Beowulf: Introduction to Chapter 30

Beowulf had been a mighty warrior, and for fifty years the king of the Geats, when a dragon began to harrow his homeland. Beowulf faced the dragon alone, and then with the aid of his young kinsman Wiglaf, and at the end of that battle only Wiglaf survived. Wiglaf sent a messenger to report the fight to those who awaited its outcome – but that messenger also warned of the future that was to come to the Geats, for now the great Beowulf was slain, their enemies would surely attack them once more. The men, Beowulf’s shieldsmen and retainers, went down to the valley where the fight had taken place, and there beheld the dead dragon, the body of their king, and part of the dragon’s hoard that Wiglaf had retrieved for Beowulf to see in his last moments.