Kitten o’ nine tails.

October 7, 2011

When I was in third/fourth grade, my father read me JRR Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings.  It took us about a year of nightly reading to complete all three books.  I remember looking forward to those bedtime stories each evening.  I have reread the books several times over the years and each time I am amazed that I understood the events as well as I did at that age.  I think this was largely due to the fact that my father would edit the story at times – substituting words and phrases that would make it easier for me to understand.

This didn’t always work.

I remember that when we came to part where Gandalf faces the dreaded Balrog, my Dad described the Balrog as holding a cat o’ nine tails.  This isn’t the phrase used in the book, but it was what my Dad thought I would understand.

I didn’t.

When you read this you will imagine some sort of creature with a multi-tailed whip.  However, my young mind was haunted by an image of the Balrog swinging around some horrible cat-beast possessing nine deadly tails.  Sounds funny, right?

Not to an 8 year old.

Trust me.


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