10. Gilfanon's Tale: The Coming of Mankind

Now when Vaire made an end, said Gilfanon: 'Complain not if on the morrow I weave a long tale, for the things I tell of cover many years of time, and I have waited long to tell them,' and Lindo laughed, saying he might tell to his heart's desire all that he knew.

But on the morrow Gilfanon sat in the chair and in this wise he began:

'Now many of the most ancient things of the Earth are forgotten, for they were lost in the darkness that was before the Sun, and no lore may recover them; yet mayhap this is new to the ears of many here that when the Teleri, the Noldoli, and the Solosimpi fared after Orome and afterward found Valinor, yet was that not all of the race of the Eldalie that marched from Palisor, and those who remained behind are they whom many call the Qendi, the lost fairies of the world, but ye Elves of Kôr name Ilkorins, the Elves that never saw the light of Kôr. Of these some fell out upon the way, or were lost in the trackless glooms of those days, being wildered and but newly awakened on the Earth, but the most were those who left not Palisor at all, and a long time they dwelt in the pine-woods of Palisor, or sat in silence gazing at the mirrored stars in the pale still Waters of Awakening. Such great ages fared over them that the coming of Nornore among them faded to a distant legend, and they said one to another that their brethren had gone westward to the Shining Isles. There, said they, do the Gods dwell, and they called them the Great Folk of the West, and thought they dwelt on firelit islands in the sea; but many had not even seen the great waves of that mighty water.

Now the Eldar or Qendi had the gift of speech direct from Iluvatar, and it is but the sunderance of their fates that has altered them and made them unlike; yet is none so little changed as the tongue of the Dark Elves of Palisor. Now the tale tells of a certain fay, and names him Tû the wizard, for he was more skilled in magics than any that have dwelt ever yet beyond the land of Valinor; and wandering about the world he found the Elves and he drew them to him and taught them many deep things, and he became as a mighty king among them, and their tales name him the Lord of Gloaming and all the fairies of his realm Hisildi or the twilight people. Now the places about Koivie-neni the Waters of Awakening are rugged and full of mighty rocks, and the stream that feeds that water falls therein down a deep cleft a pale and slender thread, but the issue of the dark lake was beneath the earth into many endless caverns falling ever more deeply into the bosom of the world. There was the dwelling of Tû the wizard, and fathomless hollow are those places, but their doors have long been sealed and none know now the entry.

There was a pallid light of blue and silver flickering ever, and many strange spirits fared in and out beside the of the Elves. Now of those Elves there was one Nuin, and he was very wise, and he loved much to wander far abroad, for the eyes of the Hisildi were becoming exceeding keen, and they might follow very faint paths in those dim days. On a time did Nuin wander far to the east of Palisor, and few of his folk went with him, nor did Tû send them ever to those regions on his business, and strange tales were told concerning them; but now curiosity overcame Nuin, and journeying far he came to a strange and wonderful place the like of which he had not seen before. A mountainous wall rose up before him, and long time he sought a way thereover, till he came upon a passage, and it was very dark and narrow, piercing the great cliff and winding ever down.

Now daring greatly he followed this slender way, until suddenly the walls dropped upon either hand and he saw that he had found entrance to a great bowl set in a ring of unbroken hills whose compass he could not determine in the gloom. Suddenly about him them gushed the sweetest odours of the Earth — nor were more lovely fragrances ever upon the airs of Valinor, and he stood drinking in the scents with deep delight, and amid the fragrance of evening flowers came the deep odours that many pines loosen upon the midnight airs.

Suddenly afar off down in the dark woods that lay above the valley's bottom a nightingale sang, and others answered palely afar off, and Nuin well-nigh swooned at the loveliness of that dreaming place, and he knew that he had trespassed upon Murmenalda or the "Vale of Sleep", where it is ever the time of first quiet dark beneath young stars, and no wind blows.

Now did Nuin descend deeper into the vale, treading softly by reason of some unknown wonder that possessed him, and lo, beneath the trees he saw the warm dusk full of sleeping forms, and some were twined each in the other's arms, and some lay sleeping gently all alone, and Nuin stood and marvelled, scarce breathing.

Then seized with a sudden fear he turned and stole from that hallowed place, and coming again by the passage through the mountain he sped back to the abode of Tû; and coming before that oldest of wizards he said unto him that he was new come from the Eastward Lands, and Tû was little pleased thereat; nor any the more when Nuin made an end of his tale, telling of all he there saw — "and methought," said he, "that all who slumbered there were children, yet was their stature that of the greatest of the Elves."

Then did Tû fall into fear of Manwe, nay even of Iluvatar the Lord of All, and he said to Nuin:

...Here Gilfanon's Tale breaks off. The wizard Tû and the Dark Elf Nuin disappeared from the mythology and never appear again, together with the marvellous story of Nuin's coming upon the forms of the Fathers of Mankind still asleep in the Vale of Murmenalda.