Story - The tale of mad Jethro and the Badgers

Post date: Mar 04, 2011 11:27:8 AM

By Lina Willowwood.

Once upon a time, in the early days of the Shire, when hobbits first settled here, there lived a strange hobbit called Jethro.

Jethro was a sight to behold, for he looked different than most hobbits. He wore a chequered shirt, which many a lass found strangely attractive. He had a curly beard, which made most children stop and gape at him. And he often stood on one leg, which made just about everyone shake their head and mutter about foolish madness.

Because of this, some even believed that Jethro HAD just one leg. But that's not true, because he often took long walks in the forest. Bringing his flute with him, he played songs inspired by the beautiful Shire woods.

The tunes came across as outlandish to most hobbits, but the animals in the forest loved them. They flocked to Jethro as he passed through. Conies jumped around him, and birds settled on his shoulders, chirping along with the tunes.

Now, in those days, as it is now, the Shire was home to many a badger. And just as today, the badgers could be vicious critters. They burrowed the hillsides and bit those who came near.

One bright spring day, as Jethro passed through Bindbole Wood, he came near a badger burrow. Inside, a group of badgers lay resting, as they often do in the late stages of winter. And just like hobbits, badgers are frightfully grumpy if someone wakes them while they rest. Jethro didn't know the badgers were there, so he stopped near their burrow. He took up his flute and soon played a lively song from the wood.

Inside, the badgers stirred and snuffled. They were woken from their sweet dreams of eating worms and insects. Grumpily, one of them rubbed its snout between its paws. Then it let out a fierce howl!

It ran outside the burrow, bared its teeth, ready to pounce on whatever made all the noise outside... and stopped dead in its tracks as it saw a strange bearded hobbit outside, hopping around on one leg, playing his flute!

More badgers came running out, and all watched in amazement as Jethro played. Their leader, the ferocious-looking badger who had first ran out, tilted its head, then opened its mouth and started to sing along!

Jethro kept playing, and soon all the badgers where joyfully jumping around him, singing and laughing to the tunes. They danced well into the night and the morning after. Then they went back to their burrow to rest a bit more. But from now on, every time Jethro passed into the forest, the badgers came running to him, dancing, laughing and singing. And never did they bite him or anyone else.

It is said that even today, as the badgers in the Shire wake from their winter's rest, they celebrate by singing Jethro's old tunes. And many a hobbit have tried to look for the singing badgers, but none have been successful yet.

Still, every spring, as the land wakes from the winter, strange noises can be heard from the Shire forests. In the evening breeze, there's something akin to a faint chorus of humming voices. And some even swear that far into the forest, when the days grow longer, the sound of a flute can be heard, calling for them to dance and sing.

Some information about the artist:

Miss Lina is a well-known performer, mostly known for her appearances at the Green Dragon nights where she not only plays her music but  also acts as a master of ceremonies, making sure every budding performer gets a turn. During evenings Miss Lina can often be found playing and singing in Michel Delving's market square. She is also an actor and member of the notorious band, the Songburrow Strollers.