8. The Tale of the Sun and Moon

Now it is not to be thought that as Eriol hearkened to many tales which spake of divers sorrows of the Elves that the thirst for limpe grew less within him, for it was not so, and ever as the throng sat about the Tale-fire he was an eager questioner, seeking to learn all the history of the folk even down to those days that then were, when the elfin people dwelt again together in the isle.

Knowing now therefore something of the glorious fashion of their ancient home and of the splendour of the Gods, he pondered often on the coming of the days of Sunlight and of Moonsheen, and of the doings of the Elves in the world without, and of their adventures there with Men ere Melko compassed their estrangement; wherefore one night he said, sitting before the Tale-fire: 'Whence be the Sun and Moon, O Lindo? For as yet have I heard only of the Two Trees and their sad fading, but of the coming of Men, or of the deeds of the Elves beyond Valinor has no one told me.'

Now there happened that night to be present a guest both at their board and at their tale-telling, and his name was Gilfanon, and all named him beside Gilfanon a Davrobel, for he came from that region of the isle where stands the Tower of Tavrobel beside the rivers, and about it dwelt the Gnome-folk still as one people, naming the places in their own tongue. That region was Gilfanon wont to name the fairest of all the isle, and the Gnome-kin its best folk, albeit ere the coming of the folk thither long had he dwelt away from the Noldoli, faring with Ilkorins in Hisilome and Artanor, and thereto had he become as few Elves did a great friend and companion of the Children of Men of those days. To their legends and their memories he added his own knowledge, for he had been deep-versed in many lores and tongues once in the far days of Kôr, and experience had he beside of many very ancient deeds, being indeed one of the oldest of the fairies and the most aged that now dwelt in the isle, albeit Meril held the title of Lady of the Isle by reason of her blood.

Therefore said Lindo now, answering Eriol: 'Behold, Gilfanon here can tell thee much of such matters, and it were well if you fared hence away with him to sojourn awhile in Tavrobel. — Nay, look not thus,' he laughed, seeing Eriol's face, 'for we do not banish thee yet — but of a sooth he who would drink of limpe were wise first to seek the guestkindliness of Gilfanon, in whose ancient house — the House of the Hundred Chimneys, that stands nigh the bridge of Tavrobel — may many things be heard of both past and that are to come.'

'Methinks,' said Gilfanon to Eriol, 'that Lindo seeks to rid himself of two guests at once; howso he may not do so yet, for I purpose to stay in Kortirion a sennight yet, and moreover to feast at his good board meanwhile, and stretch me by the Tale-fire too — thereafter maybe thou and I will fare away and thou shalt see the full loveliness of the fairies' isle — but now let Lindo raise up his voice and tell us yet more of the splendour of the Gods and their works, a theme that never wearies him!'

At that was Lindo well-pleased, for of a truth he loved to tell such tales and sought often an occasion for recalling them, and said he: 'Then will I tell the story of the Sun and Moon and of the Stars, that Eriol may hearken to his desire,' and Eriol was well pleased, but Gilfanon said: 'Speak on, my Lindo — yet lengthen not the tale for ever.'

Then did Lindo lift up his voice, and it was the most pleasant to hearken to of all tale-tellers, and he said:

'A tale I tell of that time of the first flight of the Gnomes, and behold they are but newly fled. Now came that grievous news to the Gods and the other Elves, and at first none believed. Nonetheless the tidings came still unto them, and by many different messengers. Some were of the Teleri, who had heard the speech of Fëanor in the square of Kôr and had seen the Noldoli depart thence with all the goods they might convey; others were of the Solosimpi, and these brought the dire tidings of the swanships' rape and the dread kinslaughter of the Haven, and the blood that lay on the white shores of Alqalunte.

Lastly came some hotfoot from Mandos who had gazed upon that sad throng nigh the strands of Amnor, and the Gods knew that the Gnomes were far abroad, and Varda and all the Elves wept, for now seemed the darkness black indeed and that more than the outward light of the fair Trees was slain.

Strange is to tell that albeit Aule had loved the Noldoli above all the Elves and had taught them all they knew and given them great stores of wealth, now was his heart most turned against them, for he deemed them ingrate in that they had bidden him no farewell, and for their ill deeds among the Solosimpi he was grieved to the heart. "Speak not," said he, "the name of the Noldoli ever again unto me," and albeit he gave still his love to those few faithful Gnomes who remained still about his halls, yet did he name them thereafter "Eldar".

But the Teleri and the Solosimpi having wept at first, when the onslaught of the Haven became known to all dried their tears and horror and anguish held their hearts, and they too spake seldom of the Noldoli, save sadly or in whispers behind closed doors; and those few of the Noldoli that remained behind were named the Aulenosse or kindred of Aule, or were taken into the other kindreds, and the Gnome-folk has no place or name remaining now in all Valinor.

Now is it to tell that after a great while it seemed to Manwe that the hunt of the Gods availed nothing, and that surely Melko is now escaped out of Valinor; wherefore he sent Sorontur into the world, and Sorontur came not back for long, and still Tulkas and many others ranged the land, but Manwe stood beside the darkened Trees and his heart was very heavy as he pondered deep and gloomily, but at that time could he see little light of hope. Suddenly there is a sound of wings in that place, for Sorontur King of Eagles is come again on strong wings through the dusk, and behold alighting on the boughs of darkened Silpion he tells how Melko is now broken into the world and many evil spirits are gathered to him: "but," quoth he, "methinks never more will Utumna open unto him, and already is he busy making himself new dwellings in that region of the North where stand the Iron Mountains very high and terrible to see. Yet O Manwe Lord of the Air, other tidings have I also for thy ear, for lo! as I winged my way homeward hither over the black seas and over the unkindly lands a sight I saw of greatest wonder and amaze: a fleet of white ships that drifted empty in the gales, and some were burning with bright fires, and as I marvelled behold I saw a great concourse of folk upon the shores of the Great Lands, and they gazed all westward, but some were still wandering in the ice — for know, this was at that place where are the crags of Helkarakse and the murderous waters of Qerkaringa flowed of old, which now are stopped with ice. Swooping methought I heard the sound of wailing and of sad words spoken in the Eldar tongue; and this tale do I bring to thee for thy unravelling."

But Manwe knew thereby that the Noldoli were gone for ever and their ships burned or abandoned, and Melko too was in the world, and the hunt of no avail; and belike it is in memory of those deeds that it has ever been a saying in the mouths of Elves and Men that those burn their boats who put all hope from them of change of mind or counsel. Therefore now Manwe lifted up his unmeasurable voice calling to the Gods, and all those about the wide lands of Valinor hearkened and returned.

There first came Tulkas weary and dust-covered, for none had leapt about that plain as he. Seven times had he encompassed all its width and thrice had he scaled the mountainwall, and all those measureless slopes and pastures, meads and forests, he had traversed, burnt by his desire to punish the spoiler of Valinor. There came Lorien and leaned against the withered bole of Silpion, and wept the wrack of his quiet gardens by the trampling hunt; there too was Measse and with her Makar, and his hand was red for he had come upon twain of Melko's comrades as they fled, and he slew them as they ran, and he alone had aught of joy in those ill times. Osse was there and his beard of green was torn and his eyes were dim, and he gasped leaning on a staff and was very much athirst, for mighty as he was about the seas and tireless, such desperate travail on the bosom of Earth spent his vigour utterly.

Salmar and Omar stood by and their instruments of music made no sound and they were heavy of heart, yet not so bitterly as was Aule, lover of the earth and of all things made or gained by good labour therefrom, for of all the Gods he had loved Valmar most wholly and Kôr and all their treasures, and the smile of the fair plains without, and its ruin cut his heart. With him was Yavanna, Earth-queen, and she had hunted with the Gods and was spent; but Vana and Nessa wept as maidens still beside the founts of gold Kulullin.

Ulmo alone came not to the Trees, but went down to the beach of Eldamar, and there he stood gazing into the gloom far out to sea, and he called often with his most mighty voice as though he would draw back those truants to the bosom of the Gods, and whiles he played deep longing music on his magic conches, and to him alone, lest it be' Varda lady of the stars, was the going of the Gnomes a greater grief than even the ruin of the Trees. Aforetime had Ulmo loved the Solosimpi very dearly, yet when he heard of their slaughter by the Gnomes he grieved indeed but anger hardenednot his heart, for Ulmo was foreknowing more than all the Gods, even than great Manwe, and perchance he saw many of the things that should spring from that flight and the dread pains of the unhappy Noldoli in the world, and the anguish wherewith they would expiate the blood of Kopas, and he would that it need not be.

Now when all were thus come together, then spake Manwe to them and told the tidings of Sorontur and how the chase had failed, but at that time the Gods were wildered in the gloom and had little counsel, and sought each one his home and places of old delight now dead, and there sat in silence and dark pondering. Yet some fared ever and anon out upon the plain and gazed wistfully at the faded Trees as though those withered boughs would one day burgeon with new light: but this came not to pass, and Valinor was full of shadows and of gloom, and the Elves wept and could not be comforted, and the Noldoli had bitter sorrow in the northern lands.

Thereafter in a great time it pierced the grief and the weariness of the Gods that light is gone from Valinor for ever, and that never again will those trees bloom again at their appointed times. Only the light of the stars remained, save where a glow lay about the fountain of Kulullin playing still or a pale gleam lingered nigh deep Telimpe, vat of dreams. Yet even these were dimmed and tarnished, for the Trees bore dew no more for their replenishment.

Wherefore does Vana arise and seek Lorien, and with them go Urwendi and Silmo and many of both Vali and the Elves; and they gather much light of gold and silver in great vessels and fare sadly to the ruined Trees. There singeth Lorien most wistful songs of magic and enchantment about the stock of Silpion, and he bid water his roots with the radiance of Telimpe; and this was lavishly done, albeit small store thereof remained now in the dwellings of the Gods. In like manner doth Vina, and she sings old golden songs of the happier days, and bids her maidens dance their bright dances even such as they were used to dance upon the sward of the rosegardens nigh Kulullin, and as they danced she flooded the roots of Laurelin with streams from out her golden jars.

Yet all their singing and enchantment is of little worth, and though the roots of the Trees seem to drink all that they may pour yet can they see no stir of life renewed nor faintest gleam of light; nor withered leaf glows with sap nor blossom lifts its drooping stem. Indeed in the frenzy of their grief they had poured out all the last remaining stores of brightness that the Gods retained, had not of a fortune Manwe and Aule come upon them in that hour, being drawn thither by their singing in the gloom, and stayed them, saying: "Lo, O Vana, and thou O Lorien, what is this rashness? And wherefore did ye not first take counsel of your brethren? For know ye not that that which ye spill unthinking upon the earth is become more precious than all the things the world contains; and when it is gone perchance not all the wisdom of the Gods may get us more."

Then Vana said: "Pardon, O Manwe Sulimo, and let my sorrow and my tears be my excuse; yet aforetime did this draught fail never to refresh the heart of Laurelin, and she bare ever in return a fruit of light more plentiful than we gave; and methought the Gods sat darkly in their halls and for the weight of their grief essayed no remedy of their ills. But behold now have Lorien and I put forth our spells and nought may they avail," and Vana wept.

Now was it the thought of many that those twain Lorien and Vana might not avail to heal the wounds of Laurelin and Silpion, in that no word of the Earth-lady, mother of magics, was mingled in their spells. Therefore many said: "Let us seek Palurien, for of her magic maybe these Trees shall again know some portion of their ancient glory — and then if light be renewed Aule and his craftsmen may repair the hurts of our fair realm, and happiness will be once more twixt Erumani and the Sea" — but of the darkness and ill days that had long been without the hills few recked or thought. Now therefore they called for Yavanna, and she came and asked them what they would, and hearing she wept and spake before them, saying: "Know ye, O Valar, and ye sons and daughters of the Eldar, Children of Iluvatar, first offspring of the forests of the Earth, that never may these Two Trees bloom again, and others like them may not be brought to life for many many ages of the world. Many things shall be done and come to pass, and the Gods grow old, and the Elves come nigh to fading, ere ye shall see the rekindling of these Trees or the Magic Sun relit," and the Gods knew not what she meant, speaking of the Magic Sun, nor did for a long while after. But Tulkas hearing said: "Why speakest thou these words, O Kemi Palurien, for foretelling is not thy wont, and that of evil least of all?" And others there were who said: "Ay, and never before has Kemi the Earth-lady been hard of counsel or lacked a spell of deepest virtue," and they besought her to put forth her power. But Yavanna said: "'Tis of fate and the Music of the Ainur. Such marvels as those Trees of gold and silver may even the Gods make but once, and that in the youth of the world; nor may all my spells avail to do what ye now ask."

Then said Vana: "How then sayest thou, Aule, mighty contriver, who art called i-Talka Marda — Smith of the World — for the might of thy works, how are we to obtain light that is needful to our joy? For what is Valinor without light, or what art thou an thou losest thy skill, as, meseems, in this hour thy spouse has done?"

"Nay," said Aule, "light may not be fashioned by smithcraft, O Vana-Laisi, nor can any even of the Gods devise it, if the sap of the Trees of wonder be dried for ever." But Palurien answering also said: "Lo, O Tuivana, and ye beside of the Vali and of the Elves, think ye only and always of Valinor, forgetting the world without? — for my heart saith to me that already were it time for the Gods to take up once more the battle for the world and expel therefrom the powers of Melko ere they be waxen to o'erwhelming strength." But Vana comprehended not Palurien's mind, thinking only of her Tree of gold, and she abode ill-content; but Manwe and Varda, and with them Aule and Yavanna, fared thence, and in secret conclave they took deep and searching counsel one of another, and at the last they bethought them of a rede of hope. Then did Manwe call together all the folk of Valinor once more; and that great throng was gathered even in Vana's bower amidst her roses, where Kulullin's fountains were, for the plain without lay now all cold and dark. There came even the leaders of the Elves and sat at the feet of the Gods, nor had that before been done; but when all were come together Aule arose and said: "Hearken ye all. A rede has Manwe Sulimo Valaturu to declare, and the mind of the Earth-lady and of the Queen of the Stars is therein, nor yet is my counsel absent."

Then was there a great silence that Manwe might speak, and he said: "Behold O my people, a time of darkness has come upon us, and yet I have it in mind that this is not without the desire of Iluvatar. For the Gods had well-nigh forgot the world that lies without expectant of better days, and of Men, Iluvatar's younger sons that soon must come. Now therefore are the Trees withered that so filled our land with loveliness and our hearts with mirth that wider desires came not into them, and so behold, we must turn now our thoughts to new devices whereby light may be shed upon both the world without and Valinor within."

Then told he them concerning those stores of radiance they still possessed; for of silver light they had no great store save only that that yet lay in Telimpe, and a lesser measure that Aule had in basons in his smithy. Some indeed had the Eldar lovingly saved in tiny vessels as it flowed and wasted in the soils about the stricken bole, but it was little enough.

Now the smallness of their store of white light was due to many causes, in that Varda had used greatly of it when she kindled mighty stars about the heavens, both at the coming of the Eldar and at other times. Moreover that Tree Silpion bore dew of light less richly far than Laurelin had been wont to do, and nonetheless, for it was less hot and fiery-subtle, did the Gods and Elves have need of it always in their magic crafts, and had mingled it with all manner of things that they devised, and in this were the Noldoli the chief.

Now golden light not even the Gods could tame much to their uses, and had suffered it to gather in the great vat Kulullin to the great increase of its fountains, or in other bright basons and wide pools about their courts, for the health and glory of its radiance was very great. 'Tis said indeed that those first makers of jewels, of whom Fëanor has the greatest fame, alone of the Eldar knew the secret of subtly taming golden light to their uses, and they dared use their knowledge but very sparingly, and now is that perished with them out of the Earth. Yet even of this golden radiance was there no unfailing source, now that Laurelin dripped her sweet dew no more. Of this necessity did Manwe shape his plan, and it was caught from that very sowing of the stars that Varda did of yore; for to each of the stars had she given a heart of silver flame set in vessels of crystals and pale glass and unimagined substances of faintest colours: and these vessels were some made like to boats, and buoyed by their hearts of light they fared ever about Ilwe, yet could they not soar into the dark and tenuous realm of Vaitya that is outside all. Now winged spirits of the utmost purity and beauty — even the most ethereal of those bright choirs of the Manir and the Suruli who fare about the halls of Manwe on Taniquetil or traverse all the airs that move upon the world — sate in those starry boats and guided them on mazy courses high above the Earth, and Varda gave them names, but few of these are known.

Others there were whose vessels were like translucent lamps set quivering above the world, in Ilwe or on the very confines of Vilna and the airs we breathe, and they flickered and waned for the stirring of the upper winds, yet abode where they hung and moved not; and of these some were very great and beautiful and the Gods and Elves among all their riches loved them; and thence indeed the jewel-makers catch their inspiration. Not least did they love Morwinyon of the west, whose name meaneth the glint at dusk, and of his setting in the heavens much has been told; and of Nielluin too, who is the Bee of Azure, Nielluin whom still may all men see in autumn or in winter burning nigh the foot of Telimektar son of Tulkas whose tale is yet to tell.

But lo! (said Lindo) the beauty of the stars hath drawn me far afield, and yet I doubt not in that great speech, the mightiest Manwe ever spake before the Gods, mention he made of them yet more loving than was mine. For behold, he desired in this manner to bring the hearts of the Gods to consider his design, and having spoken of the stars he shaped thus his final words: "Behold," said Manwe, "this is now the third essay of the Gods to bring light into dark places, and both the Lamps of the North and South, and the Trees of the plain, Melko hath brought to ruin. Now in the air only hath Melko no power for ill, wherefore it is my rede that we build a great vessel brimming with golden light and the hoarded dews of Laurelin, and this do set afloat like a mighty ship high above the dark realms of the Earth. There shall it thread far courses through the airs and pour its light on all the world twixt Valinore and the Eastern shores."

Now Manwe designed the course of the ship of light to be between the East and West, for Melko held the North and Ungweliant the South, whereas in the West was Valinor and the blessed realms, and in the East great regions of dark lands that craved for light.

Now it is said (quoth Lindo) that, whereas certain of the Gods of their divine being might, an they wished, fare with a great suddenness of speed through Vilna and the low airs, yet might none even of the Valar, not Melko himself, nor any other save Manwe and Varda and their folk alone avail to pass beyond: for this was the word of Iluvatar when he sped them to the world at their desire, that they should dwell for ever within the world if once they entered it, nor should leave it, until its Great End came, being woven about it in the threads of its fate and becoming part thereof. Yet more, to Manwe alone, knowing the purity and glory of his heart, did Iluvatar grant the power of visiting the uttermost heights; and breathing the great clear Serene which lies so far above the world that no finest dust of it, nor thinnest odour of its lives, nor faintest echo of its song or sorrow comes there; but far below it gleams palely beneath the stars and the shadows of the Sun and Moon faring back and forth from Valinor flutter upon its face. There walks Manwe Sulimo often far out beyond the stars and watches it with love, and he is very near the heart of Iluvatar.

But this has ever been and is yet the greatest bitterness to Melko, for in no wise of himself could he now forsake the bosom of the Earth, and belike ye shall yet hear how mightily his envy was increased when the great vessels of radiance set sail; but now is it to tell that so moving were the words and so great their wisdom that the most part of the Gods thought his purpose good, and they said: "Let Aule busy himself then with all his folk in the fashioning of this ship of light", and few said otherwise, though 'tis told that Lorien was little pleased, fearing lest shadow and quiet and secret places ceased to be, and of a surety Vana might think of little else for the greatness of her vain desire to see the rekindling of the Trees.

Then said Aule: "The task ye set me is of the utmost difficulty, yet will I do all that I may therein," and he begged the aid of Varda the starfashioner, and those twain departed and were lost in the gloom a great while.

At length therefore did Manwe bid Yavanna to put forth her power, and she was loath, but the clamour of the folk constrained her, and she begged for some of the radiance of white and gold; but of this would Manwe and Aule spare only two small phials, saying that if the draught of old had power to heal the Trees already had they been blooming, for Vina and Lorien had poured it unstintingly upon their roots.

Then sorrowfully Yavanna stood upon the plain and her form trembled and her face was very pale for the greatness of the effort that her being put forth, striving against fate. The phial of gold she held in her right hand and the silver in her left, and standing between the Trees she lifted them on high, and flames of red and of white arose from each like flowers, and the ground shook, and the earth opened, and a growth of flowers and plants leapt up therefrom about her feet, white and blue about her left side and red and gold about her right, and the Gods sat still and in amaze. Then going she cast each phial upon its proper Tree and sang the songs of unfading growth and a song of resurrection after death and withering; and suddenly she sang no more. Midway she stood between the Trees and utter silence fell, then there was a great noise heard and none knew what passed, but Palurien lay swooning on the Earth; but many leapt beside her and raised her from the ground, and she trembled and was afraid.

"Vain, O children of the Gods," she cried, "is all my strength. Lo, at your desire I have poured my power upon the Earth like water, and like water the Earth has sucked it from me — it is gone and I can do no more." And the Trees stood still gaunt and stark, and all the companies wept beholding her, but Manwe said: "Weep not, O children of the Gods, the irreparable harm, for many fair deeds may be yet to do, and beauty hath not perished on the earth nor all the counsels of the Gods been turned to nought"; but nonetheless folk left that place in sorrow, save Vana only, and she clung to the bole of Laurelin and wept.

Now was the time of faintest hope and darkness most profound fallen on Valinor that was ever yet; and still did Vana weep, and she twined her golden hair about the bole of Laurelin and her tears dropped softly at its roots; and even as the dew of her gentle love touched that tree, behold, a sudden pale gleam was born in those dark places. Then gazed Vana in wonder, and even where her first tears fell a shoot sprang from Laurelin, and it budded, and the buds were all of gold, and there came light therefrom like a ray of sunlight beneath a cloud.

Then sped Vanaa little way out upon the plain, and she lifted up her sweet voice with all her power and it came trembling faintly to the gates of Valmar, and all the Valar heard. Then said Omar. "'Tis the voice of Vana's lamentation," but Salmar said: "Nay, listen more, for rather is there joy in that sound," and all that stood by hearkened, and the words they heard were I-kal'antulien, Light hath returned.

Loud then was the murmur about the streets of Valmar, and folk sped thronging over the plain, and when they beheld Vana beneath the Tree and the new shoot of gold then suddenly did a song of very mighty praise and joy burst forth on every tongue; and Tulkas said: "Lo, mightier have the spells of Yavanna proved than her foretelling!" But Yavanna gazing upon Vana's face said: "Alas, 'tis not so, for in this have my spells played but a lesser part, and more potent has the gentle love of Vana been and her falling tears a dew more healing and more tender than all the radiance of old: yet as for my foretelling, soon wilt thou see, O Tulkas, if thou dost but watch."

Then did all the folk gaze on Laurelin, and behold, those buds opened and put forth leaves, and these were of finest gold and of other kind to those of old, and even as they watched the branch bore golden blossom, and it was thronged with flowers. Now as swiftly as its blossoms opened full it seemed a gust of wind came suddenly and shook them from their slender stems, blowing them about the heads of those that watched like jets of fire, and folk thought there was evil in that; but many of the Eldar chased those shining petals far and wide and gathered them in baskets, yet save such as were of golden threads or of other metals these might not contain those ardent blooms and were all consumed and burnt, that the petals were lost again.

One flower there was however greater than the others, more shining, and more richly golden, and it swayed to the winds but fell not; and it grew, and as it grew of its own radiant warmth it fructified. Then as its petals fell and were treasured a fruit there was of great beauty hanging from that bough of Laurelin, but the leaves of the bough grew sere and they shrivelled and shone no more. Even as they dropped to earth the fruit waxed wonderfully, for all the sap and radiance of the dying Tree were in it, and the juices of that fruit were like quivering flames of amber and of red and its pips like shining gold, but its rind was of a perfect lucency smooth as a glass whose nature is transfused with gold and therethrough the moving of its juices could be seen within like throbbing furnace-fires. So great became the light and richness of that growth and the weight of its fruitfulness that the bough bent thereunder, and it hung as a globe of fires before their eyes.

Then said Yavanna to Aule: "Bear thou up the branch, my lord, lest it snap and the fruit of wonder be dashed rudely to the ground; and the greatest ruth would that be, for know ye all that this is the last flame of life that Laurelin shall show." But Aule had stood by as one lost in sudden thought since first that fruit came to ripening, and he answered now saying: "Very long indeed did Varda and I seek through the desolate homes and gardens for materials of our craft. Now do I know that Iluvatar has brought my desire into my hand." Then calling to Tulkas to aid him he severed the stem of that fruit, and they that behold gasped and were astonied at his ruthlessness.

Loudly they murmured, and some cried: "Woe to him that ravishes anew our Tree," and Vana was in great ire. Yet did none dare to draw nigh, for those twain Aule and Tulkas might scarcely bear up even upon their godlike shoulders that great globe of flame and were tottering beneath it. Hearing their anger indeed Aule stayed, saying: "Cease ye of little wisdom and have a patience," but even with those words his foot went astray and he stumbled, and even Tulkas might not bear that fruit alone, so that it fell, and striking stony ground burst asunder. Straightway such a blinding radiance leapt forth as even the full bloom of Laurelin had not yielded of old, and the darkened eyes of the Vali were dazzled so that they fell back stunned; but a pillar of light rose from that place smiting the heavens that the stars paled above it and the face of Taniquetil went red afar off, and Aule alone of all those there was unmoved by sorrow. Then said Aule: "Of this can I make a ship of light — surpassing even the desire of Manwe," and now Varda and many others, even Vana, understood his purpose and were glad. But they made a mighty corbel of twisted gold, and strewing it with ardent petals of its own bloom they laid therein the halves of the fruit of noon and uplifting it with many hands bore it away with much singing and great hope. Then coming to the courts of Aule they set it down, and thereupon began the great smithying of the Sun; and this was the most cunning marvellous of all the works of Aule Talkamarda, whose works are legion. Of that perfect rind a vessel did he make, diaphanous and shining, yet of a tempered strength, for with spells of his own he overcame its brittleness, nor in any way was its subtle delicacy thereby diminished.

Now the most ardent radiance poured therein neither spilled nor dimmed, nor did that vessel receive any injury therefrom, yet would it swim the airs more lightly than a bird; and Aule was overjoyed, and he fashioned that vessel like a great ship broad of beam, laying one half of the rind within the other so that its strength might not be broken. Vana, repenting of her past murmurings, cut short her golden hair and gave it to the Gods, and from her hair they wove sails and ropes more strong than any mariner hath seen, yet of the slenderness of gossamer. The masts and spars of the ship were all of gold.

Then that the Ship of the Heavens might be made ready unto the last, the unfading petals of the latest flower of Laurelin were gathered like a star at her prow, and tassels and streamers of glancing light were hung about her bulwarks, and a flash of lightning was caught in her mast to be a pennant; but all that vessel was filled to the brim with the blazing radiance of gold Kulullin and mingled therein drops of the juices of the fruit of noon, and these were very hot, and thereafter scarcely might the bosom of the Earth withhold her, and she leapt at her cords like a captive bird that listeth for the airs.

Then did the Gods name that ship, and they called her Sari which is the Sun, but the Elves Ur which is fire; but many other names does she bear in legend and in poesy. The Lamp of Vana is she named among the Gods in memory of Vana's tears and her sweet tresses that she gave; and the Gnomes call her Galmir the goldgleamer and Glorvent the ship of gold, and Braglorin the blazing vessel, and many a name beside; and her names among Men no man has counted them.

Behold now it is to be told how while that galleon was abuilding others nigh to where the Two Trees once grew fashioned a great bason and folk laboured mightily at it. Its floor they made of gold and its walls of polished bronze, and an arcade of golden pillars topped with fires engirdled it, save only on the East; but Yavanna set a great and nameless spell amund it, so that therein was poured the most of the waters of the fruit of noon and it became a bath of fire. Indeed is it not called Tanyasalpe, the bowl of fire, even Faskalanumen, the Bath of the Setting Sun, for here when Urwendi after returned from the East and the first sunset came on Valinor the ship was drawn down and its radiance refreshed against new voyagings on the morrow while the Moon held High Heaven.

Now the making of this place of fire is more wondrous than seems, for so subtle were those radiances that set in the air they spilled not nor sank, nay rather they rose and floated away far above Vilna, being of the utmost buoyancy and lightness; yet now did nought escape from Faskalan which burnt amid the plain, and light came to Valinor therefrom, yet by reason of the deepness of the bason it fared not far abroad and the ring of shadows stood close in.

Then said Manwe, looking upon the glory of that ship as it strained to be away: "Who shall steer us this boat and guide its course above the realms of Earth, for even the holy bodies of the Valar, meseems, may not for long endure to bathe in this great light."

But a great thought came into the heart of Urwendi, and she said that she was not adread, and begged leave to become the mistress of the Sun and to make herself ready for that office as Iluvatar set it in her heart to do. Then did she bid a many of her maidens follow her, even of those who had aforetime watered the roots of Laurelin with light, and casting aside their raiment they went down into that pool Faskalan as bathers into the sea, and its golden foams went over their bodies, and the Gods saw them not and were afraid. But after a while they came again to the brazen shores and were not as before, for their bodies were grown lucent and shone as with an ardour within, and light flashed from their limbs as they moved, nor might any raiment endure to cover their glorious bodies any more. Like air were they, and they trod as lightly as does sunlight on the earth, and saying no word they climbed upon the ship, and that vessel heaved against its great cords and all the folk of Valinor might scarce restrain it.

Now at last by Manwe's command do they climb the long slopes of Taniquetil and draw i-Kalavente the Ship of Light along with them, nor is that any great task; and now do they stand on the wide space before great Manwe's doors, and the ship is on the western slope of the mountain trembling and tugging at its bonds, and already so great is its glory become that sunbeams pour out over the shoulders of Taniquetil and a new light is in the sky, and the waters of the Shadowy Seas beyond are touched with such fire as they never yet had seen. In that hour 'tis said that all creatures that wandered in the world stood still and wondered, even as Manwe going spake to Urwendi and said: "Go now, most wondrous maiden washed in fire, and steer the ship of divine light above the world, that joy may search out its narrowest crannies and all the things that sleep within its bosom may awake", but Urwendi answered not, looking only eagerly to the East, and Manwe bade cast the ropes that held her, and straightway the Ship of the Morning arose above Taniquetil and the bosom of the air received it.

Ever as it rose it burned the brighter and the purer till all Valinor was filled with radiance, and the vales of Erumani and the Shadowy Seas were bathed in light, and sunshine was spilled on the dark plain of Arvalin, save only where Ungweliante's clinging webs and darkest fumes still lay too thick for any radiance to filter through.

Then all looking up saw that heaven was blue, and very bright and beautiful, but the stars fled as that great dawn came upon the world; and a gentle wind blew from the cold lands to meet the vessel and filled its gleaming sails, and white vapours mounted from off the misty seas below toward her, that her prow seemed to cleave a white and airy foam. Yet did she waver not, for the Manir that fared about her drew her by golden cords, and higher and higher the Sun's great galleon arose, until even to the sight of Manwe it was but a disc of fire wreathed in veils of splendour that slowly and majestically wandered from the West.

Now ever as it drew further on its way so grew the light in Valinor more mellow, and the shadows of the houses of the Gods grew long, slanting away towards the waters of the Outer Seas, but Taniquetil threw a great westering shadow that waxed ever longer and deeper, and it was afternoon in Valinor.'

Then said Gilfanon laughing: 'Nay, but, good sir, you lengthen the tale mightily, for methinks you love to dwell upon the works and deeds of the great Gods, but an you set not a measure to your words our stranger here will live not to hear of those things that happened in the world when at length the Gods gave to it the light they so long had withholden — and such tales, methinks, were a variety pleasing to hear.'

But Eriol had of a sooth been listening very eagerly to the sweet voice of Lindo, and he said: 'But a little while agone, a day perchance the Eldar would esteem it, did I come hither, yet no longer do I love the name of stranger, neither will Lindo ever lengthen the tale beyond my liking, whatsoever he tells, but behold this history is all to my heart.'

But Lindo said: 'Nay, nay, I have indeed more to tell; yet, O Eriol, the things that Gilfanon hath upon his lips are well worth the hearing — indeed never have I nor any here heard a full count of these matters. As soon therefore as may be will I wind up my tale and make an end, but three nights hence let us have another tale-telling, and it shall be one of greater ceremony, and musics there shall be, and all the children of the House of Lost Play shall here be gathered together at his feet to hear Gilfanon relate the travail of the Noldoli and the coming of Mankind.'

Now these words mightily pleased Gilfanon and Eriol, and many beside were glad, but now doth Lindo proceed:

'Know then that to such vast heights did the Sunship climb, and climbing blazed ever hotter and brighter, that ere long its glory was wider than ever the Gods conceived of when that vessel was still harboured in their midst. Everywhere did its great light pierce and all the vales and darkling woods, the bleak slopes and rocky streams, lay dazzled by it, and the Gods were amazed. Great was the magic and wonder of the Sun in those days of bright Urwendi, yet not so tender and so delicately fair as had the sweet Tree Laurelin once been; and thus whisper of new discontent awoke in Valinor, and words ran among the children of the Gods, for Mandos and Fui were wroth, saying that Aule and Varda would for ever be meddling with the due order of the world, making it a place where no quiet or peaceful shadow could remain; but Lorien sat and wept in a grove of trees beneath the shade of Taniquetil and looked upon his gardens stretching beneath, still disordered by the great hunt of the Gods, for he had not had the heart for their mending. There the nightingales were silent for the heat danced above the trees, and his poppies were withered, and his evening flowers drooped and gave no scent; and Silmo stood sadly by Telimpe that gleamed wanly as still waters rather than the shining dew of Silpion, so overmastering was the greatlight of day.

Then Lorien arose and said to Manwe: "Call back your glittering ship, O Lord of the Heavens, for the eyes of us ache by reason of its flaming, and beauty and soft sleep is driven far away. Rather the darkness and our memories than this, for this is not the old loveliness of Laurelin, and Silpion is no more." Nor were any of the Gods utterly content, knowing in their hearts that they had done a greater thing than they at first knew, and never again would Valinor see such ages as had passed; and Vana said that Kulullin's fount was dulled and her garden wilted in the heat, and her roses lost their hues and fragrance, for the Sun then sailed nearer to the Earth than it now does.

Then Manwe chid them for their fickleness and discontent, but they were not appeased; and suddenly spake Ulmo, coming from outer Vai: "Lord Manwe, neither are their counsels nor thine to be despised. Have ye then not yet understood, O Valar, wherein lay much of the great beauty of the Trees of old? — In change, and in slow alternation of fair things, the passing blending sweetly with that which was to come." But Lorien said suddenly: "O Valaturu, the Lord of Vai speaketh words wiser than ever before, and they fill me with a great longing," and he left them thereupon and went out upon the plain, and it was then three daytimes, which is the length of three blossomings of Laurelin of old, since the Ship of Morning was unmoored. Then for four daytimes more sate Lorien beside the stock of Silpion and the shadows gathered shyly round him, for the Sun was far to the East, beating about the heavens where it listed, since Manwe had not as yet ruled its course and Urwendi was bidden fare as seemed good to her. Yet even so Lorien is not appeased, not though the darkness of the mountains creep across the plain, and a mist bloweth in from off the sea and a vague and flitting twilight gathers once more in Valinor, but long he sits pondering why the spells of Yavanna wrought only upon Laurelin. Then Lorien sang to Silpion, saying that the Valar were lost 'in a wilderness of gold and heat, or else in shadows full of death and unkindly glooms,' and he touched the wound in the bole of the Tree.

Lo, even as he touched that cruel hurt, a light glowed faintly there as if radiant sap still stirred within, but a low branch above Lorien's bowed head burgeoned suddenly, and leaves of a very dark green, long and oval, budded and unfolded upon it, yet was all the Tree beside bare and dead and has ever been so since. Now it was at that time seven times seven days since the fruit of noon was born upon Laurelin, and many of the Eldar and of the sprites and of the Gods were drawn nigh, listening to Lorien's song; but he heeded them not, gazing upon the Tree.

Lo, its new leaves were crusted with a silver moisture, and their undersides were white and set with pale gleaming filaments. Buds there were of flowers also upon the bough, and they opened, but a dark mist of the sea gathered about the tree, and the air grew bitterly cold as it never before had been in Valinor, and those blossoms faded and fell and none heeded them. One only was there at the branch's end that opening shone of its own light and no mist or cold harmed it, but indeed waxing it seemed to suck the very vapours and transform them subtly to the silver substance of its body; and it grew to be a very pale and wondrous glistering flower, nor did even the purest snow upon Taniquetil gleaming in the light of Silpion outrival it, and its heart was of white flame and it throbbed, waxing and waning marvellously. Then said Lorien for the joy of his heart: "Behold the Rose of Silpion", and that rose grew till the fruit of Laurelin had been but little greater, and ten thousand crystal petals were in that flower, and it was drenched in a fragrant dew like honey and this dew was light. Now Lorien would suffer none to draw near, and this will he rue for ever: for the branch upon which the Rose hung yielded all its sap and withered, nor even yet would he suffer that blossom to be plucked gently down, being enamoured of its loveliness and lusting to see it grow mightier than the fruit of noon, more glorious than the Sun.

Then snapped the withered bough and the Rose of Silpion fell, and some of its dewy light was roughly shaken from it, and here and there a petal was crushed and tarnished, and Lorien cried aloud and sought to lift it gently up, but it was too great. Therefore did the Gods let send to Aule's halls, for there was a great silver charger, like to a table of the giants, and they set the latest bloom of Silpion upon it, and despite its hurts its glory and fragrance and pale magic were very great indeed.

Now when Lorien had mastered his grief and ruth he spake the counsel that Ulmo's words had called to his heart: that the Gods build another vessel to match the galleon of the Sun, "and it shall be made from the Rose of Silpion," said he, "and in memory of the waxing and waning of these Trees for twelve hours shall the Sunship sail the heavens and leave Valinor, and for twelve shall Silpion's pale bark mount the skies, and there shall be rest for tired eyes and weary hearts."

This then was the manner of the shaping of the Moon, for Aule would not dismember the loveliness of the Rose of Silver, and he called rather to him certain of those Eldar of his household who were of the Noldoli of old and had consorted with the jewel-makers. Now these revealed to him much store of crystals and delicate glasses that Fëanor and his sons had laid up in secret places in Sirnumen, and with the aid of those Elves and of Varda of the stars, who gave even of the light of those frail boats of hers to give limpid clearness to their fashioning, he brought to being a substance thin as a petal of a rose, clear as the most transparent elfin glass, and very smooth, yet might Aule of his skill bend it and fashion it, and naming it he called it virin. Of virin now he built a marvellous vessel, and often have men spoken of the Ship of the Moon, yet is it scarce like to any bark that sailed on sea or air. Rather was it like an island of pure glass, albeit not very great, and tiny lakes there were bordered with snowy flowers that shone, for the water of those pools that gave them sap was the radiance of Telimpe. Midmost of that shimmering isle was wrought a cup of that crystalline stuff that Aule made and therein the magic Rose was set, and the glassy body of the vessel sparkled wonderfully as it gleamed therein. Rods there were and perchance they were of ice, and they rose upon it like aery masts, and sails were caught to them by slender threads, and Uinen wove them of white mists and foam, and some were sprent with glinting scales of silver fish, some threaded with tiniest stars like points of light — sparks caught in snow when Nielluin was shining.

Thus was the Ship of the Moon, the crystal island of the Rose, and the Gods named it Rana, the Moon, but the fairies Sil, the Rose, and many a sweet name beside. Ilsalunte or the silver shallop has it been called, and thereto the Gnomes have called it Minethlos or the argent isle and Crithosceleg the disc of glass.

Now Silmo begged to sail upon the oceans of the firmament therein, but he might not, for neither was he of the children of the air nor might he find a way to cleanse his being of its earthwardness as had Urwendi done, and little would it have availed to enter Faskalan had he dared essay it, for then would Rana have shrivelled before him. Manwe bade therefore Ilinsor, a spirit of the Suruli who loved the snows and the starlight and aided Varda in many of her works, to pilot this strange-gleaming boat, and with him went many another spirit of the air arrayed in robes of silver and white, or else of palest gold; but an aged Elf with hoary locks stepped upon the Moon unseen and hid him in the Rose, and there dwells he ever since and tends that flower, and a little white turret has he builded on the Moon where often he climbs and watches the heavens, or the world beneath, and that is Uole Kuvion who sleepeth never. Some indeed have named him the Man in the Moon, but Ilinsor is it rather who hunts the stars.

Now is to tell how the plan that Lorien devised was changed, for the white radiance of Silpion is by no means so buoyant and ethereal as is the flame of Laurelin, nor virin so little weighty as the rind of the bright fruit of noon; and when the Gods laded the white ship with light and would launch it upon the heavens, behold, it would not rise above their heads. Moreover, behold, that living Rose continued to give forth a honey as of light that distills upon the isle of glass, and a dew of moonbeams glistens there, yet rather does this weigh the vessel than buoy it as did the increase of the Sunship's flames. So is it that Ilinsor must return at times, and that overflowing radiance of the Rose is stored in Valinor against dark days — and it is to tell that such days come ever and anon, for then the white flower of the isle wanes and scarcely shines, and then must it be refreshed and watered with its silver dew, much as Silpion was wont of old to be.

Hence was it that a pool was builded hard by the dark southern wall of Valmar, and of silver and white marbles were its walls, but dark yews shut it in, being planted in a maze most intricate about it. There Lorien hoarded the pale dewy light of that fair Rose, and he named it the Lake Irtinsa.

So comes it that for fourteen nights men may see Rana's bark float upon the airs, and for other fourteen the heavens know it not; while even on those fair nights when Rana fares abroad it showeth not ever the same aspect as doth Sari the glorious, for whereas that bright galleon voyageth even above Ilwe and beyond the stars and cleaveth a dazzling way blinding the heavens, highest of all things recking little of winds or motions of the airs, yet Ilinsor's bark is heavier and less filled with magic and with power, and fareth never above the skies but saileth in the lower folds of Ilwe threading a white swathe among the stars. For this reason the high winds trouble it at times, tugging at its misty shrouds; and often are these torn and scattered, and the Gods renew them. At times too are the petals of the Rose ruffled,and its white flames blown hither and thither like a silver candle guttering in the wind. Then doth Rana heave and toss about the air, as often you may see him, and mark the slender curve of his bright keel, his prow now dipping, now his stern; and whiles again he sails serenely to the West, and up through the pure lucency of his frame the wide Rose of Silpion is seen, and some say the aged form of Uole Kuvion beside.

Then indeed is the Ship of the Moon very fair to look upon, and the Earth is filled with slender lights and deep quick-moving shadows, and radiant dreams go with cool wings about the world, but Lorien has ruth amid his gladness, because his flower bears yet, and will for ever, the faint marks of its bruising and its fall; and all men can see them clearly.

But lo,' saith Lindo, 'I run on ahead, for yet have I only told that the silver ship is newly built, and Ilinsor yet but first stepped aboard — and now do the Gods draw that vessel once again up the steep sides of old Taniquetil singing as they go songs of Lorien's folk that long have been dumb in Valinor. Slower was that wayfaring than the lifting of the Ship of Morn, and all the folk strain lustily at the ropes, until Orome coming harnesses thereto a herd of wild white horses, and thus comes the vessel to the topmost place.

Then behold, the galleon of the Sun is seen afar beating golden from the East, and the Valar marvel to descry the glowing peaks of many a mountain far away, and isles glimmering green in seas once dark. Then cried Osse: "Look, O Manwe, but the sea is blue, as blue wellnigh as Ilwe that thou lovest!" and "Nay," said Manwe, "envy we not Ilwe, for the sea is not blue alone, but grey and green and purple, and most beauteous-flowered with foaming white. Nor jade nor amethyst nor porphyry set with diamonds and with pearls outrival the waters of the Great and little seas when the sunlight drenches them."

So saying Manwe sent Fionwe his son, swiftest of all to move about the airs, and bade him say to Urwendi that the bark of the Sun come back awhile to Valinor, for the Gods have counsels for her ear; and Fionwe fled most readily, for he had conceived a great love for that bright maiden long ago, and her loveliness now, when bathed in fire she sate as the radiant mistress of the Sun, set him aflame with the eagerness of the Gods. So was it that Urwendi brought her ship unwilling above Valinor, and Orome cast a noose of gold about it, and it was drawn slowly down upon the Earth, and behold, the woods upon Taniquetil glowed once more in the mingled light of silver and of gold, and all were minded of the ancient blending of the Trees; but Ilsalunte paled before the galleon of the Sun till almost it seemed to burn no more.

So ended the first day upon the world, and it was very long and full of many marvellous deeds that Gilfanon may tell; but now the Gods beheld the evening deepen over the world as the Sunship was drawn down and the glow upon the mountains faded, and the sparkle of the seas went out. Then the primeval darkness crept out again once more from many stealthy lairs, but Varda was glad to see the steady shining of the stars. Far upon the plain was Sari drawn, and when she was gone Ilsalunte was haled upon the topmost peak so that his white lucency fell out thence over the wide world and the first night was come. Indeed in these days darkness is no more within the borders of the world, but only night, and night is another and a different thing, by reason of the Rose of Silpion.

Now however does Aule fill the brimming vessel of that flower with white radiance, and many of the Suruli whitewinged glide beneath and bear it slowly up and set it among the company of the stars. There does it swim slowly, a pale and glorious thing, and Ilinsor and his comrades sit them upon its rim and with shimmering oars urge it bravely through the sky; and Manwe breathed upon its bellying sails till it was wafted far away, and the beat of the unseen oars against the winds of night faded and grew faint.

Of this manner was the first rising of the Moon above Taniquetil, and Lorien rejoiced, but Ilinsor was jealous of the supremacy of the Sun, and he bade the starry mariners flee before him and the constellate lamps go out, but many would not, and often he set sail in chase of them, and the little ships of Varda fled before the huntsman of the firmament, and were not caught: — and that, said Lindo, 'is all, methinks, I know to tell of the building of those marvellous ships and their launching on the air.'

'But,' said Eriol, 'nay, surely that is not so, for at the tale's beginning methought you promised us words concerning the present courses of the Sun and Moon and their rising in the East, and I for one, by the leave of the others here present am not minded to release you of your word.'

Then quoth Lindo laughing, 'Nay, I remember not the promise, and did I make it then it was rash indeed, for the things you ask are nowise easy to relate, and many matters concerning the deeds in those days in Valinor are hidden from all save only the Valar. Now however am I fain rather to listen, and thou Vaire perchance will take up the burden of the tale.'

Thereat did all rejoice, and the children clapped their hands, for dearly did they love those times when Vaire was the teller of the tale; but Vaire said:

'Lo, tales I tell of the deep days, and the first is called The Hiding of Valinor.'