Flaming Oil on Beowulf’s Shield

The Fire Drake’s tongue is grooved down the middle, like a channel for the flaming oil it pours onto Beowulf’s mead hall, and during his final battle with it, onto Beowulf himself. This dragon doesn’t spew flames across distances. Instead, it hovers overhead and pours them. As he crouches beneath the extra-wide bronze shield he’s ordered made, since he knows a linden wood shield will just burn, Beowulf begins to cook anyway.

You must admit, most FX Hollywood dragons act like flying WWII flamethrowers these days; we’ve all seen them. But in my telling of the epic, the physics of heavy dragon oil, ignited at the tip of its tongue and impossible to put out, just seems all the more horrible because it’s viscous, like liquid napalm.

This scene occurs at the very end of BEOWULF: THE ONLY ONE, which I’ll be performing this coming Friday night, Jan. 18, at 8 p.m. at the Riverwalk Music Bar in Nashua, NH. It’s a great intimate venue with a fabulous sound system that deepens the 12-string guitar to a kind of polite thunder, so if you feel like taking in some mythic storytelling instead of your usual Friday night fare, join me.

Great food and a great bar, too. An adult storytelling.

Tickets are $12 in advance, $15 at the door.


Odds Bodkin


Jan. 18, 2019 at 8 p.m.

Riverwalk Café and Music Bar

Nashua, NH

Photo by Simon Brooks.

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