A Tale within a Tale

The Blue Book of Bilbo Baggins, or, Tales of the Forbidden Silmarillion

6. The Great Mother

"Bird excrement," fumed Glorfindel. "If I have to go to Valinor to escape these blasted Silvan Elves and their loose morals, I will."

Worst of all was that so many believed that he, Glorfindel, was the same man as (he counted on his fingers) Manwë's catamite; a singing cricket; and a few other Glorfindels guilty of unspeakable behavior. "I don't mind being confused with the Balrog-slayer," he muttered. "Although it's gotten rather tiresome being asked all the time what re-embodiment felt like."

His fingers shook with rage as he turned the pages of the book to the story Legolas had mentioned. "The Great Mother—filth! Heresy! Why did Bilbo write down this wretched tale? If this gets around, it will just give the women ideas. Really, we must have instead a true record of the laws and customs among the Elves as they deserve to be remembered—as a high standard for Men in this lesser new Age."

~oOo~

The Great Mother

In the beginning the Great Mother dwelt alone in Cuiviénen. She sang, and the stars sprang into the sky; she took the substance of the earth into her hands and made of it trees and flowers and grass. Out of her womb sprang beasts and birds. And she made creatures like herself, lovely of form and with broad hips and ripe breasts, and she called them Níssi. In joy they dwelt together and fashioned houses and clothing for themselves, and the Great Mother was glad.

But soon her Children grew discontent, seeing the ewes with their lambs and the mares with their foals. "O Mother," they cried, "we wish for our own babies." But the Mother's Children had not her magic; they could not form babies from the very earth. And so the Great Mother set about creating another being. Taller she made him than her fair Children, with broad shoulders and strong bones for working in the fields, hoeing the crops and drawing water, for she wished this new creature to serve her Children well. And she made for him an organ from which the Children could draw seed for their wombs.

The Children were well pleased with the new being, and they called him Verno and coupled with him. Soon the houses rang with the merry voices of many children and the babbling of babies, and life was blessed. Of the new children, half were like their mothers and half were like their father. "And this is good," said the Great Mother, "for he does not have enough seed for so many." And she called the father and his sons Néri.

But the Néri grew discontent. "Why must we sow and reap the crops while the women care for the babies?" they complained. "We work harder than they do; besides we are bigger and better. We wish for them to serve us when we are tired after a long day in the fields." And they plotted a rebellion and seized the Great Mother while she was asleep, bound her with cruel ropes and buried her underneath a great mountain.

And the Néri said that the story of the Great Mother was a lie, and called the first Ner Ilúvatar, the father of all, and they bade the Níssi to be their servants and made them swear to one master alone. And the joy of the Níssi faded, and their work was never done.

But the Great Mother does not forget her sorrow, and sometimes she thrashes and cries in her bonds, and the mountains vomit out fire and death, and the Earth itself heaves and rolls, destroying the cities of the Children. Thus is she revenged.

~oOo~

Translations from the Quenya

Nér, néri man, men

Nís, níssi woman, women

Verno husband


This is a work of fan fiction, written because the author has an abiding love for the works of J R R Tolkien. The characters, settings, places, and languages used in this work are the property of the Tolkien Estate, Tolkien Enterprises, and possibly New Line Cinema, except for certain original characters who belong to the author of the said work. The author will not receive any money or other remuneration for presenting the work on this archive site. The work is the intellectual property of the author, is available solely for the enjoyment of Henneth Annûn Story Archive readers, and may not be copied or redistributed by any means without the explicit written consent of the author.

In Challenges

Story Information

Author: Gandalfs apprentice

Status: Reviewed

Completion: Complete

Rating: Adult

Last Updated: 01/02/08

Original Post: 01/07/07

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