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Things of Middle-earth

Watch-stones of the Drúedain

Type: Artifacts

Other Names: Púkel-men

Description:[The Drúedain] made also images of themselves and placed them at the entrances to tracks or at turnings of woodland paths. These they called "watch-stones;" of which the most notable were set near the Crossings of Teiglin, each representing a Drúadan, larger than the life, squatting heavily upon a dead Orc. These figures served not merely as insults to their enemies; for the Orcs feared them and believed them to be filled with the malice of the Oghor-hai (for so they named the Drúedain), and able to hold communication with them. Therefore they seldom dared to touch them, or to try to destroy them, and unless in great numbers would turn back at a "watch-stone" and go no further.

Unfinished Tales, Part 4, Ch 1, The Drúedain

[The Púkel-men of Dunharrow are an example of watch-stones that survived to the Third Age.]

The service of the Drúedain as guards was much esteemed by the Folk of Haleth in times of peril; and if such guards were not to be had they would have figures carved in their likeness to set near their houses, believing that, (being made by the Drúedain themselves for the purpose) they would hold some of the menace of the living men.

Unfinished Tales, Part 4, Ch 1, The Drúedain

[The above belief is illustrated by a Haladin story called The Faithful Stone, excerpted below:]
Aghan [a Drúadan] said: "I will do what I can [to protect you while I'm away]. I have had a watch-stone brought here and set near your house." Barach went out with Aghan and looked at the watch-stone. It was large and heavy and sat under some bushes not far from his doors. Aghan laid his hand upon it, and after a silence said: "See, I have left with it some of my powers. May it keep you from harm!"

... on the third night Barach heard the shrill warning call of the Drûgs – or dreamed that he heard it, for it roused no one else. ... he saw two Orcs setting fuel against his house and preparing to kindle it. ... just as the flames leapt up, he saw a Drûg come running up behind the Orcs. One he felled with a blow of his fist, and the other fled; then he plunged barefoot into the fire, scattering the burning fuel and stamping on the Orc-flames that ran along the ground. ...

[Barach] ... found that the watch-stone had gone.... "Tonight I must be the watchman," he thought; but later in the day Aghan came back, and was welcomed with joy. He was wearing high buskins ... and he was weary. ... he said: ... "How have you fared?"

"We are still alive," said Barach. "But come with me, and I will show you and tell you more." Then he ... told him of the attack in the night. "The watch-stone has gone – Orc-work, I guess. What have you to say to that?"

... Aghan ... went hither and thither scanning the ground.... At length Aghan led [Barach] to a thicket at the edge of the clearing in which the house stood. There the watch-stone was, sitting on a dead Orc; but its legs were all blackened and cracked, and one of its feet had split off and lay loose at its side. ...

Then [Aghan] sat down and unlaced his buskins, and Barach saw that under them there were bandages on his legs. ... "... last night I slept. I woke before morning came, and I was in pain, and found my legs blistered. Then I guessed what had happened. Alas! If some power passes from you to a thing that you have made, then you must take a share in its hurts."

Unfinished Tales, Part 4, Ch 1, The Drúedain: The Faithful Stone

Contributors: Elena Tiriel 15Jan05

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