He feared it might go hard with his knights. When the knights of Bern were gone out of the yard, five hundred of Rudeger's men of Bechlaren rode up before the castle, with their shields. The Margrave had been better pleased if they had stayed away.

Kriemhild's knights were heard mourning that they must away so soon; it irked them sore. Ha! what good warriors rode with them from Bechlaren. Rudeger did them right loving service. They queen gave Gotelind's daughter twelve red armlets, and, thereto, goodly raiment of the best that she had brought with her into Etzel's land.

Then said the Margrave, "What thou and my master have given me I must pay for, this day, with my life. I shall die, and that quickly. Well I know that, or nightfall, my lands and castles will return to your keeping. To your grave I commend my wife and my child, and the homeless ones that are at Bechlaren." "God reward thee, Rudeger," cried the king. He and the queen were both glad.

He set out with good will, and told Rudeger what he had heard. Such good news had not reached him for long. A knight was seen hasting to Bechlaren. Rudeger knew him, and said, "Here cometh Eckewart, Kriemhild's man, down the way." He deemed that foemen had done him a hurt. He went to the door and met the envoy, that ungirded his sword and laid it down.

He played a sweet tune and sang her his song. Then he took his leave and left Bechlaren. But first the Margravine bade them bring a drawer near. Of loving gifts now hear the tale. She took therefrom twelve armlets, and drew them over his hand, saying, "These shalt thou take with thee and wear for my sake at Etzel's court.

All that their lord commanded they deemed right; so they served him the better. Gotelind, that sat in her chamber, had not heard the news. Twenty-Seventh Adventure How They Came to Bechlaren The Margrave went to find his wife and daughter, and told them the good news that he had heard, how that their queen's brethren were coming to the house.

Then his sumpters were laden soon. The host was well beseen with five hundred men with steeds and vesture. These he took with him full merrily hence to the feasting. Not one of them later ever came alive to Bechlaren. With a loving kiss the host parted hence; the same did Giselher, as his gentle breeding counseled him. In their arms they clasped fair wives.

Noble Gotelind is my cousin's child. Alack! The poor orphans of Bechlaren!" With ruth and sorrow he wept for Rudeger. "Woe is me for the true comrade I have lost. I must mourn Etzel's liegeman forever. Canst thou tell me, Master Hildebrand, who slew him?" Hildebrand answered, "It was stark Gernot, but the hero fell by Rudeger's hand."

It was the last gift that Rudeger of Bechlaren ever gave. Albeit Hagen was grim and stern, he was melted by the gift that the good knight, so night to his end, had given him. And many a warrior mourned with him. "Now God reward thee, noble Rudeger; there will never be thy like again for giving freely to homeless knights. May the fame of thy charity live for ever. Sad news hast thou brought me.

Them that they knew for friends, they told that the Burgundians from the Rhine would pass there shortly. They brought the tidings also to Bishop Pilgerin. When they rode down by Bechlaren, they failed not to send word to Rudeger and Dame Gotelind, the Margrave's wife, that was merry of her cheer because she was to see the guests so soon. The minstrels were seen spurring through the land.