Friday, September 23, 2016

Tolkien Week Day Six

The quote for day six of Tolkien Week comes the story "Smith of Wootton Major" (in this case from pp. 257-258 of the collection Tales from the Perilous Realm).

"In Faery at first he walked for the most part quietly among the lesser Folk and gentler creatures in the woods and meads of fair valleys and by the bright waters in which at night strange stars shone and at dawn the gleaming peaks of far mountains were mirrored. Some of his briefer visits he spent looking only at one tree or one flower; but later in longer journeys he had seen things of both beauty and terror that he could not clearly remember nor report to his friends, though he knew that they dwelt deep in his heart. But some things he did not forget, and they remained in his mind as wonders and mysteries that he often recalled."

Tolkien wrote "Smith of Wootton Major" in 1965 and 1966 and it was published in 1967, about six years before his death. In many ways it is a bookend to "Leaf by Niggle" as a fictional exploration of Tolkien's imaginative life, but where Niggle focuses on the frustration and futility of work here redeemed by its consummation in Heaven, Smith focuses on the goodness and wonder of the imagination, and the entering into another world in this life, and on its inevitable fading and receding before time and a new generation. Smith is a deep, sad, and joyful tale and is probably my favorite of Tolkien's non-Middle Earth works.

Today's musical selection is "As I Walked Tiredly Toward the West"  from The Middle Earth Album by Glass Hammer.

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