In Norse mythology, Völsung was murdered by the Geatish king Siggeir and avenged by one of his sons, Sigmund and his daughter Signy who was married to Siggeir. Völsung was the common ancestor of the ill-fortuned clan of the Vǫlsungs, including the greatest of Norse heroes, Sigurd. Their legend is known in Norse myth through Volsungasaga and Dráp Niflunga.
The Völsung Cycle is a series of legends in Norse mythology that were first recorded in medieval Iceland. The original Icelandic tales were greatly expanded with native Scandinavian folklore, including that of Helgi Hundingsbane, which, in turn, originally appears to have been a separate tradition the Ylfings.
The Völsung Cycle is based on the same subject matter as the Middle High German epic poem Niebelungenlied.
In the English epic Beowulf, when the Geatish warrior Beowulf has killed Grendel, a Danish bard at Hrothgar's court sings about Sigemund and his father Wæls.
Völsung was the great-grandson of Odin himself, and it was Odin's consort Frigg who made sure that Völsung would be born. Völsung's parents, who were the king and queen of Gautland, could not have any children until the goddess sent them an apple of fertility carried by the giantess Hljod. Völsung's father, Rerir died shortly after this, but his wife was pregnant for six years, until she had had enough. She commanded that the child be delivered by Caesarean section, an operation that in those days cost the life of the mother. Völsung was a strong child and he kissed his mother before she died.
He was immediately proclaimed king of Hunaland and when he had grown up he married the same giantess Ljod. Together they had ten sons and one daughter, including the twins Signy, their daughter, and Sigmund, the most courageous and beautiful of their sons.
Völsung built himself a great hall in the centre of which stood a large oak tree called the Branstokk. Siggeir, the King of the Geats, soon arrived and proposed to Signy. Both Völsung and his sons approved, but Signy was less enthusiastic.
A great wedding was held in the hall, when suddenly a stranger appeared. He was a tall old man with only one eye and could not be anybody else but Odin. He went to the apple tree, took his sword and stuck it deep into the trunk. Odin told everyone that the sword was meant for the man who could pull the sword from the apple tree. Then he vanished.
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