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Smith of Wootton Major / Leaf by Niggle: AND Leaf by Niggle Audio CD – Audiobook, CD, Unabridged


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Product details

  • Audio CD
  • Publisher: HarperCollins; Unabridged edition edition (3 Nov. 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0007177631
  • ISBN-13: 978-0007177639
  • Product Dimensions: 12.8 x 1.1 x 14.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,371,298 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Review

“The book has a haunting quality, characteristic of the best of the ‘deeper’ folktales. It is a beautiful, memorable story.” Times Educational Supplement

“It may be compared to the most delicate miniature but it is one of a rare kind: the more closely it is examined the more it reveals the grandeur of its conception. Whoever reads it at eight will still be going back to it at eighty.” New Statesman

“A tremendously valuable volume with important new insights into Tolkien’s way of working. It’s also a beautiful hardcover edition of the story.” Mythprint

--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From the Back Cover

J.R.R. Tolkien's enchanting fairy-story.

Every twenty-four years in the village of Wootton Major the Feast of Good Children was held. This was a very special occasion and to celebrate it a Great Cake was prepared, to feed the twenty-four children who were invited. The cake was very sweet and rich and entirely covered in sugar icing. But inside there were some very strange ingredients and whoever swallowed one of them would gain the gift of entry into the Land of Faery…

"The book has a haunting quality characteristic of the 'deeper' folk-tales. It is a beautiful memorable story."
TIMES EDUCATIONAL SUPPLEMENT

"May be compared to the most delicate miniature but it is one of a rare kind: the more closely it is examined the more it reveals the grandeur of its conception. And whoever reads it at eight, will no doubt still be going back to it at eighty."
NEW STATESMAN

--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

13 of 14 people found the following review helpful By T. Bobley on 22 Oct. 2006
Format: Audio CD
These two unabridged stories, written by J R R Tolkien and read by Derek Jackobi are:

Smith of Wootton Major

Tells of the folk of a traditional old rural village who have some contact with the folk of Faerie. One of the village children is secretly passed a gift which has some magical effects on him and allows him to enter and explore the 'perilous realm'. He travels there at will over the course of his life, has many adventures, meets Faerie royalty and learns wisdom of the fair folk, until (now a venerable old fellow) he has to hand his 'passport' on to the next child. He's reluctant to relinquish his gift but finally does so without making a fuss and receives praise and respect for doing so and is allowed a say in who the next child should be to receive the magical object.

Leaf by Niggle

Is a strange little tale, which tells of a painter who wants only to paint a fabulous tree in peace, but is constantly interrupted by neighbours and other people wanting him to do other things. His precious painting is used by 'the authorities' to patch his neighbour's roof and he is sent away on a journey that he's been dreading. He seems to live in some sort of totalitarian society where people have, by law, to help their neighbours. Niggle is incarcerated in a place that he takes to be a hospital, to mend his selfish ways. There, after a long long time, he eavesdrops on a conversation in which his faults are being discussed by, what seem to be, a couple of bureaucrats of the after-life. They finally decide that he's been sufficiently rehabilitated to progress to the next stage of his 'journey' and he takes a train to a place where his marvellous painting has become a reality.

I read both of these stories many years ago when I was a child.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By E. A Solinas HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWER on 28 Feb. 2006
Format: Hardcover
While most of his genius went into the world of Middle-Earth and its fantastical history, JRR Tolkien produced a number of smaller stories during his life.

And though he disliked allegory, the enchanting "Smith of Wootton Major" is a bit of an oddity among his writings -- a beautifully fantastical little fable that drips over with Tolkien's love of real, deep fairy tales. And unlike many a story of elves or faeries since, Tolkien keeps that sense of mystery and magic in the world of the supernatural.

It takes place in a little town "not very long ago for those with long memories, not very far away fro those with long legs." The Master Cook of that village takes a vacation, and returns with an apprentice in tow. But something odd happens at the Feast of the Cake -- the cook stirs in a "fay-star" with little trinkets in the cake, and it's accidentally swallowed by a boy there.

The boy (later called Smith) is changed by the fay-star, which sparkles on his forehead. When he grows up, Smith ventures into Faery itself, and even meets the Faery Queen herself. The message she gives him is for her mysterious, missing husband, the King -- who turns out to be the last person anybody in Wootton Major would have expected.

"Smith" is a fairy tale in the best sense. Don't expect cackling witches or convenient loopholes in spells here; Tolkien was too skilled for that. Instead we have majestic fey and sparkling magic, woven with a tidy medieval town (consider the custom of naming people after their jobs -- Smith, a smith, capisce?). Never once does it become precious or cutesy, only more enchanted as it goes along.

It's also among Tolkien's simpler writings, especially since it is effectively a short story.
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 15 Oct. 1998
Format: Paperback
This is a wonderfully crafted and deeply moving book. Not really one for the kids but for every adult who secretly mourns the passing of their childhood. Be warned though, it could bring a few tears to your eyes.
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