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I am trying to find the name of the group of generally neutral men who help guide Aragorn and company through the mountains. Google has been of no help, and my copy of the trilogy rotted in the Peruvian jungle. They have primitive, ancient statues in their territory and are instrumental in Aragorn's host arriving in time to fight at Pelenor fields.

Aragorn eventually thanks them for their help by approaching the edge of their territory, and announcing that the land is theirs from that point on. I also remember that they are big on drums, and I want to say that either the tribe or the name of the statues started with P.

In addition to the name, I would be grateful for information on what happened to them after the reign of Elessar; were they free in perpetuity or did they perhaps eventually join the neighboring kingdoms?

Update:If anyone is wondering, the P-word I was looking for was "Pukel-men", which ended up referring to the statues.

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    Rotting in the Peruvian Jungle?? – Hatandboots Nov 28 '15 at 4:08
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    What else was I to bring on a quest into the Amazon besides Tolkien? But you forget to put them in their dry-bag just one time.... – VapedCrusader Nov 28 '15 at 4:23
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These are the Drúedain1, also called the Woses or the Wild Men.

'Is the enemy coming then?' asked Merry anxiously. 'Are those their drums? I began to think I was imagining them, as no one else seemed to take any notice of them.'

'Nay, nay,' said Elfhelm, 'the enemy is on the road not in the hills. You hear the Woses, the Wild Men of the Woods: thus they talk together from afar. They still haunt Drúadan Forest, it is said. Remnants of an older time they be, living few and secretly, wild and wary as the beasts.

Return of the King Book V Chapter 5: "The Ride of the Rohirrim"

Théoden, not Aragorn2, initially makes a deal with them (through their leader, Ghân-buri-Ghân) to lead them through Drúadan Forest to reach the Pelennor:

'I am great headman, Ghân-buri-Ghân. I count many things: stars in sky, leaves on trees, men in the dark. You have a score of scores counted ten times and five. They have more. Big fight, and who will win? And many more walk round walls of Stone-houses.'

'Alas! he speaks all too shrewdly,' said Théoden. 'And our scouts say that they have cast trenches and stakes across the road. We cannot sweep them away in sudden onset.'

'And yet we need great haste,' said Éomer. 'Mundburg is on fire!'

'Let Ghân-buri-Ghân finish!' said the Wild Man. 'More than one road he knows. He will lead you by road where no pits are, no gorgûn walk, only Wild Men and beasts. Many paths were made when Stonehouse-folk were stronger. They carved hills as hunters carve beast-flesh. Wild Men think they ate stone for food. They went through Drúadan to Rimmon with great wains. They go no longer. Road is forgotten, but not by Wild Men. Over hill and behind hill it lies still under grass and tree, there behind Rimmon and down to Dîn, and back at the end to Horse-men's road. Wild Men will show you that road. Then you will kill gorgûn and drive away bad dark with bright iron, and Wild Men can go back to sleep in the wild woods.'

Éomer and the king spoke together in their own tongue. At length Théoden turned to the Wild Man. 'We will receive your offer,' he said. 'For though we leave a host of foes behind, what matter? If the Stone-city falls, then we shall have no returning. If it is saved, then the orc-host itself will be cut off. If you are faithful, Ghân-buri-Ghân, then we will give you rich reward, and you shall have the friendship of the Mark for ever.'

Return of the King Book V Chapter 5: "The Ride of the Rohirrim"

At the end of the book, Aragorn declares that the forest will be their land forevermore:

Without haste and at peace they passed into Anórien, and they came to the Grey Wood under Amon Din; and there they heard a sound as of drums beating in the hills, though no living thing could be seen. Then Aragorn let the trumpets be blown; and heralds cried:

'Behold the King Elessar is come! The Forest of Drúadan he gives to Ghân-buri-ghân and to his folk, to be their own for ever; and hereafter let no man enter it without their leave!'

Then the drums rolled loudly, and were silent.

Return of the King Book VI Chapter 6: "Many Partings"

What happened to them in the Fourth Age and beyond is, sadly, unknown.

The "P-word" mentioned by the question, "Púkel-men", refers explicitly to the statues at Dunharrow. Although they were originally carved by the Drúedain people, the name was given by the Rohirrim, who were unaware of the connection:

[I]n Rohan the identity of the statues of Dunharrow called "Púkel-men" with the "Wild Men" of the Drúadan Forest was not recognized

Unfinished Tales Part Four Chapter I: "The Drúedain"


1 The name "Drúedain" is given in Unfinished Tales, in the essay by that name

2 Aragorn isn't on this journey, having left the Rohirrim at Dunharrow to go through the Paths of the Dead

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    Fantastic, thank you! This has been bothering me all day. I remembered him promising the forest to them forever, but I was curious if there was any information beyond that. – VapedCrusader Nov 28 '15 at 4:06
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    @VapedCrusader Happy to help. There's an essay on them in Unfinished Tales that goes into a little more detail, but not a whole lot; there's a bit about their history in the First and Second Ages, but nothing about the Fourth or after – Jason Baker Nov 28 '15 at 4:07
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    Minor nitpick: the spelling is Drúedain, plural of Drúadan. – Tim Pederick Nov 28 '15 at 9:43
  • @TimPederick Quite right, thanks for the catch. Fixed now – Jason Baker Nov 28 '15 at 14:46
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You're thinking of the Drúedain, also known as the Púkel-men amongst the Rohirrim. They were based on the mythological woodwoses, and are also referred to as woses in-universe.

Not much is known about what happened to them after the War of the Ring, but they were left to their own devices by order of King Aragorn Elessar.

After the War of the Ring, King Elessar granted the Drúadan Forest to be theirs forever, forbidding anyone to enter without their permission. They never showed their faces again, nor was any alliance or trading system struck up between them and Gondor in the Fourth Age. It is clear that they never mingled with the Free Peoples, content to live their reclusive mysterious life until they faded away into the mists of history and legend.
- Tolkien Gateway

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    Thanks! I'm giving the answer to Jason Baker, both for thoroughness and because it was the first answer- but I really appreciate you identifying where that 'P' in my memory was coming from. – VapedCrusader Nov 28 '15 at 4:15
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    @VapedCrusader - Jason puts me to shame on a routine basis. :) – Wad Cheber Nov 28 '15 at 4:16

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