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Beowulf Timeline and Summary
Beowulf, along with a group of Geatish warriors, sails across the sea to the land of the Danes to fight the demon Grendel. Beowulf is graciously received by King Hrothgar and Queen Wealhtheow, who gratefully accept his offer of help. When Grendel attacks Heorot Hall, Beowulf meets him in hand-to-hand combat. Beowulf tears Grendel's arm from his socket, mortally wounding the monster. Beowulf is thanked by King Hrothgar, who bestows rich gifts on him and hosts a feast in his honor. Beowulf goes to sleep after the feast, but in his absence Heorot is attacked again by Grendel's mother. He tracks Grendel's mother to her lair in a cave under a lake and kills her with a sword he finds there. Beowulf returns to the surface with Grendel's head and the hilt of the sword that killed Grendel's mother. Beowulf receives additional gifts and thanks from King Hrothgar. He and his followers return to Geatland. Beowulf presents the gifts he has received from Hrothgar to Hygelac. After Hygelac and his kinsmen are killed in battle, Beowulf becomes the king of the Geats and reigns for fifty years. When he hears about a marauding dragon, Beowulf suspects that he will die fighting it. Beowulf tracks the dragon to its lair and fights it with the help of his follower, Wiglaf. Beowulf kills the dragon, but receives a mortal wound in the fight. He asks Wiglaf to bring some of the dragon's treasure to the surface to show him before he dies. Having gazed on the treasure and given his golden necklace to Wiglaf, Beowulf dies. Beowulf's body is burned on a funeral pyre by his people and a barrow is built on the site to honor him.