HOW BRYNHILD WAS WON FOR GUNNAR
OW that Sigurd had wed Gudrun he was one with the
Nibelungs. The hoard that was in Fafnir's cave he
brought away and he left it in their treasure house.
He went into his foster-father's kingdom again, and he
saw King Alv and Hiordis, his mother. But he had no
memory now of the House of Flame, nor of Brynhild, who
waited there for him.
King Giuki died, and Gunnar, Sigurd's sworn brother,
became King in his stead His mother would have him
wed, but Gunnar told her he had seen no maiden whom he
would choose for his wife.
 But when Sigurd and he were together Gunnar would speak
of a maiden far away, one whom he often thought on.
And one day when Sigurd pressed him tot ell who this
maiden was, he spoke of one whom he wisest of the poets
told of, a maiden in a Hall with a flame around it, a
maiden named Brynhild who was guarded by a ring of
Sigurd laughed to think that his shrewd brother was
beguiled by one whom he had only heard of. But if he
was beguiled by the tale of her, why should he not come
to her and wed her? So Sigurd said. Then Gunnar bent
to him and asked Sigurd would he aid him to win her?
And Sigurd took Gunnar's hand and swore that he would
So they started off for Hinfell, Gunnar an Hong and
Sigurd. They rode on until they came in sight of the
black walls with the mounting and circling fire around
them. No memory had Sigurd of the place. With the
flame of eagerness upon his stolid face Gunnar went
forward to ride through the ring of fire. He brought
Goti, his horse, near the flame, but the horse, for no
urging, would go through it. Then Gunnar thought that,
mounted on Grani, Sigurd's horse, he could ride through
the ring of fire. He mounted Grani and came near to
the flaring wall. But Grani, knowing that the one who
rode him had fear of the fire, reared up and would not
go through it. Only with Sigurd on his back would
Grani go through the flame.
Then were the three sworn brethren greatly discomfited.
But after they had considered it for a long Högni the
 "There is a way to win Brynhild, and that
is for Sigurd to change shapes, by the magic of his
helmet, with Gunnar. Then Sigurd could ride Grani
through the wall of flame and come to Brynhild in
So spoke Högni the Wise, and when he saw his sworn
brother's gave fixed on him in pleading, Sigurd could
not but agree to ride through the flame and come to
Brynhild in the way he said. And so by the magic of
his helmet he changed shapes with Gunnar Then he
mounted Grani and rode to the wall of flame. And
Grani, knowing that the one he bore was without fear,
rode through the flaring fire. Then Sigurd came into
the court-yard of the House of Flame. He dismounted
from Grani, and he bade his horse be still.
He went within the Hall and he saw one with a bow in
her hands shooting at a mark. She turned to him, and
he saw a beautiful stern face, with coils of wondrous,
bright-gleaming hair and eyes that were like stars in
an unventured-in sea. He thought that the arrow in
her hands had been shot through him. But it was not
so. Brynhild threw down the bow and came to him with
that walk of hers that was as of one moving above the
earth. And when she came near and looked upon his she
uttered a strange cry.
"Who art thou?" she said. "Who art thou hast come to
me through the wall of flaring fire?"
"Gunnar, son of Giuki, of the race of the Nibelungs,"
 "Art thou the bravest one in the world?" she asked.
"I have ridden through the wall of flaring fire to come
to thee," Sigurd answered.
"He who has come through that wall of flaring fire may
claim me," Brynhild said. "It is written in the runes,
and it must be so. But I thought there was only one
who would come to me through it." She looked at him,
and her eyes had a flame of anger. "Oh, I would
strive with thee with warrior-weapons," she cried.
Then Sigurd felt her strong hands upon him, and he knew
that she was striving to throw him.
They wrestled, and each was so strong that none could
move the other. They wrestled, Sigurd the first of
heroes, and Brynhild, the Valkyrie. Sigurd got her
hand in his in the wrestle. On that hand was a ring,
and Sigurd bent back the finger and drew it off.
It was Andvari's ring, the ring he had placed on her
finger. And when the ring was taken off it, Brynhild
sank down on her knees like one that was strength less
Then Sigurd lifted her in his arms and carried her to
where Grani, his horse, was waiting He lifted her
across his horse, and he mounted behind her and gain he
rode through the wall of flame. Högni and Gunnar were
waiting, Gunnar in Sigurd's shape. Brynhild did not
look upon them, but covered her face with her hands.
Then Sigurd took back his own shape, and he rode before
Gunnar and Högni to the hall of the Nibelungs.
He went within, and he found Gudrun, his wife, playing
with Sigmund, his little son, and he sat beside her and
he told her of
 all that had befallen: how, for the
sake of the sworn brotherhood, he had won Brynhild the
Valkyrie for Gunnar, and how he had striven with her
and had overcome her, and had taken off her finger the
ring that he now wore upon his own.
And even as he spoke to his wife the fume of the potion
that Gudrun's mother had given him was wearing off, and
he had memories of going to the House of Flame on a day
that was not this day, and of riding through the wall
of fire in his own shape. And again, as on the night
when he drank the potion that Queen Grimhild brewed, he
became as one whose wits are astray. He stood watching
his child as he played, and his wife as she worked at
her embroidery, and he was as a man in a dream.
While he was standing there Gunnar and Högni came into
the hall of the Nibelungs bringing Brynhild with them.
Gudrun rose up to welcome her who came as her brother's
bride. Then did Sigurd look on Brynhild and then did
he remember all. And when he remembered all such a
mighty sigh rose from his heart as burst the links of
the mail that was across his breast.
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