Tales from the Perilous realm
History of the book:
Now there is little known about the writing of the short stories of this collected work. Throughout his career, Tolkien wrote a number of short stories that never saw a publishers desk until his death.
Though we do know that Leaf by Niggle was released around the same time as Tree & Leaf (The professors essay on faerie story's).
I started reading this book around the same time as I started packing up my house (again) for the 3rd move of the year. I am glad to say we've upgraded to a nice townhouse. It's a very British thing town homes. lol
Farmer Giles of Ham- was originally written in Latin and translated in English for us un-Latin like folk.
It's a cute tale of a Farmer (bit of an alcoholic if you ask me) who is accidentally mistaken for a town hero. His legend makes its way to a king, who sends him a sword (unknown to him, its a dragon slayer) and he is put forward as protector of the people against a man eating dragon. The dragon pleads for his life and offers a large amount of treasure to repay the people of the land for eating their family's and Giles and his dog are rewarded as well. There are moments where the king gets insulted and tries to get Giles hung because he wont answer to him. But The dragon and Giles become friends in the end and he spares its life.
Leaf by Niggle- So as far as I can tell its a allegorical story about purgatory. Niggle is a painter who dies ( But doesn't know it) and is sent to purgatory until he reaches Level 2. In level 2 he meets his old neighbor and sets out to recreate his last painting in real form. This was a strange story but good all the same. Its great to read something from Tolkien that didn't quite reflect his Middle Earth writings.
The Adventure of Tom Bombadil- More set into a rhythmical poetry style. Tom Bombadil's adventures a quite ordinary. The one that strikes closes to mind is the Bombadil Goes Boating where he goes off to see old farmer Maggot and hos family. The kind of quiet day in the Shire view.
Smith of Wootton Major - a strange tale about a cook who takes on an apprentice, who turns out to be a faerie king, and awards a special child a star (placed in a piece of cake) and the child grows up to be a man who becomes the town smithy. He is allowed to travel to faerie land because of the star. Eventually he must give up his star so another child can have it.