THE BEAST: GRENDEL'S RETELLING OF THE BEOWULF TALE
So, the Spear-Danes of the wondrous past
Liked to furnish hero's tales, of glory and
prize-winnings bright. Beowulf's was above all good.
But even monsters have life stories. My name
is Grendel, and this is my tale.
I was human once. Then in the dark,
Mother took me and birthed me to the night.
She laid the tracks, and bade me follow;
we became two demons bonded by a fear
of loneliness, I nurtured by her love and desperation.
I sought to but could not curb my thirst
for human blood. Hell was my constant
state of mind where the human struggled
with the savage. I broke into Hrothgar's hall
one night and killed them, every one of them
helpless and hating men. Their eyes bore
the unmistakeable stamp of horror
that stripped me of all humanity.
Knowing this, I resolved to become
the nightmare they had expected of me,
for I was nothing else.
So, the Danes longed for a great hero,
these strong men that slew dragons and claimed
virgins in the name of greed. These were rootless trees
that pretended to a greater cause.
And Mother would give me no answers
of heroes, or of demons. Thus, stealthy,
I waded through the rustling rushes of the
great hall, the house of death that I had
ordained so. It was empty as a tomb,
and my hunger was savage. Then I tore
into the dark – and found myself locked in handgrip from which I couldn't escape;
a death-defying, jaw-breaking brace! The moon-light creaked,
it fell onto a face with eyes of grey.
He was unarmed and calm as the great
whale-road, open and forgiving.
I did not understand; was I not a demon,
cursed by the mark of Cain, feared
and damned by all the world?
Was he not a hero ready to vanquish me
with some great ancestral sword?
Yet here he was, unafraid.
He was Beowulf, and he spoke my name.
Then a great fear came to me and I
tried to escape; couldn't. We were like
two brothers locked in one titanic struggle.
The more I pulled, the stronger he gripped;
he wanted to bring me to a better place. But
in that implacable moment I wrenched off my arm,
my last shreds of humanity, my last doomed love
for a foolish mother. I sped away,
him watching me with whale-road eyes.
Thus we are brought to the end of my story.
They say that I have died that night, that
Mother was to avenge my death in a fight
against heroic Beowulf; but that is yet
another tale to tell – after all, I was born
of her loneliness and not her flesh,
so her wrath was less anger and more despair.
But what is the ultimate difference between
my living and my dying? Time erodes my name,
disfigures my face, yet I continue on.
My name is Grendel, and this is my tale.
I think this is supposed to go on Fanfiction or something but I hope I can be forgiven. This is Grendel's perspective on the Beowulf tale... In the original tale, Grendel was an evil monster that haunted King Hrothgar's mead-hall and slaughtered all his men. Beowulf was a guest of the King who volunteered to kill Grendel. One night, Beowulf and Grendel met face-to-face in combat, but Beowulf ended up ripping off Grendel's arm. Grendel later died. When his mother found out, she took revenge on the King's men. Then Beowulf had to kill her, too. The rest is etc. Sorry for the lengthy summary... but here is my ballad, with a little twist to it...