A comic fantasy novella by J.R.R. Tolkien, author of "The Lord of the Rings," concerning the misadventures of the eponymous Farmer Giles (or, as he is called by the King, Aegidius Ahenobarbus Agricola de Hammo). The story is usually published with another of similar size, "Smith of Wootton Major."

The drunkard Giles, after expelling a large and stupid giant from his fields, is given an old sword by the King for his bravery; this has the added effect of silencing the complaints that the ruler was ignoring the outlying villages. However, this is far from the end for the farmer -- the sword turns out to be not only magical, but an ancient artifact to boot. With unsettling suddenness, Giles finds himself called upon to slay a rather nasty dragon who came in the wake of the giant, even when he'd rather stay in bed and drink.

It's not an epic for the ages, by any standards, and the writing is much rougher than Tolkien's style in LotR. But Giles makes an endearing hero, and the dragon Chrysophylax Dives an excellent villain. Good prose fantasy can be hard to find, especially the sort you can leave around for younger relatives without upsetting people (note that, as a rule, I do not recommend leaving most books around for younger people. The attrition rate is just too high, and books are expensive.)

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