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2
Great Heart (Huan)

A future hero discovers his strength, and a promise of greatness.


~~~

He is the smallest of the five males born to Súlion and Ar-hiril, most beloved of their Master’s pack, by the hearth of the Huntsman‘s lodge. His plump sisters try to push him from their mother’s milk-heavy teats. But the silver-grey pup with the dark red ears refuses to be moved.

Once weaned, the pups tussle for position around the food bowl. Nine littermates stand between the grey one and the wet, meaty sustenance. He surveys the obstacles, then charges towards his goal. He will brook no argument. The largest brother bars his way, but quails at the grey pup’s fierce glance. The others open the circle and yield a path to the food.

During their eighth week, while the pups frolic in the grass, danger approaches in the form of a small viper. Ar-hiril has rejoined the pack, and is no longer there to guard her brood. The Master dozes in the warm light of the Two Trees. The grey one alone detects the creature. He knows evil when he sees it; and he does not hesitate. Growling furiously, the pup pounces on the snake, pinning its sleek head to the ground. The viper twists, but cannot escape. The Master rouses and comes, cleaving the serpent with a single sword-stroke. The pup yips a victory song..

The Master lifts the pup to regard him. “Oh, thou art brave!” he praises. “Littlest among thy brethren, thou hast the greatest spirit. One day thou shall be great of body as well as heart, and on that day, let the spawn of Melkor beware!” The pup proudly returns the Master’s gaze, and wags his tail in accord. It is something like greeting a mountain, but he knows little fear, and none for the mighty Huntsman who is a Vala, as much a power as the wind and the rain.

Weeks pass. The Master presents the pup to his friend, Celegorm the Elf. The grey one is named Huan; for his deeds, and his doom, shall be great. Huan does not love Celegorm, The Elf is loud, and over-quick to anger. Still, Huan bides with his new pack. As he dreams, and twitches his large paws, Huan hears Oromë’s voice trumpet his destiny. A higher, special purpose will come to him in Celegorm‘s service. Until he finds it, Huan’s heart will remain his own, bound in loyalty, but waiting to be freely given.

~~~

AUTHOR'S NOTE: The name Huan has been said to translate either as Hound, or “Great Hound” (an meaning great, tall, large). I have taken liberties with the origin of his name, as well as his coloring. HoME 3, in The Lay of Leithian, Canto VIII, calls Huan “grey”; but his silvery-grey color and red ears are my invention. The latter is homage to both the Hounds of Annwn in the Welsh legends of The Mabinogion, and my own late, beloved, spaniel, who might descend from those Hounds.

Tolkien did not record the names nor even existence of Huan’s parents. I have named them Wind-son (Súlion) and Princess (Noble Lady, Ar-hiril). Errors in Sindarin are mine and should not be blamed on Ithildin of HASA, who found the name Súlion for me. Huan was bred and given to Celegorm by Oromë, the Huntsman of the Valar.


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