| 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 JOURNEYS TO WORMS
 To the Netherlands, as to many another land, came rumours of
the beauty and the gentleness of the Princess Kriemhild.
Siegfried at first paid little heed to what he heard of a
wonder-maid who dwelt in the famous court of Worms. Yet by
and by he began to think she was strangely like the unknown
maid whose image he carried in his heart.
When he heard that many knights had ridden far that they
might see this fair Princess, he made up his mind that he
also would go thither to the court at Worms.
Siegmund and Sieglinde had often begged the Prince to wed
some great princess. He thought, therefore, that they would
be well pleased that he was going into Burgundy to see the
beautiful maiden Kriemhild.
 But the King and Queen were grieved when they knew that
Siegfried must leave them. Kriemhild, it was true, was as
good as she was beautiful, but two of her brothers were
proud and haughty men of Burgundy, moreover their uncle
Hagen had a grim and cruel temper, and it was he who really
ruled the land. It might be that their son would not be
welcomed to the court at Worms, and ill might betide him in
a strange country.
Yet Siegfried would have his way. He must certainly go to
Burgundy to woo the gentle maiden who had already sent many
knights away, unmoved by all their vows of courtesy and
love. For, indeed, no knight yet had the lady seen whom she
would call her lord.
Then Siegmund, seeing that Siegfried had determined to go to
Worms, warned him that King Gunther was too weak to be
trusted, while Hagen his chief counsellor was so powerful at
court that he might work ill on whom he would.
As of old, the hero laughed aloud.
"Should Hagen deny what I shall ask in courtesy, he shall
learn that strong is my
 right hand!" cried the Prince. "His
country and his kings I will surely wrest from him if he
treat me with disdain."
"Speak not thus foolishly," said King Siegmund. "Should thy
wild words be carried to Hagen's ears, thou wouldst never be
allowed to cross the borders of his country. If go thou must
to Burgundy, take with thee an armed force. See, I will
summon my warriors to follow thee lest danger befall."
"Nay, but an army will I not take with me, lest Gunther
dream I have come to invade his land. I, with eleven brave
knights to follow me, will ride to Burgundy. Your help do I
crave, good father. Give me, I pray thee, eleven stalwart
Then Siegmund called for eleven of his bravest knights, and
bade them prepare to follow their Prince.
Meanwhile Queen Sieglinde had been weeping bitterly for fear
lest her dear son should fall into danger in King Gunther's
But Siegfried stole to her side, and taking her frail, white
hands in his strong ones, he said tenderly, "Lady mother, I
pray thee weep not,
 neither fear for me." Then, knowing well
what would please the Queen best, he pleaded with her to aid
him in his adventure.
"Provide me and my eleven knights with beautiful garments," thus he coaxed his lady mother, "that we may go to Burgundy
clad as proud heroes should."
Swiftly the Queen dried her tears. "If go thou must, dear
son," she said, "thou shalt go clothed in the best apparel
ever warrior wore, thou and also thy brave comrades."
Thus day by day, while the eleven warriors polished their
armour until it shone as the noontide sun, Sieglinde and her
maidens sat stitching, stitching. Gladly they stitched, nor
ever did their fingers loiter at their seams until Prince
Siegfried's garments were complete.
At length all was ready and Siegfried and his eleven brave
warriors took farewell of their native land. Gently the bold
hero kissed his lady mother as once again her sad tears
fell. "Fear not, dear mother," he said, "fear not; ere long
I will return and bring with me the beauteous maiden
Kriemhild." Yet the Queen and her maidens wept, and over the
 of knights a sudden gloom fell, they knew not
But ere long as they journeyed along, gay thoughts cheered
the warriors, laughter and merry jests filled the air, for
were they not going forward to fame and fair adventure.
For six days Siegfried and his knights journeyed, and on the
seventh they reached the sandbank by the Rhine which led
them into Worms. Boldly, and clad in their most costly
garments, the Prince and his companions entered the royal
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