The book of lost tales p.., p.35
The Book of Lost Tales, Part Two, p.35J. R. R. Tolkien
Lastly, the statements that Cûm an-Idrisaith, the Mound of Avarice, ‘stands there still in Artanor’ (p. 223), and that the waters of Aros still flow above the drowned hoard (p. 238), are noteworthy as indications that nothing analogous to the Drowning of Beleriand was present in the original conception.
THE TALE OF EÄRENDEL
The ‘true beginning’ of the Tale of Eärendel was to be the dwelling at Sirion’s mouth of the Lothlim (the point at which The Fall of Gondolin ends: ‘and fair among the Lothlim Eärendel grows in the house of his father’, pp. 196–7) and the coming there of Elwing (the point at which the Tale of the Nauglafring ends: ‘they departed for ever from the glades of Hithlum and got them to the south towards Sirion’s deep waters, and the pleasant lands. And thus did all the fates of the fairies weave then to one strand, and that strand is the great tale of Eärendel; and to that tale’s true beginning are we now come’, p. 242). The matter is complicated, however, as will be seen in a moment, by my father’s also making the Nauglafring the first part of the Tale of Eärendel.
But the great tale was never written; and for the story as he then conceived it we are wholly dependent on highly condensed and often contradictory outlines. There are also many isolated notes; and there are the very early Eärendel poems. While the poems can be precisely dated, the notes and outlines can not; and it does not seem possible to arrange them in order so as to provide a clear line of development.
One of the outlines for the Tale of Eärendel is the earlier of the two ‘schemes’ for the Lost Tales which are the chief materials for Gilfanon’s Tale; and I will repeat here what I said of this in the first part (I.233):
There is no doubt that [the earlier of the two schemes] was composed when the Lost Tales had reached their furthest point of development, as represented by the latest texts and arrangements given in this book. Now when this outline comes to the matter of Gilfanon’s Tale it becomes at once very much fuller, but then contracts again to cursory references for the tales of Tinúviel, Túrin, Tuor, and the Necklace of the Dwarves, and once more becomes fuller for the tale of Eärendel.
This scheme B (as I will continue to call it) provides a coherent if very rough narrative plan, and divides the story into seven parts, of which the first (marked ‘Told’) is ‘The Nauglafring down to the flight of Elwing’. This sevenfold division is referred to by Littleheart at the beginning of The Fall of Gondolin (p. 144):
It is a mighty tale, and seven times shall folk fare to the Tale-fire ere it be rightly told; and so twined is it with those stories of the Nauglafring and of the Elf-march that I would fain have aid in that telling…
If the six parts following the Tale of the Nauglafring were each to be of comparable length, the whole Tale of Eärendel would have been somewhere near half the length of all the tales that were in fact written; but my father never afterwards returned to it on any ample scale.
I give now the concluding part of Scheme B.
Tale of Eärendel begins, with which is interwoven the Nauglafring and the March of the Elves. For further details see Notebook C.*
First part. The tale of the Nauglafring down to the flight of Elwing.
Second part. The dwelling at Sirion. Coming thither of Elwing, and the love of her and Eärendel as girl and boy. Ageing of Tuor—his secret sailing after the conches of Ulmo in Swanwing.
Eärendel sets sail to the North to find Tuor, and if needs be Mandos.
Sails in Eärámë. Wrecked. Ulmo appears. Saves him, bidding him sail to Kôr—‘for for this hast thou been brought out of the Wrack of Gondolin’.
Third part. Second attempt of Eärendel to Mandos. Wreck of Falasquil and rescue by the Oarni.1 He sights the Isle of Seabirds ‘whither do all the birds of all waters come at whiles’. Goes back by land to Sirion.
Idril has vanished (she set sail at night). The conches of Ulmo call Eärendel. Last farewell of Elwing. Building of Wingilot.
Fourth part. Eärendel sails for Valinor. His many wanderings, occupying several years.
Fifth part. Coming of the birds of Gondolin to Kôr with tidings. Uproar of the Elves. Councils of the Gods. March of the Inwir (death of Inwë), Teleri, and Solosimpi.
Raid upon Sirion and captivity of Elwing.
Sorrow and wrath of Gods, and a veil dropped between Valmar and Kôr, for the Gods will not destroy it but cannot bear to look upon it.
Coming of the Eldar. Binding of Melko. Faring to Lonely Isle. Curse of the Nauglafring and death of Elwing.
Sixth part. Eärendel reaches Kôr and finds it empty. Fares home in sorrow (and sights Tol Eressëa and the fleet of the Elves, but a great wind and darkness carries him away, and he misses his way and has a voyage eastward).
Arriving at length at Sirion finds it empty. Goes to the ruins of Gondolin. Hears of tidings. Sails to Tol Eressëa. Sails to the Isle of Seabirds.
Seventh part. His voyage to the firmament.
Written at the end of the text is: ‘Rem[ainder] of Scheme in Notebook C’. These references in Scheme B to ‘Notebook C’ are to the little pocket-book which goes back to 1916–17 but was used for notes and suggestions throughout the period of the Lost Tales (see I. 171). At the beginning of it there is an outline (here called ‘C’) headed ‘Eärendel’s Tale, Tuor’s son’, which is in fair harmony with Scheme B:
Eärendel dwells with Tuor and Irildë2 at Sirion’s mouth by the sea (on the Isles of Sirion). Elwing of the Gnomes of Artanor3 flees to them with the Nauglafring. Eärendel and Elwing love one another as boy and girl.
Great love of Eärendel and Tuor. Tuor ages, and Ulmo’s conches far out west over the sea call him louder and louder, till one evening he sets sail in his twilit boat with purple sails, Swanwing, Alqarámë.4 Idril sees him too late. Her song on the beach of Sirion.
When he does not return grief of Eärendel and Idril. Eärendel (urged also by Idril who is immortal) desires to set sail and search even to Mandos. [Marginal addition:] Curse of Nauglafring rests on his voyages. Ossë his enemy.
Fiord of the Mermaid. Wreck. Ulmo appears at wreck and saves them, telling them he must go to Kôr and is saved for that.
Elwing’s grief when she learns Ulmo’s bidding. ‘For no man may tread the streets of Kôr or look upon the places of the Gods and dwell in the Outer Lands in peace again.’
Eärendel departs all the same and is wrecked by the treachery of Ossë and saved only by the Oarni (who love him) with Voronwë and dragged to Falasquil.
Eärendel makes his way back by land with Voronwë. Finds that Idril has vanished.5 His grief. Prays to Ulmo and hears the conches. Ulmo bids him build a new and wonderful ship of the wood of Tuor from Falasquil. Building of Wingilot.
There are four items headed ‘Additions’ on this page of the notebook:
Building of Eärámë (Eaglepinion).
Noldoli add their pleading to Ulmo’s bidding.
Eärendel surveys the first dwelling of Tuor at Falasquil.
The voyage to Mandos and the Icy Seas.
The outline continues:
Voronwë and Eärendel set sail in Wingilot. Driven south. Dark regions. Fire mountains. Tree-men. Pygmies. Sarqindi or cannibalogres.
Driven west. Ungweliantë. Magic Isles. Twilit Isle [sic]. Littleheart’s gong awakes the Sleeper in the Tower of Pearl.6
Kôr is found. Empty. Eärendel reads tales and prophecies in the waters. Desolation of Kôr. Eärendel’s shoes and self powdered with diamond dust so that they shine brightly.
Homeward adventures. Driven east—the deserts and red palaces where dwells the Sun.7
Arrives at Sirion, only to find it sacked and empty. Eärendel distraught wanders with Voronwë and comes to the ruins of Gondolin. Men are encamped there miserably. Also Gnomes searching still for lost gems (or some Gnomes gone back to Gondolin).
Of the binding of Melko.8 The wars with Men and the departure to Tol Eressëa (the Eldar unable to endure the strife of the world). Eärendel sails to Tol Eressëa and learns o
He sets sail with Voronwë and dwells on the Isle of Seabirds in the northern waters (not far from Falasquil)—and there hopes that Elwing will return among the seabirds, but she is seeking him wailing along all the shores and especially among wreckage.
After three times seven years he sails again for halls of Mandos with Voronwë—he gets there because [?only] those who still……….and had suffered may do so—Tuor is gone to Valinor and nought is known of Idril or of Elwing.
Reaches bar at margin of the world and sets sail on oceans of the firmament in order to gaze over the Earth. The Moon mariner chases him for his brightness and he dives through the Door of Night. How he cannot now return to the world or he will die.
He will find Elwing at the Faring Forth.
Tuor and Idril some say sail now in Swanwing and may be seen going swift down the wind at dawn and dusk.
The Co-events to Eärendel’s Tale
Raid upon Sirion by Melko’s Orcs and the captivity of Elwing.
Birds tell Elves of the Fall of Gondolin and the horrors of the fate of the Gnomes. Counsels of the Gods and uproar of the Elves. March of the Inwir and Teleri. The Solosimpi go forth also but fare along all the beaches of the world, for they are loth to fare far from the sound of the sea—and only consent to go with the Teleri under these conditions—for the Noldoli slew some of their kin at Kópas.
This outline then goes on to the events after the coming of the Elves of Valinor into the Great Lands, which will be considered in the next chapter.
Though very much fuller, there seems to be little in C that is certainly contradictory to what is said in B, and there are elements in the latter that are absent from the former. In discussing these outlines I follow the divisions of the tale made in B.
Second part. A little more is told in C of Tuor’s departure from Sirion (in B there is no mention of Idril); and there appears the motive of Ossë’s hostility to Eärendel and the curse of the Nauglafring as instrumental in his shipwrecks. The place of the first wreck is called the Fiord of the Mermaid. The word ‘them’ rather than ‘him’ in ‘Ulmo saves them, telling them he must go to Kôr’ is certain in the manuscript, which possibly suggests that Idril or Elwing (or both) were with Eärendel.
Third part. In B Eärendel’s second voyage, like the first, is explicitly an attempt to reach Mandos (seeking his father), whereas in C it seems that the second is undertaken rather in order to fulfil Ulmo’s bidding that he sail to Kôr (to Elwing’s grief). In C Voronwë is named as Eärendel’s companion on the second voyage which ended at Falasquil; but the Isle of Seabirds is not mentioned at this point. In C Wingilot is built ‘of the wood of Tuor from Falasquil’ in The Fall of Gondolin Tuor’s wood was hewed for him by the Noldoli in the forests of Dor Lómin and floated down the hidden river (p. 152).
Fourth part. Whereas B merely refers to Eärendel’s ‘many wanderings, occupying several years’ in his quest for Valinor, C gives some glimpses of what they were to be, as Wingilot was driven to the south and then into the west. The encounter with Ungweliantë on the western voyage is curious; it is said in The Tale of the Sun and Moon that ‘Melko held the North and Ungweliant the South’ (see I.182, 200).
In C we meet again the Sleeper in the Tower of Pearl (said to be Idril, though this was struck out, note 6) awakened by Littleheart’s gong; cf. the account of Littleheart in The Cottage of Lost Play (I.15):
He sailed in Wingilot with Eärendel in that last voyage wherein they sought for Kôr. It was the ringing of this Gong on the Shadowy Seas that awoke the Sleeper in the Tower of Pearl that stands far out to west in the Twilit Isles.
In The Coming of the Valar it is said that the Twilit Isles ‘float’ on the Shadowy Seas ‘and the Tower of Pearl rises pale upon their most western cape’ (I.68; cf. I.125). But there is no other mention in C of Littleheart, Voronwë’s son, as a companion of Eärendel, though he was named earlier in the outline, in a rejected phrase, as present at the Mouths of Sirion (see note 5), and in the Tale of the Nauglafring (p. 228) Ailios says that none still living have seen the Nauglafring ‘save only Littleheart son of Bronweg’ (where ‘save only’ is an emendation from ‘not even’).
Fifth and sixth parts. In C we meet the image of Eärendel’s shoes shining from the dust of diamonds in Kôr, an image that was to survive (The Silmarillion p. 248):
He walked in the deserted ways of Tirion, and the dust upon his raiment and his shoes was a dust of diamonds, and he shone and glistened as he climbed the long white stairs.
But in The Silmarillion Tirion was deserted because it was ‘a time of festival, and wellnigh all the Elvenfolk were gone to Valimar, or were gathered in the halls of Manwë upon Taniquetil’ here on the other hand it seems at least strongly implied, in both B and C, that Kôr was empty because the Elves of Valinor had departed into the Great Lands, as a result of the tidings brought by the birds of Gondolin. In these very early narrative schemes there is no mention of Eärendel’s speaking to the Valar, as the ambassador of Elves and Men (The Silmarillion p. 249), and we can only conclude, extraordinary as the conclusion is, that Eärendel’s great western voyage, though he attained his goal, was fruitless, that he was not the agent of the aid that did indeed come out of Valinor to the Elves of the Great Lands, and (most curious of all) that Ulmo’s designs for Tuor had no issue. In fact, my father actually wrote in the 1930 version of ‘The Silmarillion’:
Thus it was that the many emissaries of the Gnomes in after days came never back to Valinor—save one: and he came too late.
The words ‘and he came too late’ were changed to ‘the mightiest mariner of song’, and this is the phrase that is found in The Silmarillion, p. 102. It is unfortunately never made clear in the earliest writings what was Ulmo’s purpose in bidding Eärendel sail to Kôr, for which he had been saved from the ruin of Gondolin. What would he have achieved, had he come to Kôr ‘in time’, more than in the event did take place after the coming of tidings from Gondolin—the March of the Elves into the Great Lands? In a curious note in C, not associated with the present outline, my father asked: ‘How did King Turgon’s messengers get to Valinor or gain the Gods’ consent?’ and answered: ‘His messengers never got there. Ulmo [sic] but the birds brought tidings to the Elves of the fate of Gondolin (the doves and pigeons of Turgon) and they [?arm and march away].’
The coming of the message was followed by ‘the councils (counsels C) of the Gods and the uproar of the Elves’, but in C nothing is said of ‘the sorrow and wrath of the Gods’ or ‘the veil dropped between Valmar and Kôr’ referred to in B: where the meaning can surely only be that the March of the Elves from Valinor was undertaken in direct opposition to the will of the Valar, that the Valar were bitterly opposed to the intervention of the Elves of Valinor in the affairs of the Great Lands. There may well be a connection here with Vairë’s words (I. 19): ‘When the fairies left Kôr that lane [i.e. Olórë Mallë that led past the Cottage of Lost Play] was blocked for ever with great impassable rocks’. Elsewhere there is only one other reference to the effect of the message from across the sea, and that is in the words of Lindo to Eriol in The Cottage of Lost Play (I.16):
Inwë, whom the Gnomes call Inwithiel……was King of all the Eldar when they dwelt in Kôr. That was in the days before hearing the lament of the world [i.e. the Great Lands] Inwë led them forth to the lands of Men.
Later, Meril-i-Turinqi told Eriol (I.129) that Inwë, her grandsire’s sire, ‘perished in that march into the world’, but Ingil his son ‘went long ago back to Valinor and is with Manwë’ and there is a reference to Inwë’s death in B.
In C the Solosimpi only agreed to accompany the expedition on condition that they remain by the sea, and the reluctance of the Third Kindred, on account of the Kinslaying at Swanhaven, survived (The Silmarillion p. 251). But there
Both outlines refer to Eärendel being driven eastwards on his homeward voyage from Kôr, and to his finding the dwellings at Sirion’s mouth ravaged when he finally returned there; but B does not say who carried out the sack and captured Elwing. In C it was a raid by Orcs of Melko; cf. the entry in the Name-list to The Fall of Gondolin (p. 215): ‘Egalmoth…got even out of the burning of Gondolin, and dwelt after at the mouth of Sirion, but was slain in a dire battle there when Melko seized Elwing’.
Neither outline refers to Elwing’s escape from captivity. Both mention Eärendel’s going back to the ruins of Gondolin—in C he returns there with Voronwë and finds Men and Gnomes; another entry in the Name-list to The Fall of Gondolin (p. 215) bears on this: ‘Galdor…won out of Gondolin and even the onslaught of Melko upon the dwellers at Sirion’s mouth and went back to the ruins with Eärendel.’
Both outlines mention the departure of the Elves from the Great Lands, after the binding of Melko, to Tol Eressëa, C adding a reference to ‘wars with Men’ and to the Eldar being ‘unable to endure the strife of the world’, and both refer to Eärendel’s going there subsequently, but the order of events seems to be different: in B Eärendel on his way back from Kôr ‘sights Tol Eressëa and the fleet of the Elves’ (presumably the fleet returning from the Great Lands), whereas in C the departure of the Elves is not mentioned until after Eärendel’s return to Sirion. But the nature of these outlines is not conveyed in print: they were written at great speed, catching fugitive thoughts, and cannot be pressed hard. However, with the fate of Elwing B and C seem clearly to part company: in B there is a simple reference to her death, apparently associated with the curse of the Nauglafring, and from the order in which the events are set down it may be surmised that her death took place on the journey to Tol Eressëa; C specifically refers to the ‘sinking’ of Elwing and the Nauglafring—but says that Elwing became a seabird, an idea that survived (The Silmarillion p. 247). This perhaps gives more point to Eärendel’s going to the Isle of Seabirds, mentioned in both B and C: in the latter he ‘hopes that Elwing will return among the seabirds’.
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