The theme of generosity is tied to a retainer's relationship with his king and dominates the remainder of this section. Generosity is symbolic politically and socially in Beowulf's world, significant in ways that transcend modern custom. A thane (or retainer) owes his lord first choice of treasure gained in battle. For his part, the ruler rewards the warrior with payments of gold or other values, including land, commensurate to the thane's achievements and value to his lord. Upon his return from Heorot, Beowulf reports on the Scyldings' King Hrothgar's generosity and presents Hygelac with the treasures that the young champion has earned, including "the boar's-head standard, / high-crowned helmet, great iron shirt, / [and] ornamented war-sword" (2152–2154). Hrothgar would expect the young warrior to do this. To enhance value, Beowulf informs Hygelac of the history of the gifts. Nor does he slight Queen
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