Beowulf and the Geats return to their homeland with much rejoicing and giving of gifts. Again they “follow the swan-road” to get there. Hygelac and his queen Hygd welcome the warriors back home. The narrator compares Hygd to Offa’s queenHygd is a good wife, while Offa’s queen was murderous until King Offa tamed her. When Beowulf tells his adventures to Hygelac, he adds another story that we have not heard before. Hrothgar betrothed his daughter Freawaru to a prince of the Heathobards in order to settle an old feud. Beowulf speculates that someone will goad this Heathobard prince to take vengeance upon the Danes for all their past wrongs. Then he gives Hygelac a sword of Hrothgar’s while Hygd receives a neck-ring. When Beowulf was younger, no one thought he would come to any good; now they praise him as a warrior and hero. As a reward, Hygelac gives him half the kingdom. They rule the land together peacefully.
Some scholars have speculated that Beowulf’s author was a servant of the real king Offa. They interpret the story of Offa’s wife as the poet’s attempt to show the power of the king. Offa’s wife seems to be a human version of Grendel’s mother, killing in a rage until a man is able to subdue her.
In Beowulf’s version of events in Denmark, we learn the new story of Freawaru’s betrothal to the Heathobard Prince. The parallels to the tale of Hildeburh are obviousa Danish princess is married to a rival country for peace, but war and death will be the result.
Beowulf plays the part of a minstrel here, the scop who teaches. Here he recounts the tale not only to tell Hygelac of the events in Denmark. He also shows his head for politics. The fact that he is able to clearly interpret the possible events of such a match attests to his talent for ruling. Hygelac apparently thinks so, too, as he gives him half the kingdom as a reward.
The rakish youth is a common trope literature. Beowulf follows the path that many other heroes have followed. When he was young, people thought he would be worthless, but as a man they praise him for his heroism.