Strange providence! Shall I call the tree tyrannical, since where it stands nothing survives but itself and its high-borne guests?
They all knew what was coming, though nobody believed it. Who can look into the wet-mouthed smiles of children and see a meadhall burning, or listen past their musical prattle to the midnight roar of fire?
Hrothgar, keen of mind, is out of schemes. No fault of his. There are no schemes left. And so he waits like a man chained in a cave, staring at the entrance or, sometimes, gazing with sad, absent-minded eyes at Wealtheow, chained beside him.