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.
He married Gudrun (Kriemhild), the sister of that king, and won for him by a stratagem the hand of the Valkyrie Brynhildr, with whom he had himself previously exchanged vows of love.
According to the German story they were killed at the instigation of Kriemhild in revenge for Siegfried.
KRIEMHILD (GRiMHILD), the heroine of the Nibelungenlied and wife of the hero Siegfried.
In the north, indeed, the name Grimhildr continued to have a purely mythical character and to be applied only to daemonic beings; but in Germany, the original home of the Nibelungen myth, it certainly lost all trace of this significance, and in the Nibelungenlied Kriemhild is no more than a beautiful princess, the daughter of King Dancrat and Queen Uote, and sister of the Burgundian kings Gunther, Giselher and Gernot, the masters of the Nibelungen hoard.
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.
In the Nibelungenlied, however, the primitive supremacy of the blood-tie has given place to the more modern idea of the supremacy of the passion of love, and Kriemhild marries Attila (Etzel) in order to compass the death of her brothers, in revenge for the murder of Siegfried.
On the other hand, in the very next stanza we are introduced to what is to be the leading motive of the plot: Kriemhild, the Burgundian princess, on whose account "many a noble knight was doomed to perish."
For, as in the legend of Sigurd the Volsung, the plot had turned upon the love and vengeance of Brunhild, so in the song of the Nibelungs it is the love and vengeance of Kriemhild, the Gudrun of the northern saga, that forms the backbone of the story and gives it from first to last an artistic unity which the V olsungasaga lacks.
It appears in the very first Aventiure, when Kriemhild, in answer to her mother's interpretation of her dream, declares that she will never marry, since "it has been proved by the experience of many women that joy is in the end rewarded by sorrow"; it is repeated in the last stanza but one of the long poem: "As ever joy in sorrow ends and must end alway."
Iv.), and undertakes, on condition of receiving Kriemhild to wife, to help Gunther to woo Queen Brunhild, who can only be won by the man who can overcome her in three trials of strength (Avent.
The girdle and ring he gives to his wife Kriemhild (Avent.
Kriemhild was taunted with being the wife of Gunther's vassal; whereupon, in wrath, she showed Brunhild the ring and the golden girdle taken by Siegfried, proof that Siegfried, not Gunther, had won Brunhild.
Hagen easily persuades the weak Gunther that the supposed insult to his honour can only be wiped out in Siegfried's blood; he worms the secret of the hero's vulnerable spot out of Kriemhild, on pretence of shielding him from harm (Avent.
Hagen, seizing the spear, thrust it through the spot marked by Kriemhild on Siegfried's surcoat.
Siegfried, to be sure, is buried with all the pomp of medieval Catholic rites; but Kriemhild, while praying for his soul like a good Christian, plots horrible vengeance like her pagan prototype.
With this significant difference, however: Gudrun revenged upon her husband the death of her brothers; Kriemhild seeks to revenge upon her brothers the death of her husband.
The Catholic bond of marriage has become stronger than the primitive Teutonic bond of kinship. Mistress now of the inexhaustible hoard of the Nibelungs, Kriemhild sought to win a following by lavish largesses; but this Hagen frustrated by seizing the treasure, with the consent of the kings, and sinking it in the Rhine, all taking an oath never to reveal its hidingplace, without the consent of the others, so long as they should live (Avent.
Xxviii.) it is again Hagen who provokes the catastrophe by taunting Kriemhild when she asks him if he has brought with him the hoard of the Nibelungs: "The devil's what I bring you !"
First' onslaught of the Huns strikes off the head of Ortlieb, the son of Etzel and Kriemhild, and who, amid the smoke and carnage of the burning hall, bids the Burgundians drink blood if they are thirsty.
Kriemhild came to him as he lay in bonds and demanded the Nibelung treasure.
Whereupon Kriemhild slew him with Siegfried's sword.
But Kriemhild was not destined, like Gudrun, to set out on further adventures.