Tolkien Gateway


Leprawns (or leprechauns[1]) were creatures only appearing in some of the earliest versions of the legendarium. In one passage, the leprawns are seemingly described as a subgroup among the sprites.[2] In early poems, the mysterious character Tinfang Warble is said to have been a leprawn.[3][1]

[edit] Etymology

It has been suggested that the name leprawn is "Tolkien's own peculiar adaptation of leprechaun".[4]

[edit] Other writings

The poem Goblin Feet speak of "tiny horns" played by "enchanted leprechauns".

[edit] Real-life

Authors Philip and Carol Zaleski recount that:[5][note 1]

Tolkien, in response to an undergraduate's query about the truth of dragons and other legends, declared that behind such tales invariably lies something real; he then dug into his pockets and pulled out, along with a ball of string and other detritus, a small green shoe, thin and pointed in the toe, made of leathery substance that felt like reptile skin, and declared it, "stoutly and with apparent sincerity", to be a leprechaun's shoe.

[edit] External links


  1. According to Bradley J. Birzer, the source for this reminiscence is a letter from Norman Power to Clyde S. Kilby, kept at the Wade Collection, Marion Wade Center at Wheaton College: "Excerpt from a letter about JRRT, from Norman S. Power, Ladywood, Birmingham, England, author of THE FIRLAND SAGA," WCWC, Kilby Files, 3-8, "Tolkien the Man" from TOLKIEN AND THE SILMARILLION'". Cf. discussion at the Tolkien Society Facebook group (dated 13 August 2019).


  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. 122
  2. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Book of Lost Tales Part One, "III. The Coming of the Valar and the Building of Valinor", p. 66
  3. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Book of Lost Tales Part One, "III. The Coming of the Valar and the Building of Valinor", p. 108
  4. Peter Gilliver, Edmund Weiner and Jeremy Marshall, The Ring of Words: Tolkien and the Oxford English Dictionary, p. 77
  5. Philip and Carol Zaleski, The Fellowship: The Literary Lives of the Inklings, p. 370
Legendary Races of Arda
 Animals:  Dumbledors · Gorcrows · Hummerhorns · Pards · Swans of Gorbelgod · Turtle-fish
Dragon-kind:  Great glow-worms · Sea-serpents · Spark-dragons · Were-worms
Evil Races:  Ettens · Giants · Gongs · Half-trolls · Hobgoblins · Ogres · Snow-trolls · Two-headed Trolls
Fairies and Sprites:  Dryads · Leprechauns/Leprawns · Mermaids · Sylphs · White cow
Other:  Badger-folk · Great beasts · Lintips · Mewlips · Nameless Things · Spectres
Individuals:  The Hunter · Lonely Troll · Man in the Moon · The Rider · River-woman · Tarlang · Tim