Beowulf is a Scandinavian from the people known as Geats. On hearing a history of the Danes leading to the latest story that Hrothgar, a king of the Danes, is being terrorised by a monster (Grendel) he decides to travel (with 12 others) and save them.
After much boasting he beds down in the great hall to face Grendel (with 12 others).
The 12 others are attacked and they fight with the loss of one man, before Beowulf steps in, rips an arm from Grendel who leaves a trail of blood as he runs into the night.
There's much rejoicing at the victory, the arm is hung from the great halls rafters, and Beowulf is rewarded with long-winded speeches, tales, and treasure.
As in all such tales though, the monster has a mother who seeks revenge - killing much as her son Grendel did.
Beowulf seeks out this woman beneath a lake (alone this time), and kills her.
Returning to the great hall with the head of Grendel (the body of whom he found in the mothers lair) there is more celebration before he (and the 11 others) return home.
Back in Geatland everyone is surprised he has returned at all, and he recounts the story.
Years later when Beowulf, himself, is a king in Geatland (probably southern Sweden), a dragon has it's treasure stolen by a thief.
The dragon seeks revenge by burning villages so, the now much older, Beowulf sets out to fight it. Others go with him but are too scared to join in despite Beowulf obviously having difficulty.
One bravely does charge in, and Beowulf kills the dragon. The dragon, however, has poisoned him with its venom and Beowulf dies.
There is then a protracted lament to Beowulf at his funeral.
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