Search      Hot    Newest Novel
HOME > Children's Novel > The Story of Siegfried > Adventure XIX. How They Hunted in the Odenwald.
Font Size:【Large】【Middle】【Small】 Add Bookmark  
Adventure XIX. How They Hunted in the Odenwald.
 Next morning, at earliest daybreak, while yet the stars were bright, and the trees hung heavy with dew-drops, and the clouds were light and high, King Siegfried stood with his before the castle-gate. They waited but for the sunrise, and a word from Gunther the king, to ride over dale and woodland, and through forest and brake and field, to meet, as they believed, the hosts of the North-land kings. And Siegfried moved among them, calm-faced and bright as a war-god, upon the radiant Greyfell. And men said, long years , that never had the shining hero seemed so glorious to their sight. Within the courtyard a thousand Burgundian braves stood waiting, too, for the signal, and the king’s word of command. And at their head stood Hagen, dark as a cloud in summer, hiding his plots, and giving out orders for the marching. There, too, were honest Gernot, fearless and upright, and Giselher, true as gold; and neither of them dreamed of evil, or of the dark deed that day was to see. Close by the gate was Ortwin, bearing aloft the blood-red dragon-banner, which the Burgundians were to carry in honor of Siegfried’s famous fight with Fafnir. And there was Dankwart, also, ever ready to boast when no danger threatened, and ever willing to do chief Hagen’s bidding. And next came Volker the Fiddler good, with the famed sword Fiddle-bow by him, on which, it is said, he could make the sweetest music while fighting his in battle.  
At length the sun began to peep over the eastern hills, and his beams fell upon the castle-walls, and shot away through the trees, and over the meadows, and made the dewdrops like of diamonds among the dripping leaves and blossoms. And a glad shout went up from the throats of the waiting heroes; for they thought that the looked-for moment had come, and the march would soon begin. And the shout was echoed from walls to , and from turrets to trees, and from trees to hills, and from the hills to the sky above. And nothing was wanting now but King Gunther’s word of command.
Suddenly, far down the street, the sound of a was heard, and then of the swift of horses’ coming up the hill towards the castle.
“Who are they who come thus to join us at the last moment?” asked Hagen of the watchman above the gate.
“They are strangers,” answered the watchman; “and they carry a peace-flag.”
In a few moments the strange horsemen dashed up, and halted some distance from the castle-gate, where Siegfried and his heroes stood.
“Who are you? and what is your errand?” cried Hagen, in the king’s name.
They answered that they were from the North-land kings, sent quickly to correct the message of the day before; for their liege lords, Leudiger and Leudigast, they said, had given up warring against Burgundy, and had gone back to their homes. And they had sent to ask the Rhineland kings to forget the rash threats which they had made, and to allow them to swear to Gunther, and henceforth to be his , if only they might be forgiven.
“Right cheerfully do we forgive them!” cried Gunther, not waiting to consult with his wise men. “And our forgiveness shall be so full, that we shall ask neither fealty nor tribute from them.”
Then he turned to Siegfried, and said, “You hear, friend Siegfried, how this troublesome matter has been happily ended. Accept our thanks, we pray you, for your help; for, without it, it might have gone but roughly with us in a second war with the Northland kings. But now you are free to do what pleases you. If, as you said yesterday, you would fain return to Nibelungen Land, you may send your warriors on the way to-day, for they are already equipped for the journey. But you with us another day, and to-morrow we will bid you God-speed, and you may easily overtake your Nibelungen friends ere they have reached our own boundaries.”
Siegfried was not well pleased to give up an scarce begun, and still less could he understand why the king should be so ready to forgive the which the North-land kings had offered him. And he was not slow in reading the look of shame and that in Gunther’s face, or the smile of jealous hate that Hagen could no longer hide. Yet no word of displeasure he, nor seemed he to understand that any was ; for he feared neither force nor . So he bade his Nibelungens to begin their homeward march, saying that he and Kriemhild, and the ladies of her train, would follow swiftly on the morrow.
“Since it is your last day with us,” said Gunther, grown cunning through Hagen’s teaching, “what say you, dear Siegfried, to a hunt in Odin’s Wood?”
“Right glad will I be to join you in such sport,” answered Siegfried. “I will change my war-coat for a hunting-suit, and be ready within an hour.”
Then Siegfried went to his apartments, and his steel-clad armor, and searched in vain through his wardrobe for his favorite hunting-suit. But it was nowhere to be found; and he was fain to put on the rich coat which he sometimes wore in battle, instead of a coat-of-mail. And he did not see the white lime-leaf that Kriemhild with anxious care had worked in silk upon it. Then he sought the queen, and told her of the unlooked-for change of plans, and how, on the morrow, they would ride towards Nibelungen Land; but to-day he said he had promised Gunther to hunt with him in the Odenwald.
But Kriemhild, to his great surprise, begged him not to leave her, even to hunt in the Odenwald. For she had begun to fear that she had made a great mistake in telling Hagen the story of the lime-leaf; and yet she could not explain to Siegfried the true cause of her uneasiness.
“Oh, do not join in the hunt!” she cried. “Something tells me that danger hidden in the wood. Stay in the castle with me, and help me put things in readiness for our journey homewards to-morrow. Last night I had another dream. I thought that Odin’s birds, Hugin and Munin, sat on a tree before me. And Hugin flapped his wings, and said, ‘What more vile than a false friend? What more to be feared than a secret ? Harder than stone is his unfeeling heart; sharper than the adder’s poison-fangs are his words; a snake in the grass is he!’ Then Munin flapped his wings too, but said nothing. And I awoke, and thought at once of the sunbright Balder, through Loki’s vile deceit. And, as I thought upon his sad death, a leaf came fluttering through the , and fell upon my couch. Sad signs and tokens are these, my husband; and much grief, I fear, they .”
But Siegfried was deaf to her words of warning, and he laughed at the foolish dream. Then he bade her farewell till even-tide, and hastened to join the party of huntsmen who waited for him impatiently at the gate.
When the party reached the Odenwald, they separated; each man taking his own course, and following his own game. Siegfried, with but one trusty huntsman and his own fleet-footed hound, sought at once the wildest and thickest part of the wood. And great was the he made among the fierce beasts of the forest; for nothing that was of notice could hide from his sight, or escape him. From his in a , a huge wild boar sprang up; and with glaring red eyes, and mouth , and gnashing with rage, he charged fiercely upon the hero. But, with one stroke from his great spear, Siegfried laid the beast dead on the heather. Next he met a lion, couched ready to spring upon him; but, drawing quickly his heavy bow, he sent a quivering arrow through the animal’s heart. Then, one after another, he a , four bisons, a with branching horns, and many deers and stags and beasts.
At one time the hound drove from its hiding-place another wild boar, much greater than the first, and far more fierce. Quickly Siegfried dismounted from his horse, and met the creature as it rushed with fury towards him. The sword of the hero the beast in twain, and its parts lay lifeless on the ground. Then Siegfried’s huntsman, in gay mood, said, “My lord, would it not be better to rest a while! If you keep on at this rate, there will soon be no game left in Odenwald.”
Siegfried laughed at the merry words, and at once called in his hound, saying, “You are right! We will hunt no more until our good friends have joined us.”
Soon afterward the call of a bugle was heard; and Gunther and Hagen and Dankwart and Ortwin, with their huntsmen and hounds, came riding up.
“What luck have you had, my friends?” asked Siegfried.
Then Hagen told what game they had taken,—a deer, a young bear, and two small wild boars. But, when they learned what Siegfried had done, the old chief’s face grew dark, and he knit his , and bit his lips in jealous hate: for four , ten huntsmen, and four and twenty hounds, had beaten every bush, and followed every trail; and yet the Nibelungen king, with but one and one hound, had slain ten times as much game as they.
While they stood talking over the successes of the day, the sound of a horn was heard, calling the sportsmen together for the mid-day meal; and knights and huntsmen turned their steeds, and rode slowly towards the trysting-place. Suddenly a huge bear, roused by the noise of baying hounds and tramping feet, crossed their pathway.
“Ah!” cried Siegfried, “there goes our friend Bruin, just in time to give us a bit of fun, and some needed sport at dinner. He shall go with us, and be our............
Join or Log In! You need to log in to continue reading

Login into Your Account

  Remember me on this computer.

All The Data From The Network AND User Upload, If Infringement, Please Contact Us To Delete! Contact Us
About Us | Terms of Use | Privacy Policy | Tag List | Recent Search  
©2010-2018, All Rights Reserved