The Question and Answer section for Beowulf is a great resource to ask questions, find answers, and discuss the novel.
The story recounted on the hilt of the sword is that of Noah's Great Flood as recorded in Genesis. This reinforces the constant emphasis on water that has been shown throughout the poem. The Flood narrative has a special relevance...
They want Beowulf to kill Grendel.
Once they reach the shore, they depart the ship with their armor and weapons clinking. A coast watchman stops their progress, demanding to know who these warriors are and if they are friend or foe.