The Gift of Light

On the whole I'd say that my childhood was mostly a happy one. It is difficult to be unhappy when living in Paradise. My most abiding memories are mostly about the births of my younger brothers, although there were in the end so many that I can no longer separate one from the other. Celegorm was born in a thunderstorm, I remember that.

But my earlies memory is of when my father took me to see the Trees. I was no more than seven years old. He roused me early from my bed that morning, and his face was lit with excitement. "Come, Nelyo," he said. "You must get up now. We are going on a journey".

"Where are we going, Atar?" I asked sleepily.

"Not far. There is something I want to show you. Something very special. Come!"  And so he carried me on his back, my arms wrapped around his strong shoulders and my face nestled in his dark hair.  He ran westwards, towards the mountains, where the sky was lighter.

At last we came to the green mound beyond Valimar, where I saw two immense trees, ablaze with silver and gold light. Their light was so bright it hurt my eyes to look at them. Instead I looked at my father's face. It was ishining/i, in the reflected gold and silver glow of the trees, and his expression was one of someone captivated by beauty.

"What are they, Atar?" I whispered, for it seemed irreverent to speak in the presence of such powerful light.

"Those are the Trees of Silver and Gold, Telperion and Laurelin," he replied. "The Valar made them for us, as gifts, so that we may have light in Aman."

In my youth and innocence the trees themselves seemed less remarkable to me than the effect they had on my father. He seemed to glow with a light of his own when he looked on them and, I later learned, in those years he looked upon them often. I smiled at him, to see him so obviously happy.

"If only I could make something just one-tenth as wonderful as these trees," he added, speaking more to himself than to me.

"You can," I replied. "You're my Atar. You can do anything."

And at that moment, as we looked at one another, we both believed that he could.



"Nelyo" is an abbreviation of Nelyafinwë which is Maedhros' father-name.

"Atar" is Quenya for Father.