Nibelungs - George Upton

The Welcome

When they had come once more to land, Siegfried rode on before to proclaim the glad tidings, for much he craved sight of Kriemhild, nor was the maiden's joy less when she again beheld the gallant hero for whose fate she so long had trembled. As a token of her happiness at his safe return she gave him four and twenty golden armlets, set with precious stones, to be divided among his bravest followers.

There was great stir in Worms to prepare for the home-coming of Gunther and his bride. The spacious hall was magnificently decorated and set with long tables and benches, for all the lords and knights of the realm were bidden to the feast, while the whole court made ready to go forth to meet the returning company. At the head of the long train rode Kriemhild with her mother, mounted on noble steeds; and after them a hundred ladies of the court, all on white palfreys, richly caparisoned, their bridles gleaming with gold. Each horse was led by a man-at-arms, bearing lance and shield, while the robes of Kriemhild and her women sparkled with gold and jewels. Behind them rode a troop of armed knights. Soon the two trains met, and joyous greetings followed.

Then did the Lady Kriemhild

Advance with modest mien

To where with her attendant maids

Stood Gunther's beauteous Queen;

Deft hands unbinding head gear,

Fresh charms thereby disclose,

And when the twain with love embraced,

What shouts of joy arose!

Then spake in courtly fashion,

Kriemhild, the maiden fair:

"Right cordially we welcome thee;

Our joy the people share.

For sure your coming to our court

Good will with gladness blends!"

"I thank your courtesy,"—replies

Brunhild, and toward her bends.

Gladly the knights beheld the greetings of the two princesses, and much debate was there as to which was the fairer; but those best versed in womanly beauty declared themselves in favor of Kriemhild.

Forthwith was a tournament held in honor of the bride, the Burgundians on one side, Siegfried with his Nibelungs on the other; whereby there arose such clouds of dust it seemed the whole earth were burning, while showers of sparks flew from shield and harness. Silken tents had been raised meanwhile, and thither the noble ladies repaired with the King and his kinsmen and Siegfried, to refresh themselves with a repast, after which the whole company set out for Worms. Along the road as they passed were bands of stout yeomen wrestling or wielding their staves, and Siegfried offered prizes for the most skilful and daring. At last they reached the city and, greeted by strains of music and waving banners, rode into the ancient castle of the King.