Beowulf is a legendary Norse warrior who serves as the protagonist of the epic of the same name. His story has the distinction of being the oldest surviving tale to be written in the English language. Beowulf is an archetypal mythic hero; he is proud, boastful, and able in combat. His epic portrays his fights with the beast Grendel, as well as the creature's mother, when he is called to save the Danish King Hrothgar from the beast's attacks. He was crowned king of Geatland (modern southern Sweden) after returning from Denmark. Towards the end of his life, he slew a dragon in a battle that left him mortally wounded. He was cremated, and the ashes buried atop a cliff where all sailors could see his barrow.