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Tales from the Perilous Realm [Paperback]

J. R. R. Tolkien
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (38 customer reviews)

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Book Description

2 Sep 2002

For the first time in A-format, the definitive collection of Tolkien’s four acclaimed modern classic ‘fairie’ tales – Farmer Giles of Ham, The Adventures of Tom Bombadil, Leaf by Niggle and Smith of Wootton Major – all writen with the same charm as The Hobbit.

Farmer Giles of Ham is fat and unheroic, but – having unwittingly managed to scare off a short-sighted giant – is called upon to do battle when the dragon Chrysophylax comes to town;
The Adventures of Tom Bombadil tells by way of verse of Tom’s many adventures with hobbits, princesses, dwarves and trolls;
Leaf by Niggle recounts the strange adventures of the painter Niggle who sets out to paint the perfect tree;
Smith of Wootton Major journeys to the Land of Faery thanks to the magical ingredients of the Great Cake of the Feast of Good Children.

The four tales are written with the same skill, quality and hallmarks that made Tolkien’s Hobbit a classic. Largely overlooked because of their short lengths, they are finally together in a volume which reaffirms Tolkien’s place as a master storyteller for readers young and old.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 192 pages
  • Publisher: HarperCollins; New Ed edition (2 Sep 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0007149123
  • ISBN-13: 978-0007149124
  • Product Dimensions: 11.1 x 17.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (38 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 300,280 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


Farmer Giles of Ham:
‘A fabulous tale of the days when giants and dragons walked the kingdom’
Sunday Times

Leaf by Niggle:
‘A haunting and successful demonstration of the qualities of faerie’
New York Times

The Adventures of Tom Bombadil:
‘Something close to genius’
The Listener

Smith of Wootton Major:
‘Whoever reads it at eight will no doubt still be going back to it at eighty’
New Statesman

From the Back Cover

Four classic tales by the author of

'The fat and unheroic Farmer Giles of Ham is called upon to do battle with the dragon Chrysophylax; Niggle the painter sets out to paint the perfect tree; Hobbits, princesses, dwarves and trolls partake in the adventures of Tom Bombadil; and Smith of Wootton Major journeys to the land of Faery via the magical ingredients of a giant cake.'

This definitive collection of J.R.R. Tolkien's acclaimed short stories and poems reaffirms his status as a master storyteller for readers young and old.

"A fabulous tale of the days when giants and dragons walked the kingdom." 'Sunday Times'

"A haunting and successful demonstration of the qualities of faerie."
'New York Times'

"Something close to genius." 'The Listener'

"Whoever reads it at eight will no doubt still be going back to it at eighty." 'New Statesman'

Inside This Book (Learn More)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
41 of 42 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An Unknown Classic 24 Jan 2004
This stuff goes under the listing of "things most people don't know Tolkien wrote," along with things like "On Fairy Stories," "Bilbo's Last Song" and the charming bedtime story "Roverandum." It's a good collection of Tolkien's lesser-known material, including some cute short stories and poems.
In this slim volume is: "The Adventures of Tom Bombadil," a collection of poems. Some focus on the weird and wonderful Tom himself, and some are poems that are (or might be) in Middle-Earth, like the creepy "Mewlips," the sweet "Princess Mee," and melancholy "Last Ship." There is "Leaf By Niggle," the tale of a painter straining to live up to his hopes. "Farmer Giles of Ham" is a delightful mock-hero tale about a farmer and a not-so-frightening dragon, while "Smith of Wootton Major" is a deeper, more subtle story about fantasy in a person's life.
As always, Tolkien's writing is entertaining and well-plotted if it's a story, just fantastic if it's a poem. (Although some of the poems have plots too). If you're expecting the depth or grimness of "Lord of the Rings," then you'll disappointed; these are more like "The Hobbit" or "Roverandum" in tone, although there are hints of "Rings" in some of the short stories like "Leaf" or "Farmer Giles."
Why four stars? Well, the cover is a bit odd-looking, a bit smudgy for my taste. And the paper felt a bit odd, as if it could have been better. And buyers should be forewarned: If you have purchased the "Tolkien Reader," then know that this book has some of the same stuff compiled in it. Specifically, "Father Giles" and "Adventures."
This is a good compilation of several of Tolkien's lesser, non-"Lord of the Rings" works, and fans shdould check them out. In fact, so should non-fans.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Simply beautiful... 28 Oct 2009
By pacem et amorem TOP 1000 REVIEWER VINE VOICE
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This is a simply beautiful book, a wonderful collection of faery stories complemented by Alan Lee's sublime illustrations. In this collection of 'Tales from the Perilous Realm' you are treated to no less than five stories from the wonderful imagination of JRR Tolkien: Roverandom, Farmer Giles of Ham, Leaf by Niggle, The Adventures of Tom Bombadil and Smith of Wootton Major. All have something to say - whether it is about life in general, human nature, society or just plain wonderment...

I can heartily recommend to fans of Tolkien, of magic and of 'faery', of Alan Lee or to those wishing to explore Tolkien but who are not yet ready to tackle the mammoth mountain of literature that is The Lord Of The Rings! This collection is fun, at times frivilous and can be read fast. Perfect for relaxation when you don't want to be too taxed!

Try it...you may find you'll fall for it!
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35 of 37 people found the following review helpful
"Leaf by Niggle" is the closest JRRT ever came to true allegory, and is something of a spiritual autobiography. The tree that Niggle tries to paint but keeps being distracted by details represents his Middle Earth Legendarium, particularly the Silmarillion; Mr. Parish represents his 'secular' responsibilities as a professor, husband, father, citizen, etc. The Journey is, of course Death. The Workhouse is Purgatory. The valley with the tree is the Earthly Paradise, and the land beyond the mountains is Heaven.

"Farmer Giles of Ham" on the surface seems to be a pleasant Midaeval adventure tale, but there are subversive elements to it. In this sort of story one expects the Brave Knight to be the hero; however, in dealing with the dragon the King and his Knights are worse than useless, and the person who is able to take care of the matter is a fat, redheaded farmer who doesn't like tresspassers.

"Smith of Wooton Major" is also semiallegorical, with smithcraft standing in for JRRT's professional obligations as a professor at Oxford (in which his son Christopher followed his father's footsteps, as Smith's son became a blacksmith, too.) Some of the images are odd and disturbing, but beautiful, too.

The miscellaneous poems are great fun. Some, of course, refer to his private mythology; many had appeared in different forms in various magazines and private printings over the years before they were assembled in this anthology. "Princess Mee" is a retelling of the Narcissus story; "The Shadow Bride" is evocative of several old myths, including Persephone, but doesn't quite fit with any of them.
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44 of 47 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
The four stories in the book are all different, but all classic Tolkien. Farmer Giles of Ham tells of the rise of an unassuming Farmer to become King through perilous bravery and valour. Filled with humour. The Adventures of Tom Bombadil are an excerpt from Book one of LotR. Leaf by Niggle is an enchanting tale, which leaves you wondering about many things. By far the shortest and best of the set. Simply Amazing. Smith of Wooton Major ultmiately is a story about respect, but is told by Tolkien in a most moving way. GO and buy it. Then tell all your friends.
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21 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Tales From the Perilous Realm 6 Feb 2005
By humanitysdarkerside VINE VOICE
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I don't understand why the Tales has been called a collection of children's stories (as in alexcapel's review). As an adult - middle aged - and a voracious reader of anything to do with fantasy, these short stories had a sense of depth and perspective that I seldom find in children's books.
I have to say that my favorites were "Leaf by Niggle" and "Smith of Wotton Major". I was profoundly affected by both of them. Tolkien manages to insert moral points without seeming to preach from a pulpit.
"Farmer Giles of Ham" had an interesting twist to it. Here again Tolkien treads the fine line of morals superbly. I have to say that the poems on Tom Bombadil were disappointing. I was expecting something that went further back into history. Something that told me where he was from and what he was. But, then, that is how stories are. Authors often take me where I have not expected to go, and thank God for that.
A superb read.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars good read
I like reading Tolkien and found thid just as readable as his other stories There is only one author like him
Published 20 days ago by merle kerr
4.0 out of 5 stars Another good read
Some excellent stories brought together , some are easy to read and some are not , I was sceptical to begin with but with a few pages I was hooked by a master story again
Published 1 month ago by Amazon Customer
4.0 out of 5 stars Unsure of what's on this CD
I'm not entirely sure what this listing is for, as the descriptions are either for a paperback book or an unspecified out of print edition (CD or book, I have no idea! Read more
Published 1 month ago by Paul Castle
4.0 out of 5 stars Another demonstration on Tolkiens great imagination
I enjoy all the Tolkien books. I wanted this one for a bit mor insight into Tom Bombadil & loved the other short story's as well.
Published 2 months ago by Peter Langer
5.0 out of 5 stars Tales from the Perilouse Realm.
Tales from the Perilouse Realm by J.R.R. Tolkien is a great collection of five of his smaller works which are captivating for both kids and adults alike..
Published 3 months ago by Mr. Lindsay M.S. Reid
5.0 out of 5 stars J. R. R. Tolkien - Tales from the Perilous Realm | Review
Tales from the Perilous Realm is a beautiful collection of some of Tolkien's finest but most obscure works, illustrated (in my copy, at least) by Alan Lee. Read more
Published 3 months ago by SocialBookshelves.com
4.0 out of 5 stars Farmer Giles of Ham
Farmer Giles of Ham is a tale about an ordinary farmer who, through a series of seemingly random events, becomes a mighty hero and ruler. Read more
Published 3 months ago by StarMan
5.0 out of 5 stars Lesser known Tolkien book.
OK, Tolkien fans will all know this, but for the general public this is not so well known. My 14 year old son has enjoyed reading it!
Published 5 months ago by Bernard F. A. Roughton
5.0 out of 5 stars the perilous realm
brought this for the younger members of the family the one who listened to it so far have enjoyed it
Published 6 months ago by CAROL RAW
5.0 out of 5 stars Tales from the Perilous Realm.
I give this product five stars because I love the stories and there's no one I'd rather listen to reading them than Sir Derek Jacobi. Read more
Published 7 months ago by James
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