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« The Legend of Sigurd and Gudrún » (cont'd)

The New Lay of Gudrún

Smoke had faded,
sunk was burning;
windblown ashes
were wafted cold.
As sun setting
had Sigurd passed;
and Brynhild burned
as blazing fire.

It is told that after the murder of Sigurd, Gudrún distraught with grief would not look on her brothers or her mother, but wandered away into the forest. At that time report came to the Niflungs, Gunnar and Högni, whose father King Gjúki was now dead, of the rising power of Atli, king of the Huns, and the westward movement of his armies; and it was said that, ever greedy for gold, he had heard of Fafnir's treasure, seized by the Niflungs after Sigurd's death.
The thoughts of Grímhild the queen turned towards Gudrún, seeing in her beauty an escape from this menace; and they sought for her, and found her, living alone in a house in the woods, where she wove a great tapestry in which she showed all the story from the Falls of Ándvari to the coming of Sigurd to King Gjúki's courts There Gunnar and Högni offered her gold in recompense, but Gudrún still filled with hatred rejected them, and Grímhild held out to her, in vain, a vision of her power and wealth as Atli's queen.
But the old sorceress daunted Gudrún with her eyes and the force of her will. Gudrún sorrowful became the Queen of Hunland; and Atli swore oaths of lasting truce and league with her brothers. Atli was enamoured of her, but still more of the treasure of Fáfnir; and the gold that he lusted for never left the land of the Niflungs. Gudrún perceived what passsed in his mind, and forboded evil.
Atli prepared a great feast for guests far and wide; and a messenger named Vingi was sent on the long journey from Hunland to the halls of the Niflungs in the Rhineland. (cont'd)

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