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V


Etzel, or as we call him, Attila, king of the Huns, heard of the beauty of Kriemhilda and sent one of his knights to ask the queen to become his wife.


At first she refused. However, when she remembered that Etzel carried the sword of Tiew, she changed her mind, because, if she became his wife, she might persuade him to take vengeance upon Gunther and Hagen.


And so it came to pass.


Shortly after their marriage Etzel and Kriemhilda invited Gunther and all his court to a grand midsummer festival in the land of the Huns.


Hagen was afraid to go, for he felt sure that Kriemhilda had not forgiven the murder of Siegfried. However, it was decided that the invitation should be accepted, but that ten thousand knights should go with Gunther as a body-guard.


Shortly after Gunther and his followers arrived at Attila's court a banquet was prepared. Nine thousand Burgundians were seated at the board when Attila's brother came into the banquet hall with a thousand well-armed knights. A quarrel arose and a fight followed.


Thousands of the Burgundians were slain. The struggle continued for days. At last, of all the knights of Burgundy , Gunther and Hagen alone were left alive. Then one of Kriemhilda's friends fought with them and overpowered both. He bound them and delivered them to Kriemhilda.


The queen ordered one of her knights to cut off Gunther's head, and she herself cut off the head of Hagen with "Balmung, " Siegfried's wonderful sword. A friend of Hagen then avenged his death by killing Kriemhilda herself.


Of all the Nibelungs who entered the land of the Huns one only ever returned to Burgundy .


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