Beowulf Returns to Heoret
Grendel's head is laid before the king, and Beowulf narrates the story of his fight, and presents the sword hilt to Hrothgar. The hilt is carved with the story of the ancient giants who had ravaged the earth before they were killed in the Great Floods. Hrothgar renews his pledge of friendship, praises him and cautions him against excess pride by telling the story of Heremod. Heremod had been blessed with great strength, but had proved to be a tyrant, wrecking havoc among the Danes, and Hrothgar asks Beowulf to learn from Heremod's story and Hrothgar's old age, and take the path of virtue. Hrothgar marvels at God's will that allows a man to follow his desires and seek fame at home and abroad, and then live in luxury knowing no sickness, or sorrow. This lasts, however, only till evil besets him in the form of pride. His spirit then slumbers and he becomes unmindful of Fate. Death, however, inevitably comes, and Hrothgar advises Beowulf to seek heavenly wisdom.
The Parting of Beowulf and Hrothgar
In the morning, the Geats prepare for departure. Beowulf returns the sword, Hrunting, to Unferth, thanking him for the loan. He thanks Hrothgar for his affection and hospitality, and promises to return should Hrothgar ever need him. Hrothgar says that Beowulf's words bespeak a man of strength, prudence and wisdom, a man who would make a great king of the Geats, should Hygelac ever be killed. He praises him for establishing everlasting peace between the Danes and the Geats, gives him many gifts, and parts with him fondly. The poet notes that Hrothgar ruled ably and ultimately died of old age.
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