Horn, the fairest youth ever born, is bright as glass and white as a flower; his color is rose-red, and he has no equal in any kingdom. When Horn is fifteen years old, his father, King Murry of Suddene Isle of Man, is killed by invading Saracens. His mother, Queen Godhild, finds refuge under a rock, where she prays for Horn’s safety. Because of Horn’s fairness, the Saracens spare him, setting him adrift with twelve companions, among them his brother Athulf and the wicked Fikenhild, on a ship that they expect will sink. The youths land safely on the shore of Westernesse, where good King Aylmar receives them kindly and takes a special liking to Horn. Aylmar’s daughter, Rymenhild, is also attracted to Horn and asks the steward, Athelbrus, who is in charge of Horn’s instruction, to bring him to her room. Disturbed at this command, Athelbrus brings Athulf instead. Mistaking him for Horn, Rymenhild tells Athulf that she loves him. When she discovers that Athelbrus tricked her, she threatens to have him hanged, whereupon Athelbrus brings Horn to her. Rymenhild asks him to marry her, but Horn refuses, saying that he is a foundling and unworthy. At this rebuff, Rymenhild falls in a swoon. Horn takes her in his arms, kisses her, and asks her to have her father make him a knight so that he might marry her.
King Aylmar knights Horn and permits him to knight his companions. As soon as Horn is knighted, Rymenhild wants him to marry her; but Horn says that he must first prove his merit as a knight. Rymenhild gives him a ring engraved with her name and tells him that if he looks at the ring and thinks of her, he will overcome all enemies. On a handsome black steed, Horn sets forth on his quest. He quickly finds and slays at least one hundred Saracens. The next day, Rymenhild tells him that she dreamed that a great fish escaped from her net. The significance of her distressing dream is clear when Fikenhild, envious of Horn, tells King Aylmar that Horn is planning to kill him and marry Rymenhild. He says that Horn is at the moment in bed with Rymenhild. Aylmar, rushing into his daughter’s chamber, finds Horn embracing Rymenhild. The king orders Horn to leave the castle. Before departing, Horn instructs Athulf to guard Rymenhild. He tells Rymenhild that he expects to be back in seven years; if he does not return by that time, she is to take another husband.
Horn goes to Ireland, where he meets two princes, Harild and Berild. He tells them that his name is Cutberd, and they take him to their father, King Thurston. The time is Christmas. Soon a giant comes from...
(The entire section is 1053 words.)