Stories of Beowulf Told to the Children - H. E. Marshall
This volume retells the famous Anglo-Saxon saga in the manner of a folktale, with the heroic qualities emphasized. It relates how Beowulf, the hero of the Saxons, came to Daneland and how he overcame the ogre Grendel and the water witch. It closes with the story of how the fire dragon warred with the Goth folk and how Beowulf fought his last fight.
THE WARRIORS FARED ON OVER THE BLUE SEA.
"Beowulf is known to every one." Some months ago I read these words, and doubted if they were true. Then the thought came to me that I would help to make them true, for Beowulf is a fine story finely told, and it is a pity that there should be any who do not know it. So here it is "told to the children."
Besides being a fine story, Beowulf is of great interest because it is our earliest epic, that is, the oldest poem in the Anglo-Saxon language which tells of noble deeds in noble words.
In the British Museum there is a little book, worn and brown with age, spoiled by fire and water. Yet it is not so brown and old, it is not so spoiled but that it may still be read by those who know Anglo-Saxon. This book is a thousand years old, and in its worn brown pages it holds the story of Beowulf.
There is something strange and wonderful in the thought that the story which pleased our forefathers a thousand years ago should please us still to-day. But what is more wonderful is that it should be told in such beautiful words that they thrill us with delight and make us feel as if those old days were fresh and living. In the telling of the story I have tried to keep something of that old-time spirit, and when, later, you come to read the tale in bigger and better books, I hope that you will say that I did not quite fail.