The definitive collection of J.R.R.Tolkien's four acclaimed modern classic fairy tales, each reflecting an aspect of what Tolkien himself called "The Perilous Realm of Faerie." The fat and unheroic Farmer Giles of Ham is called upon to do battle with the dragon Chrysophylax; Niggle the painter sets out to paint the perfect tree in Leaf by Niggle; hobbits, princesses, dwarves and trolls partake in The Adventures of Tom Bombadil; and Smith of Wootton Major journeys to the Land of Faery via the magical ingredients of a giant cake.
Farmer Giles of Ham is
The Adventures of Tom Bombadil is not a story, but rather a collection of poetry. The conception is that they represent poetry and rhymes written by Hobbits in The Shire, so they are intimately linked to Tolkien's Middle-earth but do not necessarily deal with scenes from the Legendarium. The quality is uneven, but that is deliberately so as they are intended range from more deliberately crafted works to pieces of folk-rhyme
Easily the best, in my view, is the title poem, but Errantry is excellent, too, and all the poems have something to recommend them.
Leaf by Niggle is an unusual choice for inclusion, as I don't really consider that Faerie enters into it at all. For me, this was the most surprising story in the collection as it is utterly unlike anything else I've read by Tolkien. It has a dystopian and Kafkaesque opening and is set in an industrialised society, not at all a legendary, Dark Age or Medieval locale. It later moves onto more metaphysical, even theological, ground. Despite Tolkien's avowed dislike of allegory, that's what this story seems to be. I really liked it. If Tolkien had not been consumed by his Middle-earth conception, could stories of this nature have been what he was known for?
Smith of Wootton Major is the most faerie-tale-like of the four branches. Smith's journeys into Faerie are haunting and the sense of lurking mortal peril is the most pronounced in this story. It put me somewhat in mind of the works of Lord Dunsany and George MacDonald.
The thing I missed from this particular edition of the stories was the illustrations of Pauline Baynes, which I had constantly in mind as I was reading.
* Farmer Giles of Ham
* Smith of Wootton Major
* Leaf by Niggle
* The Adventures of
All the stories are fantasy, but only the Tom Bombadil story has any noticeable relationship to Middle Earth as we recognize it. A
Farmer Giles of Ham is an interesting twist on the dragon hunter story. Farmer Giles is a reluctant dragon hunter, having shot (but not even injured) a giant while using a blunderbus, he is pulled into the role of dragon hunter due to some twists on rumors of his giant encounter, and not being able to admit his own fears. He and his talking dog face danger and adventure in this story that is amusing and enjoyable.
Smith of Wootton Major tells the story of a young boy who eats a silver star that was enchanted by fairies. This story seemed long and a bit pointless to me.
Leaf by Niggle is a story of an artist in a world that doesn’t value art. It has its own twist, but isn’t entirely unique nor very involving.
The Adventures of Tom Bombadil is the highlight of the collection. I think it was expanded from the Lord of the Rings, or perhaps I don’t remember the original stories very well. The actor reading the part of Tom Bombadil did a very good job, his voice has energy and a lightness that really portrayed the character as I imagined him. This story alone is worth getting the collection.
Overall, I would suggest people skip the middle stories. The first one is worth hearing, but the Adventures of Tom Bombadil is worth acquiring the collection. I rate the collection well because of this story. Go listen to it!
The poems in the Stories of Tom Bombadil tickled my fancy, though I would like there to be a longer history of him
Overall, it was a fun bit of fancy, but not my favorite.
The translated poetry was not my cup of tea though, couldn't get into it at all (reason why I took so long to have the heart to finish this book).
But I'll probably read the short stories again in the near future - at least, I feel really inclined