As Beowulf and the Gaetish Earls rest comfortably in the great hall of Heorot, the Lady Wealhtheow shares with the men a savory dessert that has the power to resist the magic of Grendel in their coming fight. As the castle is limited in supply, she grants the sweet treat to only the men of Geatland who have come to defeat the terrible foe. After incidents in years past with the man-eating menace, the crown hired a mage to craft various concoctions that could be used to counteract the spells of Grendel. Before retiring to her chambers the Queen shows the men to the bar, and among the shelves of various bottles of wine and mead there lies a small pine chest in the middle of the long collection. She hands Beowulf the key and tells him that the labeled powders and potions are extracts from plants of the new world and that their effects are to be treasured. “Should you use these potions, you must exercise immense caution,” says the Queen. Beowulf thanks the Lady for her hospitality, but insists that the men are all but incapacitated by the heaping generosity and warmth that House of Hrothgar has already provided. The men retire to their couches.
As soon as the Queen is out of sight, the snickering rascals return to the bar to peruse the various drinks and the ominous pine box… “I shall try this powdery substance of the Coca plant!” exclaims Aalgoth. “And I shall try this liquid by the name of Bufotenine!”, exclaims Honscio. “I want the vial of ayahuasca!”, says Wiglaf. Beowulf approaches the box and sees a few harmless sweets resting on the top shelf, and figures that these sweet squares would be his indulgence for the evening. Beowulf remembers the scolding look the Queen gave Hrothgar for picking up a brownie at the feast and figured that amid the celebrations, the King hid these dark delicacies from her for devouring at a later time. Beowulf eats one brownie, then steals another and hides it outside so he can retrieve it before their early morning departure.
Aalgoth begins to vigorously scratch a map into a leather hide. Detailing their location, the last known sighting of Grendel, and the reported locations of other monsters and creatures in the land. “By the Gods, Beowulf! I swear that the beast is close! Look here, see!” says Aalgoth. Beowulf scans the map, but assures Aalgoth that the beast would not dare attack a hall full of warriors. Wiglaf begins to regurgitate his roasted meats while Beowulf begins to float away in glazed-eyed thought as to how else they could amicably resolve this conflict with Grendel. Hours pass and Beowulf notes that Wiglaf is now staring intently at the door. “What do you see, friend?” says Beowulf. Without breaking gaze on the large wooden doors, Wiglaf quietly whispers to Beowulf, “He is here… peacefully”.
As Beowulf’s heart drops, he places his hand on the hilt of his sword and stares into the fog as it condenses into the shape of a creature. Beowulf draws sword, and slowly, places it on a table. “Grendel! How might we find resolution to our strife without bloodshed?” From the fog emerges the plate which once held Beowulf’s hidden breakfast brownie. Grendel slides the plate across the hall to where Beowulf catches it with his boot. “If it is this shared sweet which paralyzes our penchant for violence, then it is this sweet which you shall receive. Begone now and expect the House of Hrothgar to forever deliver you this token of peace for as long as you cease to feast on man.”
Honscio dies peacefully in his sleep later that night. The next morning the town praises Beowulf and the men for facilitating peace with the monster. This is the REAL story of how Beowulf stopped Grendel. The End.
Author’s Note: This is a spinoff of the “Grendel Attacks” passage from the Beowulf unit in the UnTextbook. This spinoff is about how Beowulf and Grendel inadvertently share a magical dark brownie that turns them both into pacifists. Although Grendel doesn’t speak, his shadowy figure desires more brownies and Beowulf strikes a deal. In the original story Honscio is eaten alive by Grendel, but in this story Honscio ingests Bufotenine(toad poison) and dies in his sleep. I was also inspired by the show The Blacklist which I mentioned in my Intro post, as the main character Raymond Reddington prefers to use his words before turning to violence.