Kriemhild, the fair maiden, he saw daily, by reason of whose beauty he tarried.

They passed the time in sports and feats of chivalry. But his heart was weary with love; yea, for love he sorrowed then, and, after, died miserably.

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Siegfried and Kriemhild part 9

Thinking thus he waxed oft white and red; yea, graceful and proud stood the son of Sieglind, goodliest of heroes to behold, as he were drawn on parchment by the skill of a cunning master. And the knights fell back as the escort commanded, and made way for the high hearted women, and gazed on them with glad eyes. Many a dame of high degree was there.

Said bold Sir Gernot, the Burgundian, then, “Gunther, dear brother, unto the gentle knight, that hath done thee service, show honor now before thy lieges. Of this counsel I shall never shame me. Bid Siegfried go before my sister, that the maiden greet him. Let her, that never greeted knight, go toward him. For this shall advantage us, and we shall win the good warrior for ours.”

Then Gunther`s kinsmen went to the knight of the Netherland, and said to him, “The king bids thee to the court that his sister may greet thee, for he would do thee honor.”

It rejoiced Siegfried that he was to look upon Uta`s fair child, and he forgot his sorrow.

Mild and Maidenly

She greeted him mild and maidenly, and her color was kindled when she saw before her the highminded man, and she said, “Welcome, Sir Siegfried, noble knight and good.” His courage rose at her words, and graceful, as beseemed a knight, he bowed himself before her and thanked her. And love that is mighty constrained them, and they yearned with their eyes in secret. I know not whether, from his great love, the youth pressed her white hand, but two love desirous hearts, I trow, had else done amiss.

Nevermore, in summer or in May, bore Siegfried in his heart such high joy as when he went by the side of her whom he coveted for his dear one. And many a knight thought, “Had it been my hap to walk with her, as I have seen him do, or to lie by her side, certes, I had suffered it gladly! Yet never, truly, hath warrior served better to win a queen.” From what land soever the guests came, they were ware only of these two. And she was bidden kiss the hero. He had never had like joy before in this world.

Said the King of Denmark then, “By reason of this high greeting many good men lie low, slain by the hand of Siegfried, the which hath been proven to my cost. God grant he return not to Denmark!”

Then they ordered to make way for fair Kriemhild. Valiant knights in stately array escorted her to the minster, where she was parted from Siegfried. She went thither followed by her maidens; and so rich was her apparel that the other women, for all their striving, were as naught beside her, for to glad the eyes of heroes she was born.

Scarce could Siegfried tarry till they had sung mass, he yearned so to thank her for his gladness, and that she whom he bore in his heart had inclined her desire toward him, even as his was to her, which was meet. Now when Kriemhild was come forth to the front of the minster, they bade the warrior go to her again, and the damsel began to thank him, that before all others he had done valiantly. And she said, “Now, God requite thee, Sir Siegfried, for they tell me thou hast won praise and honor from all knights.”

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Siegfried and Kriemhild part 8

The guests brought with them to the Rhine, to the tourney, saddles worked in ruddy gold, and finely wrought shields, and knightly apparel. And the sick rejoiced, and they that lay on their beds sore wounded forgot that death is an hard thing. When the rumor of the festival was noised abroad, no man took heed more of them that groaned, for each thought only how he might sojourn there as a guest. Joy without measure had all they that were found there, and gladness and rejoicing were in Gunther`s land.

On Whitsun morning, there drew toward the high tide a goodly company of brave men, fairly clad: five thousand or more, and they made merry far and wide, and strove with one another in friendly combat.

Now Gunther knew well how, truly and from his heart, the hero of the Netherland loved his sister whom he had not yet seen, and whose beauty the people praised before that of all other maidens.

And he said, “Now counsel me, my kinsmen and my lieges, how we may order this high tide, that none may blame us in aught; for only unto such deeds as are good pertaineth lasting fame.”

Answered Ortwin

Then answered Ortwin, the knight, to the king, “If thou wilt win for thyself glory from the high tide, let now the maidens that dwell with honor in our midst appear before us. For what shall pleasure or glad a man more than to behold beautiful damsels and fair women? Bid thy sister come forth and show herself to thy guests.”

And this word pleased the knights.

“That will I gladly do,” said the king; and they that heard him rejoiced. He sent a messenger to Queen Uta, and besought her that she would come to the court with her daughter and her womenfolk.

And these took from the presses rich apparel, and what lay therein in wrapping cloths; they took also brooches, and their silken girdles worked with gold, and attired themselves in haste. Many a noble maiden adorned herself with care, and the youths longed exceedingly to find favor in their eyes, and had not taken a rich king`s land in lieu thereof. And they that knew not one another before looked each upon each right gladly.

The rich king commanded an hundred men of his household, his kinsmen and hers, to escort his sister, their swords in their hands. Uta, with an hundred and more of her women, gorgeously attired, came forth from the female apartments, and many noble damsels followed after her daughter. The knights pressed in upon them, thinking thereby to behold the beautiful maiden.

And lo! the fair one appeared, like the dawn from out the dark clouds. And he that had borne her so long in his heart was no more aweary, for the beloved one, his sweet lady, stood before him in her beauty. Bright jewels sparkled on her garments, and bright was the rose red of her hue, and all they that saw her proclaimed her peerless among maidens.

As the moon excelleth in light the stars shining clear from the clouds, so stood she, fair before the other women, and the hearts of the warriors were uplifted. The chamberlains made way for her through them that pressed in to behold her. And Siegfried joyed, and sorrowed likewise, for he said in his heart, “How should I woo such as thee? Surely it was a vain dream; yet I were liefer dead than a stranger to thee.”

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Siegfried and Kriemhild part 7

Said Gunther, “Ye shall both go free. Yet I must have a pledge that my foremen quit not my land till peace be sealed betwixt us.” And they promised, it and gave their hand thereon. They led them to their quarters to rest, and saw the wounded men laid softly in their beds. They set before them that were whole meat and good wine, and never were men merrier. They bare battered shields away into safe keeping; and the bloody saddles, of which there were Enow, they hid, that the women might not grieve thereat. Many a weary knight was there.

Unweighted Silver

The king entreated his guests right royally, and the land was full of friends and of strangers. He bade see to the sore wounded ones whose pride was brought low. To them that were skilled in leech craft they offered a rich fee of unweighted silver and yellow gold, that they might heal the heroes of their wounds gotten in battle; the king sent also precious gifts to his guests. They that thought to ride home were bidden stay as friends. And the king took counsel how he might reward his liege men that had done valiantly for his sake.

Sir Gernot said, “Let them go hence for the present, and summon them after six weeks to a high tide. Many will then be whole that now lie sick of their wounds.”

Siegfried of the Netherland would have taken leave also, but, when King Gunther knew his intent, he besought him lovingly to tarry, the which Siegfried had not done but for Gunther`s sister`s sake. He was too rich to take money, albeit he well deserved it; the king loved him, and also the king`s kinsmen that had seen the deeds wrought by his hand in battle. So, for love of the maiden, he agreed to tarry, that haply he might win to see her, the which, or long came, to pass; for he knew her to his heart`s desire, and rode home joyfully afterward to his father`s land.

The young knights obeyed the king`s command willingly, and practised daily at the tourney. Seats were raised on the stand before Worms for the guests that were coming into Burgundy.

When it was time for them to arrive, fair Kriemhild heard the news, that they were about to hold a hightide with their friends. Then the beautiful women busied them with their kirtles and their headgear that they were to wear.

Uta, the great queen, heard of the proud knights that were coming, and gorgeous robes were taken from their wrappingcloths. For love of her children she bade them bring forth the garments. Many women and maidens were adorned therewith, and, of the young knights of Burgundy, not a few. To many of the strangers, also, she gave goodly apparel.

A vast multitude of them that would attend the hightide drew daily to the Rhine; and unto those that came for love of the king horses were given and goodly raiment, and to each his place, even unto two and thirty princes of the highest and the best. So they tell us.

And the women vied with one another in their attire. Giselher, the youth, and Gernot, and their two squires, rested not from welcoming both friends and strangers. They gave courtly greeting unto the warriors.

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Siegfried and Kriemhild part 6

“Ortwin of Metz, also, won worship. Whoso came within range of his sword lieth wounded or dead. Thy brother, too, made fierce havoc in the battle. To his prowess must all testify. The proud Burgundians have so fought that none may question their honor. For many a saddle was emptied by them when the field rang loud with gleaming swords. On such wise fought the knights of the Rhine that their foemen had done better to flee. The brave men of Trony rode fiercely in the strife.

Hagen with his hand slew many, whereof Burgundy shall hear. So valiantly fought Sinolt and Hunolt, Gernot`s men, and eke Rumolt, that Ludger may well rue that he ever met thy kinsmen by the Rhine. But the mightiest deeds, first and last, were done by Siegfried. He bringeth rich captives into Gunther`s land, that his strength hath conquered by reason whereof King Ludgast and his brother, Ludger of Saxony, suffer dole. For list to the marvel, noble queen: both these princes hath Siegfried`s hand taken. Never have so many captives been led into this land as come hither now through his prowess.”

The maiden was glad at the tale.

“Of unwounded men they bring five hundred or more, and eighty red biers (I say sooth) of the wounded, fallen, the most part, by Siegfried`s might. They that arrogantly withstood the knights of the Rhine
are now Gunther`s captives. Our men lead them hither rejoicing.”

Duty Bound

When she had heard the news aright, her fair cheek reddened, and her lovely face was the color of the rose, because it had gone well with young and noble Siegfried, and he was come with glory out of peril. She joyed for her kinsmen also, as in duty bound. And she said, “Thou hast spoken well; for guerdon thereof thou shalt have costly raiment, and ten golden marks that I will bid them bear to thee.” It is good to tell glad tidings to rich women.

He got his envoy`s fee of gold and vesture, and the fair maids hasted to the window and looked down the road, where the high hearted warriors rode home. They drew nigh, whole and wounded, and heard the greeting of friends, unashamed. Light of heart Gunther rode to meet them, for now his grim care was turned to joy. He received his own men well and also the strangers. Not to have thanked them that were come to his court, for that they had done valiantly in battle, would have been unseemly in so great a king. And he asked tidings of his friends, and who were slain. None were lost to him save sixty only, and these were mourned as many a hero hath been mourned since.

They that were unhurt brought many battered shields and shivered helmets back to Gunther`s land. The warriors sprang down from their horses before the palace, and there was a joyful noise of welcome.

Order was given to lodge the knights in the town, and the king commanded that his guests should be courteously entreated, and that the wounded should be seen to and given good chambers. So he approved himself generous to his foes. He said to Ludger, “Thou art welcome! Much scathe have I suffered through thee; yet, if I prosper henceforth, I will consider myself well paid. God reward my warriors, for well have they served me!”

“Thou hast cause to thank them,” answered Ludger, “for nobler captives were never won for a king; and gold without stint shall be thine, if thou do well by me and my friends.”

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Siegfried and Kriemhild part 5

The dead lay in heaps. Sindolt and Hunolt and Ortwin the knight slew many in the strife. The princes held together in the fray. Bright spears in the hands of heroes flashed above the helmets, that clave the shining bucklers in twain. Many a massy shield was red with blood. In the fierce encounter many men fell from their horses.

Bold Siegfried and King Ludger strove together, and lances whizzed, and sharp spears. Ludger`s shieldplate flew off through the strength of Siegfried`s hand. Then the hero of the Nether land thought to have gotten the victory over the Saxons that were hard pressed. Ha! what polished bucklers doughty Dankwart brake!

Of a sudden Ludger espied a crown that was painted on Siegfried`s shield, and he knew the mighty man, and cried aloud to his friends, “Forbear, my men all. I have seen the son of Siegmund, even bold Siegfried. The Devil hath sent him hither into Saxony.” He bade lower the standard, and sued for peace. They granted this, yet he was compelled by Siegfried to go captive into Gunther`s land.

Blood red

With one accord they ceased from the strife. They threw down their shivered helmets and shields. Blood red were they all by the hands of the Burgundians. They took captive whom they listed, for they had the power.

Gernot and Hagen gave order to convey the wounded on litters. They led five hundred noble knights as prisoners to the Rhine.

The vanquished warriors rode back to Denmark. Nor had the Saxons fought so as to win them honor, and they were downcast. The dead were mourned by their friends.

They sent the weapons to the Rhine on summers. So wondrously had Siegfried done, that all Gunther`s men praised him.

Sir Gernot sent word to Worms, and throughout the whole land, to their friends, how it had sped with them; for as bold knights and honorable they had fought. The pages hasted and told it, and the glad news rejoiced the loving ones that had sorrowed. The noble women ceased not from questioning how it had fared with the great king`s men.

Kriemhild bade a messenger to her in secret; publicly she durst not, for to one of them she bare dear heart`s love.

When the messenger was come to her chamber, Kriemhild, the beautiful maiden, spake him fair. “Now tell me glad tidings; thou shalt have gold therefor; and, sayest thou sooth, I will ever be beholden to thee. How sped my brother Gernot in the battle, and the rest of my friends? Are there many dead? Who did most valiantly? Now tell me.”

Whereto the messenger answered truthfully, “We had no coward among us. Yet since thou wilt hear it, noble princess, none rode in the thick of the fight like the knight of the Netherland. Marvelous was the work of Siegfried`s hand.

All that the knights did in battle—Dankwart and Hagen and the rest—though with honor fought they all, was but as a wind matched with the prowess of Siegfried, the son of Siegmund. Many heroes have they slain, yet of the deeds of Siegfried, done in battle, none shall tell to the end. By reason of him many maidens mourn for their kin. Low lieth the dear one of many a bride. Loud smote he on the helmets, that they ran blood. In all things he is a knight bold and good.

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Siegfried and Kriemhild part 4

They of Denmark were aghast when they heard their king was taken captive; they told it to his brother, who fell in a great fury by reason of the disaster.

So the mighty Ludgast was taken by Siegfried`s prowess, and given in charge to Hagen. When that good knight heard that it was Ludgast he was not sorry.

They bade raise the standard of Burgundy. “Forward!” cried Siegfried. “More shall be done or the day end, if I lose not my life. The Saxon women shall rue it. Hearken now, ye men of the Rhine. I can lead you to Ludger`s army. There ye will see helmets hewn by the good hands of heroes. They shall be in evil case or we turn again.”

Then Gernot and his men sprang to horse. The banner was unfurled by Folker, the minstrel knight. He rode before the host, and they all made them ready for battle. They numbered not more than a thousand men, and thereto the twelve strangers. The dust rose from their path, and they rode through the land, their shields flashing.
The Saxons, also, were come up, bearing well sharpened swords. So hath the story been told me. The swords in the heroes` hands dealt grim blows in defense of their castles and their land.

The marshal led the army, and Siegfried was come forward with the twelve men that he had with him from the Netherland. Many a hand was bloody that day in the battle. Sindolt and Hunolt and eke Gernot smote many heroes dead in the fight, that were bold enow till they felt their prowess. For their sake sorrowed women not a few. Folker and Hagen and Ortwin, the fierce warriors, quenched the flash of many helmets with blood. Dankwart, also, did wonders. The Danes proved their mettle, and loud were heard the hurtling of shields and the clash of sharp swords swung mightily.

The Saxons, bold in strife, made havoc Enow. Wide were the wounds  by the men of Burgundy when they rushed to the encounter. Blood ran down the saddles.

Rhine kept pace

So was honor wooed of these knights bold and swift. Loud rang the keen swords in the hands of the heroes of the Netherland, when they rode with their lord into the fray. They rode with Siegfried like good knights. None from the Rhine kept pace with him. By reason of Siegfried`s hand streams of blood ran from bright helmets, till that he lit on Ludgast amidst of his men. Thrice he pierced through the army of the Saxons, and thrice returned. Hagen, by this time, was come up with him, that helped him in his quest. They slew many a brave knight.

When bold Ludger found Siegfried with Balmung, the good sword, swung aloft, wherewith he made a mighty slaughter, he was wroth, and of his mood full grim. With a fierce rush and clash of swords the warriors came together. So exceeding furious was their onset that the host gave way. Terrible was their hate.

The Saxon king knew well that his brother was taken captive, and he was wroth thereat; but he knew it not for Siegfried`s work till now. They had blamed Gernot. Now he found out the truth. Ludger smote so hard that Siegfried`s horse reeled under him. But when he was come to, Siegfried was more terrible than afore. Hagen and Gernot, Dankwart and Folker, stood by him.

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Siegfried and Kriemhild part 3

“Sit thou at home, O King,” spake Siegfried. “Since thy knights are willing to follow me, stay here by the women and be of good cheer; for, by my troth, I will guard for thee both goods and honor. I will see to it, that they that seek thee here at Worms by the Rhine bide where they are; we will pierce deep into their country, till their vaunting is turned to sorrow.”

They passed from the Rhine through Hesse against Saxony, where the battle was fought afterward. With plunder and with fire they laid waste the land, the which both the princes found to their cost.

When they were come to the marches, the warriors hasted forward, and Siegfried began to ask them, “Which of us shall guard the rest from surprise?” More to their hurt the Saxons never took the field.
They answered, “Let bold Dankwart guard the younger knights. He is a good warrior. So shall we come in less scathe by Ludger`s men. He and Ortwin shall guard the rear.”

“I myself will ride forward,” said Siegfried, “and spy out the foe, that I may know rightly who the warriors be.”

Hagen and bold Gernot

Fair Sieglind`s son did on his armor in haste. He gave his knights in charge to Hagen and bold Gernot when he set out. He rode into Saxony all alone, and won honor by his quest. He perceived a great host encamped on a field, that loomed mightily against him, beyond the strength of one man: forty thousand or more. And the high heart of Siegfried rejoiced.

One of the enemy`s knights kept watch warily, and perceived Siegfried, and Siegfried him, and they glared fiercely on each other. I will tell you who he was that kept watch. On his arm he bare a glittering shield of gold. It was King Ludgast that kept ward over his host.

The noble stranger pricked toward him fiercely. Ludgast dressed him also. They put spurs to their horses and smote with all their strength on the shields with their spears, that it was like to go hard with the king. On their horses, pricked forward by the spur, the princes bare down on each other like the wind.

Then they wheeled round deftly— these two fierce men—and fell to hacking with their swords. Sir Siegfried smote, that the field rang therewith; the hero with his mighty blade struck sparks from Ludgast`s helmet. Fiercely fought the prince of the Netherland, and Ludgast, likewise, dealt many a grim blow. Each drove with all his might at the other`s shield.

The combat was spied by thirty of Ludgast`s men, but Siegfried, by means of three deep wounds and grisly that he dealt Ludgast through his white harness, overcame the king or these knights came up. His sword drew blood with each stroke, that King Ludgast came in evil plight, and begged for his life, offering his land as the price thereof, and said that his name was Ludgast.

His knights hasted to his rescue, for they had seen the encounter at the wardpost. Siegfried would have led him thence, but thirty of Ludgast`s men rode at him. With mighty blows the stark warrior kept his rich captive; and soon his hands did even deadlier deeds. He smote the thirty men dead in his defense, save one that fled and told what had happed, the truth whereof was proven by his bloody helmet.

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Siegfried and Kriemhild part 2

The king was heavy of his cheer, and Siegfried, the good knight, saw that he was downcast, but wist not the reason, and asked King Gunther what ailed him. “I marvel much,” said Siegfried, “that thou takest no part in our sports as heretofore.” And Gunther, the doughty knight, answered him, “Not to every man may I declare the secret heaviness of my heart; only unto true friends shall the heart tell its dole.”

Siegfried changed color, and grew red and white, and he said to the king, “I have denied thee naught, and now I would help thee. If thou seekest friends, I will be one of them, and stand to it truly to my life`s end.”

“Now God requite thee, Sir Siegfried, for I like thy word; and albeit thy might availed me nothing, I would rejoice none the less that thou art well minded toward me; as much and more will I do to thee if I live. I will tell thee the cause of my trouble. Envoys from my foemen have brought a message that with an army they will come against me; such inroad of warriors hath not been aforetime in this country.”

“Be not sorrowful for that,” answered Siegfried; “be of good cheer, and do now as I say. I will win for thee honor and profit or ever thy foemen reach this land. Had thy stark adversaries thirty thousand warriors at their back, and I but one thousand, I would withstand them— trust me for that.”

King Gunther answered, “Thou shalt be well paid for this.”

“Give me a thousand of thy knights, since of mine own I have but twelve here with me, and I will keep thy land for thee. The hand of Siegfried will serve thee truly. Hagen shall help us in this, and also Ortwin, Dankwart, and Sindolt, thy loving knights, and eke Folker, the bold man, who shall bear the standard: better knight thou wilt not find. Bid the envoys return to their country; tell them they shall see us there soon Enow. So shall our castles go scatheless.”

Gifts and an Escort

The king let summon his kinsmen and his liegemen, and Ludger`s messengers went to the court. They were glad to be gone. Gunther, the good king, gave them gifts and an escort, whereat they were well content.

Spake Gunther, “Thou shalt say this wise to my haughty foemen:

`They did wisely to turn from their journey, for if my friends fail me not, and they seek me here in my land, they will find work Enow.`”
They brought out rich gifts for the envoys, whereof Gunther had to spare, and these said not “nay.” Then they took their leave, and departed rejoicing.

When the messengers were come again to Denmark, and told Lud gast how that the Rhinemen would ride thither, he was wroth at their boldness. They made report to him of the many brave men Gunther had, and how that they had seen a knight there amidst of them that hight Siegfried, a hero from the Netherland, the which was heavy news for Ludgast.

When they of Denmark heard it, they hasted the more to summon their friends, till that Ludgast had ready for the onset twenty thousand warriors withal.

On like manner Ludger of Saxony summoned his men to the number of forty thousand, ready to march into Burgundy.

The same also did King Gunther to his liegemen, and to his brothers with their vassals, and to Hagen and his knights. These were sorry Enow at the news; by reason thereof many a knight looked on death.
They hasted and made ready for the journey. Brave Folker bare the standard. They purposed to cross the Rhine from Worms. Hagen of Trony led the force. Sindolt and bold Hunolt were there, that they might deserve King Gunther`s gold; also Hagen`s brother Dankwart, and Ortwin, fit men and worthy for the undertaking.

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Siegfried and Kriemhild part 1

Anonymous: End of 12th Century

The unknown writer of the Nibelungenlied, or Lay of the Nibelungs, was an Austrian. Nothing is known of him except that he wrote his celebrated ballad epic toward the end of the Twelfth Century.

Rediscovered toward the end of the Eighteenth Century, the Lay is, in the words of Prof. Calvin Thomas, “a powerful poem and a human document of many sided interest.” The component episodes are related with great vivacity, and the characters developed by means of a powerful imagination. The Lay was founded upon earlier versions of various legends, traditions, and songs that were current in pre-Christian times. Many of the same stories are found in the two Icelandic Eddas and in the Volsunga Saga.

The present version comprises two chapters, or “Adventures” (the fourth and fifth) of The Fall of the Nibelungs, translated by Margaret Armour, Everyman`s Library. Reprinted by permission of the publishers, J. M. Dent and Sons. There is no title in the original.

Siegfried And Kriemhild (From The Lay of the Nibelungs)

Now there were brought into Gunther`s land strange tidings by envoys sent from afar by foreign princes that hated him; and when they heard the message they were troubled. The kings were as I will tell you: Ludger of the Saxons, a high and mighty prince; and I budgets of Denmark, and many bold warriors with them.

These envoys, sent by his foemen, came into Gunther`s land, and the strangers, were asked their business, and brought before the king.
The king greeted them fair, and said, “I know not who hath sent you hither, and would hear it.” So spake the good king, and they greatly feared his wrath.

“If thou wilt have our message, O king, we will tell it plain, and name thee the princes that have sent us. They are Ludgast and Ludger, and will come against thee into thy land. Thou art fallen in their displeasure, and we know that they bear thee bitter hate. They come hither with an armed force to Worms by the Rhine—they and their warriors. Wherefore be warned. Inside of twelve days they will ride.

If thou hast trusty friends, let it appear now; let them help thee to keep thy castles and thy country, for, or long, there will be smiting of helmets and shields here. Or wouldst thou treat with them, then declare it straightway, that thy foemen come not nigh thee to thy hurt, and that goodly knights perish not thereby.”

“Tarry a while—ye shall have answer betimes—that I may bethink me,” said the good king. “If I have true liegemen, I will not hide it from them, but will take counsel with them on this hard matter.”

Heavy enough of his cheer was Gunther. He pondered the message secretly in his heart, and summoned Hagen, and others of his men, and sent to the court in haste for Gernot. His best knights drew round him, and he said, “Without cause, and with a mighty array, foemen come hither against us into our land.”

Thereto answered Gernot, a hardy and bold warrior, “We shall hinder that with our swords. They only perish that fate dooms. Let them die. They shall not turn me from honor. Our foemen are welcome.”

Spake Hagen of Trony then, “Methinketh that were unwise. Ludgast and Ludger are proud men withal, and we can hardly in so few days muster our men.” Therefore the bold knight said, “Tell Siegfried.”
They bade lodge the envoys in the town. Albeit they were his foemen, Gunther, the great king, commanded the folk to entreat them well— rightly he did so—till that he knew the friends that would stand by him.

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