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\Studyworld\ Studyworld Studynotes \ Beowulf:
Section 10

The Messenger Foretells the Doom of the Geats

A messenger is dispatched to tell the deaths of Beowulf and the dragon.

Messenger's speech: When the news of Beowulf's death will be made known, Geatland will be put in danger of war by the Frisians and Franks, for it is well known that a fierce feud arose with the Franks when Beowulf attacked the Frisians, and Hetware defeated the Geats, and Hygelac himself fell in battle. I also hold no hope of peace from the Swedes, as it is known that Ongtheow had killed Haethcyn, Hrethel's son near Ravenswood. The Geats, under Haethcyn, had captured Ongtheow's queen, and the latter managed to rescue her, and drove the Geats to Ravenswood, where much slaughter had ensued and Haethcyn died. In the morning, however, Hygelac had come with reinforcements, and driven Ongtheow to his fortress. The fort was stormed and a fight ensued between Windred's son, Wulf and Ongtheow, and Wulf was grievously wounded. Wulf's brother, Eofor took revenge and killed Ongtheow. Hygelac then had rewarded both Wulf and Eofor with a hundred thousand acres, and also given to Eofor his daughter in marriage. This is the feud of which I am scared, now that our king is no more, for it is his might that had defended the kingdom. The treasure, so dearly gained, shall be useless for it will be burnt with the king.

The messenger finishes speaking and the men go to look at their king and the dragon, fifty feet long, lying on the ground. The treasure lay strewn about. A spell had been cast on the treasure by the lord who had buried it, to the effect that whoever tried to plunder it, would pay for the evil by being sent to hell, except the one, chosen by God, to invade and gather the treasure. Thus it had been the fate of Beowulf to get the treasure and meet his death thus.

Beowulf's Funeral

Wyglaf along with 7 warriors gather the treasure and carry the king along with it to the Cape of Whale. A pyre is built with helmets and shields surrounding it, and it is lit. The warriors sing a dirge and an old woman wails in sorrow, proclaiming that the bloodshed, shame and bondage is soon going to beset the Geats. For 10 days, the Geats work on the barrow, burying the ash from the funeral as well as the treasure in it, till a high mound is built. Then 12 brave warriors ride around it, bemoaning the death of the king, and of their sorrow, and sing a dirge highlighting his valor, and praising him for being the kindest and gentlest of kings, and foe being most mindful of his glory.

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