Young Folks Treasury, Volume 2 (of 12) eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 686 pages of information about Young Folks Treasury, Volume 2 (of 12).

And now it came to pass that across the sea in far Gothland the tale of Grendel and his wrath was carried to Beowulf the Goth, who said he would go to King Hrothgar to help him.  Taking with him fifteen good comrades, he set sail for Daneland.

When Hrothgar was told that Beowulf had come to help him, he said, “I knew him when he was yet a lad.  His father and his mother have I known.  Truly he hath sought a friend.  I have heard that he is much renowned in war, and hath the strength of thirty men in the grip of his hand.  I pray Heaven he hath been sent to free us from the horror of Grendel.  Bid Beowulf and his warriors to enter.”

Guided by the Danish knight, Beowulf and his men went into Hart Hall and stood before the aged Hrothgar.  After friendly words of greeting Beowulf said, “And now will I fight against Grendel, bearing neither sword nor shield.  With my hands alone will I grapple with the fiend, and foe to foe we will fight for victory.”

That night Beowulf’s comrades slept in Hart Hall.  Beowulf alone remained awake.  Out of the mists of the moorland the Evil Thing strode.  Loud he laughed as he gazed upon the sleeping warriors.  Beowulf, watchful and angry, curbed his wrath.  Grendel seized one of the men, drank his blood, crushed his bones, and swallowed his horrid feast.  Then Beowulf caught the monster and fought till the noise of the contest was as of thunder.  The knights awoke and tried to plunge their swords into the hide of Grendel, but in vain.  By enchantments he had made himself safe.  At length the fight came to an end.  The sinews in Grendel’s shoulder burst, the bones cracked.  The ogre tore himself free, leaving his arm in Beowulf’s mighty grip.

Sobbing forth his death-song, Grendel fled till he reached his dwelling in the lake of the water-dragons, and there plunged in.  The dark waves closed over him and he sank to his home.  Loud were the songs of triumph in Hart Hall, great the rejoicing, for Beowulf had made good his boast.  He had cleansed the hall of the ogre.  A splendid feast was made and much treasure given to Beowulf by the King and Queen.

Again did the Dane lords sleep in the great hall, but far away in the water-dragons’ lake the mother of Grendel wept over the dead body of her son, desiring revenge.  Very terrible to look upon was this water-witch.  As the darkness fell she crept across the moorland to Hart Hall.  In she rushed eager for slaughter.  A wild cry rang through the hall.  The water-witch fled, but in doing so carried off the best beloved of all the King’s warriors.

Quickly was Beowulf called and he rode forth to the dark lake.  Down and down he dived till he came to the cave of the water-witch whom he killed after a desperate struggle.  Hard by on a couch lay the body of Grendel.  Drawing his sword he smote off the ogre’s head.  Swimming up with it he reached the surface and sprang to land, and was greeted by his faithful thanes.  Four of them were needed to carry the huge head back to Hart Hall.

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Young Folks Treasury, Volume 2 (of 12) from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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