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The Joke

After the war, Legolas and Gimli go home.


Disclaimer: Tolkien’s, not mine.

Note: For Halrloprillilar on her birthday.


“A dwarf, and elf, and a man went into a public house,” Gimli began.

Legolas rolled his eyes in that insufferable way elves do. “My dear Gimli,” he said, “Where in all of Middle Earth is there a public house frequented by dwarves and elves and men together?”

“It is a joke, Master Elf. One must simply accept the premise and go on.”

“As you wish,” Legolas said, with a sweeping gesture. “Do go on.”

Gimli grumbled, then continued, “The dwarf ordered a pint of stout. The elf ordered a pint of bitter—”

Legolas interrupted, “An elf would never drink bitter. Foul stuff.”

“What did I say about the premise?”

“You said it was a joke, Master Dwarf. A joke is a story whose humor arises from a twist on a true situation, and I see no truth in your story.”

Gimli heaved a long-suffering sigh. “I have heard it said that elves do, in fact, have a sense of humor, although I have yet to see such a thing demonstrated in practice.”

“Elves have a rich and refined sense of humor, no doubt too delicate to be perceived by one with such rough sensibilities.” The elf’s elegant nose lifted a little higher in the air as he walked along. Yet Gimli was quite sure there was also a twinkle in his eye.

“Well, then. Do tell me an elven joke—one rich and refined, and yet based on truthful situations.”

Legolas regarded Gimli for a moment, then nodded. “Very well, I shall. An elf and a dwarf were walking together, on their way home from the War of the Ring.”

“Nonsense!” Gimli said. “An elf and a dwarf together! Where in all of Middle Earth could such strange companions be found?”

“Where, indeed,” Legolas agreed, smiling.

Gimli laughed out loud. “A very fine joke, Master Elf. A very fine joke.”


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