After knowing me for 17 years, my dear 19-year-old Grandcat Ella has consented to accept a cuddle!
After knowing me for 17 years, my dear 19-year-old Grandcat Ella has consented to accept a cuddle!
‘He has less power over Elves than over any other creature: they have suffered too much in the past to be deceived or cowed by him now. And the Elves of Rivendell are Descendants of his chief foes: the Gnomes, the Elvenwise, that came out of the West; and the Queen Elbereth Gilthoniel, Lady of the Stars, still protects them. They fear no Ring-wraiths, for those that have dwelt in the Blessed Realm beyond the Seas live at once in both worlds; and each world has only half power over them, while they have double power over both.’
‘I thought I saw a white figure that shone and did not grow dim like the others. Was that Glorfindel then?’
‘Yes, you saw him for a moment as he is upon the other side: one of the mighty of the Elder Race. He is an elf-lord of a house of princes.’
‘Then there are still some powers left that can withstand the Lord of Mordor,’ said Frodo.
‘Yes, there is power in Rivendell,’ answered Gandalf, ‘and there is a power, too, of another kind in the Shire.’
But Alboin looked out of his window before getting into bed; and he could see the sea beyond the edge of the cliff. It was a late sunset, for it was summer. The sun sank slowly to the sea, and dipped red beyond the horizon. The light and colour faded quickly from the water: a chilly wind came up out of the West, and over the sunset-rim great dark clouds sailed up, stretching huge wings southward and northward, threatening the land.
‘They look like the eagles of the Lord of the West coming upon Numenor,’ Alboin said aloud, and he wondered why. Though it did not seem very strange to him. In those days he often made up names. Looking on a familiar hill, he would see it suddenly standing in some other time and story: ‘the green shoulders of Amon-ereb,’ he would say. ‘The waves are loud upon the shores of Beleriand,’ he said one day, when storm was piling water at the foot of the cliff below the house.
Some of these names were really made up, to please himself with their sound (or so he thought); but others seemed ‘real’, as if they had not been spoken first by him. So it was with Numenor. ‘I like that,’ he said to himself. ‘I could think of a long story about the land of Numenor.’
But as he lay in bed, he found that the story would not be thought.
In those far days Feanor began on a time a long and marvellous labour, and all his power and all his subtle magic he called upon, for he purposed to make a thing more fair than any of the Eldar yet had made, that should last beyond the end of all. Three jewels he made, and named them Silmarils. A living fire burned within them that was blended of the light of the Two Trees; of their own radiance they shone even in the dark; no mortal flesh impure could touch them, but was withered and was scorched. These jewels the Elves prized beyond all the works of their hands, and Manwe hallowed them, and Varda said: ‘The fate of the Elves is locked herein, and the fate of many things beside.’ The heart of Feanor was wound about the things he himself had made.
OF THINGOL IN DORIATH.
A king there was in days of old:
ere Men yet walked upon the mould
his power was reared in caverns’ shade,
his hand was over glen and glade.
Of leaves his crown, his mantle green,
his silver lances long and keen;
the starlight in his shield was caught,
ere moon was made or sun was wrought.
In after-days, when to the shore
of Middle-earth from Valinor
the Elven-hosts in might returned,
and banners flew and beacons burned,
when kings of Eldamar went by
in strength of war, beneath the sky
then still his silver trumpets blew
when sun was young and moon was new.
Afar then in Beleriand,
in Doriath’s beleaguered land,
King Thingol sat on guarded throne
in many-pillared halls of stone:
there beryl, pearl, and opal pale,
and metal wrought like fishes’ mail,
buckler and corslet, axe-and sword,
and gleaming spears were laid in hoard:
all these he had and counted small,
for dearer than all wealth in hall,
and fairer than are born to-Men,
a daughter had he, Luthien.
Now came days when Tuor had dwelt among the Gondothlim many years. Long had he known and cherished a love for the king’s daughter, and now was his heart full of that love. Great love too had Idril for Tuor, and the strands of her fate were woven with his even from that day when first she gazed upon him from a high window as he stood a way-worn suppliant before the palace of the king. Little cause had Turgon to withstand their love, for he saw in Tuor a kinsman of comfort and great hope. Thus was first wed a child of Men with a daughter of Elfinesse, nor was Tuor the last. Less bliss have many had than they, and their sorrow in the end was great. Yet great was the mirth of those days when Idril and
Tuor were wed before the folk in Gar Ainion, the Place of the Gods, nigh to the king’s halls. A day of merriment was that wedding to the city of Gondolin, and of the greatest happiness to Tuor and Idril. Thereafter dwelt they in joy in that house upon the walls that looked out south over Tumladin, and this was good to the hearts of all in the city save Meglin alone.
Behold, Iluvatar dwelt alone. Before all things he sang into being the Ainur first, and greatest is their power and glory of all his creatures within the world and without. Thereafter he fashioned them dwellings in the void, and dwelt among them, teaching them all manner of things, and the greatest of these was music.
Now he would speak propounding to them themes of song and joyous hymn, revealing many of the great and wonderful things that he devised ever in his mind and heart, and now they would make music unto him, and the voices of their instruments rise in splendour about his throne.
Upon a time Iluvatar propounded a mighty design of his heart to the Ainur, unfolding a history whose vastness and majesty had never been equalled by aught that he had related before, and the glory of its beginning and the splendour of its end amazed the Ainur, so that they bowed before Iluvatar
and were speechless.
Six years and more passed away before Aldarion returned to Númenor. He found even Almarian the Queen colder in welcome, and the Venturers were fallen out of esteem; for men thought that he had treated Erendis ill. But indeed he was longer gone than he had purposed; for he had found the haven of Vinyalondë now wholly ruined, and great seas had brought to nothing all his labours to restore it. Men near the coasts were growing afraid of the Númenóreans, or were become openly hostile; and Aldarion heard rumours of some lord in Middle-earth who hated the men of the ships. Then when he would turn for home a great wind came out of the south, and he was borne far to the northward. He tarried a while at Mithlond, but when his ships stood out to sea once more they were again swept away north, and driven into wastes perilous with ice, and they suffered cold. At last the sea and wind relented, but even as Aldarion looked out in longing from the prow of the Palarran and saw far off the Meneltarma, his glance fell upon the green bough, and he saw that it was withered. Then Aldarion was dismayed, for such a thing had never befallen the bough of oiolairë, so long as it was washed with the spray. “It is frosted, Captain,” said a mariner who stood beside him. “It has been too cold. Glad am I to see the Pillar.”
The argument concerning precedence stopped short. All the horses shied to one side or the other, and some of the knights fell off: The ponies and the baggage and the servants turned and ran at once. They had no doubt as to the order of precedence.
Suddenly there came a rush of smoke that smothered them all, and right in the midst of it the dragon crashed into the head of the line. Several knights were killed before they could even issue their formal challenge to battle, and several others were bowled over, horses and all. As for the remainder, their steeds took charge of them, and turned round and fled, carrying their masters off, whether they wished it or no: Most of them wished it indeed.
But the old grey mare did not budge. Maybe she was afraid of breaking her legs on the steep stony path. Maybe she felt too tired to run away. She knew in her bones that dragons on the wing are worse behind you than before you, and you need more speed than a race-horse for flight to be useful. Besides, she had seen this Chrysophylax before, and remembered chasing him over field and brook in her own country, till he lay down tame in the village highstreet. Anyway she stuck her legs out wide, and she snorted. Farmer Giles went as pale as his face could manage, but he stayed by her side; for there seemed nothing else to do.
And so it was that the dragon, charging down the line, suddenly saw straight in front of him his old enemy with Tailbiter in his hand.
He had a number of pictures on hand; most of them were too large and ambitious for his skill. He was the sort of painter who can paint leaves better than trees. He used to spend a long time on a single leaf, trying to catch its shape, and its sheen, and the glistening of dewdrops on its edges. Yet he wanted to paint a whole tree, with all of its leaves in the same style, and all of them different.
There was one picture in particular which bothered him. It had begun with a leaf caught in the wind, and it became a tree; and the tree grew, sending out innumerable branches, and thrusting out the most fantastic roots. Strange birds came and settled on the twigs and had to be attended to. Then all round the Tree, and behind it, through the gaps in the leaves and boughs, a country began to open out; and there were glimpses of a forest marching over the land, and of mountains tipped with snow. Niggle lost interest in his other pictures; or else he took them and tacked them on to the edges of his great picture. Soon the canvas became so large that he had to get a ladder; and he ran up and down it, putting in a touch here, and rubbing out a patch there. When people came to call, he seemed polite enough, though he fiddled a little with the pencils on his desk. He listened to what they said, but underneath he was thinking all the time about his big canvas, in the tall shed that had been built for it out in his garden (on a plot where once he had grown potatoes).