The book of lost tales p.., p.11
The Book of Lost Tales, Part Two, p.11J. R. R. Tolkien
On a time Túrin sate at meat with the king, and it was that day twelve years since he had gazed through his tears upon Mavwin standing before the doors and weeping as he made his way among the trees, until their stems had taken her from his sight, and he was moody, speaking curt answers to those that sat nigh him, and most of all to Orgof.
But this fool would not give him peace, making a laugh of his rough clothes and tangled hair, for Túrin had then come new from a long abiding in the woods, and at length he drew forth daintily a comb of gold that he had and offered it to Túrin; and having drunk well, when Túrin deigned not to notice him he said: “Nay, an thou knowst not how to use a comb, hie thee back to thy mother, for she perchance will teach thee—unless in sooth the women of Hithlum be as ugly as their sons and as little kempt.” Then a fierce anger born of his sore heart and these words concerning the lady Mavwin blazed suddenly in Túrin’s breast, so that he seized a heavy drinking-vessel of gold that lay by his right hand and unmindful of his strength he cast it with great force in Orgof’s teeth, saying: “Stop thy mouth therewith, fool, and prate no more.” But Orgof’s face was broken and he fell back with great weight, striking his head upon the stone of the floor and dragging upon him the table and all its vessels, and he spake nor prated again, for he was dead.
Then all men rose in silence, but Túrin, gazing aghast upon the body of Orgof and the spilled wine upon his hand, turned on his heel and strode into the night; and some that were akin to Orgof drew their weapons half from their sheaths, yet none struck, for the king gave no sign but stared stonily upon the body of Orgof, and very great amaze was in his face. But Túrin laved his hands in the stream without the doors and burst there into tears, saying: “Lo! Is there a curse upon me, for all I do is ill, and now is it so turned that I must flee the house of my fosterfather an outlaw guilty of blood—nor look upon the faces of any I love again.” And in his heart he dared not return to Hithlum lest his mother be bitterly grieved at his disgrace, or perchance he might draw the wrath of the Elves behind him to his folk; wherefore he got himself far away, and when men came to seek him he might not be found.
Yet they did not seek his harm, although he knew it not, for Tinwelint despite his grief and the ill deed pardoned him, and the most of his folk were with him in that, for Túrin had long held his peace or returned courtesy to the folly of Orgof, though stung often enough thereby, for that Elf being not a little jealous was used to barb his words; and now therefore the near kinsmen of Orgof were constrained by fear of Tinwelint and by many gifts to accept the king’s doom.
Yet Túrin in unhappiness, believing the hand of all against him and the heart of the king become that of a foe, crept to the uttermost bounds of that woodland realm. There he hunted for his subsistence, being a good shot with the bow, yet he rivalled not the Elves at that, for rather at the wielding of the sword was he mightier than they. To him gathered a few wild spirits, and amongst them was Beleg the huntsman, who had rescued Gumlin and Túrin in the woods aforetime. Now in many adventures were those twain together, Beleg the Elf and Túrin the Man, which are not now told or remembered but which once were sung in many a place. With beast and with goblin they warred and fared at times into far places unknown to the Elves, and the fame of the hidden hunters of the marches began to be heard among Orcs and Elves, so that perchance Tinwelint would soon have become aware of the place of Túrin’s abiding, had not upon a time all that band of Túrin’s fallen into desperate encounter with a host of Orcs who outnumbered them three times. All were there slain save Túrin and Beleg, and Beleg escaped with wounds, but Túrin was overborne and bound, for such was the will of Melko that he be brought to him alive; for behold, dwelling in the halls of Linwë7 about which had that fay Gwedheling the queen woven much magic and mystery and such power of spells as can come only from Valinor, whence indeed long time agone she once had brought them, Túrin had been lost out of his sight, and he feared lest he cheat the doom that was devised for him. Therefore now he purposed to entreat him grievously before the eyes of Úrin; but Úrin had called upon the Valar of the West, being taught much concerning them by the Eldar of Kôr—the Gnomes he had encountered—and his words came, who shall say how, to Manwë Súlimo upon the heights of Taniquetil, the Mountain of the World. Nonetheless was Túrin dragged now many an evil league in sore distress, a captive of the pitiless Orcs, and they made slow journeying, for they followed ever the line of dark hills toward those regions where they rise high and gloomy and their heads are shrouded in black vapours. There are they called Angorodin or the Iron Mountains, for beneath the roots of their northernmost fastnesses lies Angband, the Hells of Iron, most grievous of all abodes—and thither were they now making laden with booty and with evil deeds.
Know then that in those days still was Hithlum and the Lands Beyond full of the wild Elves and of Noldoli yet free, fugitives of the old battle; and some wandered ever wearily, and others had secret and hidden abodes in caves or woodland fastnesses, but Melko sought untiringly after them and most pitilessly did he entreat them of all his thralls did he capture them. Orcs and dragons and evil fays were loosed against them and their lives were full of sorrow and travail, so that those who found not in the end the realms of Tinwelint nor the secret stronghold of the king of the city of stone* perished or were enslaved.
Noldoli too there were who were under the evil enchantments of Melko and wandered as in a dream of fear, doing his ill bidding, for the spell of bottomless dread was on them and they felt the eyes of Melko burn them from afar. Yet often did these sad Elves both thrall and free hear the voice of Ulmo in the streams or by the sea-marge where the waters of Sirion mingled with the waves; for Ulmo, of all the Valar, still thought of them most tenderly and designed with their slender aid to bring Melko’s evil to ruin. Then remembering the blessedness of Valinor would they at times cast away their fear, doing good deeds and aiding both Elves and Men against the Lord of Iron.
Now was it that it came into the heart of Beleg the hunter of the Elves to seek after Túrin so soon as his own hurts were healed. This being done in no great number of days, for he had a skill of healing, he made all speed after the band of Orcs, and he had need of all his craft as tracker to follow that trail, for a band of the goblins of Melko go cunningly and very light. Soon was he far beyond any regions known to him, yet for love of Túrin he pressed on, and in this did he show courage greater than the most of that woodland folk, and indeed there are none who may now measure the depth of fear and anguish that Melko set in the hearts of Men and of Elves in those sad days. Thus did it fall out that Beleg became lost and benighted in a dark and perilous region so thick with pines of giant growth that none but the goblins might find a track, having eyes that pierced the deepest gloom, yet were many even of these lost long time in those regions; and they were called by the Noldoli Taurfuin, the Forest of Night. Now giving himself up for lost Beleg lay with his back to a mighty tree and listened to the wind in the gaunt tops of the forest many fathoms above him, and the moaning of the night airs and the creaking of the branches was full of sorrow and foreboding, and his heart became utterly weary.
On a sudden he noticed a little light afar among the trees steady and pale as it were of a glowworm very bright, yet thinking it might scarce be glowworm in such a place he crept towards it. Now the Noldoli that laboured in the earth and aforetime had skill of crafts in metals and gems in Valinor were the most valued of the thralls of Melko, and he suffered them not to stray far away, and so it was that Beleg knew not that these Elves had little lanterns of strange fashion, and they were of silver and of crystal and a flame of a pale blue burnt forever within, and this was a secret and the jewel-makers among them alone knew it nor would they reveal it even to Melko, albeit many jewels and many magic lights they were constrained to make for him.
Aided by these lamps the Noldoli fared much at night, and seldom lost a path had they but once trodden it before. So it was that drawing near Beleg beheld one of the hill-gnomes stretched upon the n
Then was Beleg in great eagerness and sprang to his feet shouting: “’Tis Túrin, fosterson of Tinwelint, even he whom I seek, who was the son of Úrin long ago.—Nay, lead me to this camp, O son of Duilin, and soon shall he be free,” but Flinding was much afeared, saying: “Softer words, my Beleg, for the Orcs have ears of cats, and though a day’s march lies between me and that encampment who knows whether they be not followed after.”
Nonetheless hearing the story of Túrin from Beleg, despite his dread he consented to lead Beleg to that place, and long ere the sun rose on the day or its fainting beams crept into that dark forest they were upon the road, guided by the dancing light of Flinding’s swinging lamp. Now it happened that in their journeying their paths crossed that of the Orcs who now were renewing their march, but in a direction other than that they had for long pursued, for now fearing the escape of their prisoner they made for a place where they knew the trees were thinner and a track ran for many a league easy to pursue; wherefore that evening, or ever they came to the spot that Flinding sought, they heard a shouting and a rough singing that was afar in the woods but drawing near; nor did they hide too soon ere the whole of that Orc-band passed nigh to them, and some of the captains were mounted upon small horses, and to one of these was Túrin tied by the wrists so that he must trot or be dragged cruelly. Then did Beleg and Flinding follow timorously after as dusk fell on the forest, and when that band encamped they lurked near until all was quiet save the moaning of the captives. Now Flinding covered his lamp with a pelt and they crept near, and behold the goblins slept, for it was not their wont to keep fire or watch in their bivouacs, and for guard they trusted to certain fierce wolves that went always with their bands as dogs with Men, but slept not when they camped, and their eyes shone like points of red light among the trees. Now was Flinding in sore dread, but Beleg bid him follow, and the two crept between the wolves at a point where there was a great gap between them, and as the luck of the Valar had it Túrin was lying nigh, apart from the others, and Beleg came unseen to his side and would cut his bonds, when he found his knife had dropped from his side in his creeping and his sword he had left behind without the camp. Therefore now, for they dare not risk the creeping forth and back again, do Beleg and Flinding both stout men essay to carry him sleeping soundly in utter weariness stealthily from the camp, and this they did, and it has ever been thought a great feat, and few have done the like in passing the wolf guards of the goblins and despoiling their camps.
Now in the woods at no great distance from the camp they laid him down, for they might not bear him further, seeing that he was a Man and of greater stature than they;8 but Beleg fetched his sword and would cut his bonds forthwith. The bonds about his wrists he severed first and was cutting those upon the ankles when blundering in the dark he pricked Túrin’s foot deeply, and Túrin awoke in fear. Now seeing a form bend over him in the gloom sword in hand and feeling the smart of his foot he thought it was one of the Orcs come to slay him or to torment him—and this they did often, cutting him with knives or hurting him with spears; but now Túrin feeling his hand free leapt up and flung all his weight suddenly upon Beleg, who fell and was half-crushed, lying speechless on the ground; but Túrin at the same time seized the sword and struck it through Beleg’s throat or ever Flinding might know what had betid. Then Túrin leapt back and shouting out curses upon the goblins bid them come and slay him or taste of his sword, for he fancied himself in the midst of their camp, and thought not of flight but only of selling his life dear. Now would he have made at Flinding, but that Gnome sprang back, dropping his lamp, so that its cover slipped and the light of it shone forth, and he called out in the tongue of the Gnomes that Túrin should hold his hand and slay not his friends—then did Túrin hearing his speech pause, and as he stood, by the light of the lamp he saw the white face of Beleg lying nigh his feet with pierced throat, and he stood as one stricken to stone, and such was the look upon his face that Flinding dared not speak for a long while. Indeed little mind had he for words, for by that light had he also seen the fate of Beleg and was very bitter in heart. At length however it seemed to Flinding that the Orcs were astir, and so it was, for the shouts of Túrin had come to them; wherefore he said to Túrin: “The Orcs are upon us, let us flee,” but Túrin answered not, and Flinding shook him, bidding him gather his wits or perish, and then Túrin did as he was bid but yet as one dazed, and stooping he raised Beleg and kissed his mouth.
Then did Flinding guide Túrin as well as he might swiftly from those regions, and Túrin wandered with him following as he led, and at length for a while they had shaken off pursuit and could breathe again. Now then did Flinding have space to tell Túrin all he knew and of his meeting with Beleg, and the floods of Túrin’s tears were loosed, and he wept bitterly, for Beleg had been his comrade often in many deeds; and this was the third anguish that befell Túrin, nor did he lose the mark of that sorrow utterly in all his life; and long he wandered with Flinding caring little whither he went, and but for that Gnome soon would he have been recaptured or lost, for he thought only of the stark face of Beleg the huntsman, lying in the dark forest slain by his hand even as he cut the bonds of thraldom from him.
In that time was Túrin’s hair touched with grey, despite his few years. Long time however did Túrin and the Noldo journey together, and by reason of the magic of that lamp fared by night and hid by day and were lost in the hills, and the Orcs found them not.
Now in the mountains there was a place of caves above a stream, and that stream ran down to feed the river Sirion, but grass grew before the doors of the caves, and these were cunningly concealed by trees and such magics as those scattered bands that dwelt therein remembered still. Indeed at this time this place had grown to be a strong dwelling of the folk and many a fugitive swelled them, and there the ancient arts and works of the Noldoli came once more to life albeit in a rude and rugged fashion.
There was smithying in secret and forging of good weapons, and even fashioning of some fair things beside, and the women spun once more and wove, and at times was gold quarried privily in places nigh, where it was found, so that deep in those caverns might vessels of beauty be seen in the flame of secret lights, and old songs were faintly sung. Yet did the dwellers in the caves flee always before the Orcs and never give battle unless compelled by mischance or were they able to so entrap them that all might be slain and none escape alive; and this they did of policy that no tidings reach Melko of their dwelling nor might he suspect any numerous gathering of folk in those parts.
This place however was known to the Noldo Flinding who fared with Túrin; indeed he was once of that people long since, before the Orcs captured him and he was held in thraldom. Thither did he now wend being sure that the pursuit came no longer nigh them, yet went he nonetheless by devious ways, so that it was long ere they drew nigh to that region, and the spies and watchers of the Rodothlim (for so were that folk named) gave warning of their approach, and the folk withdrew before them, such as were ab
Now then Flinding and Túrin dared even to the caves’ mouths, and perceiving that these twain knew now the paths thereto the Rodothlim sallied and made them prisoners and drew them within their rocky halls, and they were led before the chief, Orodreth. Now the free Noldoli at that time feared much those of their kin who had tasted thraldom, for compelled by fear and torture and spells much treachery had they wrought; even thus did the evil deeds of the Gnomes at Cópas Alqalunten find vengeance,9 setting Gnome against Gnome, and the Noldoli cursed the day that ever they first hearkened to the deceit of Melko, rueing utterly their departure from the blessed realm of Valinor.
Nonetheless when Orodreth heard the tale of Flinding and knew it to be true he welcomed him with joy back among the folk, yet was that Gnome so changed by the anguish of his slavery that few knew him again; but for Flinding’s sake Orodreth hearkened to the tale of Túrin, and Túrin told of his travails and named Úrin as his sire, nor had the Gnomes yet forgot that name. Then was the heart of Orodreth made kind and he bade them dwell among the Rodothlim and be faithful to him. So came the sojourn of Túrin among the people of the caves, and he dwelt with Flinding bo-Dhuilin and laboured much for the good of the folk, and slew many a wandering Orc, and did doughty deeds in their defence. In return much did he learn of new wisdom from them, for memories of Valinor burnt yet deep in their wild hearts, and greater still was their wisdom than that of such Eldar as had seen never the blest faces of the Gods.
Among that people was a very fair maiden and she was named Failivrin, and her father was Galweg; and this Gnome had a liking for Túrin and aided him much, and Túrin was often with him in ventures and good deeds. Now many a tale of these did Galweg make beside his hearth and Túrin was often at his board, and the heart of Failivrin became moved at the sight of him, and wondered often at his gloom and sadness, pondering what sorrow lay locked in his breast, for Túrin went not gaily being weighted with the death of Beleg that he felt upon his head, and he suffered not his heart to be moved, although he was glad of her sweetness; but he deemed himself an outlawed man and one burdened with a heavy doom of ill. Therefore did Failivrin become sorrowful and wept in secret, and she grew so pale that folk marvelled at the whiteness and delicacy of her face and her bright eyes that shone therein.
The Book of Lost Tales, Part Two by J. R. R. Tolkien / History & Fiction / Fantasy have rating 4 out of 5 / Based on32 votes