Monday, August 3, 2009

Tolkien's Other Tales

Everyone is familiar with The Hobbit and the Ring trilogy (either from reading the books or watching the movies), but not as familiar with Tolkien's other works, particularly, Smith of Wootton Major and Farmer Giles of Ham. I had never seen those two short tales of fantasy before the other day at Barnes and Noble. I purchased the book and was not at all displeased. (Of course, how could one be displeased with anything from Tolkien?)

"Smith of Wootton Major" tells the tale of a child who swallows a fay star at the town's great feast and of his adult travels in the world of fairies. It's a delightful tale invoking the importance of fantasy not only in the life of a child, but adults as well, as can be seen in the pitiful character of Nokes.

"Farmer Giles of Ham" gives us the heroic tale of an unassuming farmer whose success defies all expectation. Through a series of unlikely events, the farmer, with luck and adept cunning, becomes the toast of the town of Giles and a very wealthy man.

Imagination is an important aspect of all our lives. Without it, our minds become stale and fetid.

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