Bedtime stories from the Third Age
In the previous post you could read the stories told by Eärwen and Maglor, and here we present those told by Dís and Gaffer Gamgee. The only child from our original list who did not get a bedtime story became Éowyn. If anybody wants to write that (a story by Éomer), we would like to read (and perhaps publish) it, as well :)
Auriel (Anna Saval) sent us the bedtime story told by Dís to her sons:
The tale of the fortunate dwarf
Once upon a time, there was a dwarf. His name is long forgotten, but his tale lives on. His parents had died when he was very small, and he grew up with his grandmother. When she died, she left him penniless and so the dwarf decided to go out into the world and find his fortune. After many years of travelling, he ended up in Erebor. The King under the Mountain was very powerful, and his kingdom reached far into the mountain. They needed all the workers they could get and so the young dwarf found work as a miner. It was hard work, and he didn’t earn a lot of money, but he loved working inside the mountain. He loved striking at the hard stone with his small pickaxe, pulling jewels and gold from the mountain’s core. One day although, after a long day of hard labor, the dwarf decided to take a stroll around the mountain. He adored the vastness of its halls and the sight of the many dwarves inside them. As he wandered, he suddenly heard a voice. It was soft and sweet, and the dwarf immediately felt himself drawn to it. It reminded him of the sound of golden coins clanging together. He needed to find the source of this magical sound. So, he followed the voice until he arrived in a smaller hall. It contained one of the many wonders of Erebor, a small pool with a waterfall pouring warm water into it. Beside the pool sat a dwarven maid, clad into a dress of the finest blue silk. Her long, blond curls were drawn into the most elegant hairstyle and her beard was long and soft. She sang alongside the waterfall and it was her song that had drawn the dwarf to her. Carefully, he sat down in a corner and listened to her song. After it had ended, he left the hall quietly, not daring to disturb her. But he came back, as did she. After several weeks, once the maid had finished her song and before the dwarf could leave, she turned towards him and smiled. “Why do you always leave before I can talk to you?”, she asked. “Because you are so beautiful and I am just a poor worker in the mines”, he answered and lowered his head. The maid laughed sweetly. They began to talk and eventually, they fell in love. They wanted to marry, but her father was rich and powerful and would never have agreed to such an arrangement. So, their love had to stay hidden. And still, the dwarf went down every day to mine jewels and gold for the king. He began to talk while he worked, telling the mountain of his misfortune. He described his fiancée, her beautiful golden hair, and her soft beard. And the mountain listened. Day after day he went down and told the mountain of his ever-growing sorrow. One day, he went to the chamber with the pond to meet his love, but she wasn’t there. Instead, there was a small note, hidden under a flat stone. It said that her father had found her a match and that the dwarf maid was to be wed the day after tomorrow. His heart wept bitterly. The next morning, as he prepared to go down into the mines once again, his cheeks were still wet, and his eyes puffed from crying. He began to sing a heart wrenching song as he worked, about lost love and the end of all hope. And still, the mountain listened.
Suddenly, the voice of the mountain changed. Instead of the usual pick, pick, pick of his pickaxe on stone, the dwarf could suddenly hear a beautiful melody, as ancient and deep as the mountain itself. He looked in amazement at the hole he had dug. Light was pouring out of it. Very, very carefully, he opened it wider and there it was: The Heart of the Mountain. It was a beautiful stone, shining like pure starlight. He knew this very instant that this jewel was special, that there was nothing like it nor would there ever be. He took the stone and brought it before the king. And king Thror knew that the mountain had given its children its very heart and thus proved his rule just. And he named the jewel the Arkenstone. The dwarf who found the stone was richly rewarded and given the title of a Prince of Erebor. It was enough so that he could finally claim the hand of his one true love which her father now freely gave him. From this moment on, he knew that the mountain always listens to its children and their sorrows and, in time, helps them find happiness.
And Elanor became the only one to get two stories. The first of them is written by Isilmírë:
A bedtime story for Elanor Gardner by Gaffer Gamgee
Once upon a time there was a little hobbit lassie with pretty golden tresses. (Elanor: “Was it me?”; Gaffer: “Who knows? It may have been.”) She was in the woods searching for mushrooms so her mother could make a delicious mushroom pie. But the mushrooms were scarce, she only had a few in the bottom of her basket, and so she wandered deeper and deeper into the forest trying to find more. At long last she came to a deep dell where old trees grew very high and dense and it was always twilight under their branches.
The place looked quite scary so she thought she would rather circle around it, but then she saw there grew lots of lovely chanterelles under the trees. (Elanor: “Oh yummy!”) So she put on a brave face, walked into the dell and started gathering the mushrooms, and soon her basket was already half full. Slowly she advanced further and further into the gloom under the trees, totally absorbed in picking one beautiful yellow chanterelle after another, when suddenly she heard a horrible scream and saw a monstrous creature charging towards her. It was an orc! (Elanor: “EEEEEEK!!!”) It must have been some lonely straggler from the long ago defeated armies of the enemy, living secretly deep in the forest, feeding on any animals that happened to come near. And now it had decided that the hobbit lass would be it’s dinner! (Elanor: “NO!”)
She turned and ran. She was much smaller than the orc, but also much nimbler and younger and better fed, and as long as they were among the dense old trees she could keep her distance and even gain some more though the orc ran after her as fast as it could. But outside the dell where the forest floor was more open it started gaining on her, and she heard the heavy thudding of it’s feet and the hissing of it’s breath nearer and nearer... (Elanor: “Stop it grandpa! I don’t want to hear any more!”; Gaffer: “Hush! All is not lost yet, just listen.”)
Just when the orc was right behind the hobbit lass and reached it’s sharp-clawed hand to snatch her by her golden curls, she burst into a forest clearing, and lo and behold, there was a group of elves camped there! They had been on their way to the Havens to sail to the West, and when they saw the horrible orc hunting the little hobbit lass they instantly drew their shining swords and came for help. In the blink of an eye the orc was dead.
The little hobbit lass was of course very shaken, and also distraught because she had lost her basket full of tasty chanterelles. But the elves soon calmed her down talking to her kindly in their beautiful voices and then made her merry again by singing pretty songs to her and inviting her to dine with them. (Elanor: “Oooooh! I wish I could really dine with elves! Dad says they make the most delicious bread in the world!”; Gaffer: “Well, I wouldn’t know, but I bet it ain’t much better than what we make here in Hobbiton.”) So she sat under the trees with the beautiful elves, listened to their beautiful singing, ate her belly full of marvelous food and drank many cups of a sweet and sparkling drink that made her heart so light she started singing too.
The elves liked her company so much they asked if she’d like to come with them when they sailed to the West, but the little hobbit lass shook her golden tresses and said she’d best go back to her own home before her mother started worrying. So under the bright and twinkling stars the elves took her all the way to the very doorstep of her home, and for her great delight brought also her basket full of chantarelles which they’d found on the way. Her mother was very happy to see her and made a lovely mushroom pie for their supper, and after that the little hobbit lassie went to bed and slept tight. As you should also do now.
(Elanor: “Nooo, I want another story! Your stories are the best after dad’s, grandpa!”; Gaffer: “Not tonight, it’s getting late and little lasses like you should be already sleeping. Just go to sleep and I’ll tell you another story tomorrow night.”; Elanor: “Oh very well grandpa. Good night!; Gaffer: “Good night Elanor!”)
And here is the second Hobbit story, written by Alagos Calen (Paola Fallabrini):
Gaffer: “Time to sleep, my little yellow flower!!”
Elanor: “Tell me a story! Only one, grandfather!!”
Gaffer: “A story... Which story would you like to hear?”
Elanor: “A story of adventure! With a hero like dad! And with dragons and spiders and frightening monsters!”
Gaffer: “But my little flower, an adventure story like this is not suitable before bed, especially for a little 8-year-old hobbit like you!”
Elanor: “Please grandpa! I would like to dream of living a thousand adventures! And then I would really like to live them!”
Gaffer: “Maybe someday, baby ... You’re just like your father, curious and brave! Instead of wanting to dream of a good 15-course lunch, you think about living adventures! This is all the fault of the tales in good old Bilbo's book! Okay… This is a very adventurous bedtime story, exclusively for fearless little hobbits!”
The Forest of Wonders
“A young hobbit named Elanorra left her warm and comfortable home on a Thursday morning as the sun rose. She carried a few items with her; some food (that must never be missing!), a water bottle, a work knife (it is always useful to have one in your pocket, tightly closed as I taught you) and an old and worn map that her grandmother had given her.
After four days of walking in beautiful countryside, full of potato plantations, orchards, vegetable gardens and wheat fields, she had arrived at the river. On the other side of the river began the Forest of Wonders. No hobbit had ever been to the Forest of Wonders, but ancient legends said that bears, dragons, big spiders and other terrible creatures were hiding inside, ugly, disreputable beasts... (and who had no knowledge of agriculture, think about this! How can you live without a beautiful lawn with well-cut grass! Anyway...)
The young Elanorra was very determined to reach the place indicated on the map: the center of the Forest of Wonders. She had a very important task: to teach bears to grow potatoes!”
Gaffer: “Yes, I was joking, I wanted to see if you were careful or if you were asleep! Although I think that sooner or later someone will have to teach wild beasts to plant potatoes, a little education is needed! But that’s another much more interesting story... I was saying ...”
“She had a very important task! She had to find a magical flower, the Grow-Healthy, whose power was needed to make her grandfather's plants grow well... (…Don't look at me like that, that's the story! It's not my fault…)
Elanorra, however, did not know how to cross the river, great problem! Just then a large white duck approached the little hobbit and seeing that she was in trouble, invited her to climb onto her back with a gesture of her beak. So the hobbit climbed onto the duck, which plunging into the water in a few seconds reached the other shore, so Elanorra came down safe and dry. To thank the duck, she gave her some excellent black bread, and the big bird satisfied flew away. Elanorra was finally at the edge of the Forest of Wonders, and now she was a little afraid to enter those big and tall dark trees, because she couldn't see anything among the leaves. But she was a very brave hobbit, and to help her grandfather's plants she would do anything, so she walked into the trees. After a few meters of complete darkness, Elanorra finally began to see what surrounded her: a beautiful green undergrowth adorned with trees of all kinds, all illuminated by the rays of the sun that filtered through the branches and looked like golden ribbons. The Forest of Wonders didn't seem at all as scary as the legends described it. Elanorra continued to follow the path marked on the map. During the way she saw some splendid flowers, some colorful and lively butterflies, bunnies and hedgehogs. After a couple of hours of walking, she encountered another small blue river, and she feared she would not be able to continue. But a red squirrel came up to her and pulled the hem of her skirt, and she decided to follow him. The squirrel led Elanorra to the other side of the river, showing her which stones to walk on to cross it, she gave him an apple to thank him, and the squirrel ran away happy. After another hour of walking, Elanorra finally reached the destination: a large green and bright meadow, with thousands of colorful flowers, birds and butterflies. But now another problem arose: how to recognize the Grow-Healthy flower among so many flowers? Elanorra after walking for a long time in the meadow, she sat down on a rock to rest. It was at that moment that a huge shadow obscured the light. She turned quickly and was faced with a huge purple spider. The creature's eight big eyes stared at her threateningly, she clutched the knife she had in her pocket, but she didn't need to pull it out because the purple spider suddenly went away. Frightened but above all very sad, she resumed the search for the flower. After about 30 minutes, a very loud roar echoed in the meadow, and a large yellow bear came out of the trees. Elanorrà screamed so loud that all the birds flew away, even more frightened than the roar!
—Do not be afraid, my little creature...—said the bear—My name is Gianni, the spider Violett told me that she met you, alone and sad, so she came to tell me to come and help you. So tell me what can I do for you.
Elanorra, incredulous, told of her mission to the bear Gianni. He, with a big smile, told her he could give her the seeds of the Grow-Healthy flower, because he used it too. He also told her that a very fast friend would take her home. Elanorra gave him three potatoes in exchange to thank him. The bear asked her to come back in the future to teach him how to grow potatoes (finally a very wise bear!). The little hobbit accepted. So Gianni gave her a jar containing hundreds of Grow-Healthy flower seeds, then made a big roar and after a few minutes the big white duck that Elanorra had met outside the woods arrived. Elanorra greeted and thanked the bear again, climbed on the back of the white duck, and together they flew away. As they passed over the trees Elanorra yelled—Goodbye and thank you spider Violett and little red squirrel!!
Acouple of hours later, Elanorra was in the arms of her grandparents, tired but happy to have successfully completed her adventure, while the white duck rested and ate in the garden. Elanorra had discovered that the Forest was indeed full of Wonders, just like her name. Beautiful and positive Wonders!
Gaffer: “At the end… The moral of the story, my little flower, is that it is always important to have lots of good food with you, especially some potatoes!
But it is also above all important to have faith in oneself and in others.
Because the friends who accompany us or whom we meet along the way are the most important thing in any story.”
Elanor: “It’s not the story I was expecting, but I liked it a lot. Dad always says adventures are never what we expect. But you have to be happy when they have a nice ending! So thanks Grandpa!”
Gaffer: “Next time let’s teach bears how to plant potatoes though! Good night, my yellow flower.“
Elanor: “Good night Grandpa!”