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Sunday, 16 November2003

(Letter 076)

Oh Wise Ones,

I am feeling very bitter because I seem to have a magic problem in my house. Every so often I clean it up nicely and make it very tidy.- But two days later it will again look as if some evil wight had rummaged around everywhere or a stray whirlwind had blown through it. Please, Wise Ones, can you say what assails me and tell me what to do?

Eranwen from Rhovanion
Now, Now Eranwen
Houses must have cleaning
Send old wight away
With a fractious greeting

Winter rain washes floors
Whirlwinds for the dusting
River for the laundering
Or your clothes are crusting

This is the secret way
Of the River Daughter
Hear old Tom today
Messes you can slaughter

Tom Bombadil

(Letter 077)

Dear Whoever,

I'm becoming enamoured with Morgoth and Balrogs, I often dream that I'm in the prescence of a tall, hooded, cloaked figure with an iron crown, himself draped in shadow. Is this necessarily a bad omen? Why do I fantasize about killing blondes with pointy ears (or even anyone with pointy ears)? I'm sick and tired of being "nice" to people: it gets me nowhere. Just a year ago my school burnt down, and I couldn't help being delighted. Is there something wrong?


Dear Bluetouchpaper,

It sounds to me as though you would benefit from a rewarding career with Utumno Commercial Incorporated. We are always on the look-out for committed, vicious and evil staff (preferably non-smokers) to run our extensive information gathering operation.

Should you accept a position with us, you can expect your own fiery whip, regular holidays and a competitive bonus system. After the first three years, employees are entitled to their own Troll-guard and first choice of prisoners to torment. As a Balrog of Morgoth, you can expect to terrorise Dwarves, command vast armies of Orcs and to die nobly in the service of our great and all-powerful lord Melkor.*

If you think that this is the sort of opportunity that might interest you, please write to the following address for an application form.

Gothmog, lord of balrogs
Recruitment department
Hither Lands

We look forward to hearing from a committed fellow evil-doer.

Yours sincerely

Gothmog (PA to MD)

* Only Maiar may become Balrogs. Non-maiarin applicants will be fried alive. Actual package may be neither competitive nor attractive. All hail the mighty Lord Melkor!

(Letter 078)

To whoever may read this... my divinity is in dire straits!

I think I have a problem, I just can't stop myself from wrecking ships. I sit down there in the depths, and when i see one pass above me I just cannot hold myself back. I have to make the waters seeth and the wind spray, I just HAVE to throw that ship into the air! Wreaking havoc upon the shore...

I feel so guilty every time I do it, but I just cant hold back! Am I a terrible Maia? Is there a ship-wreckers anonymous program I can enroll in? Please help me... I am beggining to think I am an addict! Perplexed and ashamed,

Most dear Troubled Maia,

Indeed, there was a time when Melkor had bound you to his will and you forgot the ways of Ulmo. Yet bear in mind in your troubled times the words of one who stood steadfast by you and remember her twelve steps, for wives rarely limit themselves to so few steps.

Repeat to yourself Uinen's plea to you in days past: "For the love of the Teleri and the Falathrim, quell the torrent even though the world be bent."

Remember also that the flowing of all waters seeks its own rhythm and movement since the world was bent and the winds rounded. Each time has its own purpose and being. Ride with the waters rather than against them. Listen to the music of the current and catch its drift, and you will avoid the wild washing days.

Blame neither Melkor nor Sauron nor anyone else. In you abide the responsibility and the strength. Repeat after me incessantly these words:

Around about me sweeps the cold,
with watery arms and stunning gale;
But through the wind I sing my song,
calling to shore and sea.
I seek a truth more noble here
Than greed or selfish passage.
A shadow spreads across the land,
which all of good would halt.
I fain would stop my roaring swells
and guide others from the deep.

If this works not, take two aspirins and call Tom in the morning. He is Master and some think Valar also.

With ye through no swindle,


(Letter 079)

Why is it that Aragorn so rarely answers these questions? Is he too busy ruling a kingdom and all?

Michele O.
You have the right of it, Lady: the duties of the King are many and varied, and at times I could wish myself once more plain Strider. However, this is not to be. In these days of the Reunited Kingdom there is much to set in order, and even Queen Undómiel must see me when she can. You are fortunate: your letter reached our halls as I returned from journeying, and being brief it may be answered likewise. I like not to be kept long from the Queen on my return.

Aragorn Elessar

See Questions from other weeks.

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*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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