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Modern Beowulf.docx

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David Carlson

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Modern BeowulfLong ago the SpearDanes and their kings were a mighty people We have all heard about their power and glory We have heard of Scyld Scefing who destroyed his enemies and their drinking halls Though he was an orphan he rose to become king and his people showered him with gifts He was a great king The lord of all life knew how much the people had suffered without a leader so he sent the king a gift from heaven a son called Beow This boy was famous throughout the northern lands and he behaved well in his youth handing out gifts and earning the friendship and favor of many men that he would have to call on later in battle In any kingdom actions like this are a sure path to greatness and powerScyld died in the prime of life He had ordered his men to send his body out to sea They put their beloved king in his boat and filled it with more treasure swords and armor than Ive ever seen They covered him with the treasure which was sent to sea with his body He was sent upon the sea just like he had been sent upon the sea of life in his youth There was a gold banner flying from the mast of the ship and it flapped with the breeze that carried him away He and his treasure sailed into the unknown His people mourned deeplyBeowulf became the ruler of the SpearDanes and was beloved by all He had an heir the great Halfdane whose wisdom and sturdiness guided and protected the people Halfdane had three sonsHeorogar Hrothgar and Halgaand a daughter who married Onela and became queen of the Swedes Hrothgar was such a great warrior that men were eager to fight alongside him His army grew large He decided to build an enormous hall the largest anyone had ever seen From there he would rule and give everything he could to his people except for land and his mens lives He brought in workmen from all over the world and his immense and noble hall was soon completed He named it Heorot Once inside he kept his promise to give gifts and treasure to his people But outside the towering walls of Heorot death and destruction waited The day was coming when hatred and murder would return to tear men apart A demon stalked outside and he could hardly stand the sounds of music and singing that came from Heorot The Spear Danes sang about the origin of the world and the glory of the Almighty who made them and everything they saw The people lived in happiness until the demon began his evil work The demon was named Grendel He lived in the swamps nearby His Creator had banished him to live among the monsters of Cains family God had driven Cain out of the company of men after he murdered his brother Abel From Cain sprang a race of giants and elves and evil spirits They fought against God though they had no chance of winningSo in the nighttime Grendel went to the hall to watch the men who had been drinking He came upon them asleep completely oblivious to the sorrow and pain that awaited them Full of wrath Grendel grabbed thirty of the men and took them back to his lair When dawn broke the men saw what Grendel had done They were beside themselves with grief Even their fearless leader sat paralyzed completely overwhelmed by the destruction Grendel had caused But they couldnt grieve for long as Grendel returned the next night to claim more victims Men could be seen fleeing the hall for safety running to escape Grendels hatred The great hall soon stood empty For twelve years Hrothgar suffered as a result of Grendels attacks The whole world heard of Grendels rage and the murders he carried out on Hrothgars people Grendel refused to stop even for huge sums of gold and no man would dare try to negotiate with the foul monster Old and young alike were terrified as Grendel hunted them at night in the misty swamps never stopping his lonely war Once night fell he was the ruler of Heorot Hrothgar was heartbroken His advisors all offered ideas of how best to deal with Grendel They even made offerings to pagan gods and asked devils to come to their aid That was how little hope they had left They were heathens and they did not know that they could turn to Almighty God Lord of the Heavens Pity the man who turns to hell for help May he be blessed to turn to the Lord after deathThe wisest men could offer no real help to Hrothgar who suffered unimaginable sorrow His people struggled to endure the horrors of the nightGrendels attacks were talked about in the nearby kingdom of the Geats Hygelac the ruler of the Geats had a great warrior in his command a nobleman who was the bravest man alive No one compared to him When he heard of Grendels deeds this man ordered that his warship be made ready to sail He announced that he would sail to the aid of Hrothgar Though the Geats loved him greatly they did not stop him from going They praised him and looked for good omens that fortold success And the brave man gathered the fourteen best warriors of the Geats and prepared to sail The boat was ready in the harbor The men carried their shining weapons and armor on board while the waves slapped the side of the ship They pushed off and caught the wind The boat was like a bird skimming the surface of the sea On the second day they saw tall cliffs ahead and knew their journey was over They anchored their boat and lept ashore their weapons and armor clanging They thanked God for a safe voyage Up on the cliff one of Hrothgars guards saw the men unloading their shields and weapons He raced down to the shore on his horse and confronted the men shaking his spear while he spoke Who are you Why have you sailed here fully armed You dont have permission from my people to land here with weapons out Ive never seen anything like this in all my days as a guard And what a mighty warrior your leader is An honesttogoodness hero But you better tell me where youre from and what youre doing here unless you want people to think you are spies The sooner you tell me the betterThe leader spoke We are Geats and Hygelac is our ruler back home My father was Ecgtheow a noble warrior He lived many years and wise men still honor him We are on our way to your lord Halfdanes son Hrothgar Please help us in our errand We have come to help the lord of the Danes We have nothing to hide We have heard of the evil monster that murders your people in the night We want to help Hrothgar defeat this awful enemy and restore peace to the land and to his soul if such a thing is possible Otherwise he will suffer for the rest of his days while his hall sits empty From his horse the guard answered A smart man knows the difference between words and actions I believe you when you say that you want to help us So get your weapons and lets goIll show you the way Ill leave some guards with your boat Theyll keep it safe until its time for you to sail back home May fate keep you heroes safe They set out leaving their ship anchored in the sea The warriors marched quickly and soon saw the hall enormous and shining with gold Hrothgars hall was the most beautiful house on earth and its glory extended to distant lands The guard showed them to the house and then turned back saying I have to go back to my post at the shore May Almighty God protect youThey made their way up the path to the hall their armor shining brightly Exhausted they put their shields down against the wall of the hall and rested on the benches Their weapons were stacked up nearby One of Hrothgars warriors approached them Where do you come from with so much armor Ive never seen so many brave strangers before You come to Hrothgar looking for glory not shelter Their leader replied I am Beowulf and we are Hygelacs men If your master the son of Halfdane will meet with me I will tell him our mission Wulfgar one of the local chieftains who was famous for his courage and wisdom responded I will tell the king of Danes about your message and will return quickly with his answer Wulfgar hurried off to old Hrothgar who sat surrounded by his men These men have come across the sea from Geatland he said to his king and their leader is named Beowulf They would like to speak with you They seem like worthy warriors to me especially their leader who looks like a true hero Hrothgar answered I remember him when he was young His father was Ecgtheow who was married to the daughter of Hrethel the Geat And now their brave son comes to help his loyal friend I once sent some sailors to the Geats to deliver some gifts and they returned with wonderful tales about this man They say he is as strong as thirty men Merciful God has sent him to save us from Grendels horrors I will reward him for his bravery Tell them to come forward and let them know that they are most welcome here Wulfgar went to the door of the hall and said My master sends you this message He knows your family well and welcomes you here You may approach him in your armor but leave your shields and weapons behind Beowulf gathered several of his warriors and followed Wulfgar leaving some men behind to guard the weapons Approaching Hrothgar in his shining armor Beowulf spoke Hail Hrothgar I am Hygelacs loyal subject and kinsman and I have earned respect in his lands Even there I have
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