The Rhine-daughters have been teasing the Nibelung Alberich, and are rejoicing in the light of the Rhine-gold which shines at the top of a rock as the sun strikes it through the water.
What it becomes in the mind of the Nibelung is grimly evident when Alberich uses his ring in Nibelheim.
Theodor Abeling (Das Nibelungenlied, Leipzig, 1907) traces the Nibelung sagas to three groups of Burgundian legends, each based on fact: the Frankish-Burgundian tradition of the murder of Segeric, son of the Burgundian king Sigimund, who was slain by his father at the instigation of his stepmother; the Frankish-Burgundian story, as told by Gregory of Tours (iii.
Herr Abeling identifies Siegfried (Sigurd) with Segeric, while - according to him - the heroine of the Nibelung sagas, Kriemhild (Gudrun), represents a conf.usion of two historical persons: Chrothildis, the wife of Clovis, and Ildico (Hilde), the wife of Attila.
As she appears in the Nibelungen legend, however, Kriemhild would seem to have an historical origin, as the wife of Attila, king of the Huns, as well as sister of the Nibelung kings.
It has been suggested (Symons, Heldensage, p. 55) that when the legend of the overthrow of the Burgundians, which took place in 437, became attached to that of the death of Attila (453), Hild, the supposed sister of the Burgundian kings, was identified with the daemonic Grimhild, the sister of the mythical Nibelung brothers, and thus helped the process by which the Nibelung myth became fused with the historical story of the fall of the Burgundian kingdom.
In 1854 Richard Wagner sent him a copy of the Ring of the Nibelung, with some words of thanks for a theory of music which had fallen in with his own conceptions.
Another legend states that the Nibelung treasure is hidden hereabouts in the Rhine.
Kriemhild came to him as he lay in bonds and demanded the Nibelung treasure.
The controversy as to the underlying elements of the Nibelung legend extends to the question of the authorship and construction of the poem itself.
1 Bartsch and others ascribe its authorship, with much plausibility, to an Austrian knight of the race of Kiirenberg, the earliest of the courtly lyric poets, whose lyrics are written in the Nibelung strophe.