Tolfdir the Absent-Minded is a quest available in The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim. This quest can be done multiple times after the quest "Hitting the Books." If Tolfdir appears to be looking for something, ask what it is he is missing.


Upon returning from the quest to recover the books from Fellglow Keep ("Hitting the Books"), Tolfdir may ask the Dragonborn to recover his misplaced alembic. The alembic will appear in one of three randomly-selected locations in the Hall of Countenance:

  • On the top floor: in the northern room, atop a barrel to the right of the central table.
  • On the top floor: underneath the left display case in the enchanting room.
  • On the bottom floor: on a crate in the eastern room.

Pictures with possible locationsEdit

Journal Edit

Tolfdir the Absent-Minded – MGR01
IDJournal Entry
10Quest start
  • Quest complete


This section contains bugs related to Tolfdir the Absent-Minded. Before adding a bug to this list, consider the following:

  1. Please reload an old save to confirm if the bug is still happening.
  2. If the bug is still occurring, please post the bug report with the appropriate system template  360  / XB1  ,  PS3  / PS4  ,  PC  / MAC  ,  NX  , depending on which platform(s) the bug has been encountered on.
  3. Be descriptive when listing the bug and fixes, but avoid having conversations in the description and/or using first-person anecdotes: such discussions belong on the appropriate forum board.
Click to see the list of bugs encountered
  •  PC   360   PS3   The quest does not seem to appear on the quest log, nor does it generate a normal quest message upon completion. However, bringing the alembic to Tolfdir will grant you the reward (some gold and a soul gem).
  •  PC   Even when the quest has been started, the Alembic may not appear anywhere in the College of Winterhold.
    •  PC(Fix)   A possible fix for this bug is adding item by console using marked ID 00026C31.
  • It is also possible that the Alembic will stay in your inventory even though you completed the quest and received the reward. It is impossible to remove from your inventory due to the fact that it is a quest item. As a quest item, though, it will not weigh you down.
  • If the Alembic is picked up before asking Tolfdir for the quest, the objective "Find Tolfdir's Alembic" will be stuck in the Misc. Quest menu. To avoid this use the console to drop the Alembic before asking Tolfdir for the quest then pick it up after it appears in your log. This will cause the quest log to update normally. In the console type "player.drop 00026c31 1"
  •  360   The alembic may only spawn on the second floor of the Hall of Countenance under the soul gem cabinet.

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