Sigurd and Brunhild by Harry George Theaker, 1920
The forest ways led him on and up a mountain-side. He came to a mountain-summit at last: Hindfell, where the trees fell away, leaving a place open to the sky and the winds On Hindfell was the House of Flame. Sigurd saw the walls black, and high, and all around them was a ring of fire….
Sigurd, who knew no fear, rode through it.
No stir was there of man or hound or horse….He opened a door and he saw a chamber with hangings on which was wrought the pattern of a great tree, a tree with three roots, and the pattern was carried across from one wall to the other. On a couch in the centre of the chamber one lay in slumber. Upon the head was a helmet and across the breast was a breastplate. Sigurd took the helmet off the head. Then over the couch fell a heap of woman’s hair–wondrous, bright gleaming hair….
Her eyes opened, and she turned them and looked full upon Sigurd. “Who art thou who hast awakened me?” she said.
“I am Sigurd, the son of Sigmund, of the Volsung race,” he answered.
“And thou didst ride through the ring of fire to me?”
“That did I.”
“Hail, O Day,” she cried, “and hail, the sons of Day! O Night, and the daughters of Night, may ye look on us with eyes that bless. Hail, O Aesir and O Asyniur! Hail, O wide-spreading fields of Midgard! May ye give us wisdom, and wise speech, and healing power, and grant that nothing untrue or unbrave may come near us!”
All this she cried with eyes open wide; they were eyes that had in them all the blue that Sigurd had ever seen: the blue of flowers, the blue of skies, the blue of battle-blades. She turned those great eyes upon him and she said, “I am Brynhild, once a Valkyrie but now a mortal maiden, one who will know death and all the sorrows that mortal women know…”
– From The Children of Odin: A Book of Northern Myths by Padraic Colum
This is a day of remembrance for the hero Sigurd the Volsung.
Many elements of Sigurd’s legend will be familiar to fans of The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings: dwarves, magic rings,
a quest to slay a dragon
a broken sword that must be re-forged, a warrior maiden.
Brynhild’s prayer is known by many Heathens, Asatruar, and Norse polytheists from the Sigrdrífumál. It is the only complete Norse invocation to have survived to the present day.