Adventure XVIII - How Siegmund Journeyed Home Again.

Kriemhild's husband's father went to where he found her. Unto the queen he spake: "We must unto our land; by the Rhine, I ween, we be unwelcome guests. Kriemhild, dear lady, now journey with me to my lands. Albeit treachery here in these lands hath bereft us of your noble husband, yet should ye not requite this. I will be friendly to you for my dear son's sake, of this shall ye have no doubt. Ye shall have, my lady, all the power which Siegfried, the bold knight, gave you aforetime. The land and also the crown shall be subject to you. All Siegfried's men shall serve you gladly."

Then the squires were told that they must ride away. A mickle hurrying for steeds was seen, for they were loth to stay with their deadly foes. Men bade dames and maidens seek their robes. When that King Siegmund would fain have ridden forth, Kriemhild's mother gan beg her that she stay there with her kindred.

The royal lady answered: "That might hardly hap. How could I bear the sight of him from whom such great wrong hath happed to me, poor wife?"

Then spake young Giselher: "Dear sister mine, by thy troth thou shouldst stay here with thy mother. Thou dost need no service of them that have grieved thee and saddened thy mood. Live from my goods alone."

To the warrior she spake: "Certes, it may not hap, for I should die of dole whenever I should gaze on Hagen."

"I'll give thee rede for that, dear sister mine. Thou shalt live with thy brother Giselher, and of a truth I'll comfort thee of thy husband's death."

Then answered the hapless wife: "Of that hath Kriemhild need."

When the youth had made her such kindly offer, then gan Uta and Gernot and her faithful kin entreat. They begged her to tarry there, for but little kith she had among Siegfried's men.

"They be all strangers to you," spake Gernot; "none that liveth is so strong but that he must come to die. Consider that, dear sister, and console your mind. Stay with your kinsfolk; ye shall fare well in truth."

Then she made vow to Giselher that she would stay. The steeds were brought for Siegfried's men, sith they would ride to the Nibelung land. Also all the trappings of the knights were packed upon the sumpters. Then the Lord Siegmund hied him to Kriemhild's side. To the lady he spake: "Siegfried's men are waiting by the steeds. Now must we ride away, for I be ill content in Burgundy."

The Lady Kriemhild then replied: "All that I have of faithful kin advise me that I stay here with them; I have no kith in the Nibelung land."

Loth it was to Siegmund, when that he found Kriemhild of this mind. He spake: "Let no one tell you that. Before all my kinsmen ye shall wear the crown with such sovran power as ye did aforetime. Ye shall not suffer, because we have lost the knight. Ride also with us home again, for the sake of your little child. Lady, ye should not leave him orphaned. When your son groweth up, he will comfort your heart. Meanwhile many bold heroes and good shall serve you."

"Sir Siegmund," quoth she, "forsooth I like not for to ride. Whatever fortune, here must I tarry with my kindred, who help me mourn."

These tales gan now displease the doughty warriors. All spake alike: "We might well aver that now first hath ill befallen us. If ye would stay here with our foes, then have heroes never ridden to court more sorrowfully."

"Ye shall journey free of care, commended unto God; ye shall be given safe-conduct to Siegmund's land, I'll bid them guard you well. To the care of you knights shall my dear child be given."

When they marked that she would not go hence, then wept all of Siegmund's men alike. How right sorrowfully Siegmund parted then from Lady Kriemhild! He became acquaint with grief. "Woe worth this courtly feasting," spake the noble king. "Through pastime will nevermore hap to king or to his kinsmen, what here hath happed to us. Men shall see us nevermore in Burgundy."

Then Siegfried's men spake openly: "A journey to this land might still take place, if we discovered aright him who slew our lord. Enow of his kinsmen be their deadly foes."

He kissed Kriemhild; how sorrowfully he spake, when he perceived aright that she would stay: "Now let us ride joyless home unto our land, now first do I feel all my sorrow."

Down to the Rhine from Worms they rode without an escort. They were surely of the mind that they, the bold Nibelungs, could well defend them, should they be encountered in hostile wise. Leave they asked of none, but Gernot and Giselher were seen to go to Siegmund in loving wise. These brave and lusty knights convinced him that they mourned his loss. Courteously Prince Gernot spake: "God in heaven knoweth well that I be not to blame for Siegfried's death, nor heard I ever that any was his foe. I mourn him justly."

Giselher, the youth, gave them then safe-conduct. Sorrowly he led them from the land home to Netherland. How few kinsman were found joyous then!

How they now fared at Worms I cannot tell. All time men heard Kriemhild mourn, so that none might comfort her heart nor mind, save Giselher alone; loyal he was and good. Brunhild, the fair, sate in overweening pride. How Kriemhild wept, she recked not, nor did she ever show her love or troth. Lady Kriemhild wrought her in after days the bitterest woe of heart.