I'll not dwell on the reasons or the manner of this here, leaving it to the commentaries themselves to sort the matter out. Suffice it to say, the old Germanic realm was one where a figure such as Attlia stands not alone in his harsh and vicious dealings with the world, and even he must succomb at last to the wicked whims of fate and vengeance.
Here, then, are the concluding sections of the Volusung saga as found in The Elder Edda...
Dráp Niflunga, or "The Fall of the Niflungs." A short prose narrative which functions as a link between the preceding Sigurd matter and the upcoming Atli (Attila) lays, which essentially just summarizes the events to come, providing only little added detail.
Guðrúnarkviða II, or "The Second Lay of Gudrún." Among the earliest sections of the Elder Edda, this second Gudrún ballad contains a superb recounting of her sad lament after Sigurd's death, tells of her unwilling betrothal to Atli as recompense for Brynhild's death, and gives a prophecy of her revenge in the form of dream interpretation, a popular method of divination. It also contains a highly detailed recipe for a potion of forgetfulness, should you ever seek one.
Guðrúnarkviða III, or "The Third Lay of Gudrún." Rounding out the three Gudrún lays is this short episode in which our poor oppressed Gudrún, now falsely accused of adultery, undergoes the ordeal by boiling water. The function of this adjunct accessory seems to be merely to add more fuel to the fire of our heroine's forthcoming vengenace. And yet it is a touching tale all on its own, short though it may be.
Oddrúnargrátr, or "The Lament of Oddrún." Here we find a real accretion to the main collection in the tale of Oddrún, third-wheel sister to Atli and Brynhild, and illicit lover of Gunnar after Brynhild's death. In this episode of wailing grief and lamentation we are given additional details concerning the Gjúking's interactions with the Huns and how they were ultimately defeated by Atli, all as preface to the evil deeds to come.
Atlakviða, or "The Lay of Atli." In the first of two Atli lays we get a shorter (46 stanza), more poetic account of the heroic deaths of Gunnar and Hogni, and the horrific vengeance meted out by Gudrún on the King of the Huns, in a tragedy of truly Shakespearean dimension. Among the most intense and emotionally powerful of the lays, this is one of the finer works found in the Eddas. It is also the earlier of the two variations of the Atli tale, allowing us a fascinating glimpse into how an oral tale might change as it traveled across time and distance.
Atlamál, or "The Greenland Lay of Atli." In this second of the two Atli lays we get a much longer (99 stanza), more romanticized account of the heroic deaths of Gunnar and Hogni, and of Gudrún's terrible vengeance on Atli, here given additional detail and color in its names and places - most of them invented by the poet and quite inaccurate - with a more elaborate recounting of events. Though more developed in terms of length and content, it is also among the more poorly written and flacid works of Old Norse poetry, though not without its merits. It was, in fact, written in Greenland, and bears the distinctive stamp of that harsh, bleak land.This brings us to the end of the Niflung (or Volsung) matter as given in The Elder Edda. However, the story is not quite over yet...