Other Names: Onodrim, Enyd
Location(s): Forests of Middle-earth (3rd Age only Fangorn)
Title(s): Shepherds of the Trees
Dates: Earliest Times
Parents: sprung from the thought of Yavanna
Then Yavanna said to [Aulë]: ... 'thy children will have little love for the things of my love. ... Many a tree shall feel the bite of their iron without pity.'
But Aulë answered: 'That shall also be true of the Children of Ilúvatar; for they will eat and they will build. And though the things of thy realm have worth in themselves, and would have worth if no Children were to come, yet Eru will give them dominion, and they shall use all that they find in Arda: though not ... without respect or without gratitude.' ...
... she went before Manwë, and ... she said: 'King of Arda, is it true ... that the Children when they come shall have dominion over all the things of my labour, to do as they will therewith?'
'It is true,' said Manwë. 'But why dost thou ask...?' ...
'All my works are dear to me. Is it not enough that Melkor should have marred so many? Shall nothing that I have devised be free from the dominion of others?'
'If thou hadst thy will what wouldst thou reserve?' said Manwë. 'Of all thy realm what dost thou hold dearest?'
'All have their worth,' said Yavanna, 'and each contributes to the worth of the others. But the kelvar1 can flee or defend themselves, whereas the olvar2 that grow cannot. And among these I hold trees dear. Long in the growing, swift shall they be in the felling, and unless they pay toll with fruit upon bough little mourned in their passing. ... Would that the trees might speak on behalf of all things that have roots, and punish those that wrong them!'
'This is a strange thought,' said Manwë.
'Yet it was in the Song,' said Yavanna. 'For while thou wert in the heavens and with Ulmo built the clouds and poured out the rains, I lifted up the branches of great trees to receive them, and some sang to Ilúvatar amid the wind and the rain.'
Then Manwë sat silent ...
And Manwë said: 'O Kementári, Eru hath spoken, saying: "... Behold! When the Children awake, then the thought of Yavanna will awake also, and it will summon spirits from afar, and they will go among the kelvar and the olvar, and some will dwell therein, and be held in reverence, and their just anger shall be feared. ..." But dost them not now remember, Kementári, that thy thought sang not always alone? Did not thy thought and mine meet also, so that we took wing together like great birds...? That also shall come to be by the heed of Ilúvatar, and before the Children awake there shall go forth with wings like the wind the Eagles of the Lords of the West.'
Then Yavanna was glad, and she stood up, reaching her arms towards the heavens, and she said: 'High shall climb the trees of Kementári, that the Eagles of the King may house therein!'
But Manwë rose also, and it seemed that he stood to such a height that his voice came down to Yavanna as from the paths of the winds.
'Nay,' he said, 'only the trees of Aulë will be tall enough. In the mountains the Eagles shall house, and hear the voices of those who call upon us. But in the forests shall walk the Shepherds of the Trees.'
Then Manwë and Yavanna parted..., and Yavanna returned to Aulë; and he was in his smithy, pouring molten metal into a mould. 'Eru is bountiful,' she said. 'Now let thy children beware! For there shall walk a power in the forests whose wrath they will arouse at their peril.'
'Nonetheless they will have need of wood,' said Aulë, and he went on with his smith-work.
The Silmarillion, Quenta Silmarillion, Ch 2, Of Aulë and Yavanna
Thus it came to pass that when the Dwarves of Nogrod, returning from Menegroth with diminished host, came again to Sarn Athrad, they were assailed by unseen enemies; for as they climbed up Gelion's banks burdened with the spoils of Doriath, suddenly all the woods were filled with the sound of elven-horns, and shafts sped upon them from every side. There very many of the Dwarves were slain in the first onset; but some escaping from the ambush held together, and fled eastwards towards the mountains. And as they climbed the long slopes beneath Mount Dolmed there came forth the Shepherds of the Trees, and they drove the Dwarves into the shadowy woods of Ered Lindon: whence, it is said, came never one to climb the high passes that led to their homes.
The Silmarillion: Quenta Silmarillion: Chapter 22 - Of the Ruin of Doriath
"...said Legolas, 'I have heard nothing of this in my own land, save only songs that tell how the Onodrim, that Men call Ents, dwelt there long ago; for Fangorn is old, old even as the Elves would reckon it.'
'Yes, it is old,' said Aragorn, 'as old as the forest by the Barrow-downs, and it is far greater. Elrond says that the two are akin, the last strongholds of the mighty woods of the Elder Days, in which the Firstborn roamed while Men still slept...'"
LotR, TTT, Book Three, II - The Riders of Rohan
"[Treebeard]: 'We are tree herds, we old Ents. Few enough of us are left now. Sheep get like shepherd, and shepherds like sheep, it is said; but slowly, and neither have long in the world. It is quicker and closer with trees and Ents, and they walk down the ages together...'
'...Elves began it, of course, waking trees up and teaching them to speak and learning their tree-talk...'
'[Treebeard]: We Ents do not like being roused; and we never are roused unless it is clear to us that our trees and our lives are in great danger.'
LotR, TTT, Book Three, IV - Treebeard
"Ent was the form of their name in the language of Rohan."
"...The language that they had made was unlike all others: slow, sonorous, agglomerated, repetitive, indeed long-winded; formed of a multiplicity of vowel-shades and distinctions of tone and quality which even the masters of the Eldar had not attempted to represent in writing."
"Ents were, however, themselves skilled in tongues, learning them swiftly and never forgetting them. But they preferred the languages of the Eldar, and loved best the ancient High-elven tongue."
LotR, RotK, Appendix F
1 kelvar An Elvish word retained in the speeches of Yavanna and Manwë...: 'animals, living things that move'.
The Silmarillion, Index of Names
2 olvar An Elvish word retained in the speeches of Yavanna and Manwë ... meaning 'growing things with roots in the earth'.
The Silmarillion, Index of Names
added quote: Elena Tiriel 14Jan05
additional quote: Nessime 3Dec05