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Rheinstein Castle (Public Domain Image)

Hero Tales and Legends of the Rhine

by Lewis Spence


This is Lewis Spence's retelling of the legends and sagas of the Rhine, particularly the lore of the portion which passes through western Germany, organized geographically from north to south. Many of these tales have supernatural or pagan elements, although most are set in the middle ages, with the crusades, chivalry, knights, damsels in distress and castles as stock set dressing. Many stories center around desperate bargains with the devil. One of the best parts of this book is Spence's discussion of the historical basis of the Nibelunglied, its relation to the Icelandic Volsung saga, and other lesser known Mediaeval sagas.

Although Spence's style can be a bit stuffy at times, this collection is very readable and is still a good introduction for English readers to the lore of the storied Rhine valley. This etext includes all of the illustrations (scanned from a first edition), the fold-out map, and the full index.

Title Page and Front Matter
Chapter I: Topographical and Historical
Chapter II. The Rhine in Folklore and Literature
Chapter III. Cleves to the Löwenburg
Chapter IV: Drachenfels To Rheinstein
Chapter V: Falkenburg to Auerbach
Chapter VI: Worms and the Nibelungenlied
Chapter VII: Heidelberg to Säckingen
Glossary and Index