26 August 2011

365 Days of Middle-earth ~ Day 57: Mûmakil

Mûmakil (sing. Mûmak) were pachyderms, similar to modern-day elephants – though they were much larger. Mûmak was the term used by the Rangers of Ithilien; Hobbits referred to them as ‘Oliphaunts.’ They were used by the Haradrim as war-beasts; they carried war-towers, frightened horses, and were the Haradrim’s defensive force during battle. Their skin was so thick that they were nearly impenetrable in battle; the only way to kill them was to shoot them in the eye, and then they would often run amok.

Mûmakil in Peter Jackson's The Return of the King

In The Two Towers, Samwise Gamgee recites a poem in Hobbit-lore on Oliphaunts:

Grey as a mouse,
Big as a house,
Nose like a snake,
I make the earth shake,
As I tramp through the grass;
Trees crack as I pass.
With horns in my mouth
I walk in the South,
Flapping big ears.
Beyond count of years
I stump round and round,
Never lie on the ground,
Not even to die.
Oliphaunt am I,
Biggest of all,
Huge, old, and tall.
If ever you'd met me
You wouldn't forget me.
If you never do,
You won't think I'm true;
But old Oliphaunt am I,
And I never lie.


References

Foster, R. (2001). Oliphaunts. In The complete guide to middle-earth: from the hobbit through the lord of the rings and beyond. New York: Del Rey. 

Tolkien, J. (1954). The lord of the rings: the two towers. New York: Del Rey. 

Tyler, J. (1976). Mûmak. In The complete Tolkien companion. New York: St. Martin’s Press.

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