From Ancient Shock ~ Monsters, Philosophers & Saviors ~ How Neanderthals Became Sapiens
Beowulf, Grendel, and the Dragons
An illustration of Grendel by J. R. Skelton from Stories of Beowulf. Grendel is described as “Very terrible to look upon.”
In the ancient British Isles, there are tales in both England and Ireland that have stories that indicate the presence of hybrid creatures. The Irish Wildman, Cu-Chulainn the Hound, is a good example, with his dark, matted hair, and extreme battle frenzy, and is sometimes described as a ‘unrecognizable monster.’
As I was writing on hybrid ancestors (which we all have), my research led me to a related story, about a modern journalist, James Follows, who was writing about the DNA of Neanderthals, and was informed by a genetic scientist that the writer himself had a whopping 5% Neanderthal DNA, a rather large anomaly. The journalist’s story follows below, excerpted from his own article posted in TheAtlantic.com, where the DNA specialist is informing the journalist:
“You do have an abnormally high percentage Neanderthal component, and I wonder if that’s connected to the unusual genetics of your mother. I see contact with Neanderthals as having been ephemeral and primarily a result of rape by Neanderthal males of AMH (anatomically modern human) women and that the locus of that interaction happened halfway up the Red Sea coast on the eastern shore. Your mother’s DNA may be showing the most ancient European line still extant, isolated as it was in Scotland.”
James Follows then made a remarkable observation about himself, about which this author, Colin Wilson, and Stan Gooch would certainly agree:
“At 5% Neanderthal, you are an outlier, and perhaps it’s time to reconsider Beowulf’s Grendel and the implications of that story on our genetics. It makes no sense for a cold adapted animal, like Neanderthals, to be naked. I think they were heavily furred, and the stories of yetis, sasquatch, snowmen, and Grendel (and Gilgamesh’s Huwawa also), are ancient memories, passed on in the oral tradition, of a time when we shared the earth with furry hominids.
My thought has been that we only interbred with Neanderthals (or more accurately, Neanderthal-AMH hybrids) only once, soon after the exodus from Africa, when the aboriginal population was very small so that Neanderthal genes could be spread among all descendants. There was an AMH population living with Neanderthals in the Levant as early as 90,000 years ago, who are not ancestral to us, but who could have spread Neanderthal genes to us.”
James Follows is likely correct about Grendel the Monster in the legend of Beowulf. There are several noteworthy clues that indicate we can treat the story as part-fiction, with hints of evidence for our hybrid-hominid hypothesis.
A thousand years ago, when anonymous Viking authors were compiling spiritual secrets into their mysterious Poetic Edda (See New Muse Book: The Vikings Secret Yoga – The Supreme Adventure), anonymous Anglo-Saxon poets were assembling one of the greatest pieces of Old English literature: The Legend of Beowulf.
The curious myth is set in Scandinavia, where Beowulf is an extremely strong hero of the tribal Geats, who are likely related to the strong, red-haired Getae folk mentioned earlier, as a likely hybrid-hominid group, with perhaps 8–15% Neanderthal DNA. The long meandering plot, which is engulfed with poetic aggrandizement and symbolism, also contains a hidden encryption. Beowulf, while likely a strong Prince, is exaggerated to have the ‘strength of thirty men.’ The poetic legend is peppered with such exaggerations, yet there are many interesting hybrid-hominid clues in this tale, as seen below in the English translation by Strafford Riggs, in 1933.
The Story of Beowulf
ONCE upon a time, in the far north of what is now called Europe, there was a kingdom known as Geatsland, and its ruler was named Hygelac. It was a harsh country, with high mountains and narrow valleys, and it had a long seacoast with many harbors and inlets, and the men who lived there were famous for their bravery, on both sea and land.
Like their neighbors the Danes and the Frisians, the Geats were warlike, and for the greater part of every year Hygelac and his warriors were engaged in fierce battles with various tribes, who would enter the territory of the Geats, to steal cattle and lay waste the fields of grain, and burn the farms of his retainers. There were other foes, too, to be dealt with. The great caves along the coast were inhabited by all manner of evil monsters that lived partly in the sea and partly upon the land, huge serpents with scales of brass, that patrolled the coast and devoured fishermen when they could be taken by surprise at their nets.
In Geatsland were vast forests where loathsome beasts made their homes in the hollow trunks of dead trees and prowled only by night, feeding upon sleeping pigs and young rabbits and other innocent animals. It was not safe to travel in those woods after dark, and the wandering minstrels who went from place to place in the countryside were careful not to be caught in their ghostly depths.
But for the most part the sea-monsters and the forest terrors kept to their own lairs and seldom invaded the more populous districts. Only when an incautious farmer or fisherman had been foully killed by one of them did the lords of Geatsland wage war upon the strange inhabitants of the coastal caves and the forest fastnesses.
Now, for many years Hygelac ruled over his people with a stern but kind hand. Beside him was his queen, named Hygd, and called the Wise and Fair. About the king and queen were gathered the finest lords of the land. All were valiant warriors whose courage had been tried in many battles. They were tall like the trees of their forests, and broad like the stout beams of their boats, and each man had the strength of ten. They were yellow of hair; their eyes were deep-set and burned blue like the sea; on their arms and around their necks were great circlets of beaten gold; and upon their heads they wore helmets decorated with the horns of bulls or the black wings of ravens. When they gathered in the great drinking-hall of the King, the minstrels would come among them after they had eaten; and with horns of ale passing from hand to hand, these lords of Geatsland would listen to songs of other lands and to news of the world which lay beyond their own frontiers. They heard the stirring story of Sigmund (Sigurd), that great hero; and learned how this king was warring with a terrible dragon that had destroyed a whole army of brave fighters.”
Moving forward into the lengthy saga, we find that Prince Beowulf and fourteen of his best fighters travel by sea, and come to the aid of Hrothgar, the King of the Danes, whose kingdom has come under attack by a monster known as Grendel. For twelve years, the hideous Grendel has systematically killed, and eaten, most of the young men in Hrothgar’s kingdom. The very use of the description ‘monster’ may itself reflect upon a man-creature, or ‘man-ster,’ a hybrid man-beast. It’s important to note that Grendel the Beast-Man was considered as being descended from the biblical Cain, whom we also depict in subsequent chapters as being a hybrid-hominid creature; believe it or not, as Mr. Ripley said. It’s beginning to look like the myth-shrouded connection is true, and that we have been chaining together a long saga of monsters, philosophers, and saviors all the while. Monsters predate written history, and the academic study of the particular cultural notions expressed in a society’s ideas of monsters is known as ‘monstrophy,’ or the study of monstrosities—yet this study has not yielded the pattern that is observed here in this book.
Biblical and Jewish history provide evidence that Grendel’s descent from Cain is just a small part of the descendants of the monsters and giants known as the Cain Tradition, although the curious list of creatures is too long to discuss here. This Jewish ‘tradition,’ is likely another confirmation of Stan Gooch’s observations that hybrid-hominids, especially if they had a higher level of Neanderthal DNA, were often called trolls, giants, ogres, monsters, etc.
Grendel is also referred to as a ‘sceadugenga’ — a shadow walker, or night prowler. The monster was repeatedly described to be in the shroud of darkness, likely because he, like his mother, was hideous to look at, and normally stayed beyond the human village and its fences. Gooch considered that Neanderthals and their hybrid descendants were likely moon-loving, nocturnal creatures, such as Grendel’s family, whereas Cro-Magnons, as early humans, moved about more freely during the day, under the rays of the sun.
Author-poet Seamus Heaney, in his translation of Beowulf, writes in lines 1351–1355 that Grendel is vaguely human in shape, though much larger:
… the other, warped
in the shape of a man, moves beyond the pale
bigger than any man, an unnatural birth
called Grendel by the country people
in former days.
Having an unnatural birth and being bigger and stronger than humans fits the pattern of our Neon hybrid-hominid understanding.
There are several (5) disputed references in the Legend of Beowulf that seem to refer to both Beowulf and Grendel as a ‘āglǣca,’ a word which can be interpreted as, strangely, either monster or hero and means ‘strong, hard fighter.’ Beowulf, whose name may be interpreted as ‘bear-wolf,’ is thus also indicated as a partial hybrid. As part of the northern Geats tribe, he may be possibly related to the strong, red-haired southern Thracian tribe of the Getae, which we previously observed. Thus, both Beowulf and Grendel may be implicated as having moderate to larger amounts of Neanderthal DNA than today’s human. They are both āglǣca; tough warriors; Hero and Monster, as different forms of hybrid-hominid DNA expression.
In the British saga, like the biblical Cain before him, who attacked and killed Abel because he was overcome with joy at being chosen by the Lord, Grendel viciously attacks the King of the Danes and his men because they are engaged in a joyous pastime in their mead hall, singing and making merry. The loud sound of joy is too much for the unfortunate, maddened, creature.
Almost, but not quite human because of ancient crossbreed matings, Cain and Grendel, postulated as real creatures in ancient, misty history, may have terribly resented their awkward position beyond the outer fences of human society, and so resorted to violence, in their pained, deformed condition. Grendel both killed and devoured his foes, as an early implication of cannibalism in the small, hidden, hybrid-hominid colonies of history. Thus, the legend of Beowulf and Grendel can be seen as an intense, early form of social inequality, in an extremely raw form, based upon differences in DNA, and not necessarily skin color. This social imbalance and ostracization, is also likely in several other, if not all, of our hybrid creatures, as a primitive aspect of Colin Wilson’s Outsider theme.
Paleo-anthropologists today, in evaluating Neanderthal fossilized teeth, recognize that a wide variety of diets existed—there were vegetarians, animal meat-eaters, omnivores, and likely a portion of them were cannibals; all four patterns are also seen in the history of Homo sapiens.
The Tales from The Wanderer
The unknown author of the Legend of Beowulf introduces the unfolding plot via a character known as ‘The Wanderer,’ who sings songs and wondrous tales, and then explains the dire plight of the Danes, terrorized by Grendel, the Monster. The Story of Beowulf continues;
“My brothers,” spoke the king, “there is among us this night one who has come a long way over the sea and the land. He brings, he says, a wondrous song for you to hear. It is long since we have had word from the North, and this man’s harp is a sweet one. Sing to us, Wanderer, that we may have your news and your entertainment.”
Then the minstrel came forward with his harp. He was a tall rugged man, with a beard streaked with gray. He had the air of one who had traveled long distances, and his blue eyes were wide and fixed like one used to watching the horizon of the wide world.
Around him was wrapped a cloak of deep blue, held together by a curious clasp of gold. Beowulf, noting the clasp, thought it resembled a coiled snake, for there were two green stones set in it which glittered. This man, Beowulf thought, has been in far-away places. He will chant us a good song.
Then the Wanderer (for so he was called) sat down upon a wooden stool, threw back the cloak from about his arms, and with long thin fingers struck the resounding strings of his harp. He sang in a sharp voice that was like the crying of birds on the gray sea, but there was a sweetness in it at the same time which held his hearers, and the lords of Geatsland leaned forward on their benches in eagerness to catch every word.
He sang of the vast and frozen North, where winter lay upon the land for many, many months, and men fought in the gloomy light of the night-burning sun.
He sang of endless forests stretching black and forbidding in a sea of snow; of mountains higher and bleaker than the highest mountains of Geatsland; of the strange and fearful demons that inhabited this ghostly region. He sang of dragons that had no blood in them, but which, when they fought in bitter combat among themselves, oozed a white liquid so cold that even the fir trees withered where it fell.
He sang of the limitless gray sea and the green-white icebergs floating treacherously, and of the sirens who lived in caves upon them, and whose bodies were clothed in blue fish scales and whose hair was swaying seaweed. He sang of the monsters of the deep, strange wormlike creatures with brazen heads and tails like the tails of serpents.
Then the tune of the Wanderer changed. His voice fell to a lower note, and he sang of Hrothgar who was King of the Danes, that country not far from Geatsland, across the water.
He told a sad story of desolation and despair in Hrothgar’s land, because of a beast which had struck mortal fear into the hearts of the lords of Daneland. For on one cruel night, twelve years before, there had come to Heorot—which was the great drinking-hall of Hrothgar—a monster, part animal, part man, part bird. The lords of Daneland were sleeping soundly in Heorot, and the monster, who was called Grendel, had forced open the solid doors of the king’s hall and carried away in their sleep thirty of the greatest earls of the Danes.
There had been lamentation throughout the land, and many were the attempts to slay Grendel, but none had succeeded. And Hrothgar and his councilors no longer dared to sleep in Heorot, since for twelve long years Grendel repeatedly visited the king’s hall and wrought destruction there. Yet Heorot had been well built by Hrothgar and for twelve years it had withstood the monster’s onslaught, but in those twelve long years the valiant young warriors of the king had not withstood so well the nightly visitations, and now the land was despoiled of its youthful strength, and there remained to the king only those fighters whose early vigor had long since passed, and Daneland had become a country of old men and defenseless women.
The Wanderer sang of the fear that was in the Heart of Hrothgar the King and in the hearts of all his vassals and retainers, of the sorrowing of the women who were the wives or mothers or sisters of the slain warriors. He told of Unferth, who was Hrothgar’s beloved companion, and how Unferth had not once offered to meet Grendel in combat, because the fear in his breast was greater than his love for his master. And at this a scornful murmur ran through the company that listened, and the lords of Geatsland condemned Unferth for a black coward.
Now, all the while that the Wanderer was singing, Beowulf sat as one bewitched. Those about him paid no heed to his rapid breathing, and failed to notice the light that had sprung into his blue eyes.
He leaned forward upon the table, his arms folded under his still beardless chin, his eyes fixed upon the minstrel. Now and again he lifted his head and shook out the fair hair that hung beneath the golden band encircling his wide white forehead. The huge bracelets that weighted his wrists gleamed like his eyes, and the jeweled collar about his throat was tight because of the swelling veins of his neck. The thoughts that ran through his head were confused, but one idea held sway over all others. He would seek out this monster Grendel and slay him—yes! Slay him with bare hands, these very hands that gripped each other now upon the table until they showed white beneath the pressure of the fingers. His muscles under the armlets of beaten gold rippled like water ruffled by a breeze. He saw himself face to face with the monster Grendel, and suddenly a wild cry broke from his lips and he leaped from his seat. “Lords of Geatsland and Earls of Hygelac,” he shouted, as the minstrel finished the song, “I am the son of Ecgtheow and of Hygelac’s sister, and in olden times this Hrothgar was a war-brother of my father. Therefore, I claim kinship to him, and I will go to the land of the Danes and serve their king. I will slay this Grendel!”
The scene ends with the Geats mead hall erupting into chaos; everyone is shocked at the young upstart’s bravado. The King commends Beowulf, again stating that his nephew has the strength of thirty men, but also, that if he doesn’t kill Grendel, he must never return to the land of the Geats, and so the medieval stage is set for a huge do-or-die monstrous conflict.
The First and Second Battles:
In the Legend of Beowulf, the Getae hero has three primary battles, all of which are extremely revealing to our hybrid creature theory, as each battle of Beowulf’s is against a crossbred human. After traveling to the land of the Danes by sea, accompanied by fourteen of his best earls, Prince Beowulf is greeted by a Guardian of the Beach.
The Story of Beowulf continues:
“Welcome, O Beowulf, to these sad shores,” the Guardian cried. “Our king will better receive you than it is in my poor power to do. Leave your ship in my care. I will see that no harm comes to it. But I dread beholding such a fine company of young men coming on this fell business. For the fiend Grendel, who has robbed Hrothgar of his rightful estate, and destroyed so many proud young warriors of our kingdom, is terrible beyond words to describe.” But Beowulf cut his discourse short and begged the Guardian of the Beach to direct them to the hall of Hrothgar, that they might make themselves known to the king, and rest themselves after their long, tiring day at sea. Then the old man took them a little way into the forest, and pointed out a path to follow, and bade them farewell. And Beowulf and his earls set out at last upon their great adventure in the land of the Danes.”
The Geatan group of warriors treks for hours through swampland and finally arrive at Heorot, the Dane King’s great mead hall, where Grendel has often been known to attack. The Geatans are met cordially by an aged King Hrothgar, and a group of elderly, white-haired, warriors, in full battle armor. Beowulf quickly assesses the situation; all of the young men are dead—eaten by Grendel. After their long journey, the Geatan warriors rested, and then a great banquet was held in Heorot, for the first time in twelve years, since the monster Grendel had begun his terror.
The Story of Beowulf continues:
“The tables were spread with viands such as warriors crave and there was much mead in great cups. The drinking-horns were passed from hand to hand, and many healths were drunk that evening to Beowulf and his earls, and many cups were raised to the destruction of Grendel. Beowulf sat in the place of honor at Hrothgar’s feet. He was clothed in scarlet and gold, with gold bracelets upon his mighty arms, a golden wire necklet of his king’s giving about his throat. To his right sat Aescher, the close companion and trusted counselor of Hrothgar. He wore a blue mantle over his broad shoulders and costly jewels glinted on his breast.
On Beowulf’s left was Unferth, the king’s favorite, of whom the Wanderer had sung in no uncertain terms concerning his lack of bravery. He was lean and black of hair, with a black divided beard, and he was dressed from head to foot in black and silver.
Aescher leaned toward Beowulf and engaged him in deep converse, enjoying his company, and praising him for his valor. But Unferth, the black son of Ecglaf, sat moody in his place, scarcely touching the meats before him, and drinking only lightly of the mead as it was passed to him.
A gloom hung over the vast hall, and only the noble lords of Geatsland were gay in that sad company. They talked a great deal, and praised everything about them, especially the hall of Heorot with its gold-bright roof, a hall larger and more magnificent than anything they had ever seen before.
Then they fell to boasting of their leader Beowulf and spoke pridefully of his strength and virtue. In this they were upheld by Aescher, who had heard of Beowulf’s feats of strength. And while they talked and toasted one another in the bright ale, Unferth the Black lapsed more and more into sullen silence, and offered no word of praise to Beowulf, and never once lifted his beaker to the lord of Geatsland.
Beowulf noticed this presently, and turning to Unferth said, “You are very silent, O valiant son of Ecglaf. Come, let us hear your deeds of valor, that we may in turn praise you. Speak, friend Unferth, that I may drink from your cup with you.”
Then Unferth, the son of Ecglaf, rose in his place, and his look was blacker than the night which hung over the land of the Danes. The torches flaming against the walls flickered on his cheeks, which were paler than the cheeks of a dead man.
“Beowulf!” he cried, and there was scornful anger in his tones, “Beowulf! Look you, my noble earls of Daneland, at this stripling who comes so proudly among us, saying that he will deliver us from Grendel’s toils and spells!
“Who is this boy, beardless and white of skin, that he should come over the sea-fields in a boat with his fourteen thanes? Where are his vaunted courage and strength, I ask?”
The disruptive scene ends with Beowulf and Unferth exchanging stinging insults; the Danish King steps in to make peace in the mead hall, and a final toast to the fifteen Geatan heroes is made. Then the King and his entourage quickly leave Heorot, and the young warriors are left to their own wares, bedding down in the dark night, waiting uneasily for Grendel to arrive, as the Story of Beowulf moves forward, towards the first battle:
“THE fires were burnt out on the hearths when the last of Hrothgar’s train had departed. Then Beowulf and his companions set themselves to fastening tightly the door of the hall. They secured it with wooden bolts and tied it with leathern thongs, and so strong was it that no mortal could have passed through. Then the warriors of Geatsland unfolded their cloaks upon the benches and laid themselves down to slumber, and Beowulf stretched his great length upon the dais of the king and resolved that through the long night he would never once close his eyes. Near the door lay the young Hondscio, Beowulf’s favorite earl, who swore that if any one broke through the door of Heorot he would be the first to give the intruder battle. Silence crept over the shrouded forms where they lay upon the floor and benches, and there was no sound save their steady breathing and the faint sighing of the night-wind in the trees about the hall. Beowulf, upon his couch, lay still as death, but his eyes moved here and there in the deepening gloom of the hall, and his breast rose and fell evenly with his breathing. Outside, a fog was creeping up from the sea, obscuring the moon in milky eclipse, and at last there was not even the sound of the wind in the trees. To Beowulf the deep silence seemed full of moving things invisible to human eyes. Gradually there came over him a kind of drowsiness that he fought to ward off. His eyelids fluttered against his eyes, and then he swooned with a sleep that lay upon his weary limbs like a heavy garment. And the fog thickened and wound itself about the vast mead-hall in thick veils of damp gloom. The moon faded in the fog’s depth, and the trees dripped with moisture, and the sound of this dripping was the only sound that came through the night. But suddenly there was a rustling among the wet trees, and a noise like the deep grunt of a pig, but soft and low, startled the fog-bound night, and the drops of mist-water on the trees fell sharply to the ground like heavy rain. Then the fog parted evenly, and in the wide path it made through the night a Shadow loomed gigantic in all that was left of moonlight.
Slowly, slowly it neared the great hall of Heorot, and the night shuddered at its coming, and behind it, as it moved, the fog closed again with a sucking sound. And the Shadow stood before the great door of the hall, and swayed hideously in the ghastly light. Within Heorot there was a deep stillness, and Beowulf and the Geatish earls slept soundly, with no knowledge of what stood so evilly beyond the door. For the monstrous Shadow was the fiend Grendel and standing there in the fog-strewn night he placed a spell upon those who slept in Heorot, and the spell he wove was a spell to make sleep more soundly those who already slept. But Beowulf hung between sleeping and waking, and while the spell did not completely deaden his senses, it so ensnared his waking dream that he fought desperately against it in his half-sleep and was not quite overpowered. This Grendel did not know as he placed his great shoulder to the door of Heorot, while Beowulf on his couch tossed in the nightmare that possessed him. Little by little the thongs that secured the door gave way, and the huge wooden bolts yielded under the pressure that was strained against them, but no sound broke upon the silent struggle that went on between Grendel and the door. Beowulf tossed and turned in waking, but the other earls of Geatsland fell deeper and deeper into the swooning sleep.
Then with a rush, the door flew wide, and the fog and salt-smelling night swept in and filled Heorot with strange odors. And in the doorway, swaying this way and that, stood Grendel, huge and dark against the dark night, the fog weaving about him in white veils, and the door of the hall limp on its hinges.
And Beowulf came out of his dream-spell and saw what stood so vast and evil in the doorway. But his eyes were heavy with the spell that clung to him as the wisps of fog clung about the body of Grendel, and only slowly was he able to distinguish the monster. Through his nightmare, now, there came the sense of what had befallen him, and he strove to cast the last remnant of the magic from him as he saw the great form of Grendel swoop down upon the innocent form of young Hondscio, catch him up in enormous hands, and tear him limb from sleeping limb. And Beowulf struggled, and on the earthen floor of Heorot Grendel swayed with his prey. And now at last Beowulf saw what manner of thing this Grendel was. His legs were like the trunks of trees and they were covered with a kind of gray dry scale that made a noise like paper as the fiend moved this way and that. The body of the beast was shaped like that of a man, but such a man as no mortal eyes had ever before beheld, and the size and shape of it were something to be marveled at.
The head was the head neither of beast or man, yet had something of the features of both, and the great jaw was filled with blunt fangs that ground the bones of the unhappy Hondscio to pulp. Shaggy matted hair hung over the low forehead, and the eyes in the face of Grendel were the color of milk. Horror-struck upon his couch, Beowulf felt his limbs in thrall and could move neither leg nor arm to raise himself as Grendel devoured the body of the young Hondscio. And when Grendel had finished his horrid meal, the beast straightened a little his vast form and looked now to the left, now to the right, until his gaze fell upon the length of Beowulf. Then the milk-white eyes burned with a dull light that was like the light of the moon, and slowly, slowly Grendel moved toward the dais. But Beowulf, stung with loathing, leaped from his bed. Silently they fought in the fog-strewn hall of Heorot. Silently their bodies twisted and bent, this way and that, and Beowulf kept Grendel’s huge hands with their long claws of sharp bone from him, and Grendel in turn sought to tear apart the quick body that slipped so easily through his arms and legs.
All about them lay the sleeping earls, and not one moved in the deep magic of his slumber as the two fought that silent fight. Their bodies wove in and out among the sleepers, and Beowulf felt the hot reek of Grendel’s breath upon his cheek, and the sweat stood out on Beowulf’s broad brow and ran down into his eyes and blinded him. And Grendel’s huge hands sought over and over again to clasp his opponent’s head, to crush it in their iron grip. Then the fight became a deadly struggle in one far corner of the hall, and neither one gained any advantage over the other. Then Beowulf slipped. On the earthen floor of Heorot they fell together, and the force of their fall made the earth tremble, as when two giants fight in mortal combat. But Grendel’s hold lessened, and fear smote the heart of the fiend. He strove only to free himself from Beowulf’s grasp and flee into the night, away from this white youth whose strength was the strength of thirty men. And now Beowulf had the upper hand, and flew at the giant’s throat. But here his hands clutched at thick scales upon which he could get no grip. Grendel nearly took the advantage, but before he could seize Beowulf, the lord of Geatsland had fastened both mighty hands upon the monster’s arm, and with a sudden twist that forced a groan of agony from Grendel’s lips, leaped behind him, forcing the imprisoned arm high up Grendel’s back, and the beast fell prone on the floor. Now came the final struggle, and sweat poured from Beowulf, while from Grendel there oozed a slimy sap that smelled like vinegar, and sickened Beowulf. But he clung to the monster’s arm, and slowly, slowly he felt its great muscles and sinews give way, and as his foot found Grendel’s neck, he prayed to all the gods for help, and called upon his father, ‘Ecgtheow’ for strength to sustain him in this desperate effort. And the mighty arm of Grendel gave way in the terrible hands of Beowulf, and, with a piercing shriek that shook the gilded rafters of Heorot, Grendel stumbled forward, leaving in Beowulf’s hands the gory arm. At that very moment the spell that lay upon the sleeping warriors of Geatsland was broken, and the thirteen remaining earls struggled, as Beowulf had lately struggled, with the nightmare that was in their eyes, and swam out of sleep into waking. Beowulf fell back upon the dais, the bleeding arm of Grendel in his hands. And Grendel, with a prolonged and ghastly wail, his blunt fangs gnashing together in dumb fury, stumbled toward the door, and before Beowulf could recover, the fiend was away into the fog which swallowed him as surely and completely as though he had plunged into the everlasting sea. And Beowulf, his magic-dazed companions crowding and babbling behind him in the doorway of Heorot, looked out into the fog-wet night, and the only sound that came to their dulled ears was the steady drip, drip, drip of the mist from the black trees.”
The scene of the gory first battle ends with the Geat warriors hoisting Grendel’s great, hairy arm from the branches of the Hall’s great tree, hanging it for all to see; the monster had been defeated. The Danish people arrive, along with the King and Queen, and are delirious with joy, but happiness is short-lived. The Mother of Grendel, enraged at the grave mauling of her son, launches her own lethal attack upon the Danes, killing and eating Aescher, one of the King’s favorite earls, who had recently befriended Beowulf at the Mead Hall.
Beowulf sets out once again to kill a monster; he and his companions track the hideous Mother of Grendel to a large lake, where, in the embellished story line, Beowulf goes below the deep lake to do battle with the female demon, where she has a cave, complete with a fire-burning hearth. Is it possible, in an ancient and dim, misty reality, that a hybrid creature once lived behind a waterfall of such a lake, in a small cave recess, completely hidden from human view, where no one ever went, and the legend of a demon living below the deep lake was simply a bit of sprouted folklore, along with her Medusa-like hair of snakes?
Once deep below the lake (or under the waterfall) Beowulf is ambushed by Grendel’s mother, as the Story of Beowulf proceeds to describe the hero’s great second battle:
“Her great claw-fingers sank into his flesh, his skin crept with the sickening touch of her, and they struggled there at the bottom of the world, in a cave under the water, and the great heart of Beowulf smothered him in his breast with a fear that was like nothing he had ever felt. Sweat poured from him, his legs melted under him like wax, there was a spell upon him that drained him of all strength.
He managed to draw his sword, Hrunting, but so protected by magic was that mother of Grendel that try as he would Hrunting would not pierce her body and at last clattered to the floor from his numb hand. The fiend twisted this way and that, and with each twist the horrible hands reached nearer and nearer to his throat, and he grew weaker and weaker, and shorter and faster came his stifled breath. He managed to lock his leg round one of the monster’s, and then with all his fast-fleeing strength he seized the hag and threw her. But in falling she fell upon him, and now the loathsome, grinning jaws were close above his face, and the sharp claws found his throat. But for a moment, the smallest moment in the world, she relaxed her hold, so sure was she of her prey, and in that little moment the magic was lifted, and Beowulf with a great cry hurled her from him. Once more on his feet, he staggered to the wall of the cave, and found, suddenly, in his grasp, the hilt of an old sword which was driven deep into the wall. But the fiend was on him again now with a strangled cry of terror. Beowulf clutched the old sword with both hands, and with a great heave drew it from the wall, and so great was the force of the blow he struck Grendel’s mother that he cut clean through her body.”
A brief commentary on the first and second hybrid battles
Grendel and his dear mother, whose body was severely bent over with a serious hunchback, since, if truly crossbreeds, likely had a plethora of deformities and ailments. Grendel’s ‘milky white eyes’ could be a sign of serious ocular ailments; humans today can develop milky-eyes from a variety of serious untreated medical causes. The half-monster’s ‘claws of bone,’ may really have been large, thick, gross, misshapen, uncut fingernails, which may appear as bone during a fight, and/or the ‘claws’ were embellished or misreported in legend. Long hardened fingernails might appear as nails of bone and be nearly as lethal. When Beowulf attacked Grendel and later his mother, he found that they were covered with protective armor, where daggers and swords would not pierce the monsters. These statements may not be totally myth, for today, in the subarctic regions, the tribal folks still use stiff moose hides, and other thick, layered leathers, as a natural body armor. They cut the tough hide into thick plates to cover the legs, body and neck, which are quite capable of stopping arrows and stabbing instruments, so this part of the highly embellished legend may have a hint of truth hidden underneath the fabrication. These would be the ‘smooth, gliding plates,’ placed upon the stout legs, that made a noise like paper, as the beast Grendel walked into the hall.
There is a hint of a subplot in Beowulf, concerning the dark Unferth, who is considered a coward for never offering to fight Grendel. Every other able-bodied Danish earl has bravely offered . . . and died. But is cowardice and fear really the black Unferth’s motivation? In the mead hall before the battle with Grendel, the anonymous author of the Beowulf epic writes into the plot that, during the heavy Geatan and Danish drinking and feasting in the hall of Heorot, Unferth the Dark One barely touched his meal and drink, and perhaps not at all. Later, after the heavy partying, the Danes leave, and the Geat earls fall into a strangely deep slumber, much deeper than normal. Why? Then, when Grendel silently approaches and breaks down the door, only Beowulf is partially awake, staring in horror as Grendel approaches while the others sleep on. This is no mere drunken hangover from the feast; the Prince is paralyzed, unable to move his arms and legs, and watches his favorite warrior killed and eaten by the monster.
Now, the hidden scribe of the tale informs us that Grendel himself ‘cast a spell,’ but this may be embellishment, or an intended ruse by the unknown scribe, as is discussed later.
Beowulf overcomes the hybrid by grabbing Grendel’s great arm, and then placing his strong boots against the neck and trunk of Grendel, while the ogre is prone and accosted by Beowulf’s men, who have since awoken. With a superior man’s strength, as such is reputed for Beowulf, it is entirely possible, somewhere in the remote past, that a man and his companion actually did fight an overwhelming crossbreed . . . and really did rip its arm off, when knives and daggers didn’t penetrate the ‘skin,’ which we consider is really a leathery armor plate, as suggested earlier.
In the mead hall, before the beginning of the first battle, Unferth alone, tries to sway the Danes into rejecting Beowulf and his company, as unsuitable fighters. There may be another hidden motivation here. Later, after Grendel is mortally wounded, and Beowulf prepares to attack Grendel’s mum, Unferth mumbles an apology to Beowulf and, in apparent goodwill, gives him his own sword, seemingly a strong weapon, to kill the female monster. When Beowulf and Grendel’s mum square off in a ferocious back and forth battle, Unferth’s sword breaks easily and proves worthless. Beowulf only succeeds by luckily finding another kingly sword in the dank cave, and it cuts entirely though the female ogre, slicing her in half. So, the suspicion here is that the author of the Beowulf tale purposely placed a hidden plot inside the outer tale. Consider the clues associated with Unferth;
1: Being a coward and never fighting Grendel; perhaps he wasn’t afraid but secretly concerned for the beast. If so, why?
2: Insulting the new fighters; trying to get them to go away.
3: Not drinking or eating at the meal, perhaps because the mead is drugged. The Beowulf author purposely points this out, as a clue. Why?
4: Cannily giving a sword to Beowulf, perhaps knowing it won’t work and that he will be killed as a result by the female hybrid.
The Father of Grendel?
Looking at these little clues, laced together, one can construct a view that leans towards Unferth not being cowardly, but actually being secretively sympathetic towards the hideous monster. If so, why? A strange explanation could be given that Unferth the Dark One once ‘bumped hips’ with Grendel’s young mum, somewhere in a dark cave, like so many other hybrid, near-bestial stories we have seen . . . and the rest is untold, forgotten history, hiding in a riotous chorus of embellishments, created by the anonymous bard, for purposes of his own, as he silently winked at his readers. Unferth may have been the human father of Grendel, or we can just, yawn, and accept an old fable as merely a child’s tale. But, was it? In the legend, before Beowulf’s arrival, Grendel is said to have killed thirty men at a time, and perhaps killed many thousands in toto. Killing thirty men in one fell swoop also suggests that the brave men were drugged, as we have seen, and taken away one by one, back to the creature’s lair, which likely existed in remote, untold history, and stacked the bodies like cordwood meals, for his later dinners. Given what we have seen, if Grendel had encountered thirty warriors at once, he would likely have been quickly defeated, so drugging and human support are possible reasons his murderous, macabre campaigns were so successful. He was simply being fed human food and being assisted by his human father, Unferth, in our speculation, since everyone, of a necessity must have a father. So, in our hybrid-humanity hypothesis, Grendel, along with his mother, are both DNA outcasts from the ‘cleaner’ social order. This situation, we shall see, is also repeated in the upcoming chapter involving Cain, the third ‘human.’
The saga of the Geat King may have had some representation in truth, beyond merely being scary tales for children, which Beowulf has become, in our modern age.
Victorious, Beowulf and his happy troupe of earls return home to Geatland (Götaland in modern Sweden). The Prince later becomes King of the Geats, because of his feats, and a long peace reigns in the Geat kingdom. However, after a period of fifty years has passed, reports of a large dragon terrorizing the countryside require an aging Beowulf to arise and enter into his third and final battle, with yet another hybrid-hominid.
The Third Battle: Enter the Dragon
The Story of Beowulf continues, with Beowulf encountering his fiercest foe; a legendary, fire-breathing dragon, or was it something else? The Story of Beowulf continues. ..
“ONE night, when the winter was at its deepest, and the king sat in his mead-hall with all his lords about him, there came a knocking at the door. When the servants opened to the knocking, there entered the shabbiest visitor that had ever crossed that noble threshold.
The servants would have thrown the stranger out again, so disgraceful was his attire, had not Wiglaf, son of Weohstan, called to them to let the visitor remain, for there was something in the man’s face that caught the earl’s interest.
“Who are you?” demanded Wiglaf. “Whence come you? Speak, and do not fear, for no one will harm you. I see your knees shaking with fright and cold, and your eyes are wild with want of sleep and strange things that you have seen. Come and eat, my good man, and then you shall tell your story to the king.”
But the stranger made a sign with his head that Wiglaf took for a denial, and so led him, a little roughly, before Beowulf.
“This fellow,” the noble Wiglaf said, “will not say his name or whence he comes. But to you, my dear lord, he will speak, I know.”
Then Beowulf bent on him his kindly-strong gaze and bade the visitor have no fear. The man fell on his knees before the king and spoke in a high voice:
“Great king, I have no name and am but a poor escaped slave from a Frankish galley, and I am seeking my own home in the Northland. Early this morning, faint from cold and hunger and want of rest, I came upon a deep barrow in which I discovered, sleeping, the hugest dragon, surely, in all the wide world. At first, I was so overcome with fear that I fled from the place. But after a while, when I got back my breath, I was taken with a burning curiosity, and when my hair had lain down again upon my head, I returned, and there I saw, heaped round and about the sleeping dragon, the lordliest treasure that ever man beheld in one place together. Gold and jewels”—the slave raised his arms high and wide—“so much that twenty cart-loads would make no diminishment that the eye could see.”
Beowulf leaned forward in his great chair, his vast hands gripping the carven arms. “Slave,” he cried in a loud voice, “if you lie, I will have you first beaten like a dog and then torn limb from limb until you are dead!”
But the stranger did not flinch under the blue fire of the king’s glance. Instead, he drew from beneath his tattered cloak a wondrous jeweled cup, set about with a hundred brilliants of all the rainbow’s colors, and standing upon a base of purest gold, most delicately carved. “Lord,” he replied simply, “I do not lie.”
The court crowded about, better to see this marvel of workmanship and worth. Beowulf handled it lovingly and held it to the firelight. But at this point the escaped slave was seen to totter in a faint and quickly he was led away to be given food and warm clothes and a bench to lie upon. Then Beowulf the king stood up in his place and said to the assembled company:
“My friends, you have heard this man’s tale, and you see that he is no idle spinner of yarns who would obtain food and shelter on a bitter winter’s night, for he has shown us this wondrous cup of gold and jewels. Surely there is no fairer goblet on earth, and this slave says that whence this came there is more and still more treasure. My comrades, eleven men I want, who will follow me to the foul dragon’s lair. This grave menace must be destroyed before he wakens and finds that he has been discovered and plundered. Eleven of you, then, to my side. There will be deeds of bravery for all, and of treasure more than each man can dream.”
Then Wiglaf, the son of Weohstan, the best beloved of Beowulf’s earls, stepped forward, but as he opened his lips to swear allegiance to his king, the night was shattered by a roar that shook the roof of the hall and made the earth tremble underfoot.
The warriors, having laid aside their armor and swords, rushed to secure the door, but as confusion spread among them and women screamed, the roar persisted in its clangor and at the entrance door blue flames began to lick along the sill. Then Beowulf cried in a loud voice to the court that they must escape from the monster until they could assume their weapons and armor, and secure the women against the hot anger of the furious dragon. So, in orderly manner, the company followed their king through a back way, leaving the vast hall in emptiness, the benches overturned, the fire on the hearths burning low.”
We can pause here and notice that, thus far, the unseen dragon has only roared and breathed fire under the doorway, and not flown in the sky as is commonly seen in the media portrayals today. This dragon has his feet on the ground, as we shall see. The King plots his next strategy, as the Story of Beowulf continues:
“DAWN came slowly over the snows lying heavy about the house of Wiglaf, and the wife of Beowulf’s favorite earl was ordering her servants in their early tasks when Wiglaf burst in upon the family hearth. His face was drawn with rage and fear, and he embraced his wife with such impetuousness that the good lady became instantly consumed with the darkest of thoughts and forebodings.
“My lord,” she cried, “what dread errand brings you hither at this hour from the king? Speak! Some disaster has befallen the world, that you should look so distraught.”
And she hastened to relieve him of his great cloak. But he put her away from him, and cried out in anguish: “Dear lady, gather together all that we have of value which the servants can carry upon swift horses, for this night a dragon, the vastest dragon in all the world, has come upon our Geatsland, and even as I speak pursues his hideous way across the snow toward this our home. Already the mead-hall of the king is naught but a heap of smoldering ashes, and the granaries and storehouses of our people are hiding the sun from the world with the smoke of their burning. Make haste, I pray you, my lady, and fetch me the biggest of my swords and the stoutest of my armor. Then get you gone to the caves by the Whale’s Headland while we pursue this hellish demon to his lair.
“I go at once to my king. There is such death and destruction abroad this morn as never man has beheld, and the ruins of our fairest farms and halls are dotting the white land with sorrow and woeful suffering.”
Then Wiglaf’s wife brought him his great broadsword and his stoutest armor and embraced him tenderly ere he strode to the door.
Even now the sky was brown with dense smoke, and a vast and sinister rumbling was heard upon the air, proclaiming the steady and awful approach of the dragon. Gathered together in the depths of the great forest, Beowulf and his band of eleven trusted warriors held a council of war.
There arose a warm debate concerning how the dragon should be fought. Some thought they should attempt to slay him while he wrought destruction. Others, again, would lure him, if possible, to a high cliff, and force him into the boiling sea below. Yet others were in favor of letting him wreak his vengeance at will upon the countryside until such time should come when, sated in his lust for killing, he might fall into an exhausted sleep and become fair game for their sharp swords.
Then Beowulf spoke:
“My lords, each of these three plans has excellent reasons for pursuing it. But it is my opinion that none of them is sufficient for our dear purpose. For, in the first instance, if we attack the dragon while he is yet roaring through the land, the creature will be able to retreat in any direction. In the second instance, it is not likely that he will permit himself to be forced over a cliff into the sea, for by all tokens he is a wily dragon and the treasure is close to his heart. And in the third instance, we cannot permit him to continue his depredations throughout the countryside, and further impoverish our people. Therefore, hear you what I have to say: It is necessary that we track this vile enemy to his very lair, there to slay him. For when he finds that Beowulf and his noble earls are gone to his barrow, then will he leave our halls and farms and seek to defend his heart’s treasure. Let us away forthwith, for soon enough will he discover our ruse.”
And Beowulf was right, for, even as he spoke, the dragon, writhing his way from the desolation or the king’s country, was informed, by magic, of the plans that were being made for his destruction, and switching his scaly tail so that twenty stout trees fell at its movement, and snapping gigantic jaws in horrid rage, the creature hastened to protect that which he had guarded during three hundred years of sleepless vigilance. NIGHT was coming down when at last Beowulf and his eleven earls approached the dragon’s barrow. It lay deep in a dark and gloomy forest, and the only light was the reflection of the dead day upon the ground-snow. The tall trees stood naked in their places, and all about hung a cold stillness which was broken only by the trampling of the adventurers upon the crunching snow. It was quite dark now, as they neared the spot, and through the dim night they beheld in the distance a reddish glow. Nearer they came, until, peering through the dense wood, they saw a broad clear space among the trees. At one side was an old burial-mound, and at its entrance there issued in hissing gusts the red steam of the dragon’s hot breathing. All about the place, the snow was trampled by huge feet and the tree trunks were blackened and scorched. Then brave Beowulf drew his earls about him and said to them:
“I go alone to engage this dragon. You shall remain here at the clearing’s edge in readiness to stand by me in case I fail. For I am an old man now, and it comes to me, as in a dream, that this will be my last adventure, my final fight.”
Then gripping his vast shield of iron surely in his left hand, and in his right the noble sword Naegling, Beowulf advanced to meet the dragon.
But his earls, all those trusted earls, save only that faithful and loving lord Wiglaf, were seized with a sudden fear, and fled away into the darkness of the night and the shelter of the encircling forests. King Beowulf did not see their fleeing, as his eyes were upon the mouth of the barrow, and his ears were dimmed by the noise of the dragon’s breathing and the swish-swish of the angry body within the cave’s fastness. Then Beowulf cried out in a ringing voice:
“Come out, O most foul fiend, for Beowulf, King of Geatsland, Prince of Weders, and son of great Ecgtheow, stands without and calls you to battle. Come out, I say, arch-dragon, and pit your vaunted strength against my strength, which is the greatest known in all this cold Northland!”
And Wiglaf, standing ready and alone at the circle’s edge, laughed a clarion challenge to the dragon’s undoing.
For a moment there was a death-like stillness in the night. No sound came from the cave, and no steamy breath, and no dull glare of fire. Then with sudden roaring that caused the night to splinter and the earth to quiver in horrified response, the lordliest dragon in all the world rushed from its lair.
Over ten ells in length it measured, from the proud head to the poisoned tail-tip, and its vast body was covered with scales of brass as big as plates and thicker, each, than three fingers. Its forefeet were armed with six-inch claws of razor edge and helped support a head so large and terrible that Beowulf marveled for a moment at the size. Its eyes were of green fire, its wide nostrils belched red flame and steam, and the immense jaws dripped livid ooze as they snapped in hideous savagery. So great was the issuing heat that Beowulf held up his shield, else he would have perished upon the spot. Again, came a moment’s pause while the two antagonists stood firm and eyed each other, each gauging his own strength and that of his adversary.
Battle came upon them with the swiftness of lightning. The still forest was filled with the clamor of their combat. Beowulf slashed out bravely, but his good sword Naegling glanced helplessly against the brazen scales of the dragon’s armor, and so great was the heat of the creature’s breath that Beowulf was forced to resort to cunning in an attempt both to wear out his enemy and keep himself from being burned to death.
He wove this way and that, feinting now here, now there, until the dragon was so bewildered with this wonderful display of agility that his roaring grew louder and more terrible, and the violent swing of his huge body grew wider and wilder. Trees fell to earth at the flick of his tail, the snow melted beneath his breath, and his green eyes bit through the steam clouds of his breathing. And always Beowulf fought for the advantage of a well-placed thrust of his sword, for he knew that every dragon has its vulnerable spot, and this he sought to find.
Back and forth over the hard ground they raged. Now the dragon seemed the victor and Beowulf spent and weakening—but only to renew his attack. And time stood still in the black night, and the stars in their courses stayed to watch this struggle of giants. Beowulf’s breath came short and stifled, his arms grew weak from the weight of his great sword and shield, and this last grew so hot that it no longer served to protect him from the living furnace which he fought. His strong legs shook beneath him, and short cries were wrung from his throat. The encircling trees swam before his faltering eyes, the heavens seemed to close down upon him. Then at last to his aid came Wiglaf the faithful, and Beowulf’s ears were gladdened by the sound of his dear friend’s shout, and new strength streamed through his veins. Together they fought, side by side, and the dragon gave way to their onslaught.
But in one wide sweep of the dragon’s tail Beowulf was caught, and he sank to the ground broken, at last, in body. But Wiglaf, fresh in the fray, with a great cry of rage, found the weak spot in the dragon’s armor, and into the heart of the beast sank his good sword to the hilt. No sound came from the dragon. But he rose to his full and terrible height in great majesty of dying and fell prone beside Beowulf. Then there went up a shout from the cowardly earls who had hidden in the forest to watch the fight in safety, and they crowded about their dying king. But Wiglaf drove them away, saying:
“Away, wretches of faithlessness! Not for you the honors of a battle you feared to engage in. Away, cowards! Our king is done to death in a noble adventure, to save you and your foul breed from the dragon’s wrath.”
Then turning to Beowulf, he knelt at his side, took him dying into his arms, and loosened the helmet from his brow. “O my dear master,” he cried over him, “leave us not in your hour of triumph!”
“Nay,” answered Beowulf, “’tis not my triumph but that of a faithful friend, my Wiglaf. Take the treasure, do what you will with it. But . . . but let me have one piece of it about me as I die. For I die soon, my friend . . . so haste you . . . haste . . .”
Then Wiglaf went into the dragon’s barrow and beheld there the greatest treasure, surely, in all the wide world. And he selected from the heaped-up gold and jewels a wondrous crown of glittering gems, and this he placed upon the brow of his king.
“I die,” whispered Beowulf, “and I forgive those others—those foolish ones who deserted me in my hour. Farewell, good Wiglaf, my own true friend. Make a barrow for me upon the Whale’s Headland. Farewell, and now I shall sleep . . . the longest sleep.”
THUS, passed to his own gods Beowulf, King of Geatsland, in the North.
As he fought his drakon (dragon), Beowulf was astounded at the size of the creature’s head; this would be a good match for the larger skull case of Neanderthals and their hybrid offspring.
And so, as the Story of Beowulf comes to a close, the Geats warriors dragged the great body of the dragon to a cliff, and pushed it off with a great shout, to flail and fall far below and become engulfed by white waves and the gray ocean depths. A great funeral pyre was held for King Beowulf, and his bravest warriors—first and foremost good and brave Wiglaf—marched around the dancing flames for the entire night, in their final farewell to their hero. Thus, ends the legend of Beowulf, Grendel and the Dragon, with commentary below.
What’s all this Talk about Dragons?
A Commentary on Dragons and the Third Battle of Beowulf
In the Welsh saga, Beowulf is casually stated to have fought ‘little dragons’ in his youth, but no detail is given of their appearance or behavior. As we recall from the earlier chapter on the Shennong Clan, the English word ‘dragon’ was taken from the Greek, ‘drakon,’ which largely focuses on keen eyesight. Further below, we will explain the nature of a dragon’s ability to fly, its armored body, and its curious ability to breathe fire. Let us quickly list the historical and legendary figures that are figured in our ‘drakon’ theory as hybrid-hominid:
In China, King Shennong was born of a mortal woman and a dragon (drakon) father.
In an upcoming chapter, we note that the founder of the clan of the Buddha and his family, was reputed to be the son of a male dragon (drakon) and a mortal woman, whereas Buddha himself was born of a mortal mother and a ‘white-elephant’ father, which also appears to be a hybrid-hominid, in disguise.
Merlin the Magician, or the Wildman called Myrddin Wyllt, was born ‘without a father’ or by an incubus-father, which we too may take as akin to a drakon. Merlin was considered a ‘cambion,’ or half-man and half-animal; the words cambion and dragon are somewhat similar phonetically, when slowly drawn out, as in a long-vowel chant:
These two words may have been slightly misinterpreted over the many migratory routes in Eurasia in past times, so we may consider them as one and the same, with similar meaning and sound.
Merlin was deeply linked to King Arthur, whose father was Pendragon (chief dragon), and whose uncle was also a Pendragon.
Today, in modern psychological terms, dragons are considered mythical fixations of the human mind. They are often depicted in Western media culture as being huge, flying, scale-covered, flame-throwing beasts. This portrayal, however, is entirely mythical. The stereotypical, public view of what makes a dragon must be totally dismantled, as it is an obstacle of itself in seeing a deeper truth. While the marvelous prehistoric Chinese story of King Shennong and the others having a dragon (drakon) for a father initially smacks of being totally myth, it turns out that there may be a way to understand how one’s parents could be both human and dragon. As we recall, the early, nearly uncivilized humans were struck dumb with fear when they encountered an overwhelming foe. Anthropologist David E. Jones has revealed that belief in dragons was extremely widespread among ancient cultures because evolution slowly created an innate fear of predators in the human mind. Just as monkeys have been shown to exhibit a fear of snakes and large cats, Jones considers that the trait of fearing large predators such as pythons, large birds of prey, elephants, lions, bears, and other fearful animals, has been permanently imbedded in the subconscious mind of all Sapiens. In more recent times, he argues, these ‘universal fears’ have been frequently combined in folklore and created the myth of the dragon. Might we, like Gooch, include our large-eyed Neons and their hybrid offspring in the list of terrifying creatures—those ancient dragons (drakons) of the past?
“I SEE YOU.”
Avatar, the Movie
In returning to Beowulf and his battles with hybrids, we note that Peter Dickinson, author and winner of two Carnegie Medals, cannily wrote, as a shrewd guess, that Grendel, of the first battle, may have been a bipedal dragon, and now we will not argue with him; yes, a bipedal drakon.
We are getting closer to realization that dragons are really Neon-Sapiens hominids, in such a remarkable, unusual way, not discussed before.
We have seen how the word ‘dragon’ is mythically misunderstood, and how ‘drakon’ truly referred, historically, to a creature with tremendous strength and great eyesight; now we will turn to the drakon’s armor, fire-breathing, and his remarkable flying.
Occam’s Razor, with its notion of simplicity being the best solution to a complex problem, is at play here; the reader is strongly advised to drop old notions of dragons and keep an open mind, for we are about to get rea . . . and amazingly simple.
The Scaly Armor: A dragon’s legendary scales are the easiest part of a dragon to explain. In ancient caves, hybrid-hominids, using skills developed over many thousands of years, simply used incredibly tough animal hides, such as moose leather, by cutting them into protective pieces or plates and stitching them together with leather cords. Ancient Chinese warriors also wore moose-hide armor, with coins covering the hide, which gives the armor a brass color and appearance. When seen in the dark, dim recesses of a cave by a fearful human, this drakon body armor likely developed into a mythical illusion later, both in the ‘impenetrable skin’ of Grendel and his vicious mother, and also in the ‘scales’ of the dragon in the third battle. It’s entirely possible, from what we have seen of Neons and their descendants, that the history of man’s evolving military body armor was another ‘gift’ from our hybrid ancestors, along with rock spear heads and obsidian-glass knife blades. Thick Moose ‘scales’ or fashioned leather hides, are still in use today in the subarctic tribes, and they do indeed stop sharp objects.
Grendel’s mother attacked Beowulf with extremely powerful hands whose fingers were described as being extremely hard and bone-like. Is it possible that hybrid-hominids, such as Grendel and his dear mum, had perhaps 10—20% Neanderthal DNA in them, and that their fingernails were gross and misshapen, appearing hard as bone?
The Flame and the Flair Fights: As we recall from the Epic of Gilgamesh, Huwawa the monster-guardian in the Cedar Forest, was said to have ‘flaming breath.’ Then, in Beowulf, a human being is attacked by an ancient hybrid, a ‘drakon,’ who also has flaming breath. Is this entirely folklore, or have historians overlooked the obvious, and there really were creatures that could ‘breathe flame’ but they were (and are) hybrid-hominids? Today’s humans, in a circus arena, can project a deadly flame, using a simple white substance such as liquid cornstarch, well over twenty feet.
Now, for an additional insight into a hybrid-hominid fire-breathing drakon, let’s do a brief thought experiment.
You and I, are ancient, brave warriors—just the two of us, sneaking into a dark cave to kill a ‘drakon.’ We hear its great roaring around a campfire, see the fire glow on a wall up ahead; then the sound abruptly stops . . . the drakon has heard us, with its large ears and superior hearing.
With fear held down in our throats, we approach slowly, helmeted, swords drawn, shields at the ready. In the near total darkness of the cave niches, we are suddenly surprised by a large, hairy man-beast, who is perched ten feet above us on a large boulder, well beyond the reach of our swords. The beast is holding a lit firebrand in its hairy claw. Suddenly, the creature leans forward and spits a white fluid down upon us which instantly catches fire as the drakon activates the deadly substance with his fire stick. Our thick clothing catches fire; the creature spits his flame breath once more. We die, flaming in agony. The creature peers down at the burning enemies, and begins to roar continuously, in victory celebration.
This simple thought experiment shows just how easy it would be to have primordial fire-breathing, used as a weapon of war in ancient times. It’s a rather excellent form of cave defense, but today fire-breathing is only performed at the circus.
Now, in this talk of dragon’s breath, we should certainly consider the hoary, primordial origin of human fire-breathing, as seen below. A man, dimly seen at the far bottom of the image, is also using a white, flammable substance held in his mouth, and blows a powerful, deadly flame upon a ceiling.
A human flame-blowing technique called ‘The Dragons Breath’
“Literature is the faint remembrance of Experience.”
The very same situation may have been revealed in the Epic of Gilgamesh, where Enkidu reports:
Huwawa—his roar was a whirlwind,
Flame in his jaws, and his very breath Death!
Now, imagine being in an ancient cave, when you are surprised and badly burned by a fire-breathing Neon descendant. One must ask, just when did hominid fire-breathing begin? Its birth is certainly in the prehistoric time-period, long before today’s circus performers, who are quite good at their fire-blowing craft.
In Beowulf, it is mentioned when the Wanderer is spilling his tales, that, when the dragons fought and killed each other, the dead ones oozed a white substance, perhaps from their mouth, or perhaps from carrying containers held close to the body. When the Wanderer, in telling his tale, says that ‘dragons have no blood,’ this may be a legendary offshoot of such ancient observations of defeated dragons (drakons), as dead hybrids, with mouths open, and oozing a white, flammable substance therefrom, seemingly having no blood. The drakon died, unable to release and shoot his last fire-breath. Perhaps he was engulfed in flame, or clubbed from behind; we’ll never know all, or even many, of the sordid details of such ancient cave battles, as flaming flair fights.
If an ancient outsider, as a hybrid-hominid, began interacting with humans in a deadly way, the human community would respond by sending in large groups of armed men in retaliation, to eliminate the threat. In Beowulf, it states that a dragon killed thirty men or more; a small army. While seemingly only a myth, this lethalness may have been possible in a distant past. Using a simple thought experiment again, let’s imagine thirty men with torches, swords and shields, spreading out in single file, moving slowly into a vast European cave. They are being silently watched by not one, but three or more hybrids—the clan that lives in the cave. All of them have great strength, eyesight, and fire-breathing skills, and possibly armored animal-hide plating, as surmised of Grendel and the dragon (drakon). They hide in dark shadows as the humans approach, and then ambush and attack the invading warriors, repeatedly spewing and blowing out a deadly fire. The warriors die horrible, fiery deaths. One horribly burnt man escapes, and lives to tell the tale—from his limited point of view of the dim, rocky pathway into the vast cave complex, of how a single dragon killed thirty of his comrades. This postulated scenario could easily have occurred, somewhere back in time, as a faint remembrance of an ancient experience. Occam might agree. In a strange twist today, there are websites that promote how to ‘blow like a dragon,’ using a simple white cornstarch liquid or another propellant. If today’s circus fire-blowers desired to kill someone, they have an excellent weapon; the principle is basically the same as our Neon descendants, who essentially weaponized fire-breathing somewhere in the distant past.
The Deadly Tail: In his third and final battle with a large dragon, the King is finally felled by a ‘swoop of the dragon’s tail,’ which is reported by our ancient poet, as being able to ‘fell twenty trees’ with one deadly swish. Our purpose here is to further distill the clues and hints of real creatures in a hidden hybrid history, from the graceful, bard-like exaggerations in literature.
Neuropsychologists know today that our left brains are responsible for confabulation, or corruption of one’s memory. The left brain basically makes up its own story, in an attempt to understand the nearly unfathomable.
Is it possible, beyond the embellishments, that the hybrid creature, the dragon (drakon), had a swinging weapon, which became a ‘tail’ in the dim light and the memories of any survivors of such an encounter? In the nearby Irish tales of the fatherless Cu-Chulainn the Hound, yet another likely Wildman (hybrid-hominid), there are reports of his using weapons such as deadly foot-spears, called the Gae Bolga, and also sling-stones. Further, it is possible to think of the sweeping ‘tail’ as a drakon weapon, which could simply be a flexible, strong, 5–10 ft vine or rope, tied on one end to a large stone, and which could certainly kill in one blow, and would also make for great cave defense against animals, etc. Such a weapon would be similar to today’s tribal usage of a bola; a rock and rope weapon which is thrown at enemies or animals. Or perhaps the dragon’s tail was really simply a long, heavy tree branch, which, if swung with hybrid force, in the dim light, was quite capable of killing a man. In the darkness of the cave shadows, who can see well, except for the Neon-hybrids? Since there really isn’t any tail on the mythicized dragon, we can play along with the silliness of the tale, or perhaps consider lethal swinging weapons, which were later fabricated into a vicious tail, and even claws of the feet, by perhaps unreliable witnesses, to a real event, entering myth, but not history, in some dark cave, long, long ago.
“Once you eliminate the impossible,
whatever remains, no matter how improbable,
must be the truth.”
The Flight of the Drakon: Over the centuries, it is our confabulating left brain that has greatly morphed and exaggerated all notions of the mythical dragon, as marvelously and playfully depicted in modern times, in examples such as the popular Game of Thrones. The flight of the dragon is actually a flight of the mind, yet many myths abound. Joseph Campbell, in his book, ‘The Mythic Image,’ relates a humorous Buddhist tale about flying animals:
“There is an old myth about elephants, telling how once upon a time they could fly and change shape like clouds. One day, however, a great flock alighted on the branch of a prodigious tree, beneath which an ascetic named Long Austerity was teaching. The branch broke and killed a number of his pupils, and the Yogi cursed the entire race, dooming them to the loss of their powers…so that today, elephants are actually clouds condemned to walk the Earth.”
However, aside from funky myth-making, in our alternative portrayal of ancient hybrid drakons flying through the air, a much deeper portrayal is required, which necessitates having an open mind.
While the cultural idea of angels has been around in literature for thousands of years, their common artistic portrayal as having large beautiful wings began only recently, in Europe’s 15th century.
In ancient times, sorcerers, such as Milarepa in Tibet, were routinely reported to fly over the countryside; what the layfolk never understood is that this ability is somewhat rare.
Today, leaving the body and traveling (flying) in consciousness has been dubbed ‘remote viewing’ by several governments, including the United States, which has used it for military reconnaissance and espionage for over twenty years.
There’s a place down in Mexico,
where a man can fly over mountains
Hypnotized, Fleetwood Mac
In considering the flights of dragons as a developed, misunderstood myth in ancient times, the flight of the mind is a much better substitute, although certainly not flashy!
Not all of the drakons were monsters—some of them may have had cordial relations with humans, as suggested by the presence of King Arthur’s father, Pendragon (chief dragon) and Merlin the Wild Man.
The entire premise of this book is that some hybrid-hominids were indeed monsters, while others were more philosophical, and even spiritual in their thoughts and behavior. As we look around in modern society today, the song remains the same for us, with our 2–4% Neon DNA; our Sapiens species routinely produces a bevy of Monsters, Philosophers and Saviors.
As we saw with paleo-psychologist Stan Gooch’s suggestion, Neons and their hybrid descendants, with their superior rear braincase, were likely also superior with their aspects of eyesight, imagination, dreaming, and even psychic movement, as in ‘out of the body’ experiences and movements of consciousness. Such OBEs, as they are called, often involve close calls at death known as near death experiences (NDEs) and other purposeful projections, known as clairvoyance, remote viewing, or the Siddhi powers of Raja Yoga. This may also have been true with Neons’ descendants, some of whom became known as dragons (drakons). One classic OBE/NDE example is in Plato’s story of ‘The Myth of Er,’ where a severely wounded Greek soldier named Er is thrown upon a stack of dead bodies and left for dead. However, he is not dead, and has an OBE experience that lasts for days, with great marvelous visions of his heavenly experiences, which are well described by Socrates’ narrative.
It would be easy for a primitive Sapiens to misunderstand the difficult concept of ‘flying’ in such ways. The common folklore of a dragon flying overhead is a gross misinterpretation of an ancient creature, who may have had extended psychic capabilities, or, if the reader prefers, we can return to the simplicity of modern, mythical dragon folklore.
The Dragon Slayers: There are dozens of mythical and historical hero-figures that are said to have killed dragons (drakons). In looking back over 4,000 years, we find Cadmus, Heracles, St. George and Sigurd atop the lengthy list. The romantic notion of ‘rescuing a damsel in distress’ may have roots of truth, if a lustful hybrid ogre, or monster was attacking and raping the Sapiens womenfolk, as was widely reported.
Although truly now swallowed in myth, the ‘Golden Legend’ of St. George and the Dragon, is worth noting for our hybrid discussion. The saint intervenes, in the 11th century saga, in a town where a drakon (dragon) is demanding human sacrifices; it eats humans, as did Grendel. St. George confronts and charges the beast on horseback, and severely wounds it with his lance.
The creature then has a noose tied around its head, and is led back into town, where it is killed. Most of the fictitious paintings of St. George portray him, with artistic license, as fighting winged dragons with tails, an image still common today, but notably, there are a few 10th century paintings that show him stabbing a human-like figure, which would be our hybrid-hominid, called a dragon in the lore.
Sigurd, or Siegfried is a legend of Germanic mythology; his name is mentioned in dozens of Northern poems where one of his most famous feats was slaying a terrifying dragon. Sigurd was in Germany; St. George was in Greece. In between the two dragon slayer stories, geographically, there lies the ancient Dragon-Hole of Austria. To the north, Beowulf was in Sweden. If European caves held creatures that were an admixture of Neanderthal and human DNA, there could have been hundreds of such drakon cavern populations. Human interactions with these populations likely produced either hybrid babies . . . or death, on both sides. The many migrating waves of hybrid and ‘normal’ humanity crisscrossed each other many times in prehistoric and historic times; like the many ripples of a stone tossed into a pond. To the East, in Tibet, India and China, there are reports of terrifying Yeti, which likely were the Yandi hybrid tribe, but there are no widespread reports of dragon slayers, as in the Western lore.
In Beowulf, the hero dies fighting his last dragon, who may have been the largest hybrid of his kind, back in the shrouded days of mist and myth.
More information on dragons is found in Appendix C: The Human Dragons, of Ancient Shock ~ Monsters, Philosophers & Dragons. You may now browse the additional blogs on this New Muse site, or you can return to Kindle to continue reading. Peace and Health. Steven.