Hearing of the Princess, Siegfried, who lived in the Netherlands, began to think that she was strangely like the unknown maiden whose image he carried in his heart. So he set out to go into Burgundy to see the beautiful Kriemhild who had sent many knights away.
Siegfried’s father wished to send an army with him but Siegfried said, “Nay, give me only, I pray thee, eleven stalwart warriors.”
Tidings had reached King Gunther of the band of strangers who had so boldly entered the royal city. He sent for Hagen, chief counselor, who said they must needs be princes or ambassadors. “One knight, the fairest and the boldest, is, methinks, the wondrous hero Siegfried, who has won great treasure from the Nibelungs, and has killed two little princely dwarfs, their twelve giants, and seven hundred great champions of the neighboring country with his good sword Balmung.” Graciously then did the King welcome Siegfried.
“I beseech thee, noble knight,” said the King, “tell me why thou hast journeyed to this our royal city?”
Now Siegfried was not ready to speak of the fair Princess, so he told the King that he had come to see the splendor of the court and to do great deeds, even to wrest from him the broad realm of Burgundy and likewise all his castles. “Unless thou dost conquer me I shall rule in my great might in this realm.”
“We do well to be angry at the words of this bold stripling,” said Hagen. A quarrel arose, but King Gernot, Gunther’s brother, made peace and Siegfried began to think of the wonderlady of his dreams and grew ashamed of his boasting.
Then all Burgundy began to hear of Siegfried. At the end of the year Burgundy was threatened with invasion. King Ludegast and King Ludeger threatened mighty wars.
When Siegfried heard of this he said, “If trouble hath come to thee, my arm is strong to bring thee aid. If thy foes were as many as thirty thousand, yet with one thousand warriors would I destroy them. Therefore, leave the battle in my hands.”
When the rude kings heard that Siegfried would fight for Burgundy their hearts failed for fear and in great haste they gathered their armies. King Gunther meanwhile had assembled his men and the chief command was given to Hagen, but Siegfried rode forward to seek the foe.
In advance of their warriors stood Ludegast and Ludeger ready for the fray. Grasping his good sword Balmung, Siegfried first met Ludegast piercing him through his steel harness with an ugly thrust till he lay helpless at his feet. Thirty of the King’s warriors rode up and beset the hero, but Siegfried slaughtered all save one. He was spared to carry the dire tidings of the capture of Ludegast to his army.
Ludeger had seen the capture of his brother and met the onslaught that Siegfried soon made upon him. But with a great blow Siegfried struck the shield from Ludeger’s hold, and in a moment more he had him at his mercy. For the second time that day the Prince was victor over a king.