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Old Man Willow on the bank of The Withywindle

The Withywindle was the lesser tributary of the Brandywine River that flowed through the Barrow-downs and the Old Forest and passed into Buckland on the borders of The Shire. The Withywindle valley was said to be the source of all the strange occurrences in the Old Forest. Tom Bombadil lived here in his house on top of a hill between the Barrow-downs and Old Forest.


Long ago in an unknown age, Tom Bombadil met Goldberry, the River-daughter, in a pool down the Withywindle. He later brought her to his home north of the river and every summer would gather water-lilies for her along the river side. He was on his last trip of the year when he met Frodo Baggins and the rest of his company on September 26, 3018.

When Frodo, Sam, Merry and Pippin were passing through the valley of the Withywindle, they encountered Old Man Willow, an ancient tree who showed bitter hatred to all other living creatures in Middle-earth people and trees alike. The Hobbits were lulled to sleep under his spell all except Frodo and Sam who regained consciousness in time to save Merry and Pippin who had been trapped inside the old willow's trunk. Tom Bombadil happened to be strolling along the river at the time and rescued them all by demanding that he let them go. He was the only person that could control the evil tree's temper.[citation needed]


According to The Atlas of Middle-earth, it was about three miles in length and began at a waterfall that probably cut into the cliff at the edge of the Barrow-downs near the house of Tom Bombadil.

At the mouth of the Withywindle there was a haven in the north bank called Grindwall. The Grindwall was not under the protection of the High Hay therefore it was guarded by a fence that was built extending into the waters shallows. There was a small village called Breredon on the other side of the Grindwall between the Brandywine and the High Hay.[1]


The word withy means 'willow' (common element in English place-names) and windle meaning spindle or reel and is supposed to be translated from Hobbitish.[citation needed]


Foreign Language Translated name
Albanian Gisht i shelgut
Arabic الصفصاف المغزل
Armenian Ւիտհյւինդլե
Azerbaijani Söyüd şpindel
Bulgarian Cyrillic Уилоу вретено
Cambodian ដើមសូលផ្លែរហាត់
Chinese (Hong Kong) 柳蘇河
Croatian Vrba vretena
Czech Vrba vřeteno
Danish Vidjeslyng (flod)
Dutch Wilgspil
Esperanto Saliko ŝpinilo
Estonian Paju spindli
Finnish Halavainen
French Tournesaules
Georgian ტირიფი ლილვი ?
German Weidenwinde
Greek Ιτέα ατρακτος
Gujarati વિલો સ્પિન્ડલ
Hebrew וויתיווינדל
Hindi विलो स्पिंडल
Hungarian Fűztekeres
Irish Gaelic fearsaid Saileach
Italian Salice mandrino
Japanese 古森の枝垂川
Kannada ವಿಲೋ ಸ್ಪಿಂಡಲ್
Korean 윌로우 스핀들
Kyrgyz Cyrillic Саясында ийик
Latvian Vītols vārpstas
Lithuanian Gluosnis velenas
Macedonian Cyrillic Врба вретено
Maltese Żafżafa magħżel
Marathi विलो आस
Mongolian Cyrillic бургас спиндель
Nepalese विलो स्पिन्डल
Norwegian Seljespindel
Persian بید اسپیندل
Polish wrzeciono Wija
Portuguese Fuso de salgueiro
Portuguese (Brazil) Voltavime
Punjabi ਵਿਲੋ ਸਪਿੰਡਲ
Romanian Salcie axul
Russian Ивлинка
Serbian Врба вретено (Cyrillic) Vrelno vreteno (Latin)
Sinhalese විථ්‍ය්විඳ්ලෙ
Slovak Vŕbové vreteno
Slovenian Vrba vretena
Spanish Tornasauce
Swedish Videvindeln
Tamil வில்லோ சுழல்
Tatar тал орчык
Telugu విల్లో కుదురు
Thai วิลโลว์แกน
Turkish Söğüt mili
Ukrainian Cyrillic Вертушка верби
Vietnamese Cây liểu trục chính
Welsh Helyg gwerthyd
Yiddish ווילאָו שפּינדל


  1. The Atlas of Middle-earth, The Lord of the Rings, "On the Barrow-downs"