SIGURD AT THE HOUSE OF THE NIBELUNGS
E left Hindfell and he came into a kingdom that was ruled
over by a people that were called the Nibelungs as
Sigur's people were called the Volsungs. Guiuki was
the name of the King of that land.
Giuki and his Queen and all their sons gave a great
welcome to Sigurd when he came to their hall, for he
looked such a one as might win the name of being the
world's greatest hero. And Sigurd went to war beside
the King's sons,
 Gunnar and Högni, and the three made
great names for themselves, but Sigurd's shone high
above the others.
When they came back from that war there were great
rejoicings in the hall of the Nibelungs, and Sigurd's
heart was filled with friendship for all the Nibelung
race; he had love for the King's sons, Gunnar and
Högni, and with Gunnar and Högni he swore oaths of
brotherhood. Henceforward he and they would be as
brethren King Giuki had a stepson named Guttorm and he
was not bound in the oath that Sigurd and the others in
After the ware they had waged Sigurd spent a whole
winter in the hall of the Nibelungs His heart was full
of memories of Brynhild and of longings to ride to her
in the House of Flame and to take her with him to the
kingdom that King Giuki would have given him. But as
yet he would not go back to her, for he had sworn to
give his brethren further help.
One day, as he rode by himself, he heard birds talk to
each other and he knew the words they were saying. One
said, "There is Sigurd who wears the wondrous helmet
that he took out of Fafnir's hoard." And the other
bird said, "He knows not that by that helmet he can
change his shape as Fafnir changed his shape, and make
him look like this creature or that creature, or this
man or that man." And the third bird said, "He knows
not that the helmet can do anything so wonderful for
He rode back to the hall of the Nibelungs, and at the
supper-board he told them what he had heard the birds
say. He showed
 them the wondrous helmet. Also he told
them how he had slain Fafnir the Dragon, and of how he
had won the mighty hoard for himself. His two sworn
brothers who were there rejoiced that he had such
But more precious than the hoard and more wondrous than
the helmet was the memory of Brynhild that he had. But
of this he said no word.
Grimhild was the name of the Queen. She was the mother
of Gunnar and Högni and their half-brother Guttorm.
And she and the King had one daughter whose name was
Gudrun. Now Grimhild was one of the wisest of women,
and she knew when she looked upon him that Sigurd was
the world's greatest warrior. She would have him
belong to the Nibelungs, not only by the oaths of
brotherhood he had sworn with Gunnar and Högni, but by
other ties. And when she heard of the great hoard that
was his she had greater wish and will that he should be
one with the Nibelungs. She looked on the helmet of
gold and on the great arm-ring that he wore, and she
made it her heart's purpose that Sigurd should wed with
Gudrun, her daughter. But neither Sigurd nor the
maiden Gudrun knew of Grimhild's resolve.
And the Queen, watching Sigurd closely, knew that he
had a remembrance in his breast that held him from
seeing Gudrun's loveliness. She had knowledge of
spells and secret brews (she was of the race of
Borghild whose brew had destroyed Sinfiotli's life) and
she knew that she could make a potion that would
destroy the memory Sigurd held.
 She mixed the potion. Then one night when there was
feasting in the hall of the Nibelungs, she gave the cup
that held the potion into the hands of Gudrun and bade
her carry it to Sigurd.
Sigurd took the cup out of the hands of the fair
Nibelung maiden and he drank the potion When he had
drunk it he put the cup down and he stood amongst the
feasters like a man in a dream. And like a man in a
dream he went into his chamber, and for a day and a
night afterwards he was silent and his mind was astray.
When he rode out with Gunnar and Högni they would say
to him, "What is it thou hast lost, brother?" Sigurd
could not tell them. But what he had lost was all
memory of Brynhild the Valkyrie in the House of Flame.
He saw Gudrun and it was as though he looked upon her
for the first time. Soft were the long tresses of her
hair; soft were her hands. Her eyes were like
wood-flowers, and her ways and her speech were gentle.
Yes was she noble in her bearing became a Princess who
would come into a kingdom. And from the first time she
had seen him upon Grani, his proud horse, and with his
golden helmet above his golden hair, Gudrun had loved
At the season when the wild swans came to the lade
Gudrun went down to watch them build their nests. And
while she was there Sigurd rode through the pines. He
saw her, and her beauty made the whole place change.
He stopped his horse and listened to her voice as she
sang tot he wild swans, sand the song that Volund made
for Alvit, his swan-bride.
 No more was Sigurd's heart empty of memory: it was
filled with the memory of Gudrun as he saw her by the
lake when the wild swans were building their nests.
And now he watched her in the hall, sitting with her
mother embroidering, or serving her father or her
brothers, and tenderness for the maiden kept growing in
A day came when he asked Gunnar and Högni, his sworn
brethren, for Gudrun. They were glad as though a great
fortune had befallen them. And they brought him before
Giuki the King, and Grimhild the Queen. It seemed as
if they had cast off all trouble and care and entered
into the prime of their life and power, so greatly did
the King and the Queen rejoice at Sigurd's becoming one
with the Nibelungs through his marriage with Gudrun.
When Gudrun heard that Sigurd had asked for her, she
said to the Queen: "Oh, my mother, your wisdom should
have strengthened me to bear such joy. How can I show
him that he is so dear, so dear to me? But I shall try
not to show it, for he might deem that there was no
sense in me but sense to love him. So great a warrior
would not care for such love. I would be with him as a
Sigurd and Gudrun were wed and all the kingdom that the
Nibelungs ruled over rejoiced. And Queen Grimhild
thought that though the effect of the potion she gave
would wear away, his love for Gudrun would ever fill
his heart, and that no other memory would be able to
find a place there.
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