Myths of the Norsemen From the Eddas and Sagas

Page: 142

Long waited through dull hours bygone

And round her mighty arms were cast:

But when her trembling red lips passed

From out the heaven of that dear kiss,

And eyes met eyes, she saw in his [282]

Fresh pride, fresh hope, fresh love, and saw

The long sweet days still onward draw,

Themselves still going hand in hand,

As now they went adown the strand.”

The Fostering of Aslaug (William Morris).



Gertrude Demain Hammond, R.I.

In continuation of the story of Sigurd and Brunhild, however, we are told that the young man went to seek adventures in the great world, where he had vowed, as a true hero, to right the wrong and defend the fatherless and oppressed.

The Niblungs

In the course of his wanderings, Sigurd came to the land of the Niblungs, the land of continual mist, where Giuki and Grimhild were king and queen. The latter was specially to be feared, as she was well versed in magic lore, and could weave spells and concoct marvellous potions which had power to steep the drinker in temporary forgetfulness and compel him to yield to her will.

The king and queen had three sons, Gunnar, Högni, and Guttorm, who were brave young men, and one daughter, Gudrun, the gentlest as well as the most beautiful of maidens. All welcomed Sigurd most warmly, and Giuki invited him to tarry awhile. The invitation was very agreeable after his long wanderings, and Sigurd was glad to stay and share the pleasures and occupations of the Niblungs. He accompanied them to war, and so distinguished himself by his valour, that he won the admiration of Grimhild and she resolved to secure him as her daughter’s husband. One day, therefore, she brewed one of her magic potions, and when he had partaken of it at the hand of Gudrun, he utterly forgot Brunhild and his plighted troth, and all his love was diverted unto the queen’s daughter. [283]

“But the heart was changed in Sigurd; as though it ne’er had been

His love of Brynhild perished as he gazed on the Niblung Queen:

Brynhild’s beloved body was e’en as a wasted hearth,

No more for bale or blessing, for plenty or for dearth.”

Although there was not wanting a vague fear that he had forgotten some event in the past which should rule his conduct, Sigurd asked for and obtained Gudrun’s hand, and their wedding was celebrated amid the rejoicings of the people, who loved the young hero very dearly. Sigurd gave his bride some of Fafnir’s heart to eat, and the moment she had tasted it her nature was changed, and she began to grow cold and silent to all except him. To further cement his alliance with the two eldest Giukings (as the sons of Giuki were called) Sigurd entered the “doom ring” with them, and the three young men cut a sod which was placed upon a shield, beneath which they stood while they bared and slightly cut their right arms, allowing their blood to mingle in the fresh earth. Then, when they had sworn eternal friendship, the sod was replaced.