کتاب ششم - فصل 06-01
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When the days of rejoicing were over at last the Companions thought of returning to their own homes. And Frodo went to the King as he was sitting with the Queen Arwen by the fountain, and she sang a song of Valinor, while the Tree grew and blossomed. They welcomed Frodo and rose to greet him; and Aragorn said: “I know what you have come to say, Frodo: you wish to return to your own home. Well, dearest friend, the tree grows best in the land of its sires; but for you in all the lands of the West there will ever be a welcome. And though your people have had little fame in the legends of the great, they will now have more renown than any wide realms that are no more.”
“It is true that I wish to go back to the Shire,” said Frodo. “But first I must go to Rivendell. For if there could be anything wanting in a time so blessed, I missed Bilbo; and I was grieved when among all the household of Elrond I saw that he was not come.”
“Do you wonder at that, Ring-bearer?” said Arwen. “For you know the power of that thing which is now destroyed; and all that was done by that power is now passing away. But your kinsman possessed this thing longer than you. He is ancient in years now, according to his kind; and he awaits you, for he will not again make any long journey save one.”
“Then I beg leave to depart soon,” said Frodo.
“In seven days we will go,” said Aragorn. “For we shall ride with you far on the road, even as far as the country of Rohan. In three days now Éomer will return hither to bear Théoden back to rest in the Mark, and we shall ride with him to honour the fallen. But now before you go I will confirm the words that Faramir spoke to you, and you are made free for ever of the realm of Gondor; and all your companions likewise. And if there were any gifts that I could give to match with your deeds you should have them; but whatever you desire you shall take with you, and you shall ride in honour and arrayed as princes of the land.”
But the Queen Arwen said: “A gift I will give you. For I am the daughter of Elrond. I shall not go with him now when he departs to the Havens; for mine is the choice of Lúthien, and as she so have I chosen, both the sweet and the bitter. But in my stead you shall go, Ring-bearer, when the time comes, and if you then desire it. If your hurts grieve you still and the memory of your burden is heavy, then you may pass into the West, until all your wounds and weariness are healed. But wear this now in memory of Elfstone and Evenstar with whom your life has been woven!”
And she took a white gem like a star that lay upon her breast hanging upon a silver chain, and she set the chain about Frodo’s neck. “When the memory of the fear and the darkness troubles you,” she said, “this will bring you aid.”
In three days, as the King had said, Éomer of Rohan came riding to the City, and with him came an éored of the fairest knights of the Mark. He was welcomed; and when they sat all at table in Merethrond, the Great Hall of Feasts, he beheld the beauty of the ladies that he saw and was filled with great wonder. And before he went to his rest he sent for Gimli the Dwarf, and he said to him: “Gimli Glóin’s son, have you your axe ready?”
“Nay, lord,” said Gimli, “but I can speedily fetch it, if there be need.”
“You shall judge,” said Éomer. “For there are certain rash words concerning the Lady in the Golden Wood that lie still between us. And now I have seen her with my eyes.”
“Well, lord,” said Gimli, “and what say you now?”
“Alas!” said Éomer. “I will not say that she is the fairest lady that lives.”
“Then I must go for my axe,” said Gimli.
“But first I will plead this excuse,” said Éomer. “Had I seen her in other company, I would have said all that you could wish. But now I will put Queen Arwen Evenstar first, and I am ready to do battle on my own part with any who deny me. Shall I call for my sword?”
Then Gimli bowed low. “Nay, you are excused for my part, lord,” he said. “You have chosen the Evening; but my love is given to the Morning. And my heart forebodes that soon it will past away for ever.”
At last the day of departure came, and a great and fair company made ready to ride north from the City. Then the kings of Gondor and Rohan went to the Hallows and they came to the tombs in Rath Dínen, and they bore away King Théoden upon a golden bier, and passed through the City in silence. Then they laid the bier upon a great wain with Riders of Rohan all about it and his banner borne before; and Merry being Théoden’s esquire rode upon the wain and kept the arms of the king.
For the other Companions steeds were furnished according to their stature; and Frodo and Samwise rode at Aragorn’s side, and Gandalf rode upon Shadowfax, and Pippin rode with the knights of Gondor; and Legolas and Gimli as ever rode together upon Arod.
In that riding went also Queen Arwen, and Celeborn and Galadriel with their folk, and Elrond and his sons; and the princes of Dol Amroth and of Ithilien, and many captains and knights. Never had any king of the Mark such company upon the road as went with Théoden Thengel’s son to the land of his home.
Without haste and at peace they passed into Anórien, and they came to the Grey Wood under Amon Dn; and there they heard a sound as of drums beating in the hills, though no living thing could be seen. Then Aragorn let the trumpets be blown; and heralds cried: “Behold the King Elessar is come! The Forest of Drúadan he gives to Ghân-buri-ghân and to his folk, to be their own for ever; and hereafter let no man enter it without their leave!”
Then the drums rolled loudly, and were silent.
At length after fifteen days of journey the wain of King Théoden passed through the green fields of Rohan and came to Edoras; and there they all rested. The Golden Hall was arrayed with fair hangings and it was filled with light, and there was held the highest feast that it had known since the days of its building. For after three days the Men of the Mark prepared the funeral of Théoden; and he was laid in a house of stone with his arms and many other fair things that he had possessed, and over him was raised a great mound, covered with green turves of grass and of white evermind. And now there were eight mounds on the east-side of the Barrowfield.
Then the Riders of the King’s House upon white horses rode round about the barrow and sang together a song of Théoden Thengel’s son that Gléowine his minstrel made, and he made no other song after. The slow voices of the Riders stirred the hearts even of those who did not know the speech of that people; but the words of the song brought a light to the eyes of the folk of the Mark as they heard again afar the thunder of the hooves of the North and the voice of Eorl crying above the battle upon the Field of Celebrant; and the tale of the kings rolled on, and the horn of Helm was loud in the mountains, until the Darkness came and King Théoden arose and rode through the Shadow to the fire, and died in splendour, even as the Sun, returning beyond hope, gleamed upon Mindolluin in the morning.
Out of doubt, out of dark, to the day’s rising
he rode singing in the sun, sword unsheathing.
Hope he rekindled, and in hope ended;
over death, over dread, over doom lifted
out of loss, out of life, unto long glory.
But Merry stood at the foot of the green mound, and he wept, and when the song was ended he arose and cried:
“Théoden King, Théoden King! Farewell! As a father you were to me. for a little while. Farewell!”
When the burial was over and the weeping of women was stilled, and Théoden was left at last alone in his barrow, then folk gathered to the Golden Hall for the great feast and put away sorrow; for Théoden had lived to full years and ended in honour no less than the greatest of his sires. And when the time came that in the custom of the Mark they should drink to the memory of the kings, Éowyn Lady of Rohan came forth, golden as the sun and white as snow, and she bore a filled cup to Éomer.
Then a minstrel and loremaster stood up and named all the names of the Lords of the Mark in their order: Eorl the Young; and Brego builder of the Hall; and Aldor brother of Baldor the hapless; and Fréa, and Fréawine, and Goldwine, and Déor, and Gram; and Helm who lay hid in Helm’s Deep when the Mark was overrun; and so ended the nine mounds of the west-side, for in that time the line was broken, and after came the mounds of the east-side: Fréalaf, Helm s sister-son, and Léofa, and Walda, and Folca, and Folcwine, and Fengel, and Thengel, and Théoden the latest. And when Théoden was named Éomer drained the cup. Then Éowyn bade those that served to fill the cups, and all there assembled rose and drank to the new king, crying: “Hail, Éomer, King of the Mark!”
At the last when the feast drew to an end Éomer arose and said: “Now this is the funeral feast of Théoden the King; but I will speak ere we go of tidings of joy, for he would not grudge that I should do so, since he was ever a father of Éowyn my sister. Hear then all my guests, fair folk of many realms, such as have never before been gathered in this hall! Faramir, Steward of Gondor, and Prince of Ithilien, asks that Éowyn Lady of Rohan should be his wife, and she grants it full willing. Therefore they shall be trothplighted before you all.”
And Faramir and Éowyn stood forth and set hand in hand; and all there drank to them and were glad. “Thus,” said Éomer, “is the friendship of the Mark and of Gondor bound with a new bond, and the more do I rejoice.”
“No niggard are you, Éomer,” said Aragorn, “to give thus to Gondor the fairest thing in your realm!”
Then Éowyn looked in the eyes of Aragorn, and she said: “Wish me joy, my liege-lord and healer!”
And he answered: “I have wished thee joy ever since first I saw thee. It heals my heart to see thee now in bliss.”
When the feast was over, those who were to go took leave of King Éomer. Aragorn and his knights, and the people of Lórien and of Rivendell, made ready to ride; but Faramir and Imrahil remained at Edoras; and Arwen Evenstar remained also, and she said farewell to her brethren. None saw her last meeting with Elrond her father, for they went up into the hills and there spoke long together, and bitter was their parting that should endure beyond the ends of the world.
At the last before the guests set oat Éomer and Éowyn came to Merry, and they said: “Farewell now, Meriadoc of the Shire and Holdwine of the Mark! Ride to good fortune, and ride back soon to our welcome!”
And Éomer said: “Kings of old would have laden you with gifts that a wain could not bear for your deeds upon the fields of Mundburg; and yet you will take naught, you say, but the arms that were given to you. This I suffer, for indeed I have no gift that is worthy; but my sister begs you to receive this small thing, as a memorial of Dernhelm and of the horns of the Mark at the coming of the morning.”
Then Éowyn gave to Merry an ancient horn, small but cunningly wrought all of fair silver with a baldric of green; and wrights had engraven upon it swift horsemen riding in a line that wound about it from the tip to the mouth; and there were set runes of great virtue.
“This is an heirloom of our house,” said Éowyn. “It was made by the Dwarves, and came from the hoard of Scatha the Worm. Eorl the Young brought it from the North. He that blows it at need shall set fear in the hearts of his enemies and joy in the hearts of his friends, and they shall hear him and come to him.”
Then Merry took the horn, for it could not be refused, and he kissed Éowyn’s hand; and they embraced him, and so they parted for that time.
Now the guests were ready, and they drank the stirrup-cup, and with great praise and friendship they departed, and came at length to Helm’s Deep, and there they rested two days. Then Legolas repaid his promise to Gimli and went with him to the Glittering Caves; and when they returned he was silent, and would say only that Gimli alone could find fit words to speak of them. “And never before has a Dwarf claimed a victory over an Elf in a contest of words,” said he. “Now therefore let us go to Fangorn and set the score right!”
From Deeping-coomb they rode to Isengard, and saw how the Ents had busied themselves. All the stone-circle had been thrown down and removed, and the land within was made into a garden filled with orchards and trees, and a stream ran through it; but in the midst of all there was a lake of clear water, and out of it the Tower of Orthanc rose still, tall and impregnable, and its black rock was mirrored in the pool.
For a while the travellers sat where once the old gates of Isengard had stood, and there were now two tall trees like sentinels at the beginning of a green-bordered path that ran towards Orthanc; and they looked in wonder at the work that had been done, but no living thing could they see far or near. But presently they heard a voice calling hoom-hom, hoom-hom; and there came Treebeard striding down the path to greet them with Quickbeam at his side.
“Welcome to the Treegarth of Orthanc!” he said. “I knew that you were coming, but I was at work up the valley; there is much still to be done. But you have not been idle either away in the south and the east, I hear; and all that I hear is good, very good.” Then Treebeard praised all their deeds, of which he seemed to have full knowledge; and at last he stopped and looked long at Gandalf.
“Well, come now!” he said. “You have proved mightiest, and all your labours have gone well. Where now would you be going? And why do you come here?”
“To see how your work goes, my friend,” said Gandalf, “and to thank you for your aid in all that has been achieved.”
‘Hoom, well, that is fair enough,” said Treebeard; “for to be sure Ents have played their part. And not only in dealing with that, hoom, that accursed tree-slayer that dwelt here. For there was a great inrush of those, burárum, those evileyed - blackhanded - bowlegged - flinthearted - clawfingered - foulbellied - bloodthirsty, morimaite - sincahonda, hoom, well, since you are hasty folk and their full name is as long as years of torment, those vermin of orcs; and they came over the River and down from the North and all round the wood of Laurelindórenan, which they could not get into, thanks to the Great ones who are here.” He bowed to the Lord and Lady of Lórien.
“And these same foul creatures were more than surprised to meet us out on the Wold, for they had not heard of us before; though that might be said also of better folk. And not many will remember us, for not many escaped us alive, and the River had most of those. But it was well for you, for if they had not met us, then the king of the grassland would not have ridden far, and if he had there would have been no home to return to.”
“We know it well,” said Aragorn, “and never shall it be forgotten in Minas Tirith or in Edoras.”
“Never is too long a word even for me,” said Treebeard. “Not while your kingdoms last, you mean; but they will have to last long indeed to seem long to Ents.”
“The New Age begins,” said Gandalf, “and in this age it may well prove that the kingdoms of Men shall outlast you, Fangorn my friend. But now come tell me: what of the task that I set you? How is Saruman? Is he not weary of Orthanc yet? For I do not suppose that he will think you have improved the view from his windows.”
Treebeard gave Gandalf a long look, a most cunning look, Merry thought. “Ah!” he said. “I thought you would come to that. Weary of Orthanc? Very weary at last; but not so weary of his tower as he was weary of my voice. Hoom! I gave him some long tales, or at least what might be thought long in your speech.”
“Then why did he stay to listen? Did you go into Orthanc?” asked Gandalf.
‘Hoom, no, not into Orthanc!” said Treebeard. “But he came to his window and listened, because he could not get news in any other way, and though he hated the news, he was greedy to have it; and I saw that he heard it all. But I added a great many things to the news that it was good for him to think of. He grew very weary. He always was hasty. That was his ruin.”
“I observe, my good Fangorn,” said Gandalf, “that with great care you say dwelt, was, grew. What about is? Is he dead?”
“No, not dead, so far as I know,” said Treebeard. “But he is gone. Yes, he is gone seven days. I let him go. There was little left of him when he crawled out, and as for that worm-creature of his, he was like a pale shadow. Now do not tell me, Gandalf, that I promised to keep him safe; for I know it. But things have changed since then. And I kept him until he was safe, safe from doing any more harm. You should know that above all I hate the caging of live things, and I will not keep even such creatures as these caged beyond great need. A snake without fangs may crawl where he will.”
“You may be right,” said Gandalf; “but this snake had still one tooth left, I think. He had the poison of his voice, and I guess that he persuaded you, even you Treebeard, knowing the soft spot in your heart. Well, he is gone, and there is no more to be said. But the Tower of Orthanc now goes back to the King, to whom it belongs. Though maybe he will not need it.”
“That will be seen later,” said Aragorn. “But I will give to Ents all this valley to do with as they will, so long as they keep a watch upon Orthanc and see that none enter it without my leave.”
“It is locked,” said Treebeard. “I made Saruman lock it and give me the keys. Quickbeam has them.”
Quickbeam bowed like a tree bending in the wind and handed to Aragorn two great black keys of intricate shape, joined by a ring of steel. “Now I thank you once more,” said Aragorn, “and I bid you farewell. May your forest grow again in peace. When this valley is filled there is room and to spare west of the mountains, where once you walked long ago.”
Treebeard’s face became sad. “Forests may grow,” he said. “Woods may spread. But not Ents. There are no Entings.”
“Yet maybe there is now more hope in your search,” said Aragorn. “Lands will lie open to you eastward that have long been closed.”
But Treebeard shook his head and said: “It is far to go. And there are too many Men there in these days. But I am forgetting my manners! Will you stay here and rest a while? And maybe there are some that would be pleased to pass through Fangorn Forest and so shorten their road home?” He looked at Celeborn and Galadriel.
But all save Legolas said that they must now take their leave and depart, either south or west. “Come, Gimli!” said Legolas. “Now by Fangorn’s leave I will visit the deep places of the Entwood and see such trees as are nowhere else to be found in Middle-earth. You shall come with me and keep your word; and thus we will journey on together to our own lands in Mirkwood and beyond.” To this Gimli agreed, though with no great delight, it seemed.
“Here then at last comes the ending of the Fellowship of the Ring,” said Aragorn. “Yet I hope that ere long you will return to my land with the help that you promised.”
“We will come, if our own lords allow it,” said Gimli. “Well, farewell. my hobbits! You should come safe to your own homes now, and I shall not be kept awake for fear of your peril. We will send word when we may, and some of us may yet meet at times; but I fear that we shall not all be gathered together ever again.”
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