| Stories of Siegfried Told to the Children|
|by Mary Macgregor|
|Siegfried is the central character in this legend, skillfully adapted from the Nibelung, an old German poem, full of strange adventures of tiny dwarves and stalwart mortals. In this retelling of the ancient legend, Siegfried wins the accursed Rhineland treasure, takes Kriemhild as bride, and comes to an untimely end, passing the curse of the Rhinegold on to his enemies. Ages 8-10 |
THE WEDDING FEAST
 In joy and merriment the days flew by, while the court at
Worms prepared to hold high festival in honour of King
Gunther's matchless bride.
As the royal ships drew near Queen Uté and the
Princess Kriemhild, accompanied by many a gallant knight,
rode along the banks of the Rhine to greet Queen Brunhild.
Already the King had disembarked, and was leading his bride
toward his gracious mother. Courteously did Queen Uté
welcome the stranger, while Kriemhild kissed her and clasped
her in her arms.
Some as they gazed upon the lovely maidens said that the
warlike Queen Brunhild was more beautiful than the gentle
Princess Kriemhild, but others, and these were the wiser,
 that none could excel the peerless sister of the King.
In the great plain of Worms silk tents and gay pavilions had
been placed. And there the ladies took shelter from the
heat, while before them knights and warriors held a gay
tournament. Then in the cool of the evening, a gallant train
of lords and ladies, they rode toward the castle at Worms.
Queen Uté and her daughter went to their own
apartments, while the King with Brunhild went into the
banqueting hall where the wedding feast was spread.
But ere the feast had begun, Siegfried came and stood before
"Sire," he said, "hast thou forgotten thy promise, that when
Brunhild entered the royal city thy lady sister should be my
"Nay," cried the King, "my royal word do I ever keep," and
going out into the hall he sent for the Princess.
"Dear sister," said Gunther, as she bowed before him, "I
have pledged my word to a warrior that thou wilt become his
bride, wilt thou help me to keep my promise?" Now
 Siegfried was standing by the King's side as he spoke.
Then the gentle maiden answered meekly, "Thy will, dear
brother, is ever mine. I will take as lord him to whom thou
hast promised my hand." And she glanced shyly at Siegfried,
for surely this was the warrior to whom her royal brother
had pledged his word.
Right glad then was the King, and Siegfried grew rosy with
delight as he received the lady's troth. Then together they
went to the banqueting hall, and on a throne next to King
Gunther sat the hero-prince, the lady Kriemhild by his side.
But when Brunhild saw the King's beautiful sister sitting on
a throne with Siegfried by her side, she began to weep.
"Why dost thou weep, fair lady?" said King Gunther. "Are not
my lands, my castles, and all my warriors thine? Dim not thy
bright eyes with thy tears."
"I may well weep," said Queen Brunhild, "because thy sister
has plighted her troth to one who is but a vassal of thine
own. Thy sister is worthy of a prince."
 "Weep not," cried the King, "and when the banquet is ended I
will tell thee how it is that Siegfried has won the hand of
my lady sister."
"Nay," cried the impatient Queen, "thou must tell me without
delay or never will I be thy wife," and Brunhild arose and
stepped down from the throne.
King Gunther was displeased with the Queen's impatience, yet
lest his guests should be disturbed, he answered her
"The hero Siegfried has as many castles as have I, and his
realms are broader. In truth he is no vassal of mine. Ere
long he will be King of the Netherlands."
Brunhild could but hide her anger now, yet in her heart she
disliked Siegfried more than she had done before. It did not
please her that he should be a greater king than Gunther.
When the banquet was ended, the wedding was celebrated, and
the King placed a crown upon the brow of the haughty bride,
for now she was his wife, and Queen of his fair realm of
 Siegfried too was wedded to the maiden whom he loved so
well, and though he had no crown to place upon her brow, the
Princess was well content.
As wedding gifts the hero gave to his dear wife the treasure
he had won from the Nibelungs, also the girdle and the ring
which he had taken from Brunhild in her contests with King
With his merry laugh Siegfried told his wife how he had
fought for her royal brother, himself unseen, because he had
on his Cloak of Darkness. And Kriemhild listening thought
never had she known so fair, so brave a knight.
For fourteen days the wedding festivities never ceased. Then
King Gunther and Prince Siegfried scattered costly gifts
among their guests, so that they returned to their own lands
in great glee.
No sooner were the guests departed than Siegfried also began
to make ready to journey to his own country. Fain would he
take his beautiful wife to see Siegmund and Sieglinde, and
to dwell in the land over which one day he would be king.
 Kriemhild, too, was glad to go to her dear lord's country.
Taking a loving farewell of her lady mother, Queen
Uté, and of her royal brothers, with five hundred
knights of Burgundy and thirty-two Burgundian maids,
Kriemhild rode away, Sir Siegfried by her side.
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