• TABLE OF CONTENTS
HIDE
 Front Cover
 Front Matter
 Frontispiece
 Title Page
 Preface
 Table of Contents
 List of Illustrations
 The story of Beowulf
 King Arthur and the round...
 The treasure of the Nibelungs
 Advertising
 Back Cover
 Spine






Title: Heroes of chivalry and romance
CITATION THUMBNAILS PAGE TURNER PAGE IMAGE ZOOMABLE
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Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00087355/00001
 Material Information
Title: Heroes of chivalry and romance
Alternate Title: Heroes of chivalry & romance
Physical Description: vii, 342, 2 p., 8 leaves of plates : col. ill. ; 20 cm.
Language: English
Creator: Church, Alfred John, 1829-1912
Morrow, George, 1869-1955 ( Illustrator )
Seeley and Co ( Publisher )
Unwin Brothers (Firm) ( Printer )
Publisher: Seeley and Co. Limited
Place of Publication: London
Manufacturer: Unwin Brothers, The Gresham Press
Publication Date: 1898
 Subjects
Subject: Beowulf (Legendary character) -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Nibelungen -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Kings and rulers -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Knights and knighthood -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Adventure and adventurers -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Arthurian romances -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Chivalry -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Battles -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Treasure troves -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Castles -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Dragons -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Courage -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Honor -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Queens -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Children's stories   ( lcsh )
Publishers' advertisements -- 1898   ( rbgenr )
Folk tales -- 1898   ( rbgenr )
Fantasy literature -- 1898   ( rbgenr )
Juvenile literature -- 1898   ( rbgenr )
Children's stories -- 1898   ( lcsh )
Bldn -- 1898
Genre: Publishers' advertisements   ( rbgenr )
Folk tales   ( rbgenr )
Fantasy literature   ( rbgenr )
Juvenile literature   ( rbgenr )
Children's stories
non-fiction   ( marcgt )
Spatial Coverage: England -- London
England -- Woking
 Notes
Statement of Responsibility: by the Rev. A.J. Church ; with illustrations by George Morrow.
General Note: Pictorial front cover and spine.
General Note: Contains prose and verse.
General Note: Publisher's advertisements follow text.
General Note: In the preface, dated Sept. 3, 1898, the author acknowledges his dependence on Kemble's translation and notes and Professor Earle's edition of Beowulf and on the translations of the Nibelung tale by W.N. Lettsom and Alice Horton.
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: UF00087355
Volume ID: VID00001
Source Institution: University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier: aleph - 002224206
notis - ALG4467
oclc - 63064886

Table of Contents
    Front Cover
        Front Cover 1
        Front Cover 2
    Front Matter
        Front Matter
    Frontispiece
        Frontispiece
    Title Page
        Page i
        Page ii
    Preface
        Page iii
        Page iv
    Table of Contents
        Page v
        Page vi
    List of Illustrations
        Page vii
    The story of Beowulf
        Page 1
        Page 2
        The slaying of Grendel
            Page 3
            Page 4
            Page 5
            Page 6
            Page 7
            Page 8
            Page 9
            Page 10
            Page 11
            Page 12
            Page 13
            Page 14
            Page 15
            Page 16
            Page 17
            Page 18
            Page 19
            Page 20
            Page 21
            Page 22
            Page 23
            Page 24
            Page 25
            Page 26
        Grendel's mother
            Page 27
            Page 28
            Page 29
            Page 30
            Page 31
            Page 32
            Page 33
            Page 34
            Page 35
            Page 36
            Page 37
            Page 38
            Page 39
            Page 40
            Page 41
            Page 42
            Page 43
            Page 44
        The dragon
            Page 45
            Page 46
            Page 47
            Page 48
            Page 49
            Page 50
            Page 51
            Page 52
            Page 53
            Page 54
            Page 55
            Page 56
            Page 56a
            Page 57
            Page 58
            Page 59
            Page 60
    King Arthur and the round table
        Page 61
        Page 62
        How Arthur came to his kingdom
            Page 63
            Page 64
            Page 65
            Page 66
            Page 67
            Page 68
            Page 69
            Page 70
        Of Excalibur and the round table
            Page 71
            Page 72
            Page 73
            Page 74
            Page 75
            Page 76
            Page 77
            Page 78
            Page 79
            Page 80
        The adventures of Sir Balin
            Page 81
            Page 82
            Page 83
            Page 84
            Page 85
            Page 86
            Page 87
            Page 88
            Page 89
            Page 90
            Page 91
            Page 92
        The adventures of Sir Balin (continued)
            Page 93
            Page 94
            Page 95
            Page 96
            Page 97
            Page 98
            Page 99
            Page 100
            Page 101
            Page 102
            Page 102a
            Page 103
        The adventure of Sir Gareth
            Page 104
            Page 105
            Page 106
            Page 107
            Page 108
            Page 109
            Page 110
            Page 111
            Page 112
            Page 113
            Page 114
            Page 115
        The adventure of Sir Gareth (continued)
            Page 116
            Page 117
            Page 118
            Page 119
            Page 120
            Page 121
            Page 122
            Page 123
            Page 124
            Page 125
            Page 126
            Page 127
            Page 128
            Page 129
        The adventure of Sir Gareth (continued)
            Page 130
            Page 131
            Page 132
            Page 133
            Page 134
            Page 135
            Page 136
            Page 137
            Page 138
            Page 139
            Page 140
            Page 141
            Page 142
            Page 143
        The adventures of Sir Lancelot
            Page 144
            Page 145
            Page 146
            Page 147
            Page 148
            Page 149
            Page 150
            Page 151
            Page 152
            Page 153
        The adventures of Sir Lancelot (continued)
            Page 154
            Page 155
            Page 156
            Page 156a
            Page 157
            Page 158
            Page 159
            Page 160
            Page 161
            Page 162
            Page 163
            Page 164
        The adventures of Sir Lancelot (continued)
            Page 165
            Page 166
            Page 167
            Page 168
            Page 169
            Page 170
            Page 171
            Page 172
            Page 173
            Page 174
        Of another adventure of Sir Lancelot
            Page 175
            Page 176
            Page 177
            Page 178
            Page 179
            Page 180
            Page 181
            Page 182
            Page 183
        The adventure of the Holy Grail
            Page 184
            Page 185
            Page 186
            Page 186a
            Page 187
            Page 188
            Page 189
            Page 190
            Page 191
            Page 192
            Page 193
            Page 194
            Page 195
            Page 196
        How Sir Galahad found the Holy Grail
            Page 197
            Page 198
            Page 199
            Page 200
            Page 201
        The death of Arthur
            Page 202
            Page 203
            Page 204
            Page 205
            Page 206
            Page 207
            Page 208
            Page 209
            Page 210
            Page 211
            Page 212
    The treasure of the Nibelungs
        Page 213
        Page 214
        Kriemhild
            Page 215
            Page 216
            Page 217
        Siegfried
            Page 218
            Page 219
            Page 220
        Siegfried comes to Worms
            Page 221
            Page 222
            Page 223
            Page 224
            Page 225
            Page 226
            Page 227
            Page 228
            Page 229
            Page 230
        Of Siegfried and the Saxons
            Page 231
            Page 232
            Page 233
            Page 234
            Page 235
            Page 236
            Page 237
            Page 238
            Page 239
            Page 240
        The wooing of Brunhild
            Page 241
            Page 242
            Page 243
            Page 244
            Page 245
        The winning of Brunhild
            Page 246
            Page 247
            Page 248
            Page 249
            Page 250
            Page 251
            Page 252
            Page 252a
            Page 253
            Page 254
            Page 255
            Page 256
            Page 257
        How the Queens fell out
            Page 258
            Page 259
            Page 260
            Page 261
            Page 262
            Page 263
            Page 264
            Page 265
        How Siegfried was betrayed and slain
            Page 266
            Page 267
            Page 268
            Page 269
            Page 270
            Page 271
            Page 272
            Page 273
            Page 274
            Page 274a
            Page 275
        How Kriemhild mourned for Siegfried
            Page 276
            Page 277
            Page 278
            Page 279
            Page 280
            Page 281
        How King Etzel courted the Queen Kriemhild
            Page 282
            Page 283
            Page 284
            Page 285
            Page 286
            Page 287
            Page 288
            Page 289
            Page 290
        How Kriemhild sent for her kindred
            Page 291
            Page 292
            Page 293
            Page 294
            Page 295
            Page 296
            Page 297
            Page 298
            Page 299
            Page 300
            Page 301
            Page 302
        How the Rhinelanders came to King Etzel
            Page 303
            Page 304
            Page 305
            Page 306
            Page 307
            Page 308
            Page 309
        Of the beginning of strife
            Page 310
            Page 311
            Page 312
            Page 312a
            Page 313
            Page 314
            Page 315
            Page 316
        How Bloedelin and many more were slain
            Page 317
            Page 318
            Page 319
            Page 320
            Page 321
            Page 322
            Page 323
            Page 324
            Page 325
            Page 326
            Page 327
        How the hall was set on fire
            Page 328
            Page 329
            Page 330
            Page 331
            Page 332
            Page 333
            Page 334
        The end
            Page 335
            Page 336
            Page 337
            Page 338
            Page 339
            Page 340
            Page 341
            Page 342
    Advertising
        Page 343
        Page 344
    Back Cover
        Back Cover 1
        Back Cover 2
    Spine
        Spine
Full Text














IN

























































How THEY CARRIED SCYLD TO THE SHIP.








HEROES OF CHIVALRY


AND ROMANCE






By the
REV. A. J. CHURCH, M.A.
Formerly Professor of Latin in University College, London,
Author of Stories from Homer," &c.






WITH ILLUSTRATIONS BY
GEORGE MORROW







LONDON
SEELEY AND CO. LIMITED
38, GREAT RUSSELL STREET
1898





































































UNWIN BROTHERS, THE GRESHAM PRESS, WORKING AND LONDON.














PREFACE



IN writing the story of Beowulf I have been
helped by Kemble's translation and notes, and
still more by Professor Earle's admirable edition.
In telling the Nibelung tale I have always had
at hand the translation by Mr. W. N. Lettsom,
and have also made use of a version made by
Miss Alice Horton and published this year under
the editorship of Mr. Edward Bell. I desire
thankfully to acknowledge the obligation under
which I stand to both these works.

A. J. C.
Sept. 3, 1898.





















CONTENTS




Ebe Storp of Beowulf
CHAP. PAGE
I. THE SLAYING OF GRENDEL 3
II. GRENDEL'S MOTHER 27
III. THE DRAGON 45



'king Ztrtbur anb the 1Rounb 'able

I. HOW ARTHUR CAME TO HIS KINGDOM 63
II. OF EXCALIBUR AND THE ROUND TABLE 71
III. THE ADVENTURES OF SIR BALIN 81
IV. THE ADVENTURES OF SIR BALIN continuedd) 93
V. THE ADVENTURE OF SIR GARETH 104
VI. THE ADVENTURE OF SIR GARETH (continued) I16
VII. THE ADVENTURE OF SIR GARETH (concluded) 130
VIII. THE ADVENTURES OF SIR LANCELOT 144
IX. THE ADVENTURES OF SIR LANCELOT (conlinted). 154
X. THE ADVENTURES OF SIR LANCELOT continuedd). 165









vi CONTENTS

CHAP. PAGE
XI. OF ANOTHER ADVENTURE OF SIR LANCELOT 175

XII. THE ADVENTURE OF THE HOLY GRAIL 184

XIII. HOW SIR GALAHAD FOUND THE HOLY GRAIL 197

XIV. THE DEATH OF ARTHUR 202



Zbe treasure of tbe lRibelungs

I. KRIEMHILD 215

II. SIEGFRIED 218

III. SIEGFRIED COMES TO WORMS 221

IV. OF SIEGFRIED AND THE SAXONS 231

V. THE WOOING OF BRUNHILD 241

VI. THE WINNING OF BRUNHILD 247

VII. HOW THE QUEENS FELL OUT 258

VIII. HOW SIEGFRIED WAS BETRAYED AND SLAIN 266

IX. HOW KRIEMHILD MOURNED FOR SIEGFRIED 276

X. HOW KING ETZEL COURTED THE QUEEN KRIEMHILD 282

XI. HOW KRIEMHILD SENT FOR HER KINDRED 291

XII. HOW THE RHINELANDERS CAME TO KING ETZEL. 303

XIII. OF THE BEGINNING OF STRIFE 3IO

XIV. HOW BLOEDELIN AND MANY MORE WERE SLAIN. 317

XV. HOW THE HALL WAS SET ON FIRE 328

XVI. THE END 335
























LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS


-C-----0


HOW THEY CARRIED SCYLD TO THE SHIP

BEOWULF AND THE DRAGON

SIR BALIN AND SIR BALAN

SIR LANCELOT AND SIR TURQUINE


PAGE

F1rontispiece

56

102

56


SIR GALAHAD BROUGHT TO THE PERILOUS SEAT

BRUNHILD AND GUNTHER

SIEGFRIED WITH THE BEAR

HAGEN AND VOLKER IN THE PRESENCE OF KRIEMHILD






















THE STORY OF BEOWULF















CHAPTER I


THE SLAYING OF GRENDEL

IN the days of old the House of the Scyldings
bare rule in Denmark. The first of the line was
Scyld, whom men called "Son of the Sheaf"
because he came no man knew whence, being a
little child in a boat with a sheaf of corn. He
grew to be a mighty man of valour, subduing the
robber tribes that sailed over the seas seeking
for plunder, and compelling the nations round
about to pay him tribute. A good King was he
and a great, and God gave him a son for the
comfort of his people, for He knew in what evil
case that nation stands that lacks a king to rule
over it.
Now the time came that King Scyld must die,
for he had grown old and feeble. So he said to
his warriors, Carry me, comrades, to the shore,
for as I came by the sea, so by the sea must I
go." So they carried him to the shore; there
stood his ship, newly adorned, and with sails set
3






THE SLAYING OF GRENDEL


as for a voyage. There in the middle of the
ship, hard by the mast, did the comrades of Scyld
the King lay down their dead lord. And they
laid with him many precious things, ornaments
gathered from many far countries. Never have
I heard of ship that was adorned in more comely
fashion with warriors' gear and weapons of war,
battle-axes and coats of mail. Rich in truth was
the store that they put in his keeping that he
might carry them with him far away into the land
of waters. Not less, then, was the wealth that
he took than that which he brought. With empty
hands he came, but he departed with a king's
treasure. And over his head they set up a
banner wrought in gold. And the helm they left
free that the sea might take him whithersoever it
would. But who received that burden not the
wisest man that is under heaven knows to this
day.
King Scyld having thus gone to his place,
Beowulf his son reigned in his stead for many
years even unto old age; and after Beowulf,
Healfdene, a hero famous in war; and after
Healfdene, Hrothgar, who excelled all that had
gone before him in valiant deeds.
It came into the mind of this Hrothgar that he
would build a banqueting-hall, greater than man
had ever before heard tell of. And as he pur-
posed so he did. Quickly was the hall set up,






THE SLAYING OF GRENDEL 5

and when it was finished it was the stateliest hall
in all the earth, a home of peace, towering high
into the air. Nor did any that beheld it dream
that there should ever be strife within it, or that
its splendour should be devoured by flames.
And when the great hall was built, the King's
warriors resorted to it with much joy and gladness,
till there came within its doors an evil guest that
worked desolation and woe. Grendel was his
name, and he dwelt among the moors and fens.
He was of an accursed race, the race of Cain the
murderer, whom the Lord separated from the
children of men. For, indeed, of this first father
come all strange broods, giants, and elves, and
ogres.
On a certain night, when the darkness had
fallen, this Grendel set forth to search out this lofty
hall, and to see how the Danes had bestowed
themselves in it. A princely troop he found
sleeping after the feast. Thirty of them did the
monster seize, and hied him back to his den,
rejoicing with loud cries over his prey. But
when the day broke all men might see what
desolation he had wrought, and great was the
grief of the King. Again, on the very next
night, the monster came, and seized a fresh prey.
And so it happened for the space of twelve
winters. No man dared abide in the hall for
fear of Grendel; nor did they escape him in the






THE SLAYING OF GRENDEL


chambers of the castle. Whether a man was a
tried warrior, or a youth, it mattered not; all
were his prey. And over the moors he wandered,
seizing such as found access there. Only to the
throne itself he could not approach, for God
would not suffer him so to do. Oft did the
nobles take counsel together how they might
abate this plague; often did they offer sacrifices
to their gods if haply they might win help from
them; but neither sacrifice nor counsel availed.
Now in the land of the Goths there was a
certain King, Hygelac by name, and this King
had a nephew, whose name was Beowulf, a youth
that had in him the strength of thirty men. To
him came the report of King Hrothgar's trouble,
and he conceived in his mind the purpose to help
him. So he set sail to the land of the Danes,
having fourteen comrades with him, the bravest
that he could find in all the land of the Goths.
All that day and all that night they sailed, and
on the morrow, at the very hour of their setting
out, they saw land, a land of great cliffs and of
headlands jutting far out into the sea. So they
drove the ship to the beach, and sprang ashore in
their warriors' gear, and made fast their craft.
When the warden of the coast espied them, he
rode down to the shore, with a great spear in his
hand. "Who are ye," he said, "who come so
boldly to this land? Many years have I been






THE SLAYING OF GRENDEL


warden in this place, having been set to watch
the sea-robbers, lest they should work mischief to
the land of the Danes, but never have I seen men
land in more open guise. Nor do ye know, I
take it, any password or token such as kinsmen
have between them. Say then who ye are, for,
indeed, I see among you one whose peer may not
easily be found, so stalwart and strong is he to
look upon. No common man is he that has
decked himself out with splendid armour. But
say, strangers, who ye are before ye go further
into the land of the Danes."
Then Beowulf made answer: We are of the
race of the Goths, and we are come with friendly
purpose to thy lord, King Hrothgar; nor is there
any need to hide it. We have heard-and
whether it be true or no thou knowest-that
some monster comes by night to devour the
King's warriors in his hall. For this evil we
bring a remedy."
The warden said: "Yea, I know it well; a
faithful squire must needs know the troubles of
his lord. But ye, for ye seem to be a friendly
company, pass on with your weapons of war, and
I will bid my comrades keep watch and ward
over your ship till ye return, that it may carry
you safely back to the land of your birth."
So Beowulf and his company marched on, with
the warden for guide of their way; and as they






THE SLAYING OF GRENDEL


went, the sun shone on the golden boars' heads
that they carried on their helmets. Eager for
battle they went on till they could see before
them the hall of the King where it stood in its
splendour. Then the warden pointed with his
hand and said: Now I must depart; for I must
needs return to the shore to keep it against the
approach of the enemy. And may the Almighty
Father keep you in your way "
So they marched along the path of stone till
they came to the hall; there they set up their
shields against the wall, and stacked their spears
together, and sat down upon a bench, for they
were weary with their journey.
To them came forth an officer of the King, and
questioned them of their kindred and country:
"Whence do ye bring," he said, your warriors'
gear, your shields and spears? Know that I am
squire and herald to King Hrothgar. Never yet
have I seen so fair a company of strangers. 'Tis,
I trow, on some bold errand that ye are come."
The chief made reply : We sit at the table of
Hygelac, King of the Goths. As for me, I am
Beowulf; my errand I will set forth to the King,
if he will grant us of his good grace that we may
see him."
Then said Wulfgar the herald: I will ask
the King his pleasure, and bring thee back his
answer without delay."







THE SLAYING OF GRENDEL


So the herald went to where King Hrothgar
sat, an old man among his warriors, and spake:
" Certain men are newly come, my lord, to this
place far across the sea from the land of the
Goths, and the name of their chief is Beowulf.
They make petition that they may see thee, and
I would counsel that thou refuse not their request,
for their gear is that of worthy men, and their
chief is a noble prince."
The King made answer: I knew him well
when he was yet a boy. His father was Egthean,
to whom Hethel the Goth gave his only daughter
in marriage. And now he has grown to man's
estate, and is come to visit us. And indeed it
is well, for they who carried our gifts over the
seas to the Goths say that he has in his grip the
strength of thirty men. Haply God has sent
him of His grace to help us against the monster
Grendel. Go, therefore, and say to him and his
company that they are welcome to the land of the
Danes."
So Wulfgar the herald returned and said:
" The King bids you welcome to the land of the
Danes, for he knows of what race ye are. Leave,
therefore, your shields and spears till ye have
spoken with him."
So Beowulf and some of his company went in
to speak to the King, and the others tarried
behind to keep watch over the war gear.






THE SLAYING OF GRENDEL


And when they stood before the King,
Beowulf stood forth and said: Hail to thee,
King Hrothgar! I am Beowulf, kinsman to
King Hygelac. Many deeds of note have I
done in my youth, and now the report of the
doings of Grendel the monster has brought me
to this land. For strangers from over the sea
have told us how that this fair hall stands empty
of guests so soon as the evening falls. 'Twas
my comrades that put the thought in my heart,
for they had seen my valorous deeds, how I had
conquered the foes of my country, and brought
the race of the giants low, and slain monsters
both on sea and on land. So now I am come,
my lord King, to fight single-handed against this
Grendel. Now, therefore, I make my petition to
thee, O Prince, first that I may undertake this
enterprise alone, and next, seeing that this
monster despises weapons, that I may also
forego all use of the same, and carry neither
sword, nor shield, nor coat of mail to this battle.
With the grip of my hands only will I deal with
this enemy, struggling with him, life for life.
But who shall live and who shall die, let it be as
God shall will. I doubt not, O King, that if he
have his way he will devour the champions of the
Goths, even as he has devoured the champions
of the Danes. And as for me, thou wilt not
need to lay my body in the earth and raise a







THE SLAYING OF GRENDEL


mound over it, for he will carry it off to the
moors where he dwells and devour it there.
Only I would pray thee to send back to King
Hygelac the armour that I wear; for it came to
me by inheritance, and Weland, the smith of the
gods, wrought in the old time. But that which
Fate has ordered shall come to pass."
To him King Hrothgar made answer: "'Tis
well, O Beowulf, that thou art come to help me
in this my need, for I knew thy father in the old
time; he was a mighty man of valour, and there
was a bond of friendship between him and me.
But as for this Grendel, it is a shame to tell what
desolation he has wrought in my hall. He has
swept away the whole company of my warriors.
Who can stay him in his ill-deeds ? God doubtless
can do so, but I know of none besides. Often
have my warriors boasted, when they were merry
with their drink, that they would stand up, sword
in hand, against the monster. But when morning
came, lo! the hall was bespattered with gore,
and the benches reeked with blood, and I was
the poorer by many brave warriors. But now, I
pray thee, sit down to the feast, thou and thy
brave comrades with thee."
So a table was cleared, and the warriors of the
Goths sat down together in the pride of their
strength. And one of the King's thanes waited
on them, bearing the ale-can in his hands, and,







THE SLAYING OF GRENDEL


once and again, a minstrel sang with clear voice
of the deeds of the men of old, and there was
mirth in the hall.
But while they feasted envy stirred in the heart
of Unferth, son of Ecglaf. He was the King's
orator, and he took it ill that Beowulf should
have come to the land of the Danes on this
great enterprise, for he was one who could not
endure that any man under heaven should do
greater deeds than himself. Therefore he stood
up in the hall and spake: "Art thou that
Beowulf who contended with Breca in swimming
on the open sea? 'Twas, indeed, a foolhardy
thing so to put your lives in jeopardy, yet no
man could turn you from your adventure. Seven
days and nights ye toiled, one against the other,
but he in the end prevailed, for he had the
greater strength. And on the eighth morning
the waves cast him ashore on the land of the
Heathoram, whence he journeyed back to the city
of the Bronding, of which he was lord. So did
Breca, son of Beanstan, make good his boast
against thee. And thou, I trow, wilt have worse
luck than this, though doubtless thou art a sturdy
warrior in the shock of battle, if thou shalt dare
to abide for the space of a night the strength of
the monster Grendel."
Then said Beowulf: "Surely the ale-can has
wrought with thee, friend Unferth, that thou hast






THE SLAYING OF GRENDEL


said such things about Breca, the son of Beanstan,
and how he strove with me in swimming. But I
say to thee that in buffeting the waves of the sea
I have more strength than any other man under
heaven. Now hear the truth. This Breca and I,
in our boyhood, when we were pages at the King's
court, were wont to talk of this, how we would
put our lives in jeopardy on the sea, and we made
agreement to contend the one against the other.
So we swam, each of us holding in one hand a
sword wherewith to defend ourselves against the
whale-fishes of the sea. Not one whit further
than I could he swim, nor I one whit further than
he. So for the space of five days and five nights
we twain swam together; but on the sixth day
the floods parted us, for the wind blew mightily
against us from the north, and the waves were
rough. So was I left alone, and then the rage
of the sea-monsters was roused against me; but
my coat of mail stood me in good stead against
their attacks. Yet did one great beast-spotted
he was with spots-seize me in his grip and drag
me to the bottom of the sea. Yet strength was
given me to pierce the monster with my sword,
and then I slew him. Nor yet in truth was I
quit of my enemies ; for they pressed against me
in my rage, and I dealt them blows with my
sword and stinted not. They counted to devour
me, foul robbers of the sea that they were, to






THE SLAYING OF GRENDEL


devour me for their supper. But they fared far
otherwise. Verily they lay the next morning high
and dry upon the shore, having met their fate by
the sword. And truly it was a good deed to
slay them, for never more would they hinder in
their course such as fare across the sea. And
when I had finished my task, lo! it was morning,
and I saw the headlands. So does fortune rescue
the warrior if he be not doomed of Fate, and if
he be bold of heart. Verily it came of my good
luck that I was able to slay with my sword nine
monsters of the deep and to escape with my life.
Never was a man more hardly pressed by the
waves of the sea or come into greater peril of
death. After this the sea cast me up on the land
of the Finns. I have heard of no such deeds as
done by thee, Unferth, son of Ecglaf; no, nor
hath Breca achieved the like. And this I say to
thee, that Grendel had never wrought such woe
and desolation for thy King hadst thou in truth
possessed the courage of which thou makest
boast. But he, methinks, takes but small heed
of the spearmen of the Danes, nor fears lest they
requite him, slaughter for slaughter. Rather he
takes toll from them at his will; he slaughters
and he feasts, but he has no thought of fight. But
now there has come one who shall show him
what a Goth can do in battle, and shall make King
Hrothgar's hall a fit abiding-place again for men."






THE SLAYING OF GRENDEL


So Beowulf spake, and the old King heard him
with great joy, seeing that he was steadily pur-
posed in his heart to contend and to prevail. So
there was mirth in the hall, and much laughter of
heroes, and music, and songs of rejoicing.
Then came Veleda, Queen of King Hrothgar,
into the hall, clad in cloth of gold, and she bore
a great beaker in her hand, for she was careful to
observe all ancient customs. To the King of the
East Danes first she handed the great cup,
wishing him joy and the love of his lords. And
after him she went the round to all the warriors
where they sat in their places, the old by them-
selves and the young by themselves; last of all
she brought the cup to Beowulf, and greeted him
right courteously, and gave thanks to God that He
had given them such an answer to their prayers.
" For now," she said, I believe that we have a
warrior who will rid us of our troubles." Beowulf
made answer to the Queen: Lady, when I em-
barked on this voyage with my fellows, I promised
that I would either do this deed, or perish by the
hands of this monster. And to this I am bound;
either I will fulfil this promise, or I will meet my
death in this hall." Well pleased was the Queen
with this saying, and she went in her gold attire
to sit by the side of her lord, King Hrothgar.
So all the company of Danes and Goths sat in
the hall, and made good cheer, till the King rose






THE SLAYING OF GRENDEL


from his place to go to his chamber. Well he
knew that the time was come when the monster
issued forth to his cruel deeds, for Grendel was of
the creatures of darkness that come forth when the
sun has set. And when he rose, all the company
stood up. Then said the King to Beowulf, the
while he wished him all good fortune, Never
since I first laid my right hand to the sword and
bare the shield on my left have I given this hall
of the Danes to any man to keep. And now I
give it in trust to thee. Do thou keep it as
befits its grace. Be of good hope; be valiant;
watch. And verily, if thou comest with thy life
out of this conflict, there is no wish in thy heart
which thou shalt not see fulfilled." So King
Hrothgar went to his chamber, and his chiefs
followed him. But Beowulf abode still in the
hall, resolved in his heart to do the service which
he had promised. And first he took from off his
body his stout coat of mail and doffed his helmet,
and then he gave to his squire his good sword.
"Keep thou," he said, "all my warrior's gear."
But before he climbed up on his bed he spake
aloud saying, Now indeed I reckon myself to be
not one whit behind this Grendel in deeds of war.
Therefore I am resolved not to make an end of
him with the sword, as well I might, for he knows
nought, I trow, of the noble art of arms, how to
strike with the sword and parry, though he be







THE SLAYING OF GRENDEL


expert in deeds of darkness. So it shall be that
when we come to trial of our strength this night
we will have no weapon in our hands. And may
He who knows all things give the victory as it
shall please Him."
So saying, the warrior laid him down on a bed
and round him lay many valiant lovers of the sea,
his comrades in this enterprise. Without fear
they lay, though there was not one who thought
That he should ever see again land, and kindred,
and the home of his youth, for they knew what
havoc the monster Grendel had wrought in that
same hall among the Danish folk. But they
fared better than they had thought, for God gave
them deliverance by the hand of a single
champion. It pleased Him so to do, and verily
He is the ruler of the world.
Meanwhile the destroyer came on his way, bent
on his errand of mischief. And they who should
have guarded the hall slept all of them : Beowulf
only kept watch and ward, awaiting the trial of
battle. In haste the monster approached, hoping
to catch some man for his prey. Many a time
before had he visited King Hrothgar's hall, and
never had he gone away empty. But, of a truth,
he had not found it before in the keeping of so
stout a warrior.
And now he was come to the hall, and straight-
way, at the first touch of his hands, the door,







THE SLAYING OF GRENDEL


fastened though it was with bars of iron wrought
by a cunning smith, flew open. Thereafter he
looked about him, with ravening eyes, whose
light was like to burning fire. And as he looked
he saw, fast bound in sleep, a troop of warriors,
kinsmen all of them. And as he saw he laughed,
thinking to himself that ere the day should dawn
he would slay them all, for he deemed that fortune
had favoured him again. But it was not so
decreed of fate, but rather that he should not
after that night make his meal again of the flesh
of man.
Great was the rage in the heart of Beowulf
when he saw the monster, but he held it back,
waiting to see what the creature would do. Nor
indeed did Grendel long delay. Speedily he seized
a sleeping warrior and tore him in twain, crunching
the bones with his teeth, and drinking the blood
from his veins. In a trice he had devoured the
body to the very feet and hands. This done, he
came near to the bed of Beowulf, and stretched
out to lay hold on him. But the champion seized
the monster's arm with such a grip as he had
never felt before. Nowhere had he found such
strength in mortal man. Great was his fear and
eager his desire to depart. Such grim entertain-
ment he had not met before in King Hrothgar's
hall. But Beowulf remembered what boast he
had made that night, how he would carry this






THE SLAYING OF GRENDEL


work to its full accomplishment. Therefore he
stood up in his place, and grappled with the
monster, holding him fast, though it seemed as if
his fingers would burst. And when Grendel
turned to flee, then the Earl followed him. Fain
would the ogre have fled to his dwelling in the
moors, for he knew that the grip of a deadly foe
was on him. That was in truth a rash journey
that he had made to King Hrothgar's hall.
Loud were the cries of the two as they fought
together, and great the terror of all that were in the
hall, Danes and Goths alike. The very bravest
could not hear it with an untroubled heart. Verily
it was a wonder that the house itself endured such
conflict ; nor had it stood but that it was cunningly
set up within and without with stanchions of iron.
And still Beowulf held the monster fast, with all
his strength-nor, indeed, was there in any man
such strength as his-for he was not minded to
let so evil a thing escape. And then, for all their
fear, the Earl's comrades unsheathed their swords,
thinking to help their lord, and rescue him, if
it might be, from his great peril. So they thought,
but they knew not that not the keenest sword on
earth, no, nor the stoutest battle-axe, could avail
to touch that evil thing, for he had guarded him-
self by enchantments against all edge of steel.
Nevertheless there was now come upon him a
woeful end, fit recompense for one that had






THE SLAYING OF GRENDEL


wrought such woe to men. He could not by any
means free himself from the strong hand-grip of
the Earl. And as he strove, there came in his
shoulder a great crack, and the sinews sprang
apart and the joints of the bones burst asunder.
Then at last he fled to his hiding-place in the
moors; but he had suffered a deadly loss, for his
arm he left behind him in the champion's grip.
So did Beowulf accomplish that which he had
promised, delivering the hall of the Danes from
the terror which had made it desolate. In token
thereof he hung up high on the gable of the roof
hand and arm and shoulder.
The tidings of what had befallen were soon
noised abroad, and the chiefs of the Danes came
from far and near to see the place and the signs
of the battle. Glad of heart were they as they
tracked the monster's course, seeing it red with
blood, till they came to the place where he had
hidden himself in his terror, knowing that his end
was come, even the lake of the pixies. And when
they looked on the face of the lake, they saw that
it was dark with blood, the blood of Grendel.
Then they rode back again in great glee, and
many sang of Beowulfs mighty deed. There-
is not on earth," so said they all, among war-
riors that bear the shield, a champion mightier or
more worthy to bear rule than he!" So they
sang, yet did not fail in due honour to King







THE SLAYING OF GRENDEL


Hrothgar. Verily he was a worthy king! Then
the bard, the maker of lays, after telling of the
dreadful deeds of Grendel and of how Beowulf
had vanquished him, sang thus:

"How shall we praise him? to whom compare?
To Sigemund, Waelson, the dragon-slayer.
Never, I trow, did braver lord
In the battle-press bear shield and sword;
And ever, where fiercest ran the tide
Of the great war-torrent, by his side
Stout Fitela stood, his sister's son,
A stalwart comrade and true ; but one,
And the dourest deed of all, alone
King Sigemund wrought, by the Dragon-stone,
Where the dreadful Worm from days of yore
Kept watch and ward o'er the treasure-store,
A fearsome beast, but the Waelsing Lord,
Nothing afraid, with his noble sword
Shore him through with so stout a blow
That the good steel sank in the earth below,
And the treasure-store of gems and gold
He stored away in his swift ship's hold."

So the company returned with great gladness
to the town, and King Hrothgar himself came
forth from his chamber, and the Queen with him,
and a bevy of fair ladies in gay apparel. And
When the King saw the gable of the hall, and the
hand and arm of Grendel fixed upon it, he brake
forth in speech, saying:
Now let us thank Almighty God for giving
us to see this sight with our eyes Many things







THE SLAYING OF GRENDEL


have I suffered from this Grendel, and now the
Lord hath wrought a wonderful deliverance. I
never thought to see a remedy, for this hall ever-
more ran with blood, and my warriors and
counsellors availed nothing to abate this woe.
Yet now hath this warrior achieved our de-
liverance, God helping him. Happy the mother,
and favoured of the Almighty, who bare such a
son! And now hearken, Beowulf. I love thee
as though thou wert my son; and indeed from
this day forth thou shalt be as a son to me.
Nothing that thou shalt desire shalt thou lack, so
far as I have power to give it. And indeed I
have given noble gifts and great honours to many
a one who was not thy match in courage or great
deeds."
Beowulf made answer to the King: "We
did our work with a good heart. Only I
would that thou hadst the creature himself. I
thought, indeed, to have held him down in the
place where I grappled him till he died. But I
could not; I did not hold him fast enough.
Nevertheless he left his hand, aye and his
arm and shoulder also, behind him. Nor will
he live one hour the longer for that he has
escaped. From the deadly wound that he has
suffered there is no flight."
So spake Beowulf, and there was mirth in the
hall. But one man sat and spake nothing, and






THE SLAYING OF GRENDEL


he was Unferth, the son of Ecglaf. For had he
not spoken scornfully of the hero ?-and lo! there
before his eyes and the eyes of all the nobles of
the land, high up on the gable of the roof, was
the hand of the monster! Like to spurs of steel
were all the fingers, spurs or spikes, so keen were
they and so hard. Not the most famous sword
that the great smiths of old had wrought by their
craft had availed to sever such a hand as the
hand of Grendel.
Then King Hrothgar commanded that they
should adorn the hall anew. So they adorned
it with willing hands, both men and women.
Grievously desolated had it been by the monster
Grendel; not a part of it had escaped save the
roof only, but now it was decked out with
tapestries woven with threaded gold and with
pictures. And when the work of adorning was
finished, King Hrothgar came into the hall and
sat down to the feast, and a fair company of
guests, kinsmen, and nobles sat down with him.
From end to end it was filled with friends, friends
true at heart, for in those days no man of the
Danish race cherished a thought of treachery in
his heart.
Then King Hrothgar gave to Beowulf an
ensign of gold on a staff richly dight, and a
helmet, and a coat of mail, and a great sword
from the royal treasury. Eight horses also, each






THE SLAYING OF GRENDEL


with cheek-plates of gold, did the King give him,
and one of these was saddled with a saddle
adorned with silver. 'Twas the King's own war-
horse, on which he was wont to ride in the days
when he entered into the battle. These were the
gifts that King Hrothgar in true kingly wise gave
to the champion Beowulf. Also he gave gifts,
precious things that had come down to him as an
inheritance from the kings of old, to each one of the
comrades of Beowulf. And he gave also a blood-
price, many pieces of gold, for him whom Grendel
slew cruelly in the hall. So they sat in the hall
and feasted, the King with his nobles and his
guests about him, and a minstrel sang to the
harp the lay of the Sons of Finn:

"To the Frisian land,
With a chosen band,
Brave sons of the Dane,
O'er the ocean plain
Did Hnaef of the race of the Scyldings go:
In the stress of battle Fate laid him low.'

And when the lay of the Sons of Finn was
ended, the drawers filled up the cups and the
revellers drank again. And as they drank came
Elfrida the Queen, with the crown of gold upon
her head. To the King she came, and said to him:
"Take this beaker, my lord King, and drink,
and speak comfortable words to our guests from






THE SLAYING OF GRENDEL


Gothland. Dear they are to thee, and their chief
Beowulf thou wouldst gladly count for a son of
thine own. And indeed thou doest well to love
them, for thy hall is purged of its troubles by
their means, and the years that are coming shall
be years of peace. And when the time shall be
for thee to depart hence, thou wilt leave thy
people and thy realm to thy children after thee.
And if thy sons be over young for government,
then shall Hrothulf thy neighbour counsel them
dutifully, remembering how we two gave him
nurture in time past when he was yet but an
infant." So saying, she turned to the bench
where sat the two lords her sons, Hrethin and
Hrothmund, and the sons of the nobles sat by
them, all the youths together.
And the Queen bade Beowulf drink of the
cup, and she gave into his hand chains of
twisted gold, and armlets, and a mantle and
rings. Never were seen jewels so precious
since Hama carried away the necklace of the
Brisings, which Freia the goddess wore. And
when the Queen gave him these gifts, she
said: "Wear this collar, dear youth, with good
fortune, and put this mantle about thy shoulders,
and prosper. Make thyself fame by thy valour,
and be happy as long as thou shalt live. And, I
pray thee, help these my sons with counsel wise
and kind. Verily thou shalt have thy reward."






26 THE SLAYING OF GRENDEL

So spake the Queen, and went back to her
chair. And with great joy did the company revel
in the hall. And when they had enough of
feasting, then they cleared away the tables and
spread out the beds. So the warriors lay down
to their rest, each man setting up his shield at his
head, and over it his helmet, and his coat of
mail, and his spear. But for one of them that
lay down it was decreed of fate that he should
not rise up again. But no man knows his doom,
whether it shall come soon or late.















CHAPTER II


GRENDEL'S MOTHER

IN peace and confidence the warriors laid them
down to sleep, but there was one among them
that was doomed to pay dearly for his rest. And
this was the way in which the matter came to
pass. Grendel, indeed, was dead, but an avenger
lived, even his mother, a troll-wife that dwelt in
the moorland streams. Of savage temper was
she, neither did ruth dwell in her heart, and now
she was wrought to fury by the death of her son
Therefore she came to King Hrothgar's hall, and
burst in upon the warriors as they slept. Great
was the fear among them-not so great, of a
truth, as it was when Grendel himself had come
among them, for the might of a woman is not as
the might of a man, but the thing troubled them
much.
Now the troll-wife was in great haste, for
though she was bent on avenging her son, yet
she desired to escape with her life. Therefore






GRENDEL'S MOTHER


she was content to seize but one of the sleepers
in the hall. Him she grappled with her hands,
crushing him to death as he slept, and then she
returned with all speed to her dwelling among
the trees; but she did not forget to take away
with her the hand and arm of her son. From
the gable she took it down and carried it off
with her.
Great was King Hrothgar's trouble when he
heard of this cruel deed; for the man that had
perished in this way was dearer to him than all
his thanes. So he sent a messenger to Beowulf,
bidding him come with all speed, for Beowulf
had not slept in the hall, but a chamber had been
prepared for him elsewhere, in which he might
take his rest and also bestow the precious gifts
which had been given him. And when he had
heard from the messenger the King's desire he
went, and his comrades with him. And first he
said: Hast thou slept well, O King? "
King Hrothgar made answer: Talk not of
welfare to me. /Escher is dead, /Escher who
was my scribe and counsellor, aye, and the
squire of my body in the old time when we
stood together in the battle. And now he is
dead. The destroyer has slain him in my hall,
and whither the creature is gone, carrying with
her the prey, I know not. Grendel thou didst
slay yesterday, grappling him right manfully in






GRENDEL'S MOTHER


thy hands, and now this creature has avenged his
death, and the bravest and best of my lords lies
dead, slain by her hands.
Now hear how I come to know that it is she
that has done this deed. Often have the dwellers
in the moorland seen these two. One was in the
semblance of a man, only more huge than any
man has been seen: this was Grendel, the same
that was slain by thee; and the other was in
woman's shape. These two were wont to dwell
in secret places in the wilderness. If thou
wouldst know more closely the place, hearken
to my words. There is a certain lake, not many
miles from this hall. All about it are woods,
whose great roots go down to the water. Night
by night on its waters may be seen a flame, and
as for its depth, no man knows what it is. A
fearful place is this lake; the stag, however
sorely the hounds may have pressed him in
the hunt, would sooner die than plunge his
head in the water. And now it is to thee, 0
Beowulf, that we look for help and counsel.
The place thou hast not seen, but yet, if thou
darest to track this monster to her lair, go and
prosper. Verily, if thou returnest again vic-
torious, I will recompense thee with great store
of treasure."
Then said Beowulf: "Be of good comfort
my lord King. 'Tis better for a man to avenge






GRENDEL'S MOTHER


his friend than that he should sit down and spend
his time in useless lamenting. Verily for every
one of us there is ordained a certain end of life;
let us therefore take such occasion as God may
give us of winning renown while life still remains
to us, for there is nothing better for a man than
renown. Come, then, my lord King, let us go
and track the path of this foul creature that is of
Grendel's kindred. And this I vow. She shall
not escape, nor hide herself from me ; no, neither
in the bowels of the earth, nor in the secret places
of the wood, nor in the depths of the sea. Have
patience, then, in thy troubles, for I am assured
that all will go well with thee."
Then King Hrothgar gave thanks to God for
Beowulf's comfortable words, and commanded
that his horse should be saddled. In stately guise
he rode, and his warriors round about him. Nor
was it a hard matter to follow the track of the
monster. That was indeed easy to see across the
moor, the evil path by which it had carried off
King Hrothgar's best beloved comrade. So
Beowulf and a few of his warriors with him, the
stoutest and bravest of all his company, followed
the track with light steps, over rocky heights, and
through narrow glades, where the pixies dwelt.
And of a sudden they came upon a wood.
Gloomy of aspect it was, and dark the rocks on
which it grew, and dreary the water that lay






GRENDEL'S MOTHER


beneath in its shade. A gloomy place it was,
and terrible the sight, for there on the rock by
the water's edge was the head of the brave man
iEscher, King Hrothgar's chosen counsellor, and
the lake itself seethed and bubbled with blood.
Then he that bore the horn sounded, once and
again, a cheering blast, and Beowulf and his
company sat down and looked. Strange was
the sight; great serpents and monstrous snakes
of the sea at their gambols, and dragons, and
many another monstrous thing. But when they
heard the bugle-blast they were fain, one and all,
to depart. Only Beowulf set an arrow to the
string, and drew the bow and let fly the shaft.
It pierced one of the monsters in a mortal part,
and stayed him from his swimming for ever.
Then Beowulf's comrades, with boat-poles, armed
with harpoons, dragged the monster to the shore,
marvelling much, so huge was he and so terrible
to behold.
Then Beowulf donned his war-gear. Light of
heart he was, though great was the danger. And
first he put upon him his coat of mail. Well it
knew how to protect the champion's body from
the grip of the enemy, but now for the first time
it was to make trial of the water. And so was it
with the helmet that guarded his head. It also
must be plunged into the deep, with its ornaments
of silver, and the boar-figures, wrought of old by






GRENDEL'S MOTHER


the hand of some cunning smith, that were set
about it, keeping it safe from all the sword-
strokes of the enemy.
But of all the things that helped his valour the
best was the good sword which the orator of
King Hrothgar sent to him. A precious heir-
loom it was, and its edge was tempered with the
blood of men. Never in the stress of battle had
it failed the man who wielded it with undoubted
hands. Nor was it now the first time that it was
called to do a hero's work. Unferth, son of
Ecglaf, it was who lent it to Beowulf, for he
remembered no longer how he had scoffed at the
champion, and indeed he knew that he lacked
courage in his heart to plunge into the sea on such
errand as that to which Beowulf now addressed
himself.
And when the champion was now altogether
ready for the fight, he said: Remember now,
my lord King, what we two have talked together.
Thou hast promised that if the doom of death
should overtake me in thy service, thou wouldst
be in the place of a father to me. Protect, there-
fore, I pray thee, my kinsmen and comrades, and
cause the gifts which thou hast given me to be
sent to King Hygelac. So will he understand,
when he sees so great a store of gold and jewels,
that I had good luck while fortune favoured me.
And let Unferth the orator have the sword






GRENDEL'S MOTHER


Hardedge, with its damasked blade, that has
come down to me from my father's, and I with
the sword Hrunting will either achieve high
renown, or perish."
So spake the lord of the Goths, nor did he
await reply, but plunged headlong into the lake.
It was morning when he leapt, but the day was
far spent when he reached the land that lay at
the bottom of the mere. Not long was the
monster in perceiving that one of the sons of
men was visiting her dwelling-place for the first
time in a hundred years. Swiftly she flew at
him, and caught him in her talons; but for all
their strength and sharpness she could not break
through the coat of mail with which his body was
girt about. But though she could not reach his
flesh to tear it with her claws, she carried him
away to the hall in which she dwelt at the bottom
of the mere, nor could he, for all his strength,
resist her, or wield his weapons against her. In
her grip she carried him, and as he went the
great water-beasts butted at him with their tusks.
The dwelling of the monster was indeed a
marvellous place. Under the water it was, but
the water troubled not them that were in it, for it
was kept from them by the roof. Also there was
a strange light in it, a light as of fire. And by
this light Beowulf saw of what shape was the
creature that had assailed, that it was the monster
4






GRENDEL'S MOTHER


which men had sometime seen upon the moor in
the form of a woman. Straightway he dealt a
great blow at her with his sword, even the
mighty sword Hrunting that Egferth, the King's
orator, had lent him. Mighty was the blow, but
the edge of the sword could not bite. For the
first time since its forging it failed its master.
Oft had it dealt death in the press of battle,
cleaving buckler and corslet and helmet, but now
it availed nothing. In great wrath Beowulf
threw away the blade. He would trust to the
grip of his hands only. Thus had he vanquished
Grendel, thus would he vanquish Grendel's dam.
So should a man bear himself, to work his work
as best he may and have no thought of life.
Then, heedless of peril, Beowulf sprang upon
Grendel's dam, and seized her by the shoulder.
Full of rage he was, and he grappled the dreadful
creature so mightily that she sank down upon the
ground. But she was not yet overcome. No,
indeed, for in her turn she grappled with him,
closing in upon him, and flinging him, strongest
among men though he was, upon the pavement
of the floor; for his breath failed him, and his
strength was spent. Then the hag sat upon him
and drew her knife, broad of blade it was and
brown; willingly would she have slain him, for
she was minded to take vengeance for the death
of her son. Then of a truth had Beowulf perished,






GRENDEL'S MOTHER


but for the coat of mail that was about his body.
This the hag could not pierce ; neither with blade
nor with point could she drive her knife through
it. So did the Almighty Father help the
champion in his need.
Then again Beowulf, with a great struggle,
threw the hag from off him, and stood upright on
his feet. And as he looked about the hall, he
saw among the armour that was hanging about it
a great sword, a weapon of giants, keen of edge,
a very king among swords; only it was so huge
that no other man upon earth could wield it in the
press of battle save only Beowulf the Goth. He
seized it with his hands, thinking to himself, If
this avails me not, I die," and smote the beldam
so fiercely on the neck that the steel shore her
body right through, and she fell dead upon the
pavement of the hall. And even as she fell, the
light that he had seen at the first, blazed up again
and showed him all the place. By the wall side
he went, still holding the sword of the giants in
his hand. And as he went he saw Grendel
lying dead upon the floor. With his sword he
cut the monster's head from his body and so
turned him to depart.
Meanwhile King Hrothgar and the Danish
lords sat by the side of the mere and watched the
water. And when they saw how it grew troubled,
and how the surf was red with blood, they said







GRENDEL'S MOTHER


among themselves, The champion will not
come back, bringing victory with him. Without
doubt we shall not see him any more. The she-
wolf has torn him in pieces." So thinking, the
King and his nobles departed. But the Goths
sat still by the mere side and waited, though they
were sick at heart. Greatly did they long to
look upon their captain again, but there was no
hope in their hearts.
But now, beyond all expectation, he came back.
Nought did he take from the hall under the mere,
though there were many precious things in it,
and he saw them with his eyes. Only the head
of Grendel he brought with him in one hand,
and in the other the hilt of the giant's sword.
There was nothing left of it save the hilt only,
for in the blood of Grendel and of Grendel's dam
there was so deadly a fire that it devoured all the
blade. Glad of heart were the Goths when they
saw the chief returning, and they thanked the
merciful God who had delivered them from the
hand of the enemy.
After this they set out to return to King
Hrothgar's hall by the same way by which they
had come. And in the midst of the company
four stout warriors bare upon a pole the head of
Grendel. And when they came to the hall,
Beowulf took the head from the pole and carried
it within, holding it by the hair. Truly a marvel-






GRENDEL'S MOTHER


lous thing it was for the King and his nobles and
Queen Veleda to behold. Never had any man
looked on so terrible a face.
Then said Beowulf to King Hrothgar: Hail,
O King. Gladly do we bring to thee from the
mere the spoils that thou seest before thee, in
token that the work is done. Hardly, indeed,
did I win through it with life; in the battle
beneath the water I had failed, but that the
Almighty shielded me. As for the sword
Hrunting I could do nothing with it, though
it be a good weapon; but by the grace of God
I saw hanging upon the wall an old sword ex-
ceeding large and heavy, and He who helps men
when of other help there is none, put it in my
heart that I should lay hold of that weapon.
And this I did, and dealt therewith to the
monster a mighty and effectual blow. See now
the hilt of this sword, for the blade has melted
away into nothing with the blood of the monster.
Now, therefore, O King, I bid thee sleep in
peace, nor fear, as heretofore, any danger in
the night."
So saying, he gave the hilt into the hands of
the King. And when the King looked upon it
he saw that there was written upon it the story
of how the Flood swept away the herd of the
Giants who had hardened themselves against the
Ruler of the world. This was written upon it,






GRENDEL'S MOTHER


and also for whom the Smiths of old had wrought
this marvellous work.
And when King Hrothgar had perused the
hilt, he said to Beowulf: Friend, thy fame is
spread abroad throughout the world, but thou
bearest it modestly and discreetly. Behave
thyself so, and thou shalt be a comfort to thy
people and their lords. Not so did Herenod
that was King of Denmark before the days of
Scyld. For did he not slay the chiefs, his comrades,
at the feast ? and did he not wander away alone
from all companionship of man ? God had given
him strength and power beyond all other men,
but he used them so ill that there was not one
that loved him. Take thou, therefore, warning
by him, O Beowulf. Sometimes God gives a
man a wide dominion and great power and much
prosperity. Sickness comes not near him, nor
does old age bow him down, nor care trouble his
heart. All his neighbours are at peace with him,
and everything falls out to his mind. Then there
grow up within his heart pride and arrogancy;
and conscience, that should keep watch in his soul
against evil, falls into a deep sleep, and wicked
thoughts take possession of his heart. Then he
thinks to himself that his abundance is not suf-
ficient for him; he grows covetous for himself, and
grudges others their due. The end of that man
is that he is overthrown and that another takes






GRENDEL'S MOTHER


the wealth which he has gathered. Take thou,
therefore, good heed, O Beowulf, against pride
and arrogancy. Now, indeed, thou art in the
pride of thy strength and the power of thy age,
but there will come of a surety, sooner or later,
either sickness or the sword ; the fire shall
consume thee, or the floods swallow thee up. Be
it in one fashion or another, death will subdue
thee who hast so mightily subdued others. So I
myself reigned for fifty years over the Danes,
and had the mastery over all my enemies, so that
I feared no rival from the one end of heaven to
the other. Then there befell me great trouble,
and I had heaviness in the place of mirth, for
this Grendel came an evil guest to my hall.
From this thou hast delivered me and my
people, for do I not see with mine eyes the
head of the enemy? And now let us come to
the feast; to-morrow I have other gifts to give
thee."
So they sat down to the feast, King Hrothgar
and his lords, and Beowulf and his comrades.
And in a while they went to their beds; right
glad was Beowulf, after all his toils, to lay him
down to sleep.
And now the time was come for the champion
to depart. First he gave back the good sword
Hrunting to Unferth the orator. "'Tis a right
good sword," he said, "and will serve thee well






GRENDEL'S MOTHER


in war, though it availed not against the evil hag,
the mother of Grendel."
To the King he said: We now must needs
return to our own land and to Hygelac our
King. Thou hast used great hospitality to us
and hast given us many and great gifts. If,
then, there is aught else in which I can do thee
service, willingly will I do it. If thy neighbours
press thee hard, then will I come again, and a
thousand warriors with me. And if Prince
Hrethin, thy son, is minded to come as a guest
to our court, verily he will find there many
friends."
King Hrothgar made answer to him: "God
puts into thy mouth words of wisdom, O Beowulf.
Never have I heard from man so young speech
so weighty. Good service hast thou done to
me; and this also thou hast achieved that there
shall be henceforth mutual friendship between
thy heart and mine."
Then the King gave him twelve jewels from
his store; and after this he threw his arms about
the young man's neck, weeping the while, for he
knew in his heart that he should see his face no
more, and indeed he loved him no less than a
father loves his son.
So Beowulf and his comrades rode down to
the shore. And when the warden of the shore
saw them from the peak whereon he kept his






GRENDEL'S MOTHER


watch, he made haste to meet them, not as
heretofore with suspicion, but with greeting of
welcome. "Glad am I to see you safe return-
ing;" and he led them down to their ship where
it lay on the beach. Then Beowulf gave to the
warden of the boat a sword bound with gold;
high place did the man hold thenceforth among
his fellows by reason of this gift.
Then the Goths embarked upon their ship, and
set sail; and the wind blew fair behind, stretch-
ing the canvas to the full, and the prow divided
the sea-waves, throwing the foam on either side,
till the men beheld the cliffs of Gothland, head-
lands well known to their eyes. High up on the
beach was the ship driven, and the shore-warden
was ready to receive it, glad to welcome his
countrymen. He bade some fasten the ship with
anchor-cables on either side, lest haply it should
be broken by the violence of the waves; and
others he commanded to bear the precious gifts,
gold and jewels, to the hall of King Hygelac, for
the hall was night at hand, where the King dwelt
with Hygda his Queen, a gracious dame, young
and fair. And one ran and told the King,
saying: Beowulf is come again, safe and sound
from the battle."
So the King said, Bring him hither to me."
And they brought him, and he sat down by the
King's side, and Hygda, the gracious lady, went






GRENDEL'S MOTHER


about the hall carrying in her hands the mead-
bowl to the men of war.
Said King Hygelac : How hast thou fared,
my kinsman ? Hast thou rid King Hrothgar of
his troubles ? I entreated thee, as thou knowest,
to let the Danes settle their own quarrel with
Grendel. But now I give thanks to God that I
see thee again safe and sound."
Thereupon Beowulf told the tale of how he
had grappled with Grendel in the hall, and how
the monster had wrenched himself away, but
with an hand and arm the less, wounded to the
death; and how he had sought for Grendel's dame
in the mere among the hills and found her, and
done fierce battle with her, and vanquished her,
but hardly and after long struggle, and with
grievous peril of his life.
And when he had ended the tale of his doings
he said: Now for these things King Hrothgar
gave me many gifts and precious. To me he
gave them, but I give them to thee, O King;
for indeed it was for thee I won them, and if
thou art satisfied, then am I well pleased."
Then he bade his comrades bring into the hall
a helmet with a crest that towered in the press of
battle, and a coat of mail, and a mighty sword.
This," he said, King Hrothgar gave me,
having had it from his fathers before him." Also
he gave to the King four noble steeds, so like






GRENDEL'S MOTHER


that none could tell the one from the other. And
to Hygda he gave a jewel marvellously wrought
that Queen Veleda had bestowed upon him, and
three palfreys, gaily caparisoned.
After this King Hygelac bade them bring the
great sword, mounted in gold, that had belonged
to King Hrethet, his father. In all Gothland
there was not a treasure of greater account than
the sword of King Hrethet. And he gave him
also a great revenue in money, and a stately
dwelling, and a high place among his lords.
Now it came to pass as time went on that
King Hygelac made war against the men of
Friesland, and he took with him a great host
and many famous chiefs, of whom Beowulf was
the greatest. But the men of Friesland had
made alliance with the Chatti and with others of
the nations round about; and the battle went
against King Hygelac and the Goths, and the
King was slain and all his nobles with him, save
Beowulf only. He, indeed, when the enemy
pressed him hard, leapt into the sea. Thirty
sets of war-harness had he on his arm when
he leapt. Small cause had the Chatti to rejoice
that day, seeing that few only of their host
escaped from the sword of Beowulf to go back
to their home. So the champion escaped by
swimming, and came back to Gothland lonely
and sad of heart. Then Queen Hygda would






GRENDEL'S MOTHER


have had him take the throne to himself, for her
son was but of tender years and she feared that
he would not have strength to guard the realm
against the assaults of the enemy. But she did
not prevail with Beowulf, no, nor did the nobles
of the land, when they joined with her in her
prayers. Nay," said Beowulf, "but I will keep
the kingdom for the boy till he become of years
to keep it for himself." So he kept it faithfully
and with a prudent soul. But after a while there
came to the court of King Heardred-he was
Hygelac's son two outlawed men, sons of
Ohthere the Swede, who had rebelled against
their lord the King of Sweden. Heardred
showed them hospitality, but they for recom-
pense slew him with the sword. Lo, and when
he was dead, the nobles took counsel together,
and came to Beowulf saying, "There is now
none who can be King over the Goths save
thou only." So Beowulf consented to their
desire, and took the kingdom upon himself,
ruling the people prudently for fifty years.
Well did he avenge the death of Hygelac and
his son. But the tale of how he also came to
his end yet remains to be told.
















CHAPTER III


THE DRAGON

IN old time there was a band of comrades who
had gathered together in many adventures both
by land and sea a great store of precious things-
tankards and drinking cups, and armour inlaid
with gold, helmets, to wit, and coats of mail, with
famous swords wrought by cunning smiths of
yore and richly adorned. Now it came to pass
that all these, as the years went on, were slain
in battle, till at last one only of them was left
alive. This man took the treasure and hid it
away. In a barrow he hid it wherein some
famous chief of the old time had been buried.
Close to the sea was the barrow, rising sheer
from the cliff. The man laid it open even to
the chamber of the dead, and there he stored
the precious things, rejoicing his eyes for a while
with the sight of them. Hold thou, O earth,"
he said, "that which mighty men have not been
able to hold. They have passed away, the men,
45






THE DRAGON


my peers, and I only am left alive. There is
none but I to gird upon him the sword, or to
furbish the tankard and the drinking-cup. The
helmet that has borne many a blow must perish,
and the stout coat of mail and the shield that
were proof against the bite of the sword must
decay even as the warrior that bore them in the
battle." Thus did the last of that valorous com-
pany lament over his treasures, until the time
came when he also was overtaken by death.
It chanced that one of the dragons that haunt
the barrows, the burial-places of the dead, lighted
upon the place and saw the treasure, for it was
open to the sky. And the creature took posses-
sion of it and guarded it, for such it is their
delight to do. For three hundred years he
watched it, nor was ever disturbed. But at the
end of the three hundred years there befell this
thing. A certain man had come into ill-favour
with his lord, and, fearing stripes for his mis-
deeds, had fled into a desert place uninhabited
by man. Then he chanced to come upon this
hoard. Not without fear did he see the treasure,
for chances so great and wonderful strike with a
certain terror the hearts of those whom they
befall. But he thought to himself: "If I stay
here, I perish. I will take, therefore, one of
these precious things, and therewith will I
reconcile myself to my lord." This he did;






THE DRAGON


he took from the hoard a tankard bossed with
gold, and gave it to his lord as a peace-offering,
and the lord was entreated of the man, and
restored to him his favour.
Now all this time the Worm was asleep in
an inner chamber of the mound. And when the
creature woke he discovered the deed that had
been done, to wit, that the treasure had been
disturbed. So he issued from the mound and
searched diligently every place round about, if
haply he might find the man who had done it.
But no one could he see. Then once and again
he went back and examined the hoard, counting
over the precious things, till at last he knew for
certain that some one had plundered it. Great
was his anger, and scarce could he endure to
tarry till night before he began to take vengeance
for this wrong. But when the darkness fell he
went forth and wasted all the land with fire.
Night after night he issued from the barrow and
flew abroad, carrying desolation with him. He
caused houses and farmsteads to blaze up, and
spread ruin far and wide. When the day came
he returned to his dwelling in the barrow, but
every night he went abroad to destroy.
Tidings came to King Beowulf himself that
his hall, which the people of the Goths had
given him for his own, had been burnt with
fire. Great was the wrath in his heart when







THE DRAGON


he heard it, so great that he was well-nigh ready
to murmur against God in his heart, though this
was not the good King's wont. Then he began
to question how this trouble had its beginning,
and discovered how that a certain man had found
out the hoard and had taken therefrom a tankard
for a gift to his lord. Now he scorned to go
against the destroyer with a great host of men,
nor did he fear the creature for himself. His
valour and his strength had borne him safely
through many perils by land and sea since the
days of the slaying of Grendel and Grendel's
dam, nor did he fear that they would fail him
now. It was his purpose that twelve men should
go for the accomplishment of the deed, he being
himself the twelfth. But there was yet a thir-
teenth in the company-the man who in the
beginning had brought about the strife. Him
the King compelled, sore against the man's
will, to be their guide. Rueful he went and by
constraint, leading them by the way till they
came to the mound, where it stood alone hard
by the waves of the sea.
And when they were come to the place the
King sat him down, and spake to his comrades.
Sad of heart he was, for he knew that his end
was near. Many a fight, my friends," he said,
"have I fought from my youth up. Seven years
old I was when my father brought me hither to






THE DRAGON


serve King Hrethin. And the King showed
much kindness to me, giving me money and
victual; not less dear was I to him than any page
in his house, not less even than Herebald and
Haethcyn his sons. Then there came trouble
into his household, for it came to pass by an
ill-chance that Haethcyn slew his brother Here-
bald. With an arrow he slew him, for he aimed
at a target and the arrow glanced wide and smote
the prince. Thence came a great sorrow and
not to be healed to King Hrethin. He could
not avenge the deed upon the doer of it. That
might not be, for was he not his own son and the
thing done by an evil chance ? Nor yet could he
keep any love for him in his heart. For this
grief, therefore, there was no remedy. It
wounded the old man to the death. He laid
him down on his bed, and passed from the
darkness of life to the light of God. After
this there was war between the men of Goth-
land and the Swedes. The Swedish King and
his sons provoked it, and King Haethcyn
marched into their borders to avenge the wrong.
Sore was the battle that day, and the King was
slain; aye, and the whole host of the Goths had
perished but for the coming of Hygelac. So
Hygelac was called to be King, and him I served
in many a battle. No need had he to call
champions from other lands or bribe them with
5






THE DRAGON


pay while I was at hand. Many a chief have I
slain with this good sword, and one, the Prince
of the Hugon, with my bare hand only. No
weapon had I, but I crushed him with my arms,
and brake his bones. Such deeds, my friends,
have I done in time past, and yet one more will
I do, if only the destroyer will come out of his
dwelling to meet me in battle."
When his speech was ended he bade farewell to
each of his comrades man by man, and when he
had ended his words he said : Even as I did in
the old time with Grendel, so I would now with
this Worm ; I would not use sword or other
weapon. But I know not how without these I
could hold out against him. Likewise, as I must
encounter fire, venomous and deadly, when I
grapple with him, so I must also carry shield and
coat of mail. Thus will I go prepared, but not
one foot's space will I yield to him. On this
mound will we fight, and meet such end as He
who orders all things shall decree. But enough
of words; I desire above all things to meet this
destroyer without more delay. Do ye, my
comrades, abide here in the mountain, with your
coats of mail about you, to see which of us twain
shall have the better hope to come victorious out
of this fray. But to grapple with the monster is
not for you or for any man, but for me only.
One of these two things must be: either I






THE DRAGON


will carry away this treasure, or death shall take
me."
Then he rose up from his place. With helmet
on head and clad in coat of mail he went his way
among the cliffs till he beheld an arch of rock,
and beneath it a barrow, and a stream breaking
forth from the barrow, and all the face of the
stream was alight with flame. And when Beowulf
saw these things he stood and shouted aloud.
Clear as a battle-cry was the shout, and it reached
to the dragon where he lay in the depth of the
barrow. And when he heard it he knew that it
was the speech of man, and that the time for
battle was come. So he rose from his place and
before him there went a hot stream of reeking
breath, that was, as it were, a defiance of his
enemy. Then the King of the Goths swung his
shield against his adversary, and drew his sword,
a famous weapon that had come to him by in-
heritance from his ancestors in days gone by. So
the two stood over against each other, and there
was fear in the heart of both. Steadfast stood the
King with his shield before him on the one side,
and on the other was the Worm, curved into a
bow, in act to spring. Quickly he sprang, throw-
ing himself with headlong force against the King.
So mighty was the attack that the shield availed
not to keep him away. And when the King
swung his great sword and smote the Worm, then







THE DRAGON


the edge was turned upon the bony covering of
the beast, nor availed to give such a wound as
had served the need of the King. For now was
Beowulf in a great strait. Fierce beyond measure
was the Worm's assault, and a devouring fire
came forth from him without ceasing.
Thus it fared with them in their first grapple
and in the second also. And the King was sore
distressed. And as for his comrades, nobles though
they were, they stood not behind him, but slunk
away into the wood, for they feared for their lives,
lest the Worm should slay them with his breath of
fire. So they fled, Beowulfs comrades, who, by
right, should have stood by their lord. One only
remained faithful and steadfast. He was Wiglaf,
son of Weopstan, a lord from the land of the
Swedes. For he remembered how, in days that
were past, Beowulf had given him a homestead well
furnished and a place among his lords, all that
Weopstan his father had enjoyed before him.
This was in Wiglaf's heart, nor could he endure
to desert his lord; and indeed now for the first
time had he been called to stand by him in the
battle. His courage failed not, nor the good
sword which he bare, Weopstan's sword which he
had won, in single fight, from Earmund, son of
Othere the Swede.
Said Wiglaf to his comrades: I remember,
my friends, how, when we sat at the mead in the







THE DRAGON


King's hall, we promised our lord that we would
repay him for his bounty, should ever the need
arise, with our helmets and our keen-edged swords.
Did he not, for this cause, choose us out of
all his host to be with him, as being brave war-
riors and good at need? Great deeds had he
wrought in old time with his single hand, but of
this deed he willed to give us a share. And now
the time is come when we may show our valour
and our strength. Let us go and help our chief
where the scorching fire of the great Worm's breath
is burning him. As for me, God knows that I had
sooner be consumed with this same fire, than that
I should leave him to perish. Foul shame it were
that we should carry back our shields to our home,
unless we can first destroy our enemy and save
the King alive. Not such, I trow, was the wont
of the Goths in old time to leave their lord to bear
the battle-stress alone. We must pay our lord for
sword and helmet and coat of mail and all the
ornaments ; aye, and so will I do, though it should
befall that we both die together."
So he spake to his comrades, but moved them
not. Then alone he sped through the deadly
smoke and fire, and stood by the side of the
King, and said: My lord Beowulf, now is
the time for thee to make good thy words,
that never, being alive, wouldst thou suffer thy
glory to decline. Put out all thy strength, and







THE DRAGON


fight for thy life, and I will give thee such help
as I may."
So soon as he had ended these words, the
Worm came on again with great fury, all flaming
with fire. So fierce was the heat that the shield
was consumed even to the boss. Nor could the
coat of mail protect him. Under his lord's shield
did Wiglaf shelter himself when that his own was
in ashes. Then Beowulf remembered his strength
and smote with all his might. Full on the head
with mighty blow he smote the Worm. But
Naegling his sword flew in splinters ; good weapon
though it was and famed in story. It failed him,
indeed, nor yet of its own defect. So strong was
the champion's arm that is overtaxed all swords
whatsoever. Let the edge be keen beyond all
nature, yet it failed when Beowulf struck with all
his strength.
Then for the third time the Worm came on, the
fiery monster, wrought to rage beyond all bearing.
For a space the King fell back, and the Worm
seized his neck, compassing it round with savage
teeth so that the blood of his life gushed out in a
great stream.
And now the youth Wiglaf put forth all
the valour and strength that were in him to help
his kinsman the King. He heeded not the fire,
though grievously it scorched his hand, but smote
the Worm underneath, where the skin failed some-







THE DRAGON


what in hardness. He drove the good sword into
the monster's body, and straightway the fire began
to abate. Then the King recovered himself
somewhat and drew his war-knife, keen of edge,
that he wore upon his coat of mail, and gashed
the Worm in the middle. So these two together
subdued the monstrous inhabitant of the barrow.
But now Beowulf perceived that a fatal mischief
was at work, for the wound began to swell and to
grow hot, and he felt the poison of the Worm's
teeth in his inward parts. He sat him down
upon a stone and looked at the barrow with its
chamber cunningly wrought. Wiglaf meanwhile
fetched water from a stream hard by, and poured
it upon his lord to refresh him, and loosened the
chain of his helmet. Then, though his wound
pressed him sore, and he knew that the number
of his days was told, Beowulf spake to his faithful
follower: "Now would I have given my war-
gear to my son, if God had granted me a son that
should have my kingdom after me. But it has
pleased Him otherwise. Fifty years have I ruled
over this people, nor has any ruler of the nations
round about dared to cross my borders with hostile
purpose. I have done judgment and justice; I
have done no treachery nor sought out strife ; the
oaths that I have sworn, these I have kept. And
now I pray thee, Wiglaf, to go and examine this
treasure. For the Worm lies dead, and that which






THE DRAGON


he guarded so long is his no more. Go quickly
then, for I would fain see the treasure before I
die. With better content shall I depart, if I see
how great are the riches which I have won."
So Wiglaf, son of Weopstan, made haste to do
as his lord had bidden him. Into the barrow he
went, clad in his coat of mail. Many precious
things did he there behold, great jewels, and
vessels of gold, and helmets richly chased, and
bracelets. And of all the treasure the most
wonderful was a banner of gold, woven in art of
magic, for there came from it a great light, making
all things clear to be seen in the chamber. All
this treasure, cups and platters, and the great
banner itself did Wiglaf take in his arms, and
made haste to return therewith to the King,
doubting much whether he should find him yet
alive. He lived indeed, but was in extremity at
the very point to die. Then Wiglaf sprinkled
him again with water, and caused him to revive,
so that he spake again with his lips : Now do I
thank Thee, Lord, that Thou hast suffered me to
look upon this treasure with my eyes, aye, and to
win such riches for my people before I die. For
surely now my time is come, and I can serve this
people no more. Bid my brave warriors, O
Wiglaf, to build a lofty cairn for me, hard by
the sea, when my body shall have been burnt
with fire. Surely it shall be my memorial for


































































BEOWULF AND THE DRAGON.






THE DRAGON


ever, and whoever comes across the sea, they
shall say, beholding it, 'This is the barrow of
Beowulf, King of the Goths.' "
Then the King took the golden collar from off
his neck and gave it to Wiglaf; also his helmet
he gave, and the crown upon his head, and his
coat of mail. Keep them faithfully," he said,
" for, indeed, I am the last of my house. Death
has taken all my kinsmen into his keeping, and
now I must needs follow them." So spake the old
King, and straightway he breathed out his soul.
And now the ten laggards came forth from the
wood wherein they had sheltered themselves, the
base ones who had not dared to stand by their
lord. Shamefaced they came to the place where
Wiglaf sate, still seeking, if it might be, to bring
back the King, his master, to life. But that fate
forbade. The old man had ended his days. Said
Wiglaf to the ten: Now might a man say well
and truly that he who gave helmet and coat of
mail to such as you wasted them utterly. For
when the need of help came upon him, he found
them lacking. Single-handed he did battle with
the enemy, and single-handed, God helping him,
he prevailed. Little help could I give him, yet I
smote the Worm with my sword and somewhat
abated thereby his fiery breath. But at the
moment of his greatest need he lacked defence.
Therefore it is fitting that ye and all your kin







THE DRAGON


should forfeit land and wealth and gear of war,
and wander outcast through the land, fitter to
die than to live."
When he had thus spoken the doom of the
cowards, he sent a messenger to the people where
they waited for tidings by the hall. King Beo-
wulf is dead," said the messenger to the host,
" done to death by the Worm, and by him sits
Wiglaf, son of Weopstan. Verily it is an evil thing
that has befallen this land and its people. For
we have enemies on every side, Hugas and Swedes
and Frisians, and now that our champion is fallen
they will speedily assail us. But come and see
him where he lies, and the great Worm also whom
he slew."
So the host arose and followed him, weeping
many tears till they came to the place. There
they saw lying dead upon the ground the great
King Beowulf. There also they saw the Worm.
Never, I trow, did the eyes of men look on a sight
more terrible. Fifty feet long was the Worm, by
measurement, and all its length was scorched with
fire; and by it lay a store of precious things, pots
and bowls and dishes and swords of price, and the
rust and mould of many years was on them, so
long had they lain hidden in the earth.
Then Wiglaf, the son of Weopstan, spoke,
saying: "We could not persuade our dear lord,
the shepherd of the people, to leave the Worm







THE DRAGON


alone and the treasure which he guarded. He
was bent on the deed, and now the hoard,
purchased at so great a price, lies open to our
view. I have seen the whole sum of it where it
lies in the midst of the barrow, for I made my
way thither, not without toil and pain. I grappled
in my hands a great load of treasure therefrom,
and bare it in haste to the King. He, indeed,
was yet alive, nor was his mind confused with
death. He bade me gave you his greeting, and
he commanded that when his body had been
burnt with fire, ye should raise a great barrow
over him, mighty as he was mighty, to be for a
memorial of him for the generations to come.
Now, therefore, come and see once again the great
sight that is beneath the earth, jewels and gold and
ornaments of precious things. And, after this, let
us make ready a bier, and let us carry our dear
lord the King to the place wherein he shall rest
in the keeping of God."
When he had thus spoken Wiglaf gave com-
mand that much timber should be hauled to make
the pile for the burning of the King. Also he
chose seven warriors, men of fame among the
people, who should go with him, he being the
eighth, into the chamber where lay the treasure.
Each man bare in his hand a flaming torch,
and Wiglaf walked before them, leading them.
So they came to the treasure and carried it







THE DRAGON


forth; a waggon load there was of precious
things.
This done, the lords of the Goths built up a
mighty pyre upon the earth, hanging it about with
helmets and shields and coats of mail, even as
Beowulf had commanded; and in the midst, with
many sighs, they laid their dear lord the King.
Then they kindled the fire, and the smoke of the
fire rose high into the air, and the blaze shot up,
and the winds made the burning wave fiercer and
fiercer till the whole was utterly consumed.
After this the people built a great barrow on the
hill. High it was and broad, and such as they
that travel on the sea could see for many a mile.
For days they laboured to make it great and high.
And round the barrow they made a great embank-
ment in such fashion as they that are wise in such
matters command. And in the barrow they hid
the treasure, thinking it meet that it should not
profit the generations that were to come any more
than it had profited the generations that had
been.
And when all these things were ended, twelve
war-chiefs, men of royal race all of them, rode
round the barrow making lamentation for the dead
King, and praising him for all the noble deeds
that he had done, and for that he was of all the
kings on earth the gentlest and most courteous,
but withal a great lover of praise and glory.






















KING ARTHUR
AND THE ROUND TABLE















CHAPTER I


HOW ARTHUR CAME TO HIS KINGDOM

KING UTHER, surnamed Pendragon, for a reason
that he had delivered Arthur, his newly born son,
to Merlin the wizard, and Merlin put the child in
charge of a certain Sir Ector and his wife. Sir
Ector's wife nourished him even as if he were her
own babe, and Arthur grew apace and prospered.
When he was some two years old King Uther
fell sick, and while he was in his sickness his
enemies came against him and slew many of
his people. Said Merlin to him, "Sir, you will
never have the better of these men unless you
meet them in your own person, though you be
carried in a litter. Then you shall prevail."
And so it was done: King Uther was carried
in a litter, and at St. Alban's he met the King
of the North with his host, and put him to flight.
This done, he went back to London with much
rejoicing. But his sickness increased upon him
till he became speechless. The nobles then
63






64 HOW ARTHUR CAME TO HIS KINGDOM

inquired of Merlin what they should do. Merlin
answered : For the King's sickness there is no
remedy; but see to this, that all his barons be
present with him on the morrow. Then I will
make him speak." So on the morrow, all the
barons being present, Merlin said to the King,
"Sir, shall Arthur, your son, be King after
you?" Then King Uther turned him and said,
"Yes, he shall have the kingdom, and my
blessing therewith," and having so spoken he
died.
After this there was trouble in the land, many
desiring the kingdom for themselves. Merlin
said to the Archbishop, "Bid all the lords of
the realm meet at Christmastide in London,
for then I will show by a miracle who has the
kingdom by right." So the lords met at London,
and went to St. Paul's church to pray. And
when they had ended their prayers, there was
seen in the churchyard a great stone, four-square,
and on the stone an anvil of steel, and in the
anvil a naked sword, whereon was written in
letters of gold, Whoso shall pull this sword out of
the anvil, he is King of England by right." Then
many lords that had thought to have the kingdom
tried with all their might to draw the sword out
of its place, but could not. Then said the Arch-
bishop : "He is not here that shall draw this sword,
but doubtless God will show him in due time.







HOW ARTHUR CAME TO HIS KINGDOM 65

Let us therefore set ten knights to watch this
place." And so it was done. On the first day
of the New Year there was held a great joust and
tournament, and to this joust went Sir Ector, who
had fostered Arthur, and Sir Kaye, who was Sir
Ector's eldest son, and Arthur. As they rode to
the place, it chanced that Sir Kaye missed his
sword, which he had left behind him in his father's
lodgings. So he said to Arthur his brother, I
pray you fetch me my sword." "That will I
gladly," said Arthur, and rode fast to Sir Ector's
lodging. But he could not get at the sword, for
that all were gone to the jousting. Then Arthur
was wroth and said, I will take the sword that
is in the churchyard, for my brother Kaye must
not lack his weapon." So he rode to the church-
yard, and there also all the knights had gone to
the jousting. So he took the sword by the handle,
none hindering, and pulled it, and it followed his
hand lightly. Then he rode back and gave it to
Sir Kaye; and when Sir Kaye saw it, he knew it
for the sword that was in the anvil of steel. So he
rode to his father and said, "See this sword : now
shall I be King." But Sir Ector rode back to
the church, his sons following. And being come
thither, he made Sir Kaye swear by the Gospels
how he had gotten the sword. I got it from my
brother Arthur," said Sir Kaye. Then said Sir
Ector to Arthur, How got you this sword ?"






66 HOW ARTHUR CAME TO HIS KINGDOM

He made answer, "I was seeking a sword for
my brother Kay, and could find none but this, so
I pulled it from the stone." Then said Sir Ector
to Arthur, "You must be King of this land." "For
what cause ?" said Arthur. Because God will
have it so. But first put the sword back into its
place." "That needs no pains," said Arthur, and
put it in its place. But when Sir Ector would
have drawn it forth again he could do nothing;
neither could Sir Kaye; but when Arthur essayed,
he pulled it forth right easily.
Then Sir Ector and Sir Kaye kneeled on the
earth. And Arthur said, "Dear father and
brother, why kneel you to me ? Nay,"
answered Sir Ector, I am not your father, nor
are you of my blood. And now I see that you
are of higher blood than I thought." And so he
told him the story of his bringing up; and having
ended, he said, "Will you show kindness to me
and mine when you are King? I were base
did I not so," said Arthur, "for the kindness that
you have done to me all my life. Ask me what
you will, and I will not fail." I ask you this,"
said Sir Ector, "that you make Kaye my son
seneschal of all your lands." That shall he be,"
answered Arthur, "so long as he and I shall
live."
Then they told the Archbishop how Arthur had
won the sword. And the Archbishop called all






HOW ARTHUR CAME TO HIS KINGDOM 67

the lords together. All essayed to draw forth the
sword, but only Arthur could do it. But they
said, Shall we be governed by a beardless boy,
who comes we know not whence ? So they put
the matter off to Candlemas, and from Candlemas
to Easter, and from Easter to Pentecost.
At Pentecost the Archbishop, by counsel of
Merlin, had gathered some stout knights that
should be of Arthur's part. Then again many
made trial of the sword, but Arthur only could
draw it forth. Thereupon all the commons cried
aloud, We will have Arthur to our King, and
any man that hinders we will slay." So the lords
knelt down and prayed pardon that they had so
long delayed. So Arthur forgave them. After
this he offered up the sword at the altar, and the
best man that was there gave him knighthood.
This done, the Archbishop set the crown upon his
head, and he swore to do judgment and justice as
a king should do all the days of his life.
For the space of a year King Arthur set him-
self with all his might to set in due order all that
had gone amiss since the death of King Uther.
He made the rebel lords to do him homage, and
them that had been wrongfully dispossessed of
their lands he brought back to their own.
At the Pentecost after his encrowning he made
a great feast at the city of Caerleon, to which he
called the kings of the country round about.






68 HOW ARTHUR CAME TO HIS KINGDOM

They came each with many knights, and the
King was glad, thinking that they had come out of
love for him and to do him honour, and he sent
them great gifts. But these they refused with
one consent, saying: Who is this beardless boy
and baseborn also that he should give us gifts.
He shall have gifts of us, hard blows and nought
beside." When he had this answer King Arthur,
by counsel of his friends, shut himself up in a
strong castle with five hundred knights, and there
the barons besieged him.
About fifteen days thereafter Merlin came into
the camp of the kings. They asked him, Who
is this boy that pretends to be King ? Merlin
answered, He is son to King Uther, and your
sovereign by right. Yea, before he dies he shall
have England and Wales and Scotland and
Ireland under his dominion, and other realms
beside." Thereat some of the kings marvelled;
others laughed him to scorn ; others said
that he was a wizard. Yet they agreed
that Arthur should come out under safe conduct
and speak with them. So he came out, but it
profited nothing; they spake but hard words to
each other. I will make you bow to me," said
Arthur. Merlin counselled the kings. "You
shall not prevail against him, how many soever
you be." But Lot, that was King of Orkney,
answered, We will not take counsel of a dreamer







HOW ARTHUR CAME TO HIS KINGDOM 69

of dreams." Thereupon Merlin vanished out of
their sight, and coming to King Arthur, said,
"Set on them with all your might." So the
King rode against them, and as he rode three
hundred of the best among them came over to
him. But Merlin said to him, before the battle
was joined, Use not the sword that you had from
the anvil till things be come to the worst. Then
draw it and strike with all your might."
Thereupon was a fierce battle, wherein Arthur
did such deeds of arms that his very enemies
praised him. He fought in the front ranks till
his horse was slain under him, and he himself
smitten to the ground by King Lot. But his
knights raised him up and set him again on a
horse. Thereupon he drew the sword that he had
from the anvil, which flashed with a light as of
thirty torches, so that the enemy were confounded.
The commons of Caerleon also came with staves
and clubs and slew many knights. Then as many
of the enemy as were left turned their backs and
fled.
Yet it was not easily that Arthur came to his
kingdom. For these same kings gathered together
a yet larger host and hindered him. But by
Merlin's counsel he made alliance with Ban, that
was King of Benwicke, and Bors, that was King
of Gaul, than whom there were no stouter knights
in those days. Merlin also by his magic caused






70 HOW ARTHUR CAME TO HIS KINGDOM

ten thousand men well armed and well provided
in all things to be carried across the sea and by
secret ways to the place where the King was
in a marvellously short space of time.
It were long to tell how the hosts fought to-
gether, for King Lot and his fellows were stout
men-at-arms, and held their own manfully, but yet
could not stand against King Arthur and his lords.
Great was the slaughter, till at the last Merlin
said to the King, Will you never have done ? Of
three-score thousand men ye have left but fifteen
thousand alive. It is time that you should hold
your hand, for you cannot altogether destroy these
kings at this time, and if you will be for pursuing
them yet further, then will fortune turn against
you and go with them. Withdraw then to your
lodging, and reward your knights with gold and
silver, for they have well deserved it. As to the
spoil that you have won in the battle, my counsel
is that you give it to the two Kings Ban and Bors.
For your own lords and knights, you have enough
of your own."
So Merlin counselled, and King Arthur did so.
The spoil of battle he gave to the two kings, who
divided it straightway among their knights, and
to his own people he divided out of his own
substance.
Thus at last was Arthur established in his
kingdom.















CHAPTER II


OF EXCALIBUR AND THE ROUND TABLE

GREAT was the feasting on occasion of Arthur's
settlement in his kingdom, and it came to pass on
a day, when the feasting was ended, that there
came to the palace a squire bearing on his horse
a knight that had been wounded to the death.
When they inquired what had befallen him, he
said, "There is a knight that hath set up his
pavilion in the forest hard by, and constrains all
that pass to joust with him. This man hath slain
my master; give me, therefore, a knight who will
take up my quarrel." Thereupon there rose up
one Giflet, a squire. He was but young, being
of an age with the King, but he had done good
service in the wars. "Let me take up this
quarrel," said he. Nay," answered the King,
"thou art over young." Nevertheless, as Giflet
was urgent with his demand, the King suffered
him to go, having first made him a knight. So
Sir Giflet rode into the forest, and coming to the
71






72 OF EXCALIBUR AND THE ROUND TABLE

strange knight's pavilion, struck with his spear
on the shield that hung thereby. Then came out
the knight, and after some parley, for the knight
of the pavilion was loath to fight with the young
man, they jousted together, and Sir Giflet was
borne to the earth, well nigh wounded to death.
But the strange knight unlaced his helmet, and
set him on his horse, and sent him to the court,
where he was healed of his wound, not without
much pains of the physicians.
But when the King saw Sir Giflet come back
grievously wounded, he was very wroth, and
bade one that waited on him in his chamber to
be ready for him without the city on the morrow
with his armour and the best horse that he had.
So on the morrow, before it was day, he armed
himself, and mounted his horse, and so rode into
the forest. On his way he saw Merlin flying
from three churls who made as though they
would have slain him. But when the King cried
to them with a loud voice that they should flee,
they left pursuing Merlin, and departed. Said
the King, Merlin, thou hadst been slain for all
thy craft but for me." Nay, my lord," answered
Merlin, "I could have saved myself had I so
willed. But you, on the journey you are taking,
are nearer to death than I." But as they talked
they came to a pavilion, and a knight sitting
thereby in a chair, fully armed. "Sir knight,"






OF EXCALIBUR AND THE ROUND TABLE 73

said the King, "are you he that will suffer none
to pass this way, except he first joust with you.
I counsel you to leave this custom." The knight
made answer: "This custom have I kept, and
will keep : if it please you not, you can change
it." "That will I," said the King. Then they
jousted together, and smote each man the other's
shield so hard that both their spears were broken.
Then the King drew his sword. Nay," said the
knight, we will have another joust with spears,"
"Willingly," answered the King, "had I another
spear." I have spears enough," said the knight.
So they jousted again, and brake their spears
again. You are a passing good knight," said
the stranger ; now for the honour of knighthood,
let us joust yet once more." So they jousted
the third time, and now the King and his horse
were overthrown. The King was very wroth to
suffer such mishap, and drew his sword, saying,
" I will fight on foot." Which when the stranger
knight heard, he also lighted from his horse, for
he would not have his adversary at a dis-
advantage. So they set to with their swords,
and fought as sore a battle as did ever two
knights. At the last it chanced that their swords
met together with a full stroke, and the knight's
sword cleft the King's in two pieces. Now
yield," said the knight, "as recreant, or you die."
" Nay," said the King, I will not refuse to die






74 OF EXCALIBUR AND THE ROUND TABLE

but yield me as recreant I will not." And so
saying he took the knight by the middle and
flung him to the earth. But the knight anon
recovered himself, and being a man of passing
great strength, wrestled with the King so
mightily that he brought him under, and would
have smitten off his head.
Now Merlin was hard by, though the two saw
him not. He cried to the strange knight, Hurt
not this man, lest thou put this realm to more
damage than ever realm had before, for this man is
of more honour than you know." "Who is he ?"
said the knight. Merlin answered, He is King
Arthur," which when the knight heard he would
fain have slain the King, fearing his vengeance.
But Merlin cast him into a deep sleep by his
enchantments. When the King saw him lie as
though he were dead, he was greatly troubled.
"What have you done?" said he; "have you
slain this knight by your enchantments? Verily
I would give all my lands for a whole year if he
might live again." "Trouble not yourself," said
Merlin, "he is more whole than you. For he is
but asleep, and will awake three hours hence.
But did I not tell you what a stout knight he
was? If you saved me from the knaves, much
more did I save you from him. But know that
this knight is King Pellenore, and that he and
his two sons will do you good service hereafter."







OF EXCALIBUR AND THE ROUND TABLE 75

Then Merlin and the King rode on till they
came to a hermitage wherein dwelt a holy man,
that was also a very skilful physician. This man
sought out all the King's hurts, and gave him heal-
ing salves for them, and shortly made him sound
of body. So the two departed, and as they rode
Arthur said, "I have no sword." "You shall
have a noble sword right soon," answered Merlin.
So they rode on till they came to a fair lake, and
when the King looked on the face of the lake, he
was aware of an arm in the midst of it that was
clothed in white samite, that is to say, silk of six
threads woven with gold, and held a sword by
the handle. Look you," said Merlin, "that is
the sword that you shall have." Then, as they
looked, they saw a damsel that came towards
them upon the face of the lake. "Who is this
damsel? said the King. Merlin made answer,
She is the Lady of the Lake, and if you speak
her fair, she will give you this sword." Then the
damsel, coming to the King, saluted him. Fair
damsel," said he, "what is that sword that I see?
Fain would I have it for my own, for I have no
sword." The damsel answered, Sir King, the
sword is mine, but I will give it to you willingly,
if you, on your part, will give me a gift when I
shall ask it." Then the King promised on his
word that he would give her such a gift as she
should desire. Then she said, "Go to yonder






76 OF EXCALIBUR AND THE ROUND TABLE

barge, and row yourself to the place where you
see the arm, and take the sword and the
scabbard." So King Arthur and Merlin tied
their horses to two trees, and took the barge
and rowed to the place where the arm was.
And the King took the sword by the handle,
and when he had taken it the arm went under
the water and was seen no more. Then the
King returned to Caerleon. Right glad were his
knights to see him return safe and sound. And
when they heard his adventures, they said among
themselves, "This is a right worthy King, who
puts himself into peril as though he were but
the poorest knight." And they obeyed him
thenceforth the more willingly.
After this there came tidings to the King that
one Leodegrance, who held a kingdom under
him, was sore pressed by King Rience of North
Wales. This Rience had caused a mantle to be
made which had for a hem the beards of kings.
Eleven beards there were, and there was yet one
place empty. So Rience sent to King Arthur
saying, Give me your beard for the place that
is empty in the hem of my mantle." Right glad
was the King to find occasion to chastise this
insolent knave. Therefore he the more willingly
marched to the help of King Leodegrance, and
put King Rience to flight, and slew many of his
people.






OF EXCALIBUR AND THE ROUND TABLE 77

This adventure of King Arthur in ridding
Leodegrance of his enemies was the cause of
his getting for himself a wife. His barons had
counselled him to marry, and Leodegrance had
a daughter, Guinevere by name, that was passing
fair, and when Arthur saw her he loved her with
all his heart, saying to himself, "This shall be
my wife."
So he said to Merlin, "My barons will have
me marry. Now what is your counsel ?" Merlin
answered, "They counsel well. Is there any
damsel on whom your heart is set?" "Yes,"
said the King, "there is even Guinevere, the
daughter of King Leodegrance." "Then," said
Merlin, "if your heart is set on her, counsel is
idle, be it of the wisest man upon earth." "You
speak truth," answered the King. Nevertheless
Merlin warned him privately that this marriage
should not be to his good, but the King would
not hearken to him. Thereupon Merlin went
to Cameliard, where King Leodegrance dwelt,
and told him what Arthur desired. "There is
nothing," said the King, "that I could hear with
more pleasure than that so brave a knight should
desire to wed my daughter. Right willingly will
I give her to him. Lands also and gold in plenty
would I give with her as her dowry, but that I
know he has enough of both. Yet there is one
thing that he will gladly receive at my hands,






78 OF EXCALIBUR AND THE ROUND TABLE

and that is the Round Table, which his father,
Uther Pendragon, gave me in old time. One
hundred and fifty knights may have their seats
about it, so great is it. I have myself one
hundred knights that are waiting to sit at it;
let Arthur himself fill up the number with knights
of his own."
So when all things needful had been made
ready, Merlin set forth to return to London,
where King Arthur then was, taking with him
Guinevere and the Round Table and the
hundred knights. The King received this royal
gift with great pleasure. "This fair lady is
welcome indeed," he said, "for I have loved
her long; and as for the Table and the knights,
I prize them above all the gold and the lands that
are in all the world, for there is nothing better
than honour and valour."
Then he said to Merlin, "Go, find me fifty
knights that I may put them in the seats that are
empty at the Table." So Merlin went, but the
fifty he could not find. Only twenty-eight did
he deem worthy of so great an honour. This
done, the Archbishop of Canterbury came and
blessed the Table and the seats, and put the
knights in their places. After this, at Merlin's
bidding, all the knights rose up and did homage
to the King, and when they had risen, there was
found in each man's place his proper style and name.







OF EXCALIBUR AND THE ROUND TABLE 79

But two seats were seen to be empty. "How
is this ?" said the King. These two," Merlin
answered, "are for the two noblest knights in all
the world. And next to these two is the Perilous
Seat, wherein no man can sit but one, and whoso-
ever else shall seek to sit therein shall perish."
The same day there came to the King a son of
King Lot of Orkney, Gawaine by name, a hand-
some squire, who asked the King a boon, that he
would make him a knight on the day of his
marriage. "That will I do right willingly?"
answered the King, especially because you are
my sister's son," for one of King Arthur's sisters
was married to Lot.
Next after Gawaine came a poor husbandman
bringing with him a fair youth of eighteen years
or thereabouts. He said to the King, "Sire,
men say that you will give on your marriage day
any boon that is within reason." That is so,"
answered the King. Then I pray you,"
answered the husbandman, to make this my
son a knight." Nay," answered the King,
"but that is scarce within reason. Who are
you? why ask you this great honour? And
what hath the lad done?" The husbandman
replied, I am but a cowherd, and I have thirteen
sons, good lads to work, all of them. But this
who is the eldest will do nothing, caring for
nothing but such sports as soldiers use, and to






8o OF EXCALIBUR AND THE ROUND TABLE

look on knights jousting and the like." The
King asked the lad of his name. My name
is Tor," said he. Then the King seeing that he
was fair of face, and of good stature, and strong
of body, said, Have you a sword? That I
have," said the lad. "Then draw it and make
your request to be made a knight." So the lad
leapt down from his horse, for he was riding on
a lean and sorry creature, and knelt down before
the King, and the King made him a knight.
Then Sir Tor asked, May I be of the Round
Table?" That," answered the King, "is for
such as are tried. Show yourself worthy, and
you shall sit there in due time." This done, he
turned to Merlin and asked, Will Sir Tor make
a good knight?" "That will he," answered
Merlin, "and by right, for he is in truth the son
of King Pellenore." Now King Pellenore was
the knight of the pavilion, who had smitten
Arthur to the ground on the day when he got
his sword Excalibur.
The next day King Pellenore himself came to
the court. And Merlin, when he saw him, took
him by the hand, and led him to one of the two
seats that were by the Perilous Seat. That is
your place," said he.















CHAPTER III


THE ADVENTURES OF SIR BALIN

NOT many days after that the King was wedded
to Guinevere there came tidings to the court that
King Rience of North Wales had come again
out of his country across the King's borders, and
had done much damage. Thereupon the King
called together his lords to take counsel how they
might best abate this mischief. And while they
were in debate there came a damsel bearing a
message touching this matter from Lily, that was
the great lady of Avilion. As she told her
message to the King, she chanced to let her
mantle fall aside, whereupon it was seen that she
was girded with a great sword. Said the King,
"How is it, damsel, that you are girded with
that sword ? It becomes you not." The damsel
answered : "I may not be quit of this sword,
which is a grievous trouble and burden to me,
except by a good knight; a valiant man must he
be, and free of all villainy and treachery. If I may






82 THE ADVENTURES OF SIR BALIN

find such a knight, he will be able to draw the
sword out of its scabbard, but none other can. I
have been to the court of King Rience, who has
many valiant knights, but not one of them could
draw it forth. Now I would gladly make trial of
the knights that sit at your Round Table."
So the knights of the Table made trial of the
sword, one after another, but they could not draw
it from the scabbard for all their striving. The
damsel grieved much that they did not prevail,
saying, Alas! I had thought that here surely
there were knights that were free from all wrong
and treachery." So think I yet," said the
King, but it is not God's will that any one of
them should help you."
Now there chanced to be at the court at this
time a certain poor knight, Balin by name. He
had been fast in prison for six months because he
had slain a knight that was akin to King Arthur;
but now the barons had caused him to be set free,
knowing that he was a good man and had been
wronged in this matter of slaying the King's
kinsman. He watched how the matter went
with the damsel and the sword, but held back,
nor came to the front rank, because he was but
poorly clad. But when the damsel bade farewell
to King Arthur, and was now ready to depart
as not finding any one that could do her errand,
he took heart of grace, and said, Damsel, I







THE ADVENTURES OF SIR BALIN


pray you of your courtesy to let me make trial of
this sword, for though I am but poorly clothed, I
am not the less assured in my heart that I can do
this thing." And when the damsel looked at
him, she saw that he was of a noble aspect;
nevertheless, because he was so meanly arrayed,
she judged that he had done some villainy, and
had so fallen from a good estate into poverty.
Therefore she was for denying him, and said,
"There is no need to trouble me any more in
this matter, for why should you prevail where
others have failed ? Damsel," said he,
" worthiness and valour and all good graces
may lie hidden under poor clothing, seeing that
the better part of a man lies, not in his array, but
in himself." You say true," cried the damsel,
" therefore you shall make trial of the sword."
Then Sir Balin took the belt and the scabbard in
one hand, and with the other he drew out the
sword right easily. And when he saw the sword
it pleased him well. But the knights marvelled
much to see him do it, and some said that he
had prevailed by enchantments. "Now," said
the damsel, this is the best and truest knight
that ever I saw. But I pray you, Sir Knight,
that you give me the sword again." Nay,"
answered Balin, the sword will I keep unless
it be taken from me by force." You are not
wise to keep it," answered the damsel, "for







84 THE ADVENTURES OF SIR BALIN

with it you shall slay the man that you love best
in the world, and it shall be for your destruction."
But Balin would not consent, saying that he was
content to endure what God should ordain. It
must be as you will," said the damsel, "but I
ask more for your sake than for mine, for of a
surety this sword will be a trouble to you." There-
upon she departed in great grief. After this Sir
Balin made him ready to depart. But the King
would fain have kept him, saying, Pardon me,
I pray you, if I have done you wrong, for I have
been falsely informed concerning you, and knew
not that you were of such worth. But now, if
you will abide with me, I will promote you in
such fashion that you shall be content." Said
Balin, I thank your highness for your grace;
nevertheless I must depart." Then the King
answered, "Go, therefore, if it must needs be,
but tarry not long; and when you come again,
you shall be welcome, and I will make amends
for what I have done amiss." I thank you,
sire," said Sir Balin, and made ready to depart.
But while he was making ready there came a
lady, richly clad, on horseback, and saluted the
King, and said, I pray you for a gift which you
promised me in exchange for a sword." I re-
member the promise," said the King. Now what
is your will ? I ask the head of the knight that
has newly won this sword, or else the head of the






THE ADVENTURES OF SIR BALIN


damsel that brought it. And if you would give
me the two heads, I should not grieve, for the
knight slew my brother, a good knight, and the
damsel caused my mother to die." But the King
made answer, This gift I cannot grant; but ask
any other thing and you shall have it." I will
have nothing but this," said she, and turned to
depart. But ere she went, Balin saw her, and
knew her as having brought his mother to death,
and he had sought her for three years. And
when he heard the errand on which she had
come, he went to her and said, Seek you my
head? Verily you shall lose your own." And
so saying, he smote off her head before the King's
eyes. Thereupon the King cried out, "Alas!
you have done me great shame, slaying this lady,
who was under safe conduct, before my very eyes.
This will I never forgive." Sir Balin answered,
" My lord, your displeasure troubles me, but
know that this lady was the falsest woman that
ever lived. By her arts she caused my mother,
that had done no wrong, to be burned alive."
"Nevertheless, however great your quarrel,"
said the King, "you should have forborne to
avenge it in such fashion. Never was such
shame done to my court before. Now, therefore,
depart with all speed." So Sir Balin departed,
carrying with him the head of the Lady of the
Lake. And being outside the town he met his






86 THE ADVENTURES OF SIR BALIN

squire, and said to him, Take this head to my
kinsmen in Northumberland and tell them that I
am rid of my worst enemy. As for me, I will go
against King Rience, and will either destroy him
or die. And if I live, the King will be my good
friend again."
Now there was in the court a certain knight,
Lanceor by name, a king's son from Ireland.
He had a high esteem of himself, and greatly
grudged to Sir Balin that he had achieved the
drawing of the sword, for it grieved him that he
should be manifestly excelled in any matter by
another. So he asked leave of the King that he
might ride after Balin and punish him for his
misdeed. "Go," said the King, "and do your
best; I have great anger against this Balin, for
he has put me to an open shame." So Sir
Lanceor armed himself, and rode with all the
speed that he might after Balin. And when he
came in sight of him, he cried with a loud voice,
" Now, tarry, Sir Knight. Tarry you shall,
whether you will or no." Thereupon Sir Balin
turned himself and said to the king's son from
Ireland, What will you, fair Knight? Do you
desire to joust with me ? Yes," said Sir
Lanceor, that is my desire." Yet," Sir Balin
made answer, peradventuree it had been better
for you to tarry at home, for some who would put
others to shame fall into it themselves. From






THE ADVENTURES OF SIR BALIN


what court come you ?" "I come," said the
king's son of Ireland, "from King Arthur's
court, and I seek to avenge the wrong that you
have done this day to the King and his fellow-
ship." I shall be loath to do any shame to
King Arthur or his knights. Know, therefore,
that this lady whom I slew was the falsest woman
upon earth. Otherwise I had not slain her, for
there is no knight living that would be less
willing to slay a lady." But Sir Lanceor only
cried, Make you ready to fight, for one of us
shall not go hence." So they ran at each other
with their spears in rest as fast as their horses
could go. The king's son of Ireland smote the
shield of Sir Balin so hardly that his spear was
broken to shivers. Sir Balin, on the other hand,
drave his spear through his adversary's shield,
and through his coat of mail, and through his
body; and when he had done this, he turned his
horse, and drew his sword, preparing to strike,
but Sir Lanceor lay dead upon the ground.
In a little while Sir Balin espied a knight riding
towards him, and when he was near enough to
discern his arms, he saw that it was his brother
Balan. When they met they took off their
helmets, and kissed each other and wept for
joy. "This is a happy chance of our meeting,"
said Balan. "And first I wish you joy of your
deliverance from the prison, for some one told me







88 THE ADVENTURES OF SIR BALIN

that you were free, and therefore did I come
hither hoping to find you." Then Balin told
Balan how he had displeased the King by slay-
ing the Lady of the Lake. See too," he said,
"this knight lying dead. The King sent him after
me to avenge the slight that I had put upon his
majesty, and I slew him. Now the King is the
very worthiest knight in all the world, and it
grieves me much that I have displeased him;
nor is there anything that I would not do to
get his favour for myself again. I hear that
King Rience of North Wales is besieging the
castle of Terabil. This Rience is an enemy to
the King. Let us go, therefore, with all haste
and show against him such valour as we may."
" I will go right willingly," said Sir Balan.
So Balin and Balan rode together towards the
castle of Terabil. And as they went they met
Merlin, but so disguised that they knew him not.
"Whither ride you?" said Merlin. "Why
should we tell thee our errand?" answered
Balin. "Do you tell us your name." "That,"
said Merlin, I am not minded to do at this
present." Balin said, "'Tis not to be believed that
you are a true man, if you will not tell your
name." Be that as it may," said Merlin, "I
know your purpose. You are riding to meet
King Rience, but meet him you will not, unless
you are ruled by my counsel." Then cried Balin,




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