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.
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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