Where does the dragon come from in Beowulf?

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hi1954 | Teacher | (Level 1) Associate Educator

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The poem gives no place of origin for the dragon, only an explanation of why it guards the hoard of gold.  In an ancient time a prince's thane hid it, as he was the last of his people and the treasure he had was all that was left of his people and his kingdom.  He is portrayed as hiding from the disaster that overtook his master, the gold being his only pleasure.  He leaves it hidden in a stone barrow, a cavelike grave, and the thane puts the treasure there to keep it safe from all others.  The text seems unclear, but apparently the dragon comes to guard it as a result of the thane's curse.  Section 32 tells us the dragon's doom was to seek gold hoarded in graves, "heathen gold" he himself did not win.  He guards the hoard three hundred years before someone, "a sinful man," steals a cup from it, awakening him and his wrath.  But where the dragon came from originally is not addressed.

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