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J.R.R. Tolkien

The Book of Lost Tales

Part II

Christopher Tolkien


This second part of The Book of Lost Tales is arranged on the same lines and with the same intentions as the first part, as described in the Foreword to it, pages 10–11. References to the first part are given in the form ‘I. 240’, to the second as ‘p. 240’, except where a reference is made to both, e.g. ‘I. 222, II. 292’.

As before, I have adopted a consistent (if not necessarily ‘correct’) system of accentuation for names; and in the cases of Mim and Niniel, written thus throughout, I give Mоm and Nнniel.

The two pages from the original manuscripts are reproduced with the permission of the Bodleian Library, Oxford, and I wish to express my thanks to the staff of the Department of Western Manuscripts at the Bodleian for their assistance. The correspondence of the original pages to the printed text in this book is as follows:

(1) The page from the manuscript of The Tale of Tinъviel. Upper part: printed text page 24 (7 lines up, the sorest dread) to page 25 (line 3, so swiftly.”). Lower part: printed text page 25 (11 lines up, the harsh voice) to page 26 (line 7, but Tevildo).

(2) The page from the manuscript of The Fall of Gondolin. Upper part: printed text page 189 (line 12, “Now,” therefore said Galdor to line 20 if no further.”). Lower part: printed text page 189 (line 27, But the others, led by one Legolas Greenleaf) to page 190 (line 11, leaving the main company to follow he).

For differences in the printed text of The Fall of Gondolin from the page reproduced see page 201, notes 34–36, and page 203, Bad Uthwen; some other small differences not referred to in the notes are also due to later changes made to the text B of the Tale (see pages 146–7).

These pages illustrate the complicated ‘jigsaw’ of the manuscripts of the Lost Tales described in the Foreword to Part I, page 10.

The third volume in this ‘History’ will contain the alliterative Lay of the Children of Hъrin (c. 1918–1925) and the Lay of Leithian (1925–1931), together with the commentary on a part of the latter by C. S. Lewis, and the rewriting of the poem that my father embarked on after the completion of The Lord of the Rings.


The Tale of Tinъviel was written in 1917, but the earliest extant text is later, being a manuscript in ink over an erased original in pencil; and in fact my father’s rewriting of this tale seems to have been one of the last completed elements in the Lost Tales (see I. 203–4).

There is also a typescript version of the Tale of Tinъviel, later than the manuscript but belonging to the same ‘phase’ of the mythology: my father had the manuscript before him and changed the text as he went along. Significant differences between the two versions of the tale are given on pp. 41 ff.

In the manuscript the tale is headed: ‘Link to the Tale of Tinъviel, also the Tale of Tinъviel.’ The Link begins with the following passage:

‘Great was the power of Melko for ill,’ said Eriol, ‘if he could indeed destroy with his cunning the happiness and glory of the Gods and Elves, darkening the light of their dwelling and bringing all their love to naught. This must surely be the worst deed that ever he has done.’

‘Of a truth never has such evil again been done in Valinor,’ said Lindo, ‘but Melko’s hand has laboured at worse things in the world, and the seeds of his evil have waxen since to a great and terrible growth.’

‘Nay,’ said Eriol, ‘yet can my heart not think of other griefs, for sorrow at the destruction of those most fair Trees and the darkness of the world.’

This passage was struck out, and is not found in the typescript text, but it reappears in almost identical form at the end of The Flight of the Noldoli (I. 169). The reason for this was that my father decided that the Tale of the Sun and Moon, rather than Tinъviel, should follow The Darkening of Valinor and The Flight of the Noldoli (see I. 203–4, where the complex question of the re-ordering of the Tales at this point is discussed). The opening words of the next part of the Link, ‘Now in the days soon after the telling of this tale’, referred, when they were written, to the tale of The Darkening of Valinor and The Flight of the Noldoli; but it is never made plain to what tale they were to refer when Tinъviel had been removed from its earlier position.

The two versions of the Link are at first very close, but when Eriol speaks of his own past history they diverge. For the earlier part I give the typescript text alone, and when they diverge I give them both in succession. All discussion of this story of Eriol’s life is postponed to Chapter VI.

Now in the days soon after the telling of this tale, behold, winter approached the land of Tol Eressлa, for now had Eriol forgetful of his wandering mood abode some time in old Kortirion. Never in those months did he fare beyond the good tilth that lay without the grey walls of that town, but many a hall of the kindreds of the Inwir and the Teleri received him as their glad guest, and ever more skilled in the tongues of the Elves did he become, and more deep in knowledge of their customs, of their tales and songs.

Then was winter come sudden upon the Lonely Isle, and the lawns and gardens drew on a sparkling mantle of white snows; their fountains were still, and all their bare trees silent, and the far sun glinted pale amid the mist or splintered upon facets of long hanging ice. Still fared Eriol not away, but watched the cold moon from the frosty skies look down upon Mar Vanwa Tyaliйva, and when above the roofs the stars gleamed blue he would listen, yet no sound of the flutes of Timpinen heard he now; for the breath of summer is that sprite, and or ever autumn’s secret presence fills the air he takes his grey magic boat, and the swallows draw him far away.

Even so Eriol knew laughter and merriment and musics too, and song, in the dwellings of Kortirion—even Eriol the wanderer whose heart before had known no rest. Came now a grey day, and a wan afternoon, but within was firelight and good warmth and dancing and merry children’s noise, for Eriol was making a great play with the maids and boys in the Hall of Play Regained. There at length tired with their mirth they cast themselves down upon the rugs before the hearth, and a child among them, a little maid, said: ‘Tell me, O Eriol, a tale!’

‘What then shall I tell, O Vлannл?’ said he, and she, clambering upon his knee, said: ‘A tale of Men and of children in the Great Lands, or of thy home—and didst thou have a garden there such as we, where poppies grew and pansies like those that grow in my corner by the Arbour of the Thrushes?’

I give now the manuscript version of the remainder of the Link passage:

Then Eriol told her of his home that was in an old town of Men girt with a wall now crumbled and broken, and a river ran thereby over which a castle with a great tower hung. ‘A very high tower indeed,’ said he, ‘and the moon climbed high or ever he thrust his face above it.’ ‘Was it then as high as Ingil’s Tirin?’ said Vлannл, but Eriol said that that he could not guess, for ’twas very many years agone since he had seen that castle or its tower, for ‘O Vлannл,’ said he, ‘I lived there but a while, and not after I was grown to be a boy. My father came of a coastward folk, and the love of the sea that I had never seen was in my bones, and my father whetted my desire, for he told me tales that his father had told him before. Now my mother died in a cruel and hungry siege of that old town, and my father was slain in bitter fight about the walls, and in the end I Eriol escaped to the shoreland of the Western Sea, and mostly have lived upon the bosom of the waves or by its side since those far days.’



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