Sunday, February 3, 2008

Farmer Giles of HamFarmer Giles of Ham
"Farmer Giles of Ham" is a short story written by J. R. R. Tolkien in 1937 and published in 1949. The story describes a series of encounters between Farmer Giles and a wily dragon named Chrysophylax. It is set in a fantasy Great Britain of long ago, which has mythical creatures, medieval knights, and primitive firearms; it is not connected to the author's Middle-earth legendarium, apart from the fact that Middle-earth is distantly connected to Great Britain (see The Book of Lost Tales), as both this and Middle-earth are intended to be "English mythology". It is happily anachronistic, and is more like a folk-tale than the sweeping epics which Tolkien is better known for.
The book was originally illustrated by Pauline Baynes.

Chrysophylax Dives
Chrysophylax Dives is the comically villainous dragon in the classic story Farmer Giles of Ham by J.R.R. Tolkien. He stands halfway between the classical evil and greedy dragon, such as Smaug, and the modern comical and peaceful dragon, such as The Reluctant Dragon. His name means "Goldward the Rich." His first name, Chrysophylax (Χρυσοφυλαξ), is Greek for "Guardian of Gold," and his last name, Dives, is Latin for "rich".
The dragon's personality is portrayed as similar to a pompous aristocrat--rather vain and arrogant but not actually malicious. Farmer Giles tends to treat him in a manner not unlike Robin Hood's treating the rich men he robbed.

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