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

In the court of Gjúki, king of the Niflungs, and the queen Grímhild, Sigurd was welcomed, and he stayed there long. He became the companion in arms of the Niflung princes, Gunnar and Högni, and fought beside them in their wars.
Now Grímhild the queen was a sorceress, skilled in spells, grim and guileful. She looked on Sigurd, and she thought of his might and his splendour, and of his golden hoard; she thought too of her daughter, Gudrún, of great beauty. But he thought always of Brynhild, and resolved that he would soon set out to seek her again.
There was a great feast held, and at that feast Grímhild brought to Sigurd a powerful potion that she had made, and it was a drink of forgetfulness. He drank it, and immediately all memory of Brynhild faded from his mind.


Then Sigurd and Gudrún were wedded; and at the wedding-feast the Niflung princes Gunnar and Högni swore oaths of blood-brotherhood with Sigurd. But Grímhild turned her thoughts now to the marrying of her son Gunnar. She spoke to him of Brynhild, and she told him that Sigurd would ride with him in his wooing, and that she would teach them cunning devices of her sorcery to aid them.
Sigurd and the Niflung princes set out, and they came to Brynhild's halls, which were surrounded by fire, conceived by Brynhild as a barrier against all comers save Sigurd. But Gunnar's horse Goti would not enter the fire, and he asked Sigurd for the loan of Grani. Yet neither would Grani move a step with Gunnar on his back. Then Sigurd by the magic of Grímhild was transformed into the likeness of Gunnar, and now Grani leapt through the fire. As Gunnar Sigurd met Brynhild, and as Gunnar he declared himself. Brynhild was uncomprehending and filled with doubt, but Sigurd said that she was doomed by her oath to wed him who passed the fire. They lay together in the same bed; but Sigurd laid between them the sword Gram, unsheathed.
At dawn while she still slept he took the ring from her finger, and in its place he set Ándvaranaut, the ring of Ándvari. Then he left her. (cont'd)


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