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Leaf by Niggle
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Leaf by Niggle

4.18 of 5 stars 4.18  ·  rating details  ·  1,205 ratings  ·  57 reviews
Leaf by Niggle is a short story about a painter whom is working on a picture leaf by leaf. Niggle, the painter, is a kind hearted soul and goes out of his way to help his friends and neighbours but eventually finds that this prevents him from completing his masterpiece. He has a hard decision to make; when engrossed in his work, his neighbour asks him to fix his roof using ...more
22 pages
Published 2003 by Trinity Forum (first published January 1945)
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Eddie Mine came included in a book called "tales from the perilous realms," a mixture of short stories and poems by Tolkien.
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Community Reviews

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Another enchanting, captivating and instructive story by Tolkien.
Short, very simple and yet filled with wonders and a hidden complexity. It was like a very beautiful fairy-tale written for children who haven't lost the ability to see the world with all its miracles yet. The story of Niggle was like a painting itself.
I loved it from the first word and until the last one.

Niggle is an artist who paints just for himself. He spends a lot of time on his huge canvas of a tree with a forest and
Johanna C.
A wonderful little tale by Tolkien that everyone should read. Although those who really do need to read it will not read it. A great way to learn about selflessness, responsibility, art, friendship, meaning, power, and so much more. And so skillfully done. The world has a lot to learn from Tolkien if they'd read between the lines.
A strange but beautiful short-story. To me it seems to convey the importance of art, and especially of artists. No matter how small their skill, it should be allowed to grow, develop and not be repressed or dismissed. An artist's work cannot flourish on it own, it also needs support and appreciation and sometimes it becomes a collective venture.

My favourite passage is the first description of what would eventually become the Leaf painting:

It had begun with a leaf caught in the wind, and it bec
Dec 22, 2014 Laura rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Wanda
Recommended to Laura by: Bettie
You may read online here.

Opening lines:
There was once a little man called Niggle, who had a long journey to make. He did not want to go, indeed the whole idea was distasteful to him; but he could not get out of it. He knew he would have to start some time, but he did not hurry with his preparations.
This is the most wonderful, thought provoking tale. It is beautiful, human, inspirational, warm, melancholic, sad, soul-searching, philosophical, dreamy, truth seeking..., but told in such successful simplicity. Though all ages would enjoy this, I think it has an enormous amount to say to adults. So far this is the best of Tolkien's 'other' stories (ie not LOR) that I have read.

I thoroughly recommend the superb Harper Collins recording, read by Derek Jacobi (on the CD with “Smith of Wooton Major
Jul 15, 2014 Rowena rated it 3 of 5 stars
Shelves: 2014
Realmente me duele en el corazón cuando las traducciones me odian. Lectura obligada en .pdf, ya que estos cuentos no se encuentran por ahí sueltos y felices de que alguien los consiga fácilmente.

Quiero volver a leerlo, esta vez buscando aún más entre líneas. Me gustó mucho el significado de esta historia tan simple pero, a la vez, bastante extraña. Debería buscarlo en inglés y prestarle más atención.
Amy Edwards
"Niggle was a painter. Not a very successful one, partly because he had many other things to do. Most of these things he thought were a nuisance; but he did them fairly well, when he could not get out of them: which (in his opinion) was far too often..."

Tolkien's story, which was something of an allegory of his own life as he labored to write The Lord of the Rings, turns out to be an allegory for all of us, particularly those who follow Christ and desire to live a life for His Kingdom.

Central to
Dec 01, 2014 Farina♥Moon♥Eclipse rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: J.R.R Tolkien Fans and Fantasy Readers
He was a painter by nature. In a minor way, of course; still, a Leaf by Niggle has a charm of its own."

This is a short story by my favourite author, J.R.R Tolkien, who is painting a beautiful story with Leaf by Niggle.

Niggle, is a little man, who is a painter at heart but doesn't have heart enough to say "no" to the people in town and especially his neighbour, Parish.
The little man is trying to finish this particular painting..
A tree with beautiful leaves, singing birds, a forest behind it and
Daniel Shellenbarger
If you only ever read one book by Tolkien, I would recommend this short story. Niggle is an artist, a talented artist, though not particularly famous, and he has a dream, a dream of painting a picture of a tree, perfect and complete. However, the details won't come out right, and his neighbor is always needing help and keeping him from his work, and the world won't leave him be. It's an evocative work of the plight of the dreamer in a world where responsibility and humanity often require that dr ...more
Ebster Davis
"Things may have been different, but they can not have been better."

This is a short story about the lives of these two neighbors who have an unintentionally antagonistic relationship.

I feel like if I try to go into any more detail with the plot I will just ruin it. Nothing I say here will be adequate in way of review. This story is so multi-faceted, its like a gem: It's about people who can't see eye to eye, its about personal strengths and weaknesses, its about dreams and hopes disapointments
This is simply awesome. I love it, when the deep quality, the message it conveys, the philosophical level, is supported by strong storytelling. Simple, keeping you maximally focused and interested, having really great atmosphere - which is dreamlike and surreal. It is something really worth everyone's time. It definitely is something to think about, but as I said, it's worth reading simply for it's storytelling quality.
Zoe Scritchfield
An absolutely stunning work. Entirely touching and beautiful. Upon finishing it, you are left with that so gratifying joyous-melancholy feeling deep inside your heart.
Ricky Irvine
"No, it was only a glimpse then," said the man; "but you might have caught the glimpse, if you had ever thought it worth while to try."
A wonderful story, beautifully written. Was it just me or does it have a Kafkaesque feel to it?
Monica Laurette
I thought this was a wonderful story. The view it was trying to show, for me, was that it was good to go out and help others, not sit around and focus on one little thing, other obligations, though they may seem like interruptions, are good. That way, when you come back, you have a new look on things.
Robert Mortensen
I'll quote another reviewer here, and say that those who should read this book probably won't. It's an enchanting short story by JRR Tolkien, about the meaning of life, art, work and friendship.
Bookworm Sean
This is a short tale about a painter who is working on a picture leaf by leaf, his speciality. He becomes annoyed at the constant distractions of his neighbours and friends appealing to his good nature.

A wonderful little story which sees Niggle achieve his ultimate goal and is a pleasure to read.
The only work of J.R.R Tolkien that I think is only okay. My main problem with this one is that it doesn't make much sense.
Aug 02, 2014 Joe rated it 4 of 5 stars
Shelves: fiction
Great short story written as an allegory for Tolkien's work and life. As referenced in Tim Keller's "Every Good Endeavor".
One of my favorites among the shorter stories.
Short but poignant allegory, speaking of life, death, Purgatory, and heaven. Because of its narrative nature, the short story brings these issues a bit closer to the heart, as it is so easy to relate with the feelings of Niggle, the protagonist (for example, when the Second Voice speaks to his advantage).

The message about our lives being judged in ways in which we mortals cannot imagine is an interesting theme - as is the theme about the value of art.

Todo lo que escribe este hombre es perfecto <3

Yo diría que es como un realismo mágico, y eso lo hace muy especial para mi <3
Me encantó *-*
Emma Hoyle
So happy to have stumbled across this lovely short story by Tolkien on his own creative process. Required reading for every dreamer/creative-type! Read it here: Leaf: By Niggle
Meta physical, purgatorial crap
I read this short-story for my fantasy & imagination literature class. The story kept my interest, but I didn't like it. It kind of reminded me of Maze Runner, or 1984 where people are being oppressed by big government. It was like "Big Brother Is Watching You!" Ugh! It's definitely not a "feel good story" by any means. Once I put the book down I felt like WTF did I just read?
A lovely, philosophical and warm short story. I've not read much of Tolkien's work outside of The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings (both of which i loved) but this story has convinced me that I have been missing out on some great reads.

It's been a while since I've given any book or story 5 stars, but this one truly deserves it.

5 Stars.
Declan Huerta
Mi relato corto favorito de J.R.R. Tolkien con diferencia. Al igual que Lewis, con El gran divorcio, se adentra en un relato alegórico sobre el purgatorio. Este componente de ficción es más bien sobrio, mostrando con fuerza la "necesidad" de un estado como el purgatorio para llevar al hombre de forma "natural" hacia su plenitud. Es un relato precioso.
A story about NIggle, who seemingly does everything to pleasure others. This book is especially about people taking advantage of others and how you are treated differently. Niggle did so much for others, but never expected nor received anything back.

Fun read, Tolkien has yet to disappoint.
Tamsin Barlow
A perfectly crafted book. If I were to ever recommend one book by Tolkien to anyone it would be this. He may have hated metaphors but this one is so gentle and loving that you want to cheer and cry at the end for it's hopefulness.
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John Ronald Reuel Tolkien, CBE, was an English writer, poet, WWI veteran (a First Lieutenant in the Lancashire Fusiliers, British Army), philologist, and university professor, best known as the author of the high fantasy classic works The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings .

Tolkien was Rawlinson and Bosworth Professor of Anglo-Saxon at Oxford from 1925 to 1945, and Merton Professor of English lan
More about J.R.R. Tolkien...
The Hobbit (Middle-Earth Universe) The Fellowship of the Ring (The Lord of the Rings, #1) The Return of the King (The Lord of the Rings, #3) The Two Towers (The Lord of the Rings, #2) The Lord of the Rings (The Lord of the Rings, #1-3)

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“He was kindhearted, in a way. You know the sort of kind heart: it made him uncomfortable more often than it made him do anything; and even when he did anything, it did not prevent him from grumbling, losing his temper and swearing (mostly to himself).” 13 likes
“J.R.R. Tolkien tells a story of a man who was better at painting leaves than trees. In fact, the leaves he painted were painstaking and exquisite. He continued to feel a pull to make his talent part of something bigger, but the time he would devote to a full masterpiece he selflessly gave to neighbors and friends in need. When he got to Heaven, he was wonder-struck to see the whole tree of which his vision of perfect leaves had been a part.” 4 likes
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