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Letter 240

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The Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien
Letter 240
RecipientPauline Gasch
Date1 August 1962
Subject(s)Tom Bombadil

Letter 240 is a letter written by J.R.R. Tolkien and published in The Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien.

Summary

Pauline Gasch (late Pauline Baynes) was illustrating The Adventures of Tom Bombadil, and had been given both a typescript and a galley-proof of the poems. However, the former mentioned Tom Bombadil wearing a "peacock's feather" on his hat, and the latter had a "swan-wing feather". Tolkien told her that the peacock was a leftover from an old draft, and would have to go. Bombadil had a swan-feather at first, and later in the narrative a blue kingfisher feather.

Next followed a short treatise about the etymology of "kingfisher", and its place as the rival of the swans as most prized property of a King; in this case Bombadil. Tolkien told her not to be bothered too much, as most detail is just a "private pleasure". Tolkien looked forward to Mrs. Gasch' interpretation.