Wizards and their bad hobbits

This clever piece was posted by Ieuan Wickham in alt.callahans.

Given the fantastic nature of this place, this seemed appropriate…

Here goes…

Long ago, in a galaxy far, far away…
(No, that’s the wrong start…)

Once upon a time, there was a poor merchant. He hadn’t been a merchant long, and he had thought that there would be a profit selling the horses of the Rohirrim to the nobles of Gondor. But, of course, you may remember that the men of Rohan don’t really like to sell their horses, and are in fact quite protective of them. So there he was, some money for capital and no idea what to do with it.

He was walking around one of the cities (I forget which), kicking the stones and himself and trying to think of something. Pretty soon he got quite hungry and went off to find a street vendor. As he was munching on his third pastry, he remembered something that one of the Isengarders had mentioned. Apparantly the wizards who lived at and visited Orthanc were extremely fond of sweet food, and the cooks at the tower hated to make it.

“Aha,” thought the merchant. (Nobody thinks, and nobody ever *says* “aha”, but never mind) “I can buy some of these pastries and sell them to the cooks.” He did a bit of research and found that many of the wizards liked mint-flavoured sweets, so he bought a large number of mint-filled pastries and loaded them onto a wagon.

He rushed the wagon across the plains and brought the wagon to the gates of Isengard late one afternoon. When the guards asked him what he had brought, he told them, and they let him inside the gates.

But the merchant had reckoned without three things:

One: that wizards have very good hearing; so they descended from the tower, some flying, some just running very fast, and some probably rolling down the stairs, and converged on his wagon while it waited in the courtyard.

Two: that wizards can get quite hungry after being wizardly all day; and so while some of them distracted him the rest slipped the pastries off the back of the wagon, and even filched the ones that he had been sitting next to.

Three: that wizards don’t like to pay for things very much (please, remember Shadowfax, and how difficult the merchant had found it even to *buy* horses from the Rohirrim); and so they didn’t.

The merchant was left standing there with an empty wagon, while the guard looked on in pitying contempt. Just then, a hobbit walked out of the gate and down the road past the wagon. The merchant called out to him, stopped him and told him the story. The hobbit listened attentively, but couldn’t help but smile towards the end.

“What are you grinning about?” the merchant demanded.

“My father told me when I was young, and his father told him, and his father before him… Do not peddle minty eclairs for wizards, for they are supple and quick to hunger.”

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