The book of lost tales p.., p.31
The Book of Lost Tales, Part Two, p.31J. R. R. Tolkien
Then were the bodies of the outlaws cast forth, but the woodland Elves that were slain Tinwelint let bury nigh to the knoll of Tinúviel, and ’tis said that the great mound stands there still in Artanor, and for long the fairies called it Cûm an-Idrisaith, the Mound of Avarice.
Now came Gwenniel to Tinwelint and said: “Touch not this gold, for my heart tells me it is trebly cursed. Cursed indeed by the dragon’s breath, and cursed by thy lieges’ blood that moistens it, and the death of those5 they slew; but some more bitter and more binding ill methinks hangs over it that I may not see.”
Then, remembering the wisdom of Gwenniel his wife, the king was minded to hearken to her, and he bade gather it up and cast it into the stream before the gates. Yet even so he might not shake off its spell, and he said to himself: “First will I gaze my last upon its loveliness ere I fling it from me for ever.” Therefore he let wash it clean of its stains of blood in clear waters, and display it before him. Now such mighty heaps of gold have never since been gathered in one place; and some thereof was wrought to cups, to basons, and to dishes, and hilts there were for swords, and scabbards, and sheaths for daggers; but the most part was of red gold unwrought lying in masses and in bars. The value of that hoard no man could count, for amid the gold lay many gems, and these were very beautiful to look upon, for the fathers of the Rodothlim had brought them out of Valinor, a portion of that boundless treasury the Noldoli had there possessed.
Now as he gazed Tinwelint said: “How glorious is this treasure! And I have not a tithe thereof, and of the gems of Valinor none save that Silmaril that Beren won from Angamandi.” But Gwenniel who stood by said: “And that were worth all that here lies, were it thrice as great.”
Then arose one from among the company, and that was Ufedhin, a Gnome; but more had he wandered about the world than any of the king’s folk, and long had he dwelt with the Nauglath and the Indrafangs their kin. The Nauglath are a strange race and none know surely whence they be; and they serve not Melko nor Manwë and reck not for Elf or Man, and some say that they have not heard of Ilúvatar, or hearing disbelieve. Howbeit in crafts and sciences and in the knowledge of the virtues of all things that are in the earth6 or under the water none excel them; yet they dwell beneath the ground in caves and tunnelled towns, and aforetime Nogrod was the mightiest of these. Old are they, and never comes a child among them, nor do they laugh. They are squat in stature, and yet are strong, and their beards reach even to their toes, but the beards of the Indrafangs are the longest of all, and are forked, and they bind them about their middles when they walk abroad. All these creatures have Men called ‘Dwarves’, and say that their crafts and cunning surpass that of the Gnomes in marvellous contrivance, but of a truth there is little beauty in their works of themselves, for in those things of loveliness that they have wrought in ages past such renegade Gnomes as was Ufedhin have ever had a hand. Now long had that Gnome forsaken his folk, becoming leagued with the Dwarves of Nogrod, and was at that time come to the realms of Tinwelint with certain other Noldoli of like mind bearing swords and coats of mail and other smithyings of exquisite skill in which the Nauglath in those days did great traffic with the free Noldoli, and, ’tis said, with the Orcs and soldiers of Melko also.
As he stood in that place the spell of the gold had pierced the heart of Ufedhin more deeply than the heart of any there, and he could not endure that it should all be cast away, and these were his words: “An evil deed is this that Tinwelint the king intends; or who hereafter shall say that the kindreds of the Eldalië love things of beauty if a king of the Eldar cast so great a store of loveliness into the dark woodland waters where none but the fishes may after behold it? Rather than this should be, I beg of thee, O King, to suffer the craftsmen of the Dwarves to try their skill upon this unwrought gold, that the name of the golden treasury of Tinwelint become heard in all lands and places. This will they do, I promise thee, for small guerdon, might they but save the hoard from ruin.”
Then looked the king upon the gold and he looked upon Ufedhin, and that Gnome was clad very richly, having a tunic of golden web and a belt of gold set with tiny gems; and his sword was damasked in strange wise,7 but a collar of gold and silver interlaced most intricate was round his neck, and Tinwelint’s raiment could in no wise compare with that of the wayfarer in his halls. Again looked Tinwelint upon the gold, and it shone yet more alluring fair, nor ever had the sparkle of the gems seemed so brilliant, and Ufedhin said again: “Or in what manner, O King, dost thou guard that Silmaril of which all the world hath heard?”
Now Gwenniel warded it in a casket of wood bound with iron, and Ufedhin said it was shame so to set a jewel that should not touch aught less worthy than the purest gold. Then was Tinwelint abashed, and yielded, and this was the agreement that he made with Ufedhin. Half the gold should the king measure and give to the hands of Ufedhin and his company, and they should bear it away to Nogrod and the dwellings of the Dwarves. Now those were a very long journey southward beyond the wide forest on the borders of those great heaths nigh Umboth-muilin the Pools of Twilight, on the marches of Tasarinan. Yet after but seven full moons back would the Nauglath fare bearing the king’s loan all wrought to works of greatest cunning, yet in no wise would the weight and purity of the gold be minished. Then would they speak to Tinwelint, and an he liked not the handiwork then would they return and say no more; yet if it seemed good to him then of that which remained would they fashion such marvellous things for his adornment and for Gwenniel the Queen as never had Gnome or Dwarf made yet.
“For,” said Ufedhin, “the cunning of the Nauglath have I learnt, and the beauty of design that only can the Noldoli compass do I know—yet shall the wages of our labour be small indeed, and we will name it before thee when all is done.”
Then by reason of the glamour of the gold the king repented his agreement with Ufedhin, and he liked not altogether his words, and he would not suffer so great a store of gold to be borne without surety out of his sight for seven moons to the distant dwellings of the Dwarves; yet was he minded nonetheless to profit by their skill. Therefore suddenly he let seize Ufedhin, and his folk, and he said unto them: “Here shall ye remain as hostages in my halls until I see again my treasury.” Now Tinwelint thought in his heart that Ufedhin and his Gnomes were of the utmost service to the Dwarves, and no covetice would be strong enough to bring them to forsake him; but that Gnome was very wroth, saying: “The Nauglath are no thieves, O King, nor yet their friends” but Tinwelint said: “Yet the light of overmuch gold has made many thieves, who were not so before,” and Ufedhin perforce consented, yet he forgave not Tinwelint in his heart.
Therefore was the gold now borne to Nogrod by folk of the king guided by one only of Ufedhin’s companions, and the agreement of Ufedhin and Tinwelint spoken to Naugladur, the king of those places.
Now during the time of waiting Ufedhin was kindly entreated in the courts of Tinwelint, yet was he idle perforce, and he fretted inwardly. In his leisure he pondered ever what manner of lovely thing of gold and jewels he would after fashion for Tinwelint, but this was only for the greater ensnaring of the king, for already he began to weave dark plots most deep of avarice and revenge.
On the very day of the fullness of the seventh moon thereafter the watchers on the king’s bridge cried: “Lo! there comes a great company through the wood, and all it seems are aged men, and they bear very heavy burdens on their backs.” But the king hearing said: “It is the Nauglath, who keep their tryst: now mayst thou go free, Ufedhin, and take my greeting to them, and lead them straightway to my hall” and Ufedhin sallied forth gladly, but his heart forgot not its resentment. Therefore having speech privily with the Nauglath he prevailed upon them to demand at the end a very great reward, and one thereto that the king might not grant unhumbled; and more of his designs also did he unfold, whereby that gold might fare in the end to Nogrod for ever.
Now come the Dwarves nonetheless over the bridge and before the chair of Tinwelint, and behold, the things
But as yet the designs of Ufedhin came to nought, for in no wise would Tinwelint suffer or him or those of the Nauglath to depart to Nogrod with or without that portion of the unwrought gold that yet remained, and he said: “How shall it be thought that after the weariness of your burdened journeys hither I should let you so soon be gone, to noise the lack of courtesy of Tinwelint abroad in Nogrod? Stay now awhile and rest and feast, and afterward shall ye have the gold that remains to work your pleasure on; nor shall aught of help that I or my folk may afford be wanting in your labour, and a reward rich and more than just awaits you at the end.”
But they knew nonetheless that they were prisoners, and trying the exits privily found them strongly warded. Being therefore without counsel they bowed before the king, and the faces of the Dwarf-folk show seldom what they think. Now after a time of rest was that last smithying begun in a deep place of Tinwelint’s abode which he caused to be set apart for their uses, and what their hearts lacked therein fear supplied, and in all that work Ufedhin had a mighty part.
A golden crown they made for Tinwelint, who yet had worn nought but a wreath of scarlet leaves, and a helm too most glorious they fashioned; and a sword of dwarven steel brought from afar was hilted with bright gold and damascened in gold and silver with strange figurings wherein was pictured clear the wolf-hunt of Karkaras Knife-fang, father of wolves. That was a more wonderful sword than any Tinwelint had seen before, and outshone the sword in Ufedhin’s belt the king had coveted. These things were of Ufedhin’s cunning, but the Dwarves made a coat of linked mail of steel and gold for Tinwelint, and a belt of gold. Then was the king’s heart gladdened, but they said: “All is not finished,” and Ufedhin made a silver crown for Gwenniel, and aided by the Dwarves contrived slippers of silver crusted with diamonds, and the silver thereof was fashioned in delicate scales, so that it yielded as soft leather to the foot, and a girdle he made too of silver blended with pale gold. Yet were those things but a tithe of their works, and no tale tells a full count of them.
Now when all was done and their smithcraft given to the king, then said Ufedhin: “O Tinwelint, richest of kings, dost thou think these things fair?” And he said: “Yea” but Ufedhin said: “Know then that great store of thy best and purest gold remaineth still, for we have husbanded it, having a boon to ask of thee, and it is this: we would make thee a carcanet and to its making lay all the skill and cunning that we have, and we desire that this should be the most marvellous ornament that the Earth has seen, and the greatest of the works of Elves and Dwarves. Therefore we beg of thee to let us have that Silmaril that thou treasurest, that it may shine wondrously amid the Nauglafring, the Necklace of the Dwarves.”
Then again did Tinwelint doubt Ufedhin’s purpose, yet did he yield the boon, an they would suffer him to be present at that smithying.
None are that yet live,’ quoth Ailios,8 ‘who have seen that most glorious thing, save only9 Littleheart son of Bronweg, yet are many things told thereof. Not only was it wrought with the greatest skill and subtlety in the world but it had a magic power, and there was no throat so great or so slender whereon it sat not with grace and loveliness. Albeit a weight beyond belief of gold was used in the making, lightly it hung upon its wearer as a strand of flax; and all such as clasped it about their necks seemed, as it hung upon their breasts, to be of goodly countenance, and women seemed most fair. Gems uncounted were there in that carcanet of gold, yet only as a setting that did prepare for its great central glory, and led the eye thereto, for amidmost hung like a little lamp of limpid fire the Silmaril of Fëanor, jewel of the Gods. Yet alas, even had that gold of the Rodothlim held no evil spell still had that carcanet been a thing of little luck, for the Dwarves were full of bitterness, and all its links were twined with baleful thoughts. Now however did they bear it before the king in its new-gleaming splendour; and then was the joy of Tinwelint king of the woodland Elves come to its crowning, and he cast the Nauglafring about his throat, and straightway the curse of Mîm fell upon him. Then said Ufedhin: “Now, O Lord, that thou art pleased beyond thy hope, perchance thou wilt grant the craftsmen thy kingly reward, and suffer them to depart also in joy to their own lands.”
But Tinwelint, bewildered by the golden spell and the curse of Mîm, liked not the memory of his tryst; yet dissembling he bid the craftsmen come before him, and he praised their handiwork with royal words. At length said he: “’Twas said to me by one Ufedhin that at the end such reward as ye wished ye would name before me, yet would it be small enough, seeing that the labour was of love and of Ufedhin’s desire that the golden hoard be not cast away and lost. What then do ye wish that I may grant?”
Then said Ufedhin scornfully: “For myself, nothing, O Lord; indeed the guestkindliness of thy halls for seven moons and three is more than I desire.” But the Dwarves said: “This do we ask. For our labours during seven moons each seven jewels of Valinor, and seven robes of magic that only Gwendelin10 can weave, and each a sack of gold; but for our great labour during three moons in thy halls unwilling, we ask each three sacks of silver, and each a cup of gold wherein to pledge thy health, O King, and each a fair maiden of the woodland Elves to fare away with us to our homes.”
Then was King Tinwelint wroth indeed, for what the Dwarves had asked was of itself a goodly treasury, seeing that their company was very great; and he had no mind thus to devour the dragon’s hoard, but never could he deliver maidens of the Elves unto illshapen Dwarves without undying shame.
Now that demand they had made only by the design of Ufedhin, yet seeing the anger of the king’s face they said: “Nay, but this is not all, for in payment of Ufedhin’s captivity for seven moons seven stout Elves must come with us and abide seven times seven years among us as bondsmen and menials in our labour.”
Thereat arose Tinwelint from his seat, and calling summoned his weaponed thanes and warriors, that these surrounded the Nauglath and those Gnomes. Then said he: “For your insolence each three stripes with stinging withes shall ye receive, and Ufedhin seven, and afterwards will we speak of recompense.”
When this was done, and a flame of bitter vengeance lit in those deep hearts, he said: “Lo, for your labour of seven months six pieces of gold and one of silver each shall have, and for your labours in my halls each three pieces of gold and some small gem that I can spare. For your journey hither a great feast shall ye eat and depart with good store against your return, and ere ye go ye shall drink to Tinwelint in elfin wine; yet, mark ye, for the sustenance of Ufedhin seven idle months about my halls shall ye each pay a piece of gold, and of silver two, for he has not aught himself and shall not receive since he desires it not, yet methinks he is at the bottom of your arrogance.”
Then were the Dwarves paid their reward like common smiths of bronze and iron, and constrained to yield once more therefrom payment for Ufedhin—“else,” said the king, “never shall ye get him hence.” Then sat they to a great feast and dissembled their mood; yet at the end the time of their going came, and they drank to Tinwelint in elfin wine, but they cursed him in their beards, and Ufedhin swallowed not and spat the wine from his mouth upon the threshold.
Now tells the tale that the Nauglath fared hom
Yet after long pondering he saw not how he might achieve his purpose save by force, and there was little hope therein, both by reason of the great strength of numbers of the Elves of Artanor in those days, and of the woven magic of Gwenniel that guarded all those regions, so that men of hostile heart were lost and came not to those woods; nor indeed could any such come thither unaided by treachery from within.
Now even as those aged ones sat in their dark halls and gnawed their beards, behold a sound of horns, and messengers were come from Bodruith of the Indrafangs, a kindred of the Dwarves that dwelt in other realms. Now these brought tidings of the death of Mîm the fatherless at the hand of Úrin and the rape of Glorund’s gold, which tale had but new come to Bodruith’s ears. Now hitherto the Dwarves knew not the full tale concerning that hoard, nor more than Ufedhin might tell hearing the speech in Tinwelint’s halls, and Úrin had not spoken the full count thereof ere he departed. Hearing therefore these tidings new wrath was added to their lust and a clamour arose among them, and Naugladur vowed to rest not ere Mîm was thrice avenged—“and more,” said he, “meseems the gold belongs of right to the people of the Dwarves.”
The Book of Lost Tales, Part Two by J. R. R. Tolkien / History & Fiction / Fantasy have rating 4 out of 5 / Based on32 votes