Thursday, December 24, 2015

Gallytrots, Spoorns, and Tantarrabobs

The Two Damsels Rescue Roger from the Rabble (by H. J. Ford)

In this special Christmas Eve installment of Thoul's Paradise, we present an article from Michael Aislabie Denham.  Citing no less an authority than the Bard, Denham assures us that this night shall not be plagued by ghosts nor any other malevolent, supernatural entities.  Denham supplies an abundant list of said entities from folklore of the British Isles; indeed, presentation of the list seems to be the whole point of the article.  Many names are familiar, yet many are unfamiliar.  Among the more familiar terms, we see a reference to “hobbits.”  Apparently, Denham's article is the first written mention of hobbit as some sort of creature.  Absent this distinction, I suspect Denham's efforts would suffer from more profound obscurity than they already do.  Tolkien assumed he originated the word hobbit and had no recollection of being previously exposed to it.  Given that Tolkien was a linguist well-read in folklore, we cannot dismiss the possibility of prior exposure; regardless, there is a certain difference between 'being exposed' to something and 'consciously using' that something.

Happy holidays!

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