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Long ago, at the beginning of creation, two brothers, Cain and Abel lived peacefully, until Cain killed Abel, starting a blood-feud of kin-murder. This legacy of kin-murder was passed down through time, for the murder split the bloodline into two groups: Abel's, whose descendants were human, and Cain's, whose descendants were monstrous and sub-human.

The poem Beowulf begins with this legacy of kin-murder and revenge. In Denmark, an evil monster, Grendel, who is ritually ravaging his kingdom, torments King Hrothgar. Currently, the monster breaks into the castle and eats as many of Hrothgar's men as he can stomach each night. Beowulf, a noted and respected warrior from Geatland, arrives with a ship of his warriors to assist King Hrothgar in stopping Grendel. King Hrothgar accepts Beowulf's pledge to kill Grendel. That night, Grendel comes to the castle and kills some of the men, devouring them. Beowulf meets Grendel, and a battle ensues--Beowulf uses no weapon against Grendel, and fighting barehanded, rips off his arm. Grendel escapes, but when he returns to his underwater lair, he dies. King Hrothgar is utterly grateful to Beowulf for killing Grendel. Grendel's arm is hung in the battlehall as a trophy of his bravery and the victory of mankind over monster.

The danger has not passed; Grendel's mother has become enraged by her son's death. She comes late one night to King Hrothgar's battlehall, grabs one man, eat him, and flees. She also retrieves her son's arm, which had been hanging in the hall as a trophy. Hrothgar is anxious and upset, and calls on Beowulf to aid them once again, offering him much gold and treasure, as well as alliance with his people, for doing battle with Grendel's mother. Beowulf travels with his men to the evil fiery lake where Grendel's mother lives. Beowulf makes a great speech about bravery, citing that God will look after him in his deed, and leaps into the lake wearing armor and carrying a great sword. Beowulf swims down through the lake for many hours, finally coming upon Grendel's mother. They fight for a brief time, Grendel's mother batters Beowulf around, but is unable to harm him through the armor. Beowulf finds his sword to be useless against Grendel's mother, and she swims to her underwater battlehall with him in tow. There, they continue to fight, until Beowulf takes a giant sword off the wall of the battlehall and cuts off her head, killing her. The sword is a magic sword, created by ancient monsters and giants at the beginning of creation. He swims to where Grendel's arm is located and finds the dead Grendel, whose head he decapitates as well, and takes with him as a trophy.

Beowulf swims back through the fiery lake to his men who are waiting for him. Hrothgar's men have already left, sure of Beowulf's defeat. Beowulf's men rejoice, and Beowulf goes back to Hrothgar's battlehall.

Hrothgar names him as one of their friends and rewards him with gold and important advice about being a king. Beowulf and his men leave on their ship to go back to Geatland and King Higlac. Beowulf gives his King all the treasure and great weapons he received. Higlac rewards him with a great sword.

Higlac rules



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