He looked on the maid right sweetly, and he said, “I will not cease to serve them. Never, while I live, will I lay head on pillow, till I have brought their desire to pass. For love of thee, dear lady, I will do this.”
And every day of twelve, in the sight of all the people, the youth walked by the side of the maiden as she went to the court. So they showed their love to the knight.
Merriment and Gladness
And there was merriment and gladness and delight in the hall of Gunther, without and within, among the valiant men. Ortwin and Hagen did many wonderful deeds, and if any devised a sport, warriors, joyous in strife, welcomed it straightway. So were the knights proven before the guests, and they of Gunther’s land won glory. The wounded also came forth to take part with their comrades, to skirmish with the buckler, and to shoot the shaft, and waxed strong thereby, and increased their might.
Gunther gave order that, for the term of the high tide, they should set before them meats of the daintiest, that he might fail in naught as a king, nor the people blame him.
And he came to his guests, and said, “Receive my gifts ere ye go hence, and refuse not the treasure that I would share with you.”
The Danes made answer, “Ere we turn again to our land, make thou a lasting peace with us. We have need of such, that have many dear friends, slain by thy warriors.”
Ludgast and eke the Saxon were healed of their wounds gotten in battle, but many tarried behind, dead.
Then Gunther sought Siegfried and said, “Now counsel me in this. On the morrow our guests ride forth, and they desire of me and mine a lasting covenant. What they offer I will tell thee: as much gold as five hundred horses may carry, they will give me to go free.”
And Siegfried answered, “That were ill done. Send them forth without ransom, that they ride no more hither as foemen. And they shall give thee the hand thereon for surety.”
“What thou counselest I will do. They shall depart as thou sayest.”
And they told it to his enemies; also that none desired their gold. They said it to the war tired men, by reason of whom the dear ones of their own land sorrowed.
And the king took shields full of treasure, and divided it among them without weighing it, five hundred marks and more. Gernot, the brave knight, counseled him thereto. And they took their leave, for they were aweary for home. And they passed before Kriemhild and Queen Uta; never were knights dismissed more courteously.
The chambers were void when they left, nevertheless the king abode there still with his lieges and his vassals and knights. And these ceased not to go before Kriemhild.
Then Siegfried, the hero, had also taken leave, for he thought not to attain his desire. But the king heard of it, and Giselher the youth turned him back. “Whither ridest thou, Sir Siegfried? Prithee yield to me in this. Go not from among our knights, and Gunther, and his men. Here are fair maidens Enow that thou mayest behold at will.”
Said bold Sir Siegfried, “Let stand the horses, bear hence the shields. I would have ridden forth and turned again to my land, but Giselher hath changed my intent.”
So he abode among them through love, nor in any land had it been sweeter for him. And Kriemhild, the fair maiden, he saw daily, by reason of whose beauty he tarried.
They passed the time in sports and feats of chivalry. But his heart was weary with love; yea, for love he sorrowed then, and, after, died miserably.