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Labadal and Túrin  by Dreamflower


Labadal and Túrin: Names

It seems to one person, at least, I am Sador no longer. Túrin, the small son of my master, watches me in fascination, his grey eyes wide, as I mend and carve, and whittle.  He sees me as I limp about in my workshed, and has dubbed me 'labadal', 'hopafoot'.  From an adult I would take it amiss, as an insult.  But he is too young to understand the hurtfulness of words. In his piping voice I hear, not scorn, but admiration, and perhaps some pity for my pain.

Labadal is not so ill a name as some might think.


Labadal and Túrin: Grief

 Poor child, to come forth from his own illness to such sorry news, his sister dead. The only joy in his life is stilled, and he scarcely old enough to understand why. Bitterly he weeps in my arms. "I want Urwen," he weeps. "Why did she die? Why did I not die?" I have no answer.

In my own rough arms I hold him, as his bitter tears wet my shirt. His father's grief has turned to vengeance, his mother's has turned to ice. Why is it left to me, the lowliest person of the household to wipe his tears?


Labadal and Túrin: Pity

I am a crippled thrall, unworthy of friendship with one of noble blood. Other servants say to me, ’Tis his tender years, he knows no better. One day he will forsake you.’ But I pity his tender years, so solemn a child and so stern and cold a mother. His sister would have made him merry, but she was taken too soon.

Yet his heart is large, and it breaks my own to see his sorrow. His father’s duty, his mother’s hardness, that is what noble blood has brought him. Were he a peasant’s child, his lot would be happier.


Labadal and Túrin: Gifts

The first time, it was a bronze file. He ran to me with a joyful smile and love in his heart. "For you, Labadal!" But I knew whose it was, and after thanking my small friend, I returned it. As the father of a small son he understood that no theft was meant. The next time, it was a block of finely-grained oak. I bade him return it himself. "Give with a free hand, but give only your own!" I told him.

But the knife, that is his to give. Though it troubles my heart I cannot deny his generosity.

(Author's Note: For those not familiar with the fuller version of Turin's story as told in The Children of Húrin, when Túrin was very small, he used to "find" things that he would bring to his friend the woodwright Labadal as "gifts". A few years later when he was older, Túrin's father gave him a fine Elven-made knife as a birthday gift, which Túrin subsequently gave to Labadal.)

Labadal and Túrin: Farewell

A bitter farewell we have come to.  So young he is, still.  How painful the world that one so young must become so hard.   Yet to me he clings; he will not take back the knife he gave me.  His heart is true.  I am not noble, not one of the high men, though I fought in the Elf-king's army once.  A foreboding comes over me: his child's heart will break, and of the shards will grow a heart of stone and pride.  He is his mother's son.

"Let the unseen days be," I say, "Today is more than enough."


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