Beowulf: Introduction to Chapter 17

King Hrothgar’s hall had long been oppressed by the murderous monster Grendel; now Beowulf had slain it, and after its mother sought revenge, he had dived to the depths of her watery hall, and through his great strength and the aid of a sword he found there, he had slain her as well. With that same blade, Beowulf struck of the head of Grendel’s corpse, bearing it with him on the long journey to the surface. But the cloud of blood that rose from that strike convinced Hrothgar and the Danes that Beowulf had perished, so when he reached the shore it was only his own men who were there to rejoice in his victory, and journey with him back to Hrothgar’s hall. There Beowulf recounted his deeds and presented Hrothgar with the head of Grendel and the hilt of the sword that had beheaded it – the blade had been dissolved by the monster’s poisonous blood.