Master Cook Rider

From Tolkien Gateway
"Rider was his name, and he was a great traveller: he had seen many things and could do many things before he settled down and became Master Cook."
Alf 'Prentice

Rider was the name of a Master Cook of Wootton Major, the earliest to be mentioned in Smith of Wootton Major. It is strongly implied in the work that he explored the world and discovered where the mysterious land of Faery lay.

History[edit | edit source]

Although Rider was known only to the people of Wootton Major as a cook, he had a long history of peregrination. Eventually he settled down in the sleepy village of Wootton Major, and held the prestigious title of Master Cook. He married a woman of the village and had a daughter, who married a man named Smith and had a young child called Smith Smithson. One day, however, Rider took a vacation, something unheard of in Wootton Major.[1]

He was gone for a few months, but during that time he entered the land of Faery, met the King of Faery, and picked up a Fay-star. He returned with the King of Faery disguised as a youth called Alf; it is not said whether or not Rider knew who the youth was when he first met him, but it is indicated that if not he eventually learned.[2] Alf became his apprentice. The people noted that after his return he was very merry and sang songs, but were suspicious of his choice of a "foreigner," Alf, as his successor.

Three years later, Rider abruptly told Alf farewell and departed, saying that he was going on a holiday and was not to return.[3] He entrusted Alf with the fay-star, wishing that Alf could manage it to pass to his young grandson Smith Smithson, then two years old.[4] A man named Nokes was made Great Cook after his departure, but nonetheless Rider got his wish and Alf caused the fay-star to go to his grandchild at the Feast of Good Children.


  1. Smith of Wootton Major/Farmer Giles of Ham, Thirtieth Printing Ballantine Books 1991 p. 11.
  2. ibid., p. 44. "He left it [the fay-star] behind in the hope that it might come to you, his only grandchild. So he told me, for he thought that I could arrange that."
  3. ibid., p. 12.
  4. ibid., p. 44.