The book of lost tales p.., p.34
The Book of Lost Tales, Part Two, p.34J. R. R. Tolkien
While it is often difficult to differentiate what my father omitted in his more concise versions (in order to keep them concise) from what he rejected, it seems clear that a large part of the elaborate narrative of the Tale of the Nauglafring was early abandoned. In subsequent writing the story of the fighting between Úrin’s band and Tinwelint’s Elves disappeared, and there is no trace afterwards of Ufedhin or the other Gnomes that lived among the Dwarves, of the story that the Dwarves took half the unwrought gold (‘the king’s loan’) away to Nogrod to make precious objects from it, of the keeping of Ufedhin hostage, of Tinwelint’s refusal to let the Dwarves depart, of their outrageous demands, of their scourging and their insulting payment.
We meet here again the strong emphasis on Tinwelint’s love of treasure and lack of it, in contrast to the later conception of his vast wealth (see my remarks, pp. 128–9). The Silmaril is kept in a wooden casket (p. 225), Tinwelint has no crown but a wreath of scarlet leaves (p. 227), and he is far less richly clad and accoutred than ‘the wayfarer in his halls’ (Ufedhin). This is very well in itself—the Woodland Elf corrupted by the lure of golden splendour, but it need not be remarked again how strangely at variance is this picture with that of Thingol Lord of Beleriand, who had a vast treasury in his marvellous underground realm of Menegroth, the Thousand Caves—itself largely contrived by the Dwarves of Belegost in the distant past (The Silmarillion pp. 92–3), and who most certainly did not need the aid of Dwarves at this time to make him a crown and a fine sword, or vessels to adorn his banquets. Thingol in the later conception is proud, and stern; he is also wise, and powerful, and greatly increased in stature and in knowledge through his union with a Maia. Could such a king have sunk to the level of miserly swindling that is portrayed in the Tale of the Nauglafring?
Great stress is indeed placed on the enormous size of the hoard—‘such mighty heaps of gold have never since been gathered in one place’, p. 223—which is made so vast that it becomes hard to believe that a band of wandering outlaws could have brought it to the halls of the woodland Elves, even granting that ‘some was lost upon the way’ (p. 114). There is perhaps some difference here from the account of the Rodothlim and their works in the Tale of Turambar (p. 81), where there is certainly no suggestion that the Rodothlim possessed treasures coming out of Valinor—though this idea remained through all the vicissitudes of this part of the story: it is said of the Lord of Nargothrond in The Silmarillion (p. 114) that ‘Finrod had brought more treasures out of Tirion than any other of the princes of the Noldor’.
More important, the elements of ‘spell’ and ‘curse’ are dominant in this tale, to such a degree that they might almost be said to be the chief actors in it. The curse of Mîm on the gold is felt at every turn of the narrative. Vengeance for him is one motive in Naugladur’s decision to attack the Elves of Artanor (p. 230). His curse is fulfilled in the ‘agelong feud’ between the kindreds of the Dwarves (p. 235)—of which all trace was afterwards effaced, with the loss of the entire story of Ufedhin’s intent to steal the Necklace from Naugladur sleeping, the killing of Bodruith Lord of Belegost, and the fighting between the two clans of Dwarves. Naugladur was ‘blinded by the spell’ in taking so imprudent a course out of Artanor (p. 236); and the curse of Mîm is made the ‘cause’ of his stumbling on a stone in his fight with Beren (p. 238). It is even, and most surprisingly, suggested as a reason for the short second lives of Beren and Tinúviel (p. 240); and finally ‘the spell of Mîm’ is an element in the attack on Dior by the Fëanorians (p. 241). An important element also in the tale is the baleful nature of the Nauglafring, for the Dwarves made it with bitterness; and into the complex of curses and spells is introduced also ‘the dragon’s ban upon the gold’ (p. 239) or ‘the spell of the dragon’ (p. 241). It is not said in the Tale of Turambar that Glorund had cursed the gold or enspelled it; but Mîm said to Úrin (p. 114): ‘Has not Glorund lain long years upon it, and the evil of the drakes of Melko is on it, and no good can it bring to Man or Elf.’ Most notably, Gwendelin implies, against Beren’s assertion that ‘its holiness might overcome all such evils’, that the Silmaril itself is unhallowed, since it ‘abode in the Crown of Melko’ (p. 239). In the later of the two ‘schemes’ for the Lost Tales (see I.107 note 3) it is said that the Nauglafring ‘brought sickness to Tinúviel’.*
But however much the chief actors in this tale are ‘enspelled’ or blindly carrying forward the mysterious dictates of a curse, there is no question but that the Dwarves in the original conception were altogether more ignoble than they afterwards became, more prone to evil to gain their ends, and more exclusively impelled by greed; that Doriath should be laid waste by mercenary Orcs under Dwarvish paymasters (p. 230) was to become incredible and impossible later. It is even said that by the deeds of Naugladur ‘have the Dwarves been severed in feud for ever since those days with the Elves, and drawn more nigh in friendship to the kin of Melko’ (p. 230); and in the outlines for Gilfanon’s Tale the Nauglath are an evil people, associates of goblins (I.236–7). In a rejected outline for the Tale of the Nauglafring (p. 136) the Necklace was made ‘by certain Úvanimor (Nautar or Nauglath)’, Úvanimor being defined elsewhere as ‘monsters, giants, and ogres’. With all this compare The Lord of the Rings, Appendix F (I): ‘They [the Dwarves] are not evil by nature, and few ever served the Enemy of free will, whatever the tales of Men may have alleged.’
The account of the Dwarves in this tale is of exceptional interest in other respects. ‘The beards of the Indrafangs’ have been named in Tinúviel’s ‘lengthening spell’ (pp. 19, 46); but this is the first description of the Dwarves in my father’s writings—already with the spelling that he maintained against the unceasing opposition of proof-readers—and they are eminently recognisable in their dour and hidden natures, in their ‘unloveliness’ (The Silmarillion p. 113), and in their ‘marvellous skill with metals’ (ibid. p. 92). The strange statement that ‘never comes a child among them’ is perhaps to be related to ‘the foolish opinion among Men’ referred to in The Lord of the Rings, Appendix A (III), ‘that there are no Dwarf-women, and that the Dwarves “grow out of stone”.’ In the same place it is said that ‘it is because of the fewness of women among them that the kind of the Dwarves increases slowly’.
It is also said in the tale that it is thought by some that the Dwarves ‘have not heard of Ilúvatar’ on knowledge of Ilúvatar among Men see p. 209.
According to the Gnomish dictionary Indrafang was ‘a special name of the Longbeards or Dwarves’, but in the tale it is made quite plain that the Longbeards were on the contrary the Dwarves of Belegost; the Dwarves of Nogrod were the Nauglath, with their king Naugladur. It must be admitted however that the use of the terms is sometimes confusing, or confused: thus the description of the Nauglath on pp. 223–4 seems to be a description of all Dwarves, and to include the Indrafangs, though this cannot have been intended. The reference to ‘the march of the Dwarves and Indrafangs’ (p. 234) must be taken as an ellipse, i.e. ‘the Dwarves of Nogrod and the Indrafangs’. Naugladur of Nogrod and Bodruith of Belegost are said to have been akin (p. 235), though this perhaps only means that they were both Dwarves whereas Ufedhin was an Elf.
The Dwarf-city of Nogrod is said in the tale to lie ‘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’ (p. 225). This could be interpreted to mean that Nogrod was itself ‘on the borders of those great heaths nigh Umboth-muilin’ but I think that this is out of the question. It would be a most improbable place for Dwarves, who ‘dwell beneath the earth in caves and tunnelled towns, and aforetime Nogrod was the mightiest of these’ (p. 224). Though mountains are not specifically mentioned here in connection with Dwarves, I think it extremely likely that my father at this time conceived their cities to be in the mountains, as they were afterwards. Further, there seems nothing to contradict the view that the configuration of the lands in the Lost Tales was essentially similar to
The meaning must therefore be, simply, ‘a very long journey southward beyond the wide forest’, and what follows places the wide forest, not Nogrod; the forest being, in fact, the Forest of Artanor.
The Pools of Twilight are described in The Fall of Gondolin, but the Elvish name does not there appear (see pp. 195–6, 217).
Whether Belegost was near to or far from Nogrod is not made plain; it is said in this passage that the gold should be borne away ‘to Nogrod and the dwellings of the Dwarves’, but later (p. 230) the Indrafangs are ‘a kindred of the Dwarves that dwelt in other realms’.
In his association with the Dwarves Ufedhin is reminiscent of Eöl, Maeglin’s father, of whom it is said in The Silmarillion (p. 133) that ‘for the Dwarves he had more liking than any other of the Elvenfolk of old’ cf. ibid. p. 92: ‘Few of the Eldar went ever to Nogrod or Belegost, save Eöl of Nan Elmoth and Maeglin his son.’ In the early forms of the story of Eöl and Isfin (referred to in The Fall of Gondolin, p. 165) Eöl has no association with Dwarves. In the present tale there is mention (p. 224) of ‘great traffic’ carried on by the Dwarves ‘with the free Noldoli’ (with Melko’s servants also) in those days: we may wonder who these free Noldoli were, since the Rodothlim had been destroyed, and Gondolin was hidden. Perhaps the sons of Fëanor are meant, or Egnor Beren’s father (see p. 65).
The idea that it was the Dwarves of Nogrod who were primarily involved survived into the later narrative, but they became exclusively so, and those of Belegost specifically denied all aid to them (The Silmarillion p. 233).
Turning now to the Elves, Beren is here of course still an Elf (see p. 139), and in his second span of life he is the ruler, in Hithlum—Hisilómë, of an Elvish people so numerous that ‘not even Beren knew the tale of those myriad folk’ (p. 234); they are called ‘the green Elves’ and ‘the brown Elves and the green’, for they were ‘clad in green and brown’, and Dior ruled them in Hithlum after the final departure of Beren and Tinúviel. Who were they? It is far from clear how they are to be set into the conception of the Elves of the Great Lands as it appears in other Tales. We may compare the passage in The Coming of the Elves (I.118–19):
Long after the joy of Valinor had washed its memory faint [i.e., the memory of the journey through Hisilómë] the Elves sang still sadly of it, and told tales of many of their folk whom they said and say were lost in those old forests and ever wandered there in sorrow. Still were they there long after when Men were shut in Hisilómë by Melko, and still do they dance there when Men have wandered far over the lighter places of the Earth. Hisilómë did Men name Aryador, and the Lost Elves did they call the Shadow Folk, and feared them.
But in that tale the conception still was that Tinwelint ruled ‘the scattered Elves of Hisilomë’, and in the outlines for Gilfanon’s Tale the ‘Shadow Folk’ of Hisilómë had ceased to be Elves (see p. 64). In any case, the expression ‘green Elves’, coupled with the fact that it was the Green-elves of Ossiriand whom Beren led to the ambush of the Dwarves at Sarn Athrad in the later story (The Silmarillion p. 235), shows which Elvish people they were to become, even though there is as yet no trace of Ossiriand beyond the river Gelion and the story of the origin of the Laiquendi (ibid. pp. 94, 96).
It was inevitable that ‘the land of the dead that live’ should cease to be in Hisilómë (which seems to have been in danger of having too many inhabitants), and a note on the manuscript of the Tale of the Nauglafring says: ‘Beren must be in “Doriath beyond Sirion” on a…..not in Hithlum.’ Doriath beyond Sirion was the region called in The Silmarillion (p. 122) Nivrim, the West March, the woods on the west bank of the river between the confluence of Teiglin and Sirion and Aelin-uial, the Meres of Twilight. In the Tale of Tinúviel Beren and Tinúviel, called i.Cuilwarthon, ‘became mighty fairies in the lands about the north of Sirion’ (p. 41).
Gwendelin/Gwenniel appears a somewhat faint and ineffective figure by comparison with the Melian of The Silmarillion. Conceivably, an aspect of this is the far slighter protection afforded to the realm of Artanor by her magic than that of the impenetrable wall and deluding mazes of the Girdle of Melian (see p. 63). But the nature of the protection in the old conception is very unclear. In the Tale of the Nauglafring the coming of the Dwarves from Nogrod is only known when they approach the bridge before Tinwelint’s caves (p. 226); on the other hand, it is said (p. 230) that the ‘woven magic’ of the queen was a defence against ‘men of hostile heart’, who could never make their way through the woods unless aided by treachery from within. Perhaps this provides an explanation of a sort of how the Dwarves bringing treasure from Nogrod were able to penetrate to the halls of Tinwelint without hindrance and apparently undetected (cf. also the coming of Úrin’s band in the Tale of Turambar, p. 114). In the event, the protective magic was easily—too easily—overthrown by the simple device of a single treacherous Elf of Artanor who ‘offered to lead the host through the magics of Gwendelin’. This was evidently unsatisfactory; but I shall not enter further into this question here. Extraordinary difficulties of narrative structure were caused by this element of the inviolability of Doriath, as I hope to describe at a future date.
It might be thought that the story of the drowning of the treasure at the Stony Ford (falling into the waters of the river with the Dwarves who bore it) was evolved from that in the rejected conclusion of the Tale of Turambar (p. 136)—Tinwelint ‘hearing that curse [set on the treasure by Úrin] caused the gold to be cast into a deep pool of the river before his doors’. In the Tale of the Nauglafring, however, Tinwelint, influenced by the queen’s foreboding words, still has the intention of doing this, but does not fulfil his intention (p. 223).
The account of the second departure of Beren and Tinúviel (p. 240) raises again the extremely difficult question of the peculiar fate that was decreed for them by the edict of Mandos, which I have discussed on pp. 59–60. There I have suggested that
the peculiar dispensation of Mandos in the case of Beren and Tinúviel as here conceived is therefore that their whole ‘natural’ destiny as Elves was changed: having died as Elves might die (from wounds or from grief) they were not reborn as new beings, but returned in their own persons—yet now ‘mortal even as Men’.
Here however Tinúviel ‘faded’, and vanished in the woods; and Beren searched all Hithium and Artanor for her, until he too ‘faded from life’. Since this fading is here quite explicitly the mode in which ‘that doom of mortality that Mandos had spoken’ came upon them (p. 240), it is very notable that it is likened to, and even it seems identified with, the fading of ‘the Elves of later days throughout the world’—as though in the original idea Elvish fading was a form of mortality. This is in fact made explicit in a later version.
The seven Sons of Fëanor, their oath (sworn not in Valinor but after the coming of the Noldoli to the Great Lands), and the maiming of Maidros appear in the outlines for Gilfanon’s Tale; and in the latest of these outlines the Fëanorians are placed in Dor Lómin (= Hisilómë, Hithlum), see I.238, 240, 243. Here, in the Tale of the Nauglafring, appear for the first time the names of the Sons of Fëanor, five of them (Maidros, Maglor, Celegorm, Cranthor, Curufin) in the forms, or almost the forms, they were to retain, and Curufin already with his sobriquet ‘the Crafty’. The names Amrod and Amras in The Silmarillion were a late change; for long these two sons of Fëanor were Damrod (as here) and Díriel (here Dinithel or Durithel, see Changes made to Names, p. 245).
Here also appear Dior the Fair, also called Ausir the Wealthy, and his daughter Elwing; his son Auredhir early disappeared in the development of the legends. But Dior ruled in ‘the southern vales’ (p. 241) of Hisilómë, not in Artanor, and there is no suggestion of any renewal of Tinwelint’s kingdom after his death, in contrast to what was told later (The Silmarillion p. 236); moreover the Fëanorians, as n
A very curious statement is made in this concluding part of the tale, that ‘those were days of happiness in the vales of Hithlum, for there was peace with Melko and the Dwarves who had but one thought as they plotted against Gondolin’ (p. 241). Presumably ‘peace with Melko’ means no more than that Melko had averted his attention from those lands; but nowhere else is there any reference to the Dwarves’ plotting against Gondolin.
In the typescript version of the Tale of Tinúviel (p. 43) it is said that if Turgon King of Gondolin was the most glorious of the kings of the Elves who defied Melko, ‘for a while the most mighty and the longest free was Thingol of the Woods’. The most natural interpretation of this expression is surely that Gondolin fell before Artanor; whereas in The Silmarillion (p. 240) ‘Tidings were brought by Thorondor Lord of Eagles of the fall of Nargothrond, and after of the slaying of Thingol and of Dior his heir, and of the ruin of Doriath; but Turgon shut his ear to word of the woes without.’ In the present tale we see the same chronology, in that many of the Elves who followed Beren went after his departure to Gondolin, ‘the rumour of whose growing power and glory ran in secret whispers among all the Elves’ (p. 240), though here the destruction of Gondolin is said to have taken place on the very day that Dior was attacked by the Sons of Fëanor (p. 242). To evade the discrepancy therefore we must interpret the passage in the Tale of Tinúviel to mean that Thingol remained free for a longer period of years than did Turgon, irrespective of the dates of their downfalls.
The Book of Lost Tales, Part Two by J. R. R. Tolkien / History & Fiction / Fantasy have rating 4 out of 5 / Based on32 votes