29 May 2008

30th May:
The Stone Trolls

Troll sat alone on his seat of stone,
And munched and mumbled a bare old bone;
For many a year he had gnawed it near,
For meat was hard to come by.
Done by! Gum by!
In a cave in the hills he dwelt alone,
And meat was hard to come by.

Up came Tom with his big boots on.
Said he to Troll: 'Pray, what is yon?
For it looks like the shin o' my nuncle Tim.
As should be a-lyin' in the graveyard.
Caveyard! Paveyard!
This many a year has Tim been gone,
And I thought he were lyin' in the graveyard.

'For a couple o' pins,' says Troll, and grins,
'I'll eat thee too, and gnaw thy shins.
A bit o' fresh meat will go down sweet!
I'll try my teeth on thee now.
Hee now! See now!
I'm tired o' gnawing old bones and skins;
I've a mind to dine on thee now.'

But just as he thought his dinner was caught,
He found his hands had hold of naught.
Before he could mind, Tom slipped behind
And gave him the boot to larn him.
Warn him! Darn him!
A bump o' the boot on the seat, Tom thought,
Would be the way to larn him.

© Alan Lee
But harder than stone is the flesh and bone
Of a troll that sits in the hills alone.
As well set your boot to the mountain's root,
For the seat of a troll don't feel it.
Peel it! Heal it!
Old Troll laughed, when he heard Tom groan,
And he knew his toes could feel it.

One of my favorite Tolkien poems when I was a kid (you can read the whole thing here). I don't think I've ever heard the song to which this is supposed to be sung: the traditional English folk song "The Fox Went Out", according to The Annotated Hobbit. In my mind, it is a fast-paced, thumping tune (somewhat similar to - although faster than - the pub song Merry and Pippin sing in Peter Jackson's Fellowship of the Ring - you know, "There's a mug of beer inside this Took!")

Anyway, how nice that the trolls turn to stone on the first day of summer!

(My apologies to other Hobbit purists for quoting from LOTR. It was appropriate, I think.)

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