White cow

From Tolkien Gateway
This article describes a concept which is mentioned in J.R.R. Tolkien's works, but was never given a definite name.

A white cow belonged to the Fairies dwelling in Artanor, according to a poem J.R.R. Tolkien wrote in English with Angloquenya alphabet. Although nothing else is known about this creature, possibly the cow itself was a Faërie creature.[1]

Once upon a time long ago in a far distant
country where no foot of mortal has ever even
unto this day set foot, there lived a white cow
and it belonged to the fairies and the fairies dwelt
?alone in that land of mystery and of sorrow.

—Transcription adapted to normal English

Inspiration[edit | edit source]

As noted by Arden R. Smith, "nothing about a white cow in Artanor or Doriath appears elsewhere in the published legendarium, but white cows as denizens of the fairy world are a common motif in Celtic mythology."[1][2]

See also[edit | edit source]


  1. 1.0 1.1 J.R.R. Tolkien, "Tengwesta Qenderinwa and Pre-Fëanorian Alphabets Part 2", in Parma Eldalamberon XVIII (edited by Christopher Gilson, Arden R. Smith, and Patrick H. Wynne), p. 142
  2. For more on white cows as fairy creatures, cf. James MacKillop, Oxford Dictionary of Celic Mythology, p. 108
Legendary races of Arda
 Animals:  Dumbledors · Gorcrows · Hummerhorns · Pards · Swans of Gorbelgod · Turtle-fish
Dragon-kind:  Sea-serpents · Spark-dragons · Were-worms
Evil Races:  Ettens · Giants · Half-trolls · Hobgoblins · Ogres · Snow-trolls · Two-headed Trolls
Other:  Badger-folk · Great beasts · Lintips · Mewlips · Nameless things · Spectres
Individuals:  Talking Gurthang · Talking purse · The Hunter · Lady of the Sun · Lonely Troll · Man in the Moon · The Rider · River-woman · Tarlang · Tim · Tom · White cow