Middle-earth Mother Goose

Colours of the Forest

1. Colours of the Forest

They huddle together in the darkness, small and slightly older. Outside something crashes and the smaller one whimpers. He is held tight and a shaking hand strokes his fair hair.

“Shhh, quiet, Legolas, shhh,” the older Elfling whispers as he rocks him.

The young one bites back a sob of fear and for a moment the loudest noise is the thumping of their hearts. Sweat-damp and trembling they cling together and Gillaer feels the shudders that run through his little brother’s body as he fights to keep his tears silent. He bends close to whisper in his ear,

“The forest is gold;
Beetle gold,
Lorien gold,
Mallos gold;
The forest is gold.”

Legolas burrows closer to his brother but the shaking lessens a little. He snuffles back some tears.


Gillaer is listening so hard his ears ache and the quiet outside is almost more frightening than the noises – what is happening? – but Legolas is even more scared than he is, so once again he buries his face in that soft hair and begins to whisper the old rhyme.

“The forest is white;
Swan white,
Snowfall white,
Niphredil white;
The forest is white.

The forest is green;
Pine-needle green,
Beech leaf green,
Long grass green;
The forest is green.”

Legolas has two fingers in his mouth and the soundless whimpers have stopped. Gillaer pats his back a little as he has seen Naneth do and smoothes some hair away from his face. For himself his heart still beats so fast he feels sick and his legs and arms shake with the need to do something. Only the faintest scraps of sound reach him and he can’t tell what is going on. They are safest where they are but he aches to know what is happening. With a shivery sigh Gillaer begins the fourth verse as Legolas stirs against him.

“The forest is grey;
Ice grey -”

Something crashes and voices roar out. There are strange words growled in a voice that makes both of them stiffen with fear. Even small Legolas recognises the hate and anger in the words. He is crying now, too scared to be quiet – but Gillaer is too scared to not be quiet. He pulls his brother tight against himself, muffling the Elfling’s tears in his tunic and in an unsteady voice resumes the rhyme. He can’t think of anything except his mother and his fear but he knows the rhyme so well it tumbles out without thought.

“The forest is grey;
Ice grey,
Squirrel grey,
- hush, Legolas -
Elven eye grey;
The forest is grey.
- there, shhh, there.

He rocks the smaller one, trying to ignore the noises – there’s more crashing, something heavy falls, a voice screams out. It seems far away though and hard to hear above the blood that pounds in his ears and Legolas’s whimpers.

“The forest is brown;
Deer brown,
Fileg brown-“


“Rough bark brown;
The forest is brown.”

It’s quieter now though Gillaer think he can hears someone crying. Legolas is hot and heavy on his lap. Gillaer hugs him tightly – he will keep him safe. Gillaer has stopped speaking while he listens and Legolas wriggles in his arms.


“Yes.” He strokes the young one’s hair. “More.”

“The forest is blue;
Heledir blue,
River blue,
Summer skies blue;
The forest is blue.”

As he pauses before the last verse Gillaer realizes it is silent outside. Legolas goes back to sucking his fingers, and nestles against his brother.

“The forest is red;
Holly red,
Seregon red,
Rowan berry red;
The forest is red.”

The older Elfling stops. Still all he can hear is silence – and his brother’s sleepy breathing. He takes a deep breath and tries to slow his racing heart. He wants to know if everything is all right but he knows his duty - they must stay here in safety. He wriggles back into a more comfortable position and strokes the little one’s back. Legolas murmurs in his sleep and Gillaer hushes him automatically. Gazing into the darkness Gillaer softly whispers his own verse.

The forest is black;
Spider black,
Shadow black,
Mirkwood black;
The forest is black.


Author's note:
Sindarin words taken from either The Complete Tolkien Companion by J E A Tyler or Hiswelókë's Sindarin Dictionary project. Spelling mistakes are all mine though ;-) The ‘poem’ is adapted from one I wrote for my class to perform a couple of years ago. Gillaer is meant to mean ‘golden summer’ in Sindarin.

Mallos – golden flower
Niphredil – snowdrop
Fileg – small bird but I’m using it here as small brown bird as a tribute to our Fileg and her husband – shame he hasn’t any available younger brothers ;-)
Heledir – kingfisher
Seregon - Blood of Stone', a plant with deep red flowers

What’s happening? Well, that’s up to you – consider it choose-your-own-terror ;-) I deliberately wrote it with my mind in two places because I wanted that uncertainty. I think I lean towards domestic violence but if you are a Thranduil fan or believe that Elves probably wouldn’t do that (and I think I fit into both camps so go figure) then maybe it’s an Orc attack somewhere in Mirkwood - the boys may even be listening to the death of their mother. People have come up with all sorts of ideas.

Thanks to all those people who have given me feedback and been so encouraging; it’s much appreciated. As always feedback/suggestions/criticism is very welcome whether by e-mail or in my discussion.

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.


In Challenges

Story Information

Author: Avon

Status: Reviewed

Completion: Complete

Rating: General

Last Updated: 05/23/03

Original Post: 04/23/03

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