| 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 |
SIEGFRIED GOES HOME WITH KRIEMHILD
 In the court of the Netherlands there was great gladness,
for tidings had come that Prince Siegfried and his beautiful
wife were already on their homeward way.
King Siegmund rejoiced, and resolved that now indeed his son
should wear the crown.
Sieglinde wept for joy, then dried her tears, and bade her
maidens look out their richest robes that they might welcome
the young bride as became her rank.
Then the King and Queen rode forth to meet the travellers,
and greeted them with kisses and fair words, and with great
rejoicings the whole company returned to the castle. Here a
great feast was held, and Siegmund, calling together all his
liegemen, placed the crown upon his dear son's head, bidding
them henceforth swear fealty to him alone.
 The Netherlanders were indeed well pleased to have the
mighty hero Siegfried for their king, and the castle walls
shook with the shouts of strong men crying, "Hail, King
For ten years Siegfried ruled and did justice in the land.
At the end of ten years a little son came to gladden the
hearts of the brave King and his gentle wife, and in memory
of her royal brother, Kriemhild named him Gunther.
Now Queen Sieglinde had grown old and feeble, and after her
little grandson had been born she grew still more weak until
one day she passed away from earth.
Then Kriemhild took charge of the royal household. So kind
was she and gentle that she was loved by all her maidens and
indeed by all who dwelt in the castle.
Meanwhile Brunhild, the haughty Queen of Burgundy, was not
happy, even her little son could not bring joy to her heart.
Little had she to vex her, yet day by day her unhappiness
Siegfried was now a mightier King than Gunther, and this
displeased her more and
 more, for certainly he had once been
but her lord's vassal. Had she not herself, from her castle
window at Isenland, seen him hold King Gunther's charger
until he had mounted, and that a Prince would have scorned
to do. Yet to-day Siegfried was a King. Brunhild could not
understand how this could be, and the more she thought about
it, the angrier she grew. Even the gentle Kriemhild seemed
to have grown haughty and disdainful, and for her too
Brunhild had no love.
At length Brunhild made up her mind to speak to her husband.
"It is many years," she said to King Gunther, "since
Siegfried has been at Worms. Bid him come hither with his
Then Gunther frowned, ill-pleased at her words. "Thou dost
not dream that I may command so mighty a King
as Siegfried!" he cried.
But these words only made the Queen more angry. "However
great Siegfried may be, he dare not disobey his lord," she
King Gunther smiled to himself at Brunhild's foolish
thoughts. Full well he knew that the
 King of the Netherlands
owed no duty to him, the King of Burgundy.
Then Brunhild, seeing that by anger she would not gain her
wish, smiled and coming close to Gunther said, "My lord,
fain would I see thy sweet sister once more. If thou mayest
not bid, wilt thou not entreat Siegfried to bring Kriemhild
to our country that again we may sit together as we were
used to do? In truth the gentleness of thy lady sister did
ever please me well."
Now Gunther, hearing his wife's kind words, was wishful to
do her will. Therefore he sent for thirty warriors, and bade
them ride into King Siegfried's land, and entreat him once
again to come with his fair wife to the royal city of Worms.
Queen Uté also sent messages to Queen Kriemhild
beseeching her to come again to her own country.
Well pleased was Kriemhild when the knights from Burgundy
were shown into her presence, and right glad was the welcome
given to them by King Siegfried. Then one of the knights
hastened to deliver King Gunther's greetings and the
greetings of Queen Uté and her ladies.
 "The King and Queen bid you also welcome to a high festival
which they hold as soon as the winter is ended," he said.
But King Siegfried, thinking of all the business of the
state, answered courteously, "Nay, I fear that I may scarce
leave my land without a king. Yet will I lodge you here
while I take counsel with my liegemen."
For nine days King Gunther's men tarried in the Netherlands,
and banquets and tournaments were given in their honour.
Then Siegfried summoned his liegemen together and told them
of King Gunther's desire that he and his Queen should go to
Rhineland, and bade them give him their counsel.
"Take with thee a thousand warriors, sire, and if it be thy
will ride thus into Burgundy," said the King's chief
"I also will go with thee," said Siegmund, for well did he
love his son. "I also will go with thee and take a hundred
swordsmen along with me."
Right glad was Siegfried when he heard his father's words.
"My own good father dear," he cried, and seizing his hand he
kissed it. "In
 twelve days will I leave my realm and journey
toward Burgundy, and thou shalt ride with me and Queen
Then the heralds of King Gunther, laden with rich gifts,
were bidden to hasten back to their own land with tidings
that Siegfried and his Queen would ere long follow them to
the royal city.
When the heralds stood again before King Gunther, they
delivered their tidings, and then spread out before him and
his courtiers the raiment and the gold which Siegfried had
bestowed upon them.
Hagen looked upon the gifts, his keen eyes full of greed.
"Well may the mighty King Siegfried give such gifts," he
said. "If he were to live for ever, yet could he not spend
the great treasure which he possesses in the land of the
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