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The Great Tales were among the most important tales of the First Age of Arda.

All of them are covered within The History of Middle-earth, The Silmarillion and Unfinished Tales, but recently, lone publications of some of them have been made: The Children of Húrin, Beren and Lúthien, and The Fall of Gondolin.

Publications and chapters


The Fall of Gondolin, "...together with Beren and Lúthien and The Children of Húrin, he regarded it as one of the three ‘Great Tales’ of the Elder Days."[1]

Tolkien also referred to the 'four great tales' as the Great Saga or The Lays of the Children of Atani.[2]

He originally envisioned writing several stories from the entire Quenta Silmarillion as full, standalone stories.

"I would draw some of the great tales in fullness, and leave many only placed in the scheme, and sketched."[3][4]

Christopher Tolkien states in the forward to The Children of Húrin:

It is seen from this reminiscence that from far back it was a part of his conception of what came to be called The Silmarillion that some of the ‘Tales’ should be told in much fuller form; and indeed in that same letter of 1951 he referred expressly to the three stories which I have mentioned above as being much the longest in The Book of Lost Tales. Here he called the tale of Beren and Lúthien ‘the chief of the stories of The Silmarillion’, and of it he said: ‘the story is (I think a beautiful and powerful) heroic-fairy-romance, receivable in itself with only a very general vague knowledge of the background. But it is also a fundamental link in the cycle, deprived of its full significance out of its place therein.’ ‘There are other stories almost equally full in treatment,’ he went on, ‘and equally independent, and yet linked to the general history’: these are The Children of Húrin and The Fall of Gondolin.
It thus seems unquestionable, from my father’s own words, that if he could achieve final and finished narratives on the scale he desired, he saw the three ‘Great Tales’ of the Elder Days (Beren and Lúthien, the Children of Húrin, and the Fall of Gondolin) as works sufficiently complete in themselves as not to demand knowledge of the great body of legend known as The Silmarillion.[5]

Christopher also stated in the The War of the Jewels:

The completion of the Quenta Silmarillion remained an aim; but the 'great tales', vastly developed from their original forms, from which its later chapters should be derived were never achieved.


Foreign Language Translated name
Afrikaans Groot Verhale
Albanian Tregime e madhe
Arabic حكايات العظمى
Armenian Մեծ պատմություններ
Azerbaijani Böyük Nağıllar
Basque Ipuinak Handia
Belarusian Cyrillic Вялікія казкі
Bengali বৃহৎ গল্প
Bosnian Velika Bajke
Bulgarian Cyrillic Велики приказки
Catalan Gran Contes
Chinese 大故事
Corsican Grandi Storii
Croatian Sjajne priče
Czech Velké příběhy
Danish Storhistorier
Dutch Groot Vertellingen
Esperanto Grandaj Rakontoj
Estonian Suur lugusid
Finnish Suuria-Tarinoita
French Grande Contes
Galician Gran Contos
Georgian დიდი მოთხრობები
German Großgeschichten
Greek Μεγάλες Ιστορίες
Hebrew סיפורים הגדולות
Hindi विशाल कहानियाँ
Hungarian Nagy-mesék
Icelandic Stóra-Sögur
Indonesian Cerita-cerita Besar
Irish Gaelic Scéalta Mhór
Italian Grandi Racconti
Japanese グレートテイルズ
Kannada ಮಹಾ ಕಥೆಗಳು
Kazakh Ұлы әңгімелер (Cyrillic) Ulı äñgimeler (Latin)
Korean 그레이트브 테일즈
Kyrgyz Cyrillic Улуу жомоктору ບົດເລື່ອງ
Latin Magnam Historiarum
Latvian Liel pasakas
Lithuanian Puikus istorijas
Luxembourgish Grouss Geschichten
Macedonian Cyrillic Големи приказни
Malaysian Cerita-cerita Besar
Marathi ग्रेट कथा
Mongolian Cyrillic Их түүхүүд
Nepalese विशाल कथाहरू
Norwegian Storfortellinger
Persian داستان ها کبیر
Polish Wielka opowieści
Portuguese Grã Contos
Russian Великие Россказни
Serbian Велике приче (Cyrillic) Velike priče (Latin)
Sinhalese මහා කතාවක්
Slovak Veľký príbehy
Slovenian Velike zgodbe
Spanish Gran Cuentos
Swedish Storsagor
Tajik Cyrillic Ҳикояҳо Кабир
Tamil கிரேட் கதைகள்
Telugu మహా కథలు
Thai นิทานที่ยอดเยี่ยม
Turkish Büyük Öyküler
Vietnamese Đại Những câu chuyện
Welsh Chwedlau Fawr
Yiddish גרויסמעשיות


  1. The Fall of Gondolin, Press Release
  2. The Peoples of Middle-earth: "As is seen in The Silmarillion. This is not an Eldarin title or work. It is a compilation, probably made in Numenor, which includes (in prose) the four great tales or lays of the heroes of the Atani, of which The Children of Hurin was probably composed already in Beleriand in the First Age, but necessarily is preceded by an account of Feanor and his making of the Silmarils. All how ever are 'Mannish' works."
  3. The Silmarillion
  4. The Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien, Letter 131
  5. Tolkien, J. R. R.. The Children of Hurin (pp. 11-12). Harper Collins, Inc.. Kindle Edition.