HASA Resources

Things of Middle-earth

earth-bread

Type: Plants

Description:The edible roots being collected by Mîm the Petty-dwarf and his sons when captured by Túrin.

[Said] another, who had taken the sack. "There is nothing here but roots and small stones."

Unfinished Tales, Part 1, Ch 2, Narn I Hîn Húrin: Of Mîm the Dwarf

[Túrin] marked, and others also, that Mîm set more value on his load than it seemed worth to the eye.

Unfinished Tales, Part 1, Ch 2, Narn I Hîn Húrin: Of Mîm the Dwarf

[Mîm] brought out a sack. "Rubbish," he said. "Not worth the stealing. Only wild roots."

But when they were cooked these roots proved good to eat, somewhat like bread; and the outlaws were glad of them, for they had long lacked bread save when they could steal it. "Wild Elves know them not; Grey-elves have not found them; the proud ones from over the Sea are too proud to delve," said Mîm.

"What is their name?" said Túrin. Mîm looked at him sidelong. "They have no name, save in the Dwarf-tongue, which we do not teach," he said. "And we not teach Men to find them, for Men are greedy and thriftless, and would not spare till all the plants had perished; whereas now they pass them by as they go blundering in the wild. No more will you learn of me; but you may have enough of my bounty, as long as you speak fair and do not spy or steal." Then again he laughed in his throat. "They are of great worth." he said. "More than gold in the hungry winter, for they may be hoarded like the nuts of a squirrel, and already we were building our store from the first that are ripe.”

Unfinished Tales, Part 1, Ch 2, Narn I Hîn Húrin: Of Mîm the Dwarf

[Ulrad, one of Túrin’s men, said:] “Nonetheless the old rogue had other things in his sack, of like shape but harder and heavier. Maybe there are other things beside earth-bread in the wild which Elves have not found and Men must not know!"

Unfinished Tales, Part 1, Ch 2, Narn I Hîn Húrin: Of Mîm the Dwarf

The mystery of the other things in Mîm's sack is not explained. The only other statement on the subject is in a hastily scribbled note, which suggests that there were ingots of gold disguised as roots, and refers to Mîm seeking "for old treasures of a dwarf-house near the 'flat stones'". These were no doubt those referred to in the text as "great stones, leaning or tumbled together", at the place where Mîm was captured. But there is nowhere any indication of what part this treasure was to play in the story of Bar-en-Danwedh.

Unfinished Tales, Part 1, Ch 2, Narn I Hîn Húrin: Notes, Note 19

Contributors: Tanaqui 11.15.04

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