Gloria of the Rings - called our attention to a commentary about a 4-year-old's brief, happy life as a hobbit. Here is an excerpt.

"Can we play Return of the King, Daddy?"

I expected this question by now, for it was made every day for a month soon after I came home from work. My four-year old daughter, blonde, bright-eyed, and full of halfling wonder, made this part of our evening ritual. Sometimes, too often in hindsight, I would tell her no. I had too much to do, too little patience, or was simply too tired to make the journey into Mordor once again. But this was a rough, lousy day, and I could not think of a better companion to escape with than Gloria.

Return of the King, for those who do not know, is the third volume of J.R.R. Tolkien's brilliant Lord of the Rings trilogy. I watched an animated version of it sometimes when I worked out on my treadmill. Gloria came downstairs one day to see it with me. Even in this PG-rated animated form, the movie is violent, saturated with death and evil. And still I thought it would be ok to share this beautiful, music-laden fantasy with my daughter. It captivated her, especially the lead characters Frodo and Samwise. As hobbits, they were roughly her size. She easily identified with and soon cherished them. Return of the King was soon her favorite video. And before long, she made a game out of it..

"Can we play just for a little bit?"

I smiled with resignation and said, "Sure, let's go play."

Up to Gloria's bedroom we went. Before we could play, though, we had to put on the costumes. Our shoes and socks came off because hobbits never wear such things. Gloria pretended to put a vest, a cape, and the other travel garments on me and then her. I would remove my simple gold wedding ring and put it in my pocket. For this was now the One Ring that the evil Sauron sought to claim all of Middle Earth. It was this ring that would try to corrupt my daughter the hobbit into wielding the power herself. She was Frodo the Ringbearer, and I got to be her Samwise, the obedient servant who made the journey with her.

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