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Letter 240

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


This letter is written to Pauline Gasch, dated August 1, 1962. Mrs. Gasch was illustrating The Adventures of Tom Bombadil, and was 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 tells 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 follows 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 tells her not to be bothered too much, as most detail is just a "private pleasure". Tolkien looks forward to Mrs. Gasch' interpretation.