The Story Continues...

old Beowulf

   After telling the story of his battles with Grendel and Grendel's mother, Beowulf tells King Hygelac about the feud between Denmark and the Heathobards. He describes the peace settlement, in which Hrothgar will give his daughter Freawaru to Ingeld, king of the Heathobards In the next part Hygelac is dead, and Beowulf has been king of the Geats for fifty years. A thief steals a jeweled cup from a sleeping dragon. To avenge his loss, the dragon flies through the night burning down houses, including Beowulf's own hall.

   Beowulf goes to the cave where the dragon lives. He's an old man now, and his strength is not as great. During the battle Beowulf breaks his sword against the dragon's side; the dragon, engulfs Beowulf in flames and wounds him in the neck. All of Beowulf's followers run except Wiglaf, who rushes to assist Beowulf.

   Wiglaf stabs the dragon with his sword, and Beowulf cuts the dragon with his knife. Beowulf is now dying. He instructs Wiglaf to build a tomb for him. After Beowulf dies, Wiglaf admonishes the troops who deserted their leader when he was fighting against the dragon. He tells them that they have been untrue to the standards of bravery, courage, and loyalty that Beowulf has taught. Wiglaf supervises the building of the funeral. In keeping with Beowulf's instructions, the dragon's treasure is buried alongside Beowulf's ashes in the tomb. The great hero dies in flames of glory, true to his herioc life.


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