HASA Resources

Timeline Event

Elessar finds the sapling of the White Tree

Event Type: General

Age: 3rd Age - Ring War

Date: June 25, 3019

Description:

Then Aragorn turned, and there was a stony slope behind him running down from the skirts of the snow; and as he looked he was aware that alone there in the waste a growing thing stood. And he climbed to it, and saw that out of the very edge of the snow there sprang a sapling tree no more than three foot high. Already it had put forth young leaves long and shapely, dark above and silver beneath, and upon its slender crown it bore one small cluster of flowers whose white petals shone like the sunlit snow.

Then Aragorn cried: 'Yé! utúvienyes! I have found it! Lo! here is a scion of the Eldest of Trees! But how comes it here? For it is not itself yet seven years old.'

And Gandalf coming looked at it, and said: 'Verily this is a sapling of the line of Nimloth the fair; and that was a seedling of Galathilion, and that a fruit of Telperion of many names, Eldest of Trees. Who shall say how it comes here in the appointed hour? But this is an ancient hallow, and ere the kings failed or the Tree withered in the court, a fruit must have been set here. For it is said that, though the fruit of the Tree comes seldom to ripeness, yet the life within may then lie sleeping through many long years, and none can foretell the time in which it will awake. Remember this. For if ever a fruit ripens, it should be planted, lest the line die out of the world. Here it has lain, hidden on the mountain, even as the race of Elendil lay hidden in the wastes of the North. Yet the line of Nimloth is older far than your line, King Elessar.'

Then Aragorn laid his hand gently to the sapling, and lo! it seemed to hold only lightly to the earth, and it was removed without hurt; and Aragorn bore it back to the Citadel. Then the withered tree was uprooted, but with reverence; and they did not burn it, but laid it to rest in the silence of Rath Dínen. And Aragorn planted the new tree in the court by the fountain, and swiftly and gladly it began to grow; and when the month of June 1 entered in it was laden with blossom.

The Return of the King, LoTR Book 6, Ch 5, The Steward and the King


Notes
1The Tale of Years gives the date of the finding of the White Tree as 25 June 3019, but that date is inconsistent with the narrative:

'and when the month of June entered in it was laden with blossom. [paragraph:] The sign has been given... and the day is not far off.' — Here the narrative cannot be reconciled with The Tale of Years. By itself, the former makes perfect sense: Aragorn finds the tree in May, at some time after 8 May when the Riders of Rohan left Minas Tirith, and before 'the month of June entered in'; the Tree flowers around the beginning of June, evidently the 'sign' Aragorn refers to; and Arwen enters the City on 'the day before Midsummer'.... In that sequence the gap of time between the 'sign' and Arwen's arrival is four weeks, arguably 'not far off' to Aragorn, who has waited to marry Arwen for nearly forty years. But according to The Tale of Years, Aragorn did not find the Tree until 25 June, only six days before Arwen's arrival. If that date is correct, then 'when the month of June entered in' must be an error, the Tree blossoms in an impossibly short period of time, and Arwen appears at Minas Tirith almost before Aragorn sets his watchers on the walls.

The Lord of the Rings: A Reader's Companion, by Wayne G Hammond and Christina Scull, Book 6, Ch 5, The Steward and the King

Contributors:
Lyllyn 11Jun03
Elena Tiriel 10Mar12

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