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Sunday, 25 May 2003

(Letter 008)

Dear Sir or Madam:

I seem to have a problem. I have this strange taste in fashion. I just can't help myself. Whenever I see a flashy/bright shirt at a thrift shop, I cannot help myself and I buy it. And wear it. Is there a problem? Can my taste be remedied? Will I ever stop getting dirty looks from complete strangers? Thank you for your attention on this matter.

My taste in colours has oft been mocked as well, dear Oddwen. Do not let them get you down. If you wish to be Oddwen the Many-Coloured, your goal is laudable. Perhaps a lovely gold ring would offset your clothing choices. I know a certain hobbit who has one. If you fetch it for me, I will be happy to size it just for you.

Saruman the Many-Coloured

(Letter 009)

Dear Someone,

I'm having a hard time. I've been trying to save up for a bow and arrows, but I can't seem to get enough money. On top of that, when I try shooting someone else's bow, the arrow never flies straight. How can I fix these problems?

I cannot help you with the financing, but have you considered the axe, lass? It is a much better weapon than a flimsy bow, and much less likely to break in a battle. There is nothing finer than a hefty blade cleaving through the rusty iron helm of a dirty orc. Blood sprays, your enemy is suddenly silenced, and you stand directly before him looking into his eyes as he crumples to the floor. Plus, your axe is good for chopping firewood. Trust me. A real warrior does not use a bow.

Gimli - Winner of the Helms Deep Orc Killing Contest of T.A. 3019

(Letter 010)

Dear Grave Matters,

I have a tendency to spend all of my time in school reading because school is dull, repetitive, and I know everything. Some people seem to have a problem with this. What should I do?

In all my life I never had any use for book learning. I hardly think I've found a single thing that I learned in some fancy school that I couldn't have learned better doing some hard work! And for the matter, I have hardly found a single thing that I learned digging up taters that I could of learned in some fancy school! Were you asking me (and maybe you were, but that ain't no matter), I would say that you ought to stop going, and start doing something productive with the rest of your life.

The Gaffer

(Letter 011)

I have this one petunia that I'm trying to grow in a pot in my backyard. The problem is, it just will not grow! I've tried everything, talking to it, singing to it, even dancing around in like a native! What else can I do to get it to grow?

Answer by various inhabitants of Valinor:

Manw: As luck would have it, you were just in time to catch Ainurs' Question Time, this week coming from Taniquetil. We've all experienced problems like this, so can anyone help?

Nienna : Have you tried watering it with your own tears? This may sound a bit outlandish, but it did has given us limited success with very sickly or badly damaged plants. Failing that, fresh peat and sunshine usually work wonders.

Yavanna: That's right, but be warned that watering with tears isn't always the best technique. It takes about a quart to be certain of renewed growth, which is a lot of crying even for She Who Weeps; and often all you'll get for your effort is one huge fruit that can't be lifted save by the mighty among the Valar, which will make even the sparsest window box look overcrowded. Singing helps a lot, or failing that you could try some light classical music (my own pot-plants like Vivaldi). The surest way, though, is a good, rich compost, daily watering (tap water will do if you can't get pure liquid light), fresh air and plenty of sun.

Aul: Yes, you can't beat a good bit of compost, but be careful when lifting huge pieces of fruit: they tend to break open easily and you could be left with a bit of a mess on your hands. If that happens you could try building something out of it: perhaps a ship.

See Questions from other weeks.

What is Grave Matters
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questions answered?

*DISCLAIMER: Middle-earth characters are fictional, as are the answers they might give in Grave Matters. The Barrow-Downs is not responsible for anything that happens as a result of following the suggestions found here.

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