Beowulf rode his manly steed over the warmly rolling hills. Courage pouring out of every pore, he eyed the landscape uneasily, looking for a foe to vanquish. He finally spotted a field of daffodils, illuminated by the midday sun. The sight caused Beowulf to shake his head in powerful disgust, even as a smile crept strangely onto his face. And so he rode—for hours and days and years and months and weeks and suns and moons.
“A good amount of each.” thought Beowulf.
Later that evening, the heads of seventeen goblins impaled on his pike, Beowulf decided to set up camp. After a short search he located the perfect location for his home-away-from-home: a pack of trees had made their way to one small knoll, creating a protected nook, where a patch of daisies grew. Beowulf set his tent in the middle, careful to avoid harming any of the precious flowers. Yet he would not allow the trifles of nature to dominate him; he roared and threw a sword at the largest of the trees.
“Haha! Whose cozy camp is this now, Sir Tree?” he queried, and yet not response was forthcoming. Disappointed, Beowulf promptly fell asleep.
Every since he was a little boy, Yvain had dreamt of settling down and starting a family. Whenever he saw the mothers of the town caring for all their precious young, he had wanted to partake in those wondrous delights. But did his father allow him any choice in the matter? Of course not! Yvain Sr. had decided that his baby would grow up to be the mightiest knight in all the land. Every action he took was solely to that end.
Yvain practiced horseback riding, sword fighting, jousting, pillaging, archery, beating back serfs, and other miscellaneous knightly activities. His father beamed with pride at Yvain’s accomplishments: much to the latter’s dismay he was naturally skilled at all sorts of knightly doings, and couldn’t help but do well. It wasn’t long before he was sent off on his own, to make a fortune and claim some lands owned by the weak.
As he rode on his trusty steed Sergio, Yvain reminisced of the carefree days of his youth, where he could spend all day playing house with the girls or wrestling with the boys. He enjoyed both activities very much, and he immediately thought of all the care and love he wanted to give to one special person. Yet who would it be? Yvain did not know and it troubled him oh so greatly.
Lost in thought, the knight didn’t notice the evil ogre standing on a nearby hill, Nor did he notice the boulder the ogre hurled at his face. Nor did he notice the whooshing sound it made as it arced through the air. Nor did he notice his horse running away from his unconscious body.
The sunrise woke Beowulf, as he often asked it to when he needed to wake up early. Unfortunately it tended to wake him up on the other days as well. Fortunately for Beowulf, although he had intended to sleep a good long while, in the confusion of sleep he had forgotten this, and he arose thinking only of the helpful ball of flame above. Cheerful and gay, Beowulf, packed his things.
“I think I shall go on a leisurely morning stroll around this knoll,” he declared, to no one in particular. The response was deafening.
And so Beowulf walked around the hill. He was ever alert for evil foes to slay, or poor helpless townsfolk to save, or merchants to rob, or some similar rot. While walking around, he made a bouquet of the daisies (thirteen of them), and carefully placed it on his pack.
“This shall do well as a gift for a sweet love of mine!”
Beowulf didn’t actually have anyone to call his “sweet love”, and in fact he hadn’t really thought about it much. All he knew was that people assumed that this was why he collected flowers, and so he assumed that they were right and that somewhere this sweet love lurked. He hadn’t met it yet, and this was All Right, for cared far more about killing and whathaveyou than silly things like love and pansies. Daisies on other hand.
Suddenly (and without warning!) Beowulf heard the loud stomping of a horse nearby. He turned to see a steed only marginally less mighty than his own fleeing from the north. Correct in his determination of trouble in that direction, Beowulf ran back to camp, leaped into his saddle, and galloped away.
Head throbbing, body aching, and arms tied to a tree, Yvain awoke. He opened his one uninjured eye to spy the evil ogre placing large firewood into an even larger fire. Not being especially dense, Yvain immediately realized his immediate fate. If he hadn’t been gagged, he may have muttered something about how he should have stayed home and babysat instead of going off on this ill-fated escapade. Alas no one was able to hear him. The world will never know.
Yvain had heard somewhere that hope springs eternal in the human breast, and though no such words had been written yet, they were true nonetheless. So he hoped. And as he did, he heard a slight rumbling, at first almost too quiet to hear, but steadily growing, growing louder and stronger. He focused on it so intently that sweating profusely would have been an improvement, and it seemed his whole world revolved around that magical, mystical rumbling—the sound that was his last chance at salvation, at making something more of his life than bachelor chow.
When the mammoth steed erupted into sight word could not express how happy Yvain felt. Upon it rode a warrior whose mightiness was certainly unquestioned. As he rode forward, a wave of rapturous delight poured over Yvain, reminding him of his fictitious younger days as a marlin fisherman off the coast of Cuba.
But did the ogre care one whit about any of that? Of course he did, but only one. In any case, it wasn’t enough to stop him from noticing the impending danger. He stood and roared fearfully, summoning all the fearsomeness that is present in every ogre.
Yet Beowulf was not deterred! He charged and swung his sword at the stunned monster, and with two vorpal strikes had sliced off its horrendous head. Blood spewed forth, and it was icky and green. The head flew in the air, fast approaching Yvain when.
Yvain awoke to find the situation markedly different. First of all, there was giant ogre head flying directly towards him. And he was no longer gagged or tied, though he still tasted the foul cloth the ogre had used. There was something else… something he couldn’t quite figure out until—
His savior was gone!
“Hello? Thanks for saving me!” he cried out.
A loud thud, but then a rugged voiced responded,
“Do you want to eat the leg or the arm? Because I prefer the arm.”
“Who are you? Where are you? And why would you want to eat the ogre?”
“Because I am hungry and I have heard many a tale of the deliciousness of an ogre arm.”
Yvain doubted this. In fact he doubted whether ogres were safe to eat at all.
“I think if you eat an ogre you will get boils. And other nasty things. Like a toothache.”
“We’ll see about that,” Beowulf laughed. At that point Yvain observed that three things happened, in roughly the following order: 1. A loud crunching noise, 2. The phrase, “Oh God! My tooth!”, 3. The sound of vomiting.
“Are you quite alright?” Yvain asked.
No response came, and Yvain decided to look for himself. He stood up, stretched his legs and did seven pushups to warm up after all the time spent being captured.
When he finally decided to get back to the story, it was easy to find Beowulf—he had only to follow the smell of rotting garbage, err. “cooked” ogre. At least its arm. It wasn’t clear where Beowulf had cooked it, but there he was, clutching a large, nasty ogre arm in his mouth, apparently unconscious.
Yvain shook his head and tickled him awake.
“Did I not tell you not to eat the ogre?” he nagged.
“But, but it was so tasty.”
“No it wasn’t.”
“Well, no, but it might have been. It smelled alright.”
“No it didn’t. But that is no matter. May I finally have the honor of learning your name? You did, after all, rescue me.”
“Indeed, and you owe your thanks to Beowulf, the most fierce and courageous warrior this side of the Alps.”
“I have no doubt of that, after the display you put on. In fact, perhaps you would like to accompany me on my journey? I am on a quest to claim some lands from a group of marauding farmers that think it their duty to grow their own food.”
“What? Those fools! It is a wonder they have not yet been slain by the evil ogre that lives in these parts—”
Yvain interjected, “Actually—”
“Wait! Let me complete my thought. . violets are blue / the sun is round / and I want to marry you.”
“What is that?”
“Oh, just a little poem I made up for my One True Love. Clever, isn’t it?”
“Who is she?”
“Your One True Love.”
“Oh, I don’t have one yet. I seek one right now, in fact. Speaking of which. would you like to accompany me on this quest?”
“Wait, didn’t I just ask you first?”
“That settles it then. My manly steed has room enough for two studly men such as ourselves. Get ready, for we travel tomorrow at sunrise!”
And so Beowulf went into his tent to sleep, sated from his lack of a meal of ogre. Yvain, thoroughly confused as to what was going on, slept as well, hoping that Beowulf’s One True Love would be found among those poor peasants he was to dislocate. He knew that he didn’t want to go off by himself, for the world was much more dangerous that he had imagined while daydreaming during his “Dangers of the Word” lectures. No matter! It might turn out for the best. It usually did it tales of knights and ogres.
Little did Yvain know that the true journey would take place not in rolling hills and deadly forests, but in the sinews of his heart.