When Ute, the mother of Kriemhild, heard that a grand festival celebrating the prowess of Prince Siegfried was to be held at court, she made up her mind that she and her daughter would lend their gracious presence. Many noble guests were there gathered and when the knights entered the lists the King sent a hundred of his liegemen to bring the Queen and the Princess to the great hall. When Siegfried saw the Princess he knew that she was indeed more beautiful than he had ever dreamed. A messenger was sent by the King bidding him greet the Princess. “Be welcome here, Sir Siegfried, for thou art a good and noble knight,” said the maiden softly, “for right well hast thou served my royal brother.”
“Thee will I serve for ever,” cried the happy hero, “thee will I serve for ever, and thy wishes shall ever be my will!”
Then for twelve glad days were Siegfried and Kriemhild ofttimes side by side.
SIEGFRIED GOES TO ISENLAND
Whitsuntide had come and gone when tidings from beyond the Rhine reached the court at Worms.
No dread tidings were these, but glad and good to hear, of a matchless Queen named Brunhild who dwelt in Isenland. King Gunther listened with right good will to the tales of this warlike maiden, for if she were beautiful she was also strong as any warrior. Wayward, too, she was, yet Gunther would fain have her as his queen to sit beside him on his throne.
One day the King sent for Siegfried to tell him that he would fain journey to Isenland to wed Queen Brunhild.
Now Siegfried, as you know, had been in Isenland and knew some of the customs of this wayward Queen. So he answered the King right gravely that it would be a dangerous journey across the sea to Isenland, nor would he win the Queen unless he were able to vanquish her great strength.
He told the King how Brunhild would challenge him to three contests, or games, as she would call them. And if she were the victor, as indeed she had been over many a royal suitor, then his life would be forfeited.
At her own desire kings and princes had hurled the spear at the stalwart Queen, and it had but glanced harmless off her shield, while she would pierce the armor of these valiant knights with her first thrust. This was one of the Queen’s games.
Then the knights would hasten to the ring and throw the stone from them as far as might be, yet ever Queen Brunhild threw it farther. For this was another game of the warrior-queen.
The third game was to leap beyond the stone which they had thrown, but ever to their dismay the knights saw this marvelous maiden far outleap them all.
These valorous knights, thus beaten in the three contests, had been beheaded, and therefore it was that Siegfried spoke so gravely to King Gunther.
But Gunther, so he said, was willing to risk his life to win so brave a bride.