Harnor: Hey, Piko, why don’t you tell this story?
Piko: Absolutely! It was never Eru who was upset at Mahal, it was Yavanna!
Mahal: Aren’t they great? We need some Champions of Tough to handle all the darkness Morgoth’s making! I’ve been teaching them smithing, maths, and sciences! And some basic fighting skills! I have knowledge to share. I know you’re working hard on the Elves. Making Champions of Beauty isn’t easy… I don’t mind if they’re not alive, they’re alive enough for me!
Eru: …You’re right, we do need some Champions of Tough around here. Well done, son. Now. Does your wife know about them?
Piko: Mahal now knew that he’d made the biggest mistake of his life. He did not ask his wife about bringing kids into their marriage!
Eru: Here’s the Flame Imperishable, idiot. Good luck. Let me know if you’re still alive by the time she’s through.
Piko: And the Dwarves filled with the fire of life!
Harnor: Durin, who’d been listening especially carefully, asked the following.
Durin: What is a wife?
Mahal, gathering up his lads, nervous about the journey they’re about to undertake: A wife, laddies, is a very dear lady friend.
Durin: What is a lady?
Mahal, knowing he was Khazâd-doomed: Well, lads, you’re about to find out. Baruk Khazâd…
The Dwarves, anticipating their first real battle: Baruk Khazâd!!!
Harnor: When they came upon Yavanna’s Realm, it was sunny and green. The Dwarves spent many a moment blinking, unused to so much light. Not that Mahal’s place was dark, but Yavanna dwelled in a sanctuary of nature. Animals everywhere! Deer bounding with bunnies, skunks scuttling with hedgehogs, doves ablaze with the joy of flight! And plants too! Rainbows of sunflowers, tulips, roses, and lavender. Beech trees! Birches! Oaks! Pines!
Piko: The Dwarves were in awe… of how curvy Yavanna was!
Durin: Why is her body so soft? Did Eru make her wrong?
Mahal: Heavens no! Lads, this is how ladies tend to look!
Harnor: Stepping gracefully toward her husband and these new people, Yavanna’s curiosity was piqued.
Yavanna: Ooh, who are these?
Mahal: These, milady, are my folk: the Dwarves! Now, lads, I haven’t taught you much about the social niceties and all that goes with it. It’s more complicated than 2+2=4. A good way to start is to bow, say “hello”, and introduce yourself. Let me show you.
Piko: Turning to the flame of his heart’s forge, he said…
Mahal: May your bed of roses blossom like the stars bloom at night. I am Aulë, your husband.
Yavanna: That’s right, you are!
Mahal: May I kiss my lady?
Yavanna, charmed: Yes, you may.
Harnor: And thus, the Dwarves saw warmth that was not of a forge, but of love.
Mahal: Now, lads, why don’t you try it? Without the kissing! This is my woman!
Yavanna, confidently. She was a goddess and she knew it: Mm-hmm!
Piko: So the Seven Fathers of the Dwarves bowed and introduced themselves. They got to talking about what they’d been learning: numbers, metals, craftsmanship…
Yavanna: So what do you know about tending a home?
Durin: Keep the fire going, clean up after yourself―do not touch what others are working on, it might be toxic!
Yavanna: And what do you know of tending to clothes?
Durin: What are clothes?
Piko: Yavanna turned to Mahal.
Yavanna: Aulë! Do you expect them to be running around naked like animals? Do they even know how to make clothes?
Yavanna: I’m taking that as a “no”. I’ve also noticed that none of them are women. Did you only want seven Dwarves, total?
Mahal: No…! I was going to make womenfolk later! I didn’t want anyone thinking I was cheating on you!
Yavanna: Why would anyone think you were cheating on me!? You can spend time with people of different sexes without making mischief! Honestly! And another thing! We are gods! Why would you cheat on me for a mere mortal!? You are not getting these poor boys back until you make some women! And you better make me one too! Her hair shall glow like dew-decorated spider-silk, and her eyes shall shine like freshly-polished sapphires! I will show these boys how to sheer sheep and craft woolen coats in the meantime.
Piko: And that’s how it happened! Ta-da!
Chu: I thought you said Aulë made the Dwarves?
Piko: Mahal’s what the Dwarves call Aulë. It means “Maker”, because that’s literally what he did for them: he made them!
Chu: Okay, got it! …Why do the Elves and the Dwarves have different names for the same guy?
Acharor: Well, Chu, it’s because 1) the Elves and the Dwarves speak different languages.
Chu: They do what!?
Piko: Yep! Another reason they have different names for him is because, as we said, Mahal made the Dwarves, but he didn’t make the Elves. The Elves call him Aulë, that’s their word for “invention”! He invented a lot of things, but we say the coolest thing he invented was the Dwarves. The Elves don’t really agree with that, but someone needs to be the Champions of Tough around here!