Long ago in Hrothgar's Danish kingdom lived a gruesome monster-giant named Grendel, who nightly roamed the countryside. Rising from his marshy home, he would stalk to the King's high hall, and there devour fifteen of Hrothgar's sleeping warriors. Then, before departing, the monster would seize fifteen more men with his huge arms and bear them back to his watery lair. For twelve years the slaughter continued. Word of this terror spread across the sea to the land of the Geats, ruled by Hygelac. Beowulf, Hygelac's principal advisor and warrior and a man of great strength and courage, heard the tale of Grendel's murderous attacks. Straightway, he set sail to free the Danes from the demon's depredations.
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