There is a seed of courage hidden (often deeply, it is true) in the heart of the fattest and most timid hobbit, waiting for some final and desperate danger to make it grow.
After my son and I saw the film, Tolkien, a few weeks ago, I knew it was time to pick up his books once again. It has been since I was fifteen or so, reading them in a secluded tower in San Miguel de Allende while our family was there for Christmas. No, I have read bits of them to my son as he was growing up, creating in him a great fondness for travel, adventure, and defying danger.
I love The Fellowship of The Ring for the courage it instills, for the way it upholds what is honorable, true and good, for the way I can liken it to Christianity even though the movie completely avoided such comparisons.
Let this be my first of 20 Books of Summer.
This is our dog, Henry. He is of who-knows-what descent, but we think it’s part Shepherd and part Husky. On account of one blue eye and one brown eye. And the high pitched whine he makes when he walks around the house with one of my son’s socks in his mouth trying to get us to take it away from him.
It was a good day when we rescued him from the animal shelter.
We love him very much.
Apparently, J.R.R. Tolkien’s son, Michael, also had a little black and white dog which he loved very much. Only his dog was a toy, and when Michael (age 4) left him on the beach during a family holiday in 1925, he was lost forever.
So, Tolkein wrote this story to comfort his son:
I would not have discovered this book had I not been looking for works by Tolkien for my son’s Christmas present years ago. It was published for the first time about seventy years after it was first written, and I’m so happy that I happened upon it.
It tells the tale of a little dog, named Rover, who has the great impertinence to take a bite out of a wizard’s trousers. The wizard became very angry, and shouted, “Idiot! Go and be a toy!” And so Rover is turned into a toy dog, who then goes on to have many adventures with other dogs all named Rover. (To differentiate between them, our dog is called Roverandom.)
This is one of the lovely colored illustrations found in the middle of the book in which Roverandom is enjoying his adventure under The Deep Blue Sea with the mer-king and mer-children, the sharks and a great Sea Serpent.
I can’t tell you what a marvelous find this book was; it’s only 89 pages, but it is a delightful fantasy full of the wizards and situations which only Tolkien can contrive so well.