Smith of Wootton Major by J.R.R. Tolkien ; Illustrations by Pauline Baynes
Boston : Houghton Mifflin Company, 1967. First American Edition. Hardcover. 61 pages ; illustrated ; 16 cm. $1.95 dust jacket with a small chip at the head of the dust jacket spine. Very good copy; no underlines or markings within the pages. Satisfaction guaranteed!
As every reader of J. R. R. Tolkien's Tree and Leaf knows, a fairy story that is worth reading at all is worthy to be read by people of all ages. Smith of Wootton Major is such a story.
The village of Wootton Major was remarkable chiefly for a festival held every twenty-four years, the Feast of Good Children, for which the Master Cook baked a very special cake to be eaten by twenty-four especially good children. One year the Master Cook went away on a trip and brought back a new apprentice, a quiet boy called Alf. After Alf came to Wootton Major strange things began to happen. At the next Feast of Good Children there was a star in the piece of cake that went to the smith's son. When that boy grew up and became a smith him self his work was stronger and more beautiful than any that had been seen before. And there were perquisites that came with the star — some beneficent and some frightening.
The story of Smith of Wootton Major follows the lines laid down by its author in his definition of the qualities peculiarly exemplified by the fairy story: fantasy, recovery, escape, consolation. They are all there and -x with them "the piercing glimpse of joy."
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