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Saturday, June 14, 2014

Father's Day - Super Dad and Mythological Species # 22 - Mewlips

Super Dad

I had a couple of fun paragraphs I wrote in my high school English journal for Father's Day. It was called Super Dad. I've turned my house upside down looking for it, but have failed to locate it. I'll have to save it for next year.
Father's Day

Sunday is Father's Day. This is a holiday that has always been a source of sadness for me growing up, since like many children around the world,

I have never known my father. I must admit that I was often a little envious of the many happy families who had so much to celebrate on this day. That may be why the piece I wrote for my high school English journal, even though it was fun, was also sappy.

But since becoming part of my husband's family, Father's Day has been a happier occasion for me. My father-in-law is a wonderful man and a great dad. [I'll save the rest of my praise for him in person, in case he's reading this.]

But through my kids I've been able to really appreciate fatherhood at close range and the powerful effects the loving, guiding hand of a man can have in the life of a child. I don't want to add any sorrow to broken families, I know too well the multitude of sorrows there. But having lived in a house with four woman mothering, and attempting as well, to father the children I've grown up with, I've come to the conclusion that a man's, a father's hand and guidance is quite different from a woman's. A father's guidance can play a powerful role in shaping a child's character and in helping a child mature and see the world more accurately.

I've been told many times by people offering me solace that a bad father can be worse than having no father. This point is valid, there is unfortunately great opportunity for abuse in any intimate relationship, but I still maintain that  fathers play a vital role in child rearing.

[I can't speak from direct personal experience with an abusive father, but I have known abusive mothers and recommend to sufferers of any abuse to get help from friends and/or professionals. Prayer helps too, in addition to help from people. Part of healing is finding some good in each relationship. We need to hold on to the good we can find for peace of mind.]
Back to fathers, I don't want to discourage anyone trying to make a go at having the best happy family that they can in any combination they can. Happy family life is a blessing that seems rarer than it should be. Even though no family is ideal, the ideal of having both a loving father and mother is an amazing thing and of great benefit to the fortunate children who receive such a wonderful experience. The complementing natures of men and women together negotiating differences and finding common ground for the good of the children and each other is unparalleled.

Though my husband probably won't read this, and more probably won't agree with much of it [we negotiate our differences a lot] I wish to say thank you dear husband for being such a good father to our children and for helping with my healing by allowing me to see the beauty of a father's loving guidance in action on a daily basis. It has been a privilege to witness.

Mythological Species # 22 - Mewlips

In honor of Father's Day I will summarize details about a species created by J.R.R. Tolkien, my husband's favorite author [What a coincidence, mine, too!] : mewlips.

There is a wonderful poem by Tolkien about a humanoid species called mewlips in The Adventures of Tom Bombadil that I won't quote here to avoid copyright infringement. [Tolkien's family suffered from that more than enough in his life time, I won't add to it. Though it would probably be fine under fair use laws anyway, better safe than sorry.]

Here's a link to the poem:

http://tolkiengateway.net/wiki/The_Mewlips 

A copy of the poem can also be found in the book A Tolkien Miscellany, by JRR Tolkien, ISBN 0-7394-2736-9 from First SFBC Science Fiction Printing: June 2002 Published by arrangement with: Houghton Mifflin Company in NY

There are also entries about mewlips in the the books the Tolkien Companion, by J.E.A. Tyler, ISBN: 0-517-279142 St. Martin's Press, NY 1976 and A Tolkien Bestiary, by David Day, ISBN 0-345-28283-3 Ballantine Books, NY 1979

Briefly, mewlips are gold loving cannibals that live in buildings with cellars built near bogs. Tyler, author of the Tolkien Companion describes the poem as a cautionary tale that summarizes 'all the alien horrors ever heard of in the Shire.' While Day, author of A Tolkien Bestiary suspects this is a hobbit's reference to goblins and/or an unrealized Lake Town danger.

Personally, I don't think this poem refers to goblins. Since there is a decidedly plant focused feel to mewlips that is ungoblin like. There is mention of drooping willows, grey trees, a marsh, hanging trees and gallows-weed. Goblins are usually more likely to be found in caves and mines than marshes.
I suspect this poem describes the horrors of partly corrupted elves that haven't been fully transformed into goblins by Morgoth. The poem mentions going over the Merlock Mountains, much like the dwarves' song says over the Misty Mountains, so the home of the Mewlips is probably east of the Shire. There are references to spider-shadows which reminds us of Mirkwood. There is mention of marshes which feels like the area past Esgaroth, which is home to several marshes. All these seem to lead us east, which just so happens to be the direction the elves originally came from. It's a fun thing to think about.

What creatures of Middle Earth do you think the poem Mewlips is about?


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