Beowulf for Children

Just in time for the release of the new Beowulf film comes a...ahem...slightly different retelling of the tale, by Rathflaed DuNoir, The Black Bard of Meridies.


As retold by Rathflaed DuNoir, The Black Bard of Meridies (mka Stephen R. Melvin)

See Grendel. See Grendel eat. Eat, Grendel, eat. Grendel is eating a few Danish for breakfast. Grendel especially likes the ones with the yellow coating on top. This is good because there are so many of them. Yummy!

See Hrothgar. He is sad. Sad, sad, sad. His warriors are leaving. They are sad because Grendel has eaten many of their friends. They do not want to play with Grendel anymore because Grendel is mean.

Hrothgar is also sad because his food is almost gone. Grendel eats the cows and pigs and horsies, too. Grendel is very hungry. Eat, Grendel, eat.

Hrothgar is also sad because his wife will not stop complaining. Whine, wife, whine. Hrothgar has tried to stop listening to her for three days now. Drink, Hrothgar, drink. Hrothgar is almost out of mead. Poor Hrothgar.

See Beowulf. He is big and strong and handsome. He has long viking braids and pointy horns on his hat and a really big sword. Ooh, Beowulf, ooh! He is sailing to Denmark to visit Hrothgar. Sail, Beowulf, sail. He does not know that Hrothgar is almost out of mead. Poor Beowulf.

Beowulf likes to sail. Beowulf likes to drink even more. Poor Beowulf. When he gets to Denmark, there is only enough mead left for one feast. Poor Beowulf. Poor Hrothgar. Poor warriors. Poor Grendel. Beowulf is very mad. Mad, mad, mad.

Beowulf vows to slay Grendel. Vow, Beowulf, vow. He promises to do many great feats. He swears to return with Grendel's head. Drink, Beowulf, drink.

Beowulf is lying very still. Is he waiting to surprise Grendel? No, he is not waiting to surprise Grendel. Is he meditating? No, he is not meditating. Is he practicing an Arcane magical ritual involving a lawn chair, six milk bottles and a tuning fork? No, he is unconscious. Won't he be surprised when he wakes up and they tell him about his promises? Won't he be happy to know that he has a quest? Won't he feel grand when the warriors cheer him? No, Beowulf will not feel grand for awhile. He has a headache. Poor Beowulf. Please stop cheering warriors.

O see the castle. It is very quiet. Is it quiet because everyone is afraid of Grendel? No it is not quiet because everyone is afraid of Grendel. Is it quiet because everyone is afraid of Beowulf? Yes, it is because everyone is afraid of Beowulf. Beowulf has had a very bad headache for three days. Last night, Beowulf's head hurt so bad that he was very mad. Mad, mad, mad. Grendel came over to play and made too much noise. Beowulf was very upset. Beowulf was so upset that he ripped Grendel's arm off and hung it over the door. Poor Grendel. Poor warriors. Smile at Beowulf. Just do it quietly.

O see the feast hall. It is bright and cheery. There is food on the tables and mead in the horns and a great big arm over the door. See the feasters. They are singing and laughing and drinking. Are they happy that Grendel is dead? Yes, they are happy that Grendel is dead. Are they happy that they can laugh and sing and play again? Yes, they are they happy that they can laugh and sing and play again. But most of all they are happy that there is more mead. Drink, Beowulf, drink.

O see Hrothgar. He is happy. Happy, happy, happy.

Is he happy that Grendel is dead? Is he happy that there is more mead? Yes, but he is mostly happy because his wife has stopped complaining. Smile, Hrothgar, smile.

O see Grendel's mother. She is sad. Sad, sad, sad. Is she sad because Grendel is gone? Is she sad because her other children never call? Is she sad because the Angels are losing again? Yes, she is sad because of all these things. But she is mostly sad because she won't get any more mother's day presents. This makes her mad. Mad, mad, mad.

She gets so mad that she decides to have some Danish for dessert. That is silly. Everyone knows that you are supposed to have Danish for breakfast. Silly, silly, silly.

In fact it is so silly that we think that Grendel's mother may have had something besides food for dinner. We think that Grendel's mother may have been drinking. Just like Beowulf.

O see Beowulf. Now that there is mead again he is drinking some more. Drink, Beowulf, drink. When Grendel's mother comes to the feast, Beowulf has already drunk quite a bit. So has Grendel's mother. He thinks she is the most beautiful woman in the world and makes a pass at her. Pass, Beowulf, pass. She is caught off guard and says no. Tease, monster, tease. Beowulf tries again. She leaves and he goes home with her. Grendel's mother was never heard from again. Beowulf was very quiet about the whole situation. Quiet, quiet, quiet.


Copyright © 2007 Stephen R. Melvin. Reprinted on with permission of the author. Author's copyright notice: "Feel free to forward through the web, but please keep the credit info intact, and if you post it on a website, please let me know and provide me with a link back to our website. Thanks!"