How grand it was for J. R. R. Tolkien to name one of his hobbits Meriadoc Brandybuck! What a name! And of course it’s got to have its short form as Merry. The Lord of the Rings has plenty of darkness in it, as did the war-torn and madness-ridden world that Tolkien lived in, but darkness is not at its soul. Light is – both light as splendor, what strikes the soul with awe, and light as the flash and play of a dance and a song, Tom Bombadil ringing out his love-poems to his wife Goldberry, or the whimsical formality of the Ents, those tree-shepherds, who take a couple of days to say to each other, “Hello, how are you?”
Mirth, I’ve often said, is joy’s country cousin, a fiddler on a hayrick to a violinist in a concert hall. It is boyish and girlish, and sure enough, for at least seven hundred years, MERRY has been used to describe the delight that each sex takes for the other. Imagine the swinging of the girl’s pony-tail as the boy who’s her partner in the square dance tw…
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