1. The Cottage Of Lost Play

"Now it happened on a certain time that a traveller from far countries, a man of great curiosity, was by desire of strange lands and the ways and dwellings of unaccustomed folk brought in a ship as far west even as the Lonely Island, Tol Eressëa in the fairy speech, but which the Gnomes call Dor Faidwen, the Land of Release, and a great tale hangs thereto." - J.R.R Tolkien, The Book Of Lost Tales

The purpose of this blog is to promote Tolkien's earliest writings and allow Tolkien fans to get more familiar with them. As mentioned on the Introduction page, you are strongly encouraged to get at least the first two volumes of The History of Middle-Earth, where these tales are published. Tolkien's early stories are vibrant, rich in detail, and read like a real fairytale, as opposed to the condensed and academic style of the Silmarillion.


Below I post a description of the first of the tales, quoted from Silmarillion Writers' Guild

"The Cottage of Lost Play" was probably written around 1916-1917 and details the
first leg of the journey of the wanderer Eriol after he sails from the Great
Lands to the island of Tol Eressëa.

After arriving upon Tol Eressëa and travelling for many days, the evening hours
came upon Eriol, and he wished to rest. He arrived at a town upon a hill at the
center of the island and found a cottage lit enticingly from within. Upon sight
of the cottage, his wanderlust died, and he inquired if he might stay there.

He was told that the cottage was built by Lindo and Vairë and--despite its tiny
size--was home to many people and many children. All who entered must become
very small themselves, and consenting to this, Eriol was taken as a guest in the

His hosts welcomed him and invited him to supper. The children were summoned to
supper with the sound of a gong; later, they will be summoned for stories with
three chimes of the gong. As the supper began, Eriol inquired about the cottage.

Lindo his host explained that Alalminórë is the centremost and fairest realm of
the island, and that the town is called Koromas or Kortirion. Here, in a circle
of elms, lives Meril-i-Turinqi, a descendent of Inwë. The Eldar had come to the
island after Inwë led them forth to the lands of Men, and his son Ingil gathered
on Tol Eressëa the fairest and wisest of the Eldar, among whom were the fathers
of Lindo and Vairë. Ingil had been the one who built the tower of Kortirion.

As the meal ended, all but Eriol filled their cups with a drink called limpë
that keeps the Eldar young and full of song. As Lindo explained, only
Meril-i-Turinqi may offer this to visitors, and those who drink of it must
remain on the island until the Faring Forth.

After this, the gong sounded three times, and all departed to hear stories.
Eriol asked to hear stories of the island. Vairë told of how in the days of
Inwë, in Valinor near to Kôr, there had been a wondrous garden and, at the end
of a path called Olórë Mallë (the Path of Dreams), a cottage called the Cottage
of the Children. Mistakenly, in the legends of Men, this is called the Cottage
of Lost Play.

During their dreams, the earliest children of Men could visit the Cottage of the
Children, and the Eldar sought to guide them here, for the children that strayed
beyond to the city of Kôr either failed to return--and were a grief to their
parents--or could not forget the wonder of that realm and were regarded as
strange by other Men. Those who did return from Kôr went on to pen songs and
stories that were a delight to many generations of Men.

Most of the children, however, were content to play in the cottage and its
gardens. But when the fairies left Kôr, the path to the cottage was blocked, and
there was no longer a safe way for the children to visit. Without this, the
thoughts of Men became bleak, and Meril-i-Turinqi asked Lindo to devise a
solution. This was how the cottage that Eriol had found--the Cottage of Lost
Play--came into existence.

The children who had wandered to and remained in Kôr were brought to the Cottage
of Lost Play, where they rehearse the songs and stories of the Eldar. On
occasion, they are sent into the lands of Men and, sometimes, do not return.
Those who do return bring strange and often sad tidings. These children are sent
to whisper to sleeping children in the lands of Men and ease their loneliness.

Eriol recalled that his ancestors had spoken of visiting such a place as Vairë
had described. Afterward, he had been seized with restlessness and had died
while trying to find the place again. Vairë agreed that he likely had come to