See Literary Favorites Section and see information on C.S. Lewis. Fantasy and Science Fiction writers like Lewis must have drawn influence from Epic Poems like Beowulf
This Epic Poem and parable, from the eighth century, is delivered by a Christian poet and intended for a Christian audience. It offers some symbolic inferences to a God concerned about suffering, and a son sent, with a miraculous birth, to help. The story begins with reference to this son.
“Hear! We know of the bygone glory of the Danish kings, and the heroic exploits of the princes. Scyld Scefing’s life began as he just appeared floating, as a baby, in from the sea. He grew into a king and in the face of hostile armies, that were used to bring nations into subjection and strike terror in the hearts of their leaders, he fought and prevailed.”
When he dies he is returned to the sea, by being placed in a boat, with many of his processions and weapons. The poet is saying “That’s life. Out of nowhere, and into nowhere. Better make it count.”
“Scefing had a son who also had a son, Hrothgar, who is the current King of these Geats in Southern Sweden. They have spent 12 years being terrorized by Grendel, who often comes at night, carrying off Hrothgar’s warriors and devouring them.
Beowulf a powerful Scandinavian warrior has heard of the threat and he goes to help Hrothgar and his people. He meets with Hrothgar in the Great Hall of Heorot. The King is skeptical and leaves, but later Grendel arrives. Beowulf fights the monster and rips his arm off and nails it over the door to the hall. He then fights Grendel’s mother, who is a water monster. Grendel has crawled into her cave and pond to die and Beowulf kills the mother with his sword.
Beowulf goes home to Geatland and eventually becomes king of the Geats. After 50 years as King, Beowulf has to fights a dragon and kills him but he is wounded and dies. His body is cremated, as and he is remembered as a hero. More about this book at web site.