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Thread: The Nibelungenlied [Full Text]

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    Post AW: The Nibelungenlied

    Adventure XXVIII:

    How the burgundians came to Etzel's castle.

    When the Burgundians were come to the land, old Hildebrand (1) of Berne did hear the tale, and sore it rued him. He told his lord, who bade him welcome well the lusty knights and brave. The doughty Wolfhart (2) bade fetch the steeds; then many a sturdy warrior rode with Dietrich, to where he thought to meet them on the plain where they had pitched full many a lordly tent. When Hagen of Troneg saw them riding from afar, to his lords he spake in courteous wise: "Now must ye doughty warriors rise from your seats and go to meet them, who would greet you here. Yonder cometh a fellowship I know full well, they be full speedy knights from the Amelung land, (3) whom the lord of Berne doth lead -- high-mettled warriors they. Scorn not the service that they proffer."

    Then with Dietrich there alighted from the steeds, as was mickle right, many a knight and squire. Towards the strangers they went, to where they found the heroes; in friendly wise they greeted those from the Burgundian land. Ye may now hear what Sir Dietrich said to the sons of Uta, as he saw them coming toward him. Their journey rued him sore; he weened that Rudeger wist it, and had told them the tale. "Be ye welcome, fair sirs, Gunther and Giselher, Gernot and Hagen, likewise Folker and the doughty Dankwart. Know ye not that Kriemhild still mourneth sorely for the hero of the Nibelung land?"

    "Let her weep long time," quoth Hagen. "He hath lain these many years, done to death. Let her love now the Hunnish king. Siegfried cometh not again, he hath long been buried."

    "Let us not talk of Siegfried's wounds, but if Kriemhild still live, scathe may hap again," so spake Sir Dietrich, the lord of Berne. "Hope of the Nibelungs, guard thee well against this."

    "Why should I guard me?" spake the high-born king. "Etzel sent us envoys (why should I question more?) to say that we should ride to visit him, hither to this land. My sister Kriemhild sent us many a message, too."

    "Let me counsel you," quoth Hagen, "to beg Sir Dietrich and his good knights to tell you the tidings further, and to let you know the Lady Kriemhild's mood."

    Then the three mighty kings, Gunther and Gernot and Sir Dietrich, too, went and spake apart. "Pray tell us, good and noble knight of Berne, what ye do know of the queen's mood?"

    Answered the lord of Berne: "What more shall I tell you? Every morning I hear King Etzel's wife wail and weep with piteous mind to the mighty God of heaven over the stalwart Siegfried's death."

    "That which we have heard," spake bold Folker, the fiddler, "cannot be turned aside. We must ride to court and abide what may hap to us doughty knights among the Huns."

    The brave Burgundians now rode to court. In lordly wise they came after the fashion of their land. Many a brave man among the Huns wondered what manner of man Hagen of Troneg be. It was enough that men told tales, that he had slain Kriemhild's husband the mightiest of all heroes. For that cause alone much questioning about Hagen was heard at court. The knight was fair of stature, that is full true; broad he was across the breast; his hair was mixed with gray; his legs were long, and fierce his glance; lordly gait he had.

    Then one bade lodge the Burgundian men, but Gunther's fellowship was placed apart. This the queen advised, who bare him much hate, and therefore men later slew the footmen in their lodgings. Dankwart, Hagen's brother, he was marshal. The king earnestly commended to him his followers, that he purvey them well and give them enow to eat; The hero of Burgundy bare them all good will. Kriemhild, the fair, went with her maids-in-waiting to where, false of mood, she greeted the Nibelungs. Giselher alone she kissed and took by the hand. That Hagen of Troneg saw, and bound his helmet tighter. "After such a greeting," quoth Hagen, "doughty knights may well bethink them. One giveth kings a greeting different from their men. We have not made a good journey to this feast." (4)

    She spake: "Be welcome to him that be fain to see you; I greet you not for your kinship. Pray tell me what ye do bring me from Worms beyond the Rhine, that ye should be so passing welcome to me here?"

    "Had I known," quoth Hagen, "that knights should bring you gifts, I had bethought me better, for I be rich enow to bring you presents hither to this land."

    "Now let me hear the tale of where ye have put the Nibelung hoard? It was mine own, as ye well know, and ye should have brought me that to Etzel's land."

    "I' faith, my Lady Kriemhild, it is many a day sith I have had the care of the Nibelung hoard. My lords bade sink it in the Rhine, and there it must verily lie till doomsday."

    Then spake the queen: "I thought as much. Ye have brought full little of it hither to this land, albeit it was mine own, and I had it whilom in my care. Therefore have I all time so many a mournful day."

    "The devil I'll bring you," answered Hagen. "I have enough to carry with my shield and breastplate; my helm is bright, the sword is in my hand, therefore I bring yon naught."

    Then the queen spake to the knights on every side: "One may not bring weapons to the hall. Sir Knights, give them to me, I'll have them taken in charge."

    "I' faith," quoth Hagen, "never shall that be done. In sooth I crave not the honor, O bounteous princess, that ye should bear my shield and other arms to the lodgings; ye be a queen. This my father did not teach me, I myself will play the chamberlain."

    "Alack for my sorrows," spake Lady Kriemhild. "Why will Hagen and my brother not let their shields be taken in charge? They be warned, and wist I, who hath done this, I'd ever plan his death."

    To this Sir Dietrich answered in wrath: "'Tis I, that hath warned the noble and mighty princes and the bold Hagen, the Burgundian liegeman. Go to, thou she-devil, thou durst not make me suffer for the deed."

    Sore abashed was King Etzel's wife, for bitterly she feared Sir Dietrich. At once she left him, not a word she spake, but gazed with furious glance upon her foes. Two warriors then grasped each other quickly by the hand, the one was Sir Dietrich, the other Hagen. With gentle breeding the lusty hero spake: "Forsooth I rue your coming to the Huns, because of what the queen hath said."

    Quoth Hagen: "There will be help for that."

    Thus the two brave men talked together. King Etzel saw this, and therefore he began to query: "Fain would I know," spake the mighty king, "who yonder warrior be, whom Sir Dietrich greeteth there in such friendly wise. He carrieth high his head; whoever be his father, he is sure a doughty knight."

    A liegeman of Kriemhild made answer to the king: "By birth he is from Troneg, his father hight Aldrian; however blithe he bear him here, a grim man is he. I'll let you see full well that I have told no lie."

    "How shall I know that he be so fierce?" replied the king. As yet he wist not the many evil tricks that the queen should later play upon her kin, so that she let none escape from the Huns alive.

    "Well know I Aldrian, for he was my vassal (5) and here at my court gained mickle praise and honor. I dubbed him knight and gave hint of my gold. The faithful Helca loved him inly. Therefore I have since known Hagen every whit. Two stately youths became my hostages, he and Walther of Spain. (6) Here they grew to manhood; Hagen I sent home again, Walther ran away with Hildegund." He bethought him of many tales that had happed of yore. He had spied aright his friend of Troneg, who in his youth had given him yeoman service. Later in his old age he did him many a dear friend to death.

    Adventure XXIX:

    How Hagen would not rise for Kriemhild.

    Then the two worshipful warriors parted, Hagen of Troneg and Sir Dietrich. Over his shoulder Gunther's liegeman gazed for a comrade-at-arms, whom he then quickly won. Folker he saw, the cunning fiddler, stand by Giselher, and begged him to join him, for well he knew his savage mood. He was in all things a bold knight and a good. Still they let the lordings stand in the court, only these twain alone men saw walk hence far across the court before a spacious palace. These chosen warriors feared the hate of none. They sate them down upon a bench before the house over against a hall, the which belonged to Kriemhild. Upon their bodies shone their lordly weeds. Enow who gazed upon them would than have known the knights; as wild beasts the haughty heroes were stared upon by the Hunnish men. Etzel's wife, too, gazed upon them through a window, at which fair Kriemhild waxed sad again. Of her sorrows it minded her and she began to weep. Much it wondered Etzel's men what had so quickly saddened her mood. Quoth she: "That Hagen hath done, ye heroes brave and good."

    To the lady they spake: "How hath that happed, for but newly we did see you joyful? None there be so bold, an' he hath done you aught, but it will cost him his life, if ye bid us venge you."

    "Ever would I requite it, if any avenged my wrongs. I would give him all he craved. Behold me at your feet," spake he queen; "avenge me on Hagen, that he lose his life."

    Then sixty bold men made them ready eftsoon for Kriemhild's sake. They would hence to slay the bold knight Hagen and the fiddler, too. With forethought this was done. When the queen beheld the band so small, grim of mood she spake to the knights: "What ye now would do, ye should give over. With so few durst ye never encounter Hagen. And however strong and bold Hagen of Troneg be, he who sitteth by his side, Folker, the fiddler, is stronger still by far. He is an evil man. Certes, ye may not so lightly match these knights."

    When they heard this, four hundred doughty warriors more did make them ready. The noble queen craved sore to do them harm. Thereby the heroes later fell in mickle danger. When she saw her followers well armed, the queen spake to the doughty knights: "Now bide a while, ye must stand quite still in truth. Wearing my crown, I will go to meet my foes. List ye to the wrongs that Hagen of Troneg, Gunther's man, hath done me. I know him to be so haughty that he'll not deny a whit. Little I reek what hap to him on this account."

    Then the fiddler, a bold minstrel, spied the noble queen walk down the flight of steps that led downward from a house. When bold Folker saw this, to his comrade-at-arms he spake: "Now behold, friend Hagen, how she walketh yonder, who hath faithlessly bidden us to this land. I have never seen with a queen so many men bearing sword in hand march in such warlike guise. Know ye, friend Hagen, whether she bear you hate? If so be, I counsel you to guard the better your life and honor. Certes, methinks this good. They be wroth of mood, as far as I can see, and some be so broad of chest that he who would guard himself should do so betimes. I ween there be those among them who wear bright breastplates. Whom they would attack, I cannot say."

    Then, angry of mood, the brave knight Hagen spake: "Well I wot that all this be done against me, that they thus bear their gleaming swords in hand. For aught of them, I still may ride to the Burgundian land. Now tell me, friend Folker, whether ye will stand by me, if perchance Kriemhild's men would fight me? Pray let me hear that, if so be ye hold me dear. I'll aid you evermore with faithful service."

    "I'll help you surely," spake the minstrel; "and should I see the king with all his warriors draw near us, not one foot will I yield from fear in aiding you, the while I live."

    "Now may God in heaven requite you, noble Folker; though they strive against me, what need I more? Sith ye will help me, as I hear you say, let these warriors come on full-armed."

    "Let us rise now from our seats," spake the minstrel. "Let us do her honor as she passeth by, she is a high-born dame, a queen. We shall thereby honor ourselves as well."

    "For my sake, no," quoth Hagen. "Should I go hence, these knights would think 'twas through fear. Not for one of them will I ever rise from my seat. It beseemeth us both better, forsooth, to leave this undone, for why should I honor one who doth bear me hatred? Nor will I do this, the while I live; I reck not how King Etzel's wife doth hate me."

    Haughty Hagen laid across his knees a gleaming sword from whose pommel a sparkling jasper, greener than grass, did shine. Its hilt was golden, its sheath an edging of red. That it was Siegfried's, Kriemhild knew full well. She must needs grow sad when that she knew the sword, for it minded her of her wrongs; she began to weep. I ween bold Hagen had done it for this cause. Folker, the bold, drew nearer to the bench a fiddle bow, strong, mickle, and long, like unto a broad, sharp sword, and there the two lusty knights sate undaunted. These two brave men did think themselves so lordly, that they would not leave their seats through fear of any man. The noble queen walked therefore to their very feet and gave them hostile greeting. She spake: "Now tell me, Hagen, who hath sent for you, that ye durst ride hither to this land, sith ye know full well what ye have done me? Had ye good wits, ye should have left it undone, by rights."

    "No one sent for me," quoth Hagen. "Men bade to this land three knights, who hight my lords. I am their liegeman, and full seldom have I stayed behind when they journeyed to any court."

    Quoth she: "Now tell me further, why ye did this, through the which ye have earned my hate? Ye slew Siegfried, my dear husband, for which I have cause enow to weep until mine end."

    Quoth he: "What booteth more, enow is already said. It is just I, Hagen, who slew Siegfried, a hero of his hands. How sorely did he atone that Lady Kriemhild railed at comely Brunhild. 'Tis not to be denied, O mighty queen, I alone am to blame for this scathful scathe. (1) Let him avenge it who will, be he wife or man. Unless be I should lie to you, I have dons you much of harm."

    Quoth she: "Now hear, ye knights, how he denieth no whit of my wrongs. Men of Etzel, I care not what hap to him from this cause."

    The proud warriors all gazed at one another. Had any began the fight, it would have come about that men must have given the honors to the two comrades, for they had oft wrought wonders in the fray. What the Huns had weened to do must now needs be left. undone through fear.

    Then spake one of the men-at-arms: "Why gaze ye thus at me? What I afore vowed, I will now give over. I will lose my life for no man's gift. Forsooth King Etzel's wife would fain lead us into wrong."

    Quoth another hard by: "Of the selfsame mind am I. An' any give me towers of good red gold, I would not match this fiddler, for his fearful glances, the which I have seen him cast. Hagen, too, I have known from his youthful days, wherefore men can tell me little of this knight. I have seen him fight in two and twenty battles, through which woe of heart hath happed to many a dame. He and the knight from Spain trod many a war path, when here at Etzel's court they waged so many wars in honor of the king. Much this happed, wherefore one must justly honor Hagen. At that time the warrior was of his years a lad. How gray are they who then were young! Now is he come to wit and is a man full grim. Balmung, (2) too, he beareth, the which he won in evil wise."

    Therewith the strife was parted, so that no one fought, which mightily rued the queen. The warriors turned them hence; in sooth they feared their death at the fiddler's hands, and surely they had need of this. Then spake the fiddler: "We have now well seen that we shall find foes here, as we heard tell afore. Let us go to court now to the kings, then dare none match our lords in fight. how oft a man doth leave a thing undone through fear, the which he would not do, when friend standeth by friend in friendly (3) wise, an' he have good wits. Scathe to many a man is lightly warded off by forethought."

    Quoth Hagen: "Now will I follow you."

    They went to where they found the dapper warriors standing in the court in a great press of welcoming knights.

    Bold Folker gan speak loudly to his lords: "How long will ye stand and let yourselves be jostled? Ye must go to court and hear from the king of what mind he be."

    Men then saw the brave heroes and good pair off. The prince of Berne took by the hand the mighty Gunther of Burgundian land. Irnfried (4) took the brave knight Gernot, while Rudeger was seen to go to court with Giselher. But however any paired, Folker and Hagen never parted, save in one fray, when their end was come, and this noble ladies must needs greatly bewail in after time. With the kings one saw go to court a thousand brave men of their fellowship, thereto sixty champions that were come with them, whom the bold Hagen had taken from his land. Hawart and Iring, (5) two chosen men, were seen to walk together near the kings. Men saw Dankwart and Wolfhart, a peerless knight, display their chivalry before all eyes.

    When the lord of the Rhine had entered the hall, the mighty Etzel delayed no longer, but sprang from his throne when he saw him come. Never did so fair a greeting hap from any king. "Be welcome, Sir ,Gunther, and Sir Gernot, too, and your brother Giselher. I sent you truly my faithful service to Worms beyond the Rhine. All your fellowship, too, I welcome. Now be ye passing welcome, ye two knights, Folker, the brave, and Sir Hagen likewise, to me and to my lady, here in this our land. She sent you many a messenger to the Rhine."

    Then spake Hagen of Troneg: "I heard much talk of that, and were I not come to the Huns for the sake of my lords, I should have ridden in your honor to this land."

    The noble host then took his dear guests by the hand and led them to the settle where he sate himself. Busily they poured out for the guests in broad bowls of gold, mead, morat, (6) and wine and bade those far from home be welcome. Then spake King Etzel: "Let me tell you this; it might not liefer hap to me in all this world, than through you heroes, that ye be come to see me. Through this much sadness is also taken from the queen. Me-wondereth greatly what I have done you noble strangers, that ye never recked to come into my land. My sadness is turned to joy, since now I see you here."

    To this Rudeger, a high-mettled knight, made answer: "Ye may be glad to see them. Good is the fealty which the kinsmen of my lady wot how to use so well. They bring also to your house many a stately knight." Upon a midsummer's eve the lords were come to the court of the mighty Etzel. Seldom hath there been heard such lofty greeting as when he welcomed the heroes. When now the time to eat was come, the king went with them to the board. Never did host sit fairer with his guests. Men gave them meat and drink to the full. All that they craved stood ready for them, for mickle wonders had been told about these knights.

    Adventure XXX:

    How they kept the watch.

    The day had now an end, and the night drew nigh. Care beset the wayworn travelers, as to when they should go to bed and rest them. This Hagen bespake with Etzel, and it was told them soon.
    Gunther spake to the host: "God be with you, we would fain go to our sleep, pray give us leave. We will come early on the morrow, whensoever ye bid."

    Etzel parted then full merrily from his guests. Men pressed the strangers on every side, at which brave Folker spake to the Huns: "How dare ye crowd before the warriors' feet? An' ye will not leave this, ye will fare full ill. I'll smite some man so heavy a fiddle blow, that if he have a faithful friend he may well bewail it. Why give ye not way before us knights? Methinks 'twere well. All pass for knights, but be not of equal mettle."

    As the fiddler spake thus in wrath, Hagen, the brave, looked behind him. He spake: "The bold gleeman doth advise you right, ye men of Kriemhild, ye should hie you to your lodgings. I ween none of you will do what ye are minded, but would ye begin aught, come early on the morrow, and let us wanderers have peace to-night. Certes, I ween that it hath never happed with such good will on the part of heroes."

    Then the guests were brought into a spacious hall, which they found purveyed on every side with costly beds, long and broad, for the warriors. Lady Kriemhild planned the very greatest wrongs against them. One saw there many a cunningly wrought quilt from Arras (1) of shining silken cloth and many a coverlet of Arabian silk, the best that might be had; upon this ran a border that shone in princely wise. Many bed covers of ermine and of black sable were seen, beneath which they should have their ease at night, until the dawn of day. Never hath king lain so lordly with his meiny.

    "Alas for these night quarters," spake Giselher, the youth, "and alas for my friends, who be come with us. However kindly my sister greeted us, yet I do fear me that through her fault we must soon lie dead."

    "Now give over your care," quoth Hagen, the knight. "I'll stand watch myself to-night. I trow to guard us well, until the day doth come. Therefore have no fear; after that, let him survive who may."

    All bowed low and said him gramercy. Then went they to their beds. A short while after the stately men had laid them down, bold Hagen, the hero, began to arm him. Then the fiddler, Knight Folker, spake: "If it scorn you not, Hagen, I would fain hold the watch with you to-night, until the early morn."

    The hero then thanked Folker in loving wise: "Now God of heaven requite you, dear Folker. In all my cares, I would crave none other than you alone, whenever I had need. I shall repay you well, and death hinder me not."

    Both then donned their shining armor and either took his shield in hand, walked out of the house and stood before the door. Thus they cared for the guests in faithful wise. The doughty Folker leaned his good shield against the side of the hall, then turned him back and fetched his fiddle and served his friends as well befit the hero. Beneath the door of the house he sate him down upon a stone; bolder fiddler was there never. When the tones of the strings rang forth so sweetly, the proud wanderers gave Folker thanks. At first the strings twanged so that the whole house resounded; his strength and his skill were both passing great. Then sweeter and softer he began to play, and thus many a care-worn man he lulled to sleep. When he marked that all had fallen asleep, the knight took again his shield and left the room and took his stand before the tower, and there he guarded the wanderers against Kriemhild's men.

    'Twas about the middle of the night (I know not but what it happed a little earlier), that bold Folker spied the glint of a helmet afar in the darkness. Kriemhild's men would fain have harmed the guests. Then the fiddler spake: "Sir Hagen, my friend, it behooveth us to bear these cares together. Before the house I see armed men stand, and err I not, I ween, they would encounter us!"

    "Be silent," quoth Hagen, "let them draw nearer before they be ware of us. Then will helmets be dislodged by the swords in the hands of us twain. They will be sent back to Kriemhild in evil plight."

    One of the Hunnish warriors (full soon that happed) marked that the door was guarded. How quickly then he spake: "That which we have in mind may not now come to pass. I see the fiddler stand on guard. On his head he weareth a glittering helmet, shining and hard, strong and whole. His armor rings flash out like fire. By him standeth Hagen; in sooth the guests be guarded well."

    Straightway they turned again. When Folker saw this, wrathfully he spake to his comrade-at-arms: "Now let me go from the house to the warriors. I would fain put some questions to Lady Kriemhild's men."

    "For my sake, no," quoth Hagen. "If ye leave the house, the doughty knights are like to bring you in such stress with their swords, that I must aid you even should it be the death of all my kin. As soon as we be come into the fray, twain of them, or four, would in a short time run into the house and would bring such scathe upon the sleepers, that we might never cease to mourn."

    Then Folker answered: "Let us bring it to pass that they note that I have seen them, so that Kriemhild's men may not deny that they would fain have acted faithlessly."

    Straightway Folker then called out to them: "How go ye thus armed, ye doughty knights? Would ye ride to rob, ye men of Kriemhild? Then must ye have the help of me and my comrade-at- arms."

    To this none made reply. Angry grew his mood. "Fy! Ye evil cowards," spake the good knight, "would ye have murdered us asleep? That hath been done full seldom to such good heroes." Then the queen was told that her messengers had compassed naught. Rightly it did vex her, and with wrathful mood she made another plan. Through this brave heroes and good must needs thereafter perish.
    Last edited by Prussian; Monday, October 18th, 2004 at 08:02 PM.
    "Let your love towards life, be love towards your highest hope:
    and let your highest hope be the highest idea of life."
    ~Friedrich Nietzsche~

  2. #12
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    Post AW: The Nibelungenlied

    Adventure XXXI:
    How they went to Church.
    "My coat of mail groweth cold," said Folker. "I ween the night hath run its course. By the air I mark that day is near."

    Then they waked the many knights who still lay sleeping. The light of dawn shone into the hall upon the strangers. On all sides Hagen gan wake the warriors, if perchance they would fain go to the minster for mass. Men now loudly rang the bells in Christian fashion. Heathens and Christians did not sing alike, so that it was seen full well that they were not as one. Gunther's liegemen now would go to church, and all alike had risen from their beds. The champions laced them into such goodly garments, that never did hero bring better clothes to the land of any king. This vexed Hagen. He spake: "Heroes, ye should wear here other clothes. Certes, ye know full well the tales. Instead of roses, bear weapons in your hands; instead of jeweled chaplets, your bright helms and good, sith ye know full well the wicked Kriemhild's mood. Let me tell you, we must fight to-day, so instead of silken shirts, wear hauberks, and instead of rich cloaks, good shields and broad, so that if any grow angry with you, ye be full armed. Dear my lords, and all my kin and liegemen, go willingly to church and make plaint to the mighty God of your fears and need, for know full sure that death draweth nigh us. Nor must ye forget to confess aught that ye have done and stand full zealously before your God. Of this I warn you, noble knights, unless God in heaven so will, ye'll never more hear mass."

    So the princes and their liegemen went to the minster. In the holy churchyard bold Hagen bade them halt, that they might not be parted. He spake: "Of a truth none knoweth what will hap to us from the Huns. Place, my friends, your shields before your feet, and if any proffer you cold greeting, repay it with deep and mortal wounds. That is Hagen's counsel, that ye may so be found as doth befit your honor."

    Folker and Hagen, the twain, then hied them to the spacious minster. This was done that the queen might press upon them in the crowd. Certes, she was passing grim. Then came the lord of the land and his fair wife, her body adorned with rich apparel; Doughty warriors, too, were seen to walk beside her. One saw the dust rise high from Kriemhild's band. When mighty Etzel spied the kings and their fellowship thus armed, how quick he spake: "Why do I see my friends thus go with helmets? Upon my troth, it grieveth me, and hath any done them aught, I shall gladly make amends, as doth think them good. Hath any made heavy their hearts or mood, I'll show them well, that it doth irk me much. I am ready for whatever they command me."

    To this Hagen answered: "None hath done us aught; it is the custom of my lordings that they go armed at all high feasts for full three days. We should tell Etzel, had aught been done us."

    Kriemhild heard full well what Hagen spake. How right hostilely she gazed into his eyes! She would not tell the custom of their land, albeit she had known it long in Burgundy. However grim and strong the hate she bare them, yet had any told Etzel the truth, he would have surely hindered what later happed. Because of their great haughtiness they scorned to tell him. When the great crowd went past with the queen, these twain, Hagen and Folker, would not step back more than two hand-breadths, the which irked the Huns. Forsooth they had to jostle with the lusty heroes. This thought King Etzel's chamberlains not good. Certes, they would have fain angered the champions, but that they durst not before the noble king. So there was much jostling, but nothing more.

    When they had worshiped God and would hence again, many a Hunnish warrior horsed him passing soon, At Kriemhild's side stood many a comely maid, and well seven thousand knights rode with the queen. Kriemhild with her ladies sate her down at the easements by the side of the mighty Etzel, which was him lief, for they would watch the lusty heroes joust. Ho, what stranger knights rode before them in the court! Then was come the marshal with the squires. Bold Dankwart had taken to him his lord's retainers from the Burgundian land; the steeds of the Nibelungs they found well saddled. When now the kings and their men were come to horse, stalwart Folker gan advise that they should ride a joust after the fashion of their land. At this the heroes rode in lordly wise; none it irked what the knight had counseled. The hurtling and the noise waxed loud, as the many men rode into the broad court. Etzel and Kriemhild themselves beheld the scene. To the jousts were come six hundred knights of Dietrich's men to match the strangers, for they would have pastime with the Burgundians. Fain would they have done it, had he given them leave. Ho, what good champions rode in their train! The tale was told to Sir Dietrich and he forbade the game with Gunther's men; he feared for his liegemen, and well he might.

    When those of Berne had departed thence, there came the men of Rudeger from Bechelaren, five hundred strong, with shields, riding out before the hall. It would have been lief to the margrave, had they left it undone. Wisely he rode then to them through the press and said to his knights, that they were ware that Gunther's men were evil-minded toward them. If they would leave off the jousting, it would please him much. When now these lusty heroes parted from them, then came those of Thuringia, as we are told, and well a thousand brave men from Denmark. From the tilting one saw many truncheons (2) flying hence. Irnfried and Hawart now rode into the tourney. Proudly those from the Rhine awaited them and offered the men of Thuringia many a joust. Many a lordly shield was riddled by the thrusts. Thither came then Sir Bloedel with three thousand men. Well was he seen of Etzel and Kriemhild, for the knightly sports happed just before the twain. The queen saw it gladly, that the Burgundians might come to grief. Schrutan (3) and Gibecke, Ramung and Hornbog, (4) rode into the tourney in Hunnish wise. To the heroes from Burgundian land they addressed them. High above the roof of the royal hall the spear-shafts whirled. Whatever any there plied, 'twas but a friendly rout. Palace and hall were heard resounding loud through the clashing of the shields of Gunther's men. With great honor his meiny gained the meed. Their pastime was so mickle and so great, that from beneath the housings of the good steeds, which the heroes rode, there flowed the frothy sweat. In haughty wise they encountered with the Huns.

    Then spake the fiddler, Folker the minstrel: "I ween these warriors dare not match us. I've aye heard the tale, that they bear us hate, and forsooth it might never fortune better for them than now." Again Folker spake: "Let our steeds be now led away to their lodgings and let us joust again toward eventide, and there be time. Perchance the queen may accord to the Burgundians the prize."

    Then one was seen riding hither so proudly, that none of all the Huns could have done the like. Certes, he must have had a sweetheart on the battlements. As well attired he rode as the bride of any noble knight. At sight of him Folker spake again: "How could I give this over? This ladies' darling must have a buffet. None shall prevent me and it shall cost him dear. In truth I reck not, if it vex King Etzel's wife."

    "For my sake, No," spake straightway King Gunther. "The people will blame us, if we encounter them. 'Twill befit us better far, an' we let the Huns begin the strife."

    King Etzel was still sitting by the queen.

    "I'll join you in the tourney," quoth Hagen then. "Let the ladies and the knights behold how we can ride. That will be well, for they'll give no meed to King Gunther's men."

    The doughty Folker rode into the lists again, which soon gave many a dame great dole. His spear he thrust through the body of the dapper Hun; this both maid and wife were seen thereafter to bewail. Full hard and fast gan Hagen and his liegemen and sixty of his knights ride towards the fiddler, where the play was on. This Etzel and Kriemhild clearly saw. The three kings would not leave their minstrel without guard amidst the foe. Cunningly a thousand heroes rode; with haughty bearing they did whatso they would. When now the wealthy Hun was slain, men heard his kin cry out and wail. All the courtiers asked: "Who hath done this deed?"

    "That the fiddler did, Folker, the valiant minstrel."

    The margrave's kindred from the Hunnish land called straightway for their swords and shields, and would fain have done Folker to death. Fast the host gan hasten from the windows. Great rout arose from the folk on every side. The kings and their fellowship, the Burgundian men, alighted before the hall and drove their horses to the rear. Then King Etzel came to part the strife. From the hand of a kinsman of the Hun he wrenched a sturdy weapon and drove them all back again, for full great was his wrath. "Why should my courtesie to these knights go all for naught? Had ye slain this minstrel at my court," spake King Etzel, "'twere evil done. I saw full well how he rode, when he thrust through the Hun, that it happed through stumbling, without any fault of his. Ye must let my guests have peace."

    Thus he became their safe-guard. To the stalls men led away the steeds; many a varlet they had, who served them well with zeal in every service. The host now hied him to his palace with his friends, nor would he let any man grow wroth again. Then men set up the tables and bare forth water for the guests. Forsooth the men from the Rhine had there enow of stalwart foes. 'Twas long before the lords were seated.

    Meanwhile Kriemhild's fears did trouble her passing sore. She spake: "My lord of Berne, I seek thy counsel, help, and favor, for mine affairs do stand in anxious wise."

    Then Hildebrand, a worshipful knight, made answer to her: "And any slay the Nibelungs for the sake of any hoard, he will do it without my aid. It may well repent him, for they be still unconquered, these doughty and lusty knights."

    Then Spake Sir Dietrich in his courteous wise: "Let be this wish, O mighty queen. Thy kinsmen have done me naught of wrong, that I should crave to match these valiant knights in strife. Thy request honoreth thee little, most noble queen, that thou dost plot against the life of thy kinsfolk. They came in hope of friendship to this land. Siegfried will not be avenged by Dietrich's hand."

    When she found no whit of faithlessness in the lord of Berne, quickly she promised Bloedel a broad estate, that Nudung (5) owned aforetime. Later he was slain by Hagen, so that he quite forgot the gift. She spake: "Thou must help me, Sir Bloedel, forsooth my foes be in this house, who slew Siegfried, my dear husband. Ever will I serve him, that helpeth me avenge this deed."

    To this Bloedel replied: "My lady, now may ye know that because of Etzel I dare not, in sooth, advise to hatred against them, for he is fain to see thy kinsmen at his court. The king would ne'er forget it of me, and I did them aught of wrong."

    "Not so, Sir Bloedel, for I shall ever be thy friend. Certes, I'll give thee silver and gold as guerdon and a comely maid, the wife of Nudung, whose lovely body thou mayst fain caress. I'll give thee his land and all his castles, too, so that thou mayst always live in joy, Sir knight, if thou dost now win the lands where Nudung dwelt. Faithfully will I keep, whatso I vow to thee to-day."

    When Sir Bloedel heard the guerdon, and that the lady through her beauty would befit him well, he weened to serve the lovely queen in strife. Because of this the champion must needs lose his life. To the queen he spake: "Betake you again to the hall, and before any be aware, I'll begin a fray and Hagen must atone for what he hath done you. I'll deliver to you King Gunther's liegeman bound. Now arm you, my men," spake Bloedel. "We must hasten to the lodgings of the foes, for King Etzel's wife doth crave of me this service, wherefore we heroes must risk our lives."

    When the queen left Bloedel in lust of battle, she went to table with King Etzel and his men. Evil counsels had she held against the guests. Since the strife could be started in no other wise (Kriemhild's ancient wrong still lay deep buried in her heart), she bade King Etzel's son be brought to table. How might a woman ever do more ghastly deed for vengeance' sake? Four of Etzel's men went hence anon and bare Ortlieb, (6) the young prince, to the lordings' table, where Hagen also sat. Because of this the child must needs die through Hagen's mortal hate.

    When now the mighty king beheld his son, kindly he spake to the kinsmen of his wife: "Now see, my friends, this is the only son of me and of your sister. This may be of profit to you all, for if he take after his kinsmen, he'll become a valiant man, mighty and noble, strong and fashioned fair. Twelve lands will I give him, and I live yet a while. Thus may the hand of young Ortlieb serve you well. I do therefore beseech you, dear friends of mine, that when ye ride again to your lands upon the Rhine, ye take with you your sister's son and act full graciously toward the child, and bring him up in honor till he become a man. Hath any done you aught in all these lands, he'll help you to avenge it, when he groweth up."

    This speech was also heard by Kriemhild, King Etzel's wife.

    "These knights might well trust him," quoth Hagen, "if he grew to be a man, but the young prince doth seem so fey, (7) that I shall seldom be seen to ride to Ortlieb's court." The king glanced at Hagen, for much the speech did irk him; and though the gentle prince said not a word, it grieved his heart and made him heavy of his mood. Nor was Hagen's mind now bent on pastime. But all the lordings and the king were hurt by what Hagen had spoken of the child; it vexed them sore, that they were forced to hear it. They wot not the things as yet, which should happen to them through this warrior.
    Adventure XXXII:
    How Bloedel was slain.
    Full ready were now Bloedel's warriors. A thousand hauberks strong, they hied them to where Dankwart sate at table with the squires. Then the very greatest hate arose among the heroes. When Sir Bloedel drew near the tables, Dankwart, the marshal, greeted him in courteous wise. "Welcome, Sir Bloedel, in our house. In truth me-wondereth at thy coming. What doth it mean?"

    "Forsooth, thou needst not greet me," so spake Bloedel; "for this coming of mine doth mean thine end. Because of Hagen, thy brother, by whom Siegfried was slain, thou and many other knights must suffer here among the Huns."

    "Not so, Sir Bloedel," quoth Dankwart, "else this journey to your court might rue us sore. I was but a little child when Siegfried lost his life. I know not what blame King Etzel's wife could put on me."

    "Of a truth, I wot not how to tell you of these tales; thy kinsmen, Gunther and Hagen, did the deed. Now ward you, ye wanderers, ye may not live. With your death must ye become Kriemhild's pledge."

    "And ye will not turn you," quoth Dankwart, "then do my entreaties rue me; they had better far been spared."

    The doughty knight and brave sprang up from the table; a sharp weapon, mickle and long, he drew and dealt Bloedel so fierce a sword-stroke that his head lay straightway at his feet. "Let that be thy marriage morning gift," (2) spake Dankwart, the knight, "for Nudung's bride, whom thou wouldst cherish with thy love. They call betroth her to another man upon the morn. Should he crave the dowry, 'twill be given to him eftsoon." A faithful Hun had told him that the queen did plan against them such grievous wrongs.

    When Bloedel's men beheld their lord lie slain, no longer would they stand this from the guests. With uplifted swords they rushed, grim of mood, upon the youthful squires. Many a one did rue this later. Loudly Dankwart called to all the fellowship: "Ye see well, noble squires, how matters stand. Now ward you, wanderers! Forsooth we have great need, though Kriemhild asked us here in right friendly wise."

    Those that had no sword reached down in front of the benches and lifted many a long footstool by its legs. The Burgundian squires would now abide no longer, but with the heavy stools they dealt many bruises through the helmets. How fiercely the stranger youths did ward them! Out of the house they drove at last the men-at-arms, but five hundred of them, or better, stayed behind there dead. The fellowship was red and wot with blood.

    These grievous tales were told now to Etzel's knights; grim was their sorrow, that Bloedel and his men were slain. This Hagen's brother and his squires had done. Before the king had learned it, full two thousand Huns or more armed them through hatred and hied them to the squires (this must needs be), and of the fellowship they left not one alive. The faithless Huns brought a mickle band before the house. Well the strangers stood their ground, but what booted their doughty prowess? Dead they all must lie. Then in a few short hours there rose a fearful dole. Now ye may hear wonders of a monstrous thing. Nine thousand yeomen lay there slain and thereto twelve good knights of Dankwart's men. One saw him stand alone still by the foe. The noise was hushed, the din had died away, when Dankwart, the hero, gazed over his shoulders. He spake: "Woe is me, for the friends whom I have lost! Now must I stand, alas, alone among my foes."

    Upon his single person the sword-strokes fell thick and fast. The wife of many a hero must later mourn for this. Higher he raised his shield, the thong he lowered; the rings of many an armor he made to drip with blood. "Woe is me of all this sorrow," quoth Aldrian's son. (3) "Give way now, Hunnish warriors, and let me out into the breeze, that the air may cool me, fight-weary man."

    Then men saw the warrior walk forth in full lordly wise. As the strife-weary man sprang from the house, how many added swords rang on his helmet! Those that had not seen what wonders his hand had wrought sprang towards the hero of the Burgundian land. "Now would to God," quoth Dankwart, "that I might find a messenger who could let my brother Hagen know I stand in such a plight before these knights. He would help me hence, or lie dead at my side."

    Then spake the Hunnish champions: "Thou must be the messenger thyself, when we bear thee hence dead before thy brother. For the first time Gunther's vassal will then become acquaint with grief. Passing great scathe hast thou done King Etzel here."

    Quoth he: "Now give over these threats and stand further back, or I'll wot the armor rings of some with blood. I'll tell the tale at court myself and make plaint to my lords of my great dole."

    So sorely he dismayed King Etzel's men that they durst not withstand him with their swords, so they shot such great store of darts into his shield that he must needs lay it from his hand for very heaviness. Then they weened to overpower him, sith he no longer bare a shield. Ho, what deep wounds he struck them through their helmets! From this many a brave man was forced to reel before him, and bold Dankwart gained thereby great praise. From either side they sprang upon him, but in truth a many of them entered the fray too soon. Before his foes he walked, as doth a boar to the woods before the dogs. How might he be more brave? His path was ever wot with recking' blood. Certes, no single champion might ever fight better with his foes than he had done. Men now saw Hagen's brother go to court in lordly wise. Sewers (4) and cupbearers heard the ring of swords, and full many a one cast from his hand the drink and whatever food he bare to court. Enow strong foes met Dankwart at the stairs.

    "How now, ye sewers," spake the weary knight. "Forsooth ye should serve well the guests and bear to the lords good cheer and let me bring the tidings to my dear masters." Those that sprang towards him on the steps to show their prowess, he dealt so heavy a sword-stroke, that for fear they must needs stand further back. His mighty strength wrought mickle wonders.

    Adventure XXXIII:
    How the Burgunduans fought the Huns.
    When brave Dankwart was come within the door, he bade King Etzel's meiny step aside. His garments dripped with blood and in his hand he bare unsheathed a mighty sword. Full loud he called out to the knight: "Brother Hagen, ye sit all too long, forsooth. To you and to God in heaven do I make plaint of our woe. Our knights and squires all lie dead within their lodgements."

    He called in answer: "Who hath done this deed?"

    "That Sir Bloedel hath done with his liegemen, but he hath paid for it dearly, as I can tell you, for with mine own hands I struck off his head."

    "It is but little scathe," quoth Hagen, "if one can only say of a knight that he hath lost his life at a warrior's hands. Stately dames shall mourn him all the less. Now tell me, brother Dankwart, how comes it that ye be so red of hue? Ye suffer from wounds great dole, I ween. If there be any in the land that hath done you this, 'twill cost his life, and the foul fiend save him not."

    "Ye see me safe and sound; my weeds alone are wot with blood. This hath happed from wounds of other men, of whom I have slain so many a one to-day that, had I to swear it, I could not tell the tale."

    "Brother Dankwart," he spake, "guard us the door and let not a single Hun go forth. I will hold speech with the warriors, as our need constraineth us, for our meiny lieth dead before them, undeserved."

    "If I must be chamberlain," quoth the valiant man, "I well wet how to serve such mighty kings and will guard the stairway, as doth become mine honors." Naught could have been more loth to Kriemhild's knights.

    "Much it wondereth me," spake Hagen, "what the Hunnish knights be whispering in here. I ween, they'd gladly do without the one that standeth at the door, and who told the courtly tale to us Burgundians. Long since I have heard it said of Kriemhild, that she would not leave unavenged her dole of heart. Now let us drink to friendship (1) and pay for the royal wine. The young lord of the Huns shall be the first."

    Then the good knight Hagen smote the child Ortlieb, so that the blood spurted up the sword towards his hand and the head fell into the lap of the queen. At this there began a murdering, grim and great, among the knights. Next he dealt the master who taught the child a fierce sword-stroke with both his hands, so that his head fell quickly beneath the table to the ground. A piteous meed it was, which he meted out to the master. Hagen then spied a gleeman sitting at King Etzel's board. In his wrath he hied him thither and struck off his right hand upon the fiddle. "Take this as message to the Burgundian land."

    "Woe is me of my hand," spake the minstrel Werbel. "Sir Hagen of Troneg, what had I done to you? I came in good faith to your masters' land. How can I now thrum the tunes, sith I have lost my hand?"

    Little recked Hagen, played he nevermore. In the hall he dealt out fierce deadly wounds to Etzel's warriors, passing many of whom he slew. Enow of folk in the house he did to death. The doughty Folker now sprang up from the board; loud rang in his hands his fiddle bow. Rudely did Gunther's minstrel play. Ho, what foes he made him among the valiant Huns! The three noble kings, too, sprang up from the table. Gladly would they have parted the fray, or ever greater scathe was done. With all their wit they could not hinder it, when Folker and Hagen gan rage so sore. When that the lord of the Rhine beheld the fray unparted, the prince dealt his foes many gaping wounds himself through the shining armor rings. That he was a hero of his hands, he gave great proof. Then the sturdy Gernot joined the strife. Certes, he did many a hero of the Huns to death with a sharp sword, the which Rudeger had given him. Mighty wounds he dealt King Etzel's warriors. Now the young son of Lady Uta rushed to the fray. Gloriously his sword rang on the helmets of Etzel's warriors from the Hunnish land. Full mickle wonders were wrought by bold Giselher's hand. But how so doughty they all were, the kings and their liegemen, yet Folker was seen to stand before them all against the foe; a good hero he. Many a one he made to fall in his blood through wounds. Etzel's men did fend them, too, full well, yet one saw the strangers go hewing with their gleaming swords through the royal hall and on every side was heard great sound of wail. Those without would now fain be with their friends within, but at the entrance towers they found small gain. Those within had gladly been without the hall, but Dankwart let none go either up or down the steps. Therefore there rose before the towers a mighty press, and helmets rang loudly from the sword-blows. Bold Dankwart came into great stress thereby; this his brother feared, as his loyalty did bid him.

    Loudly then Hagen called to Folker: "See ye yonder, comrade, my brother stand before the Hunnish warriors amid a rain of blows? Friend, save my brother, or ever we lose the knight."

    "That will I surely," quoth the minstrel, and through the palace he went a-fiddling, his stout sword ringing often in his hand. Great thanks were tendered by the warriors from the Rhine. Bold Folker spake to Dankwart: "Great discomfiture have ye suffered to-day, therefore your brother bade me hasten to your aid. Will ye stand without, so will I stand within."

    Sturdy Dankwart stood without the door and guarded the staircase against whoever came, wherefore men heard the swords resound in the heroes' hands. Folker of Burgundy land performed the same within. Across the press the bold fiddler cried: "Friend Hagen, the hall is locked; forsooth King Etzel's door is bolted well. The hands of two heroes guard it, as with a thousand bars." When Hagen of Troneg beheld the door so well defended, the famous hero and good slung his shield upon his back and gan avenge the wrongs that had been done him there. His foes had now no sort of hope to live.

    When now the lord of Berne, the king of the Amelungs, (2) beheld aright that the mighty Hagen broke so many a helm, upon a bench he sprang and spake: "Hagen poureth out the very worst of drinks."

    The host, too, was sore adread, as behooved him now, for his life was hardly safe from these his foes. O how many dear friends were snatched away before his eyes! He sate full anxious; what booted it him that he was king? Haughty Kriemhild now cried aloud to Dietrich: "Pray help me hence alive, most noble knight, by the virtues of all the princes of the Amelung land. If Hagen reach me, I shall grasp death by the hand."

    "How shall I help you, noble queen?" spake Sir Dietrich. "I fear for myself in sooth. These men of Gunther be so passing wroth that at this hour I cannot guard a soul."

    "Nay, not so, Sir Dietrich, noble knight and good. Let thy chivalrous mood appear to-day and help me hence, or I shall die." Passing great cause had Kriemhild for this fear.

    "I'll try to see if I may help you, for it is long since that I have soon so many good knights so bitterly enraged. Of a truth I see blood spurting through the helmets from the swords."

    Loudly the chosen knight gan call, so that his voice rang forth as from a bison's horn, until the broad castle resounded with his force. Sir Dietrich's strength was passing great in truth.

    When Gunther heard this man cry out in the heated strife, he began to heed. He spake: "Dietrich's voice hath reached mine ears, I ween our champions have bereft him of some friend to-day. I see him on the table, he doth beckon with his hand. Ye friends and kinsmen from Burgundian land, give over the strife. Let's hear and see what here hath fortuned to the knight from my men-at-arms."

    When Gunther thus begged and bade in the stress of the fray, they sheathed their swords. Passing great was his power, so that none struck a blow. Soon enow he asked the tidings of the knight of Berne. He spake: "Most noble Dietrich, what hath happed to you through these my friends? I am minded to do you remedy and to make amends. If any had done you aught, 'twould grieve me sore,"

    Then spake Sir Dietrich: "Naught hath happed to me, but I pray you, let me leave this hall and this fierce strife under your safe-guard, with my men. For this favor I will serve you ever."

    "How entreat ye now so soon," quoth Wolfhart (3) then. "Forsooth the fiddler hath not barred the door so strong, but what we may open it enow to let us pass."

    "Hold your tongue," spake Sir Dietrich; "the devil a whit have ye ever done."

    Then: spake King Gunther: "I will grant your boon. Lead from the hall as few or as many as ye will, save my foes alone; they must remain within. Right ill have they treated me in the Hunnish land."

    When Dietrich heard these words, he placed his arm around the high-born queen, whose fear was passing great. On his other side he led King Etzel with him hence; with Dietrich there also went six hundred stately men.

    Then spake the noble Margrave Rudeger: "Shall any other who would gladly serve you come from this hall, let us hear the tale, and lasting peace shall well befit good friends."

    To this Giselher of the Burgundian land replied: "Peace and friendship be granted you by us, sith ye are constant in your fealty. Ye and all your men, ye may go hence fearlessly with these your friends."

    When Sir Rudeger voided the hall, there followed him, all told, five hundred men or more, kinsmen and vassals of the lord of Bechelaren, from whom King Gunther later gained great scathe. Then a Hunnish champion spied Etzel walking close by Dietrich. He, too, would take this chance, but the fiddler dealt him such a blow that his head fell soon before King Etzel's feet. When the lord of the land was come outside the house, he turned him about and gazed on Folker. "Woe is me of these guests. This is a direful need, that all my warriors should lie low in death before them. Alas for the feasting," quoth the noble king. "Like a savage boar there fighteth one within, hight Folker, who is a gleeman. I thank my stars that I escaped this fiend. His glees have an evil sound, the strokes of his how draw blood; forsooth his measures fell many a hero dead. I wot not, with what this minstrel twitteth us, for I have never had such baleful guest."

    They had permitted whom they would to leave the hall. Then there arose within a mighty uproar; sorely the guests avenged what there had happed them. Ho, what helmets bold Folker broke! The noble King Gunther turned him toward the sound. "Hear ye the measures, Hagen, which Folker yonder fiddleth with the Huns, when any draweth near the towers? 'Tis a blood-red stroke he useth with the bow."

    "It rueth me beyond all measure," quoth Hagen, "that in this hall I sate me down to rest before the hero did. I was his comrade and he was mine; and come we ever home again, we shall still be so, in loyal wise. Now behold, most noble king, Folker is thy friend, he earneth gladly thy silver and thy gold. His fiddle bow doth cut through the hardest steel, on the helmets he breaketh the bright and shining gauds! (4) Never have I seen fiddler stand in such lordly wise as the good knight Folker hath stood to-day. His glees resound through shield and helmet. Certes he shall ride good steeds and wear lordly raiment." Of all the kinsmen of the Huns within the hall, not one of these remained alive. Thus the clash of arms died out, since none strove with them longer. The lusty knights and bold now laid aside their swords.

    "Let your love towards life, be love towards your highest hope:
    and let your highest hope be the highest idea of life."
    ~Friedrich Nietzsche~

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    Post AW: The Nibelungenlied

    Adventure XXXIV:
    How they cast out the dead.
    The lordings sate them down for weariness. Folker and Hagen came forth from the hall; upon their shields the haughty warriors leaned. Wise words were spoken by the twain. Then Knight Giselher of Burgundy spake: "Forsooth, dear friends, ye may not ease you yet; ye must bear the dead from out the hall. I'll tell you, of a truth, we shall be attacked again. They must no longer lie here beneath our feet. Ere the Huns vanquish us by storm, we'll yet how wounds, which shall ease my heart. For this," quoth Giselher, "I have a steadfast mind."

    "Well is me of such a lord," spake then Hagen. "This rede which my young master hath given us to-day would befit no one but a knight. At this, Burgundians, ye may all stand glad."

    Then they followed the rede, and to the door they bare seven thousand dead, the which they cast outside. Down they fell before the stairway to the hall, and from their kinsmen rose a full piteous wall. Some there were with such slight wounds that, had they been more gently treated, they would have waxed well again; but from the lofty fall, they must needs lie dead. Their friends bewailed this, and forsooth they had good cause.

    Then spake Folker, the fiddler, a lusty knight: "Now I mark the truth of this, as hath been told me. The Huns be cravens, like women they wail; they should rather nurse these sorely wounded men."

    A margrave weened, he spake through kindness. Seeing one of his kinsmen lying in the blood, he clasped him in his arms and would have borne him hence, when the bold minstrel shot him above the dead to death. The flight began as the others saw this deed, and all fell to cursing this selfsame minstrel. He snatched javelin, sharp and hard, the which had been hurled at him by a Hun, and cast it with might across the court, far over the folk. Thus he forced Etzel's warriors to take lodgement further from the hall. On every side the people feared his mighty prowess.

    Many thousand men now stood before the hall. Folker and Hagen gan speak to Etzel all their mind, wherefrom these heroes bold and good came thereafter into danger. Quoth Hagen: "'Twould well beseem the people's hope, if the lords would fight in the foremost ranks, as doth each of my lordings here. They hew through the helmets, so that the blood doth follow the sword."

    Etzel was brave; he seized his shield. "Now fare warily," spake Lady Kriemhild, "and offer the warriors gold upon your shield. If Hagen doth but reach you there, ye'll be hand in hand with death."

    The king was so bold he would not turn him back, the which doth now seldom hap from so mighty a lord. By his shield-thong they had to draw him hence. Once again grim Hagen began to mock him. "It is a distant kinship," quoth Hagen, the knight, "that bindeth Etzel and Siegfried. He loved Kriemhild, or ever she laid eyes on thee. Most evil king, why dost thou plot against me?"

    Kriemhild, the wife of the noble king, heard this speech; angry she grew that he durst thus revile her before King Etzel's liegemen. Therefore she again began to plot against the strangers. She spake: "For him that slayeth me Hagen of Troneg and bringeth me his head, I will fill King Etzel's shield with ruddy gold, thereto will I give him as guerdon many goodly lands and castles." "Now I know not for what they wait," spake the minstrel. "Never have I seen heroes stand so much like cowards, when one heard proffered such goodly wage. Forsooth King Etzel should never be their friend again. Many of those who so basely eat the lording's bread, and now desert him in the greatest need, do I see stand here as cravens, and yet would pass for brave. May shame ever be their lot!"

    Adventure XXXV:
    How Iring was slain.
    Then cried Margrave Iring of Denmark: "I have striven for honor now long time, and in the storm of battle have been among the best. Now bring me my harness, for in sooth I will encounter me with Hagen."

    "I would not counsel that," spake Hagen, "but bid the Hunnish knights stand further back. If twain of you or three leap into the hall, I'll send them back sore wounded down the steps."

    "Not for that will I give it over," quoth Iring again. "I've tried before such daring things; in truth with my good sword I will encounter thee alone. What availeth all thy boasting, which thou hast done in words?"

    Then were soon arrayed the good Knight Iring and Irnfried of Thuringia, a daring youth, and the stalwart Hawart and full a thousand men. Whatever Iring ventured, they would all fain give him aid. Then the fiddler spied a mighty troop, that strode along well armed with Iring. Upon their heads they bare good helmets. At this bold Folker waxed a deal full wroth of mood. "See ye, friend Hagen, Iring striding yonder, who vowed to match you with his sword alone? How doth lying beseem a hero? Much that misliketh me. There walk with him full a thousand knights or more, well armed."

    "Say not that I lie," spake Hawart's liegeman. "Gladly will I perform what I have vowed, nor will I desist therefrom through any fear. However frightful Hagen be, I will meet him single- handed."

    On his knees Iring begged both kinsmen and vassals to let him match the knight alone. This they did unwillingly, for well they knew the haughty Hagen from the Burgundian land. But Iring begged so long that at last it happed. When the fellowship beheld his wish and that he strove for honor, they let him go. Then a fierce conflict rose between the twain. Iring of Denmark, the peerless high-born knight, bare high his spear and covered him with his shield. Swiftly he rushed on Hagen before the hall, while a great shout arose from all the knights around. With might and main they cast the spears with their hands through the sturdy shields upon their shining armor, so that the shafts whirled high in air. Then the two brave men and fierce reached for their swords. Bold Hagen's strength was mickle and great, but Iring smote him, that the whole hall rang. Palace and towers resounded from their blows, but the knight could not achieve his wish.

    Iring now left Hagen stand unharmed, and hied him to the fiddler. He weened to fell him by his mighty blows, but the stately knight wist how to guard bin, well. Then the fiddler struck a blow, that the plates of mail whirled high above the buckler's rim. An evil man he was, for to encounter, so Iring let him stand and rushed at Gunther of the Burgundian land. Here, too, either was strong enow in strife. The blows that Gunther and Iring dealt each other drew no blood from wounds. This the harness hindered, the which was both strong and good.

    He now let Gunther be, and ran at Gernot, and gan hew sparks of fire from his armor rings. Then had stalwart Gernot of Burgundy nigh done brave Iring unto death, but that he sprang away from the prince (nimble enow he was), and slew eftsoon four noble henchmen of the Burgundians from Worms across the Rhine. At this Giselher might never have waxed more wroth. "God wot, Sir Iring," spake Giselher, the youth, "ye must pay me weregild (1) for those who have fallen dead this hour before you."

    Then at him he rushed and smote the Dane, so that he could not stir a step, but sank before his hands down in the blood, so that all did ween the good knight would never deal a blow again in strife. But Iring lay unwounded here before Sir Giselher. From the crashing of the helmet and the ringing of the sword, his wits had grown so weak that the brave knight no longer thought of life. Stalwart Giselher had done this with his might. When now the ringing gan leave his head, the which he had suffered from the mighty stroke, he thought: "I am still alive and nowhere wounded. Now first wot I of Giselher's mighty strength." On either side he heard his foes. Wist they the tale, still more had happed him. Giselher, too, he marked hard by; he bethought him, how he might escape his foes. How madly he sprang up from the blood! Well might he thank his nimbleness for this. Out of the house he ran to where he again found Hagen, whom he dealt a furious blow with his powerful hand.

    Hagen thought him: "Thou art doomed. Unless be that the foul fiend protect thee, thou canst not escape alive."

    Yet Iring wounded Hagen through his crest. This the hero wrought with Waska, (2) a passing goodly sword. When Sir Hagen felt the wound, wildly he brandished his weapon in his hand. Soon Hawart's liegeman was forced to yield his ground, and Hagen gan pursue him down the stairs. Brave Iring swung his shield above his head, but had the staircase been the length of three, Hagen would not have let him strike a blow the while. Ho, what red sparks did play above his helmet!

    Iring returned scatheless to his liegemen. Then the tidings were brought to Kriemhild, of that which he had wrought in strife with Hagen of Troneg. For this the queen gan thank him highly. "Now God requite thee, Iring, thou peerless hero and good. Thou hast comforted well my heart and mind. I see that Hagen's weeds be wot with blood." For very joy Kriemhild herself relieved him of his shield.

    "Be not too lavish of your thanks," spake Hagen. "'Twould well befit a knight to try again. A valiant man were he, if he then came back alive. Little shall the wound profit you, which I have at his bands; for that ye have seen the rings wot with blood from my wound doth urge me to the death of many a man. Now first am I enraged at Hawart's liegeman. Small scathe hath Knight Iring done me yet."

    Meanwhile Iring of Denmark stood in the breeze; he cooled his harness and doffed his casque. All the folk then praised his prowess, at which the margrave was in passing lofty mood. Again Sir Iring spake: "My friends, this know; arm me now quickly, for I would fain try again, if perchance I may not conquer this overweening man."

    His shield was hewn to pieces, a better one he gained; full soon the champion was armed again. Through hate he seized a passing heavy spear with which he would encounter Hagen yonder. Meantime the death-grim man awaited him in hostile wise. But Knight Hagen would not abide his coming. Hurling the javelin and brandishing his sword, he ran to meet him to the very bottom of the stairs. Forsooth his rage was great. Little booted Iring then his strength; through the shields they smote, so that the flames rose high in fiery blasts. Hagen sorely wounded Hawart's liegeman with his sword through shield and breastplate. Never waxed he well again. When now Knight Iring felt the wound, higher above his helmet bands he raised his shield. Great enow he thought the scathe he here received, but thereafter King Gunther's liegeman did him more of harm. Hagen found a spear lying now before his feet. With this he shot Iring, the Danish hero, so that the shaft stood forth from his head. Champion Hagen had given him a bitter end. Iring must needs retreat to those of Denmark. Or ever they unbound his helmet and drew the spear-shaft from his head, death had already drawn nigh him. At this his kinsmen wept, as forsooth they had great need.

    Then the queen came and bent above him. She gan bewail the stalwart Iring and bewept his wounds, indeed her grief was passing sharp. At this the bold and lusty warrior spake before his kinsmen: "Let be this wail, most royal queen. What availeth your weeping now? Certes, I must lose my life from these wounds I have received. Death will no longer let me serve you and Etzel." To the men of Thuringia and to those of Denmark he spake: "None of you must take from the queen her shining ruddy gold as meed, for if ye encounter Hagen, ye must gaze on death."

    Pale grew his hue; brave Iring bare the mark of death. Dole enow it gave them, for no longer might Hawart's liegeman live. Then the men of Denmark must needs renew the fray. Irnfried and Hawart with well a thousand champions leaped toward the hall. On every side one heard a monstrous uproar, mighty and strong. Ho, what sturdy javelins were cast at the Burgundian men! Bold Irnfried rushed at the minstrel, but gained great damage at his hands. Through his sturdy helmet the noble fiddler smote the landgrave. Certes, he was grim enow! Then Sir Irnfried dealt the valiant gleeman such a blow that his coat of mail burst open and his breastplate was enveloped with a bright red flame. Yet the landgrave fell dead at the minstrel's hands. Hawart and Hagen, too, had come together. Wonders would he have seen, who beheld the fight. The swords fell thick and fast in the heroes' hands. Through the knight from the Burgundian land Hawart needs must die. When the Thuringians and the Danes espied their lordings dead, there rose before the hall a fearful strife, before they gained the door with mighty hand. Many a helm and shield was hacked and cut thereby.

    "Give way," spake Folker, "and let them in, for else what they have in mind will not be ended. They must die in here in full short time. With death they'll gain what the queen would give them."

    When these overweening men were come into the hall, the head of many a one sank down so low that he needs must die from their furious strokes. Well fought the valiant Gernot, and the same did Giselher, the knight . A thousand and four were come into the hall and many a whizzing stroke of the swords was seen flash forth, but soon all the warriors lay slain therein. Mickle wonders might one tell of the Burgundian men. The hall grew still, as the uproar died away. On every side the dead men's blood poured through the openings down to the drain-pipes. This the men from the Rhine had wrought with their passing strength. Those from the Burgundian land now sate them down to rest and laid aside their swords and shields. But still the valiant minstrel stood guard before the hall. He waited, if any would perchance draw near again in strife. Sorely the king made wail, as did the queen. Maids and ladies were distraught with grief. Death, I ween, had conspired against them, wherefore many of the warriors perished through the guests.

    Adventure XXXVI:
    How the Queen gave orders to burn the hall.
    "Now unbind your helmets," spake the good Knight Hagen. "I and my comrade will guard you well, and should Etzel's men be minded to try again, I'll warn my lords as soon as I ever can."

    Then many a good knight bared his head. They sate them down upon the wounded, who had fallen in the blood, done to death at their hands. Evil looks were cast upon the noble strangers. Before the eventide the king and the queen brought it to pass that the Hunnish champions tried again. Men saw full twenty thousand warriors stand before them, who must perforce march to the fray. Straightway there rose a mighty storming towards the strangers. Dankwart, Hagen's brother, the doughty knight, sprang from his lordings' side to meet the foes without the door. All weened that he were dead, yet forth he stood again unscathed. The furious strife did last till nightfall brought it to a close. As befitted good knights, the strangers warded off King Etzel's liegemen the livelong summer day. Ho, how many a bold knight fell doomed before them! This great slaughter happed upon midsummer's day, when Lady Kriemhild avenged her sorrow of heart upon her nearest kin and upon many another man, so that King Etzel never again gained joy.

    The day had passed away, but still they had good cause for fear. They thought, a short and speedy death were better for them, than to be longer racked with monstrous pain. A truce these proud and lusty knights now craved; they begged that men would bring the king to see them. Forth from the hall stepped the heroes, bloody of hue, and the three noble kings, stained from their armor. They wist not to whom they should make plaint of their mighty wounds. Thither both Etzel and Kriemhild went; the land was theirs and so their band waxed large. He spake to the strangers: "Pray tell me, what ye will of me? Ye ween to gain here peace, but that may hardly be. For damage as great as ye have done me, in my son and in my many kinsmen, whom ye have slain, peace and pardon shall be denied you quite; it shall not boot you aught, an' I remain alive."

    To this King Gunther answered: "Dire need constrained us; all my men-at-arms lay dead before thy heroes in the hostel. How did I deserve such pay? I came to thee in trust, I weened thou wast my friend."

    Young Giselher of Burgundy likewise spake: "Ye men of Etzel, who still do live, what do ye blame me with? What have I done to you, for I rode in friendly wise into this land of yours."

    Quoth they: "From thy friendliness this castle is filled with grief and the land as well. We should not have taken it ill, in sooth, if thou hadst never come from Worms beyond the Rhine. Thou and thy brothers have filled this land with orphans."

    Then spake Knight Giselher in angry mood: "And ye will lay aside this bitter hate and make your peace with us stranger knights, 'twere best for either side. We have not merited at all what Etzel here doth do us."

    Then spake the host to his guests: "Unlike are my wrongs and yours. The mickle grievance from the loss and then the shame, which I have taken here, are such that none of you shall e'er go hence alive."

    At this mighty Gernot spake to the king: "May God then bid you act in merciful wise. Slay, if ye will, us homeless knights, but let us first descend to you into the open court. That will make to you for honor. Let be done quickly whatever shall hap to us. Ye have still many men unscathed, who dare well encounter us and bereave us storm-weary men of life. How long must we warriors undergo these toils?"

    King Etzel's champions had nigh granted this boon and let them leave the hall, but Kriemhild heard it and sorely it misliked her. Therefore the wanderers were speedily denied the truce. "Not so, ye Hunnish men. I counsel you in true fealty, that ye do not what ye have in mind, and let these murderers leave the hall, else must your kinsmen suffer a deadly fall. Did none of them still live, save Uta's sons, my noble brothers, and they came forth into the breeze and cooled their armor rings, ye would all be lost. Bolder heroes were never born into the world."

    Then spake young Giselher: "Fair sister mine, full evil was my trust, when thou didst invite me from across the Rhine hither to this land, to this dire need. How have I merited death here from the Huns? I was aye true to thee; never did I do thee wrong, and in the hope that thou wast still my friend, dear sister mine, rode I hither to thy court. It cannot be but that thou grant us mercy."

    "I will not grant you mercy, merciless is my mood. Hagen of Troneg hath done me such great wrongs that it may never be amended, the while I live. Ye must all suffer for this deed," so spake King Etzel's wife. "And ye will give me Hagen alone as hostage, I will not deny that I will let you live, for ye be my brothers and children of one mother, and will counsel peace with these heroes that be here."

    "Now God in heaven forbid," spake Gernot; "were there here a thousand of us, the clansmen of thy kin, we'd rather all lie dead, than give thee a single man as hostage. Never shall this be done."

    "We all must die," spake then Giselher, "but none shall hinder that we guard us in knightly wise. We be still here, if any list to fight us; for never have I failed a friend in fealty."

    Then spake bold Dankwart (it had not beseemed him to have held his peace): "Forsooth my brother Hagen standeth not alone. It may yet rue those who here refuse the truce. I'll tell you of a truth, we'll make you ware of this."

    Then spake the queen: "Ye full lusty heroes, now go nigher to the stairs and avenge my wrongs. For this I will ever serve you, as I should by right. I'll pay Hagen well for his overweening pride. Let none at all escape from the house, and I will bid the hall be set on fire at all four ends. Thus all my wrongs shall be well avenged."

    Soon were King Etzel's champions ready still stood without into the hall with blows and shots. Mickle waxed the din, yet the lordings and their liegemen would not part. For very fealty they could not leave each other. Etzel's queen then bade the hall be set on fire, and thus they racked the bodies of the knights with fire and flame. Fanned by the breeze, the whole house burst into flames full soon. I ween, no folk did ever gain such great distress. Enow within cried out: "Alack this plight! We would much rather die in stress of battle. It might move God to pity, how we all are lost! The queen now wreaketh monstrously on us her wrath."

    Quoth one of them within: "We must all lie dead. What avail us now the greetings which the king did send us? Thirst from this great heat giveth me such dole, that soon, I ween, my life must ebb away in anguish."

    Then spake Hagen of Troneg: "Ye noble knights and good, let him whom pangs of thirst constrain, drink here this blood. In such great heat, 'tis better still than wine. We can purvey us at this time none better."

    One of the warriors hied him then to where he found a corpse, and knelt him down beside the wound; then he unbound his helmet and began to drink the flowing blood. However little wont to such a drink, him thought it passing good: "Sir Hagen, now God requite you," spake the weary man, "that I have drunk so well at your advice; seldom hath better wine been proffered me. And I live yet a while, I shall ever be your friend."

    When now the others heard this, it thought them good, and soon there were many more that drank the blood. From this the body of each gained much of strength; but many a stately dame paid dear for this through the loss of loving kin. Into the hall the fire fell thick and fast upon them, but with their shields they turned it from them to the ground. Both the heat and the smoke did hurt them sore; in sooth, I ween, that nevermore will such anguish hap to heroes.

    Again Hagen of Troneg spake: "Stand by the sides of the hall. Let not the firebrands fall upon your helmet bands, but stamp them with your feet down deeper in the blood. Forsooth it is an evil feast which the queen doth give us here."

    In such dire woes the night did wear away at last, and still the brave minstrel and his comrade Hagen stood before the hall, a-leaning on their shields. More scathe they awaited from those of Etzel's band. Then spake the fiddler: "Now go we into the hall. Then the Huns will ween, that we all be dead from the torture that hath been done us here. They'll yet see us go to meet them in the strife."

    Now spake Giselher of Burgundy, the youth: "I trow the day dawneth, a cooling wind doth blow. May God in heaven let us live to see a liefer time, for my sister Kriemhild hath given us here an evil feast."

    Again one spake: "I see the day . Sith we cannot hope for better things, so arm you, heroes, think on your life. Certes, King Etzel's wife will come to meet us soon again."

    The host weened well, that his guests were dead from their toil and the pangs of fire; but yet within the hall six hundred brave men, as good as any knight that king ever gained, were still alive. Those set to guard the strangers had well seen that the guests still lived, despite the damage and the dole that had been done both to the lordings and their men. In the hall one saw them stand full safe and sound. They then told Kriemhild that many were still alive, but the queen replied: "It could never be, that any should have lived through such stress of fire. Rather will I believe that all lie dead."

    The lordings and their men would still fain have lived, had any listed to do them mercy, but they could find none among those of the Hunnish land. So with full willing hand they avenged their dying. On this same day, towards morning, men proffered them a fierce attack as greeting, which brought the champions in stress again. Many a stout spear was hurled upon them, but the bold and lordly warriors warded them in knightly wise. High rose the mood of Etzel's men at the thought that they should earn Queen Kriemhild's gold. Thereto they were minded to perform whatso the King did bid them. Many of them because of this must soon needs gaze on death. Of pledges and of gifts one might tell wonders. She bade the ruddy gold be carried forth on shields and gave it to whomsoever craved it and would take it. Certes, greater wage was nevermore given against foes. To the hall a mickle force of well-armed warriors marched.

    Then cried bold Folker: "We're here again, ye see. Never saw I heroes more gladly come to fight than these that have taken the king's gold to do us scathe."

    Then enow did call: "Nearer, heroes, nearer, that we may do betimes what we must bring to an end. Here dieth none that is not doomed to die." Soon their shields were seen sticking full of darts that had been thrown. What more can I say? Full twelve hundred men tried hard to match them, surging back and forth. The strangers cooled well their mood with wounds. None might part the strife, and so blood was seen to flow from mortal wounds, many of which were dealt. Each one was heard to wail for friends. All the great king's doughty warriors died, and loving kinsmen mourned them passing sore.
    "Let your love towards life, be love towards your highest hope:
    and let your highest hope be the highest idea of life."
    ~Friedrich Nietzsche~

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    Post AW: The Nibelungenlied

    Adventure XXXVII:
    How Margrave Rudeger was slain.
    The strangers had done full well at dawn. Meanwhile Gotelind's husband came to court. Bitterly faithful Rudeger wept when he saw the grievous wounds on either side. "Woe is me," quoth the champion, "that I was ever born, sith none may stay this mickle grief! However fain I would make for peace, the king will not consent, for he seeth ever more and more the sufferings of his men."

    Then the good Knight Rudeger sent to Dietrich, if perchance they might turn the fate of the high-born kings. The king of Berne sent answer: "Who might now forfend? King Etzel will let none part the strife."

    Then a Hunnish warrior, that saw Rudeger stand with weeping eyes, and many tears had he shed, spake to the queen: "Now behold how he doth stand, that hath the greatest power at Etzel's court and whom both lands and people serve. Why have so many castles been given to Rudeger, of which he doth hold such store from the king in fief? Not one sturdy stroke hath he dealt in all this strife. Methinks, he recketh not how it fare here at court, sith he hath his will in full. Men say of him, he be bolder than any other wight. Little hath that been seen in these parlous (1) days."

    Sad in heart the faithful vassal gazed at him whom he heard thus speak. Him-thought: "Thou shalt pay for this. Thou sayest, I be a craven, and hast told thy tale too loud at court."

    His fist he clenched, then ran he at him and smote the Hunnish man so mightily that he lay dead at his feet full soon. Through this King Etzel's woe grew greater.

    "Away, thou arrant coward," cried Rudeger, "forsooth I have enow of grief and pain, How dost thou taunt me, that I fight not here? Certes, I have good cause to hate the strangers, and would have done all in my power against them, had I not led the warriors hither. Of a truth I was their safeguard to my master's land. Therefore the hand of me, wretched man, may not strive against them."

    Then spake Etzel, the noble king, to the margrave: "How have ye helped us, most noble Rudeger! We have so many fey (2) in the land, that we have no need of more. Full evil have ye done."

    At this the noble knight made answer: "Forsooth he grieved my mood and twitted me with the honors and the goods, such store of which I have received from thy hand. This hath cost the liar dear."

    The queen, too, was come and had seen what fortuned to the Huns through the hero's wrath. Passing sore she bewailed it; her eyes grew moist as she spake to Rudeger: "How have we deserved that ye should increase the sorrows of the king and me? Hitherto ye have told us, that for our sake ye would risk both life and honor. I heard full many warriors accord to you the palm. Let me mind you of your fealty and that ye swore, when that ye counseled me to Etzel, good knight and true, that ye would serve me till one of us should die. Never have I, poor woman, had such great need of this."

    "There's no denying that I swore to you, my lady, for your sake I'd risk both life and honor, but I did not swear that I would lose my soul. 'Twas I that bade the high-born lordings to this feast."

    Quoth she: "Bethink thee, Rudeger, of thy great fealty, of thy constancy, and of thine oaths, that thou wouldst ever avenge mine injuries and all my woes."

    Said the margrave: "Seldom have I denied you aught."

    Mighty Etzel, too, began implore; upon their knees they sank before the knight. Men saw the noble margrave stand full sad. Pitifully the faithful warrior spake: "Woe is me, most wretched man, that I have lived to see this day. I must give over all my honors, my fealty, and my courtesie, that God did bid me use. Alas, great God of heaven, that death will not turn this from me! I shall act basely and full evil, whatever I do or leave undone. But if I give over both, then will all people blame me. Now may he advise me, who hath given me life."

    Still the king and the queen, too, begged unceasingly. Through this warriors must needs thereafter lose their lives at Rudeger's hands, when the hero also died. Ye may well hear it now, that he deported him full pitifully. He wist that it would bring him scathe and monstrous woe. Gladly would he have refused the king and queen. He feared full sore that if he slew but one of the strangers, the world would bear him hate.

    Then the brave man addressed him to the king: "Sir King, take back again all that I have from you, my land with its castles, let not a whit remain to me. On foot will I wander into other lands."

    At this King Etzel spake: "Who else should help me then? I'll give thee the land and all its castles, as thine own, that thou mayst avenge me on my foes. Thou shalt be a mighty king at Etzel's side."

    Then answered Rudeger: "How shall I do this deed? I bade them to my house and home; in friendly wise I offered them both food and drink and gave them gifts. How may I counsel their death? People will lightly ween, that I be craven. No service of mine have I refused these noble lordings and their men. Now I rue the kinship I have gained with them. I gave my daughter to Giselher, the knight; to none in all the world could she have been better given, for courtesie and honor, for fealty and wealth. Never have I seen so young a prince of such right courteous mind."

    Then Kriemhild spake again: "Most noble Rudeger, take pity on our griefs, on mine and on the king's. Bethink thee well, that king did never gain such baneful guests."

    To the noble dame the margrave spake: "Rudeger's life must pay to-day for whatsoever favors ye and my lord have shown me. Therefore must I die; no longer may it be deferred. I know full well, that my castles and my lands will be voided for you to-day through the hand of one of these men. To your mercy I commend my wife and children and the strangers (3) who be at Bechelaren."

    "Now God requite thee, Rudeger," spake the king, and both he and the queen grew glad. "Thy people shall be well commended to our care. For mine own weal I trust thou too shalt go unscathed."

    Etzel's bride began to weep. Then body and soul he staked upon the venture. He spake: "I must perform what I have vowed. Alas for my friends, whom I am loth to fight."

    Men saw him go sadly from the presence of the king. Close at hand he found his warriors standing. He spake: "Ye must arm you all, my men, for, alas, I must needs encounter the bold Burgundians."

    They bade the squires run nimbly to where lay their arms. Whether it were helm or buckler, 'twas all brought forth to them by their meiny. Later the proud strangers heard told baleful tales. Rudeger was now armed, and with him five hundred men; thereto he gained twelve champions, who would fain win renown in the stress of battle. They wist not that death drew nigh them. Then Rudeger was seen to march with helmet donned. The margrave's men bare keen-edged swords, and their bright shields and broad upon their arms. This the fiddler saw; greatly he rued the sight. When young Giselher beheld his lady's father walk with his helm upon his head, how might he know what he meant thereby, save that it portended good? Therefore the noble prince waxed passing merry of mood.

    "Now well is me of such kinsmen," spake Knight Giselher, "whom we have won upon this journey; from my wife we shall reap much profit here. Lief it is to me, that this betrothal hath taken place."

    "I know not whence ye take your comfort," spake then the minstrel; "when have ye seen so many heroes walk with helmets donned and swords in hand, for the sake of peace? Rudeger doth think to win his castles and his lands in fight with us."

    Or ever the fiddler had ended his speech, men saw the noble Rudeger before the house. At his feet he placed his trusty shield, and now both service and greeting he must needs refuse his friends. Into the hall the noble margrave called: "Ye doughty Nibelungs, now guard you well on every side. Ye were to profit by me, now I shall bring you scathe. Aforetime we were friends, but of this troth I now would fain be rid."

    The hard-pressed men were startled at this tale, for none gained aught of joy, that he whom they did love would now fain fight them. From their foes they had already suffered mickle stress of war. "Now God of heaven forbid," spake Gunther, the knight, "that ye should give over your love of us and your great fealty, on which we counted of a truth. Better things I trow of you, than that ye should ever do this deed."

    "Alas, I cannot give it over, but must fight you, for I have vowed it. Now ward you, brave heroes, and ye love your life. King Etzel's wife would not release me from mine oath."

    "Ye declare this feud too late," spake the highborn king. "Now may God requite you, most noble Rudeger, for all the love and fealty that ye have shown us, if ye would only act more kindly at the end. I and my kinsmen, we ought ever to serve you for the noble gifts ye gave us, when ye brought us hither faithfully to Etzel's land. Now, noble Rudeger, think on this."

    "How gladly would I grant you," spake Knight Rudeger, "that I might weigh out my gifts for you with full measure, as willingly as I had hoped, if I never should be blamed on that account."

    "Turn back, noble Rudeger," spake then Gernot, "for host did never give his guests such loving cheer as ye did us. This shall profit you well, and we remain alive."

    "Would to God," spake Rudeger, "most noble Gernot, that ye were on the Rhine and I were dead with passing honor, sith I must now encounter you! Never did friends act worse to heroes."

    "Now God requite you, Sir Rudeger," answered Gernot, "for your passing rich gifts. Your death doth rue me, if such knightly virtues shall be lost with you. Here I bear your sword that ye gave me, good knight and true. It hath never failed me in all this need. Many a knight fell dead beneath its edges. It is bright and steady, glorious and good; nevermore, I ween, will warrior give so rich a gift. And will ye not turn back, but come to meet us, and slay aught of the friends I still have here, with your own sword will I take your life. Then will ye rue me, Rudeger, ye and your high-born wife."

    "Would to God, Sir Gernot, that this might come to pass, that all your will might here be done, and that your kinsmen escaped unscathed! Then both my daughter and my wife may trust you well, forsooth."

    Then of the Burgundians there spake fair Uta's son: "Why do ye so, Sir Rudeger? Those that be come with us, do all like you well. Ye encounter us in evil wise; ye wish to make your fair daughter a widow far too soon. If ye and your warriors match me now with strife, how right unkindly do ye let it appear, that I trust you well above all other men and therefore won me your daughter to wife."

    "Think on your fealty, most noble and high-born king. And God let you escape," so spake Rudeger, "let the maiden suffer not for me. For your own virtue's sake, vouchsafe her mercy."

    "That I should do by right," spake the youthful Giselher, "but if my noble kinsmen here within must die through you, then my steadfast friendship for you and for your daughter must be parted."

    "Now may God have mercy on us," answered the valiant man. Then they raised their shields, as though they would hence to fight the guests in Kriemhild's hall, but Hagen cried full loud adown the steps. "Pray tarry awhile, most noble Rudeger," so spake Hagen; "I and my lords would fain have further parley, as doth befit our need. What can the death of us wanderers avail King Etzel? I stand here in a fearful plight; the shield that Lady Gotelind gave me to bear hath been cut to pieces by the Huns. I brought it with friendly purpose into Etzel's land. O that God in heaven would grant, that I might bear so good a shield as that thou hast in thy hand, most noble Rudeger! Then I should no longer need a hauberk in the fray."

    "Gladly would I serve thee with my shield, durst I offer it before Kriemhild. Yet take it, Hagen, and bear it on thine arm. Ho, if thou couldst only wield it in the Burgundian land!"

    When he so willingly offered to give the shield, enow of eyes grew red with scalding tears. 'T was the last gift that ever Rudeger of Bechelaren gave to any knight. However fierce Hagen, and however stern of mood, the gift did touch him, which the good hero, so near to death, had given. Many a noble knight gan mourn with him.

    "Now God in heaven requite you, most noble Rudeger. Your like will nevermore be found, who giveth homeless warriors such lordly gifts. God grant that your courtesie may ever live." Again Hagen spake: "Woe is me of these tales, we had so many other griefs to bear. Let complaint be made to heaven, if we must fight with friends."

    Quoth the margrave: "Inly doth this grieve me."

    "Now God requite you, for the gift, most noble Rudeger. Howso these high-born warriors deport them toward you, my hand shall never touch you in the fight, and ye slew them all from the Burgundian land."

    Courteously the good Sir Rudeger bowed him low. On every side they wept, that none might soothe this pain of heart. That was a mighty grief. In Rudeger would die the father of all knightly virtues.

    Then Folker, the minstrel, spake from out the hall: "Sith my comrade Hagen hath made his peace with you, ye shall have it just as steadfastly from my hand, for well ye earned it, when we came into this land. Most noble margrave, ye shall be mine envoy, too. The margravine gave me these ruddy arm rings, that I should wear them here at the feasting. These ye may yourself behold, that ye may later be my witness."

    "Now God of heaven grant," spake Rudeger, "that the margravine may give you more! I'll gladly tell these tales to my dear love, if I see her in health again. Of this ye shall not doubt."

    When he had vowed him this, Rudeger raised high his shield. No longer he bided, but with raging mood, like a berserker, he rushed upon the guests. Many a furious blow the noble margrave struck. The twain, Folker and Hagen, stepped further back, as they had vowed to him afore. Still he found standing by the tower such valiant men, that Rudeger began the fight with anxious doubts. With murderous intent Gunther and Gernot let him in, good heroes they! Giselher stood further back, which irked him sore, in truth. He voided Rudeger, for still he had hope of life. Then the margrave's men rushed at their foes; in knightly wise one saw them follow their lord. In their hands they bare their keen-edged swords, the which cleft there many a helm and lordly shield. The tired warriors dealt the men of Bechelaren many a mighty blow, that cut smooth and deep through the shining mail, down to the very quick.

    Rudeger's noble fellowship was now come quite within. Into the fight Folker and Hagen sprang anon. They gave no quarter, save to one man alone. Through the hands of the twain the blood streamed down from the helmets. How grimly rang the many swords within! The shield plates sprang from their fastenings, and the precious stones, cut from the shields, fell down into the gore. So grimly they fought, that men will never do the like again. The lord of Bechelaren raged to and fro, as one who wotteth how to use great prowess in the fray. Passing like to a worshipful champion and a bold did Rudeger bear him on that day. Here stood the warriors, Gunther and Gernot, and smote many a hero dead in the fray. Giselher and Dankwart, the twain, recked so little, that they brought full many a knight to his last day of life. Full well did Rudeger make appear that he was strong enow, brave and well-armed. Ho, what knights he slew! This a Burgundian espied; perforce it angered him, and thus Sir Rudeger's death drew near.

    The stalwart Gernot accosted the hero; to the margrave he spake: "It appeareth, ye will not leave my men alive, most noble Rudeger. That irketh me beyond all measure, no longer can I bear the sight. So may your present work you harm, sith ye have taken from me such store of friends. Pray address you unto me, most noble man and brave, your gift shall be paid for as best I can."

    Or ever the margrave could reach his foe, bright armor rings must needs grow dull with blood. Then at each other sprang these honor-seeking men. Either gan guard him against mighty wounds. So sharp were their swords, that naught might avail against them. Then Rudeger, the knight, smote Gernot a buffet through his helmet, the which was as hard as flint, so that the blood gushed forth. But this the bold knight and good repaid eftsoon. High in his hand he now poised Rudeger's gift, and though wounded unto death, he smote him a stroke through his good and trusty shield down to his helmet band. And so fair Gotelind's husband was done to death. Certes, so rich a gift was never worse repaid. So fell alike both Gernot and Rudeger, slain in the fray, through each other's hand.

    Then first waxed Hagen wroth, when he saw the monstrous scathe. Quoth the hero of Troneg: "Evil hath it fared with us. In these two men we have taken a loss so great that neither their land nor people will e'er recover from the blow. Rudeger's champions must answer to us homeless men."

    "Alas for my brother, who hath here been done to death. What evil tales I hear all time! Noble Rudeger, too, must ever rue me. The loss and the grievous wounds are felt on either side."

    When Lord Giselher saw his betrothed's father dead, those within the hall were forced to suffer need. Fiercely death sought his fellowship; not one of those of Bechelaren escaped with life. Gunther and Giselher and Hagen, too, Dankwart and Folker, the right good knights, went to where they found the two men lying. Then by these heroes tears of grief were shed.

    "Death doth sorely rob us," spake Giselher, the youth. "Now give over your weeping and go we bite the breeze, that the mailed armor of us storm-weary men may cool. Certes, I ween, that God in heaven vouchsafeth us no more to live."

    This champion was seen to sit and that to lean against the wall, but all again were idle. Rudeger's heroes lay still in death. The din had died away; the hush endured so long, it vexed King Etzel.

    "Alack for such services," spake the queen. "They be not so true, that our foes must pay with their life at Rudeger's hands. I trow, he doth wish to lead them back to the Burgundian land. What booteth it, King Etzel, that we have given him whatso he would? The knight hath done amiss, he who should avenge us, doth make his peace."

    To this Folker, the full dapper knight, made answer: "This is not true, alas, most noble queen. Durst I give the lie to such a high-born dame, then had ye most foully lied against Rudeger. He and his champions be cozened in this peace. So eagerly he did what the king commanded, that he and all his fellowship lie here in death. Now look around you, Kriemhild, to see whom ye may now command. The good Knight Rudeger hath served you to his end. And ye will not believe the tale, we'll let you see." To their great grief 'twas done; they bare the slain hero to where the king might see him. Never had there happed to Etzel's men a grief so great. When they saw the margrave borne forth dead, no scribe might write or tell the frantic grief of men and women, which there gan show itself from dole of heart. King Etzel's sorrow waxed so great that the mighty king did voice his woe of heart, as with a lion's roar. Likewise did his queen. Beyond all measure they bewailed the good Knight Rudeger's death.

    Adventure XXXVIII:
    How all Sir Dietrich's warriors were slain.
    On every side one heard a grief so great, that the palace and the towers rang with the wailing. Then a liegeman of Dietrich heard it, too. how quickly he gan haste him with the fearful tales! To the lording he spake: "Hear, my lord, Sir Dietrich, however much I've lived to see till now, yet heard I never such a monstrous wail, as now hath reached mine ears. I ween, King Etzel himself hath come to grief. How else might all be so distressed? One of the twain, the king or Kriemhild, hath sorely been laid low by the brave strangers in their wrath. Full many a dapper warrior weepeth passing sore."

    Then spake the Knight of Borne: "My faithful men, now haste ye not too fast. Whatever the homeless warriors may have done, they be now in mickle need. Let it profit them, that I did offer them my peace."

    At this brave Wolfhart spake: "I will hie me hence and ask for tidings of what they have done, and will tell you then, my most dear lord, just as I find it, what the wail may be."

    Then spake Sir Dietrich: "Where one awaiteth wrath, and rude questions then are put, this doth lightly sadden the lofty mood of warriors. In truth, I will not, Wolfhart, that ye ask these questions of them."

    Then he told Helfrich (1) to hasten thither speedily, and bade him find from Etzel's men or from the guests themselves, what there had fortuned, for men had never seen from folks so great a grief. The messenger gan ask: "What hath here been done?"

    At this one among them spake: "Whatever of joy we had in the Hunnish land hath passed away. Here lieth Rudeger, slain by the Burgundians' hands; and of those who were come with him, not one hatch 'scaped alive."

    Sir Helfrich could never have had a greater dole. Sorely weeping, the envoy went to Dietrich. Never was he so loth to tell a tale. "What have ye found for us?" quoth Dietrich. "Why weep ye so sore, Knight Helfrich?"

    Then spake the noble champion: "I have good cause for wail. The Burgundians have slain the good Sir Rudeger."

    At this the hero of Berne made answer: "Now God forbid. That were a fearful vengeance, over which the foul fiend would gloat. Wherewith hath Rudeger deserved this at their hands? I know full well, forsooth, he is the strangers' friend."

    To this Wolfhart answered: "And have they done this deed, 'twill cost them all their lives. 'Twould be our shame, should we let this pass, for of a truth the hand of the good knight Rudeger hath served us much and oft."

    The lord of the Amelungs bade learn it better. In bitter grief he sate him at a window and begged Hildebrand to hie him to the strangers, that he might find from them what had been done. The storm-brave warrior, Master Hildebrand, (2) bare neither shield nor weapon in his hand. In courtly wise he would hie him to the strangers; for this he was chided by his sister's son. Grim Wolfhart spake: "And ye will go thither so bare, ye will never fare without upbraiding; ye must return with shame. But if ye go there armed, each will guard against that well."

    Then the wise man armed him, through the counsel of youth. Or ever he was ware, all Dietrich's warriors had donned their war-weeds and held in their hands their swords. Loth it was to the hero, and he would have gladly turned their mind. He asked whither they would go.

    "We will hence with you. Perchance Hagen of Troneg then will dare the less to address him to you with scorn, which full well he knoweth how to use." When he heard this, the knight vouchsafed them for to go.

    Soon brave Folker saw the champions of Berne, the liegemen of Dietrich, march along, well armed, begirt with swords, while in their hands they bare their shields. He told it to his lords from out the Burgundian land. The fiddler spake: "Yonder I see the men of Dietrich march along in right hostile wise, armed cap-a-pie. They would encounter us; I ween 'twill go full ill with us strangers."

    Meanwhile Sir Hildebrand was come. Before his feet he placed his shield, and gan ask Gunther's men: "Alas, good heroes, what had Rudeger done you? My Lord Dietrich hath sent me hither to you to say, that if the hand of any among you hath slain the noble margrave, as we are told, we could never stand such mighty dole."

    Then spake Hagen of Troneg: "The tale is true. How gladly could I wish, that the messenger had told you false, for Rudeger's sake, and that he still did live, for whom both man and wife may well ever weep."

    When they heard aright that he was dead, the warriors made wail for him, as their fealty bade them. Over the beards and chins of Dietrich's champions the tears were seen to run. Great grief had happened to them.

    Siegstab, (3) the Duke of Berne, then spake: "Now hath come to an end the cheer, that Rudeger did give us after our days of dole. The joy of all wayfaring folk lieth slain by you, sir knights."

    Then spake the Knight Wolfwin (4) of the Amelungs: "And I saw mine own father dead to-day, I should not make greater dole, than for his death. Alas, who shall now comfort the good margrave's wife?"

    Angry of mood Knight Wolfhart spake: "Who shall now lead the warriors to so many a fight, as the margrave so oft hath done? Alas, most noble Rudeger, that we should lose thee thus!"

    Wolfbrand (5) and Helfrich and Helmnot, too, with all their men bewailed his death. For sighing Hildebrand might no longer ask a whit. He spake: "Sir knights, now do what my lord hath sent you here to do. Give us the corse of Rudeger from out the hall, in whom our joy hath turned to grief, and let us repay to him the great fealty he hath shown to us and to many another man. We, too, be exiles, just as Rudeger, the knight. Why do ye let us wait thus? Let us bear him away, that we may yet requite the knight in death. More justly had we done it, when he was still alive."

    Then spake King Gunther: "Never was there so good a service as that, which a friend doth do to a friend after his death. When any doeth that, I call it faithful friendship. Ye repay him but rightly, for much love hath he ever shown you."

    "How long shall we still beseech?" spake Knight Wolfhart. "Sith our best hope hath been laid low in death by you, and we may no longer have him with us, let us bear him hence to where the warrior may be buried."

    To this Folker made answer: "None will give him to you. Fetch ye him from the hall where the warrior lieth, fallen in the blood, with mortal wounds. 'Twill then be a perfect service, which ye render Rudeger."

    Quoth brave Wolfhart: "God wot, sir minstrel, ye have given us great dole and should not rouse our ire. But that I durst not for fear of my lord, ye should all fare ill. We must perforce abstain, sith he forbade us strife."

    Then spake the fiddler: "He hath a deal too much fear who doth abstain from all that one forbiddeth him. That I call not a real hero's mood." This speech of his war comrade thought Hagen good.

    "Long not for that," answered Wolfhart, "or I'll play such havoc with your fiddle strings, that ye'll have cause to tell the tale, when ye ride homeward to the Rhine. I cannot brook in honor your overweening pride."

    Quoth the fiddler: "If ye put out of tune my strings, then must the gleam of your helmet grow dim from this hand of mine, however I ride to the Burgundian land."

    Then would he leap at him, but his uncle Hildebrand grasped him firmly. "I ween, thou wouldst rage in thy silly anger. Then hadst thou lost forever the favor of my lord."

    "Let go the lion, master, he is so fierce of mood," quoth the good knight Folker. "Had he slain the whole world with his one hand, I'll smite him, and he come within my reach, so that he may never sing the answer to my song."

    At this the men of Berne waxed passing wroth of mood. Wolfhart, a doughty knight and a good, snatched up his shield. Like a wild lion he ran to meet him, swiftly followed by all his friends. But howsoever great the strides he took towards the hall, yet did old Hildebrand overtake him at the steps. He would not let him reach the fray before him. At the hands of the homeless knights they later found the strife they sought. Master Hildebrand then sprang at Hagen. In the hands of both one heard the swords ring out. That both were angry, might be plainly seen; from the swords of the twain streamed forth a blast of fire-red sparks. Then they were parted in the stress of battle by the men of Berne, as their strength did bid them. At once Hildebrand turned him away from Hagen, but stout Wolfhart addressed him to Folker the bold. Such a blow he smote the fiddler upon his good helmet, that the sword's edge pierced to the very helmet bands. This the bold gleeman repaid with might; he smote Wolfhart, so that the sparks flew wide. Enow of fire they struck from the armor rings, for each bare hatred to the other. Then Knight Wolfwin of Berne did part them -- an' he be not a hero, never was there one.

    With willing hand Gunther, the champion, greeted the heroes of the Amelung land. Lord Giselher made many a gleaming helmet red and wot with blood. Dankwart, Hagen's brother, a fierce man was he; whatever he had done before to Etzel's warriors in strife was as a wind to the fury with which bold Aldrian's son now fought. Ritschart (6) and Gerbart, Helfrich and Wichart had spared themselves full seldom in many battle storms; this they now made Gunther's liegemen note full well. Wolfbrand, too, was seen in the strife bearing him in lordly wise. Old Hildebrand fought as though he raged. At Wolfhart's hands many good knights, struck by the sword, must needs fall dead down into the blood. Thus the bold champions and good avenged Knight Rudeger.

    Then Lord Siegstab fought as his prowess bade him. Ho, what good helmets of his foes this son of Dietrich's sister clove in the strife! Nor might he ever do better in the fray. When sturdy Folker espied that bold Siegstab hewed a bloody stream from the hard armor rings, wroth of mood the hero grew. He sprang to meet him, and Siegstab lost his life full soon at the fiddler's hands, for Folker gave him such a sample of his art, that he soon lay dead, slain by his sword. This old Hildebrand avenged, as his might did bid him.

    "Alas for my dear lord," spake Master Hildebrand, "who lieth here dead at Folker's hands. Now shall the fiddler no longer live."

    How might bold Hildebrand ever be fiercer? Folker he smote, so that on all sides the clasps flew to the walls of the hall from helmet and shield of the doughty gleeman. Thus stout Folker was done to death. At this the men of Dietrich pressed forward to the strife. They smote so that the armor rings whirled far and wide, and high through the air the sword-points wore seen to fly. From the helmets they drew the warm gushing stream of blood. When Hagen of Troneg saw Folker dead, that was the greatest sorrow, that he had gained at the feasting in kinsman or in liegeman. Alas, how fiercely Hagen gan venge the knight! "Now old Hildebrand shall not profit by this deed. My helpmate lieth slain by the hero's hand, the best war comrade that I did ever win." Higher he raised his helmet, and ran, slashing as he went.

    Stout Helfrich slew Dankwart. Loth enow it was to Gunther and Giselher, when they saw him fall in cruel need, but with his own hands he himself had well avenged his death. Meanwhile Wolfhart raged back and forth, hewing alway King Gunther's men. For the third time he was come through the hall, and many a warrior fell, struck by his hands.

    Then Lord Giselher cried out to Wolfhart: "Alas, that I have ever gained so grim a foe! Noble knight and brave, now address you unto me. I'll help to make an end; this may be no longer."

    At this Wolfhart turned him in strife to Giselher, and each smote other many a gaping wound. He pressed so mightily toward the king, that the blood beneath his feet spurted high above his head. With grim and fearful blows the son of fair Uta then greeted the brave knight Wolfhart. However strong the warrior, he might not save his life. Never could so young a king have been more brave; Wolfhart he smote through his stout hauberk, that his blood streamed down from the wound. Unto death he wounded Dietrich's liegeman. None save a champion had done such deed. When brave Wolfhart felt the wound, he let fall his shield and lifted higher in his hand his mighty sword (sharp enow it was); through both helmet and armor rings the hero smote Giselher. Thus each did other fiercely unto death.

    Now was none left of Dietrich's men. Old Hildebrand saw Wolfhart fall; never before his death, I ween, did such dole happen to him. The men of Gunther all lay dead, and those of Dietrich, too. Hildebrand hied him to where Wolfhart had fallen in the gore, and clasped in his arms the brave knight and good. He would fain bear him from the hall, but he was a deal too heavy, and so he must needs let him lie. Then the dying warrior looked upward from the blood in which he lay; well he saw, that his uncle would fain help him hence. Though wounded unto death, he spake: "Dear uncle mine, ye may not aid me now. 'Tis well, methinks, that ye should guard you against Hagen. A fierce mood he beareth in his heart. And if perchance my kinsmen would mourn me after I am dead; pray tell the nearest and the best, that they weep not for me; there is no need of that. At the hands of a king I have met a glorious death and have also avenged me, so that the wives of the good knights may well bewail it. If any ask you of this, ye may boldly say, that full a hundred lie slain by my hand alone."

    Then Hagen, too, bethought him of the gleeman, whom bold Hildebrand had robbed of life. To the knight he spake: "Ye'll requite me now my sorrows. Through your hatred ye have bereft us of many a lusty knight."

    He dealt Hildebrand such a blow, that men heard Balmung ring, the which bold Hagen had taken from Siegfried, when he slew the knight. Then the old man warded him; in sooth he was brave enow. Dietrich's champion struck with a broad sword, that cut full sore, at the hero of Troneg, but could not wound King Gunther's liegeman. Hagen, however, smote him through his well-wrought hauberk. When old Hildebrand felt the wound, he feared more scathe at Hagen's hand; his shield he slung across his back and thus Sir Dietrich's man escaped from Hagen, though sorely wounded.

    Now of all the knights none was alive save the twain, Gunther and Hagen alone. Dripping with blood old Hildebrand went to where he found Dietrich, and told him the baleful tale. He saw him sitting sadly, but much more of dole the prince now gained. He spied Hildebrand in his blood-red hauberk, and asked him tidings, as his fears did prompt him.

    "Now tell me, Master Hildebrand, how be ye so wot with your lifeblood? Pray who hath done you this? I ween, ye have fought with the strangers in the hall. I forbade it you so sorely, that ye should justly have avoided it."

    Then said he to his lord: "'Twas Hagen that did it. He dealt me this wound in the hall, when I would fain have turned me from the knight. I scarce escaped the devil with my life."

    Then spake the Lord of Berne: "Rightly hath it happed you, for that ye have broken the peace, which I had sworn them, sith ye did hear me vow friendship to the knights. Were it not mine everlasting shame, ye should lose your life."

    "My Lord Dietrich, now be ye not so wroth; the damage to my friends and me is all too great. Fain would we have carried Rudeger's corse away, but King Gunther's liegemen would not grant it us."

    "Woe is me of these sorrows! If Rudeger then be dead, 'twill bring me greater dole, than all my woe. Noble Gotelind is the child of my father's sister; alas for the poor orphans, that be now in Bechelaren."

    Rudeger's death now minded him of ruth and dole. Mightily the hero gan weep; in sooth he had good cause. "Alas for this faithful comrade whom I have lost! In truth I shall ever mourn for King Etzel's liegeman. Can ye tell me, Master Hildebrand, true tidings, who be the knight, that hath slain him there?"

    Quoth he: "That stout Gernot did, with might and main, but the hero, too, fell dead at Rudeger's hands."

    Again he spake to Hildebrand: "Pray say to my men, that they arm them quickly, for I will hie me hither, and bid them make ready my shining battle weeds. I myself will question the heroes of the Burgundian land."

    Then spake Master Hildebrand: "Who then shall join you? Whatso of living men ye have, ye see stand by you. 'Tis I alone; the others, they be dead."

    He started at this tale; forsooth, he had good cause, for never in his life had he gained so great a grief. He spake: "And are my men all dead, then hath God forgotten me, poor Dietrich. Once I was a lordly king, mighty, high, and rich." Again Sir Dietrich spake: "How could it hap, that all the worshipful heroes died at the hands of the battle-weary, who were themselves hard pressed? Were it not for mine ill-luck, death were still a stranger to them. Sith then mine evil fortune would have it so, pray tell me, are any of the strangers still alive?"

    Then spake Master Hildebrand: "God wet, none other save only Hagen and Gunther, the high-born king." "Alas, dear Wolfhart, and I have lost thee too, then may it well rue me, that ever I was born. Siegstab and Wolfwin and Wolfbrand, too! Who then shall help me to the Amelung land? Bold Helfrich, hath he, too, been slain, and Gerbart and Wiehart? How shall I ever mourn for them in fitting wise? This day doth forever end my joys. Alas, that none may die for very grief!"

    Adventure XXXIX:
    How Gunther and Hagen & Kriemhild were slain.
    Then Sir Dietrich fetched himself his coat of mail, and Master Hildebrand helped him arm. The mighty man made wail so sore, that the whole house resounded with his voice. But then he gained again a real hero's mood. The good knight was now armed and grim of mind; a stout shield he hung upon his arm. Thus he and Master Hildebrand went boldly hence.

    Then spake Hagen of Troneg: "Yonder I see Sir Dietrich coming hither; he would fain encounter us, after the great sorrow, that hath here befallen him. To-day we shall see, to whom one must give the palm. however strong of body and grim of mood the lord of Berne thinketh him to be, right well dare I match him," so spake Hagen, "an' he will avenge on us that which hath been done him."

    Dietrich and Hildebrand heard this speech, for Hagen came to where he found the champion stand before the house, leaning against the wall. Dietrich set his good shield upon the ground, and spake in grievous dole: "Gunther, mighty king, why have ye so acted against me, banished man? What have I done to you? I stand alone, bereft of all my comfort. Ye thought it not enow of bitter need, when ye did kill Knight Rudeger, our friend. Now ye have robbed me of all my men. Forsooth I never had wrought you heroes sorrow such as this. Think on yourselves and on your wrongs. Doth not the death of your kinsmen and all the hardship grieve the minds of you good knights? Alas, what great dole Rudeger's death doth give me! Never in all the world hath more of sorrow happed to any man. Ye thought but little on me and on your pain. Whatsoever joy I had, that lieth slain by you. Certes, I never can bewail my kin enow."

    "Forsooth we be not so guilty," answered Hagen. "Your warriors came to this hall in a large band, armed with care. Methinks the tale hath not been told you rightly."

    "What else should I believe? Hildebrand told me, that when my knights from the Amelung land asked that ye should give up Rudeger's corse from out the hall, ye did naught but mock the valiant heroes from above the steps."

    Then spake the king from the Rhine: "They said, that they would fain bear Rudeger hence, and I bade this be denied them to vex King Etzel, and not thy men, until then Wolfhart began to rail about it."

    Then the hero of Berne made answer: "Fate would have it so. Gunther, most noble king, now through thy courtesie requite me of the wrongs, that have happed to me from thee, and make such amends, brave knight, that I may give thee credit for the deed. Give thyself and thy men to me as hostages, and I will guard you, as best I may, that none here do thee aught among the Huns. Thou shalt find me naught but good and true."

    "Now God forbid," quoth Hagen, "that two knights give themselves up to thee, that still do stand opposed to thee so doughtily and walk so unfettered before their foes."

    "Gunther and Hagen, ye should not deny me this," spake Dietrich. "Ye have grieved my heart and mind so sore, that it were but right, and ye would requite me. I give you my hand and troth as pledge, that I will ride with you, home to your land. I'll lead you in all honor, or else lie dead, and for your sakes I will forget my grievous wrongs."

    "Crave this no longer," answered Hagen. "'Twere fitting, that the tale be told of us, that two men so brave had given themselves up to you. We see none standing by you, save Hildebrand alone."

    Then up spake Master Hildebrand: "God wot, Sir Hagen, the hour will come, when ye will gladly take the peace, if so be any offer to keep it with you. Ye might well content you with the truce my lord doth offer."

    "Forsooth I'd take the truce," quoth Hagen, "or ever I'd flee from out a hall so shamefully as ye did, Master Hildebrand. I weened, ye could stand better against a foe."

    To this Hildebrand made answer: "Why twit ye me with that? Who was it sate upon a shield hard by the Waskstone, (1) when Walter of Spain slew so many of his kin? Ye, too, have faults enow of your own to show."

    Then spake Sir Dietrich: "Ill doth it beseem heroes, that they should scold like aged beldams. I forbid you, Hildebrand, to speak aught more. Grievous wrongs constrain me, homeless warrior. Let's hear, Knight Hagen, what ye twain did speak, ye doughty men, when ye saw me coming toward you armed? Ye said, that ye alone would fain encounter me in strife."

    "Certes, none doth deny," Knight Hagen spake, "that I will essay it here with mighty blows, unless be, that the sword of Nibelung break in my hand. Wroth am I, that we twain have here been craved as hostages."

    When Dietrich noted Hagen's raging mood, quickly the doughty knight and good snatched up his shield. How swiftly Hagen sprang toward him from the steps! Loudly the good sword of Nibelung rang on Dietrich's head. Then wist Dietrich well, that the bold knight was grim of mood. The lord of Berne gan guard him against the fearful blows, for well he knew Hagen, the stately knight. Balmung he also feared, a weapon stout enow. Dietrich returned the blows at times in cunning wise, until at last he conquered Hagen in the strife. A wound he dealt him, the which was deep and long. Then Lord Dietrich thought him: "Thou art worn out with strife; little honor shall I have, and thou liest dead before me. I will try, if perchance I can force thee to be my hostage."

    This he wrought with danger. His shield he let fall, great was his strength, and clasped Hagen of Troneg in his arms. Thus the brave knight was overcome by Dietrich. Noble Gunther gan wail thereat. Dietrich now bound Hagen and led him to where he found the highborn queen; into her hand he gave the bravest warrior that ever bare a sword. Then merry enow she grew after her great dole. For very joy King Etzel's wife bowed low before the knight. "May thy heart and body be ever blest. Thou hast well requited me of all my woes. For this will I ever serve thee, unless be, that death doth hinder me therefrom."

    Then spake Lord Dietrich: "Pray let him live, most noble queen. And if this still may be, how well will I requite you of that which he hath done you! Let him not suffer, because ye see him stand here bound."

    She bade Hagen then be led away to duress, where he lay locked in and where none did see him. Gunther, the high-born king, began to call: "Whither went the knight of Berne? He hath done me wrong."

    At this Lord Dietrich went to meet him. Gunther's might was worthy of praise; no more he bided, but ran outside the hall, and from the clashing of the swords of the twain a mighty din arose. However much and long Lord Dietrich's prowess had been praised, yet Gunther was so sorely angered and enraged, for because of the grievous dole, he was his deadly foe, that men still tell it as a wonder, that Sir Dietrich did not fall. Great were both their prowess and their strength. The palace and the towers resounded with the blows, when with the swords they hewed at the sturdy helmets. King Gunther was of lordly mood, but the knight of Berne overcame him, as happed to Hagen afore. The hero's blood was seen to ooze through the armor rings, drawn forth by a keen-edged sword, the which Sir Dietrich bare. Though weary, Sir Gunther had guarded him most valiantly. The lord was now bound by Dietrich's hands. Though kings should not endure such bonds, yet Dietrich thought, if he set free the king and his liegeman, that all they met must needs fall dead at their hands.

    Dietrich of Berne now took him by the hand and led him bound to where he found Kriemhild. At sight of his sorrow much of her fear took flight. She spake: "Welcome, Gunther, from the Burgundian land."

    Quoth he: "I would bow before you, dear sister mine, if your greetings were but kinder. I know you, queen, to be so wroth of mood that ye do give me and Hagen meagre greetings."

    Up spake the knight of Berne: "Most noble queen, never were such good knights made hostages, as I have given you in them, exalted lady. For my sake, I pray you, spare these homeless men."

    She vowed she'd do it gladly. Then Sir Dietrich left the worshipful knights with weeping eyes. Later Etzel's wife avenged her grimly; she took the life of both the chosen heroes. To make their duress worse she let them lie apart, so that neither saw the other, till she bare her brother's head to Hagen. Kriemhild's vengeance on both was great enow.

    Then the queen went to Hagen. In what right hostile wise she spake to the knight: "If ye will give me back what ye have taken from me, then ye may still go home alive to Burgundy."

    Grim Hagen answered: "Thou dost waste thy words, most noble queen. Forsooth I have sworn an oath, that I would not show the hoard, the while and any of my lords still live; so I shall give it to none."

    "I'll make an end of this," quoth the high-born wife. Then she bade her brother's life be taken. His head they struck off, and by the hair she bare it to the knight of Troneg. Loth enow it was to him. When sad of mind the warrior gazed upon his master's head, he spake to Kriemhild: "Thou hast brought it to an end after thy will, and it hath happed, as I had thought me. The noble king of Burgundy now lieth dead, and Giselher, the youth, and Sir Gernot, too. None knoweth of the treasure now save God and me, and it shall ever be hid from thee, thou fiend."

    Quoth she: "Ye have requited me full ill, so I will keep the sword of Siegfried, the which my sweetheart bare, when last I saw him, in whom dole of heart hath happed to me through you."

    From the sheath she drew it, nor could he hinder her a whit. She planned to rob the knight of life. With her hands she raised it and struck off his head. This King Etzel saw, and sore enow it rued him. "Alack!" cried the lording, "how lieth now dead at a woman's hands the very best of knights, that ever came to battle or bare a shield! However much I was his foe, yet it doth grieve me sorely."

    Then spake old Hildebrand: "Forsooth it shall not boot her aught, that she durst slay him. Whatso hap to me, and however much it may bring me to a dangerous pass, yet will I avenge bold Troneg's death." Hildebrand sprang in wrath towards Kriemhild. For fear of him she suffered pain; but what might it avail her, that she shrieked so frightfully? He dealt the queen a grievous sword-blow, the which did cut the high-born dame in twain. Now all lay low in death whom fate had doomed. Dietrich and Etzel then began to weep; sorely they mourned both kin and liegemen. Their mickle honors lay there low in death; the courtiers all had grief and drearihead. The king's high feast had ended now in woe, as joy doth ever end in sorrow at the last. I cannot tell you, that which happed thereafter, save that knights and ladies and noble squires were seen to weep for the death of loving kinsmen. The tale hath here an end. This is the Nibelungs'
    "Let your love towards life, be love towards your highest hope:
    and let your highest hope be the highest idea of life."
    ~Friedrich Nietzsche~

  5. #15
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    Post AW: Re: The Nibelungenlied

    Quote Originally Posted by AryanKrieger
    Sehr schoen;vielen Dank!
    ....Nichts zu danken.
    "Let your love towards life, be love towards your highest hope:
    and let your highest hope be the highest idea of life."
    ~Friedrich Nietzsche~

  6. #16

  7. #17

    The Nibelungenlied


    Originally written in Middle High German (M.H.G.), sometime around 1200 A.D., although this dating is by no means certain. Author unknown. Translation by Daniel Bussier Shumway, 1909.

    The text of this edition is based on that published as "The Nibelungenlied", translated by Daniel B. Shumway (Houghton- Mifflin Co., New York, 1909). This edition is in the PUBLIC DOMAIN in the United States.

    This electronic edition was edited, proofed, and prepared by Douglas B. Killings (DeTroyes@EnterAct.COM), September 1997.

    * Preface
    * Introductory Sketch
    * Adventure I
    * Adventure II: Of Siegfried
    * Adventure III: How Siegfried Came to Worms
    * Adventure IV: How He Fought with the Saxons
    * Adventure V: How Siegfried First Saw Kriemhild
    * Adventure VI: How Gunther Fared To Isenland for Brunhild
    * Adventure VII: How Gunther Won Brunhild
    * Adventure VIII: How Siegfried Fared To His Men-At-Arms, the Nibelungs
    * Adventure IX: How Siegfried Was Sent To Worms
    * Adventure X: How Brunhild Was Received At Worms
    * Adventure XI: How Siegfried Journeyed Homeward With His Wife
    * Adventure XII: How Gunther Bade Siegfried To The Feasting
    * Adventure XIII: How They Journeyed To The Feasting
    * Adventure XIV: How The Queens Reviled Each Other
    * Adventure XV: How Siegfried Was Betrayed
    * Adventure XVI: How Siegfried Was Slain
    * Adventure XVII: How Kriemhild Mourned Her Husband And How He Was Buried
    * Adventure XVIII: How Siegmund Journeyed Home Again
    * Adventure XIX: How The Nibelung Hoard Was Brought to Worms
    * Adventure XX: How King Etzel Sent To Burgundy For Kriemhild
    * Adventure XXI: How Kriemhild Journeyed To The Huns
    * Adventure XXII: How Etzel Made Kriemhild His Bride
    * Adventure XXIII: How Kriemhild Thought To Avenge Her Wrongs
    * Adventure XXIV: How Werbel And Swemmel Brought The Message
    * Adventure XXV: How The Lords All Journeyed To The Huns
    * Adventure XXVI: How Gelfrat Was Slain By Dankwart
    * Adventure XXVII: How They Came To Bechelaren
    * Adventure XXVIII: How The Burgundians Came To Etzel's Castle
    * Adventure XXIX: How Hagen Would Not Rise For Kriemhild
    * Adventure XXX: How They Kept The Watch
    * Adventure XXXI: How They Went To Church
    * Adventure XXXII: How Bloedel Was Slain
    * Adventure XXXIII: How The Burgundians Fought The Huns
    * Adventure XXXIV: How They Cast Out The Dead
    * Adventure XXXV: How Iring Was Slain
    * Adventure XXXVI: How The Queen Gave Orders To Burn the Hall
    * Adventure XXXVII: How Margrave Rudeger Was Slain
    * Adventure XXXVIII: How All Sir Dietrich's Warriors Were Slain
    * Adventure XXXIX: How Gunther And Hagen And Kriemhild Were Slain


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    I had always planned on reading the Nibelungenlied, although I normally prefer reading a hard copy, might get my self one.

    But thanks Sonja y001:

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    The best translation to buy is probably the Hatto, in the Penguin Classics series. The translation is excellent, and all the supporting material accompanying it is bright and very witty. You feel like you are a new friend of Hatto's. 3:

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    We read it last year in school with our German teacher. We read the original version and translated as far as we could and if we didn't get any further, he started translating. It was very interesting and unfortunately, we only had him for a half year as a substitute.
    "Verloren ist nur, wer sich selbst aufgibt" by Oberst Hans-Ulrich Rudel

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