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Sunday, 14 September 2003

(Letter 050)
Two characters turned in replies to this letter.

Dear whoever:

I'm a hobbit around the height of 2'5". Every hobbit in Harbuckle calls me Scamp and Wee-willy. I feel so short. I recently inherited a dagger from my uncle, Odo. Do u think I should teach those boys a lesson? Or should I turn the blade on myself?

With much doubt,

William Billingsworth

Odo Billingsworth? I've never heard of any such hobbit. In fact, I've never met a Billingsworth in my life. Are you sure you're from Harbuckle? In fact, are you sure that you're a hobbit at all? People are always trying to put one over on me, figure a miller will believe anything, but I'm far too clever. I don't believe anything anyone says. Looming evil, my foot. Good for business, that's what I say. I'm not so attached to my old mill as I'd give up the chance to make some money any more than I'm such a fool as I'd believe in walking trees. Of course all those who lack sense hate everyone that has any, but that's not my fault. Next thing they'll be blaming the crops on me. Self-centered ne'er-do-wells. Can't stand 'em, myself.

Ted Sandyman

Hrum, Hoom. Hmmmrrrm. Very odd indeed that you would want to trim yourself, Shortstalk. Why would you want to be so hasty? In my country we abhor this clear cutting and timber felling and tree pruning. Why, if we did, we would be cutting down all this growth that took a very long time agrowing. You know, these long limbs and sturdy trunks, the branches spreading out wide and luxurious. Why, room ralla lind rum kamummb, where would you find the quiet serenity of the forest, the cloistered stillness of the rooks and crannies, the whistling rush of the language of leaves? No, you are too hasty in my judgment. Get gone with ye if ye want to tangle yourself with these nasty lumberjacks. Give trees a chance.


(Letter 051)

Dear Grave:

I have a friend who's a year younger than me. She gets really annoying and is very self-centered. She only talks about herself and her problems and doesn't want to hear about what's going on with other people. The whole thing was bearable while she was in middle school and the rest of my friends and I were in high school, but now she's coming up to the high school with us. She has a very big ego, and when people make her mad she likes to use revenge to get back. How can I tell break of the friendship or at least tell her how much she bothers my friends and I without hurting her feelings or getting her mad? Please! I need your help!

Distraught Friend


Bob's younger than me, you know, but though our names might rhyme, we're not related, at least not closely, or so I'm told. If I understand it correctly, Nob's grandmother's sister's son was married to my father's great uncle, so it seems we're not related at all - unless those two were kin and our records just don't show it. And that's the true tragedy of it all. You see, my grand-aunt Petty, that's short for Petunia, of course, was in charge of all of our family tree making, and she and all of her books were burnt up when the Ned Thistle set fire to the pipeweed barn and half of Bree Hill back twenty years or so ago. 'Twere a terrible loss to us all, but fortunately the Shire had a great crop of leaf that next Summer and stocks were soon replenished.

Hoping this helps,


(Letter 052)

Dear whoever will read this letter,

I am bored out of my skull. I have found myself staring at the curling wall paper, laughing at my own thoughts of shaving my border collie like a poodle, and talking to myself in different accents.

Please give this desperate Kuduk some advice on how to deal with the worst possible torture thought up by the powers of evil...Boredom,

Thank you for your reply,
Fondest regards,

Kuduk the bored.

Dear Kuduk,

Boredom is indeed a dreadful thing. Many were the times when Hithlum would seem tame and somewhat dull, but that was before that little fracas at the Nirnaeth Arnoediad. In those days I too believed that boredom was the worst torture that a man could face; but since then I've been given an opportunity to sample rather more varieties of torment than I care to remember, and I can assure you that boredom is the least of them.

For example: Gothmog, charming fellow that he was, had a distinct preference for red-hot pincers applied to one's more delicate regions. Another Balrog (I forget his name, but he went on to greater things, I believe) used to like to cut off narrow strips of flesh from the legs of his victims and rub a mixture of salt and vinegar into the raw flesh that he had exposed. That hurt a lot, but I was strong. A third liked to read aloud from a book of sonnets that he'd composed, which came close to breaking me, but still it was fairly amateurish, requiring only the exercise of willpower to resist. Morgoth himself had to show them how it was done with the unique entertainment that he laid on for me. There's something about watching one's children slowly destroyed whilst remaining powerless to help that makes boredom seem infinitely preferable.

That's not to say that there weren't some boring parts. The times when Morwen, Níenor and Túrin were asleep were a veritable purgatory of tedium. At other times none of them would be doing anything interesting: Morwen would be looking at accounts, Níenor would be playing some game and elsewhere Túrin would be reading one of those sagas (not that I approve. A young man shouldn't waste his life on sagas when there's work to be done, but I digress). Anyway, those were moments of blissful respite, during which I could feel like a father again. It used to take my mind off of my piles to watch them (you try sitting in a stone chair for decades without doing yourself an injury). Treasure your boredom, young Kuduk. Savour it and enjoy it, because you never know when something really nasty will befall you.

Húrin Thalion

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