By Tomas Vilhelm Kullström
From The Adventures of Tom Bombadil
There has been alot of discussions about what or who the Mewlips were, but nothing about where they were.
In the Red Book is the only trace of these creatures.
A short poem, that seems to have been invented by hobbits, tells of strange mountains and cold marshes.
Though nowhere else noted, many threads is left to discover where they lived:
'Over the Merlock Mountains...' points to the Mewlips as living on the other side of some mountains. From the shire, there are four options:
The Iron Mountains to the north.
The Blue Mountains to the west.
The White Mountains to the south and
The Misty Mountains to the east.
The Iron Mountains is the most unlikely location : It´s unknown if there is an 'other side' of the Iron Mountains and the climate is way too cold to grow willows.
The Blue Mountains is not possible because no hobbits has been known to go beyond the Tower Hills and there is no marsh-land in Forlindon.
The White Mountains do have many rivers and the Blackroot could have been the 'rotting river-strand' but no hobbits is known to have traveled on these parts.
Then there is the Misty Mountains left. Robert Foster writes that the Merlock Mountains probably is where the Merlocks live. I do not think so. It must be a name moulded from the Misty Mountains or even the Mountains of Mirkwood.
In 1050 T.A. a shadow falls over Greenwood and is after only known as Mirkwood. At the same time did the Harfoots cross Misty Mountains. About 100 years after followed the Fallohides and the Stoors.
'Over the Merlock Mountains a long and weary way' could be the faint memory of the hobbits coming to Eriador.
'Through the spider-shadows' is clearly a road through the Spider regions in Mirkwood and 'Beyond the Merlock Mountains, a long and lonely road,' is maybe the Old Forest Road. This road could also be the Elf-path, but
the evil power in Dol Guldur grew slowly and didn´t touch the Woodland Realm borders at first.
The Old Forest Road is the most direct way west and probably the road the hobbits used.
'marsh of Tode' can be one of two places.The first is The Long Marshes at the end of the Forest River and the other is at the end of the Old Forest Road. Both is possible but the Old Forest Road is the most likely.
Below is the poem and the map from The Hobbit pointing to the Mewlips home. Enjoy.
The Shadows where the Mewlips dwell
Are dark and wet as ink,
And slow and softly rings their bell,
As in the slime you sink.
You sink into the slime, who dare
To knock upon their door,
While down the grinning gargoyles stare
And noisome waters pour.
Beside the rotting river-strand
The drooping willows weep,
And gloomily the gorcrows stand
Croaking in their sleep.
Over the Merlock Mountains a long and weary way,
In a mouldy valley where the trees are grey,
By a dark pool´s borders without wind or tide,
Moonless and sunless, the Mewlips hide.
The cellars where the Mewlips sit
Are deep and dank and cold
With single sickly candle lit;
And there they count their gold.
Their walls are wet, their ceilings drip;
Their feet upon the floor
Go softly with a squish-flap-flip,
As they sidle to the door.
They peep out slyly; through a crack
Their feeling fingers creep,
And when they´ve finished, in a sack
Your bones they take to keep.
Beyond the Merlock Mountains, a long and lonely road,
Through the spider-shadows and the marsh of Tode,
And through the wood of hanging trees and gallows-weed,
You go to find the Mewlips - and the Mewlips feed.
The Atlas of Middle-Earth by Karen Wynn Forstad
The Complete Guide to Middle-Earth by Robert Forest
Map by Peter Felon
A Tolkien Bestiary by David Day
J.R.R. Tolkien sources:
The Lord of the Rings
The Adventures of Tom Bombadil