Sindarin: Drû + edain (men) (sing. Drúadan)
Also known as Drûgs, Drûin or Drûath (sing. Drû), Oghor-hai in Orcish, Woses in MAnnish, PúkelMen and the Wild Men of DrúadanForest. For a complete account, see Tolkien's essay in Unfinished Tales.
The Drúedain were believed to have been the first Men to cross the Anduin, having migrated north through the place that would later be called Ithilien from lands south of Mordor in the First Age, fleeing persecution by other Men. Most of them settled in the White Mountains, although a branch of them emigrated north with the Folk of Haleth (the Haladin) to dwell among them in Ossiriand, towards the end of the First Age. A few even served in the House of Húrin. The Haladin themselves were a branch of a larger group of Men who did not follow their brethren into Beleriand, but settled in the White Mountains. These were the ancestors of the Dunlendings and the Men of Bree.
Drûgs (as they called themselves) were shorter and more "unlovely" than most Men, though taller than Hobbits. There was believed to be some sort of connection between Drûgs and Orcs--it was rumoured by some that Orcs were twisted Drûgs, although any similarity between them was likely only to be physical: Drûgs remained fierce enemies of Orcs (who feared them, and called them Oghor-hai)and never served Morgoth or Sauron (see The Origin of Orcs). They built no cities or keeps, dwelling in small numbers in discrete tribal communities. They were skilled hunters and trackers rather than famers or craftsmen; they were fierce warriors; and they were said to possess an almost Elvish connection with the earth. Drûgs were also skilled in woodcraft and stonecraft: they fashioned stone images of themselves called "watch-stones"* and set them along tracks and paths to ward off enemies. Though they dwelt among the Folk of Haleth in the same way as Hobbits would later dwell among the Men of Bree, they maintained caves and places in the hills (according to the customs of these folk, which were maintained also in the South) to which they would remove "in times of storm or bitter winter"--these they guarded jealously, even from their friends among the Edain (Unfinished Tales).
At the end of the First Age, remnants of the Drúedain of Beleriand (those who escaped the ravages of Morgoth) lived as refugees in the Mouths of Sirion. These were permitted to accompany the Edain to Elenna (Númenor), although they later returned to Middle-earth, anticipating somehow the dark times that were later to befall Westernesse. Sometime late in the First Age, or early in the SeA, the Drúedain of the White Mountains began to suffer the persecutions of a newly-arrived race of tall Men from the east: those who survived fled west into the DrúwaithIaur (see this entry for a more detailed account of the folk of this region), while others hid in DrúadanForest at the far east of the White Mountains. The folk of DrúwaithIaur thrived for some time, but by the end of the Third Age only a remnant survived, living secretly in the foothills of the western White Mountains.
The Drúedain of DrúadanForest (the Woses) were known to, but largely ignored by the Men of Gondor, who cut the great highway of the Stonewain Valley through the south of the forest. For this reason they were known to the Drúedain as the "Stone-folk". The Woses remained largely unmolested by other Men until the coming of the Rohirrim, who sometimes hunted them. Nonetheless in the WotR they aided the Rohirrim, for they feared the influx of Orcs into Anorien: a large group of these creatures waylaid the road to Gondor. The chieftain of the Woses, Ghân-buri-Ghân, led the host of Theoden along the forgotten Stonewain road--in this way they helped the Rohirrim to circumvent the enemy and ride to the aid of Gondor. As a reward, the King Elessar removed DrúadanForest from the control of Gondor and gave it the Woses forever.
What became of the Drúedain in the Fourth Age is not recorded. Though the lands in which they lived on either side of the Gap of Rohan were now safe, they probably remained aloof from folk of other races.
|Notes and contributions|
- The "Púkel-men" which stood at each turn of the road to Dunharrow were "watch-stones" of the kind shaped by the Drúedain in Beleriand, but they were probably not set there by the Drû-folk. In his Complete Tolkien Companion, J. E. A. Tyler suggests that the builders of Dunharrow were probably the same Men who drove the Drúedain from the White Mountains, but they kept the watch-stones (or even carved them themselves), believing that they possessed strange powers.
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