Beowulf for beginners


hrothgar and the Danes were overjoyed to see them when Beowulf and his men marched into the high-roofed hall. They gazed in horror at the hideous head of Grendel as Beowulf told how he at last defeated the monster's mother beneath the waves. Beowulf gave to Hrothgar the hilt of the giant's sword marked with swirling patterns of twisted serpents. That wonderful weapon made so long ago by a giant's skill lay in the hands of the best lord of the Danes.

'Now you can sleep free from fear,' Beowulf told the Danes.

'You are a rare man, Beowulf,' Hrothgar said. 'You are so strong, yet your mind rules your strength wisely, and uses it to bring peace. You will always be a comfort to your people and a helper for heroes. If Hygelac dies, the Geats could not choose a better lord than you.'

What does Hrothgar think makes a good ruler?

Beowulf thanked Hrothgar for his praise but by now the Geats were eager to get back to their ship and sail for their homeland. Getting on the ship to go home

'Do not leave us yet, Beowulf', Hrothgar said. 'My daughter Freawaru is to be married soon to Ingeld, the young lord of the Heathobards. The marriage will end our long feud with them. Ingeld's own father was killed in one of the fights between us. Freawaru will be a true peace-weaver for our two tribes. Be our guest at the wedding.'

Beowulf thanked Hrothgar but he would not stay. 'I must return to lord Hygelac. He will soon hear how kindly you have cared for us, and see from your presents what a great and gift-giving lord you are. There will always be friendship between our two tribes. If you need us we will help you.'

Hrothgar hugged Beowulf and the tears ran down. The old lord knew he would not see Beowulf again and his heart burned with longing for the much-loved man. Then Wealtheow stepped forward and placed a beautiful gold neckband around Beowulf's neck and hung a finely woven cloak from his shoulders.

'Enjoy this neckband and this cloak, dearest young warrior,' she said. 'I wish you treasures and blessings as long as you live. Protect my sons in time to come, if they need you. For all time people will speak your praise as widely as the sea - where the wind lives - washes the edges of the world.'

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