But criticism is still busy attempting to trace these also to historical originals, and Theodor Abeling (Das Nibelungenlied, 1907) makes out a very plausible case for identifying Siegfried with Segeric, son of the Burgundian king Sigimund, Brunhild with the historical Brunichildis, and Hagen with a certain Hagnericus, who, according to the Life of St Columban, guided the saint (the chaplain of the Nibelungenlied), who had incurred the enmity of Brunichildis, safe to the court of her grandson Theuderich, king of the West Franks.
Shortly after reaching Neheim it bends to the south-west, courses through the mining district around Hagen, and receives from the left the waters of the Lenne.
The epic falls into three easily distinguishable parts - the adventures of King Hagen of Ireland, the romance of Hettel, king of the Hegelingen, who woos and wins Hagen's daughter Hilde, and lastly, the more or less parallel story of how Herwig, king of Seeland, wins, in opposition to her father's wishes, Gudrun, the daughter of Hettel and Hilde.
Hagen, the Nibelung's son, has managed to make Siegfried unwittingly drink a love-potion with Gutrune, which causes him to forget his own bride, Briinnhilde.
This is achieved; and Briinnhilde's horror and bewilderment at meeting Siegfried again as a stranger in his own shape creates a situation which Siegfried cannot understand, and which Hagen pretends to construe as damning evidence that Siegfried has betrayed Gunther's honour as well as Briinnhilde's.