The Adventures of Tom Bombadil, XI: Fastitocalon

Fastitocalon is based on an earlier poem. This version is a reduced text, something that would suit hobbits as part of old bestiaries, framed as an adaption of possibly more learned elvish lore. Tolkien was inspired by a fragment of Anglo-Saxon bestiary.

The poem depicts a bare island, where gulls are sitting. However, it is foolish to land on the Island of Fastitocalon, because it is in a fact a great beast. His  shell is thick, and he seems to sleep. He is quick, and when he hears the feet of unknowing seafarers, deciding to land on him, he dives -turning upside-down, with the effect that they lose their lives.

Fastitocalon is the most perilous monster of the sea, old and horny, “the last of the old Turtle-fish”. The advise is, according to sailors’ ancient lore, to not set foot on unchartered shore. Even better, is to stay ashore in Middle-earth, and live out your days in peace.

Characters to note:

  • Fastitocalon – A great old Turtle

Features/Places to note:

  • Middle-Earth – A continent of Arda, where the Shire, Gondor, etc. is located.


The morale of the story is to not land on unchartered land, or even better, stay at home in Middle-Earth. Something that certainly suits hobbits perfectly! I recall Bilbo mentioning the wereworms of the east. There was probably a lot of beastiary tales among the Hobbits, which would consilidate their belief in staying home/safe is the best thing to do. Because abroad there are monsters! I enjoyed this poem. Lore and stories about monsters at sea is always intriguing and seem to be common in many different cultures and mythologies.

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


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s