Scatha ~ Longworm of the North
“This is an heirloom of our house, it was made by the dwarves and came from the hoard of Scatha the Worm.”
LOTR:ROTK B6 C6
Scatha the Worm was a mighty dragon of the Grey Mountains and one of the greatest Dragons to infest the ranges of the north.
Scatha was described as a long-worm and it is not known if this dragon was fire-drake or a cold drake, or whether or he had wings. It is likely he did, as most of the remaining dragons that escaped the War of Wrath were of winged shape.
One of the least-known dragons in Middle-earth, Scatha is mentioned only in passing in the Red Book of Westmarch. when Merry Brandybuck, hobbit of the Shire is given a golden horn by Éowyn at the end of the War of the Ring, in honor of his service to the King. This ancient horn was small, but cunningly wrought all of silver and a baldric of green, with engravings of swift horsemen and runes if virtue. This heirloom of the house of Eorl was made by the dwarves is said to have been a part of Scatha’s hoard in the far north.
After the War of Wrath and the fall of Morgoth in the First Age, many dragons survived and lay hid in the Northern Wastes. It is thought that Scatha was one of these and crawling out of the Withered Heath, descended upon one of the dwarven realms and took their treasure as his own. The barren lands of the north had once been known as Dor Daedeloth, but they were destroyed in the breaking of Arda.
In the Second and Third Ages, the Seven Rings helped the Dwarves increase their vast treasure troves, which unfortunately drew the mightiest of dragons to come down from the wastes and plunder their wealth. Over the years, many of the treasure hoards of the Dwarves were stolen by the worms of the north and certain of the Seven Rings were devoured by dragon fire. This would eventually lead to the War of the Dwarves and Dragons, which was bitterly fought in the years 2570 to around 2589 of the Third Age.
Many centuries before the beginning of this War, Scatha plundered one of the Dwarven treasure hoards and coveted it for many years. Scatha was eventually slain by Fram, a man of the Éothéod, who kept the treasure for himself and refused to yield a penny of it to the Dwarves. It was perhaps this event that solidified the Dwarven mistrust of other peoples and inflamed their anger at the Dragons of the north.
Some believe that Scatha might well have been a female dragon, who was not only strong in might, but was of a high intelligence greater even then most dragons. There has been rumor, that Sauron came out of the East at this time and conversed with the dragon, perhaps trying to bring her into his service. It has been suggested, that Scatha and Sauron spoke to each other in the Black Speech and so the dark tongue of Mordor became know to many dragons of the Third Age. Of course there is nothing of this written in the Red Book of the Westmarch, and likely these are only dark rumors upon the wind… we will never know for sure.
In the Red Book of Westmarch, after the War of the Rings came to an end, as Meriadoc Brandybuck said farewell to King Éomer and the lady Éowyn.
At the last before the guests set out Éomer and Éowyn came to Merry, and they said ‘Farwell now, Meriadoc of the Shire and Holdwine of the Mark! Ride to good fortune, and ride back soon to our welcome!’
And Éomer said: ‘Kings of old would have laden you with gifts that a wain could not bear for your deeds upon the fields of Mundburg; and yet you will take naught, you say, but the arms that were given to you. Thus I suffer, for indeed I have no gift that is worthy; but my sister begs you to receive this small thing, as a memorial of Dernhelm and the horns of the Mark at the coming of the morning.’
Then Éowyn gave to Merry an ancient horn, small but cunningly wrought all of fair silver with a baldric of green; and wrights had engraven upon it swift horseman riding in a line that wound about it from the tip to the mouth; and there were set runes of great virtue.
‘This is an heirloom of our house, it was made by the dwarves and came from the hoard of Scatha the Worm. Eorl the Young brought it from the North. He that blows it at need, shall set fear in the hearts of his enemies and joy in the hearts of his friends, and they shall hear him and come to his aid.’
Then Merry took the horn, for it could not be refused, and he kissed Éowyn’s hand; and they embraced him, and so they parted for that time.
From The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King in the chapter ‘Many Partings’