Note: I actually wrote this story for school when I was asked to come up with a short story that had a lesson or an "allegory." I am ashamed to say that I got an A (luckily my teacher was not familiar with Tolkiens Middle-earth, or else she would have known that I copied most of it [the names, places, and the "lesson"; not to mention phrases] from The Silmarillion!)
Once upon a time, not too long ago for those who have long memories, there was a kingdom called Brethil. The chief smith of this kingdom was named Brego son of Baran.
Brego had surpassing skill in the working of all metals, and was renowned. He could make anything from brass buttons to golden helms of exceptional beauty for the King and his knights. Everything he made was hardy and strong, and could not be harmed; and would stay shiny and beautiful for years uncounted. Things that did not wither and lived forever he loved best (which is why he became a smith not a butcher!)
When he was young he used to go on errands for the King over the mountains north of Brethil, to find only the best gold and jewels to make imperishable heirlooms for the Kings house. He would look at the mountains in wonder and envy; he marveled that they could stand tall and fair for hundreds and hundreds of years and seem not to change at all.
Now the smith was growing old and was going on his last errand over the mountains to find unbreakable metals in the mines of the north to make for his family something wonderful to remember him by. What he was going to make, he was not sure.
Again he looked on the mountains and was filled with envy and wrath, for they had not changed since the days of his youth. And he cried aloud: "Why is it that men may wither and die whilst the mountains stand tall and fair until the ending of the world? Why must we be punished?" And a voice was heard out of the wind that answered him; whither the voice came from the smith knew not: "Punished thou saith? I think it a reward! Men and all living things may depart from the world and be relieved of their burdens, while the mountains, and the sun and moon are bound to the world in weariness and slow decay, and may not depart until the world is no more. Men have the gift not only of doing great works in their lives but also of love and learning and teaching, and giving others the gift of life, though the time in which it is to be done may seem short. Which of us therefore should envy the others?"
When Brego heard these words a shadow was lifted from him and he no longer desired immortality; and he thanked the voice but it did not answer him again. Thus it came to pass, that that which the smith had long shaped and wrought and made fair and thus became renowned, and yet also had envied, taught him that death is a gift of relieve and not a punishment; and also that not only are people remembered for the great works they have achieved, but also for teaching and most of all for giving life to others.
Then the smith went home and did go to the mines in the north, for he knew what he was going to do for his family. When he returned to Brethil the smith summoned his son, Beren, to his smithy. And there he taught to him all of the secrets in the working of metal and jewels that his father had once taught to him. Then together they made a fair, unbreakable sword, of gold and diamonds, and along its blade and on its sheath they inscribed the words of the voice of the wind. And with this sword all the deeds and purposes of Bregos life were passed down through his family, and all those who went with them into battle were not forgotten.
Megan (a.k.a. Goldberry)