He’s already killed Grendel, a towering, sword-proof beast, but now Beowulf has sunk to the bottom of a reeking mere to hunt and kill Grendel’s mother. If Beowulf rids Denmark of these demons, King Hrothgar will declare him his son. In Beowulf’s world, that’s the promise of full half of Hrothgar’s fabulous wealth, enough for Beowulf to become a king himself back home. Hrothgar is the richest man along the Baltic.
Denmark and Sweden/Geatland
As he approaches her underwater cave, Grendel’s Mother curses Beowulf. She has dragged her son’s carcass here along with the bloody, hairy arm Beowulf tore off Grendel in the mead hall, which she has stolen back before retreating to her home. She is huge, with fangs and claws, yet she stands like a woman at the water’s edge. With Grendel gone, she is now the last of their kind. Through the ripples she sees soft colored lights beyond the submerged entrance. The man, the killer of her son, has arrived at the mere’s bottom.
Into the water she slides, kicking through the blackness toward what she sees is a helmet with glowing gems on its crown.
Holding his sword out, the man cannot see her. Stealthily, she swims to behind him and violently clamps her fangs onto the helmet, thinking to crush it, along with the soft human skull inside.
Up until this moment, Beowulf has been reliving boyhood memories. How Hrothgar once paid the blood price for Beowulf’s father, and the Wylfings had stopped pursuing him. It had been wonderful to stand on the ship’s deck heading home to Geatland with his father, who was a free man at last. Yes, Beowulf has come here for glory, but also to show gratitude to King Hrothgar of the Danes for that act of mercy so long ago.
Feeling sudden pressure inside the helmet, Beowulf slides out of it and slashes the sword, Hrunting, at the she-beast behind him, but the blade is too slow in the water. With a bubbling scream she shoots back into her cave, ready for the fight.
She is three times his size.
However, Grendel’s Mother does not know that this man is Beowulf, a fearless thane of the Geats who has come from the north, a warrior with the grip of thirty men. He doesn’t know it yet, but after she stabs him in the chest, he will kill her with a weapon crafted by long-dead giants.
In the actual telling of this scene from BEOWULF: THE ONLY ONE, haunting, scintillant music on 12-string guitar builds the creepiness, while Grendel’s Mother hisses loudly to herself, and Beowulf’s voice speaks his inner monologue, “Fate often saves an undoomed man if his courage holds.”
Come see and hear the entire tale via ZOOM on Sunday, Feb. 28th at 5 pm EST.
AN ODDS BODKIN ZOOM STORYTELLING
SUNDAY, FEB. 28, 2021 AT 5 PM EST
Hear a sample from the tale:
SPONSORED BY GRENDEL’S DEN.