The Adventures of Tom Bombadil, VIII: Perry-the-Winkle

This poem is written by Samwise Gamgee and he has possibly based some of the characters on real hobbits. It features a lonely Troll befriending Perry-the-Winkle, a young hobbit. In ~1928 Tolkien wrote an earlier version to this poem called The Bumpus for a series of works. 

The Lonely Troll, who is a friendly troll who does not steal, drink beer or eat meat, is feeling bad about himself. People are afraid of him because of his appearence, unable to see his soft heart. He decides to go and find a friend somewhere in the Shire. He walked all night and in the morning he came do Delving.

There he was seen by Mrs. Bunce and he greeted her a “Good morning”, but she was scared, and the same happened with the Mayor. The troll went sad. He went to the market and there both Bill Butcher and his dig was scared as well. The Troll went to the gates to cry and small Perry-the-Winkle went to him and comforted him, and made the troll smile. The Troll was delighted to have found a friend and brought him home to Faraway and shared his baked pastry and tea with him, a real feast!

The Troll decided he wanted to teach the art of baking to Perry-the-Winkle. When Perry got back to town, people asked where he had been, and he told them that he’d been to a fulsome tea, having been fed. Peeping Jack could tell, because he had seen him leaving with the troll. Then the townsfolk went to the troll’s dwelling, because they also wanted a share of his cakes. The Troll told them to leave, he didn’t invite them. He said he did not wanted to see them, only the Winkle boy.

They had tea together every Thursday and the Winkle becake a great baker, famous in all of the Shire.

Characters to note:

  • The Lonely Troll – A vegetarian Troll, who loves to bake, and wishes to have some company.
  • Perry-the-Winkle – A young hobbit who lives in Delving.
  • Mrs. Bunce – A hobbit living in Delving.
  • Old Pott the Mayor – The Mayor of Delving.
  • Bill Butcher – A hobbit living in Delving.
  • Grip – Bill Butcher’s dog.
  • Peeping Jack – A hobbit living in Delvind.

Features/Places to note:

  • Faraway – Where the troll lives.
  • Weathertop – Also called “Amon Sûl”. Where there was a tower containing a palantír. Much later Frodo and company had an encounter with the Ringwraiths there among the ruins.
  • The Shire – A region in Eriador where Hobbits live.
  • Delving – The largest town in the Shire, also called Michel Delving.
  • Bree – A village east of the Old Forest.


This is actually my favourite poem out of all poems in the book! Possibly because the troll is written as such a relatable character. Most people deal with loneliness in some fashion and want to be liked for who they are. When the troll experience the townfolks avoidance he is of course unwilling to let them in when they only seek him up for his baked goods. He only let Perry get close, because Perry was nice to him before learning of the Troll’s interest in baking, and also trusting him even if he was a troll. I find it very appealing.

Have you read this poem?  Please comment and tell us what you think of this story and if you have anything to add!


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