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XII
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PAGE 135

The text here is much mutilated, and can only be restored by ingenious conjecture. Grein and Bugge and others have reconstructed it. On the whole Bugge s text, which I have followed, seems to me the most reasonable. It is unfortunate that the text should be so imperfect just at this critical point in the linking up of the two great divisions of the story. In the ancient days some remote predecessors of the Geats seem to have heaped up in the neighbourhood a pile of wonderful vessels jewel-bedecked, and treasures of all kinds, of inconceivable value. Then the last of the race carries the treasure to a barrow or cavern in the cliffs near the site, in after-generations, of Beowulf s palace, and delivers a pathetic farewell address (pp. 136 et seq.). The [210]dragon finds the cavern and the treasure and appropriates it for three hundred years. Then one of Beowulf s retainers finds the treasure and takes a golden goblet while the dragon is sleeping, and offers it to his lord as a peace-offering. This brought about Beowulf s feud with the dragon in which he met his death. [211]

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