Her fingers traced cuttings in the flatness on which they had lain, and wheedling out the mosses and turf and soil, her thumb could trace other cuttings, carvings, letters of rune of the old world. She worked to uncover the entire carving of writ, and awakened Zhera’, standing over him, and pressing her heel into his side. He turned over and saw the new mound of turfs piled by, for Zhera’ as for his pillow, and winked; and on the turf laid his head. Deeper into his side she now dug her toes, and he jumped away, rolling, nearly pulling her from her feet. But she grasped their yoke, and tugged at it, until he had spun indeed to place his face over the writings. Then he pressed himself up and raise[d] on his knees, saw what Izilba had uncovered while he slept. In your tongue it might’ve read: Turin Turambar dragnir glaurunga Niniel beloved twice lost and Morwen their mother the elf-sheen all lost H. Yet neither knew these runes, though both guessed their meaning, having heard at times as “old tales” the Narn I cHin Hurin. Plain it was that:
T—N T—M— G—–G- N—N— ———— M—–N [in our characters]
And yet maybe this memorial had been carved by a bored seaman or marooned soldier, and no true stone it be.
I-Earnu, Pengolodh. Words of the Faithful: As if it were from the Dead (pp. 19-20). Kindle Edition.
Recently, I listened to a conversation about this section. The discussion was about how on Earth Zhera and Izilba guessed that the engravings were, possibly, those same runes from the first age – the tragic tale of The Children of Hurin.
But, then, I realized that such things happen in our day. Conclusions are made with little connection, or, perhaps, just enough to believe in the tale.
The difference? Fading runes, that may or may not be connected to a famous tale of the past, don’t seem to advance an ideological agenda. And, at least our friends Zhera and Izilba are willing to grant that, maybe, “no true stone it be.”