فصل 01

مجموعه: کتاب های ساده / کتاب: بائوولف / فصل 1

کتاب های ساده

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فصل 01

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  • زمان مطالعه 7 دقیقه
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CHAPTER ONE

The old Danish kings were men of courage, and their exploits are famous.

One of these kings was called Shield Sheafson. He had been abandoned as a child, but he grew into a fierce warrior who subdued his enemies. He was a good king. Shield Sheafson’s son was called Beow. Beow recognized what the people had suffered in the past, and he rewarded them generously whilst his father was still king. In this way the young prince, who was blessed by God, gathered around him friends who would be loyal in times of trouble.

When Shield died, he was given a splendid funeral. They placed his body in a boat and loaded the boat with treasure. They hung a golden standard above his head to show who he was. Then they pushed the boat out to sea, where it drifted on the waves. No one knows who found the boat and kept its rich treasure.

Now it was Beow’s turn to protect the Danes. He, too, was a good king and the people liked him. Beow’s heir was the great Halfdane. Halfdane had three sons, Heorogar, Hrothgar and Halga.

He also had a daughter who married the Swedish king Onela.

Hrothgar was lucky in war. Many men were keen to serve him and his army grew. He decided to build a great mead hall as a sign of his power. He wanted the mead hall to be his throne room. He also wanted it to be the place from where he would share his goods with the people.

He summoned workers from all over the world to come and build his mead hall, which was called Heorot Hall. Soon the building was finished, and it was splendid. Its towers rose high into the sky, and its roof was wide.

There were feasts and singing every day in Heorot Hall. Harpists played their music, and poets told the story of how God created the earth, the sun and the moon.

But there was a demon that hated the happiness of Heorot Hall. His name was Grendel, and he lived on a bleak part of the coastal lands. Grendel had previously lived in exile with the family of Cain, who had murdered his brother Abel.

One night Grendel came to Heorot Hall to look at the Danes feasting and enjoying themselves there. He found them asleep after their drinking, and he seized thirty men and carried them away with him. He returned to the Hall later that night, and left thirty bloodstained corpses there.

When morning came the Danes woke up and saw the bodies of their friends. They wept at the sight. King Hrothgar did not know what to do, and he was ashamed that he had not been able to prevent the terrible deed. He was sad for the loss of his men.

The next night Grendel came back again, and killed more of Hrothgar’s men. The Danes were now afraid, and they began to leave Heorot Hall.

Grendel now ruled. Heorot Hall was abandoned. King Hrothgar suffered for twelve long years. Musicians carried the story of Grendel all over the world. They sang about the horrible murders, and the long war between the demon and the king. They sang about the danger that everyone felt.

Grendel continued his attacks on the Danes. He took over Heorot Hall, although he could not enter the throne room.

King Hrothgar’s advisers made plans to defend the kingdom from the demon. Sometimes, too, they prayed to false gods for help in their trouble. They forgot the real God who made the heavens and the earth.

The king of Geatland was called Hygelac. One of his lords had heard about the demon, and he decided to help Hrothgar. This lord was the strongest man on earth, a real warrior. He gave orders that a boat should be made ready for him to travel in. He found fourteen men who were willing to go with him, and they set off together in his boat.

The lord’s boat sailed quickly through the waves on its journey. They soon reached their destination, and they were glad to be on land again. They thanked God for the swift crossing.

When the Danish watchman saw men in armor come out of the boat, he went to them and issued a challenge:

‘Who are you, and why have you come here in armor? My job is to watch for the arrival of dangerous men on our shores. I have never seen a group of armed men like you before. You did not ask anyone for permission to land.’

The watchman looked at the warrior, and then he went on:

‘And I have never seen a man as big as you. You must be an important man. You must tell me who you are, before you go inland from the coast. And you must also tell me why you have come here.’

The warrior gave this reply to the watchman:

‘We are from Geatland, and our king is Hygelac. I am the son of Ecgtheow, who was a great soldier in his day. We have come here to help your king, and we have no secret purpose. Therefore, please tell us what has been happening here. We want to know everything about this great danger that comes in the night, this killer of men in your country. I want to offer Hrothgar my help and advice. I know how to defeat this enemy, and how to make the king calm again.’

The watchman looked at the warrior, and then he replied:

‘I believe you. Pick up your armour and your weapons, and I’ll take you to the king. My men will look after your boat until you go back to Geatland.’

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