The Encyclopedia of Arda - an interactive guide to the world of J.R.R. Tolkien


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  • Updated 23 April 2017
  • Updates planned: 1

Bough of Return

A mariner's token of good fortune

The tree oiolairë (or 'Ever-summer') was an evergreen that grew in Tol Eressëa, and the Elves of that island gave it as a gift to the Men of Númenor. In Númenor the tree grew on the fragrant slopes of Nísimaldar, and it became a custom among Númenórean mariners to carry a bough of oiolairë on the prow of their ships. They adopted this custom from the Eldar of Eressëa, who carried the bough - in full the Green Bough of Return - on their ships as a token of their friendship with the Maiar of the Sea, Ossë and Uinen. The bough was traditionally set in place by a woman of the captain's family, and it remained green throughout the voyage until the ship that bore it returned to port.

See also...

Green Bough of Return

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