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Brunhilde facts for kids

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Brunhild (Postkarte), G. Bussiere, 1897
"Brynhild" (1897) by Gaston Bussière

Brunhilde was a mighty female warrior, one of the Valkyries. She was also a heroine from the German epics, especially in the Nibelungen saga, in which she is an Icelandic princess.

The Völsunga saga tells the fullest version of Brunhild's life in the Scandinavian tradition.

According to the saga, Brunhild is the daughter of Budli and the sister of Atli. She is raised at a place called Hlymdalir by her King Heimir, who is married to her sister Bekkhild. When she is twelve years old, King Agnar steals Brunhild's magical swan shirt, and she is forced to swear an oath of loyalty to him. This causes her to intervene on Angar's behalf when he is fighting Hjálmgunnar, despite Odin's desire for Hjálmgunnar to win. As punishment, Odin stuck her with a sleep thorn and declared that she must marry. She swore that she would not awaken to marry unless a man came who knew no fear. Odin places the sleeping Brunhild on mount Hindarfjall and surrounds her with a wall of shields.

Eventually, Sigurd comes and awakens Brunhild. She makes foreboding prophecies and imparts wisdom to him. The two promise to marry each other. After this, Brunhild returns to Heimir. One day while Sigurd is hunting, his hawk flies up and lands at the window of the tower where Brunhild is living. Sigurd feels love when he sees her and, despite her insistence she wants only to fight as a warrior, convinces her to renew her vow to marry him. Meanwhile, Gudrun has had a foreboding dream and goes to Brunhild to have her interpret it. Brunhild tells Gudrun all of the misfortune that will befall her.

Soon afterward, Gunnar, Gudrun's brother, decides to woo Brunhild to be his wife. Sigurd, who has married Gudrun after having been given a potion to forget his previous vows to Brunhild, aids him. Brunhild can only be wed by a man who will ride through the flames around her tower; Gunnar is unable to do this, so Sigurd takes his shape and performs the deed for him. While Brunhild is reluctant to marry Gunnar, Sigurd in his disguise reminds her of her vow to marry the man who can cross the flames. The two then wed and Sigurd places his sword between them for three nights while they share the marriage bed. Sigurd and Gunnar return to their normal shapes and take Brunhild back to Gunnar's hall.

One day, Brunhild and Gudrun are bathing at a river; Brunhild declares that she should not have to use the same water as Gudrun, as her husband is the more important man. Gudrun then reveals that Sigurd had crossed the flames and not Gunnar, and shows a ring that Sigurd had taken from Brunhild and given to her. The next day, the queens continue their quarrel in the king's hall. Brunhild is so full of pain that she takes to bed. She demands vengeance against Sigurd, despite Gunnar's attempts to pacify her. Sigurd comes and confesses his love for her, offering to leave Gudrun to be with her, but Brunhild refuses. Afterwards, she demands that Gunnar kill Sigurd. Once the deed is done, Brunhild laughs loudly when she hears Gudrun's cry of lament. She then stabs herself, and while dying holds a long conversation with Gunnar in which she prophesies the future. According to her wish, she is burned on the same pyre as Sigurd.

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Kids robot.svg In Spanish: Brunilda (valquiria) para niños

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