Finduilas sat in the darkening chamber, still warmly tinged by the setting sun, on the large bed with Faramir snuggled into her arms and Boromir’s head laid on her left thigh. Quietly she began the bedtime-tale:
Once upon a time, when wishes where still helping there lived a king and his queen who wished fervently for a son. Over the time the queen had born six daughters but the king needed a son for a body-heir because the king’s brother-sons were selfish brutes no wise king would wish to leave the realm to.
One day the queen heard of a wise Elf living in the forest behind seven streams and seven mountains. Hoping for a remedy, the queen persuaded the king to give her leave for the long journey. After a year the queen had found the wise woman and told her of the realm’s need for a gentle prince. The elven woman gave the queen a silver-white hares paw, an golden-brown eagles talon, and an emerald-green dragon’s claw and told her to brew the three one after the other on midsummer’s eve before the third year came to its end, and to drink the three brews in the same order seven mornings later. The queen thanked the wise woman profoundly and gave her golden jewels and sparkling gems. With a light heart and great hopes the queen rode back to her lord.
When the queen after three times seven months reached again the Citadel of the Stars the king and the realm had nearly lost hope for the queen’s return. How people and the royal family celebrated the queens return I leave to your imagination. But indeed they danced, ate and drank for seven days in the streets of Osgiliath.
A month later on midsummer night’s eve the queen brewed the dried paw, talon, and claw. Then she filled the silver-white hare paw’s brew into a milky-white alabaster flask, the golden-brown eagle talon’s decoction in a golden phial, and the emerald-green dragon claw’s stock into a green glass bottle and stored all three on a high board in a dark chamber.
On the third day the sixth one of the queen’s daughters entered the dark chamber searching for a lost toy. Accidentally she knocked the bottles over during her search. As the girl saw that two of the bottles were damaged she hurried and went for new vessels. But alas she knew neither of the silver-white hare nor of the emerald-green dragon and thus she simply filled the two decoctions into two glass bottles.
When the queen on the seventh morning came to drink the brews she nearly despaired as she did not know how to drink the decoctions in the right order. But she did not want to wait another year to produce a second decoction of the three gifts and so, in the end, she took heart and drank out first one of the glass bottles, then the golden phial, and at last the second glass bottle. And great was the joy and the hope of the king when his queen told him she had conceived another time.
But there seemed to be something very wrong with this royal pregnancy as the queen went three years with child. The king and his queen had dark dreams and when the labours started in the end the queen was delivered of a boy indeed, but the child was covered with emerald-green dragon-hide and had a patch of silver-white hair on his head. The king would not accept this misbegotten child conceived by elven lore and commanded him to be hidden from the eyes of court and people. As the child could not bear to be separated from his mother the queen went into hiding with him. Only the queen’s daughters came from time to time to keep her company and to play with their little brother. The people were told that the heir was very ill and had to be kept from the sun.
The child waxed into a stout boy and liked more than anything else to lie still at his mother’s breast, feeding at wish. His mother grew wan and grey while the boy began to speak and to walk. His white hair grew to a beautiful mane of long silver curls his mother dejectedly liked to caress while his emerald-green scales hardened and began to scratch on his mother’s skin. She named him ‘prince green-hide’ Galrivnil when she played with him and ‘dragon-prince’ Amlukon at times she scolded him.
When the prince reached his seventh year he asked for raw flesh and fresh vegetables. From then on Galrivnil was weaned, had no more need of his mother’s constant presence, and grew rapidly into a large strong beautiful-limbed youth. Though he still had his dragon hide and silver curls the queen became aware that he had a quick mind and learned well all the languages of the realm. Nor had he any problem with history or mathematics. The queen found an arms master willing to train the prince in secrecy. And loh, it was a delight to see him with sword and bow. And behold, no sword could cut his scales nor could any arrow pierce his hide. Yet only one horse the prince found which would bear him and that in the beginning only sweating profusely. He called it ‘dragon-bearer’ Amlukyll. The queen began to think that Galrivnil might become eventually a brave warrior and a wise king but his father still could not be reconciled with his son’s repulsive appearance.
Galrivnil learned early that only his mother could bear to look at him without shudder. Even his sisters who visited from time to time often recoiled when he neared. His arms-master insisted for years that he should be constantly covered by his helm during practice as well as during study. And his lore-masters bade him to use a veil like Harrad’s desert dwellers.
The night Galrivnil entered his fourteenth year he went to his father’s chamber and demanded a mithril mail armour for his black horse Amlukyll and an elven sword and helm for himself. “I will seek my luck riding into the world and I will never reveal that you are my father.”, he said to his lord who still dreaded his green scaly skin. His father hastily agreed to all his son’s wishes and told him to depart three days later under night’s cover.
The queen was very sad when her son left the Citadel of the Stars but her six daughters and her return to the court reconciled her quickly with her doom of the son’s loss. Galrivnil jaunted off into the world quite happily and rode for days through Ithilien’s glades and forests. After a year’s journeying one morning he met a beautiful golden-haired woman clad in white robes.
“Aiya, Galrivnil hin”, she welcomed him and Prince Green-Hide felt she might change his life’s course. He jumped down from his horse and bowed his knee to greet the Elven woman. She took his hand without hesitation and stroked his scaly green skin. “Alas, your mother mistook the hare for a dragon. But there is help. If you can find a maiden who will marry you despite your dragon-hide you can acquire you Man-Skin. But beware the maiden has to marry you without anybody knowing you to be a prince of Gondor in the full sun before her father. The prince thanked the wise woman profoundly but in the days after rather hopelessly pondered where he might find such a maid. He guessed that the maiden who would want to marry him must be of a rather strong mind to overcome her fear induced by his repelling appearance.
Faramir’s head had dropped to Finduilas breast and Boromir’s eyes began to droop. Therefore Finduilas promised Boromir softly to continue the story on the next day’s evening, bedded Faramir aside of Boromir and kissed her sons good-night. Then she went to meet Denethor in the Steward’s hall.
This is a work of fan fiction, written because the author has an abiding love for the works of J R R Tolkien. The characters, settings, places, and languages used in this work are the property of the Tolkien Estate, Tolkien Enterprises, and possibly New Line Cinema, except for certain original characters who belong to the author of the said work. The author will not receive any money or other remuneration for presenting the work on this archive site. The work is the intellectual property of the author, is available solely for the enjoyment of Henneth Annûn Story Archive readers, and may not be copied or redistributed by any means without the explicit written consent of the author.