|The Story of Siegfried|
|by James Baldwin|
|Legends of the Nibelungen hero, Siegfried, full of the mystery, awe, and poetry of the northern lands. They tell of how Siegfried forged the wondrous sword, Balmung, of his riding through flaming fire to awaken the maiden, Brunhild, and of the many other strange and daring deeds which he wrought. Many of the Norse myths are interwoven in the tale. The best rendition for children of the Siegfried legends, based on the Eddas, the Volsung Saga, and the Nibelungen-lied. Ages 11-14 |
 EARLY on the morrow morning, ere the sun had risen high, the
peerless Kriemhild walked alone amid the sweet-scented
bowers of her rose garden. The dewdrops still hung thick on
flower and thorn, and the wild birds carolled their songs of
merry welcome to the new-born day. Every thing seemed to
have put on its handsomest colors, and to be using its
sweetest voice, on purpose to gladden the heart of the
maiden. But Kriemhild was not happy. There was a shadow on
her face and a sadness in her eye that the beauty and the
music of that morning could not drive away.
"What ails thee, my child?" asked her mother, Queen Ute, who
met her. "Why so sad, as if thy heart were heavy with care?
Has any one spoken unkindly, or has aught grievous happened
"Oh, no, dearest mother!" said Kriemhild. "It is nothing
that saddens me,—nothing but a foolish dream. I cannot
"Tell me the dream," said her mother: "mayhap it betokens
something that the Norns have written for thee."
 Then Kriemhild answered, "I dreamed that I sat at my window,
high up in the eastern tower; and the sun shone bright in
the heavens, and the air was mild and warm, and I thought of
nought but the beauty and the gladness of the hour. Then in
the far north I saw a falcon flying. At first he seemed but
a black speck in the sky; but swiftly he drew nearer and
nearer, until at last he flew in at the open window, and I
caught him in my arms. Oh, how strong and beautiful he was!
His wings were purple and gold, and his eyes were as bright
as the sun. Oh, a glorious prize I thought him! and I held
him on my wrist, and spoke kind words to him. Then suddenly,
from out of the sky above, two eagles dashed in at the
window, and snatched my darling from me, and they tore him
in pieces before my eyes, and laughed at my distress."
"Thy dream," said Queen Ute, "is easy to explain. A king
shall come from the Northland, and a mighty king shall he
be. And he shall seek thee, and love thee, and wed thee, and
thy heart shall overflow with bliss. The two eagles are the
foes who shall slay him; but who they may be, or whence they
may come, is known only to the Norns."
"But I slept, and I dreamed again," said Kriemhild. "This
time I sat in the meadow, and three women came to me. And
they span, and they wove a woof more fair than any I have
ever seen. And methought that another woof was woven, which
crossed the first, and yet it was no whit less beautiful.
Then the women
 who wove the woofs cried out, 'Enough!' And a
fair white arm reached out and seized the rare fabrics, and
tore them into shreds. And then the sky was overcast, and
the thunder began to roll and the lightning to flash, and
red fires gleamed, and fierce wolves howled around me, and I
"This dream," said Queen Ute, "is more than I can
understand. Only this I can see and explain, that in the dim
future the woof of another's fate shall cross thy own. But
trouble not thyself because of that which shall be. While
yet the sun shines for thee, and the birds sing, and the
flowers shed their sweet perfume, it is for thee to rejoice
and be light-hearted. What the Norns have woven is woven,
and it cannot be undone."
Hundreds of additional titles available for
online reading when you join Gateway to the Classics