Bedtime stories from the Elder Days
Story time! In the fourth round we have asked the participants to write bedtime stories. The story could be one told by Eärwen to Nerwen; by Maglor to Elros and Elrond; by Dís to Fíli and Kili; by Éomer to Éowyn; or by Gaffer Gamgee to Elanor; and it had to be suitable to the age and culture of the storyteller and the audience. Which option would you guess to be the most popular of these?
We have received five stories for this task and will present them to you in Middle-earth time order.
Syrg (Péter Korponay-Szabó) argued that Elven tales are rather sung than simply told, so composed Eärwen’s story to Nerwen in verse:
There is a tale I wish to sing
as the moonlight is nigh
hoping, m’dear, that it shall bring
a peaceful lullaby.
Beyond the realm of Valinor
over the vast waters
lived an Elven sailor ashore
with his two fair daughters.
There was harmony amongst them
though their sorrow was great
and their anguish could indeed stem
from their mother’s sad fate.
As she had been their saviour
long ago when they were small,
by saving them with her grandeur
she ceded her own soul.
The two sisters though heart-broken
with their father’s aiding
were then looking for a token
to halt mem’ry fading.
Skilful was the Elven sailor
beams were formed in his hands;
he wanted a boat to tailor
to sail through distant lands.
Since his daughters had decided
to explore the white waves,
where the great Ulmo presided
in his watery caves.
The two maids, Nenwen and Tarwith
sailed for weeks and searched,
when out of the foams forthwith
a green giant emerged.
In front of them Ulmo appeared
the Dweller of the Deep,
whom the sisters greatly revered
and thus started to weep.
For they told him their mother’s fate
snatched by the stormy seas
if he could help at any rate
they fell onto their knees.
Then Ulmo in his green armor
responded from the shades
said he had not wished to harm her
and sought to help the maids.
He forged a basin with great skill
like a mirror, sublime
enchanting it with his own will
to foresee within Time.
“Fare thee well and do not forget”,
said Ulmo from the sea,
“never wish to see you’d regret:
thy mind should remain free.”
The two sisters were pervaded
with such immense delight
that across the sea they waded
till their home was in sight.
Their father beamed with great pleasure
when he saw them unharmed
and spotting the godly treasure
his heart was promptly charmed.
They all looked into the mirror
first down and then across
seeing Mother ever clearer
in the Halls of Mandos.
As they wished to be together
they plunged into the depth,
remained family forever…
though only after death.
What with the basin, you may ask,
there’s nothing else to say;
finding it is no little task
yet you might try one day.
Next we present Maglor’s tale to Elrond and Elros, written by Daeron Vardamir (Renzo Caimotto):
"Long ago there was an elf whose ability in singing and poetry surpassed that of any other..."
"Was he better than you, Maglor?"
"I never met him, Elros, nor did I know anyone who met him. But according to what they say there was no one who was not enchanted by the beauty of his compositions. Even the forest animals stopped to listen to him, even the birds and, they say, even the fish in rivers and lakes floated to the surface attracted by his words.
He lived traveling from region to region, crossing forests and villages, crossing mountains and plains, driven by the desire to know the world by looking for new songs to learn, new stories to put into poetry, new events to tell.
Therefore he stopped in every city and village and asked the inhabitants to teach him the songs of the place and the most recent events, even if often, when they then asked him to sing or recite something, they would never let him stop, always begging him to continue, admiring his skill and so he could not learn anything new.
At that point, secretly, he went away and continued his journey and his search.
One day, as he was crossing a wood, he heard a sweet song from afar: he had never heard anything so beautiful! He followed the voice, trying to figure out where it came from; and the closer he got, the more he realized that in addition to the voice there were other sounds, which harmonized perfectly, and yet they did not come from instruments or other similar things. He reached a stream that formed a small waterfall, threw himself into a small lake and saw that there was a woman on the shore; she was the one singing, and the sounds she had heard were made by the water of the stream as it plunged into the pond, bouncing off the rocks and leaves of the plants. He was enchanted by what he heard and, at the same time, incredulous of what he was observing: it takes a great deal of skill to tune in and follow the sounds of nature that change constantly and are never the same, even when they are produced by something continuous like water. of a river; but the more he observed and listened, the more it seemed to the elf that it was the water of the stream that followed the song and not vice versa!"
"How is it possible?"
"Sssh! Stop interrupting, Elros!"
"Ugh, Elrond, you always scold me!"
"Come on, children, don't fight; now I'll tell you:
That woman was a Daughter of the River; they are shy creatures, much more than the most shy of woodland animals. They always live near waterways; they care for them, like a mother to their children, and try to keep evil creatures at bay, even if they don't always succeed. They have some power over the water itself, they can cause a stream to burst into a sudden flood or dry up in no time!
But this our elf did not know. So he remained to observe, hidden, and to listen to that song, formulated in a language he did not know; and the thing intrigued him even more, he who had traveled so much, who had known so much about the world, had found something he could not understand. But he dared not advance further for fear of interrupting that sweet composition, which so fascinated her.
The song became slower, and the sound of the water faded too, although the stream seemed to have changed nothing in the flow of the water.
The elf then decided to try to sing in turn, in tune with the song; the Riverdaughter then heard it and hid herself, so quickly that it seemed to the elf that she had suddenly disappeared, as if she had become invisible; nevertheless, he continued the song, as he noticed that the stream continued the same melody and he imagined that she was still nearby and was listening to him. So it was, in fact, because although she didn't want to be seen, she appreciated the elf's skill and was intrigued by him; he then sang about himself and his journey, how he got there and how fascinated he was by her. He asked who she was, and how she managed to do what she had seen.
She tested him by changing the sound of the water and he, understanding this, adjusted his tune; it happened several times and he always managed to follow the melody that the water created from time to time.
Eventually she replied, struck by his skill and now sure he had no bad intentions; he told him about himself and his people, he explained to him how that power over water was an innate gift of his people and not something that could be taught.
They spent a long, long time like this, telling each other stories and tales; he from faraway lands that she had never seen and she from ancient times in that little corner of the world and listening to his words it seemed that every little thing took on enormous importance, from the fall of an old tree, to the squirrel he could carry an acorn in the den.
Yet she continued to remain hidden and her voice reached the elf like an echo with no real origin; the elf often asked her to show herself again, but she always replied that it was not possible, that it was not allowed.
Finally she greeted him, telling him that it was time for him to continue his journey; he obviously did not want to leave her, but she told him that he could not stay too long on those banks, that a danger was coming and that he had to go. He tried to protest, but a sudden little spray rose from the pond and hit him in full, blocking every word! When he managed to open his eyes again, raising the water from his face, he saw her for a moment, with his hand raised in greeting and read the word 'Goodbye' on her lips..."
"The elf stayed on the banks for a long time, calling her, but got no answer. Not long after, he realized what the Riverdaughter had meant: an army of orcs marched in that direction and was forced to flee. He wandered far, to be safe; much later he learned where those hideous orcs had gone and that their mission failed and they were all killed. He then returned to the pond, but found that everything had been ruined by their passage; they must have camped on those banks, and cut down all the plants around there, diverted the stream to create a ford, making the area a swamp. The Riverdaughter had failed to protect the stream, unfortunately, there were too many.
The elf called her for a long time, but got no answer. Probably she had left to avoid witnessing the destruction and had not returned there. He tried to go up the stream to the springs and went back down to the sea, but he could no longer find it.
But there are those who say they are still looking for it."
To be continued...