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Sunday, 26 October 2003

(Letter 060)

To the Hobbit/Elf/Man/Dwarf/Ent/Orc who may read this:

I am very confused as what to do with the rest of my life. I've considered teaching or becoming a historian. Now, however, I'm wondering if I wouldn't be happier as a park ranger. What is your opinion on these professions, and what would you recommend? Thanks so much for your wisdom!

Rowan Boffin
Dear young ambitious person,

My opinion of the profession of Rangers is, of course, quite high. It is a very noble and worthy calling to which few, if the truth be told, are properly suited. Without Rangers, who would ward off evil in the north and the west? Who would appear at the right moment to lend strength to the army of the King? Who would keep the Hill-men in check long years after the war against them had ended? True enough, one has to deal with the most appalling sorts of people-not only orcs and so forth, but stupid, unappreciative townsfolk who continually insist that you have burrs in your hair, but surely the sense that one is making a difference in the world is sufficient compensation, isn't it? Isn't it? Burrs in my hair, indeed. If you think I have time to spend slaving over my appearance, you know nothing of my profession!

Indeed, most do know nothing of my profession, and, with all due respect, I question whether you are not one of them. Do you truly have the skill in fighting, hunting, tracking, healing, disguising your identity, sleeping in the wild, running, reciting poetry and speaking foreign tongues to become one of us? More importantly, do you have the correct lineage? I would assume that you do, or you would not trouble us with such a request, but I have never heard a name like "Rowan Boffin" among the Men of Westernesse. Furthermore, we have little interest in the wishy-washy, or those who would join our ranks because they desire to be "happy."

Recording history is simpler, and it is noble as well, but it too is best left to those who have some idea what they are about. Perhaps the teaching of children is the answer you seek. After all, that is a task that may be accomplished by the inhabitants even of the most ignorant villages, even those where they complain of burrs in my hair. Surely you will find this route the easiest for all parties involved, except perhaps the children.

Halbarad Dúnadan, Ranger of the North

(Letter 061)

Dear Grave Matters,

My Parents are always complaining that we don't clean up after ourselves. and Yet they never do! they leave their plates at the table and say "clear the table now" then they go off and walk off them selves. What should i do?

Thank You,

Semegol, you ruddy creep,

Cleanin' dirty plates is for dirty snagas like you, not for might Uruks like me and your parents! You obviously haven't been informed of your very low position on the food chain, slimy squeaker, so I recommend you shut your trap and don't concern yourselves about how your betters act or where they wander off to. A trip to the Flayer would probably be right for you from the sound of your complainin', so the way I see it your parents are doin' you a favor by not giving you the punishment you deserve, whining wretch!

Gutbag the Grim, Custodial Technician, Tower of Cirith Ungol

(Letter 062)

Dear nice person who reads these,

I have been plagued by a question for quite some time. This is really a very challenging problem that even the wisest people I know have not been able to answer. I often lie awake at night wondering about this, and it's beginning to interfere with my life. The question is this: Is ketchup a vegetable?

Many thanks,

Young Miss

If you wanted to know about vegetables, there ain't no better place you could have come to. I spent the last fifty years working in old Mister Bilbo's garden at Bag End with my own hands. While taters are my favorite vegetable, and if I might say so myself, my specialty, I do know a darn sight more about vegetables than many a young hobbit you'll meet round these parts.

And now for your question. This ketchup must be an outlandish plant indeed, for I've never heard tell of it. May be a vegetable or not, I don't know; but if I were you, I'd be stickin' with what I knew, good old taters an' carrots an' peas an' the like. They'll put hair on your toes, that they will, lass.


Hamfast Gamgee

(Letter 063)

Dear Grave Matters,

Halloween is in only a few weeks, and I have no idea what to wear. i could be a Queen, like last year,or I could be a vampire. i have costumes for both.

Ahh, yes, I remember the days of dressing up. I, too, used to think about being a Queen. In fact, it was highly encouraged. It didn't take much dressing up, but there is far more to governing a hidden kingdom than looking the part, as my mother used to say. As for dressing up as a vampire, I've done that one too. All I can advise is that you get some help with your costume. Nothing like an enchanted hound to help you with the acquiring of a suitable vampire skin.

Best of luck-

Luthien Tinuviel

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