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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