I sat at night by the waters of Anduin, in the grey dark under the young pale moon, watching the ever-moving stream; and the sad reeds were rustling. So do we ever watch the shores nigh Osgiliath, which our enemies now partly hold, and issue from it to harry our lands. But that night all the world slept at the midnight hour. Then I saw, or it seemed that I saw, a boat floating on the water, glimmering grey, a small boat of a strange fashion with a high prow, and there was none to row or steer it.
An awe fell on me, for a pale light was round it. But I rose and went to the bank, and began to walk out into the stream, for I was drawn towards it. Then the boat turned towards me, and stayed its pace, and floated slowly by within my hand’s reach, yet I durst not handle it.
A broken sword was on his knee. I saw many wounds on him. It was Boromir, my brother, dead.
Late March is the time in which we mark the end of the Third Age of Middle-earth and celebrate the defeat of Sauron. In this age, we honor the date with an event known as International Tolkien Reading Day. In the past, Reading Day has been quite an elaborate affair for the Grey Havens Group. This year, however, we have a number of projects in the works, including our upcoming Real Myth and Mithril Symposium, so we will be keeping things simple. The party will be hosted by Roger Echo-Hawk in our Hobbit Hole. All will be invited to read their favorite passages from the works of J.R.R. Tolkien and works inspired by or in the tradition of Tolkien but our Reading Day would not be complete if we neglected the limerick challenge issued by Katy Colby each year. This year, she issued the Call to Rhyme in a verse of her own composition. Who can resist?
On our very next meet-up
You’re in for a treat-up
As we celebrate our favorite bits
Of our great author’s works.
And if your talent lurks
In twisting words round with your wits,
Each year we have shared,
And all those who dared
Were rewarded with praise and much fun.
This time, for a change
Just to add to our game
There is a sweet prize to be won.
Now, here are the rules:
Your words are your tools,
Create a new limerick verse
Draw your inspiration
From fantasy creation;
The Professor’s most fair Middle Earth
Or from George R.R. Martin,
If that’s where your heart’s in.
Who knows what your talent is worth?
Keep it five lines, no more
With rhymes by the score.
For our young folks, we keep it PG.
The winner decided
By vote of those present.
It’s bound to be fun, don’t you see.
A Note from Cirdan’s Apprentice: Dan Hollingshead is a Grey Havens Group artist whose work will be on display at our Real Myth and Mithril Symposium on April 25-26. Prints and cards of his work will be on sale at the symposium. If you are an artist interested in displaying your work, please register here.
I considered giving this post a subtitle of ‘Shelter from the Storm’ since the Elves gave Frodo and his traveling companions much needed protection, simply by allowing the hobbits to travel with them and stay with them at Woody End that night.
This theme carries on through the entire journey of Frodo and company, and to me is an important element in the story. Several times others provided much needed protection without doing much more than any friend (or kind person) would do for another. I think of it as important in Tolkien’s thought, that significant changes can be accomplished in peoples lives, simply by reaching out and helping in whatever way is available at the time, even if it’s only a kind word and company on the road.
Frodo and his companions had started their great journey. They were still in the Shire, in the woods under starlight, when they encountered a company of Elves, Gildor and several companions traveling at night.
Earlier that day the hobbits had seen and avoided Black Riders twice and were frightened by the experience. While they were still approaching, Frodo heard the Elves speak the name of Elbereth and by that knew that they were Noldor, the High Elves who had returned to Middle Earth from Valinor.
Frodo had learned some of the language of the Elves from Bilbo and greeted Gildor ‘Elen sila lumenn omentielvo’ – the high Elven speech meaning ‘A Star shines on the Hour of our Meeting’. Gildor responded, ‘Be careful friends, speak no secrets, for here is a scholar in the Ancient Tongue! Bilbo was a good Master, Hail Elf Friend!’
It is one of my favorite chapters in the entire book! Frodo and his companions were fortunate they met Gildor and his company on the road. Gildor led them to a safe place for that night at Woody End, and Frodo learned much from Gildor who, in addition to giving him what advise he could, sent out word among the Elves for their protection while they were traveling.