The Lord of the... whatever, Rare Manuscripts:
Author's note, from Letters #27,763:
There are, of course, quite a lot of links between The Habit and
The Lord of the [smudge] that are not clearly set out. They were mostly
written or sketched out, but cut out to lighten the boat: such as Gandalf's
exploratory journeys, his 'relations' with Aragon and Gondor; all the
wiggly movements of Gullible, until he squeezed into Moira, and so on. I
actually wrote a full account of "Gandalf's Wake", which is only
represented in brief in Book II, Chapter 7; but due to the strenuous
opposition of C__, who is determined to see a tirade against P__t__t__t__m
in everything I write, d__n his thin Ulster hide, it has had to go.
Chance has brought to light the aforementioned remarkable text,
long believed lost, in the left luggage office at St. Pancras
station. (What was found in the right luggage office will not
as yet bear mention.) After a due amount of editing -- ten years'
worth or so -- it is finally ready to take its place among the
author's remarkable unfinished writings. Although the criticisms
of C__ may seem just, and I have been of two minds about presenting
this remarkable unrevised composition, on the whole it seems
unfair not to inflict this remarkable account of Gandalf's past
upon readers, who will find, I believe, that imperfections of
form in these tales are much outweighed by the remarkable voice
(heard now for the last time) of Gandalf berating the young
Paragraph Took for arriving at Byrde Baggins' House of Fame
without a 'handkerchief', or describing how the teenage Boromir
used to tie strings across the darkest passageways of the
Citadel Library at about ankle height. In due time, we hope to
be able to fill twelve volumes with this remarkable stuff.
Part One: Gandalf and the Kine of Araw
A page or two is missing at the beginning.
....agon slugged back another skinful of miruvor, choked, coughed,
and wiped his smarting eyes. "Dammit, Frodo, that was a good one!" he
roared. "Almost makes me miss the old bastard; he really knew a trick or
two." He sniffled and wiped his nose on a sleeve with which it was
"But enough of that nonsense," he continued, leaning forward
conspiratorially into the circle of Companions, and slyly (he thought)
winking at Arwen. "Now it is time for me to tell a tale of Gandalf that
will fill you with wonder. A tale of the days of my youth when I wandered
from end to end of Middle-earth, even into the Far Lands of Rhoon where the
stars are strange."
"But is not Rhoon even at the selfsame latitude as this fair but
dangerous land of Lorien?" Boromir asked. "The stars should be no
"Bugger it, Bo-bo!" Aragon shouted. "Since when are you an expert
on astronogy? I tell you I visited the Far Lands of Rhoon with Gandalf,
where I did see the strange constellations of The Balrog, The Bathhouse,
and The Buxom Babe. And let him who would deny me eat Elendil's steel!"
Arwen looked up hopefully at this comment, but as Aragon seemed
unlikely to follow through on his threat at the moment, she lapsed into her
usual sullen silence.
"As I was saying," Aragon went on, "Me and Gandalf were travelling in
the Fields of Rhoon. After having narrowly avoided being trampled by an
herd of Oliphaunts..."
Boromir shifted uneasily in his seat, but said nothing.
"...we set about stalking our quarry. These were none other than the
Dread Kine of Araw who feed upon the Green Grass of Rhoon, making the
grinding noise Ar-Aw, Ar-Aw with their teeth, which can be heard five
"Now I was at this time new to this country, but Gandalf had oft been
in the land, and he laid himself flat to the ground to listen for the sound
"After he had lain like this for half an hour, I thought he had fallen
asleep, as indeed it turned out he had. But when I woke him, he exclaimed,
'Ah, Aragon! We are indeed in luck! For five leagues hence there grazes a
very Kow of Araw. This we shall hunt. But take great care, for the Kow is
dangerous; you must approach her from the rear, yet avoid the dreaded
Flatulence of Kow.'
"With these words we set off at once toward the East. By noon we
could hear the sounds of the Kow digesting from a distance; yet it was not
until the shadows grew long before us in the westering sun that we caught
sight of her.
"Great are the Kine of Araw, but the Kow we saw was among the
greatest. Not less than twenty feet tall she stood at the shoulder, and
she was speckled, black and white. We drew near silently, wending our way
through the tall grass, and ere we came within a hundred rangar of her,
we could smell the Stench of Kow.
"'Hist!' exclaimed Gandalf. 'There is something wrong with that Kow.
Can you not smell it, or hear it in her noise?'
"And indeed the Kow was bellowing like a young lamb in the throes of
manly love. 'What?' I said to Gandalf. 'Surely she is not missing her
"'Nay,' Gandalf replied, ''Tis worse far than that. Here about hunt
the wild Easterlings, and the Men of Dorwinion; and it seems that one of
them has slain her Kalf. Behold her udder!'"
"And with that I looked up at the udder of the Kow that rose
pendulously and portentously into the air above my head, and saw that it
was distended and reddened. 'See,' said Gandalf, 'with no Kalf to give her
milk to, her udder is full to bursting. This is our chance.'
"'What!' said I. 'Will you tip a poor defenseless mother Kow who has
lost her Kalf, or will you do something yet worse to her?'
"'Nay,' said Gandalf. 'Stay a while, and you shall see what I shall do.'
"With that he stepped forward from our covert in the tall grass, and
went slowly, with even paces up toward the side of the Kow. The Kow stood
tall above him, yet her udder hung down almost to the level of Gandalf's
head, and its teats were at face level. He was murmuring the words of some
chant in an ancient tongue, which went, as I can best recollect:
"'Mú, mú, mû.
"And with that the bellowing of the Kow grew quiet. Then, as he stood
beside the Kow -- more close than any man has dared stand to a living Kow
before or since -- he raised his hands high above his head, clenched them
upon the hanging teats, and squeezed as he drew them down."
And as he described the scene, Aragon, stood up and most dramatically
imitated Gandalf's gesture.
"With that, the udder of the Kow spurted forth copiously. Down upon
Gandalf's head it erupted, gallons of the milk drenching him from head to
foot. Yet Gandalf did not stop, but continued to milk the Kow until she
was quite dry. So much milk did flow forth that even I was splattered with
"So that's why the two of you always smelled like rancid butter!"
"No, that is for another reason," Aragon replied, "Which you are too
young to understand as yet. Be that as it may, for the journey home I must
needs stay half a league distant from Gandalf, for his smell was terrible."
Aragon fell silent, musing.
"What sort of a story is this!" exclaimed Boromir after a while.
"You go all the way to Rhoon to milk a cow? What happened then? Did you
hunt it? Did you kill it?"
"Of course not!" Aragon exclaimed. "What manner of man do you think
the heir of Elendil is! Of course we did not kill the Kow. But..." and a
mischievous smile pranked upon his face as he said it, "we tipped her. We
tipped her good."
Part Two: A Yule Visit to Bag End
A number of rare Toolkien recordings were preserved by a
wire recorder during the late 1950s. A number of these,
such as his readings from The Lord Of The... whatever and
The Slipperillion, are well-known. One remarkably rare
recording, that of Gandalf's Wake Part Two, was recently
discovered and carefully restored by Abigail Brady and
Cryosphere Realigned Audio Publications (in association
with Sprow Talent Management).
We are proud to be able to bring you, the listening public,
Cryosphere Realigned Audio Publications' rendition of
Gandalf's Wake, Part II - in living audio!
Read The Transcript
Part Seven: Lost Tales of Elendil
The following manuscript, which I shall refer to as F, was
written on the back of a Shakespeare First Folio which my father
had brought home from the Oxford antiquities library, and thus
we can be certain that the following text was written no earlier
than 1600. The text is fragmentary and among the most difficult
of my father's manuscripts, mainly due to the thin and almost
illegible pencilling, the poor quality of the paper, the similarity
of Shakespeare's handwriting, and the fact that my father tore it
to shreds in disgust immediately following its completion. The
following text is my best approximation of the original, though
with a substantial amount of grant money more text might still
..."'Swounds!" yelled Boromir, almost knocking over his mead and
hurling a salad-fork at the wall for emphasis, where it stabbed into a . .
. . ". . .'n you think you knowed Gandart. Wull, Gandart came t'Gondrr
years ago, t' . . . . the Secret of the Hidden Staircase. An' whut
happen'd when he did thut, wlll, thurr'd be no point in takin' . . . . 'n
my father's hated him ever since."
* * *
. . . . on a dark March night with the wind blowing. After reaching
the seventh circle he rode straight to the Tower, for there were no lines,
but the doorwards refused to give him entry. "The Lord Denethor is
busy with many . . . . has no time tonight for wizardry," Braglaph the
door-warden told him. "Though the gift-shop is still open, and if you want
your picture taken with . . . . a life-sized model of him you can sit next
to right over there."
"And what camera have you invented to take . . . . with?" Gandalf
replied, angry in his haste. "No need for trinkets have I, Braglaph son
of Bromides. Night is coming. Great soups are brewing in the East . . . .
else let Gondor look to its crackers! Then shall Darkness come!" And
with a . . . . ndalf swept his way into the chambers of Denethor.
So came Gandalf the Meddler of Valar to . . . . I had also come there,
for my father demanded that I come to tell him of Disgiliath, and he wished
to tell me of some foolishness of my brother's which . . . . still young,
and newly come into his doctorate, and lacked my worldly exper . . . . *
* Though the passage is blurred, a marginal note indicates
this spot and clearly reads, "Back to narr. Aragon laughs. Beer
through nose. Pause, clean."
"And what can we do for you, Mudwrangler?" Denethor said coldly.
"Another dinner? Another set of free passes? Oft have you come here in my
time, and in my father's, and in my father's father's, and in my father's
father's fa . . . . always slow to pay, yet ever quick with advice and a
"And your fathers all showed me more respect, Denethor son of
Englebert, and . . . . But now is not the time for such matters. I
seek knowledge! Aruman spent much time here in study, back in the days of
Bluto your father's father's father's . . . . The native act and
figure of my heart in compliment extern, 'tis not long after but I will
wear my . . . . here upon your carpet, Steward, until you aid me! I need
to see the ancient tomes and records of Gondor, and learn what Aruman
has seen. Otherwise ruin shall . . . . as when, by night and negligence,
the fire is spied in populous cities."
"What, ho, Brabanito! Signor . . . " . . . . Denethor intoned.
"But your quest is doomed to failure from the start. For the ancient
records of Gondor of which you seek, from Isildur to Eisner the last
King, were on the advice of counsel sealed and removed from . . . . where
no prying eyes would find them, lest those with subpoenas come and undo . .
. . and so instituted the Trademarks, for the protection of the Tower of
Guard and its intellectual properties and subsidiaries. Loth am I to . .
. . so no dice, Gandalf; even if the records are here nobody can figure
out where any more."
"Yet Aruman has read them," Gandalf replied. "What kind of Steward
loses all sorts of valuable documents at the drop of a helm when there
are . . . . must find them!"
"Not possible," Denethor replied. "You might as well . . . .
with a hammer."
At this Gandalf turned in disgust, and spat upon the floor. But my
brother Faramir looked up and noted, "Did not Aruman spend much of his
time in the abandoned Hall Of . . . . For there were many matters of
cunning artifice, and educational displays, which the chroniclers and
loremasters of the time said he was very interested in."
Then Gandalf's eyes . . . . stick. "We must not tarry more!" he
said suddenly. "Show me the Hall of M . . . . "
* * *
. . . . was the falling, and deeply the fungus and rust grew like
. . . . in the dark. I kindled torches and my father took . . . .
ancient sputtered green in the firelight. "Probably a high copper
content," Faramir . . . .
But no sign was there of aught but rusting . . . . one stood King
Ronindocile, "The Gentle Maniac", his hand outstretched to a . . . .
display showed King Earwig in . . . . against the Winoriders of the East.
The besotted warriors looked . . . . oily sheen of decay. The plastic was
half . . . . in grotesque slime. "Aught but disgust shall we find here,"
Denethor said quietly. "And never again shall the . . . . be shown to
tourists, for its maintenance has waned, and now most of our attractions
are . . . . * . . . . are the hands of a restorer, it is said, but in
these . . . . sharp edges! For the animatr . . . . And now who shall
restore the great works of Gon . . . . we rot under the . . . . ic
pressures from the East?" And he bowed his head, and all did like . . . .
* The text from here to the end of this page is particularly
difficult, as in addition to being torn up and smudged my father
evidently used them to clean up some spilled motor oil.
After a moment Gandalf . . . . " . . . Remember the words of Aruman!
. . . . the Off-White Council he . . . . For I mine own gained knowledge
should profane . . . . with such a snipe . . . . Therein lies our clue.
Yet . . . . and under the guise of . . . . must remember all that he
With that we . . . . *
* Two or more pages of manuscript are evidently missing from
this spot. Only isolated fragments remain, alluding to "hours" of
"unrelenting search" with someone, most likely Gandalf, working
feverishly to "remember the words" from a meeting with Aruman
where the strategy "against the Yeast" (sic) was discussed. The
next pages, which were at the bottom of a planter, grow clearer
after some deterioration at the top. I believe the first words
are likely Boromir's.
" . . . . grumbling doddering old maniac! You couldn't remember
what a wise man like Aruman said if you wrote it on your leg with a
chisel. Indeed, I deem that a fit fate for . . . . And I've missed
"Cease your squeaking!" Gandalf stormed. "Or else I'll (tear your
leg out with a clivet > ) take that stupid helmet of yours and make a
shoetree out of it. I'm sure there was something Aruman said, some
clue he gave us, as he sat there blowing those . . . . He talked
about . . . . "
"We've been over the statue of Hiyamendelssohn eight times already,"
Denethor grumbled, his eyes . . . . "I absolutely refuse to do this
any further. Take your peace and go! I am sick of the sight of you, and my
lumbago is beginning to worry me."
We began picking up our . . . . and the basket of ancient coupons *
as we made ready to leave. Gandalf sat to one side on a pilange ** ,
still irate at our decision. His mumblings were barely audible.
* No explanation can be found to explain this reference.
Though my father's few notes on Queen Beruthiel refer to a
"secret treasure of S&H Green Stamps", it would not seem to
** Probably a variant of Q. pillange, "that sort of square
or rectangular big stone they put alongside a stairway or ramp
when they don't have a railing, the name of which escapes me".
Then suddenly he became animated. "Of course!" he cried out. "The
smoke-rings! So simple, like most puzzles are when you finally see the
answer. He blew smoke-rings all through the meeting! That was the sign!"
And so saying he ran up to . . . . of Eisner, seized hold of the three
metal rings on the figure's middle finger, and pulled.
A great groaning . . . . slab of the floor rose up with a tremendous
squeaking! A set of ancient stone stairs, unseen and unknown to any of the
Stewards, was revealed in that musty and abandoned display. Gandalf
stepped triumphantly towards the stairs, holding a torch aloft and peering
down into the gloom, but then suddenly he screamed and dropped the torch.
The squeaking did not stop, but grew louder and louder, as thousands upon
thousands of rats ran up the stairs and into the room.
"That shouldn't have been a surprise," Denethor said proudly.
"You think that stone slab raised up all on its . . . . the days of the
Kings, most of Gondor's attractions were rat-powered."
* * *
After the rodents had cleared, we took up . . . . descended the long
stairs into a great chamber of stone. In the corners were four great
pillars carved like Tiempe, Limpe, Craughdadh and Quince, the great Geese
of Atlantis; and between them lay an immense stone table, its surface
covered with ancient scrolls and books of lore from the great days of the
Kingdom . . . . Gandalf and Denethor descended upon them quickly,
hasty to see the ancient knowledge. My brother moved more slowly, (struck
out immediately: as if he'd already been here and read them all before in
secret > ) as if he was afraid of a bunch of stupid books, the coward. For
my part I stood back and held the firelight, taking care that none of the
sparks should *
* The page ends here. The top half of the next page is
completely missing; the rest of the page is greatly damaged
and shredded, perhaps by a large dog.
. . . . scroll slipped from . . . . It landed on his arm and gave him a
grievous paper-cut, the likes of . . . . never happened to a Steward of
Gondor. "Aieeeee! Aiiyyaaaaaa . . . " . . . . my father was
desperately wounded, and the blood . . . . almost an entire drop . . . .
. . . . drew my sword. "You would murder the Steward of Gondor!"
I . . . .
"Panic not!" Gandalf cried. "The Steward is safe." And from his
robes he drew out a phial, which he . . . . and poured the clear liquid
upon the wound, which began to hiss and become pure with a white foam.
"You have cured . . . " . . . . Denethor gasped. "What nature
of wizardry is . . . . "
"An ancient elixir known only to the Powers of the West," Gandalf
. . . . "with powers of great purifying and of healing."
"Actually, it appears only to be common hydrogen peroxide," Faramir
said. "A simple oxidant used in a 3-to-6 per cent solution as an external
germicide and skin antiseptic."
My brother might have gone on, but then Gandalf shoved him aside and
grasped the great Tome of Blackmoor. "Ah! By the Egg of Coot, I have found
it!" he cried . . . . *
* The top of the next page is heavily damaged, and cannot be
read save a small inked passage reading: "didn't ask you for your
high-worded interference". This is legible due to its having
written in very bold and heavy emphasis. The next section of
fragments read as follows, with Gandalf evidently the speaker:
". . . . Arneson. And here's a map, pasted in like the others, showing the
Temple of the Frog. Elendil's words continue afterwards:
Still haven't fygured out what to do with the Ring. My fynger burned.
My toe too. Haven't tried burning anythyng else yet. Maybe it misseth
the heat of its Masters hand. Or maybe I shouldn't keep it atop of the
stove when not wearing it. Anciaent symbols scrawled on insyde of Ring.
They readeth thusly in the (fair > ) foul languege of Mordor:
* The Ruling Ring. Created by Plot Device Instruments, Inc. *
I shall keep the Ring as an heirloome of my House, along wyth Sauron's
severrd finger, and a brochyre I found in the ruins of the Dark Tower
entitlled 'Great Ring Owner's Manual: Care, Feeding, Warranty Service,
And How To Prevent Fading - Annatar's Gift Shop Ltd'. The Ring I shall
take with me, the Fynger I shall mount on a plak ovyr the fyreplace at
Rudeour, and the Brochyre I shall place at the back of this my
scrapbook. Waether today still fair and warm. After instructing
Anarchion in the proper use of letres I shall go despatch some Yrch and
maybe take a swym.
...The brochure, the brochure! Quickly! Let me turn to the back of the
book! We must find it! O wretched fool, that liv'st to make thine honesty
a vice! O monstrous world! Wait! Wait, damn you! Hand me the torch!"
But as Gandalf wrested the torch from my hand a burning fragment fell
full upon the book, lighting the dry papers, and in a moment the ancient
Records of Gondor all were wreathed in flame.
* * *
"It was odd, that," Boromir said slowly, his eyes beginning once
again to focus on us. Even he and Aragon now seemed strangely sobered by
the tale. "All the ancient records of Gondor were burning, yet Dr
Faramir and I were the only ones who seemed upset. Gandalf just said
something about 'no sense in crying over spilt milk' and shrugged,
almost as if everything had worked out just as he had hoped. In the
firelight he almost looked to be relieved."
"And your father?" Pipsqueak asked.
"And my father?" Boromir repeated. "Now that was the oddest of
all. He just kept staring into the flames, and then at Faramir. Over and
over again. And at one point I thought he muttered something about 'what
a hell of a plot twist that would be'. But then he seemed to snap out of
it, and after a moment he picked up a flaming cudgel and whacked Gandalf
in the back of the head with it. Singed some hair, too; smelled awful.
But that's what happened, and needless to say Gandalf hasn't been welcome
in the City ever since."
"And what else was there in the records of Gondor? I must know!"
"Demand me nothing! What you know, you know. From this time forth I
never will speak word." And with that the mighty Man of Gondor reached
for a new skinful of ale, and for the rest of the Wake little else would
This exciting piece of draft material has been made possible by the work of many.
The introduction and Part One have been presented through the courtesy of
David Salo <dsalo-aaaaaaat-usa-dawt-net>.
Part Two and its associated audio are available through the courtesy of
Abigail Brady <morwen-aaaaaaat-evilmagic-dawt-org>,
and Part Seven has been presented by O. Sharp <ohh-aaaaaaat-drizzle-dawt-com>.
Copyright © 2000 and 2001 by the authors. All rights reserved. Some variance between this
e-text and the original printed material by Professor Tolkien is inevitable. Using this
as an electronic resource for scholarly or research purposes may lead to a certain
degree of academic embarassment. All agree that the printed version of the text,
available from respectable publishers such as Houghton Mifflin and Ballantine Books,
is to be preferred.
Boromir, Denethor, Minas Tirith and Gondor are trademarks of Saul Zaentz and Tolkien Enterprises, who hold all merchandising rights to Gondor and its subsidiaries.
Gandalf's Wake has been courteously co-sponsored by Southfarthing Wine, the Lothlorien Funeral Parlour and the Golden Wood School of Taxidermy.