THE STORY OF THE VOLSUNGS
Sigurd sees Brynhild at Hlymdale
In those days came home to Heimir, Brynhild, his foster daughter, and she sat in her bower with her maidens, and could do more skill in handycraft than other women; she sat, overlaying cloth with gold, and sewing therein the great deeds which Sigurd had wrought, the slaying of the Worm, and the taking of the wealth of him, and the death of Regin withal.
Now tells the tale, that on a day Sigurd rode into the wood with hawk, and hound, and men thronging; and whenas he came home his hawk flew up to a high tower and sat him down on a certain window. Then fared Sigurd after his hawk, and he saw where sat a fair woman, and knew that it was Brynhild, and he deems all things he sees there to be worthy together, both her fairness, and the fair things she wrought: and therewith he goes into the hall, but has no more joyance in the games of the men folk.
Then spake Alswid, "Why art thou so bare of bliss; this manner of thine grieveth us thy friends; why then wilt thou not hold to thy gleesome ways? Lo, thy hawks pine now, and thy horse Grani droops; and long will it be ere we are booted thereof?"
Sigurd answered, "Good friend, hearken to what lies on my mind; for my hawk flew up into a certain tower; and when I came thereto and took him, lo there I saw a fair woman, and she sat by a needlework of gold, and did thereon, my deeds that are passed, and my deeds that are to come,"
Then said Alswid, "Thou has seen Brynhild, Budli's daughter, the greatest of great women."
"Yea, verily," said Sigurd; "but how came she hither?"
Aswid answered, "Short space there was betwixt the coming hither of the twain of you."
Says Sigurd, "Yea, but a few, days agone I knew her for the best of the world's women."
Alswid said, "Give not all thine heed to one woman, being such a man as thou art; ill life to sit lamenting for what we may not have."
"I shall go meet her," says Sigurd, "and get from her love like my love, and give her a gold ring in token thereof."
Alswid answered, "None has ever yet been known whom she would let sit beside her, or to whom she would give drink; for ever will she hold to warfare and to the winning of all kinds of fame."
Sigurd said, "We know not for sure whether she will give us answer or not, or grant us a seat beside her."
So the next day after, Sigurd went to the bower, but Alswid stood outside the bower door, fitting shafts to his arrows.
Now Sigurd spake, "Abide, fair and hale lady, -- how farest thou?"
She answered, "Well it fares; my kin and my friends live yet: but who shall say what goodhap folk may bear to their life's end?"
He sat him down by her, and there came in four damsels with great golden beakers, and the best of wine therein; and these stood before the twain.
Then said Brynhild, "This seat is for few, but and if my father come."
He answered, "Yet is it granted to one that likes me well."
Now that chamber was hung with the best and fairest of hanging, and the floor thereof was all covered with cloth.
Sigurd spake, "Now has it come to pass even as thou didst promise."
"O be thou welcome here!" said she, and arose there with, and the four damsels with her, and bore the golden beaker to him, and bade him drink; he stretched oui his hand to the beaker, and took it, and her hand withal, and drew her down beside him; and cast his arms round about her neck and kissed her, and said --
"Thou art the fairest that was ever born!"
But Brynhild said, "Ah, wiser is it not to cast faith and troth into a woman's power, for ever shall they break that they have promised."
He said, "That day would dawn the best of days over our heads whereon each of each should be made happy."
Brynhild answered, "It is not fated that we should abide together; I am a shield-may, and wear helm on head even as the kings of war, and them full oft I help, neither is the battle become loathsome to me."
Sigurd answered, "What fruit shall be of our life, if we live not together: harder to bear this pain that lies hereunder, than the stroke of sharp sword."
Brynhild answers, "I shall gaze on the hosts of the war kings, but thou shalt wed Gudrun, the daughter of Giuki."
Sigurd answered, "What king's daughter lives to beguile me? Neither am I double-hearted herein; and now I swear by the Gods that thee shall I have for mine own, or no woman else.
And even suchlike wise spake she.
8igurd thanked her for her speech, and gave her a gold ring, and now they swore oath anew, and so he went his ways to his men, and is with them awhile in great bliss.
Chapter XXIII: Sigurd comes to Hlymdale
Chapter XXV: Of the Dream of Gudrun, Giuki's daughter