I: The Book of Lost Tales part 1, VIII: THE TALE OF THE SUN AND MOON

When a new guest has arrived to the Cottage, Gilfanon a-Davrobel, Lindo tells another tale. So this chapter deals with how after the destruction of the Trees of Light, that the gods tried to return light to the world again.

In the Cottage a new guest have arrived. Gilfanon a-Davrobel, the oldest Eldar living on Tol Erëssea, who also is one of the oldest Eldar. Lindo tells Eriol that Gilfanon can tell Eriol about the deeds outside of Valinor, but first Gilfanon wishes to listen to Lindo. Lindo tells the tale about the sun and moon, which is one subject that he holds dearly and the tale grews quite long. He tells:

Words of the flight of the Noldoli reaches Manwë and the Valar by Sorontur (lord of the eagles) and also words of the location of Melko in the Great Lands comes from Sorontur. The hunt for him ends. Vána and Lórien who are so very sad about the destruction of the Trees of Light tries to revive them. Not even Palurien can help them. Manwë hatched an idea that Aulë was to fashion vessels of light with Varda that could travel the skies. They fail, because they don’t have the right kind of material.

Vána cries by what was the tree Laurelin, from her tears a shot of Laurelin starts to grow and from this shot a great orange fruit grows. The insides of this fruit was to become the sun. Lórien later sung to the tree Slilpion, on which a great rose starts to grow. This rose was to become the moon. Aulë builds a ship made from the contents of the last fruit of Laurelin and a ship out of elfin glass for the rose. The sun is first to be raised to the skies and it is led by Urwendi and her maidens. The moon was piloted by Ilinsor, a spirit of the Súruli. An elf hid himself in the rose before it was raised to the sky in its ship, and he still dwells there, tending it.

After this tale is told long by Lindo, Vairë declares that she will tell of “The Hiding of the Valinor”.

Characters to note

  • Gilfanon a-Davrobel – One of the oldest Elves, a Noldoli. Oldest of the Eldar at Tol Erëssea. He is a friend and companion of men. By the time of Eriols visit at Tol Erëssea, he dwells by the Tower of Tavrobel.
  • Urwendi – A Vala leading the sun in the skies with the aid of the maidens.
  • Ilinsor – A spirit who pilots the moon.
  • Uolë Kúvion – The elf who lives on the moon, tending the rose. Called “The Man in the Moon”.

Features to note

  • Ship of the Heavens – The sun. The ship made from the Last Fruit of Laurelin. Also called Sári, Ûr and Lamp of Vána.
  • Rose of Silpion – The moon. Also called Rána.
  • Vírin – Elfin translucent glass of which the vessel for the Rose of Silpion is made out of.

Comments

This is one of the longer chapters in the Book of Lost Tales part 1. It does deals a bit with the stars, but I did not include that in my summary, because the main plot is how the sun and moon got into the sky. Also, in the diegetic sense, Lindo does kind of starts side-tracking from the tale when telling about the stars.

I do not have that much to comment on, but there is one issue that I find particularly interesting that is pointed out in the commentary to the chapter. That is the idea of light as liquid. Light is conceived as something that can be gathered in bottles, like dew or honey. This applies to the sun and moon as well. The content of a fruit is of course juice and the rose is kept alive by the rests of the last liquid light that had been gathered for the tree Silpion.

Have you read this chapter? Please comment and tell me what you think of this part and if you have anything to add!

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