Pop Of The Rings ( And Other Cats )

Hard life to be a cat in Middle-earth...not really . Cat is a poem written by Sam Gamgee and recorded in the Red Book of Westmarch, although at most he only touched up an older piece. Hobbits appear to have been fond of comic bestiary lore, of which this is only  an example. My cat Amber 'Windy' Pop, also known as Poppo  ( or Pippo occasionally ) is a true Tolkien fan. Often you can find him sleeping on the bookshelf , between an old copy of The Hobbit and a The Maps of Middle-earth or wandering between my collection of 'mini Middle-earth' figures.

'Cat' is a  beautiful poem that's more than it seems. The Red Book has several verses, some of which figure in the Lord of the Rings, or in the attached stories.  Others are just scribbled in the margins, for possible inclusion. Professor Tolkien had scribbled "SG" in the margin when he wrote the poem, suggesting that he meant to attribute it to Sam Gamgee. The poem is  traditional hobbit poetry, making for an excellent nursery-rhyme sort of singalong song. 

Cats can be found in Middle-earth, sleeping on mats in front of a fire, or under a chair in an Inn, and of course, in song and poems and even riddles. The ostler's cat mentioned in Frodo's song at the Prancing Pony, as well as the real cat belonging to the inn's ostler Bob. A cat was featured in the Riddle-game between Bilbo and Gollum:  "No-legs lay on one-leg, two-legs sat near on three-legs, four-legs got some." ( meaning: "Fish on a little table, man at table sitting on a stool, the cat has the bones." )

Other cats in Middle-earth are the ten cats belonging to the Queen Beruthiel of Gondor. She had nine black cats and one white cat. Her cats were stealthy and adept at finding their way in the dark. Queen Beruthiel used the cats as spies in order to learn the secrets that the people of Gondor wanted to keep hidden so that she could have an advantage over them. She was able to speak with her cats or read their minds in order to learn what they had discovered. The people of Gondor hated and feared the cats, but the cats were not safe from Queen Beruthiel either. She tormented them and she had the white cat spy on the black cats. It is said that her husband , King Tarannon Falastur set Queen Beruthiel and her cats adrift at Sea and they were never seen again.



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