The warriors fared on over the blue sea
ABOUT THIS BOOK
"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.