Novels Intermediate

Beowulf by Robert Hill

This is an ancient epic poem, which was written at the end of the seventh century. The text first saw the world in 1815. This is a rare case when the text written in pre-Christian times has survived until the present time. A horrible monster named Grendel has pursued King Hrodgar for over 12 years. The monster kills his strongest and bravest warriors. Beowulf decides to help the king and gathers his warriors for a significant battle. He is a famous warlord and he is able to defeat any beast. Beowulf kills Grendel in a one-on-one battle. But Grendel’s mother rises from the sea bottom to punish the killer of her son. Beowulf battles her in a den under the water. In the second part of the text, Beowulf himself becomes king. He fights a dragon and is badly wounded. The hero dies after living a decent life. This is an honorable end for any warrior.

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Beowulf by Robert Hill

The old Danish kings were men of courage, and their exploits are famous.

One of these kings was called Shield Sheafson. He had been abandoned as a child, but he grew into a fierce warrior who subdued his enemies. He was a good king. Shield Sheafson’s son was called Beow. Beow recognized what the people had suffered in the past, and he rewarded them generously whilst his father was still king. In this way the young prince, who was blessed by God, gathered around him friends who would be loyal in times of trouble.

Beowulf by Robert Hill

When Shield died, he was given a splendid funeral. They placed his body in a boat and loaded the boat with treasure. They hung a golden standard above his head to show who he was. Then they pushed the boat out to sea, where it drifted on the waves. No one knows who found the boat and kept its rich treasure.

Now it was Beow’s turn to protect the Danes. He, too, was a good king and the people liked him. Beow’s heir was the great Halfdane. Halfdane had three sons, Heorogar, Hrothgar and Halga.

He also had a daughter who married the Swedish king Onela.

Hrothgar was lucky in war. Many men were keen to serve him and his army grew. He decided to build a great mead hall as a sign of his power. He wanted the mead hall to be his throne room. He also wanted it to be the place from where he would share his goods with the people.

He summoned workers from all over the world to come and build his mead hall, which was called Heorot Hall. Soon the building was finished, and it was splendid. Its towers rose high into the sky, and its roof was wide.

There were feasts and singing every day in Heorot Hall. Harpists played their music, and poets told the story of how God created the earth, the sun and the moon.

But there was a demon that hated the happiness of Heorot Hall. His name was Grendel, and he lived on a bleak part of the coastal lands. Grendel had previously lived in exile with the family of Cain, who had murdered his brother Abel.

One night Grendel came to Heorot Hall to look at the Danes feasting and enjoying themselves there. He found them asleep after their drinking, and he seized thirty men and carried them away with him. He returned to the Hall later that night, and left thirty bloodstained corpses there…

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