Niggle pushed open the gate, jumped on the bicycle, and went bowling downhill in the spring sunshine. Before long he found that the path on which he had started had disappeared, and the bicycle was rolling along over a marvellous turf. It was green and close; and yet he could see every blade distinctly. He seemed to remember having seen or dreamed of that sweep of grass somewhere or other. The curves of the land were familiar somehow. Yes: the ground was becoming level. as it should, and now, of course, it was beginning to rise again. A great green shadow came between him and the sun. Niggle looked up, and fell off his bicycle.
Before him stood the Tree, his Tree, finished. If you could say that of a Tree that was alive, its leaves opening, its branches growing and bending in the wind that Niggle so often felt or guessed, and had so often failed to catch. He gazed at the Tree, and slowly he lifted his arms and opened them wide.
‘It’s a gift!’ he said. He was referring to his art, and also to the result; but he was using the word quite literally. (…)
Niggle walked about, but he was not merely pottering. He was looking round carefully. The Tree was finished, though not finished with – ‘Just the other way about to what it used to be,’ he thought.
J.R.R. Tolkien: Leaf by Niggle
Illustrations by Alan Lee