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Farmer Giles of Ham

3.85  ·  Rating details ·  7,654 ratings  ·  421 reviews
This is the 50th anniversary edition of Tolkien's best-loved short fairy story, originally told to his children in the 1920s and expanded for publication in 1949. Bluff Farmer Giles lives in a land-of-fable England, full of giants and dragons. A reluctant hero like the Brave Little Tailor or Bilbo in The Hobbit, Giles wins a great reputation by firing his blunderbuss at a ...more
Hardcover, (50th Anniversary Edition), 127 pages
Published November 15th 1999 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (first published 1949)
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Average rating 3.85  · 
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 ·  7,654 ratings  ·  421 reviews

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Sean Barrs
This is a great little tale full of bravery, heroism and Tolkien’s ever so subtle humour.

Farmer Giles saves his farm and, as a consequence, the local village from a rampaging giant. This earns him a fierce reputation for heroism; thus, he is rewarded by the King with a rather glamourous sword. The King, believing this to be a mere ceremonial weapon, parts with the blade gladly. It turns out that the sword is actually Tailbiter, an ancient weapon that carries a powerful enchantment. Indeed, it c
Jun 22, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
Happenstance leads to a simple farmer's becoming a town hero, but it's the man's clever wit that manages to bend a fearsome dragon to his will.

I was going to give this one only three stars as I was annoyed at how Farmer Giles treated his poor, faithful pooch, Garm, but the ending left me laughing, so four magical twinklers for this brief, fun fancy.
A hungry dragon, a near-sighted giant, foppish knights, a greedy king and stolen treasure. All confront Farmer Giles to give much thought to the Wide World outside his fields, the village, and the nearest market.

The Wide World and the Giant
But the Wide World was there. The forest was not far off, and away west and north were the Wild Hills, and the dubious marches of the mountain-country. And among other things still at large there were giants: rude and uncultured folk, and troublesome at times.
Cindy Rollins
My husband Tim and I listened to this on our trip home from visiting my parents. We have both read this aloud to our children, read it privately and listened to it with Derek Jacobi on audio many, many times. Never gets old. We still laugh at the jokes which are now just plain old friends and we often call our dog Garm.

A true 5-Star book with an exceptional audio narration by Derek Jacobi.
Juho Pohjalainen
Aug 15, 2018 rated it really liked it
One of Tolkien's lesser-known works, what with having to compete with some of the brightest stars in the history of fantasy literature, Farmer Giles of Ham is nonetheless worth checking out and has little to be ashamed of in the company of the Hobbit and the others.

It's its hero that truly carries the story. Farmer Giles is neither a bold and fearless warrior such as Aragorn or Fëanor, nor a weak and meek little guy filled more with doubts than raw skill such as the hobbits, nor even an unsympat
Lars Dradrach
An enjoyable little story, with a wonderful narration from Derek Jacobi.

Would probably never have picked this up, if it wasn’t Tolkien and I have to admit to being somewhat underwhelmed by his non-middle earth stories.
Aug 15, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Farmer Giles of Ham is a short story from the master of fantasy fiction J.R.R.Tolkien. Although the story is about a hero and contains giants, dragons and talking dogs,(actually it is just one dog) it is not an epic tale full with action. Don’t worry tho, because although it will not amaze you with great battles, it will put a smile on your face with great humour

One nice night a giant went for a walk. He was out for a while and got lost, he was also very hungry. He started to walk faster trying
Aug 29, 2010 rated it really liked it
Shelves: hardback
Bought with the same Christmas book voucher as The Adventures of Tom Bombadil and Smith of Wootton Major. My copy is an extremely shabby piece of bookage now.
Jan 02, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: comedy, fantasy, classic
Delightful. It has a much more light-hearted tone than The Hobbit or LOTR; I was laughing practically the whole time. It’s not connected with Middle-earth, but I guess it does have some magic since Garn (the dog) can talk (the most common words being “Help! Help!”) and Tailbiter jumps out of its sheath when a dragon is a couple miles away. Good for all ages!
Tim Mercer
Jan 30, 2016 rated it really liked it
4 stars. Thought I would reread this as when I looked up a Tolkein books for the Pageopoly Challenge I couldn't really remember it. Really enjoyed this short story. Farmer Giles is not a pleasant person but much nicer than the other characters so you eventually gravitate to him as he becomes reasonable over time. This is an easy read and a bit of fun for a change of pace. It was charming how the farmers dog and mare got to speak their thoughts on matters and the three of them make the story.

Dec 29, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This was a fun little story. The human characters reminded me very much of hobbits and I loved the talking dog and the whole storyline with the giants and dragons. The overall tone was funny and it was a very light and enjoyable read that I’m sure I’ll return to again and again. Since I listened to it on audio, I'll also note that Derek Jacobi's narration was excellent as always. I especially loved the voice he did for the dragon. XD
Jan 13, 2020 rated it it was amazing
My 3rd audiobook was as spectacular as I expected! I am really glad that I discovered it randomly while scrolling on Scribd. The audiobook was perfect, short and very cute. Really loved the idea that also here I could met Tolkien's legendary dragons and inscriptions. - A story from the Tales of a Perilous Realm
May 08, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: short-stories
I was surprised that I enjoyed this as much as I did. Medieval settings and tales of knights and dragons are really not my thing. But this short sweet tale was entertaining and light-hearted enough for me to really get into it. In fact, the only downside to this for me was that the main character Giles was a bit of a dick who needlessly abuses his poor dog who idolises him. So maybe if you're reading it to your kids you might want to make a point about that not being an okay thing to do?? Other ...more
Jun 13, 2019 rated it really liked it
Very enjoyable!
It is funny in parts but the characters are a little too mean for me. Not the ideal book to read to kids either....
... Or as the subtitle has it: "The Rise and Wonderful Adventures of Farmer Giles, Lord of Tame, Count of Worminghall and King of the Little Kingdom"

A fun adventure that turns out to be an elaborate in-joke about some English place names. This is one of my favorite novellas. It is a hoot.

Farmer Giles of the Thames Valley becomes famous for fighting a giant. The king rewards him with a sword, Caudimordax or Tailbiter, that turns out to have a magical property: it cannot be sheathed when within f
Marina Balinska
Oct 27, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I absolutely love it! I had so much fun while reading it. This book is very different from everything I've read from Tolkien. I expected battles, blood, dead... like in TLOTR, but I got lots of humour and sarcasm. And I really, really liked it!
Mar 27, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2020, audiobooks
Brilliantly adorable! I absolutely loved the audiobook production for this and will be getting a physical copy for my bookshelf.
Mar 19, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Beautiful and nostalgic. I just want to stay home for the rest of my life and farm the land.
Maggi Harris
May 15, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This is truly a treasure of a dragon's tale! I expect nothing less from Tolkien and was perfectly sated with his prose and characters. An endearing classic.
Nov 27, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This is such a charming little tale!

Tolkien once said that he wrote his legendarium in an effort to create a British mythology, but honestly, none of his major works like the Lord of the Rings, the Hobbit or even the Silmarillion (my personal favourite!) ever really managed that like Farmer Giles of Ham.

It's a rustic, rural, and simple story of a rustic, rural and simple folk. The Middle Kingdom, with its talking dogs, reasoning mares and the dragons and giants who are slowly fading into legend,
Elena Santangelo
This is a short book of short stories by the author of The Hobbit. I listened to the audio version, read by actor Derek Jacobi.

The first story, Farmer Giles was by far the best one--a delightful fairy tale with giants and dragons and an unlikely hero. Jacobi's reading was perfection in entertainment: interesting voices for each character but also the inflection of every word exactly right, with no dropped endings or rushed phrases as many narrators do while reading.

The other two stories weren't
Daniel Dumas
Feb 04, 2019 rated it it was amazing
A great Tolkien tale set sometime before the rise of King Arthur in Britain; Giles is an unassuming farmer who wards off a Welsh giant with his (anachronistic) blunderbuss. With this, his luck begins as a farmer-made-hero, taking him on a journey to glory and dragon riches. Everyone knows a parson, miller, and blacksmith like those portrayed in Ham. And kudos to Garm the dog who's just trying to get by!
Jul 03, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
WARNING: Oh, that's kind of disappointing. This book is really, really tiny. I was expecting it to be the same as its look-a-like edition from the 1970s. This measures about 3.5" x 4.5" by eyeball. Much less than half the size of the original first edition with the same wonderful artwork. Sad Tolkien fan :(
Dec 29, 2015 rated it really liked it
Well I've had this one for awhile and reread it back in November. Its a great little country story that I believe few of Tolkien's fans get around to reading. I don't know, to me it is almost like an older fairy tale in the way he writes it. It is an enjoyable read and I know that the past couple of years some new companies have started releasing it again.

Jeremiah Lorrig
May 18, 2017 rated it liked it
A reluctant farmer is driven by practical circumstances to put his wits and grit to work to overcome the cynical neighbors and far dangers coming near.

Tolkien’s common hero trope highlights the value of everyday folk doing what they can do when they set their minds to doing their duty.
Aaron W. Matthews
Mar 30, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I love the humor laced through this awesome little tale. Tolkien is a master of storytelling, and this one was just fun. As I was listening to Mr. Jacobi narrate, I thought about how many times I’d likely be reading this to my sons in the future. I know they’ll love it just as I did.
Aug 14, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
this is the cutest! I do want to read it in English at some point, though.
Steve Buchmeyer
Dec 05, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Entirely delightful and I frankly surprised that this story is not more popular. Clever twist with humorous dialog throughout it.
Connor Daley
May 15, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review is based off of the Harper Collins Pocket Hardcovers sold in a set as the “Tolkien Treasury.” This book includes the published version of the story, the first manuscript version, and the short outline for the sequel. I’m including that info because I don’t know if other versions include the same.

To me this was a great little tale, falling just short of me loving it. I think this is a cute, silly story that could so easily fall into the realm of other fairytale stories/the same popul
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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

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“Farmer Giles went home feeling very uncomfortable. He was finding that a local reputation may require keeping up, and that may prove awkward.” 6 likes
“The farmer went about with a high step, and luck smiled on him. The autumn and early winter work went well. All seemed set fair, until the dragon came.” 4 likes
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