Friday, May 8, 2009

Tales from the Perilous Realm

Tales From The Perilous Realm is a collection of four short stories by Tolkien. I picked this book up because it was the only other book by J.R.R Tolkien available from the school library.

My favourite short story from this book is called "Farmer Giles of Ham", which is about a simple farmer who became a village hero after shooting a deaf, stupid giant which trampled his favourite cow. Somewhere in the middle of the story he eventually finds himself on a quest to slay a particularly evil Dragon called Chrysophylax who is terrorizing the kingdom and gain all his riches. The king finds out about this and wants a share of the treasure, and sends some knights to accompany him. In the end, all the knights run away at the sight of the Dragon but Giles stays put. He has a sword that Chrysophylax is afraid of, because it is magical and was made specially for killing dragons. Giles manages to injure Chrysophylax's wing, making him unable to fly. In the end Chrysophylax bargains with Giles; saying that he will give him a large amount of his treasure, carry it to his home and stay with him to protect it. Giles agrees, because he knows if he does not accept, the king will take all the treasure away from him and he will be left with nothing.

Giles enjoys his treasure with his wife and children, and gives a fair amount to his friends and those who helped him organize the treasure and guard Chrysophylax. When Giles is of old age, he finally releases his dragon, who flies home to find a younger dragon taking possession of his hoard, and kills him immediately to repossess his riches.

Another one of the short stories, called "Adventures of Tom Bombadil" is a series of short rhymes.One of the rhymes that appealed to me was called "Perry the Winkle", which is about a lonely troll who has trouble making friends because everyone is afraid of him. He goes to town and finds everyone running away. As he sits down, a little boy approaches him and befriends him. Every Thursday, the boy would go to the Troll's house to have dinner, because he does not have much to eat. Here is a small quote from the rhyme:

"Now Perry-the-Winkle grew so fat
through eating of cramsome bread,
his weskit bust, and never a hat
would sit upon his head;
for Every Thursday he went to tea,
and sat on the kitchen floor,
and smaller the old Troll seemed to be,
as he grew more and more."

In the end of the rhyme, Perry-the-Winkle becomes an enormously fat and famous baker who learned the arts of the Troll's cooking, but still comes to visit him every Thursday to dine together. There are two more short stories in the book, but they are not as enjoyable, and a bit weird too (but somewhat entertaining and very original).

I did not enjoy this book as much as The Hobbit, because they are short stories, and like all short stories, they don't have a lot of depth. I would recommend this to anyone who is interested in these type of books that are a bit humorous and contain some of old English.

By Tuahaa

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