The Handsome Sleeper by BlueberryMuffins76
Disclaimer: I am greatly indebted to the writer of the article “The War of the Last Alliance” as I have been writing this story. It saved me from needing to study the Silmarillion myself. Thank you to the encyclopaedia contributors! Also, some drawings of Thranduil and young Legolas found through Pinterest and tagged from Deviantart and zerochan inspired portions of this story (if you would like the links for these drawings please let me know!). Another picture inspired me but I am not sure where it is located; the link through Pinterest is expired, so whoever you are thank you! As you read, please keep in mind that Meleth is Sindarin for love and Ada means Father. Also, I do not own any Tolkien characters or places. Yes, this story was inspired by Sleeping Beauty; Mirkwood turns out to be the perfect setting! So please read and enjoy; I welcome any comments!
Long ago when Middle Earth was much younger than it is now, there lived an elf named Oropher and his lovely wife Bannostadeth. They had recently established a kingdom in the forest and became its rulers; later it would be known as Mirkwood. However, their fair realm was currently called Greenwood the Great. The Elvenking and Elvenqueen had been married for quite a while and had a young son Thranduil, who adored his father. Also, he took after his father in looks; both males had gorgeous flaxen hair and deep blue eyes. Bannostadeth was also blonde, only hers had a more honey color to it and her eyes were dark green rather than blue.
Thranduil enjoyed following his father around and as he grew older they were able to go on short trips together, sometimes to hunt and other times simply to enjoy the forest. They loved nature and the young elf learned most of what he knew about it from his Ada on these trips.
One day, just a few years before his coming of age ceremony, Thranduil went on such a journey with Oropher. They traveled deep into the trees until they came upon the Enchanted River. The king had been working on a path from one side of the forest to the other and had recently passed this dreaded body of water. One of the elves slipped into the water to see what it was like but had to quickly be rescued – he had fallen into a deep sleep. It took a long time for him to fully recover from the incident and at times he was still prone to extreme sleepiness. Thus the elves learned to be extremely careful with the water.
Thranduil had been learning the art of sword-fighting and was anxious to show his father his latest moves. A large tree lay across the river for easier access to the other side until the path was finished, so he jumped up on it. He wanted to try some daring moves on a precipice; one never knows when this might come in handy! Oropher was enjoying watching his son simply being a boy, still young and naïve. Thranduil lunged and dodged as he fought his imaginary opponent. Then the unfortunate happened: the prince lost his balance and went plunging into the Enchanted River! Oropher quickly threw a rope they kept handy and dragged his son out of the water, now fast asleep. He called for his guards and they hurried back to the palace; Oropher insisted on carrying his son himself. He thought he was to blame for allowing him to play like that so near the river and was extremely worried about what Bannostadeth would say. Although elves can travel quickly and even sleep while they are doing it, their journey back still took longer than a day.
Bannostadeth greeted them at the entrance when they finally arrived. “Oropher! You’re back!” she cried excitedly, happy to have her husband and son back home. But then she noticed Thranduil, who lay very still in her husband’s arms. “What happened?” she shrieked, becoming hysterical.
“I’m so sorry, Meleth. I let him play on the log we have across the Enchanted River, and he fell in. We need to get him to his room. He should be fine after a few days.”
Bannostadeth was softly crying but hurried into the castle to make sure her precious son had everything he needed. They administered all the healing herbs they could, yet to no avail.
A week went by and the young prince had still not awakened. “Oropher, why has he not woken up yet? You said he should be fine in just a few days!”
“I did, didn’t I? That is how it worked with my worker who fell in. I feel it must have a longer lasting effect on royalty. He may never wake up! I am so sorry! Our only son, and it is all my fault!” The king was a broken man, and his queen could tell he was aging rapidly from all this distress, although elves really do not age that much.
“I don’t blame you, Meleth, and you should not blame yourself either. Thranduil was old enough to know that was a risky move and did it anyway, so he must now reap the consequences of his actions. And unfortunately we have to suffer right along with him. Why don’t we both go and rest and try to forget about it for a time?” She looked lovingly into his eyes and kissed him gently, showing her love.
“That sounds like the prefect plan to me. It will do us both good.”
So the royal couple went to their room arm in arm, determined to stay close to each other. Both had to be strong for the other, and they did this very well.