It seems that J. R. R. Tolkien wrote a short poem, accompanied by a more extensive prose text, about the petty-dwarf Mîm.

Oddly enough, a German translation of the poem was published, but the poem itself was not.

It also seems that Carl F. Hostetter was not offered to publish it in the book he edited, The Nature of Middle-earth.

Is it known why Christopher Tolkien chose not to include it in any of the volumes of The History of Middle-earth, and the Tolkien Estate did not let Hostetter publish it, while they did let a German translation of it see the light of day?

  • 2
    Maybe it was to give us something to complain about. Commented Sep 18, 2021 at 18:26

1 Answer 1


No idea, but this is an intentional decision by the Tolkien Estate.

The text in question has literally only appeared or been referenced in one publication and was not accompanied by any explanation as to its source, the time of composition, the ownership of the manuscript, etc. The only thing that book even says about the source is that it was from Tolkien, still under copyright by the Estate, and translated by H.J. Schütz.

J.R.R. Tolkien, Mîms Klage. © The Executors of J.R.R. Tolkien, 1987. Aus dem Englischen von H.J. Schütz

Nothing else is known about this. It isn't referenced anywhere else, and no one else has even reported having seen the manuscript. Assuming it is genuine it could really be from anywhere. Many of Tolkien's other manuscripts are still unpublished as well.

Jeremy Edmonds of TolkienGuide has reported discussing this poem with the Tolkien Estate and being informed that it was not something they wanted to have published (though seemingly confirming that this is a genuine work).

I’ve spoken at length (previously) with the Estate about this poem. It was made quite clear to me that they still do not want to publish the work in any form outside of the Klett-Cotta Almanac already released

No specific reason has ever been given as to why the Tolkien Estate doesn't want it published. Likewise, no reason is known why Christopher didn't include in HoMe. Seeing as we don't know anything about the context of the original we wouldn't even know which (if any) of the twelve volumes it would even have made sense to put in. Evidently, he either didn't know about it or didn't find it worth including.

Same with Nature of Middle-earth. This text obviously wasn't part of the two manuscript collections that book publishes, and it doesn't fit the theme of the book so it wouldn't really make sense for Hostetter to request to add it in. However in light of the above quote it is possible he did request it and was turned down.

  • Has CT acknowledged there really was such a poem? Do you know of anywhere one might read it (even if it means an English translation of the German translation)?
    – Wade
    Commented Sep 19, 2021 at 8:47
  • @Wade - I'm not sure what else you're looking for here. This poem was published once in German in 1987. That is it. Nothing else. And none of this is particularly remarkable. Christopher hasn't commented on 99% of the Tolkien texts published in VT/PE, and I assume there's plenty of completely unpublished ones he hasn't commented on either.
    – ibid
    Commented Sep 19, 2021 at 9:36
  • @Wade - There are at least two bootleg english retranslations floating around the internet. Can't comment on their accuracy. I don't know German.
    – ibid
    Commented Sep 19, 2021 at 9:37
  • I was just wondering whether (you knew whether) this piece is mentioned anywhere in CT's commentaries. Also if you happened to have a link to one such bootleg I'd appreciate. But in any case, thank you, your answer was helpful.
    – Wade
    Commented Sep 19, 2021 at 9:50
  • 1
    @Wade- If Christopher had mentioned it somewhere, that I would not have said in the first line of my answer that this piece is only ever referred to in the german book.
    – ibid
    Commented Sep 19, 2021 at 9:58

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