Beowulf came to fight the dragon with eleven warriors. Ten of them betrayed him in fear, but Wiglaf stayed. The two of them opposed the fire-breathing creature. When Beowulf’s sword broke, Wiglaf stabbed the dragon in its stomach. It gave the hero time to take out his knife, which he used to kill the serpent.
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Beowulf entered the dragon’s barrow and shouted to wake the beast. It attacked with flame. Ten of Beowulf’s warriors fled in fear, and only Wiglaf stayed. They did not just betray their lord. They betrayed their people who were threatened by the dragon and whose houses burned from its fire.
But “that final day was the first time when Beowulf fought and fate denied him glory in battle.” Beowulf stroke the dragon on its “enamelled scales,” and his sword “scarcely cut through.” The narrator remarked that it was the first time this sword failed in a battle.
The dragon blast with fire again. The shields of Beowulf and Wiglaf got burned. Their armor hardly protected them. Then the hero hit the serpent’s head with his sword, driving it to the skull. But “Beowulf’s ancient iron-grey sword let him down in the fight.” Naegling snapped, leaving its master unarmed.
It was a good chance for the dragon to clamp its fangs into Beowulf’s neck. Thankfully, Wiglaf stabbed the dragon in the stomach. Beowulf availed of the moment to take out the knife he wore on his belt and stab the dragon. “He stuck it deep into the dragon’s flank,” and the wound was mortal for the beast. But Beowulf was also dying from the dragon’s venomous bite.