Keeping an eye on Sam

Kate Neville

Active Member
1. I wonder whether the 'apples for walking, and a pipe for sitting' might have been something Nob and/or Bob said when giving the apples to Sam. I only posit this because he doesn't attribute it either to his Gaffer or to old Mr. Bilbo.

2. With regard to Sam's 'pessimism' -- I think we need to look closely at exactly how he expresses himself at these moments. After all, he did not follow the apple/pipe adage with "but we'll probably all be dead tomorrow," which would be a truly pessimistic observation. His remark seems more like a form of the humor of the trenches, where one worries about running out of cigarettes or complains about the food, rather than thinking about the fact that you're going to have to run into machine-gun fire tomorrow. And perhaps it is also related to the sort of superstition that keeps Irish mothers from praising their babies, lest the fairies come and steal them: don't make a fuss about anything good that you have, lest worse come of it. This is a thread I shall pay attention to over the next decade....

Lincoln Alpern

Active Member
Great observations, especially the second one. For the first, I imagine it could also be a well-known Shire adage whose original authorship is obscure or forgotten.