Beowulf: Introduction to Chapter 22

Beowulf had taken a warrior band to Denmark to assist King Hrothgar, whose hall was beset by a great monster, Grendel. On his return to Geatland, King Hygelac asked what had befallen; so Beowulf told Hygelac of Hrothgar’s hospitality, and his own wrestling with Grendel – a bout that left Grendel fleeing to its death, its right arm torn off by Beowulf in the hall of Hrothgar. This victory was met with great celebration and many gifts. In the years to come, when Hygelac died, the crown of the Geats passed to Beowulf, and he ruled well for fifty years, until a sleeping dragon was awoken and enraged by a thief disturbing its hoard.