Zénaïde A. (Zénaïde Alexeïevna) Ragozin.

Siegfried, the hero of the North, and Beowulf, the hero of the Anglo-Saxons online

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SIEGFRIED

The Hero of the North

AND

BEOWULF

The Hero of the Anglo-Saxons

BY

ZENA'l'DE A. RAGOZIN

Member of the Royal Asiatic Society of Great Britain and

Ireland ; of the American Oriental Society, etc.

Author of "Chaldea," "Vedic India," etc.



ILLUSTRATED BY GEORGE T. TOBIN

Seventh Impression

V. ' \ i ; ,.' : ' - -" '
G. P. /PUTNAM'S SONS

NEW YORK ^LONDON
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PUBLIC LIBRARY

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PREFACE

A STRANGE thing happened last
winter in New York, strange even
for New York. It was reported, with the
names and addresses, in all the papers ; and
personal investigation proved the facts to
be true.

It happened in the family of a respecta-
ble and well-to-do German artisan couple.
Both husband and wife had come from
the old country very young, and prospered,
as honest industry will, when coupled with
intelligence and a moderate share of luck.
They had profited, perhaps to an excep-
tional degree, by the educational advan-
tages which Germany "provides'- for her
poorest children ; but, unfortunately, their
minds and their Hioraf" sense ran in a
groove. They loved'trath above all things,
but truth in a narrow, absolute sense. They






iv Preface

read in their leisure hours, but only what
was literally true. All fiction, all poetry
was tabooed, branded uncompromisingly
as "lies," and abominated accordingly.
In a word, the worthy couple were speci-
mens of a very rare genus : human beings
utterly devoid of imagination.

Strictly on these lines they brought up
their little daughter, a pretty, blue-eyed
fairy of a child, their idol and their joy.
They would give to her a first-class educa-
tion. They could afford it, for their sav-
ings-bank account kept growing and had
reached the sum of $1400.00. But the
parents- -the mother especially- -watched
her studies and recreations keenly, and so
successfully that little Gertrude at twelve
years of age had never heard a fairy-tale,
never seen a story-book or a Mother Goose
picture, and had never suspected that there
were any other intellectual meadows to
browse' oh, ; dian''msithci ! iiia;tjps, spelling, and

I . I , t l , . ' .

geography,.., :...;.'...'.'" * ^

Now, by '\-aJpstfveffcity in which fate



delights, \.thjLs /sofofer,: :truth-telling couple
had brought* hlto^'ihe world a being



Preface v

from another sphere- -imaginative, dreamy,
ardent-souled, artistic. Cherished as she
was, little Gertrude could not be anything
but happy, nor was she conscious of any
unsatisfied want. But she threw her whole
unconscious passion into music and showed
such talent as to delight her elders and
inspire them with the proudest hopes for
her future career.

One day she heard her mother say to
a neighbour : " Gertrude shall be another
Paderewsky. She shall play at the White
House before the President. What a
fortune she will make ! ' The child said
nothing, but began to think. " I was so
glad," she said afterwards ; " I thought it
had already happened." Soon after, she
went with her parents to the dedication
of Grant's tomb. It was the first pageant
she had ever witnessed, and she saw the
President in his landau. She heard that
he and his wife were staying at the
Windsor.

Three days later Gertrude, returning
from school, burst into the family room
with an astounding piece of news : Mrs.



vi Preface

McKinley had visited her school, had
heard her play and recite, and would
return next day with the President. Ger-
trude was to visit them at their hotel.
Great was the parents' joy. The day
following, the little girl was equipped
from head to foot with new garments and
sent off on her supposed visit. She came
home at seven o'clock in an ecstasy of joy :
" Mrs. McKinley will adopt me. I am
to call her 'mamma.' She will pay for
my music lessons. And Mr. McKinley will
give papa a place in Washington." They
believed it all. But Gertrude had some-
thing else to tell, and came out w r ith it
the next day : " Poor Mrs. McKinley has
no money ; she does not want to ask her
husband till pay-day. I wish I could lend
it her."

The father went to the bank and re-
turned with a hundred dollars, which he
gave to Gertrude to take at once to
" Mamma McKinley." Very soon she
was back : " Mamma McKinley thanks
you ever so much. She would come to
see you, but of course she cannot come



Preface vii

to a tenement." Whereupon, incredible
as it may seem, the good people moved
to an "apartment' in a good location
and proportionately high as to rent.

Gertrude hastened to inform her illus-
trious friends of the change, and came
home with another woful tale : " Mr. Mc-
Kinley asks papa to lend him a hundred
dollars until he goes back to Washington.
He has cheques, but does not like to
pay his hotel bills in cheques." The hun-
dred dollars went. This time the child
came home with an armful of costly flowers.
The President had sent the roses, his wife
the lilies of the valley, and the violets
came from the German Ambassador.

After this Gertrude became a regular
visitor at the President's, but almost every
time she had to have money, to lend
either to him, or to his wife, or to spend in
largesses to the servants, in presents to
the secretaries or attendants, and each time
she returned laden with flowers and even
stranger gifts, which she distributed to the
members of her family ; there were, among
other things, a black-and-tan dog, a canary



viii Preface

bird, and, later on, jewelry, even to a
diamond ring. At the same time the child
conversed on all current political topics as
one who got her information at headquar-
ters, and gave so many and positive par-
ticulars about the position in store for her
father, the salary, the work, etc., that the
poor man actually returned work he had
contracted for, to take a short rest before
the ist of December, on which day the
summons to Washington was to come.

The $1400.00 were gone. But where
was the harm, since they would be repaid
with interest, not to speak of a $5000.00
salary !

Then the crash came.

On Thanksgiving Day, Gertrude pre-
pared to go to school, as usual. " Is your
school open to-day ? ' asked her father,
wonderingly. " It is always open for the
President," she replied, promptly enough,
still not without a little gasp at her blunder.
" I will go with you," said the father, quietly.
It had just dawned on him for the first
time that there was something queer some-
where. The schoolhouse was locked, of



Preface ix

course. She did not yet lose heart. " Mrs.
McKinley must have come and gone away
disappointed. I '11 run over to the hotel."
" I'll go with you," again said the father,
who had taken her to the door more than
once. But this time he questioned the
janitor. He learned that the President
had left in April, that the little girl who
came in at one door used to walk through
the hall and out at another door.

How the good man got home, he never
knew. Gertrude broke down completely
and made a full confession. All the time
she was away from home she spent at a
neighbour's. She had a drawer there
where she kept the money she did not
spend and all the things she did not take
home. She made presents lavishly, took
her friend on long drives, but could not
account for the enormous sum she had
squandered. The neighbour sent home to
her parents a variety of articles she had
kept in storage for the child. It was a
queer collection : there were, among other
things, two bicycles, a camera, plaster casts
of musicians, and to the mother's great-



x Preface

est amazement and horror a stack of fairy
tales ! That the kind neighbour had been
the-wire puller and prompter of the strange
extravaganza we are at liberty to infer, as
well as that she might have accounted for
more of the money than poor Gertrude
could remember, had she been so willed.
Still, the idea had germinated in the little
girl's excited brain from the seed dropped
into it by her mother's remark and her sub-
sequent glimpse of the President amid the
splendour of a military pageant. Then
she began a course of fairy fiction, and,
letting her long-repressed imagination run
riot, mindful only of the delights of a
glorious present, she proceeded to live a
fairy tale in a self-made fairy-land.

Possibly the story should be taken cum
grano salis ; but the main facts of it are
undoubtedly true and quite sufficient to
make of it the most telling argument
against the pedagogical theory which
would eliminate all fiction from the child's
intellectual fare. Whatever exists has, from
that very fact, the right to exist, and de-
mands food ; indeed, it is not at all certain



Preface



XI



that anything existing can be starved out,
supposing it were desirable to do so.

Imagination is as real, as dominant, as
God-given a faculty as any of those that
go to make the spiritual entity of man.
If rudely restrained, or even suppressed, it
is very sure to break loose sooner or later,
and then there is no knowing by what
strange vagaries it will astonish the world.
On the other hand, it cannot be denied
that, of all noble steeds, imagination is the
wildest and most dangerous if allowed to
run its own pace, unchecked and unbridled,
and the most given to select for its fodder
poisonous weeds instead of sweet, whole-
some herbage. Still, the indicated remedies
are not starvation and repression, but a ju-
diciously directing hand and a choice of
proper food, until the taste is formed and
the mettle chastened by age and training.

In practical application to educational
purposes, all this theorising reduces itself

tO this : THE NECESSITY OF MAKING JUDI-
CIOUS SELECTION OF FICTION FOR RECREA-
TIVE READING.

For the first, the most juvenile period,



Xll



Preface



nothing can ever take the place of the uni-
versal treasury of nursery fairy tales, the
ever young, the ever dear, harmless ow-
ing to the glaring extravagance of their
impossibilities, educational from the moral
purity and profound wisdom which per-
vade them. 1

Fortunately we have, ready to our hand,
for the next age say from ten to sixteen
another vast treasury of fiction, which to
the same qualities adds high literary worth,
besides historical value, as the source from
which all the poetry, drama, romance of
the world have flowed through all but un-
numbered ages the mytho-heroical epic
fiction of the ancient nations. Once we
admit the necessity of recreative fiction-
reading for the young, why not plunge into
this treasure and bring out its pearls and
rubies in generous handfuls, and pour them
into our children's laps to make them rich

1 This cannot be said of such works as Jules Verne's famous
books. Their semi-scientific plausibility is a snare to the
young mind, which does not possess sufficient knowledge to
discriminate between the truth and the fiction they contain, so
that all its ideas get misled, confused, and blurred. A lie in
the garb of truth ! Can anything be more pernicious?



Preface



X11L



for life with the heirloom which is theirs
by right of birth ?

There are two reasons why a well se-
lected and carefully adapted course of high-
class poetic fiction must rank before the
host of modern story-books well meant
and well done as many of them are which
crowd the Christmas counters : First, the
positive standard value of such literature,
the noble beauty it breathes ; the high
lessons of unselfish heroic endeavour which
pervade it, and which it instils without ever
pointing a moral; the gallery of masterly
characters which impress themselves on
the mind forever by a few simple strokes ;
the vivid presentation of the life, man-
ners, and spirit, in bygone ages, of the dif-
ferent peoples, with the universally human
element never absent or distorted. Second,
all study of history, with many of its at-
tendant branches, is based, according to
the modern methods of comparative re-
search and reconstruction, on that of the
myths and heroic legends of the ancient
world. In becoming familiar with them
for pleasure and amusement, therefore, the



xiv Preface

youthful mind will be storing up the ma-
terials for future serious work,- -nay, when
the college days come, it will find much of
the work actually done.

Not that these ideas are new at all.
They have been propounded and acted
upon a hundred times. To them we owe
such admirable gems as Hawthorne's and
Kingsley's tales of the Greek gods and
heroes and, while on a lower plane,
Church's attractive selections from Homer,
Virgil, and Herodotus, not to speak of
numberless other attempts in the same
field. Aye, there 's the trouble : it is al-
ways the same field, the everlasting so-
called " classic ' field, while we have long
ago discovered that it is but one of many,
quite as rich in sterling treasure, quite as
attractive with brilliant and fragrant, if ex-
otic, flowers. Truly, these Graeco-Roman
stories seem worn pretty threadbare by
overmuch handling, while the vast mine of
the East and the North has been left
either hardly touched or quite untouched.
Surely there is more than room on the
book-market for a series embracing the



Preface xv

Northern and Oriental epics. To repre-
sent the North we have the Anglo-Saxon
Beowulf, the Swedish Frithjof, the Ger-
man Lay of the Nibelungs, the Franco-Ger-
man Lay of Roland, the Finnic Kalewala,
-all of them national epics. In the East
we have the two great epics of India, the
Mahdbkdrata and the Rdmdyana, and that
of Persia, the Shah-Nameh (" Book of
Kings "). The Slavic race indeed has no
rounded, finished literary epic poem, its
leisure having been broken in upon by the
inexorable demands of an iron age, which
compelled it, in self-defence, to go about
its practical historical work. But the ma-
terials are there in bewildering abundance,
in the form of separate blocks of legends,
grouped around an heroic central figure,
as those of the Round Table around Brit-
ish Arthur. Of these blocks, moreover,
chips enough have flown off, in the form
of popular folk-tales and fairy tales, to yield
a fascinating little volume of the kind of
Grimm's Hausmarchen.

And now about the treatment of the
national poems.



xvi Preface

It should be simple and epical ; faith-
fully following the main lines, bringing
out also the characteristic details, the
poetical beauties, picturesque traits, and
original dialogue, as much as may be con-
sistent with necessary condensation and,
frequently, with elimination. It should be
a consecutive, lively narrative, with the
necessary elucidating explanations incor-
porated in the text and with the fewest and
briefest possible footnotes, while it should
contain absolutely no critical or mytholog-
ical digressions. For, should such digres-
sions be indulged in, the work would bear
to the epic in hand the same relation as,
say, Keightley's Grtzco-Roman Mythology
to the Iliad and Odyssey.

Let me with a single example be a little
more explicit.

The "Lay of the Nibelungs" (" Das
Nibelungenlied ") would necessarily be
one of the most important contributions to
such a series as is here planned. It is the
national epic of Germany, and has not yet
been presented in this manner. Yet the
names of the chief actors Siegfried,



Preface xvii

Kriemhilde, Brunhilde, Hagen and the
principal incidents of the poem have within
the last few years (mainly owing to Wag-
ner's tetralogy of operas), become as fa-
miliar as those of Homer's heroes, so that,
at first sight, a new treatment of what is
seemingly the same subject may appear
superfluous, in view of the considerable
group of books treating of Northern myths
which has lately been put on the market.
But all, or nearly all, of these books were
written with an especial view to the themes
of Wagner's operas, which takes from
them scholarly authority and lowers them
to the level of mere books of the play.
Meanwhile the great story of the epic has
not been re-told.

To make the matter clear by a parallel
hypothetic case : take the whole mass of
myth and tradition which makes up the
bulk of Hellenic mythology, heroic and
legendary history, the heroes and kings
representing the later transformations of
the gods. Suppose now that a great
modern genius had thoroughly mastered
the immense material and written a series



xviii Preface

of operas on themes taken from it, a tril-
ogy on the fates of the doomed House of
the Atridae, a tragic opera on the advent-
ures of Perseus and Andromeda, etc. The
operas become very popular and the
fashion, but they are too erudite to be
generally intelligible. Then there come
men who tell the stories of these myths
and heroic legends with the special object
of making the operas intelligible and the
subjects of them familiar. The result is a
sort of course of classic mythology, not
told spontaneously and methodically, not
similar let us say again- -to a text-book
mythology, but biassed and bent to the
main object of popularising the operas
a running commentary on them at the
same time showing the connection and
transformation between the older (divine-
mythical) and the later (heroic-mythical)
cycles, and bringing in the interpretative
methods of modern comparative mythol-
ogy. Useful and instructive work of its
kind. But where, in all this, are the Iliad
and Odyssey?

This work has been well and amply



Preface xix

done with the myths and heroic legends
of the North. But where, in it all, is the
" Lay of the Nibelungs " a complete,
rounded piece of literary art, in itself a
gallery of characters, working out a per-
fect plot in a series of well conceived and
finely rendered situations ? What we
want, in telling it to the young, is to take
the epic just as it is, condensing and ex-
purgating, but not changing ; rendering
the characters, scenes, situations with the
faithfulness and reverence due to the
masterpiece of a race ; using, as much as
possible, especially in the dialogue, the
words of the original. Whether Siegfried
is the young smith of the Edda, and Brun-
hilde is the Valkyrie, Odin's daughter,
and Hagen a reflection of Loki, and
whether the whole is the myth of Sun,
Earth, and Winter, preserved in the vari-
ous nursery tales of the Sleeping Beauty
all these things we have no business
with at all.

This, of course, is the way to treat the
Eastern epics as well ; to which we would
add a few of the Hindu dramas, such as



xx Preface

Kalidasa's Sakuntala and Urvasi, the
stories of which could be told after the
manner of the Lambs' Tales from Shake-
speare.

This series being intended as parallel
reading to history and planned to illustrate
history, it might very properly include
standard historical novels, ancient and me-
diaeval, duly condensed and adapted ; such
works as Felix Dahn's A Fight for Rome
(" Ein Kampf um Rom "), some of Ebers's
Egyptian and Roman stories, Flaubert's
Salammbo, Gautier's Le Roman de la
Momie, and even English romances like
Zenobia, Reade's Cloister and Hearth, Bul-
wer's Last of the Barons, and others. Of
course, there are great difficulties in the
way, none so great as in handling such a
book as Salammbo, Flaubert's Carthaginian
novel, for youthful reading that marvel-
lous work of gorgeous imagination and
scholarly reconstruction. At first sight,
it seems impossible to fit it for young
readers without disfiguring it ; yet it can
be done. The book has been read aloud,
with the necessary cuts, to classes of girls,



Preface



with the best results, both as to amuse-
ment and instruction. It requires some
tact and lightness of touch, together with
great reverence for your subject, entering
into the spirit of it thoroughly, and work
that 's all.

A word now on the language. It should
be simple, though not untinged with quaint-
ness, and even in places a certain degree
of archaism, bearing in mind, above all,
Kingsley's strictures on "long words'
(words of five syllables he wants fined).
This does not exclude the use of what
may be called good literary words, i. e.,
words not in use in commonplace conver-
sation but quite at home in good literature,
especially if they belong to the Anglo-
Saxon side of the language. It is no mat-
ter that such words may sound at first
unfamiliar to young readers ; they cannot
too soon be made familiar, for it is so
much done towards the comprehension of
the higher class of literature ; and besides,
we cannot begin too soon to enrich the
young people's vocabulary, the poverty of
which, even among persons of average



xxii Preface

culture, is among the most distressing re-
sults of a mere public-school education.

But great changes are coming over the
schools as well as over other branches of
public life ; changes in the right direction,
which may shortly amount to a revolution,
when there will be no reason why these
Tales of the Heroic Ages should not,
although addressed to young people at
large, find a place, if not in the school
curriculum, at least in the wide margin of
so-called " Supplementary Reading." It
is with this expectation that each of the
tales will be followed by a brief historical
and critical notice for the especial use of
public-school teachers and instructors
generally.

May they prove acceptable, not alone
to the young, to whom they are specially
addressed, but also, as has been felicitously
said, to " the old with young tastes " !

Z. A. RAGOZIN.
ORANGE, N. J.,

June, 1898.



CONTENTS



SIEGFRIED

t R,-K A(_-E

I. SIEGFRIED'S BOYHOOD AND YOUTH
II. SIEGFRIED GOES A-WooiNG .

III. FRIENDSHIP

IV. BOUND FOR ICELAND .
V. GUNTHER'S WOOING
VI. THE DEPARTURE ....

VII. BETROTHED

VIII. THE WEDDING ....
IX. THE INVITATION ....

X. THE VISIT

XI. THE QUARREL ....

XII. TREASON

XIII. SIEGFRIED'S DEATH
XIV. SIEGFRIED'S FUNERAL .
XV. KRIEMHILDE'S WIDOWHOOD.
XVI. KING ETZEL'S WOOING.
XVII. IN HUNLAND ....
XVIII. THE JOURNEY ....
XIX. THE ARRIVAL ....
XX. ON GUARD .....
XXI. KRIEMHILDE'S REVENGE
NOTE ON THE " NIBELUNGENLIED" .



PACK

iii

3
10

18
31

39
50

55
61
70

76
80

91

96

1 06
114

124
136
144
152
158
169
200



xxin



xxiv Contents

BEOWULF

FACE

PROLOGUE 213

LA Y I.GRENDEL

I. HEOROT 219

II. GRENDEL 222

III. A FRIEND IN NEED 226

IV. THE WARDEN 228

V. THE ARRIVAL 231

VI. THE RECEPTION AND THE PLEDGE. . . 234

VII. THE FEAST 237

VIII. THE COMBAT 244

IX. REJOICINGS AND THANKSGIVINGS . . . 249

X. HEOROT RESTORED FEASTING AND GIFTS . 253

LAY II. GRENDEL" S MOTHER

I. THE AVENGER 259

II. THE MERE 263

III. UNDER THE WATERS 267

IV. THE RETURN 272

V. LAST WORDS 275

VI. HOMEWARD BOUND 283

VII. AT HOME 287

LA Y III. THE DRA GON

I. THE TREASURE 294

II. THE ATTACK 299

III. WIGLAF 304

IV. VICTORY AND DEATH 307

V. WIGLAF'S REBUKE DISMAY AND TEARS . 313

VI. THE OBSEQUIES 318

NOTE ON THE " BEOWULF " 323



ILLUSTRATIONS

THE DEATH OF BEOWULF, Frontispiece
SIEGFRIED AND KRIEMHILDE MEET . 26



BRUNHILDE RECEIVES THE BURGUN-
DIANS ......

DEATH OF SIEGFRIED . . .
DANKWART BRINGS EVIL TIDINGS .
THE LANDING OF BEOWULF . .

QUEEN WEALHTHEOW PLEDGES BEO-
WULF .....

BEOWULF AND THE OLD WIFE OF
THE MERE



42
102
1 76
228

242
268



XXV



SIEGFRIED

THE HERO OF THE NORTH

AND
KRIEMHILDE'S GREAT REVENGE

" The Lay of the Nibelungs"
" Das Nibelungenlied "



I



SIEGFRIED'S BOYHOOD AND YOUTH

ONCE upon a time, there lived in the
Netherlands, in Xante, a mighty
castle by the River Rhine, a powerful king
and queen, Siegmund and Sieglinde. Far
and wide spread their fame, but it was as
nothing to that which their glorious son,
the hero Siegfried, won. Even as a boy
and beardless youth, he performed deeds
of might, such and so many that his name
became familiar in all the German lands.
Of his early adventures, two were so won-
derful that they made him immortal in
song and story for all times.

Of these adventures, one was the slay-
ing, in single combat, of a dreadful
monster known as the " Dragon of the
Linden-Tree," because he made his home



4 Siegfried

in the thick foliage of a huge linden, these


1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14

Online LibraryZénaïde A. (Zénaïde Alexeïevna) RagozinSiegfried, the hero of the North, and Beowulf, the hero of the Anglo-Saxons → online text (page 1 of 14)