The three tales
These tales, preserved in Gondor, were:
- Narn Beren ion Barahir ("Tale of Beren son of Barahir") or Narn e-Dinúviel ("Tale of the Nightingale")
- Narn i Chîn Húrin ("Tale of the Children of Húrin") or Narn e-'Rach Morgoth ("Tale of the Curse of Morgoth")
- Narn en El ("Tale of the Star") or Narn e-Dant Gondolin ar Orthad en El ("Tale of The Fall of Gondolin and the Rise of the Star")
- "It seems unquestionable, from my father’s own words, that if he could achieve final and finished narratives on the scale he desired, he saw three ‘Great Tales’ of the Elder Days (Beren and Lúthien, the Children of Húrin, and the Fall of Gondolin) as works sufficiently complete in themselves as not to demand knowledge of the great body of legend known as The Silmarillion."
- ― Christopher Tolkien
Tolkien wrote about the Atanatárion and the titles of the three Great Tales on a small slip with the heading: Memorandum. He probably considered composing them in the form of three short stories as Appendices to The Silmarillion (in which case they would be rendered much shorter than their published forms).
- Beren and Lúthien
- The Children of Húrin
- The Fall of Gondolin