KING DIDERIK AND THE LION’S FIGHT WITH THE DRAGON
From Bern rode forth King Diderik, A stately warrior form;Engaged in fray he found in the way A lion and laidly worm.
They fought for a day, they fought for two, But ere the third was flown,The worm outfought the beast, and brought To earth the lion down.
Then cried the lion in his need When he the warrior saw:“O aid me quick, King Diderik, To ’scape the Dragon’s claw.
“O aid me quick, King Diderik, For the mighty God thou fearest;A lion save for the lion brave, Which on thy shield thou bearest.
“Come to my rescue, thou noble King, Help, help me for thy name;Upon thy targe I stand at large, Glittering like a flame.”
Long, long stood he, King Diderik, Deep musing thereupon;At length he cried: “Whate’er betide I’ll help thee, noble one.”
It was Sir King Diderik, His good sword bare he made:With courage fraught, the worm he fought, Till blood tinged all the blade.
The gallant lord would not delay So fast his blows he dealt;He hacked and gored until his sword Was sundered at the hilt.
The Lindworm took him upon her back, The horse beneath her tongue;To her mountain den she hurried then To her eleven young.
The horse she cast before her young, The man in a nook she throws:“Assuage your greed upon the steed, But I will to repose.
“I pray ye feed upon the steed, At present no more I can;When I upleap, refreshed, from sleep, We’ll feast upon the man.”
It was Sir King Diderik, In the hill he searched around;Then, helped by the Lord, the famous sword Called Adelring he found.
Aye there he found so sharp a sword, And a knife with a golden heft:“King Sigfred be God’s grace with thee, For here thy life was reft!
“I’ve been with thee in many a fight, In many an inroad too,But that thy doom had been in this tomb I never, never knew.”
It was Sir King Diderik, Would prove the faulchion’s might;He hewed upon the flinty stone ’Till all around was light.
It was the youngest Lindworm saw The sparks the hill illume:“Who dares awake the fiery snake In her own sleeping room?”
The Lindworm gnashed its teeth with rage, Its grinning fangs it show’d:“Who dares awake the mother snake Within her own abode?”
Then spake the other little ones, From the dark nooks of the hill:“If from her sleep the old one leap, ’Twill fare with thee but ill.”
Then answered Sir King Diderik, His eyes with fury gleam:“I will awake your mother snake With chilly, chilly dream.
“Your mother she King Sigfred slew, A man of noble line;I’ll on ye all avenge his fall With this good hand of mine.”
And then awaked the Lindworm old, And on her fell such fear:“Who thus with riot disturbs my quiet? What noise is this I hear?”
Then said King Diderik: “’Tis I, And this have I to say:O’er hill and dale, ’neath thy crooked tail, Thou brought’st me yesterday.”
“O hew me not, King Diderik, I’ll give thee all my hoard;’Twere best that we good friends should be, So cast away thy sword.”
“I pay no trust to thy false device, Befool me thou wouldst fain;Full many hast thou destroyed ere now, Thou never shalt again.”
“Hear me, Sir King Diderik, Forbear to do me ill,And thee I’ll guide to thy plighted bride, She’s hidden in the hill....