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The Hoard

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The Hoard is a poem from The Adventures of Tom Bombadil also seems to make a nod at darker aspects of Elves, Dwarves (Wicked dwarves), Dragon, and Men as viewed from Rivendell, Elvish, and Numenorian lore concerning the heroic days at the end of the First Age (echoing bits of the tale of Túrin Turambar and Mim the Dwarf).[1]


In the first part of the poem Dwarves and Dragons are compared, with implication that dwarves may have been built from a pit (perhaps akin to the legends of men, and in Book of Lost Tales that they formed from the earth), and Dragons spawned from Hell.[2]

The poem goes onto describe the greed and fall of the Shadow over the Elvenhome, and the treasures they piled up in dark holes. An old dwarf (apparently Mim the Dwarf or similar) apparently moves into the dark cave (apparently taken over from elven kings before him), with avarice, he holds onto his gotten treasures of silver and gold. In that cave he worked his fingers to the bone forging coins, and necklaces (described as 'strings of rings'), thought he could buy the power of the kings (he had essentially made himself a king). But as he worked his eyes grew dim and his ears dull, and his skin turned yellow on his old skull. His bony fingered claws had a pale sheen. He could no longer see the jewels he was working on. He couldn't hear the dragon (apparently "Glaurung") that entered his door, where he died alone in the dragon's fire, his bones were turned to ashes. Later the dragon would then be slain by a young warrior (Turin as noted); by this time the dragon has also become old and greedy as the dwarf had been; he knows every piece of the hoard but never able to part with as much as one small piece of it.

One strange aspect of this version of the tale besides "Mim" being killed by the Dragon (and the order of when the dragon was killed), by the descriptions he may have already died. As it seems to describe his flesh decomposing from his bone before he is actually 'killed'. Yet he is ultimately slain by the dragon. Perhaps it is suggesting his greed lead to a kind of physical undeath on him, ultimately destroyed by dragon fire (if it is not a poetic description of his corpses destruction).

The hero apparently becomes a king, but under his rule the weapons of his thanes became dull with rust. The kingdom's glory fell, and his rule was unjust. But king he was of the elvish gold. He hid the gold the treasure in a chest in secret treasury in the dark ground in strong iron-bound doors. All he could think of while sitting on his throne was that treasure (apparently wasting away). Out of the mountains his land was invaded killing his guards. His halls were burned, and his kingdom was lost. His bones were tossed in a cold pit. This finally left the old hoard in dark, forgotten behind doors none could unlock. At that grim gate where no one could pass grass grew on the mound where sheep fed and larks flew, and wind blew from the sea. It would remain there forever while the elves slept.

The theme of the poem is about "kings" {dwarfs, dragons or men} falling to greed, and then ultimately into darkness, only for their treasure to be captured by a new 'ruler or king', who also falls into darkness, and the treasure falls into the hands of the next king. As if there is a curse on the treasure horde.

Behind the scenesEdit

This appears to be loosely based on an early version of the Lost Tales stories. There is no mention of Mim's sons as seen in later versions of the story, and the death of Mim is very different from both Lost Tales and later Silmarillion versions.  The idea of a cursed treasure seems to remain similar to the early versions (but the timing of when it was cursed changed). Also the order of events is different in other versions of the stories in which Mim outlives Glaurung, and later killed by Urin/Hurin. At which point Mim cursed the treasure.

Also notable is that the events happen in almost reverse of how they occurred in actual tale from; 1. Turin & Gloraung, 2. Mim, 3. Hurin, 4. Elves (to 1. Elves, 2. Mim, 3. Gloraung, 4. Turin (and Hurin?)). In the poem the last character described an old bearded king (apparently wasting away, or dead and skeletal) but it is unclear who this is probably the warrior from the previous lines but may be a mix of Turin and Hurin together. The references to Hell-spawned dragons appears to be taken from the poems in the The Lays of Beleriand. Which speaks of the Hell-dragons.

The poem also speaks of 'stone-like jewels' slipping from his clawed hands without his knowledge, and also earlier strings of rings. These may be references to the Nauglamír (but also goes against the order and who made it in other versions of the story). 


  1. the lore of Rivendell, Elvish and Númenórean, concerning the heroic days at the end of the First Age; it seems to contain echoes of the Númenórean tale of Túrin and Mim the Dwarf. Tolkien, J. R. R. (2011-05-03). Tales from the Perilous Realm: Roverandom and Other Classic Faery Stories (Kindle Locations 2160-2161). Harper Collins, Inc.. Kindle Edition.
  2. Ere the pit was dug or Hell yawned, ere dwarf was bred or dragon spawned, Tolkien, J. R. R. (2011-05-03). Tales from the Perilous Realm: Roverandom and Other Classic Faery Stories (Kindle Locations 2934-2935). Harper Collins, Inc.. Kindle Edition.

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