Thursday, January 26, 2006

A Tolkein Faery Tale

Tonight I had the chance to meet with 2 of my dear friends and have a ladies' night. We try to meet every couple of weeks so as not to be too much of a burden for our dear husbands. Each time we meet, to make it official, we choose something to read and discuss. Last time it was Frost's poetry, the time before was Chesterton's "Blue Cross"....well, you get the idea.

This week we read a fable by JRR Tolkein, a true faery story, called Smith of Wootton Major. Definitely worth a read if you've never read it. It's a fascinating fable about imagination, gifts given and shared, and the land of faery. Please note the "ae" in faery. This is not the pink, fluffy cottony world of fairy tales. This is the land of faery where things can be menacing as well wonderful; scary and wonderful all at the same time.

By Tolkein's reckoning, fairy tales and fairy land are for the superficial -- the icing on the cake eaters. Faery land and tales of faery are for those with a bit of the fey in their soul, for the chosen few who get to walk and experience faery.

We had a delightful time sharing this book together. The phrasing and descriptive pasages are sheer poetry while the overall story (only 59 pages) is one for re-reading often.
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On a separate note -- I just started reading another Tolkein book to the littles. Roverandom was published posthumously. It's basically a story about a real dog who is turned into a toy dog by a wizard, then lost and found by another wizard who helps the dog become real again. It is pure delight for the children .... and mom!

Someone mentioned that his short story, "Leaf by Niggle" is a particularly good story to read. I will check that out next (it's in his "Leaf and Tree" book) as well as his book, Mr. Bliss.

I'm on a Tolkein rabbit trail -- I'll keep you posted about the trip.....

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