In an ancient Danish kingdom, a monster named Grendel conducts nightly raids against the warriors of King Hrothgar – so begins the legendary epic poem, Beowulf. The old king requires help, which arrives in the form of Beowulf, who has come to Heorot Hall to slay the monster as repayment of a debt of gratitude. Beowulf succeeds in mortally wounding Grendel, only to be forced into battle with Grendel’s wicked mother. After a mighty struggle, Beowulf once again prevails, and is lavishly rewarded by Hrothgar. Returning to his home in Geatland, Beowulf eventually becomes king, ruling well and wisely for fifty years. The warrior-king is finally killed in combat by a dragon that has been ravaging the countryside. When Beowulf falls, the Geats mourn him, building a huge funeral pyre, and loading a barrow with treasures. Generations of high school students have studied Beowulf, exploring and investigating its intricate themes of courage and fealty.