Further down the Rhine, in the Netherlands city of Xanten, lives a prince named Siegfried, the son of Siegmund and Sieglind. His youth is filled with marvelous deeds, and women admire his valor and handsome looks. When Siegfried reaches the age to be knighted, his parents throw an elaborate festival, bestowing lavish gifts and knighting 400 men alongside Siegfried.
Next, the poet introduces the hero, Siegfried. His valor and splendor are such that readers might expect that he will dominate the entire story.
Besides a splendid bohort (a sort of mock jousting tournament) and a feast, the festival includes the bestowal of lands and castles on Siegfried’s companions and the giving of rich gifts to all present—indeed, “it rained horses and clothes as though their donors had not a day to live!” Despite everyone’s great esteem for him—secured in part by the lavish gifts—Siegfried isn’t interested in becoming king of the Netherlands while Siegmund and Sieglind are still living. He simply desires to be a valiant knight in his country’s defense.
Siegfried’s parents’ lavish festival and gift-giving are the poem’s first example of the type of liberality that marked people as part of the nobility. Here, it creates the expectation that Siegfried is capable of being a suitable match for the Burgundian princess. His knightly valor also implies that he is the “wild falcon” who will later appeal to Kriemhild.