My dear Aragorn,
Or should I say "King Elessar"? My, that has a nice ring to it. After waiting all these years for you to win your crown and wed your lady, I managed to miss seeing both, to my eternal regret. But I'm afraid my journeys truly are over, except this last.
I find myself in a dilemma. For so many years I suited myself, happily translating from the Elvish, not thinking much about what it all was for, except for a vague notion that I might bring the ancient lore to the Shire one of these days. Then, given how things have turned out (who would have thought my old Ring would have caused so much trouble?), I have decided to give the Red Book to Frodo to record his adventures. You must ask him for a copy when he is done.
That leaves me with the other volume—the one with the blue cover. You do remember, I'm sure. Somehow, I can't imagine it in Lobelia Sackville-Baggins's drawing room. So I am sending it to you. Surely the Royal Archives in Gondor will have a discreet place for these additional tales of the old days, for, as Master Elrond likes to remind me, they are as much part of the story of the Silmarillion as the "cleaned up" tales in the Red Book. I gave up trying to decide which versions are true. Like so many other things, in the end it's a little bit of this and a little bit of that. It's so difficult to choose a favorite, but I have a special place in my heart for the story of Uinen and the children of Númenor.
I know you will always remember me, as I will always remember you. I think of you amusing your grandchildren, when they come, with some of my tales and poems. (When they are old enough, perhaps you will show them my Other works.) And you will tell them about the unlikely friendship between the odd old Hobbit who liked to scribble and the Ranger who was something more than a Ranger.
Yours very truly,
Of Uinen and the Children of Numenor
Uinen wept for the slain Teleri. The sea moaned and heaved with sorrow, and her tears fell like rain upon the white shores. For countless years she hid in the shoals and bays of the sea, and turned away from the Valar and from Ossë her husband. And Ossë stormed upon the waves, tossing the ships of Men and Elves here and there, without his gentle wife to soothe his temper.
Then Ulmo, the Lord of Waters, called Uinen before him. "Why dost thou leave the Children to the treachery of the Sea? Canst thou no longer restrain the humors of your lord? For thou knowest that he loves the sea storms, and gives no thought to their danger."
"Lord, I have no heart for it," Uinen said, bowing her head. "My grief for the dead children of the Teleri, slain by the false Noldor, is too great."
"I am told of the coming of more Children to these waters," Ulmo said. "For Manwë will raise a great land in the Seas between Valinor and Middle-earth, and the Secondborn will build a great kingdom there. They will be mighty mariners and call for your blessing on their ships."
Then Uinen's sad heart filled with light, and she went to the place where the Land of Gift would rise from the Sea, and she made gardens upon the lifiting lands, beds of kelp and grasses, and called all the sea creatures to dwell there. And so, when the Edain came to Númenor, they found the seas rich with food of many kinds, and they became great fishermen. For play they swam upon the warm and gentle waters of the rivers and shoals; and their best divers found pearls of matchless beauty in the oyster beds that Uinen grew for them.
A favored place she had, a wide bay of sparkling sand, where the beach plum grew, and the cypress clung to the craggy rocks above. The water of the bay was warm like a mother's bath, and the winds blew more gently there, even when rain pelted the mountains and plains of Numenor. For Ossë knew of her joy in this place.
Lovers would come there, and it was known that those who swam there, and lay together upon the soft sands, would know great happiness and be blessed with many strong and beautiful children. And blessed above all were those lovers whose union was forbidden by the laws of the land. For Uinen found joy in all life, and did not frown upon any love that was deep and true.
Even when darkness came upon Númenor, those who honored still the Valar and the Maiar knew of Uinen's blessing and would come to her sanctuary. Sometimes she herself walked upon the beach, and those who saw her form--a splendid woman whose flowing hair was her only clothing--had a special wisdom and clung to hope that the darkness of Sauron would be cast out of the heart of the King.
But it was not so. And the day came when the Eagles of Manwë brought doom to the fallen Men of Númenor, and the island was cast down and drowned.
And as the children of the land fell into the Sea, there to die, Uinen changed their bodies, and she made of them swift dolphins, and sea otters, and silver seabirds that coasted on the wind above the drowned land and cried "weep! weep! weep!" for their lost mothers and fathers.
Then Ulmo again called her and spoke sternly. "Why hast thou done this thing? Thou knowest it was the command of our Lord that this land should founder, and that only the ships of Elendil could escape--and that only if they dared my wrath."
Uinen held her head high. "Never again can I see my children die, after the kinslaying at Aqualondë. What sins have they committed? Why does Manwë punish the small children for the sins of the great King? Were there babies upon the ships of Númenor that broke the ban of the Valar?"
"It is not for such as thou to question the will of Manwë," Ulmo said. "And thou thyself did drown the ships of the Noldor in punishment for their crime--dost thou think there were no children among them? And so I name you the guardian of outlaws and exiles. Ever after you will weep for the sorrow of the banished, and cry for their loneliness."
And that is why the sea moans upon the shores of Middle-earth, and the tears fall like rain upon the sand.