Beowulf: Introduction to Chapter 29

Beowulf was dead, and Wiglaf, his kinsman and successor, ordered a rider to tell the nearby assembly of retainers and shield-bearers how it had happened: how Beowulf, an old man, fifty years their king, had confronted the dragon that had been harrowing them alone; how Wiglaf had come to his aid; how Beowulf’s sword had broken, and the dragon had been slain by their knives; and how Beowulf had died of the dragon’s venomous bite. The rider spoke also of the fate that awaited the Geats – of the many enemies who would seize upon this fresh loss and weakness to attack them, the Franks, the Frisians, and especially the Swedes. The rider reminded them of the bloody feud between the Geats and the Swedes – how Eofor and Wulf, both Geats, had slain the Swedish king Ongentheow.