Opera Stories from Wagner
By Florence Akin
Public Domain Books
Wotan gathered to Valhalla a company of nine war-maidens. They were called the Walkuere.
They were strong, beautiful young women, who rode through the clouds upon swift horses.
The horses could not only run on the ground; they could fly through the air.
The maidens wore wings upon their helmets, and each wore a splendid silver armor which glittered and flashed in the sunshine.
Wherever there was a battle on the earth, Wotan would send a battle-maiden for the most valiant hero on the field.
The maiden would fly over the battlefield and watch while the warriors fought.
When the bravest man was wounded, she would quickly swoop down, and, snatching him up, would fly with him to Valhalla, where he was revived by fair Freya.
Sometimes, when evening came, every one of the war-maidens rode into Valhalla carrying a noble hero.
This was Wotan’s plan for protecting the palace.
After a while he would have at the castle a company of the bravest heroes of the earth.
He hoped he would then be happier.
The heroes would protect the beautiful Valhalla in time of danger.