Friday, August 24, 2012


... But in time he forgot what it was that he had wanted a week longer for.  If he worried at all after that, it was about his jobs at the hospital.  He planned them out, thinking how quickly he could stop that board creaking, or rehang that door, or mend that table-leg.  Probably he really became rather useful, though no one ever told him so.  But that, of course, cannot have been the reason why they kept the poor man so long. They may have been waiting for him to get better, and judging 'better' by some odd medical standard of their own.

At any rate, poor Niggle got no pleasure out of life, not what he had been used to call pleasure.  He was certainly not amused.  But it could not be denied that he began to have a feeling of -- well satisfaction:  bread rather than jam.  He could take up a task the moment one bell rang, and lay it aside promptly the moment the next one went, all tidy and ready to be continued at the right time.  He got through quite a lot in a day, now; he finished small things off neatly.  He had no 'time of his own' (except alone in his bed-cell), and yet he was becoming master of his time; he began to know just what he could do with it.  There was no sense of rush.  He was quieter inside now, and at resting-time he could really rest.

Leaf by Niggle by J. R. R. Tolkien

This section appears to be about a particular stage of purgatory, after the regrets have quieted.  I find it very interesting that Tolkien paints this bit as decidedly monastic and devoted to learning the proper use of time.  There promises to be lots to think about in this story ...

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