Mist covered moon by Charlie from flickr

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As the night became late, Beowulf and his companions began to fortify the hall against the dangers of Grendal, a monster that they intended to lure in and slay. Beowulf, aware of the brutality of the previous acts, committed to not sleeping the entire night so that he might keep watch on his men.

With preparations finished and the fires now but a warm glow, his men lay down in the various benches to get some rest before the fight. A silence fell over the hall as more and more men drifted to sleep. There was something strange about this silence, Beowulf noticed. He had taken to lying down, eyes open, at the head of the large table. Something was missing. The rustling of wildlife and even the ever-present chirping of the crickets was not audible. Even the wind, which the previous night had been a gale, was a whisper through the trees. It was as if the land itself was holding its breath in anticipation.

Beowulf watched with steady breathing as a fog began to cover the moon. He felt as if unseeable creatures were lurking just outside, and yet he still heard no sound.

After what may have been an hour, the fog thickened further, and Beowulf was fighting off a strong urge to close his heavy eyes. In his half-conscious state, he heard and saw visions of his men being clubbed by a great beast and falling dead to the floor one after another. Bam! Bam! Bam! A few minutes of visions later, there came a much louder bang which jolted Beowulf back to full consciousness. There at the entrance of the now dislodged entryway stood a hulking evil mass, Grendel. The monster was tall, having to lean down to enter the doorway. Its face barely resembled any sort of human features. He had large fangs, and his body was covered in scales that glistened in what little light of the moon broke through the fog.

In a second, Beowulf scanned the room. His companions were still sleeping under the spell that had nearly taken him. Beowulf shook his head to alleviate his drowsiness. He rose to his feet but was too late to save his companion, Hondsico, as Grendel snatched him and began tearing the limbs from his body. Grendal then began to devour him. Amidst all the chaos, Beowulf drew steadily closer, hoping to close the gap. Despite the noise, Grendels head perked and spun around. Beowulf stopped in his tracks as those glowing white eyes fixed onto his.

Beowulf knew this was going to be a long fight. He needed to lure Grendel away from his sleeping companions. Beowulf steadied his breathing and charged the large creature, tackling it through the entryway of the hall. And so, the two began their silent duel, their movements like a dance through the foggy moonlight night.

Author’s Note:

With this story, I wanted to focus on the moments leading up to the fight with Grendel. I made a few changes. I added in the hallucinations that are so common in that light sleep state as his mind justifying the loud bangs from Grendel taking down the door. I also added Beowulf leading the fight outdoors. In the original tale, they fight in the hall all around the sleeping people. I felt like that wasn’t very “heroic” in today’s standards to put defenseless people in danger, so I changed it up.

Mythology and Folklore UN-Textbook: Myth-Folklore Unit: Beowulf

1 thought on “Week 12 Story: The Silence of Night

  1. Hi Jordan!
    You are right, fighting around sleeping people is not very heroic by today’s standards. I do think that would have been funny though. Your story was really well done! You gave it a really creepy tone. Beowulf tackling Grendel to take the fight outside was great! I think that was a sound choice. I really enjoyed reading your story!

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