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Beowulf and his warriors get ready to leave the Danes. Beowulf formally thanks Hrothgar for being so generous and hospitable to the Geats and offers to perform any last favors Hrothgar might need. Beowulf also pledges his own and King Hygelac's continuing loyalty to King Hrothgar.
Hrothgar praises Beowulf once again, and suggests that, if his own sons are killed and his line dies out, Beowulf could come and defend the Danes again and become their ruler. Hrothgar also confirms the "shared peace and a pact of friendship" that exist between the Geats and Danes.
Hrothgar gives Beowulf a set of twelve treasures and kisses him goodbye, breaking down into tears because he suspects he won't live to see Beowulf again. (If you're as mighty a king and warrior as Hrothgar, it's okay to cry, because everyone is too afraid to laugh at you.)
The Geats finally leave Denmark and go back to the coast where their boat is waiting. The Danish lookout salutes them from the top of a cliff. The Geats load up their boat with all the treasures and riches they've been given and set off for home.
The boat arrives safely at the shores of Geatland (modern-day Sweden). The Geatish lookout helps them anchor their boat and arranges for all their treasures to be carried ashore.
The Geats make their way to King Hygelac's hall, where they are received by the gracious Queen Hygd.
The poet contrasts Queen Hygd with an evil queen, Queen Modthryth. Queen Modthryth was very beautiful but disliked attention, and so if anyone except her lord looked directly at her, she would have him imprisoned, tortured, and killed. After she married Offa, however, she became mellower and was famous for her good works.
Beowulf and his men are received by King Hygelac, who is in his hall dispensing treasures to his lords and followers. Hygelac greets them and they sit down to drink and talk.
King Hygelac asks about everything that happened while Beowulf was in Hrothgar's land. Beowulf retells the story so far from the beginning, describing the way he defeated Grendel and Grendel's mother. He also describes Hrothgar's generosity and the kindness of his daughter Freawaru.
Beowulf explains that Freawaru is engaged to Ingeld, the leader of the Heathobards. Hrothgar hopes that this marriage will end an old blood-feud between the Heathobards and the Danes, but Beowulf is worried that it will just provoke the Heathobards to start the feud all over again.
Whoops! Beowulf realizes he's digressing and goes back to his story about Grendel. He describes Grendel's first attack and the way that the demon ate one of the Geatish warriors.