In this post I will change the subject a bit and talk about the myth of the Seven Sleepers which I find quite close to the story of the Seven Fathers of the Dwarves. Yet, I am not saying that “oh look Tolkien took the idea from here!”, I stopped doing that a while ago.
Seven Sleepers is a theme which we come across in various resources. One of the places where the Seven Sleepers slept is at Western Anatolian coast, it is a site with seven caves close to the antique city of Ephesus. When I visited these caves I was young enough to believe in tales. I think we should keep a bit of that trait with us as we grow older, too.
The Seven Sleepers were seven young men among the first Christians, but they had to flee and hide because at the time the Roman rulers were not yet Christian and wanted to persecute them. So these young men sought for shelter and came to these caves where they hid and very strangely slept for three hundred years (the sources say 309 years, isn’t it curious ?). They woke up into a world where pursuing Christianity was no longer unacceptable.
As an analytical-minded grown up, what I get from this story is that the world was not ready for these young men, so they slept until the social environment became bearable for them. In many situations where we shun away from the world is when we feel that we are not ready. This time it is the world which is not ready for the new idea, attitude, or as the tale suggest: faith. So the new thing needs to be kept and preserved deep in the dark, away from the eyes and hands that may harm it.
I find this tale and Tolkien’s story about the Fathers of the Dwarves similar and fascinating, though I am no expert, just an admirer of good literature.