The Flight of the Noldoli from Valinor
from The History of Middle-earth, volume 3
The Lays of Beleriand
A name for those Elves of the Teleri who travelled into the West. After waiting for many years on the island of Tol Eressëa, they were taught the art of ship-building by Ossë, and sailed to the shores of Aman itself. There, they dwelt on the starlit beaches of the Undying Lands and built Alqualondë, a lamplit sea-haven beneath a great rocky arch. In Elvish they were known as the Falmari, but from the skimming of their ships over the starlit waves, they also acquired the name of 'Foamriders'.
'Foamriders' is in fact an extremely old name, dating back to some of Tolkien's earliest works, but fading out of use in his later work. It appears in various older poems, including not only The Flight of the Noldoli quoted above, but also The Lay of Leithian, the story of Lúthien and Beren told in verse. A fragment of that long poem is reproduced in the published Silmarillion, and so this old name for the Teleri survived into Tolkien's better-known works.
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