Siegfried Sees Kriemhild
Queen Uté, the mother of Kriemhild, heard that a great festival was to be held, and she made up her mind that she and her daughter should grace it with their presence.
Then was there great glee among the handmaidens of the Queen, and they scarce slept at night for thinking of bright ribands and gay raiment.
But to Kriemhild more joyous than any hope of costly garments was the hope that at the great festival she would see, nay even speak with, her knight, Sir Siegfried.
Folded away in large chests Queen Uté had a store of rich raiment. Robes of white embroidered in gold, and sparkling with gems, she now brought forth, robes of purple and blue and many another colour she laid before the eyes of her bewildered maidens. These the Queen herself had worked through the glad days of summer, and through the dark winter evenings.
The festival was to be held at Whitsuntide, and as the time drew near, noble guests were seen daily riding into Worms. Kings came from afar, thirty-two princes also had journeyed thither, and when Whitsun morning dawned, five thousand men and more had come to Rhineland, where free from care dwelt King Gunther.
When the knights had entered the lists, the King sent a hundred of his liegemen that they might bring Queen Uté and her gentle daughter to the great hall.
Clad in their rich robes of state, the Queen and her many maidens came, and among them all was none to compare with the peerless maiden Kriemhild.
When Siegfried saw the Princess he knew that she was indeed more radiant in her beauty than he had even dreamed, and the hero's heart grew heavy.
How could it ever be that he should wed so fair, so kind a maiden. He could see the kindness shining in her bright eyes. Yet surely he had but dreamed a foolish dream, and thinking thus the knight grew pale and troubled.
Then King Gernot, whose eyes saw what other eyes were ofttimes too dull to heed, then King Gernot, seeing Siegfried's cheeks grow pale, said to his brother Gunther, "Bid the hero who hath served thee right nobly, bid him go greet our sister. For though she hath scorned full many a knight, him will she welcome with right good cheer."
King Gernot's words pleased his royal brother, and a messenger was sent to Siegfried, bidding him greet the Princess.
Swift then leaped the roses to Sir Siegfried's cheeks, as he hastened to where Kriemhild sat among her maidens.
"Be welcome here, Sir Siegfried, for thou art a good and noble knight," said the maiden softly. Then, as in reverence he bent low before his lady, she rose and took his right hand graciously in her own.
As they stood thus together the great bells of the Minster pealed, and lords and ladies wended their way to the church of God to hear a Mass sung, and to give thanks for the great victory the Burgundian heroes had won. At the Minster door Siegfried must needs leave the Princess that she might sit among her maidens. But when the service was ended they walked together to the castle.
"Now God reward thee, Siegfried," said the maiden, "for right well hast thou served my royal brother."
"Thee I will 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. And when he tilted in the tournament, he felt that the bright eyes of his lady were shining upon him, and his skill was greater even than it had used to be.
At length the merry Maytide games were over. Gifts of gold and silks did King Gunther bestow on all his guests ere they set out for their own lands. Queen Uté also and the Princess wished them Godspeed as they filed slowly past the royal throne.
The festival was over, and it might be he would see the fair maiden Kriemhild no more, so thought the hero. Well, he would away, away to his own home in the Netherlands once more.
But Giselher, Kriemhild's youngest brother, heard that Siegfried was making ready to leave the royal city, and he begged him to stay.
"Tarry here a little longer," he said, "and each day, when toil or sport is over, thou shalt see my fair sister, Kriemhild."
"Bid my steed be taken back to its stall," then cried the happy knight, "and hang my shield upon the wall."
Thus in the gladsome summer days Siegfried and Kriemhild walked and talked together, and ever did the knight love the gentle maiden more.