CHAPTER 1 INTRODUCTION TO THE NIBELUNG

I would like to take you on a magical mystery tour.

This telling is on of the strangest stories ever told.  It will take us back to the abyss of time to the river Rhine.
The amazing watercourse is one of the greatest waterways of all Europe.
It´s history as a lifeline of the local folk leads back to the days of the Stone Age.
It is nothing less as the great melting-pot of the ages.
Imagine 2000 years ago in the times of the Roman Empire.
How many people dwelt, lived and loved down by the riverside.
According to the writer Carl Zuckmayer there were roman soldiers, germanic clansmen, celtic mercenaries, greek healers, african sorceres and jewish traders.
There were hunters from the east and craftsmen from the west.
They and so many more belonged to the one and only race of the world:
The human race!

Unfortunately the story of humankind tells so much about inhumanity.
How so? I will ask you!

This tale is of no exception!

Sometimes in autumn, when you walk by the riverbanks of „Old Father Rhine“,

as the locals would have it.
There is a spectacular sight created by nature.
On certain evenings the sun shines in a specific angle and turns the whole river
into some golden mystic light. Sparkling and shimmering it reminds of some ancient treasure the water still keeps.
Listening to the willows that flank the beaches there might be a mournful whisper that tells of a very old wound that will never mend.

This is the root, the fateful origin of the Nibelung Song.

It all started at the city of Worms, one of the oldest places of Germany.
In the 5th century A.D. Worms was the capitol of the mighty kingdom of Burgund.
The legendary burgundian Kings resided at an impressive castle.
It offered an amazing sight at the watercourse.

At the time of our story ruled King Gunther with his brothers Gernot and Giselher.
Within high walls the court was a place of splendour, wealth and abundance.
There were great feasts with finest food and sparkling wine in plenty.
Famous warriors and all the men and women of the nobility gathered
to have good times and company.
A masterful entertainment was performed by bards, musicians, artists and
poets from near and far.
Enchanting music by troubadours turned everybody´s mind in a happy mood
and opened the doors pf perception.

But all the gloss, the shining light and luster couldn´t hide a dark shadow.
A real menace to the whole kindom.
This particular threat was the weakness of King Gunther.

To the inner circle it was no secret at all.
Gunther ruled together with his brothers Gernot and Giselher because
he wasn´t keen on being the first in line.
In truth the three of them weren´t the only leaders of the realm.
Another player was sitting at the roundtable and produced a significant
performance.
The mention of Hagen of Tronje.
He was the incontestable first knight of the court. A glorious warrior who has
fought in many battles. His shadowy image surrounded him like the light
of a black sun.
He was a man of a thousand faces choosing his masks in the most skillful way.
He was able to pull the stings from a hidden place and his appearance
as a one eyed wild fellow made him look like a pagan warrior god.
All for sure his boyhood deeds built up a superhuman reputation and there was no doubt: „When going gets tough the tough get going“ would be his slogan.

Unquestionable he was a loyal servant and an eloquent counselor
to the royal family. Despite of his lower rank he was a close friend to the enchanting axis of the burgundian court.

According to the bards this was the most beautiful woman who ever lived.
She was the sister of King Gunther by the name of Kriemhild.
In these times there were only a few who haven´t heard her name.
Kriemhild was not only a woman of great radiance.
She was smart, brave and strong. In later days the bards would tell:

Underneath the stars where tribes move forward or parish there was
no equal to this woman.
Some suspected she and Hagen would have been the perfect royal couple
but this couldn´t be because they were related.

 

Well so much about the tribal circumstances and the burgundian way of life.

 

It happened on a fateful night at the royal castle. In the dead of the night
Kriemhild had a disturbing dream.
She saw a hawk flying high in the sky. She was delighted.
The bird of prey was beautiful, bold and elegant.
She was watching every move, every turn and every circle the hawk
performed through the air.

Suddenly dark clouds gathered and two eagles appeared. They started to chase after the beloved creature. Kriemhild was shocked  and  in terror,
witnessing a cruel struggle for survival.
The hawk had no chance in the fierce attack.
Not only did the eagles kill him. The enemies ragged and torned his body
into pieces.
The heavens darkened by pure annihilation.
Kriemhild felt an unbearable pain of no limit.
It felt like a dagger cutting through the middle of her heart.
She woke in a cold sweat and her desperate cry shattered the silence
of the nightly castle.
Soon after the door to her chamber opened and Kriemhilds mother

appeared. She embraced her daughter and asked what happened.
The old queen was a sorceress and surly no stranger to dream reading.
After Kriemhild told about her nightmare at first she remained silent.
Just then she spoke sadly with a frown:

„The hawk is your future husband. He will be killed by two sinister enemies“.

The room was silent, you could heard a pin drop.
After a while Kriemhild whispered to her mother:
„I will never love and I will never marry“.

In the first rays of sunlight she fell in a peaceful sleep again.
Life went own and soon the dream faded in some dusty attic. 

Later that year on some autumn evening Hagen of Tronje was sitting
at the fire place. The yellow flames were dancing and the red ember offered
cozy heat in the dark chamber. In the strange gloom Hagen was listening
to the famous Bard Volker of Alzey.
He sang a song of a glorious warrior from the north.
The son of a king and true hero who fought in many battles and even killed
a fearsome dragon.
Hagen stood up and looked out of the window.
The moonlight bathed the night in some otherworldly glance of silver.
Hagen gazed at the river and the dark woodland beyond the waters.
All of a sudden he knew there would be winds of change.
All to soon would come a day when fate itself would knock at the gates of the
royal castle.

The apparition of a harbinger who was followed by the rumble of doom.
This destiny would be called by a name that should survive through the ages.

The name of Siegfried