Das Nibelungenlied / The Song of the Nibelungs
This is my favorite legend, it contains everything you need for major drama: love, betrayal, murder, death, jealousy and dragon's blood. It is a blend of actual people and mythology, a lot of it has parallels to Norse folktales. But this one is set in Germany, around 300-400 A.D.

1. Das Nibelungenlied (written ~13th century, author not known)



2. Kriemhild, Princess of Burgundy, has a dream that is interpreted by her mother. She says that whomever she will marry is destined to be murdered. Kriemhild vows to stay unmarried.

3. Meanwhile in Xanten, young Prince Siegfried sets out to seek adventures and fame.
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4. He becomes King of the Nibelungs, obtains a magic sword, an invisibility cloak and bathes in dragon’s blood. He is only vulnerable between the shoulder blades.

5. Siegfried goes to the court of Burgundy, which is governed by the three brothers Gunther, Gernot and Giselher. They befriend Siegfried, who is in love with Kriemhild.


6. In order to marry Kriemhild, Siegfried promises Gunther to help him conquer the heart of fierce Icelandic Queen Brynhild.
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7. Suitors of Brynhild have to battle her super powers. Siegfried wears his cloak and Gunther pretends to fight. He defeats Brynhild and she has to come home with the King.


8. Brynhild feels she has been deceived and denies Gunther the wedding night. Siegfried has to help him out once more.
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9. Years pass, Kriemhild and Siegfried share a deep love for each other. Brynhild remains suspicious.

10. The two Queens begin an unfortunate argument about the ranking of their husbands. A point of no return is reached.

11. Gunther’s right hand man Hagen, who has never liked Siegfried, begins to advise the Kings to have Siegfried killed, thus obtaining his land and riches.

12. An intricate plan is made and carried out. Kriemhild is tricked into revealing her husband’s vulnerable spot and Hagen kills him while he is drinking water from a well.


13. Kriemhild demands proof of Hagen’s guilt by cruentation. Though the body bleeds heavily, the guilty Kings defend Hagen.
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14. Kriemhild demands Siegfried’s Morgengabe - the gold and jewels- but Hagen steals them and throws them into the river Rhine. This is where the word “rhinestone” comes from.

15. Years later, Attila the Hun asks to marry Kriemhild. She agrees, sensing her chance for revenge.
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16. She invites the Kings of Burgundy to celebrate the baptism of her son on summer solstice. Everyone fears a trap and a Rivermaid predicts the death of every Nibelung.

17. It is indeed a trap. Hagen kills Kriemhild’s son and a fight breaks out. Kriemhild locks the Nibelungs into the hall and sets it on fire, but they survive the night by drinking the blood of the dead.

18. Finally, the Nibelungs are defeated. The last two remaining Nibelungs are Gunther and Hagen. When Hagen refuses to tell Kriemhild the location of the gold, she kills him.


19. Attila’s men are furious that so many brave warriors died because of one woman’s thirst for revenge. She is killed by them and the story ends by concluding that romantic love is bound to bring tragedy, and traditional (arranged) marriages should be preferred.


20. Map of locations