Siegfried is the central character in this legend, skillfully adapted from the Nibelung, an old German poem, full of strange adventures of tiny dwarves and stalwart mortals. In this retelling of the ancient legend, Siegfried wins the accursed Rhineland treasure, takes Kriemhild as bride, and comes to an untimely end, passing the curse of the Rheingold on to his enemies.
THEN MIMER SAW THE BEAR
Dear Denis,—Here is a story that I found in an old German poem called the Nibelungenlied. The poem is full of strange adventure, adventure of both tiny dwarf and stalwart mortal.
Some of these adventures will fill this little book, and already I can see you sitting in the nursery as you read them.
The door is opened but you do not look up. "Denis! Denis!" You are called, but you do not hear, for you are not really in the nursery any longer.
You have wandered away to Nibelheim, the home of the strange little people of whom you are reading, and you have ears only for the harsh voices of the tiny Nibelungs, eyes only for their odd, wrinkled faces.
Siegfried is the merry hero of the Nibelungenlied. I wonder will you think him as brave as French Roland or as chivalrous as your English favourite, Guy of Warwick? Yet even should you think the German hero brave and chivalrous as these, I can hardly believe you will read and re-read this little book as often as you read and re-read the volumes which told about your French and English heroes.