As a student of literature, it’s kind of my job to look for connections between books and authors and themes. I have spent time examining hamartia in Satan (Milton’s), Smeagol, and Shylock, looking at how Charlotte Bronte employs landscape, and comparing Jane Austen with Charles Dickens.
I genuinely find this stuff fun and exciting. (Yes, I know I’m weird.) But another of my passions, as those who have been following my blog will know, is writing poetry.
A few years ago, I entered a contest which required me to re-write a portion of J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit in the style of Dr. Seuss. A poem that combined two radically different authors/genres, one of which was one of my favourite books? How could I resist!
I ended up placing a proud second in that contest, but after stumbling across my poem again recently, I’ve decided to share it on my own blog. So without further ado, may I present a portion of The Hobbit, rewritten by yours truly in the style of Dr. Seuss.
(Show me a more ambitious crossover event than that, Infinity War!)
Bilbo and Smaug – Seussically
The dragon Smaug looked fast asleep.
He snored and snuffled breathing deep.
But Bilbo crept a stealthy creep:
For Smaug’s red eye was not asleep –
No sir! It opened just a peep.
“I must not make a sound!” he thought.
“For that would really get me caught!”
But even as he thunk this think
He heard a clunk.
And then a clink.
He turned in fright,
And saw a sight!
A horrid, awful, scary sight!
Smaug was not dead, not dead by half.
He sniffed a sniff
Then laughed a laugh.
“I smell a thief!
I smell a rat!
A sneaky, thievy
Rat at that!
I smell your smell
Upon the air.
I can’t see you
But you are there.
Come help yourself,
There’s gold to spare!”
But Bilbo knew it was a ruse.
“Tremendous Smaug, I must refuse.
The one wonderful thing that I came here to see
Was if you’re as great as they said you would be!
I’ve heard of your grandness, O master of fires,
And I’m quite glad to say that my friends are not liars!
“Ah, is that so?” the worm replied.
(And sounded rather satisfied.)
“Good manners for a thieving pest
But I must ask a small request:
You seem to know my name quite well,
But I cannot quite place your smell.
Where are you from, and what’s your name?
Be quick, or you shall feel my flame!”
“Under hill is where I’m from,
And over other hills I’ve come.
Over ground and through the air,
And walked unseen most everywhere!”
“This may be true
But all the same,”
The dragon said,
“It’s not your name.”
A Fly stinger.
A chosen lucky
A bag I’m from,
A bag I’ll be,
But no bag
Did go over me.”
“Lovely names,” the dragon sneered.
“The oddest that I ever heared.”
Bilbo was proud,
He was proud of his wit.
He was no longer frightened—
Not one little bit!
“I have more names, O Smaug!
I am many more things.
I am Friend of the bears,
And of birds with great wings.
I am Wearer of luck,
And companion of kings,
I am Rider of barrels
And winner of rings!”
Now dragons always like to guess
At riddles and at cleverness.
(I don’t know why this thing is so.
You want to know? Go ask your bro!)
But Bilbo knew just what to say
To hide his name and make Smaug play.
Smaug was quite smart and he well understood
That most of the names would do him little good.
But one thing he took from the thief’s witty words:
In Esgaroth, barrels were common as birds.
“I haven’t been there for an age and an age,
I haven’t been there since I grew old and sage.
But that will soon change”,
Thought the worm in a rage,
“I’ll burn them to bits like they’re mice in a cage!”
“Was Barrel your pony? Then he tasted quite good.
So did the five others, just like ponies should.
Pony, you know, is a marvellous treat.
You boil it up nicely and chop off the feet
And barbeque crisply the rest of the meat,
Then chew it up nicely: it’s crunchy and sweet!
(Making it right is a difficult feat
But if you can do it, it’s scrumptious to eat!)
Those nags were quite good, so I’ll make you a deal.
I’ll tell you a thing in return for the meal.
You may walk unseen, but you don’t walk alone!
And Dwarves are worse friends than a stick or a stone.”
“Dwarves!?” cried poor Bilbo, pretending surprise,
With his heart in his stomach and fear in his eyes.
“Yes, I know the smell, and the taste of nice Dwarfs,
I know when I’ve eaten a Dwarf-ridden horse.
I could smell Dwarf in the thickest of fog,
Don’t insult me, Ring-winner, for I am Great Smaug!”
Now Bilbo was brave,
But he was in a cave…
(And you’d be scared too,
If he switched spots with you.)
He thought to himself,
“You will get yourself stewed!
If you keep going on
In this sort of a mood!”
“I hope you know, Smaug, it was not only gold
Which brought us from out of the world to your hold—”
“Aha! So it’s true!”
Said the dragon with glee.
“You admit to the us!
You admit to the we!”
Why don’t you say fourteen, I quite know it’s true!
Why else would you have fourteen ponies with you?
I expect you feel clever, and sure of reward
For finding them things like that cup from my hoard.
Did they tip you for that?
Did they take it away,
And tell you they’d pay you
On some other day?
And if they do pay you, what then, goodness me!
Did they offer to help you take back your whole fee?
Why think of the cartings! The haulings! The rollings!
Think of the guards, and of paying the tollings!”
Poor Bilbo was speechless! He hadn’t at all
Given thought to the riches that he’d have to haul.
But from small Hobbit heart to his feet, soft and furry,
He meant to stay true to his friends, and not worry.
“I’m rather afraid that you’re all in a mix
About who’s kidding who, and who’s playing the tricks.
Surely, O Smaug, unassesably wealthy,
You must know that hate can get rather unhealthy.
We journeyed o’er hill, not for gold and lozenge;
Oh no! Our main mission, you see, was REVENGE.
Then Smaug laughed a laugh that was dreadfully loud.
Bilbo fell to his feet and quite terrified, bowed.
(Forgetting of course, that he couldn’t be seen,
Or else I don’t really know where he’d have been!)
This laugh was so terrible it shook the floor,
And gave the poor Dwarves quite a shock at the door.
“Revenge?” said the dragon.
“Revenge,” he did smirk.
“King under the mountain is dead, that’s my work.
I ate up his kin like a wolf among sheep!
I gobbled the women before they could weep!
My claws are like spearheads, my armour like shields,
My wings beat a hurricane, flattening fields.
My breath is like death, it is fiery hot:
Revenge? I have never heard such utter rot!”
“I’ve heard,” squeaked our hero, “That dragons are dressed
In the finest of waistcoats: all but the – er – chest.”
“You’ve heard rather wrongly,” said Smaug, anger-filled.
“I’m armoured all over: I cannot be killed!”
“I do wish you’d show me,” the Hobbit sighed sadly.
“For really, I do want to see your hide badly!”
The dragon rolled over and crowed, “Yes indeed!
There isn’t a sword that could make this worm bleed!”
There’s no thing on this earth
That could render you pawless!
But inside he was scornful, and thought, “You old fool!”
There’s a spot on your belly without any jewel!
That’s a mighty fine place for an arrow to stick!”
Then he thought about how to get out of there, quick.
“Smaug the magnificent, I am afraid
That I’ve talked long enough and am quite overstayed!
I hope you have fun catching ponies tonight,
For you won’t catch this burglar!”
And with that he took flight.
But as Smaug’s angry fire came flaming behind him,
His common sense finally really did find him.
“Bilbo, you foolish and silly old Baggins!
I’ll just tell you this once: never laugh at live dragons!”
Inspired by the chapter “Inside Information” from The Hobbit and various Dr. Seuss books.