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December 23, 2002

A Houseful of Lords
Posted by Teresa at 02:04 PM *

The Straight Dope Message Board has had an outbreak of sheer brilliance. The thread started when someone idly asked how Lord of the Rings would have turned out if it had been written by Ernest Hemingway:

It was very late and everyone had left the hall except an old man who sat in the shadows the leaves of the old Mallorn made against the moonlight. The two elves inside the hall knew that the old man was a little drunk, and while he usually was quiet and kept to himself they knew that if he became too drunk he would start setting things on fire, so they kept watch on him.

“He’s drunk,” one elf said.

“What do you care?”

“He’s muttering about the secret fire.”

“Leave him alone. He used to carry a ring.”

“He’ll stay all night. He should never have been rebodied.”

From there they took off running, seven pages’ worth at last count; and some of them are beauts. For instance:
NOTICE:

Persons attempting to resolve the question of Balrog wings by means of this narrative will be prosecuted; persons attempting to define the nature of Tom Bombadil will be banished; persons attempting to find allegory in it will be shot.

BY ORDER OF THE AUTHOR,
Per G.G., Chief of Ordnance.

FOREWORD:

In this book a number of dialects are used, to wit: the Quenya Elvish dialect; the extremest form of the Rhovanion dialect; the ordinary Sindarin dialect; and four modified varieties of this last. The shadings have not been done in a haphazard fashion, or by guesswork; but painstakingly, and with the trustworthy guidance and support of personal familiarity with these several forms of speech.

I make this explanation for the reason that without it many readers would suppose that all these characters were trying to talk alike and not succeeding.

THE AUTHOR.

and:
“QX, Sam!” Cried Frodo. “That zwilnik Gollum had just enough jets to cut me free from that blasted ring!”

Meanwhile Sam’s steely gaze followed the form of Gollum into the cracks of doom. The kinetic energy of its wretched body’s translation into one with the magma became heat. Heat added to heat. It piled up ragingly, frantically, equilibrating, then turning hotter. Hotter! HOTTER! “By Ulmo’s carballoy bowels, ringman Frodo! We gotta get to clear ether!”

“Udun’s jingling bells, Sam! It’s covered. I phialed a message to Galadriel to alert our boys in Aeries we’d be needing them! They’ll be here in 3.3 minutes, Eriador standard time.”

and:
Of the great War of the Ring, and the tast
Of that Forbidden power, the long and
Arduous trek, thru’ fiery, blasted plains
With faithful Hobbits and treacherous beasts
To Chaos’ edge, and there to cast the One
To endless fire and eternal death:
Sing, Heav’nly Muse…
and:
“The Halflings, cap’n, they will na take the strain”

“Strider, we’ve got to get out of this snow. Legolas, did you get a reading on that creature?”

“Fascinating, Captain. It appears to be an unknown creature that lurks in the pool waiting for passing strangers. Ecologically implausible, captain.”

“Do you know what it is?”

“I believe I said it was unknown, Dr Gimli. Logically, if I knew what it was, then it wouldn’t be unknown.”

“Cap’n, we’re in some sort of temporal warp, stretching and deforming the plot. The snow should take place a day before our encounter with this beastie.”

“Captain, what are we going to do?”

“Boromir, put on that red armour.”

and:
Frodo jacked in.

He felt huge, invincible, unstoppable. Some small part of him knew that was the hits of pipe-weed talking, skewing his sense of self, making his nerves scream like they were being raked over rusted chrome. Knew, and didn’t care.

Over his shoulder he could feel Sam hovering, a hollow nonentity. It was eerie knowing he was back there, like having an itch in a limb long amputated. All around him the middle-matrix arced off into an impossible blue infinity, gridlines benchmarking the empty nonspace.

“There it is,” came Sam’s voice. “That’s the ice. Good luck breakin’ in there, man, that was made by a military AI. Name of ephelduath. You ain’t seen nuthin’ like it. They say it’s two-way ice. Not only will it fry your brainpan tryin’ to get in, nuthin’ inside can work its way out. Leastaways, not without sarumancer’s say-so.”

and:
Sam: Come on, let’s leave this place.
Merry: We can’t.
Sam: Why not?
Merry: We’re waiting for Frodo.
Sam: Ah! (Pause) You’re sure it was here?
Merry: What?
Sam: That we were to wait.
Merry: He said by the tree. (They look at the tree.) Are there any others?
Sam: No, they were all torn down by Saruman. What is it?
Merry: I don’t know. An Ent.
Sam: I don’t see any leaves.
Merry: It must be dead.
and:
Captain “Lucky Jack” Aragorn paced anxiously on the foredeck of the Ungainly. He paused to put the glass to his eye, and surveyed his modest fleet. All indicated from their pennants a readiness to make way: the trim little bark Unlikely, and abaft of her, the xebec Unfathomable, formerly the Lugburz before it was taken from the orcs in the Bay of Belfalas. A nice bit of prize taken that day, he thought enviously. Still, he counted himself fortunate to have cadged this command from the admiralty, given the low regard in which Adm. Celeborn held him.
and:
“If we thought alike of the Dark Lord,” replied Frodo, “your representation of all this might make me quite eary. But I know the foundation is unjust. Sauron is incapable of willfully destroying the world; and all I can hope in this case is that he has been misrepresented.”

“That is right. You could not have started a more happy idea, since you will not take comfort in mine. Believe him to be misreprented, that is is all an error and will soon be able to be hushed up, by all means. You have now done your duty to him, and must fret no longer,” replied Gandalf. “And doing your duty by your friend, will you not throw the ring into Mount Doom and best suit your own happiness? If, upon mature deliberation, you find the misery of disobliging the Dark Lord is more than equivelent to the happiness of saving the world, I advise you by all means to stay home and await the Ring Wraiths.”

“But, my dear Gandalph, how can you talk so?” said Frodo, faintly smiling. “You must know that though I should be exceedingly grieved at his disapprobation, I could not hesitate to throw in the ring.”

“I did not think you would; and that being the case, I cannot consider your situation with much compassion,” said Gandalf.

and:
ELROND: The ring can only be destroyed in the fires of Mount Doom in Mordor.
BOROMIR: We can’t use it ourselves?
GANDALF: No, the power of the ring corrupts all.
BOROMIR: Yes, but I thought maybe we could use it ourselves… you know, to defeat Sauron.
GANDALF: We can’t use the ring ourselves.
BOROMIR: So you’re saying we can’t use it ourselves.
GANDALF: No, we can’t use it ourselves.
BOROMIR: Because it would be really cool if we could use it ourselves.
GANDALF: Boromir….
BOROMIR: I know, we can’t use it ourselves, but if we COULD….
GANDALF: Which we can’t….
BOROMIR: But if we COULD… it would be neat.
GANDALF: But we can’t.
BOROMIR: I’m just saying that I think we should use it ourselves… if you say we can’t, fine.
GANDALF: We can’t.
BOROMIR: Fine.
and:
(Frodo)
Is this the real life?
Is this High Fantasy?
Caught in a land war.
No escaping my destiny.

(Sam)
Open your eyes, look up to the sky and see…

(Frodo)
I’m just a Hobbit, I need no sympathy.
These Rings are easy come, easy go, Little high, little low.
Anywhere these Rings go doesn’t really matter to me, to me…

and:
Stately, plump Sam Gamgee descended from the rock lookout over Mordor to eat a morsel of stewrabbit and Guinness whilst the Gollumsmeagolstinker twisted and wept and said twelve Hail Marys. “Jaysus, Mary and Saint Christopher,” intoned Frodo from-the-end-of-a-bag, “and will you look at the size of my ringsteel, ringstone, steelstone but it’s dragging my conscience down into the seventh circle like old Dante and the bejaysus sinners, shitting and pissing into old Sam’s pots and pans. And, yes, I remember Gandalf and I said would he take the bloody thing away, and he said he’d be dammed to Hell before he could, yes and him drinking a cup of tea, yes, and he asked would I, my dear hobbit, would I, yes, in my own little bog-hole in the ground, would I for the love of God, yes, take the fecking thing, all the way, away from the Shire, away from the Guinness, yes, and me looking up at into his eyes, all the way to Mordor, yes, to throw it in the fire, and I said yes, I said yes, I will yes.
and, though the spelling’s far too orthodox:
The foot steps ambled through the trackless and uninhabited barin desert parched beneath the draconian sun over shadowed by a wafted clouds. The boot-imprimatured marks of passage, pressed deep by the encumbrance of their thus-shod wearers, and smothered under the rain washed dust, radianced dully against the smatter-dusted earth. Rays of luminous incandescence pounced headlong from the phlogistic orb coursing upward in the arcade of the heavens on the obliterated foots path wending through this sector of the great desert of the Trombunist Empire.

A compassing sword of coruscated steel rammed sparks from the grim mammoth barbarous warrior’s metal ribbed shield he wielded.

“I’ll conduct you to reunion with your forebears in the Hadean haunts of hell,” whooped the second Orc.

“Not if I see you first,” gritted the man called Stridr, the Crumhornian.

and:
Gandalf: Is all our Fellowship here?
Bottomir: You were best to call them generally, man by man, according Elrond’s orders.
Gandalf: Here is the scroll of every man’s name which is thought fit, through all Middle Earth, to go on our quest to destroy the One Ring in Mordor.
Bottomir: First, Good Gandalf, say what the quest treats on, then read the names of the travelers, and so grow to a point.
Gandalf: Marry, our quest is The Most Lamentable Wanderings and Cruel Quest of Frodomus and Gamgee. Now, answer as I call you. Bottomir of Gondor!
Bottomir: Ready! Name what part I am for and proceed.
Gandalf: You, Bottomir, are set down as yourself, a warrior who goes a little loopy over the one ring and dies most gallant for honor.
Bottomir: That will ask some tears97
Gandalf: Samwise, the gardener?
Sam: Here, Mr. Gandalf.
Gandalf: Sam, you must take Gamgee on you.
Sam: What is Gamgee, a wandering knight?
Gandalf: It is the hobbit that Frodomus must love in a strictly non-homosexual way.
Sam: Nay, faith! Let me not play a hobbit! I just shaved my feet!
Bottomir: Let me be Gamgee too! I’ll take a Rogaine footbath and speak in a monstrous little and strictly non-homosexual voice. “Gamgee Gamgee!” “Ah, Frodomus, my master dear! Thy Gamgee dear and gardener dear!”
Gandalf: No97you must be Bottomir85 And Pippin, the hobbit, you the Moron’s part.
and:
“Choose life. Choose a side. Choose a quest. Choose a fellowship. Choose a fucking big sword. Choose elven cloaks, horses, mallorns, and rings of power…choose DIY and wondering who the fuck you are and why you’ve got to destroy the fucking thing. Choose sitting by a fire listening to mind-numbing, spirit-crushing ballads, stuffing fucking lembas into your mouth. Choose rotting away at the end of it all, pishing your last in a miserable volcano, nothing more than an embarrassment to the selfish, fucked up brats who left home with you. Choose a future. Choose life…But why would I want to do a thing like that?”
and:
Madame Galadriel, famous Elf Queen,
Had a forbidding realm, nevertheless
Is known to be the wisest woman in Middle-Earth,
With a wicked pack of cards. Here, said she,
Is your card, the drowned Wizard,
(Those are the grey robes that were his garb. Look!)
Here is Eowyn, the Lady of the Horses,
The lady of battle.
Here is the man with many colors, and here the Staff,
And here is the one-eyed Sauron, and this card,
Which is blank, is something he searches for in your pack,
Which I am forbidden to see. I do not find
The Uruk-Hai. Fear death by Nazgul.
and:
Any insinuation that Menard dedicated his life to the writing of a contemporary Lord of the Rings is a calumny of his illustrious memory. He did not want to compose another Lord of the Rings - which is easy - but the Lord of the Rings itself. Needless to say, he never contemplated a mechanical transcription of the original; he did not propose to copy it. His admirable intention was to produce a few pages which would coincide-word for word and line for line-with those of J.R.R. Tolkien.
and, best of all, “The Khazad-Dum Bridge Disaster”:
Beautiful Stony Bridge of the Dwarven mines!
Alas! I am very sorry to say
That two lives have been taken away
On the last (Third Age) day of 1879,
Which will be remember’d for a very long time.
This post is fondly dedicated to Scraps DeSelby, because he’ll know them all without peeking.
Comments on A Houseful of Lords:
#1 ::: catie murphy ::: (view all by) ::: December 23, 2002, 04:12 PM:

Y'know, I couldn't get through the trilogy, but if Milton had written it, I might've been in luck. This is amazing!

#2 ::: John Farrell ::: (view all by) ::: December 23, 2002, 04:29 PM:

Wonderful--especially the ones modeled on Midsummer Nights Dream and Waiting for Godot!

#3 ::: spacewaitress ::: (view all by) ::: December 23, 2002, 05:20 PM:

Oh! I only know a few of them. I am not as well-read as I would like to be. Would someone please be so kind as to identify them all? Here are the ones I know:

1. is Hemingway, of course.
2. - ?????
3. - ?????
4. must be Milton
5. Star Trek!
6. Neuromancer?
7. "Waiting for Frodo" - hee hee!
8. Patrick O'Brien?
9. Henry James?
10. - ?????
11. Queen
12. James Joyce
13. - ?????
14. "Midsummer Night's Dream"
15. Trainspotting
16. - ?????
17. Jorge Luis Borges (?)
18. and, regrettably, I have no idea what this one refers to.

Forgive me for putting my ignorance on display; I'm just curious to know what the rest are.

#4 ::: Dan Blum ::: (view all by) ::: December 23, 2002, 05:30 PM:

2. Mark Twain, Huckleberry Finn
3. Doc Smith, Lensman books
10. Tom Stoppard?
13. THE EYE OF ARGON
16. T. S. Eliot, The Wasteland
18. I was thinking Browning, but now I think it's someone else.

A Tom Clancy version was posted elsenet by someone who reads this blog - perhaps he'll favor us with it.

#5 ::: Jordin Kare ::: (view all by) ::: December 23, 2002, 06:34 PM:

>"QX, Sam!" Cried Frodo.

All by itself, that was enough to make me fall over laughing. It was several minutes before I could finish reading.

Gandalf the White, Second Stage Wizard...

J. R. R. E. E. "Doc" "Prof" Tolkien-Smith, anyone?

#6 ::: Tim May ::: (view all by) ::: December 23, 2002, 06:35 PM:

Most amusing. I recognized only the easier ones, I think, with the exception of

18. William McGonagall, The Tay Bridge Disaster

#7 ::: Glenn Hauman ::: (view all by) ::: December 23, 2002, 06:41 PM:

See? This is what you get for not keeping up with the list. Or reading malibulist.com, where we did this six weeks ago.

#8 ::: Glenn Hauman ::: (view all by) ::: December 23, 2002, 07:08 PM:

Oh, all right, here's one more:

http://ringil.cis.ksu.edu/Tolkien/Movie/lotr.mov

Tolkien written by Raymond Chandler, released by Warner Brothers, starring Humphrey Bogart.

#9 ::: Dylan O'Donnell ::: (view all by) ::: December 23, 2002, 07:51 PM:

soc.history.what-if ran this exercise a few years back. (The TMS one still makes me giggle each time I read it.)

#10 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: December 23, 2002, 08:08 PM:

In my cps spr tm, Glenn, and with all that excess energy I've had lately.

I think everyone should go over to the Straight Dope website and read the lot of them -- the letter to Dear Abby, the legal filing, the Conrad and Nietzsche pastiches, and many more besides, not to mention S. Morgenstern's Good Parts Version. ("My name is Aragorn son of Arathorn, Isildur's Heir. You killed my father. Prepare to die.")

In the meantime, you people are being very clever. I should have made it a rule that everybody gets to guess one, and turned it into a Christmas game. I expect some of you will have already guessed them but not said anything. Now's your chance.

Here's where we stand. Errors and guesses are italicized.

1. Hemingway
2. Mark Twain, Huckleberry Finn
3. Doc Smith's "Lensman" books
4. Milton, Paradise Lost
5. Star Trek
6. Spacewaitress has guessed it's Neuromancer.
7. Samuel Beckett's Waiting for Frodo
8. S. has guessed this is Patrick O'Brien. Anyone else?
9. I'm sorry, but #9 is not Henry James,
10. and #10 is not Tom Stoppard.
11. Queen, "Bohemian Rhapsody"
12. James Joyce. Anyone want to say which book?
13. Yes! THE EYE OF ARGON!
14. A Midsummer Night's Dream. John, tell us which scene?
15. Trainspotting, the opening monologue
16. T. S. Eliot, The Wasteland
17. Spacewaitress guesses Jorge Luis Borges. Any takers?
18. And bravo, Tim May, for spotting #18 as William McGonagall's "The Tay Bridge Disaster."

For extra points: The opening line of "The Tay Bridge Disaster" is, of course, "Beautiful railway bridge of the silvery Tay." How many other poems by McGonagall address the Tay Railway Bridge in their opening line? How many are addressed to the Tay? How many merely allude to the Tay?

#11 ::: Nancy C. Hanger ::: (view all by) ::: December 23, 2002, 08:25 PM:

Teresa -- I'll bite at one of your requests, which I know without even thinking:

12 - Ulysses, specifically Molly Bloom's speech. Yes, yes, yes, yes, yes.

#12 ::: Nancy C. Hanger ::: (view all by) ::: December 23, 2002, 08:29 PM:

Oh, and #8 is C .S. Forester -- Hornblower. (I'll stop now, before I get carried away. This is all brilliant fun.)

#13 ::: Nancy C. Hanger ::: (view all by) ::: December 23, 2002, 08:40 PM:

#17 - I contend that Spacewaitress is correct. It's from Borges' piece on Pierre Menard and the Quixote. (I had to thump on my forehead several times to remember this. Okay, now I'll really stop.)

#14 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: December 23, 2002, 08:55 PM:

Very good, Nancy. Yes, #12 is Ulysses, yes I say yes. Even more points for #17, Jorge Luis Borges on Menard on Quixote. I wasn't disagreeing; I just wasn't giving points for guesses.

Alas, #8 is not Forester/Hornblower; there, too, I wasn't giving points for guesses. And since there are really only two authors that can be parodying, #8 is now a gimme for the first person who posts an answer that neither says it's Hornblower nor ends in a question mark. Act fast, and it'll be you.

#15 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: December 23, 2002, 09:08 PM:

Since Dylan O'Donnell has been so kind as to point me to another stash of Tolkien pastiches, here are nos. 19 and 20:

I whistled defiantly as I walked down the streets of Under Mount Doom. Auntie Grima was baking orc bread, and the smell wafted over the streets like a miasma of wonderment. She was a dried-up woman, who cursed every time the pit was mentioned, that death-dealing, life-giving pit. It was precious to us even though it killed us, our precious it was, but we didn't care about it as much as we cared about the grilled human ears we had for tea.
and:
The purposes of this endeavour are threefold.

Firstly, that this ring should be utterly destroyed and banished from the face of the earth, for ever and ever, amen.

Secondly, for the comfort and companionship that the free peoples shall have, the one from the others, in the certain knowledge that all the free peoples are allied in the great struggle against the works of Sauron and all his pomps.

And thirdly, the restoration of the heirs of Numenor to their estates, and the protection of Elvendom in Middle Earth, under the wardship of the Lords of the West, and the divine guidance and blessings of Eru Iluvatar in his timeless halls.
Here's here we stand now:

1. Hemingway
2. Mark Twain, Huckleberry Finn
3. Doc Smith's "Lensman" books
4. Milton, Paradise Lost
5. Star Trek
6. Spacewaitress has guessed it's Neuromancer
7. Samuel Beckett's Waiting for Frodo
8. Patrick O'Brien
9. I'm sorry, but #9 is not Henry James,
10. and #10 is not Tom Stoppard.
11. Queen, "Bohemian Rhapsody"
12. James Joyce, Ulysses
13. Yes! THE EYE OF ARGON!
14. A Midsummer Night's Dream. John, tell us which scene?
15. Trainspotting, the opening monologue
16. T. S. Eliot, The Wasteland
17. Jorge Luis Borges, "Pierre Menard, Author of the Quixote"
18. William McGonagall, "The Tay Bridge Disaster"
19.
20.

#16 ::: James D.Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: December 23, 2002, 09:14 PM:

McGonagall, of course, wrote three poems concerning the railway bridge o'er the silvery Tay. First, addressing the bridge, then the celebrated poem concerning the fall of that self-same bridge, and last his masterpiece, addressed to the new bridge o'er the silvery Tay.

#17 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: December 23, 2002, 09:22 PM:

Correct!

(A cloud of little mylar-foil stars materializes near the ceiling of the Doyle-Macdonald home office and rains down on Jim Macdonald's head, where it gets stuck in his hair, beard, and keyboard, and annoys the cat sitting on top of his monitor.)

#18 ::: John M. Ford ::: (view all by) ::: December 23, 2002, 10:37 PM:

I would join the festivities, but I think I already did, and I need to finish packing.

Oh, well, just a short one for the road.

"It makes you invisible, but this unpleasant fellow can see you better then? I daresay we don't have things like that in Square Toe City."
"It has to do with light refraction," Gandalf explained patiently. "The local wave distortions interfere with close vision, but they set up a resonance that Mr. . . Ron, as you call him, can detect. It's a bit like making a high-pitched whistle, that only a dog can hear."
Miss Pickerell neatly buried her apple core beside the road and cinched up her knapsack. "Then I suppose we'd better be getting on our way," she said.
Gandalf nodded. Aragorn smiled very faintly. Boromir looked a little bit sick, as if his apple had disagreed with him. The Hobbits, awed and bewildered, fell into line of march.

#19 ::: Lois Fundis ::: (view all by) ::: December 23, 2002, 11:44 PM:

#9 is Jane Austen. _Pride and Prejudice_, I think.

#20 ::: Avram ::: (view all by) ::: December 23, 2002, 11:57 PM:

I'd guessed that #9 ("...will you not throw the ring into Mount Doom and best suit your own happiness?") is Ayn Rand, not having read any of Rand's fiction.

#10 ("So you're saying we can't use it ourselves.") looks like Aaron Sorkin.

#21 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: December 23, 2002, 11:58 PM:

#9 is indeed Jane Austen. I'd have guessed that was Persuasion rather than Pride and Prejudice.

Mike, is that entry #21?

Merry Christmas, and have a nice time in Charleston. Convey our best wishes of the season, if you feel like doing it.

#22 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: December 24, 2002, 12:16 AM:

Avram, Ayn Rand was never so elegant, nor so humorous. However, you're right about the other one: #10 is Aaron Sorkin.

The order in which pastiches have been identified has surprised me. If you'd asked me to rank them in advance, starting with the ones I thought would be quickest guessed, Jane Austen and Aaron Sorkin would have been near the top of the list, and McGonagall, The Eye of Argon, and Borges would have been at the bottom.

#23 ::: Derryl Murphy ::: (view all by) ::: December 24, 2002, 12:33 AM:

These are great. As an added bonus, there's an online comic strip called "Movie Punks" that just did "What if... LoTR had been directed by Quentin Tarantino?" The art is no screaming hell, but still...

http://www.moviepunks.com/view/102.php

#24 ::: spacewaitress ::: (view all by) ::: December 24, 2002, 01:07 AM:

Gol durnit! Jane Austen was my first guess, but it just seemed too... obvious.

#25 ::: Erik V. Olson ::: (view all by) ::: December 24, 2002, 01:14 AM:

The Wizard and the Half Elf Lord
walked through the Half Elf's lands
They scowled to think of Middle Earth
awash with orcish bands
"If only he had tossed the ring,
in Valinor we'd stand!"

"If Seven Dwarves (with seven rings)
and Men Wise (numbered nine)
Fought long and hard to free us all
the land would surely shine?"
"Dream on, Elrond," the Wizard said,
"That plan's not fit for swine!"

"Oh Hobbits, come and talk with us!"
The Wizard did request.
"We need a noble fool, I mean
a thief to fix this mess "
"We only have room for two of you.
So we'll take four, I guess."

The Eldest hobbit looked at him,
"Tough!" is all he said.
"I've hauled that ring far long enough."
"Another quest I dread."
The hobbit pondered long and hard.
"Take Frodo with instead."

Frodo (and Sam) soon hurried up.
(Meri and Pippin too.)
They were so eager to find out
Just what they had to do.
As soon as they had dinner, first
of beef and veal stew.

"The time has come," the Half-Elf said,
"To talk of many things.
Of orcs, and wargs, and Dark Lord plans
and who will take the ring?
And *who* wants to marry Arwen?
Ask when pigs have wings!"

And others soon would come along
with that noble band.
Two men, a dwarf, a pompus elf
not one of them well manned
Worse yet, they found the Wizard would
lead them across the sand.

"It seemed a shame" the Wizard said
"To play them such a trick,
After I made them think I'd died
to come back -- what a hick!
But anything to get out of
those dammned mines really quick!

"Oh hobbits", said the Half Elf Lord,
"You've had a fateful trek.
Care to join us westward bound
Upon ol' Cirdan's deck?"
"Why not" the one called Frodo said,
My nerves are such a wreck."

The Silmaril shone in the sky,
upon Earendil's brow,
And somewhere, Mr. Carroll is
giving birth to a cow.
So, before you can reload your guns
I'll stop. Not yet -- but now.

#26 ::: John M. Ford ::: (view all by) ::: December 24, 2002, 01:22 AM:

"And as the Dark Lord's power spreads, these fell signs will be seen upon the --"

"Boss, I don' like-a dat line."

"But this is is in every ancient prophecy. It's called foreshadowing."

"Well, you may-a called for it, but will it come when-a you call? Dat's a good one, eh, boss?"

Happy holidays, everybody. Seeya on the flip side.

#27 ::: Jordin Kare ::: (view all by) ::: December 24, 2002, 01:25 AM:

I never saw a purple orc
I never hope to see one
But, like Teresa in New York,
I'd rather see than be one.

#28 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: December 24, 2002, 02:56 AM:

Teresa, thanks so much for posting this, as I'd never have seen it otherwise. Great stuff. I got all but 9, 10, 15, and 18 on first reading; going through these comments got me #18.

Nobody's guessed 19 and 20 yet; #19 sounds like Dylan Thomas's _Under Milk Wood_, which I've never actually read, but what else could "Under Mount Doom" refer to?

Erik's lovely #22 is of course "The Walrus and the Carpenter".

#29 ::: Elise Matthesen ::: (view all by) ::: December 24, 2002, 03:25 AM:

I hadn't read the Straight Dope site up through page 4 before, but I did just now, and I have to say that Topcat's "Flowers for Smeagol" by Daniel Keyes got me all choked up too.

#30 ::: Avram ::: (view all by) ::: December 24, 2002, 03:34 AM:

The ents go marching one by one, hurrum, hurrum
The ents go marching one by one, hurrum, hurrum
The ents go marching one by one
With roll of drum they come, they come
And they all go marching out of the woods
To destroy Isengard, hoom, hoom, hoom!

...

The ents go marching four by four, hurrum, hurrum
The ents go marching four by four, hurrum, hurrum
The ents go marching four by four
To hew the stone and break the door
And they all go marching out of the woods
To destroy Isengard, hoom, hoom, hoom!

#31 ::: Damien Warman ::: (view all by) ::: December 24, 2002, 04:22 AM:

I'm thinking 6 is Count Zero.

#32 ::: janeyolen ::: (view all by) ::: December 24, 2002, 08:03 AM:

I think that's Dylan Thomas, too. As to the second T posted, it reminds me of Mission Impossible.

As to McGonagall, we have friends in Scotland who insist that at parties he must be read aloud until the reader breaks up into helpless giggles and passes the book to the next reader. The Scottish version of Eye of Argon. I can never get through a single poem. (Nor can I go on the Tay Bridge without reciting "The Tay, the Tay, the silvery Tay. . .")

Jane

#33 ::: John M. Ford ::: (view all by) ::: December 24, 2002, 09:30 AM:

Wizards get cranky,
Dark days dawn,
Riders smell mnnky,
The road goes on.
Omens are lowering,
Elves go West;
The Shire needs scouring,
You may as well quest.

Gone now, really.

#34 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: December 24, 2002, 09:35 AM:

John M. Ford, that is the Marx Brothers, A Night at the Opera, and I claims the five-pound prize.

Jane, I'll give you half credit on "Mission Impossible" -- it's Archbishop Cranmer.

#35 ::: Jane Yolen ::: (view all by) ::: December 24, 2002, 09:37 AM:

Wrong, T. That's Dorothy Parker.

Jane

#36 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: December 24, 2002, 09:42 AM:

That is indeed Dorothy Parker, but I was responding to his earlier post.

#37 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: December 24, 2002, 09:50 AM:

A Declaration from the Oppressed Peoples of Middle-Earth:

We whose names are subscribed, do in the name of all the poor oppressed peoples of Middle-Earth, declare unto you, that call your selves lords of Gondor and Mordor, and Riders of Rohan, That in regard Eru Iluvatar, our Maker, hath inlightened our hearts so far, as to see, That Middle-Earth was not made purposely for you, to be a backdrop for your Quests and your melancholy ruminations upon Ancient History, and we poor folk left to be your Slaves, Servants, and Colorful Background Figures; but Middle-Earth was made to be a common Livelihood to all, without respect of Genealogies.

For now the dramatic arc hath lifted you up to be Rulers and Law makers and Ringbearers, as if this earth were made peculiarly for your vanities, and not for other weal: Yet if you cast your eye a little backward, you shall see, That this outward Ruling power, is the Numenorean yoke laid upon Middle-Earth of old, under Ar-Pharazon; and so Successively from that time, the elf-friends and sons of kings have still laid these yokes upon us.

And further, in regard Iluvatar hath made us sensible of our burthens, and the cryes and groanings of our hearts are come before him: We take it as a gift from him, That our hearts begin to be freed from slavish fear of heroic main characters; and that we find Resolutions in us, To Dig and Plough up the waste Lands of Middle Earth, and engage in manufacture and trade, and other normal economic activity.

And we declare, That the Work we are going about is This: To dig up Amon Hen and the waste Ground thereabouts, and to Sow Corn, and to eat our bread together by the sweat of our brows.

#38 ::: kip ::: (view all by) ::: December 24, 2002, 10:08 AM:

Thundering explosions continued and yellow light tore the darkness as the little band huddled together in a shallow path on a cliff wall. "We're done for!" yelled a frightened hobbit. "If the Uruk-hai don't catch us, we'll be destroyed in the dread fires of Mount Doom!" "Quit your whining!" came another voice. "The Old Man'll get us through! He knows the way. The Old Man ain't afraid of Sauron!"

Captain Smeagol, who they called The Old Man, cast a clear, shrewd eye on the perils ahead, dismissing them with a light chuckle. "Yes, I know the way... if you're brave enough to follow." All the others shivered with fear as Captain Smeagol strode calmly ahead. The monotonous din of deadly explosions continued: ta-pocketa, ta-pocketa, ta-pocketa...

"Gollum! Stop your daydreaming! You almost walked off the edge of the path!"

"Gollum was just thinking... yesss, thinking..."

#39 ::: Jeremy ::: (view all by) ::: December 24, 2002, 11:07 AM:

SpaceWaitress is right - #6 just has to be William Gibson, author of Neuromancer.

#40 ::: Glenn Hauman ::: (view all by) ::: December 24, 2002, 11:13 AM:

TAAA-ta-TAAAAAAAH!

"What was that?"

"Gondor horns."

#41 ::: Jane Yolen ::: (view all by) ::: December 24, 2002, 11:22 AM:

Oh right--of course it's Cranmer. Do you suppose the MI people (the ones who did the original tv show, not the movies) knew?

I have been sitting here thinking about ways to do a pastiche that sounds like an article from
one of the hunting magazines. They all seem to begin: BANG! The old boar stared at me with small piggy eyes and then slowly sank to his knees. But I was unaware that behind
me. . .

Jane

#42 ::: Debra Doyle ::: (view all by) ::: December 24, 2002, 11:58 AM:

Kip's, of course, is James Thurber, specifically "The Secret Life of Walter Mitty."

#43 ::: Alan Bostick ::: (view all by) ::: December 24, 2002, 12:32 PM:

to wound the vigilant city.
So howled out for the world to give him a name.
The in-dark answered with wind.
All you know I know: Orcs and talking trees and leagues of grass and galloping riders and white towers and golden halls and battles and tall ships sailing.
A whole minute he squatted, pebbles clutched with his left foot (bare, like the right one), listening to his breath sound tumble down the ledges.
Beyond a leafy arras, reflected light of the White Face flittered.

#44 ::: Alan Bostick ::: (view all by) ::: December 24, 2002, 12:36 PM:

Glen Hauman's little snippet is from an old comedy LP: "Stan Freberg Presents the United States of America; The Early Years"

#45 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: December 24, 2002, 12:53 PM:

Debra and Alan beat me to the punch.

Alan, that's the opening of Dhalgren.

Patrick says that "A Declaration from the Oppressed Peoples of Middle-Earth" may be the most obscure thing he's ever seen posted on the Web, but I don't know; there's some pretty obscure stuff out there. I should test it on Ken MacLeod. If he thinks it's obscure, I'll concede the point.

#46 ::: Dan Blum ::: (view all by) ::: December 24, 2002, 01:09 PM:

That would be the Digger manifesto by Gerrard Winstanley, although admittedly I had to look that up (it looked awfully familiar, but I just couldn't fire the right neurons). It's pretty obscure, but I'm sure we could find something moreso (this should not be taken as a challenge).

Anyone know #21?

#47 ::: Graydon ::: (view all by) ::: December 24, 2002, 01:13 PM:

I don't know about Ken, but after several nagging minutes of "where have I read that before", I am forced to conclude that it _can't_ be the most obscure thing on the web, because it is on the web, if that follows. (http://www.tlio.demon.co.uk/poor.htm)


"Digger pamphlet by Gerrard Winstanley", 1649, and it is (if fading memory contines to serve me well in this) one of the things I wound up reading in a Renaisance Lit. class, for cultural context and political background.

Recognizing this is a consolation, since my style emulation circuitry sucks an extensive quantity of flint.

#48 ::: Graydon ::: (view all by) ::: December 24, 2002, 01:39 PM:

21 ought to be "Miss Pickerell and the Volcano", but I'm not sufficently familiar with the books to guess which one it is in specific.

Miss Pickerell Goes to Mars is the first, best known, and therefor least likely for Mr. Ford to quote from, somehow.

#49 ::: Mary Kay ::: (view all by) ::: December 24, 2002, 02:19 PM:

This is lovely! Thanks so much.

Jordin: Give'em the Burger King vesion.

MKK

#50 ::: Debra Doyle ::: (view all by) ::: December 24, 2002, 02:20 PM:

Qhen fee towres of Minas Tirith wer tumbled and toteryng
And fee walls of fee wide city woryed by wyld assaults,
And fee Ringrayfes hoveryng highe in fee nere hefen
Dashed fee hertes of Gondor's defenders into despayr
And fere,
deen in fee mysts of mornyng
deat men hard-prest mi3t here,
dee hornes cam halloing warnyng
deat Rohannes host drew nere.

#51 ::: Graydon ::: (view all by) ::: December 24, 2002, 02:30 PM:

Gawain and the Green Knight, and very nicely done, too.

#52 ::: Avram ::: (view all by) ::: December 24, 2002, 03:23 PM:

He was five-hundred years dying and not yet dead. He fought for survival with the passion of a beast in a trap. He was delirious and rotting, but occasionally his primitive mind emerged from the drowining nightmare of his survival into something resembling sanity. Then he lowered his mute face to the place where his Precious once sat on his finger and muttered "You leave me rot like a fish. You leave me die, Baggins. No. I get out of here, me. I follow you, Baggins. I find you, Baggins. I pay you back, me. I rot you, Baggins. I kill you filthy."

#53 ::: Graham Sleight ::: (view all by) ::: December 24, 2002, 03:45 PM:

That's _Mount Doom My Destination_, aka _Smeagol! Smeagol!_.

#54 ::: Erik V. Olson ::: (view all by) ::: December 24, 2002, 03:50 PM:

Frodo:9We'll put the Fellowship back together, see if we can't save Middle earth. Bang! Plenty of Gold.

Sam: Yeah, well, putting the fellowship back together might not be easy

Frodo: 9What're you talking about?

Sam: They split. They all took jobs. Some of them even took the straight road.

Frodo: Yeah? So? You know where they are. You said you were gonna keep in touch with them!

Sam: I got a couple leads, a few Palantir contacts, but I mean, how many of them tried to rescue you from Thranduil's dungeon? Heck, did they even write you a letter?

Frodo: They're not the kinda guys who write letters. You were outside, I was inside, you were s'posed to keep in touch with the Fellowship. I kept asking you if we were going to quest again?

Sam: Well, what was I going to do? Take away your only hope? Take away the very thing that kept you going in there, ever since we tossed the ring? I took the liberty of fabling you, okay?

Frodo:99You lied to me.

Sam:99It wasn't lies. It was just... fables.

#55 ::: Bob Webber ::: (view all by) ::: December 24, 2002, 04:26 PM:

I think that A NIGHT AT THE OPERA is the specific Marx Bros. film in which Groucho and Chico engage in the negotiation that inspired Mike Ford, a nice sidelink to the Queen entry if so.

"One Ring to Rule Them All and in the Darkness Bind Them!"

Blaat!

"And one duck egg!"

#56 ::: Dharma Traveller ::: (view all by) ::: December 24, 2002, 04:34 PM:

A friend pointed me here and suggested I leave with you

GANDALF AT THE BRIDGE

It looked extremely rocky for the Moria nine that day;
The orcs were hot upon their trail, a chasm barred the way.
Though Aragorn had drawn his sword and Frodo pulled out Sting,
Still a pallor wreathed the features of the bearers of the Ring.

Upon the stricken Company a deathlike silence fell;
The Balrog burst across the flames like something sent from Hell.
A fiery mane streamed backward from his bony eyebrow ridge -
But Gandalf, mighty Gandalf, was advancing to the bridge!

The Men ran back to lend support, the Hobbits raised a cheer,
And Legolas and Gimli felt a lightening of their fear.
To all, the Balrog seemed but just a pesky little midge -
They'd put up even money now, with Gandalf at the bridge!

And now the wizard lifts his staff, and now he lets it go,
And now the bridge is shattered by the force of Gandalf's blow.
The Balrog fell adown the deep, with fiery whistling breeze,
But as he fell, his curling whip caught Gandalf by the knees.

Oh, somewhere else in Middle-earth the sun is shining bright,
And somewhere elves are plinking harps, and somewhere hearts are light.
And somewhere dwarves are singing songs, and hobbit-children shout;
But there is no joy in Moria - mighty Gandalf has struck out.

#57 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: December 24, 2002, 04:50 PM:

Thank you, Dr. Doyle. That's not just pastiche; it's plausible.

Dan, Graydon, you're right; that's Gerrard Winstanley. Most of it is from "A Declaration from the Poor Oppressed People of England," but there are bits from some of his other pamphlets.

We just got home from the office. I checked this thread and announced to Patrick that two people in my Comments section had identified it as Winstanley.

"It would be two people in your Comments section," he said.

#58 ::: Debra Doyle ::: (view all by) ::: December 24, 2002, 04:55 PM:

I could have done better -- looking over the text, it should have been "fere" and "hornes" -- but I had to go run Christmas Eve errands.

#59 ::: Janet Lafler ::: (view all by) ::: December 24, 2002, 05:02 PM:

Just a couple of footnotes.

So #10 is Adam Sorkin. I was going to guess Monty Python -- except that the diction is too American, of course. But can't you see it as a Python scene, with John Cleese as Gandalf and Eric Idle as Boromir?

#9 is not only Austen, it's a direct pastiche of a scene from Pride and Prejudice between Jane and Elizabeth (where Jane is wondering how she can marry a man whose sisters wish him to marry someone else).

#60 ::: Bob Webber ::: (view all by) ::: December 24, 2002, 05:04 PM:

Add me to the list of people who recognized Winstanley's screed (and could have found his name from Google if it hadn't been done already), but only because you reviewed it for me in an earlier edition of the MAKING LIGHT LoC Department.

#61 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: December 24, 2002, 07:09 PM:

Debra, I can fix that.

Janet, I fear you're right. I went astray on "disoblige".

#62 ::: Alison Scott ::: (view all by) ::: December 24, 2002, 08:27 PM:

Er, Merry Christmas. Now I've done my duty as one of Santa's little helpers, I can point out that Gandalf at the Bridge is one of the last things written by Kipling after he was privileged to read some of Tolkien's notes that time. This game can hardly do other than spin out of control in all directions all over the Internet. Woo.

#63 ::: Dan Blum ::: (view all by) ::: December 24, 2002, 08:50 PM:

GANDALF: Eh, what's up, doc?

SARUMAN: I'm looking at Sauron's army in my palantir.

GANDALF: That palantir's no good, doc.

SARUMAN: I'm going to join Sauron. He's going to conquer the world.

GANDALF: Oh, brother.

SARUMAN: And he's going to give ME Pismo Beach.

GANDALF: What a maroon.

SAURON: Be vewy, vewy quiet. I'm cowwupting Istawi.

#64 ::: Jordin Kare ::: (view all by) ::: December 25, 2002, 01:04 AM:

Since Mary Kay asked for it... the variant translation from the Language of Mordor:

Salad for the Elven Kings, underneath the sky.
Soup for the Dwarf Lords, in their bowls of stone.
Fries for mortal Men, doomed to die.
Onions for the Dark Lord, on his dark throne.

Onion rings to rule them all,
Onion rings to find them,
Onion rings to bring them all,
and to their diets bind them.

#65 ::: Janet Lafler ::: (view all by) ::: December 25, 2002, 11:18 AM:

From the day Bilbo left I was no longer the same: with him was gone every settled feeling, every association that had made Bag End in some degree a home to me. But destiny, in the shape of Gandalf, came between me and Bilbo. I saw him disappear during his speech; I returned to Bag End where Gandalf told me he had gone; and then I retired to my room, and there spent in solitude the greatest part of the evening, knowing that I would be busy with guests and questions in the morning.

I walked about the chamber most of the time. I imagined myself only to be regretting my loss, and thinking how to repair it; but when my reflections were concluded, and I looked up and found the evening was far advanced, another discovery dawned on me, namely, that in the interval I had undergone a transforming process.

I went to my window, opened it, and looked out. There were the lights of Hobbiton; there was the garden; there were the skirts of the woods; there was the hilly horizon. My eye saw these but also strained toward what it could not see: the blue peaks: it was those I longed to surmount. I imagined the white road winding round the base of one mountain, and vanishing in a gorge between two: how I longed to follow it further! I did not realize then that the Ring was to give me, not the liberty I desired, but a new servitude.

#66 ::: Dan Blum ::: (view all by) ::: December 25, 2002, 12:39 PM:

Aiee. I can't believe I forgot the "hehehehehehe" at the end of that.

I take the One Ring all the way to Mount Doom but I can't bring myself to throw it in. Sauron finds me and uses the ring to spread darkness over Middle Earth. All die. Oh the embarrassment.

#67 ::: Alan Bostick ::: (view all by) ::: December 25, 2002, 01:09 PM:

It is possible I already had some presentiment of my future. The locked and rusted gate that stood before us, with wisps of fog threading its spikes like the paths of the Misty Mountains, remains in my mind now as the symbol of my exile. That is why I have begun this account of it with the aftermath of our journey through the Downs, in which I, the gardener's apprentice Sam, had so nearly been slain.

"The gatekeeper has gone." Thus my friend Frodo spoke to Merry, who had already seen it for himself.

Doubtfully, the youth Pippin suggested that we go around. A lift of his thin, freckled arm indicated the thousands of paces of wall stretching across the fields and sweeping up the hill until at last they met the high curtain wall of Bree. It was a walk I would take, much later.

"And try to get through the barbican without a safe-conduct? They'd send to Master Gandalf."

"But why would the gatekeeper leave?"

"It doesn't matter." Frodo rattled the gate. "Pippin, see if you can slip between the bars."

Frodo was our captain, and Pippin put an arm and a leg through the iron palings, but it was immediately clear that there was no hope of getting his body to follow.

"Someone's coming," Merry whispered. Frodo jerked Pippin out.

#68 ::: Simon Shoedecker ::: (view all by) ::: December 25, 2002, 03:00 PM:

If #10 is Aaron Sorkin, I don't ever, ever want to read or see anything actually by him. Whoever he may be. [checks] Nope, never have. I've seen too many tedious stage plays - mostly by Sam Shepard - in which people talk like that, and I've had quite enough of it.

#69 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: December 25, 2002, 03:59 PM:

Alison, nothing for it but to jump in.

You know what would be really obscure? Doing LOTR as if West or Pickersgill had written it.

Janet, that's Charlotte Bronte, Jane Eyre.

Alan, Gene Wolfe, Book of the New Sun.

Simon, Aaron Sorkin writes West Wing. It's anything but tedious. I know the episode that pastiche is taken from, and the lines are delivered at top speed, with no pauses between them.

#70 ::: Ken MacLeod ::: (view all by) ::: December 25, 2002, 04:39 PM:

Winstanley obscure? No.

The Dark Lord, during his rule of scarce one hundred years, has created more massive and more colossal productive forces than have all preceding Ages together. Subjection of nature's forces to Orcs, machinery, application of chemistry to industry and agriculture, steam navigation, railways, electric telegraphs, clearing of whole continents for cultivation, canalization or rivers, whole populations conjured out of the ground — what earlier century had even a presentiment that such productive forces slumbered in the lap of Middle Earth?

The Dark Lord's domain, with its relations of production, of exchange and of property, a society that has conjured up such gigantic means of production and of exchange, is like the sorcerer who is no longer able to control the powers of the nether world whom he has called up by his spells.

(I'll spare you all _Mordor: A New Civilization?_ and _The Sauronist Sixth of the World_.

#71 ::: Erik V. Olson ::: (view all by) ::: December 25, 2002, 10:29 PM:

A nod to our fellows in/from the armed forces....

(Scene: The Prancing Pony. An old hobbit, SAMWISE GAMGEE, sits drinking whisky, neat, with an ale back. He's smoking a pipe, which is filled with a particuallly foul pipeweed. Near him, sit three younger hobbits, in uniform.)

SAM: So, no shit, there I was, in the Crack of Doom, and Frodo gets this strange look in his eyes.....

#72 ::: Seth Johnson ::: (view all by) ::: December 25, 2002, 11:48 PM:

Erik: That would be the Blues Brothers...Boys...Fellowship. ("This is the Ring. Strong stuff."; "Isengardian Uruk-Hai? I _hate_ Isengardian Uruk-Hai!")

My own contribution (hoping that the web research I did to check a couple details holds up):

Mr. Frodo Baggins lived, in late 3017, at Bag End, West Farthing, the house from which its famous owner had departed some sixteen years previous. He was one of the most noticeable visitors to the Ivy Bush, though he seemed always to avoid attracting attention; an enigmatical personage, about whom little was known, except that he was a polished hobbit of the Shire. People said that he resembled Balbo--at least that his head was Balbonic; but he was a happy, tranquil Balbo, who might live on a thousand years without growing old.

#73 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: December 25, 2002, 11:51 PM:

Erik, I see I forgot to mention that you were doing The Blues Brothers a while back. Sorry about that.

#74 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: December 26, 2002, 08:21 AM:

Seth, that's Jules Verne, Around the World in Eighty Days.

Ken, I think that must be Karl Marx. I have no idea which work it is (definitely not The Eighteenth Brown Mare of Tar-Miriel), so on the theory that when stumped in a quiz game, you should guess the one thing everyone's heard of, I'll say it's the Communist Manifesto.

#75 ::: Bob Webber ::: (view all by) ::: December 26, 2002, 10:23 AM:

Teresa, you're right about the Communist Manifesto:

"The bourgeoisie, during its rule of scarce one hundred years...."

My own composition on these lines only got as far as, "A Nazgul is haunting the Shire...", which is both weak and obvious.

#76 ::: Holly Messinger ::: (view all by) ::: December 26, 2002, 10:33 AM:

I first thought that number 8 was patterned after David Weber's Honor Harrington novels, which are themselves based on Horatio Hornblower, so I guess it amounts to the same thing.

On the other hand, Number 8 bears a strong resemblance to Heart of Darkness by Conrad.

#77 ::: Dan Blum ::: (view all by) ::: December 26, 2002, 12:18 PM:

Then Aragorn told Gimli his own intentions, and all three went away to Elrond's farm where they could talk over the grand project.

Said Legolas, "The peach trees in the orchard behind the house are just in full flower. Tomorrow we will institute a sacrifice there and solemnly declare our intention before Iluvatar and Middle Earth, and we three will swear brotherhood and unity of aims and sentiments: thus will we enter upon our great task."

Both Aragorn and Gimli gladly agreed.

All three being of one mind, next day they prepared the sacrifices, a black ox, a white horse, and wine for libation. Beneath the smoke of the incense burning on the altar, they bowed their heads and recited this oath:

"We three - Aragorn, Gimli, and Legolas - though of different races, swear brotherhood, and promise mutual help to one end. We will rescue each other in difficulty; we will aid each other in danger. We swear to serve the state and save the people. We ask not the same day of birth, but we seek to die together. May Iluvatar, the all-ruling, and Middle Earth, the all-producing, read our hearts. If we turn aside from righteousness or forget kindliness, may all smite us!"

They rose from their knees. The two others bowed before Aragorn as their elder brother, and Legolas was to be the youngest of the trio. This solemn ceremony performed, they slew other oxen and made a feast to which they invited the elves. Three hundred joined them, and all feasted and drank deep in the Peach Garden.

The next day weapons were mustered. But there were no horses to ride. This was a real grief. But soon they were cheered by the arrival of four hobbits with a pony named Bill.

"Thus does Heaven help us!" said Aragorn.

#78 ::: Trent Goulding ::: (view all by) ::: December 26, 2002, 01:03 PM:

This one is opening of The Romance of the Three Kingdoms.

#79 ::: Kate Nepveu ::: (view all by) ::: December 26, 2002, 02:50 PM:

>>The ents go marching one by one, hurrum, hurrum

Avram:

You are an evil person to inflict such an ear-worm on us all.

Brilliant, but evil.

#80 ::: Alison Scott ::: (view all by) ::: December 26, 2002, 09:56 PM:

Yes, of course, you're right.

September 12, Sunday:
At three o'clock Merry and Pippin called for a good long walk over the Old Forest, and brought with them a friend named Samwise. We walked and chatted together, except Sam, who was always a few yards behind us staring at the ground and muttering about keeping an eye out for the farmer. As it was getting on for five, we four held a consultation, and Pippin suggested that we should make for 'The Prancing Pony', for some pipeweed. Samwise said: 'a pint of ale was good enough for him.' I reminded them that all public-houses were closed till six o'clock. Sam said, 'That's all right -- bona-fide travellers.'

We arrived at Bree; and as we were trying to pass, the man in charge of the gate said: 'Where from?' I replied: 'Hobbiton.' He immediately put up his arm, and declined to let me pass. I turned back for a moment, when I saw Samwise, closely followed by Pippin and Merry, make for the entrance. I watched them, and thought I would have a good laugh at their expense, I heard the gatekeeper say: 'Where from?' When, to my surprise, in fact disgust, Samwise replied: 'Rivendell,' and the three were immediately admitted.

Pippin called over, saying 'We shan't be a minute.' I waited for them the best part of an hour. When they appeared they were all in most excellent spirits, and the only one who made an effort to apologise was Mr. Gamgee, who said to me: 'It was very rough on you to be kept waiting, Mr Frodo. We met a odd sort of a cove called Strider -- ah, here he is now." I walked on in silence; I couldn't speak to them. I felt very dull all the evening, especially when I remembered that my torment could have been avoided by slipping on the ring and entering in secret. But in any event, I deemed it advisable not to say anything to Gandalf about the matter.


#81 ::: Mark Jones ::: (view all by) ::: December 27, 2002, 01:54 AM:

The great mass of manuscript known as the Baggins Papers was discovered during a sale of household furniture at the Gray Havens....

"Tolkien got it wrong, in one important detail. You will have read, in The Fellowship of the Ring, how I volunteered to take the ring to Mordor there to destroy it, which is true enough, but when Tolkien alleges that this was the result of my deliberately choosing to risk my life for the betterment of all, he is in error. I knew better than to be a hero even at that tender age."

I mention this, not in self-defense, but in the interests of strict truth. This story will be completely truthful; I am breaking the habit of decades. Why shouldn't I? When a hobbit is as old as I am, and knows himself thoroughly for what he was and is, he doesn't care much. I'm not ashamed, you see; never was--and I have enough on what Society would consider the credit side of the ledger. So I can look at the painting above my desk, of the young hobbit in Elven Cloak; short but sturdy, noble and rosy-cheeked in youth I was in those days--and say that is the portrait of a scoundrel, a liar, a cheat, a thief, a coward--and, oh yes, a toady. Tolkien said none of these things, but he was more concerned to tell a fairy tale full of heroes and tragic nobility than to give facts."

But I am concerned with facts, and since many of them are discreditable to me, you can rest assured they are true."

#82 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: December 27, 2002, 04:31 AM:

Mark Jones: That is George Macdonald Fraser's _Flashman_, unless I am greatly mistaken. Very nice.

#83 ::: David Fleck ::: (view all by) ::: December 27, 2002, 08:13 PM:

THE LITTLE TOWN of Hobbiton could have passed for one of the prettiest in the Shire. Its hobbit-holes, with their thick roofs of green grass, spread over the slope of a hill, where clumps of chestnut trees marked every indentation.

Now, however, The Water, taking its course through Hobbiton before emptying into the Brandywine, supplied power to numerous saw-mills. These afforded to a small portion of the inhabitants, mostly of the shifty, squint-eyed peasant class, a certain degree of affluence. It was not only the saw-mills that enriched these sallow-faced ruffians. It was the theft and sale of a plant called "pipe-weed"; that, and a general villainy which had burnt or knocked down nearly every house and hole in Hobbiton since the fall of Sauron.

On entering the town, one was deafened by the din of a huge, underused grain-mill. This pretentious establishment was among the things that most astonished the four travellers now returning to the Shire. When they asked to whom this great factory belonged that was deafening the hobbits walking in Bag End, Ted Sandyman spat and answered, in a drawling accent: "Garn! It belongs to Sharkey."

#84 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: December 29, 2002, 02:09 AM:

I'm passing on messages.

John D. Berry says:

Arma hobbitque cano...
Jo Walton says:
What!?!
Down by darkwater lived old Gollum
not man nor orc but tired old fur-foot
fish-eating imp-squeezing lone-living Gollum9
deep in the darkness, waiting for nothing,
far from daylight and all bright faces
down in mountain roots, seeking for secrets
scraped thin by long years
curled up carefully, clutching his Precious
almost forgetting wind, flowers, sunshine.
Precious took everything, turned it to riddles
to hunger, to emptiness, dark and cold water,
emptied old Gollum, before came Baggins.

#85 ::: Christopher Hatton ::: (view all by) ::: December 29, 2002, 10:48 AM:

Wow, I've been away and missed this. #6 is Neuromancer and not Count Zero; the folksy-talking AI duplicate and the drug aftereffects make that clear.

We've been doing this with songs (i.e. filk) ever since the Michigan State University Tolkien Fellowship was founded back in the 60s...examples include the "Epical History of the War of the Ring," which has episodes parodying various songs:

The Balrog
Warmed up Thangorodrim
UNtil
The Valar vanquished him.
THEN he
Went off to MORi-
A and never
Was heard of
Again.
(Can you ID the tune? Only if you haven't heard this before.)

And

Come on, Valar, light my fire...

Is it only us who have this stuff, or has it infected all of fandom by now?

#86 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: December 29, 2002, 02:55 PM:

Is everyone stumped by David Fleck? I was. The closest I could manage was "19th C. realistic novel." I have now looked it up, but I won't say further if the guessing is still going on.

#87 ::: Dharma Traveller ::: (view all by) ::: December 29, 2002, 04:42 PM:

Mark Twain:

"You don't know about me without you have read a book called THE HOBBIT."

Virgil:

"I sing of arms and of the halfling."

Jane A:

"It is a truth generally acknowledged that a respectable hobbit in possession of a fortune must be in want of a Quest."

#88 ::: dharma traveller ::: (view all by) ::: December 29, 2002, 04:43 PM:

Sorry! I meant

"I sing of rings and of the Halfling."

#89 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: December 29, 2002, 07:51 PM:

Vide supra, John D. Berry. Extra points if you sing it to "The Stars and Stripes Forever".

#90 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: December 29, 2002, 09:19 PM:

Are we moribund here? No one can have missed Jo's.

#91 ::: David Moles ::: (view all by) ::: December 30, 2002, 01:02 AM:

I had to get here too late for the easy ones. Jo's is nagging at me to the point that I'll feel quite stupid when I find out what it is. Meanwhile, here's one a little more obscure:


There are stories the hobbit recites quietly into the room that slip from level to level like a hawk. He wakes in the paneled room that surrounds him with its spilling papers, pages of great books. He remembers feasts, an elf who healed parts of his body that now are scarred into the color of aubergine.

   I have spent weeks in Ithilien, forgetting to look at the moon, he says, as a married hobbit may spend days never looking into the face of his wife. These are not sins of omission but signs of preoccupation.

And one a little less obscure:

   Sing, vala, the anger of Denethor's son Boromir and its devastation, which put pains thousandfold upon the Gondorians, hurled in their multitudes to the house of Mandos strong souls of heroes, but gave their bodies to the delicate feasting of wargs, of all birds, and the will of Iluvatar was accomplished since that time when first their stood in division of conflict Arathorn's son the lord of men and brilliant Boromir.

And one more (after which I'll shut up): Teresa, here's one in memory of the Declaration from the Oppressed Peoples.


In 3019
To Pelennor Fields
A ragged band they called Haradrim
Come to show the people's will
They defied the horse-lords
They defied Gondor
They were the dispossessed
Reclaiming what was theirs

(...)

From the men of Numenor
The orders came
They sent the Rohirrim and halflings
To wipe out the Southrons' claim
Cut down their oliphaunts
Destroy their swords
They were dispersed
But still the vision lingers on.

You orcs take courage
Halflings take care
Arda was made a common treasury
For everyone to share
All things in common
All creatures one
We come in peace* -
The order came to cut them down.

* (Bit of poetic license there, I admit.)

#92 ::: Trent ::: (view all by) ::: December 30, 2002, 01:10 AM:

Jo's must be a pastiche of Beowulf, I should think.

David Mole's second one is the opening of the Iliad.

#93 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: December 30, 2002, 01:22 AM:

David:

Michael Ondaatje, The English Patient
Homer, the Iliad

The third one I not only recognize, but own a recording of.

Jo's piece is beautiful, and I like it more every time I read it. If you can't identify it any other way, try reading the first line out loud.

#94 ::: Graydon ::: (view all by) ::: December 30, 2002, 02:10 AM:

An ylf ther was, and yet a worthy man,
that fro the tyme he first bigan
to voyage far, loved errantrye

#95 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: December 30, 2002, 06:35 AM:

Teresa: I couldn't agree more that Jo's poem is wonderful. (For my money she is one of the great poets of all time. Keats, Eliot, Walton. I am completely serious about this.) I must admit, though, that I don't recognize any original model to it beyond "northern-style alliterative blank verse"....

#96 ::: Debra Doyle ::: (view all by) ::: December 30, 2002, 11:20 AM:

My guess is that David Fleck is doing Thomas Hardy, but which novel it is I can't be certain.

Or maybe it's George Eliot.

(I have to admit that both Hardy and Eliot are, for me, just on the other side of the line marking off works of literature I can get on a deep level from stuff I'm reduced to, at best, admiring from a distance as items in the category "extremely well-made examples of something I don't particularly like.")

Jo's is driving me nuts. I know I've heard that tune before, as it were, but I can't pin it down long enough for positive identification. I'm reduced to wild guesses on the order of "Ezra Pound doing his Old English imitation?" or "Charles Dickens recast in loose four-stress alliterative?", and those are -- possibly -- a bit farfetched even for this crowd.

#97 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: December 30, 2002, 11:25 AM:

Graydon: General Prologue, the Knight. In like manere:

In th' olde dayes of kings in Arnor,
Of which old tales speken greet honour,
Al was this land fulfild of Sindarie,
In every bussh or under every tree;
And daunced ofte in many a grene mede.
This was the olde opinion, as I rede;
I speke of manye hundred yeres ago.
But now kan no man se none elves mo...
That one came too easy.

#98 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: December 30, 2002, 11:30 AM:

Debra, of course it's driving you crazy. It's the poem you know best in all the world, minus its caesurae.

#99 ::: Debra Doyle ::: (view all by) ::: December 30, 2002, 11:36 AM:

What? "Little Bunny Foo-Foo"? Say it ain't so!

(And here I was saying to myself, "No, it can't possibly be Beowulf. That's just too damned obvious.")

#100 ::: Avram ::: (view all by) ::: December 30, 2002, 12:55 PM:

Little hobbit Fro-Fro

Was hoppin through the forest

Scoopin' up the mushrooms

And nibbling on their caps.

Along came the Grey Wizard, and he said...

#101 ::: Christopher Hatton ::: (view all by) ::: December 30, 2002, 01:02 PM:

Avram, you're evil. Deliciously so.

Beowulf? Isn't it supposed to have three alliterations per line? (I haven't studied it in > 20 years, so I could be wrong.)

#102 ::: Dan Blum ::: (view all by) ::: December 30, 2002, 02:26 PM:

Thanks for doing Chaucer, Graydon. It seemed necessary but my attempts ("and hobbits for to seken strange stroundes") were pretty feeble.

I don't think we've had any, y'know, traditional non-fiction yet. So...

On a late spring evening in 3017 TA, a young hobbit (whom I'll call Berilac Bolger) was admitted to Rivendell in an advanced stage of prostration. Dr. Elrond, the chief of service, was on duty that night and examined Bolger. He was unconscious, pale, and appeared to be in shock. Elrond thought he knew the reason for this condition when his examination revealed the crudely-bandaged wound on Bolger's side. However, after a judicious inspection of the wound, Elrond was puzzled. The cut, which he tentatively identified as a stab wound from a sword, was not large. It was not near any vital organs. It did not appear to have caused much blood loss. And it gave no indication of being infected.

After cleaning and dressing the wound Dr. Elrond was about to order the normal treatment for shock, but paused, uneasy in his diagnosis. Instead he found Glorfindel, the paramedic who had brought Bolger in, and spoke to him briefly. As Elrond had supposed, Bolger had indeed been in a fight. The police had arrived on the scene and called for an ambulance. Glorfindel had no clues to the cause of Bolger's condition, but suggested Elrond call Sergeant Aragorn, who had arrived on the scene first.

Dr. Elrond went to his office and telephoned the local precinct. When Sergeant Aragorn came to the phone he identified himself and requested a copy of his report. Aragorn was eager to help. He had in fact just finished typing up his report, and would be happy to send a copy over right away. However, he did not think Dr. Elrond would need it. He thought he could tell the doctor precisely what he needed to know. In fact, he thought he had told Glorfindel at the scene, but of course he was distracted at the time. In any case, Dr. Elrond should not hesitate to call him if he had any more questions.

Dr. Elrond hung up the telephone. Sergeant Aragorn's information made Bolger's condition gratifyingly clear, but did nothing to reduce his unease. In fact, it deepened it. Bolger had been stabbed with a Morgul blade.

#103 ::: Graydon ::: (view all by) ::: December 30, 2002, 02:27 PM:

That's just lovely, Teresa.

#104 ::: Beth Friedman ::: (view all by) ::: December 30, 2002, 02:59 PM:

Er, isn't Jo Walton's from Lord of the Rings? Specifically, Tom Bombadil. Sure sounds like him, anyway.

And Christopher Hatton, your song bit sounds like one of the songs in Silverlock, but I'm theoretically at work so I can't go look it up.

#105 ::: David Moles ::: (view all by) ::: December 30, 2002, 03:26 PM:

Oh -- is Jo's the Seamus Heaney translation?

#106 ::: Avram ::: (view all by) ::: December 30, 2002, 07:41 PM:

I was considering digging up my (or somebody's) copy of Jhereg and having a go at it, till I remembered that the Vlad books are basically LotR as written by Robert B. Parker.

#107 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: December 30, 2002, 08:21 PM:

I don't think it's Seamus Heaney, though I could be wrong.

#108 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: December 30, 2002, 08:23 PM:

Christopher, please tell me that isn't sung to the Brady Bunch theme.

#109 ::: Debra Doyle ::: (view all by) ::: December 30, 2002, 09:04 PM:

I suspect that it's sung to the tune of the Colonel Bogie March, aka the march from Bridge Over the River Kwai.

#110 ::: Christopher Hatton ::: (view all by) ::: December 31, 2002, 01:49 AM:

Teresa, it isn't sung to the Brady Bunch theme.

Debra, you are correct. Winters. Warm up with Malt-O-Meal! Comet. It makes your Teeth Turn Green!

#111 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: December 31, 2002, 09:50 AM:

Not the Brady Bunch. I am grateful.

BTW, I thought that went:

Comet! It makes your teeth so clean!
Comet! It makes you vomit green!
Folk process at work.

I've heard that a traditional challenge in Proust fandom is to summarize portions of A la recherche du temps perdu as filks sung to the tune of "Col. Bogie":

Swann's way,
a book by
Marcel Proust,
tells how
its hero
took to roost
racy
Odette de Crecy,
who to his friends
could not be
introduced.
I expect they have a lot of fun with that.

#112 ::: Debra Doyle ::: (view all by) ::: December 31, 2002, 02:01 PM:

The full version of the Comet song, as I learned it, went:

Comet!
It makes your teeth turn green!
Comet!
It tastes like gasoline!
Comet!
It makes you vomit!
So drink some Comet
And vomit
Today!

Ah, memories of those fourth grade days . . . .

#113 ::: Christopher Hatton ::: (view all by) ::: December 31, 2002, 04:35 PM:

A Debra, you remind me of times gone by...the version I learned is identical to yours, except that it's "get your Comet" instead of "drink some Comet." And there's another verse, same as the first (a little bit louder and...), except for the first two (or four in your version) lines:

Comet! It makes your teeth turn yellow!
Comet! It tastes like moldy jello!

Ou sont les nieges d'antan?

#114 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: December 31, 2002, 07:44 PM:

Kid songs! One of the few surviving branches of folklore. Not surprisingly--at the time, we lived within ten miles of each other--Patrick learned the same version I did:

Comet! It makes your teeth so clean!
Comet! It makes you vomit green!
Comet! It makes you vomit!
So buy some Comet and vomit today!
A very simple version.

He also heard Debra's version, though I didn't. The yellow/Jello version is a new one on both of us.

Patrick says les nieges d'antan have gone off with the horse and his rider.

If I had a boat
I'd go out on the ocean,
And if I had a pony
I'd ride him on my boat;
And we would be together
Out there on that ocean,
Singin' me upon my pony on my boat.

#115 ::: Lois Fundis ::: (view all by) ::: December 31, 2002, 10:20 PM:

Pickiness: it's neiges. You know, e before i and all that. (Remember, I live in a town named Weirton. I notice this stuff.)

I heard the same version Teresa and Patrick grew up with, all the way in Pennsylvania.

I'd like to get back to the LoTR pastiches now, please. What is that third one of David Moles'?

#116 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: January 01, 2003, 12:49 AM:

Danged if I know.

#117 ::: Christopher Hatton ::: (view all by) ::: January 01, 2003, 01:33 AM:

Thanks Lois. I was quoting from memory, rather than from any actual knowledge of French.

Why be content with One Ring,
When you could have all Three?
Why be content to be formless,
When there's no form you couldn't be?
Why be content with three Elven Rings,
When you could have the whole Elvish trove?
Why be content with a trove when you could have the world?

OK, OK, filk off the top of the head isn't the same as literary pastiche. Being no good at the latter, I just thought I'd...stop now.

#118 ::: Avram ::: (view all by) ::: January 01, 2003, 05:32 AM:

My childhood cohort's version of the Comet song was pretty much identical to Debra's version, save that I'm pretty sure our Comet tasted like Listerine.

#119 ::: kip ::: (view all by) ::: January 01, 2003, 11:07 AM:

The verses to the Comet song are a large can of worms (though smaller than the amount of worms it contains). It gets worse when I recall all the additional verses I wrote in grade school. The excellent book, Joe's Got A Head Like A Ping-Pong Ball, covers many variants. The one that really has all the variants, though, is "Gory Gory Bloody Murder" -- I'm quite sure that in quoting that much, I've already violated someone's rock-bottom knowledge of how it really goes.

Out of a haze of conflicting versions, I think my own personal first verse of Comet was:

Use Comet -- it makes you feel so keen (clean?)
Comet -- it tastes like gasoline.
Comet: it makes you vomit.
So try some Comet
And vomit
Today.

Use Gollum; you'll find he's just the thing.
Gollum; cleans out the toughest ring.
Gollum; he'll de-install 'em,
So think of Gollum, and call 'em, today.

#120 ::: Kevin J. Maroney ::: (view all by) ::: January 01, 2003, 12:00 PM:

No one explicitly identified David Moles's third piece. It's "The World Turned Upside Down", by Leon Rosselson (1981), later recorded by Billy Bragg. I was going to mention it anyway: I've never read Winstanley, but I recognized "A Message from the Oppressed People of Middle-Earth" as a Digger pastiche based purely on "The World Turned Upside-Down".

Also, I'm sure that Ken realizes this, but The Communist Manifesto's first line is perfect for this game: "A spectre is haunting Middle-Earth--the spectre of The Necromancer".

Also,

In th' olde dayes of kings in Arnor,
Of which old tales speken greet honour,
Al was this land fulfild of Sindarie,
In every bussh or under every tree;

brought to mind


In olden days a glimpse of Nazgul
Was considered by all to be quite cruel
Goodness knows, now anything goes

but I have not the fortitude to pursue this further, for which all may sigh a sigh of sighful release.


#121 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: January 02, 2003, 06:52 AM:

Thank you, Kip. Thank you, Kevin.

I believe I'm going to have to declare that David Moles has stumped the lot of us. David? What is that thing?

#122 ::: Kevin J. Maroney ::: (view all by) ::: January 02, 2003, 12:36 PM:

Que? David Moles you sussed out--the first one is The English Patient, the second one The Iliad, and the third one is "The World Turned Upside Down".

Other pieces upthread who we still haven't ID'd:

Let's see... David Fleck is George Eliot's The Mill on the Floss, unless I'm horribly mistaken.

Did we ever get a source for Mike Ford's "It makes you invisible, but this unpleasant fellow can see you better then? I daresay we don't have things like that in Square Toe City."

Dan Blum's medical reporting has also not been properly spotted, I think.

#123 ::: Dan Blum ::: (view all by) ::: January 02, 2003, 01:08 PM:

Graydon said that JMF's was one of the Miss Pickerell
books.

And no, no one's guessed my last one.

#124 ::: Christopher Hatton ::: (view all by) ::: January 02, 2003, 01:48 PM:

The medical report one reminded me of Tony Hillerman's nonfiction (e.g. "We All Fall Down," about the 1980s outbreak of bubonic plague in New Mexico), but I'm far from certain that was the source.

#125 ::: Dan Blum ::: (view all by) ::: January 02, 2003, 02:13 PM:

Nope, not Hillerman (I've never read him). It may or
may not help to note that it's not based on any specific work of the author in question, but just his general style.

#126 ::: David Moles ::: (view all by) ::: January 02, 2003, 03:34 PM:

Yep, Teresa, me you got. I also, like Kevin, was able to identify the Diggers from "The World Turned Upside Down", though I think I must have actually read Winstanley's Declaration once upon a time.

I'm surprised nobody's done a Tae Kim parody yet. (I'd have a bash at it, but I've just had lunch.)

#127 ::: Kevin J. Maroney ::: (view all by) ::: January 03, 2003, 03:02 PM:

I have three guesses on Dan Blum's reportial account. It doesn't seem like John McPhee, the man who can write fascinatingly about anything, because it isn't full of homey detail. Bernadette tells me that it's not quite Berton Roueche--it's got too much detail about the paramedic and Sergent Aragorn. So it seems very much like a true crime writer, say Ann Rule (but not her, since you said "he"), or *maybe* disease writer Robert Preston.

#128 ::: Dan Blum ::: (view all by) ::: January 03, 2003, 03:39 PM:

Nope, it is indeed Berton Roueche. The bit with the paramedic is, in retrospect, jarring. The conversation with Aragorn I think follows Roueche's somewhat idiosyncratic style of reporting conversations pretty closely, but admittedly the police are never involved in these. I'll take a demerit.

#129 ::: Kip ::: (view all by) ::: January 04, 2003, 06:44 PM:

JRRwocky

Twas Bilbo of the hairy toes
Did send good Frodo on his way
With Gimli, Sam and Boromir
And the ring wraiths at bay.

Beware the shiny ring, my friend--
Its gleam's the bait, your soul to lure.
Resist its blandishments, or end
In furious Barad-Dur!

He took the eldritch ring in hand;
Long time the northern fires he sought.
Then wrested from his friends was he
And to the foe was brought.

But as his friends were saving him
The ring itself, with evil bane
Went weaseling past his conscience true
And ate into his brain.

I'll rule! cried he, and raised it high
But Gollum took it in the fire.
They watched him burn, then home did turn
And went to scour the Shire.

And is the One Ring gone at last?
The Fellowship has won its quest!

With misty eyes, they said goodbyes,
And Frodo headed West.

Twas Bilbo of the hairy toes
Did send good Frodo on his way
With Gimli, Sam and Boromir
And the ring wraiths at bay.

--Kip

#130 ::: Cassandra P-S ::: (view all by) ::: January 04, 2003, 06:54 PM:

I have now lived in this happy place a whole year. The Valar are the best and kindest of hosts. My life is easy and pleasant, and I feel my strength and spirits all coming back again.

Elrond said to Gandalf the other day: "In this place he will last till he is one-hundred years old--perhaps more."

Bilbo always speaks to me when he can, and treats me as his dear nephew. Galadriel has promised that I shall never go back, and so I have nothing to fear; and here my story ends. My troubles are all over, and I am at home; and often before I am quite awake, I fancy I am still in the kitchen-garden at Bag-End, standing with my old friends under the apple-trees.

#131 ::: Yehudit ::: (view all by) ::: January 05, 2003, 03:00 AM:

http://www.classicbookshelf.com/library/anna_sewell/black_beauty/52/

I cheated - I googled "I have now lived in this happy place a whole year." But I picked that line because I knew I had read it long ago.

#132 ::: John M. Ford ::: (view all by) ::: January 05, 2003, 04:24 AM:

Good heavens, people, have you no homes to go to?

And MISS PICKERELL GOES TO MORDOR wasn't a specific book (I haven't actually looked into one for . . . no, longer than that) but merely channeling the concept.

We conclude with one from . . . oh, it doesn't work that way, does it.

Since this Gollum came
I now have a better view
Of the Crack of Doom.

#133 ::: David Fleck ::: (view all by) ::: January 06, 2003, 12:01 AM:

Is everyone stumped by David Fleck? I was. The closest I could manage was "19th C. realistic novel."

Very good, considering that the source material was a bit of a cheat, a translation into English from the original French (Charles Tergie, trans.).

There - that should give it away...

#134 ::: Beth Friedman ::: (view all by) ::: January 06, 2003, 12:34 PM:

Cassandra's is Black Beauty. (Suppressing fond childhood reminiscences.)

And no one's told me whether I hit or missed the mark for Jo Walton's, nor have I seen another confirmed guess.

#135 ::: Kevin J. Maroney ::: (view all by) ::: January 06, 2003, 01:57 PM:

Beth: Jo's piece was Lord of the Rings written in the style of Beowulf--the giveaway, for me, was the first word, "What!", but there are lots of clever stylistic echoes. That's why it looks so much like Tolkien.

#136 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: January 06, 2003, 04:43 PM:

"Masahide."

"Gesundheit."

#137 ::: Bob Webber ::: (view all by) ::: January 07, 2003, 11:19 AM:

David Fleck's hint reveals his source to be The Red and the Black by Stendahl.

#138 ::: Ian Osmond ::: (view all by) ::: January 07, 2004, 11:42 AM:

Now, touching this business of Gamgee -- my gardner, you know -- how do we stand? Lots of people think I'm much too dependent on him. My Uncle Bilbo, in fact, has even gone so far as to call him my keeper. Well, what I say is: Why not? The man's a genius. From the collar upward he stands alone. I gave up trying to run my own affairs within a week of his coming to me. That was about a half a dozen years ago, directly after the rather rummy business of Aragorn, Ilsidur's Ring, and Smeagol, the goggly bounder.

The thing really began when I got to Bag-End, my uncle's place in Buckland. I was spending a week or so there, as I usually did in the summer, and I had to go back to town to get a new valet. I had found Pippin, the fellow I'd taken to Bag-End with me, sneaking my silk toe-ribbons, a thing no bloke of spirit could stick at any price. It transpiring, moreoever, that he had looted a lot of other things here and there about the place, I was reluctantly compelled to hand the misguided blighter the mitten and go to Hobbitton to ask the registry office to dig up another specimen for my approval. They sent me Gamgee.

#139 ::: Kate Nepveu ::: (view all by) ::: January 07, 2004, 02:48 PM:

_Black Beauty_! Oh I used to read that book endlessly when I was a kid. I credit it for influencing my unformed mind toward "kindness to animals is a good thing."

*suppresses urge to run off and read it right now*

(Cassandra, that's perfectly brilliant.)

#140 ::: Lenora Rose ::: (view all by) ::: January 07, 2004, 03:13 PM:

Ian: Wodehouse.

Dagnabbit, why do I only find the cool - but LONG - threads in the archives that I hadn't read yet when I'm supposed to be working???

#141 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: January 07, 2004, 05:45 PM:

Another latecomer (getting and spending, late and soon):

Oh my name is Aragorn, the lost King, the lost King
Oh my name is Aragorn, the lost King
And I do not want the ring, curse its name, curse its name,
and I do not want the ring, curse its name.

Song 10 on a Christmas present video, serious points for guessing which. Many more verses are clearly possible to this....

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