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To us in the 21st century, Siegfried’s story is a legend. While it might incorporate a few historic events, it is mainly a fantastic tale with a dragon, sleeping beauty in armor, betrayal, and murder.

To my 8th century characters in Francia and elsewhere, he is as historic to them as George Washington is to us, and the fact that he is their hero reveals a lot about their culture and values. That’s why his story has a presence in both of my published novels and my work in progress.

The heroine of my first novel, The Cross and the Dragon, has grown up across the river from the high hill where Siegfried is said to have slain the dragon. I simply could not ignore his legend, as you will see in the following snippet:

During the evening meal in the great hall, Alda’s gaze fell on the tapestries recounting Siegfried’s deeds in reds, greens, and yellows, brilliant even by firelight. She realized how much she had missed Drachenhaus, built with stone from Drachenfels Mountain across the Rhine, where Siegfried had slain the dragon centuries ago and bathed in its blood for invulnerability. The mountain’s rock carried that magic, and Alda felt it envelop her.

See my post at Unusual Historicals for more about a hero whose story captivated the medieval imagination.

Siegfried and the slain dragon

After slaying the dragon, Siegfried tastes his blood and understands the language of birds, by Arthur Rackham, 1911 (public domain image via Wikimedia Commons)