The Cooking of Dwarvish Stew

- Primula

(based on "The Shooting of Dan McGrew" by Robert Service)

A bunch of the folks were whooping it up by the light of the silvery moon;
Gimli who handles both ladle and axe was humming a Dwarvish tune;
Back of the stove, in a cauldron large, sat bubbling Dwarvish stew,
And watching it cook was his friend-o'-Shire, a hobbit that's fearless and true.
For on this fair night in their safe camp, and sheltered right under a tent,
There simmered a pot-full smelling right awful, a specialty with an odd scent.
It looked like a stew with a bit of a twist and scarcely a coney or herb,
Yet steaming amidst odd lumps and bits, stuff culled that would make them perterbed.
There was none would eat this Dwarvish feat, a meal they were sure they would rue;
For they needed health, and the last thing they'd eat was bilious Dwarvish stew.
There's meat that somehow just grips your nose, though you hold it hard and squeeze;
And such was this, and it made men hiss, made them run to be free of the heaves;
With a face most hair, smells that made men stare scarce reached through his filtering beard,
As he chopped up the stuff as fine as snuff, and the globs fell neatly seared.
As he got to figgering where was his bowl, who came in that rascal and rip,
To see if he'd nip and taste a bit --that's the hobbit that's known as Pip.
The fumes went coiling round the room, and he spiced through a kind of haze,
Till at last that stew seemed cooked right through, with a shiny and glutinous glaze.
The time had come, he would eat a ton; there was no one else near the stool,
So as  truly any Dwarf would do, chowing down with a proper tool,
With a fine-made spoon carved with Dwarven rune he slurped, and the stew did smoke,
And he clutched the spoon with his warrior's hands--Ack! Gack! but a man would choke.
Were you ever out on a Quest alone, when the moon was awful clear,
And the icy mountains hemmed you in with a silence you most could hear;
With only the howl of a distant warg, as you camped there in the cold,
With small fire's heat barely warming your tea, clean mad for a seedcake whole;
While high overhead, elf wizard and men, never cooked even if you said please?--
Then you've a hunch what Pip's hunger meant . . . apples and sausage and cheese.
And hunger not of the Dwarvish kind, that's banished with rrred meat and beans,
But the gnawing hunger of hobbit lad for a bowl and all that it means;
For a fireside far from the cares that are, a hole with kitchen and table;
But oh! so cramful of cosy food, crowned with stuffing his face all he's able --
This hobbit dearer than all the world grabbed the ladle to take a good sip --
(Agh! how frantic he looks stretching his lips, --the hobbit that's known as Pip.)
Then on a sudden the taste it changed, so sneaky he scarce could smell;
But he felt that his tongue had been looted clean and given a tongue's death knell;
That someone had stolen the supper he loved; and buried it under a rock;
And after a couple weeks were gone, tried to serve it back up in a crock.
'Twas the retching cry of a heart's despair, and it filled you through and through-
"I guess it needs be stronger still," Gimli said, stirring Dwarvish stew.
The bubbling almost died away . . . then it burst like a raging shoal;
And it seemed to say, "More spice, more spice!" though his tongue felt hot as coal.
The thought came back of that ancient meat, and it stunk like a sour duck-egg,
It sought taste-buds to kill, to kill . . . then the quivering grew in his legs,
But the hobbit turned, and his eyes they burned in a most peculiar way;
And his lips were creased and all glazed with grease; he sat, and began to sway;
Then his lips went in in a kind of grin, and he spoke, and his voice was calm,
"Gimli," says he, "it's fit tosee that this stuff's no Elvish balm;
But I want to state, and my words are straight, and I'll bet my pipe they're true,
That in spite of bad cooking, still food is food . . . and that food is Dwarvish stew!"
Then Pip pulled the rug and some feet shot out, and two hands flailed in the air;
And the dwarf he cussed as his legs went up, and Gimli lay tossed full square.
Pitched on his head, and remaining unfed, saying Dwarvish stew caused him to slip,
While the spoon from his bowl lay clutched to the breast of the hobbit that's known as Pip.
These are the simple facts of the case, and I guess I ought to know.
They say that this hobbit was crazed from cram,  and I'm not denying it's so.
Gimli's not so wise as those Shire guys, far too strict between his lips--
The halfling that ate it and--pinched his spoon--was the hobbit known as Pip.