Thursday, October 27, 2005


One thing that really bugs me in fiction is killing off scores of people and expecting the audience not to particularly care. As long as the good guy triumphs, everything's all right. But every person has value. Furthermore, for every loudly lauded, conquering hero, there are plenty of folks behind the scenes who never get any attention but are vital in helping the goal to be achieved. I like to look for underdogs, for people in fiction and real life who are not given the appreciation they deserve.

Fatty Bolger strikes me as this sort of person. We don't know much about him, but we do know that he is a faithful friend of the four hobbits who set out from the Shire and that he has an important and frightening task of his own to perform. This is not the reckoning of his adventure, so we don't get to hear much about what he went through, and it seems his contributions would probably have been unnoticed by everyone within the world of the story, hopefully with the exception of his four furry-footed friends. Everybody always forgets poor Fatty. This is my attempt to lift him from obscurity. Every life counts, even in fiction.


It seems the Shire is duller now.
The greens are turning gray.
A shiver and a furrowed brow
Give Fatty’s fear away.

The faithful fellow Fredegar,
Abandoned by the pack,
Wonders if they have traveled far
And when they’re coming back.

He is not bitter. No, indeed,
He offered to remain,
Fulfilling quite a vital need.
But still, he is in pain.

What if his comrades have been caught
In peril grave and grim,
And what if – horrifying thought! –
They have forgotten him?

Do they remember their old chum,
A gentle soul and kind
Who’s seen so many troubles come
Since he was left behind?

No longer does his nickname fit.
His worry’s worn him thin.
But he won’t make a break for it
And let the darkness in.

He will get none of the glory,
The honor and the fame.
When they tell the epic story,
Few will recall his name.

Most folks will never know the role
The brave young Bolger played,
But pride and peace will fill his soul,
For he’s the one who stayed.

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