Once the sword was out of the tree, everyone could see it was finer and more beautiful than they had even thought. Everyone admired it.
King Seggeir really wanted the sword. He said to Sigmund, “I’ll give you three times its weight in gold for that sword.”
I think this really shows that Seggeir was an idiot. Everyone in the hall knew that the sword was special, not something you just buy. Sigmund was meant to have it, and that’s why he was the only one who could pull it out.
Sigmund turned Seggeir down, “ You could have taken the sword from where it stood, no less than I did, if it were meant for you to carry it; but now that it has come first into my hands, you will never get it, even if you should offer me all the gold you own.”
Well. Seggeir did not like that answer one bit. He thought that Sigmund was being a snotty-nose punk and that he had no right to talk that way or even THINK that way about him, the mighty King Seggeir.
But he kept a straight face. He already knew how to lie. He didn’t say much more about it. But he decided he had to leave.
This was totally rude! Wedding feasts were supposed to go on for days and days. It gave everyone a chance to celebrate, and the family a chance to say goodbye to their daughter or sister. King Seggeir tried to cover up how rude he was being by saying, “You all must visit my kingdom soon. Everybody! Bring all your friends and servants and whoever you want! In three months, okay?”
Volsung and his family agreed to come, and Seggeir left with Signy.
Now this is where is gets sad. King Volsung and all his sons got ready and came when they promised, suspecting nothing. But when their boats reached King Seggeir’s kingdom it was dark.
Signy was waiting for them. She snuck up to see them, because she had to warn them.
She told her dad, “Seggeir has been waiting for you, but he has gathered together a huge army to fight with you and kill you. You must turn around at once. Gather up your armies and come back prepared to meet with him in battle! Otherwise, you will be trapped by his lies and surprise attack!”
But Volsung seemed to have a habit of not listening to his only daughter. He made light of the situation and got all heroic and fatalistic. This is exactly what he said:
“All peoples bear witness that unborn I spoke one word and made the vow that I would flee neither fire nor iron from fear, and so I have done until now. Why should I not fulfill that vow in my old age? Maidens will not taunt my sons during games by saying that they feared their deaths, for each man must at one time die. No one may escape dying that once, and it is my counsel that we not flee, but for our own part act the bravest. I have fought a hundred times, sometimes with a larger army and sometimes with a lesser on. Both ways I have had the victory, and it will not be reported that I either fled or asked for peace.”
Stubborn Volsung! He was being very brave, but I don’t think he was being very smart. In those days, our people felt like peace was another word for coward, or “not good enough to win.” He wouldn’t go back and regroup.
Signy was completely upset; she cried and said she wanted to stay with them and not go back to the wicked Seggeir. But her father told her that her duty was with her husband, no matter what happened with the battle.
She left, crying and distraught, to go back to her husband.
Volsung and all the brothers armed themselves and got ready for the war they knew would be happening. As soon as they stepped off the boat in the morning, they walked into Seggeir’s army.
Wow, they fought like the best, hacking and slashing their way through the ranks of the enemy. They had gone through the ranks eight times and were turning around to do it again, when Volsung fell. The brothers looked around, and realized that their father was down and the rest of their ranks were all down except for themselves, the ten sons of Volsung.
The odds were too great. Seggeir’s men captured them, and took them away bound in chains.
Signy heard about it pretty quickly. She was full of grief that her father was dead, but since her brothers were still alive, she wanted to do anything she could think of to help them.