Bitter Valentine's Day Poetry Challenge

Tale of Two Kitties, A

1. The Song, The Line, The Writer and His Herring

In the sixty-fourth year of the reign of King Eldarion, Findegil, the King’s Writer, began collecting Ancient and Modern Vernacular Ditties, Songs and Rhymes of Gondor, this being a pastime that tends to be practiced in such Ages when there aren’t multitudes of orcs battering the gates. Findegil, contrarily to what popular opinions tend to believe in such matters, was a rotund and sonorous man with more than a few similarities to a particularly jolly beetroot. He was exceedingly fond of music, which he tended to perform in his free time with a technique that can only be described in kindness as “enthusiastic,” although “sonorous” is also singularly apposite.

In the due measure of time, he came across a half-forgotten rhyme whose origins he guessed as lost in ancient fog or other such ancient climacteric misfortune. It ran:

Pussycat, pussycat, where have you been?
I’ve been to Osgiliath to see the Queen.
Pussycat, pussycat, what did you there?
I revealed the results of my espionage causing several executions and generally behaved as the malevolent entity that I am.

While Findegil thought the ditty was not wholly devoid of charm, he found the last line to be somewhat jarring; it certainly didn’t flow off the tongue as easily as the other ones. Musical and preservation instincts warred with each other for a while in Findegil’s depths, which were, truth be said, quite the ample war theatre, until musical instincts vanquished their foes, or possibly bellowed them into submission. He set about to write an alternative final line for the song; preferably one with less than fourteen syllables.

Unfortunately (or fortunately, depending on perspective and auditory abilities), Findegil died following an unlikely sequence of events involving a popular Minas Tirith singer known as Tinúviel, a smoked herring and an out-of-tune clavier. Time and tide waiting for no man, his shuffling of this mortal coil came before he had a chance to complete his alternative to the ditty’s final line, though his heirs, amidst their tears and inventorying, found a paper with the word “heir,” or possibly “chair” and a list of assorted rodents.

It probably should be noted that, despite uninformed reports to the contrary, the herring was still perfectly comestible at the end of it all.

Note: Any beta comments would be very much appreciated. So would a nickname for Eldarion. His father is the Renewer, after all. Something along the lines of Eldarion the Self-Effacing, or possibly something rather more humorous (though within the boundaries of taste, I hasten to add). Any suggestions?

This is a work of fan fiction, written because the author has an abiding love for the works of J R R Tolkien. The characters, settings, places, and languages used in this work are the property of the Tolkien Estate, Tolkien Enterprises, and possibly New Line Cinema, except for certain original characters who belong to the author of the said work. The author will not receive any money or other remuneration for presenting the work on this archive site. The work is the intellectual property of the author, is available solely for the enjoyment of Henneth Annûn Story Archive readers, and may not be copied or redistributed by any means without the explicit written consent of the author.


In Challenges

Story Information

Author: A. L. Milton

Status: Beta

Completion: Work in Progress

Rating: General

Last Updated: 03/15/04

Original Post: 02/13/03

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