Since Bella liked Stories of Beowulf Told to Children, I thought she might like diving into the real thing. One evening I pulled my copy of Heaney’s translation of Beowulfoff the shelf and read out the first lines. Yes, I think it might do, I thought. Bella can handle that. I know I have it on cd somewhere. I need to dig it out. But who knows where that has gone.
Never fear, I found that Seamus Heaney’s reading of his translation of Beowulf is on You Tube. The whole thing!
I started playing it and of course the kids all came running. Ben and Sophie and Anthony lost interest after maybe fifteen minutes. Then Bella spent the rest of the afternoon carrying the iPad from one room to another as she listened. Her review at dinner time when I made her pause it: “It’s much better than I thought it would be.”
I just love Heaney’s voice. His translation is just delicious. Now I’m off to listen to it myself. Since I couldn’t really pay attention with the sick baby and cranky toddler and all the other distractions….
Next I need to play her a recording of the poem in the original Old English.
I didn’t read Beowulf till I was in college. And yet the story itself is very accessible to young children. It is so lovely to be able to share it with Bella and the others. Sophie and Ben might not have the attention span to listen to the whole thing, but they’ve heard parts.