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Beowulf and Grendel


Long ago there was a Danish king called Hrothgar. He was a very brave warrior and his people obeyed him. All people in his country were happy and wealthy. One day he built a beautiful palace, where he entertained people of his kingdom. Soon, lots of people knew about this beautiful palace and they brought rich presents to make it even more beautiful. Hrothgar gave it the name of Heorot, and invited guests to his palace. They listened to the music of the harp, ate delicious meals, and talked about their brave adventures.
But soon a wicked dragon Grendel heard about this palace. Grendel lived in the swamp. One night he came to Heorot. The noble guests were asleep. Grendel killed and ate thirty noblemen and went back to the swamp. In the morning, people saw this terrible thing and cried. The good King Hrothgar also sat and cried.
A few days later Grendel appeared again and killed even more noblemen. After that the noblemen didn't want to stay at Heorot any more, and Heorot became an empty house. Hrothgar was very unhappy and tried a lot of things to find and kill Grendel. But nothing stopped the dragon.
Twelve years later, the story of a terrible dragon got into the country of the Geats and their king Higelac. One of his noblemen was a brave and powerful warrior named Beowulf. He decided to help the Danes. He chose fourteen bravest warriors, took bright weapons, and sailed away to Hrothgar's kingdom.
After a few weeks Beowulf and his warriors landed in the country of the Danes. They took their weapons and went to the palace of Heorot. They set their weapons against the walls, and sat down. When Hrothgar heard about Beowulf, he was very happy. He knew Beowulf when he was a boy and he heard of his fame. When he came to Heorot, Beowulf said:
"Hello, Hrothgar! I heard the tale of Grendel. I came with fourteen brave warriors to find and kill this monster. Men say that his skin is so thick that no weapon can injure him. So I will fight with my arms only. If the dragon is stronger, I will die."
Then Hrothgar gave Beowulf and his warriors something to eat and told them of the terrible things that Grendel did. Then they listened to music and were happy and forgot about the terrible dragon in the swamp. Late in the evening Hrodgar said goodnight to Beowulf and went home.
At midnight Grendel came quietly to Heorot from his home in the swamp. His eyes were red and he laughed when he saw the warriors asleep. Quickly he took one warrior and ate him. Then he wanted to take Beowulf, but the hero was ready for him and took his terrible arm. Beowulf was so strong, that Grendel was afraid and wanted to run away. Then Beowulf stood up and fought Grendel with his hands. Beowulf's warriors woke up and tried to kill Grendel with their swords, but they couldn't. The monster's skin was very thick. But Beowulf continued to fight Grendel with his hands. Soon, he tore off Grendel's arm. The dragon ran to the swamp and died there.

Beowulf and Grendel

Heorot was safe again. The king and queen thanked Beowulf and prepared a great feast. Hrothgar gave Beowulf presents - an embroidered banner, a helmet and breastplate, and a valuable sword. All the presents had gold ornaments on them. He also gave Beowulf eight horses with beautiful saddles. Beowulf's warriors also got rich presents and treasures.
When then feast was over, King Hrothgar went home and Beowulf, his warriors and Hrothgar's men went to sleep in Heorot. Nobody was worried to sleep in the palace of Heorot. But this was a mistake because Grendel's mother, a monster worse than Grendel, wanted to revenge the death of her son. Late at night she came to Heorot very angry. The warriors woke up and took their swords in panic. The monster killed Asher, Hrothgar's favourite warrior, and took him together with Grendel's arm back to the swamp.
When King Hrothgar learned the news, he told Beowulf and asked him to go to the swamp, find the terrible monster, and kill it. Full of courage, Beowulf promised to destroy Grendel's mother. He rode on his new horse together with Hrothgar and other good warriors. They followed the monster's tracks through the forest, meadows and across the misty swamp, until they came to a place where some mountain trees bent over a rock. Behind this rock there was a dark lake and there, on the bank of the lake, they saw Asher's head. They knew that the witch was at the bottom of the lake.
The warriors sat down and Beowulf put on his coat of mail and beautiful helmet. Then he turned to Hrothgar and said:
"I will go and try to kill the monster alone. If I die, my lord, send my warriors and my treasures to my king Higelac."
He jumped into the dark lake and swam to the bottom. Soon Grendel's mother saw Beowulf and took him down to her den which was a place in the lake where water couldn't get. In the middle of the cave there was a fire and Grendel's mother was next to it ready to fight. Beowulf drew his sword and attacked his enemy, but the weapon couldn't injure her. So he fought with his hands. He took the monster and shook her until she fell down on the ground. But she stood up quickly and attacked Beowulf with a terrible strength. Beowulf fell on the ground and the monster jumped on him with a knife in her hand. But he managed to get away of her and stood up. Then he suddenly saw a heavy ancient sword on the wall of the den, so he ran to it and took it in his hands. Beowulf attacked Grendel's mother with all his strength. He saw that the sword cut deeply into the monster's neck. She cried out with pain, fell down and died.
Beowulf looked over the den and saw dead Grendel's body on a couch. So he cut off his head as a trophy for Hrothgar. Then a strange thing happened. The powerful sword started to melt away like ice, and soon he had only a hilt in his hand. He jumped into the water and swam to the surface. There his warriors were happy to see him. They helped him to put on his armour and four strong men carried Grendel's head to Heorot.
Now once more the warriors sat in Heorot, and Beowulf told them and King Hrothgar about his adventure and gave him the hilt of the wonderful sword. Once more the king thanked him from the depth of his heart, and as before prepared a feast with delicious meals and beautiful music.
In the morning Beowulf and his warriors were ready to go home.
"My lord,"said Beowulf to Hrothgar. "We thank you for your presents and hospitality. If there is anything else what I can do for you, I will be ready for your service. If I hear that you have troubles again with anybody, I will come back and bring a thousand warriors with me."
"Your words and thoughts are good," replied Hrothgar, "and I wish that after your king Higelac dies, you become the king of the Geats, because there is no better man than you. Then the Danes and the Geats will always be friends and allies."
Then Beowulf and his warriors said goodbye to Hrothgar and went back to their country. There he told his king Higelac about his adventures and gave him all his treasures. But Higelac gave Beowulf his best sword, seven thousand pieces of gold, and a manor-house. There Beowulf lived in peace for many years before he was called again to other adventures.
***


Adapted from "MYTHS AND LEGENDS OF ALL NATIONS Translated and Edited by LOGAN MARSHALL"

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Created by J. Brandecky, September 19, 2012. Copyright.
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