The 24 Days of Christmas Challenge

Day 20: Five Wily Wizards

“I've done it! I’ve done it!” Shouted Philoneaus Higginbottom to the crowd of bemused Hobbits going round their daily business.
“Done what?” Someone asked as Philoneaus began dancing with each person he met. Then quickly stepped aside to avoid being caught up in the merriment.
“I've invented Gravy-Tea! Wooooooo!” Was the only reply anyone could get out of him, for which some were convinced was a sure sign he’d cracked.
“Gravy-Tea? What’s Gravy-Tea?” A large Hobbit, Angus Bilgebucket by name, called out as he brought a stop to the bizarre dancing.
“Why good Angus, Gravy-Tea is what makes us all fall down!” Philoneaus replied with certainty. To which there were many nods of agreements as if to say, “You didn’t know?”
“Gravy-Tea makes us fall down?” Angus questioned with a quizzical stare. “What do you do, throw it under someone’s feet?”
“If it makes you fall down then Old Grandma Lavie from down Marish way has been doing that for years!” Another voice pipped up. “I think she must have invented Gravy-Tea first if that’s the case!”
“No, no, no, my Uncle Shrubbery is older than your Grandma Lavie, and he’s a walking disaster.” A Third voice broke in, arguing with the last.
“Hang on, we’re from the same family! Aren’t you my fourth cousin Egbert?” The second voice asked.
“So you must be my third cousin Eustace on my mother’s side!” Egbert said, rejoicing at the small family reunion.
“You’re getting it all wrong,” Philoneaus broke in, managing to maintain some order. “Gravy-Tea is something in the air that keeps us all stuck to the ground!”
At which point many of the gathered Hobbits began licking the air in the hopes of tasting gravy, while still more were examining their feet to see if they were glued to the ground.
“Doesn’t taste like gravy.” One voice commented. “More like bacon sandwiches.” To which there were quite a few “Aye’s” and rubbing of stomachs.
But before the Hobbits were satisfied that the air did indeed taste like bacon sandwiches, Angus asked sternly “And how did you come up with this miraculous invention, Philoneaus?”
“Well,” He began, “I was help the wife make afternoon tea, roast beef and mashed potatoes (the finest this side of the Water I might add), and I accidently knocked the gravy saucepan on the floor. It was at this moment that I asked why the gravy fell down and had not stayed in the saucepan. The Gravy for my Tea suddenly gave me the idea that something in the air pushes us down!”
A great cheer erupted from the crowd as Philoneaus explained what happened, although it wasn’t clear whether they were cheering for the gravy, the thought of tea, or the wonder of science.
“So you are saying that this Gravy-Tea keeps us from going upwards?” Angus surmised, pointing his middle finger towards the sky.
“Well yes, I call it Higginbottom’s First Law of Gravy-Tea: Everything is stuck down.” Philoneaus responded proudly.
“What about my old auntie then? She was quite the trampolinist in her day. Still a lot of bounce left in the old gal yet!” Retorted Angus with a chuckle.
“That’s Higginbottom’s Second Law of Gravy-Tea: What goes up, must come down.”
“Maybe it is, but maybe it isn’t. I think that perhaps it is Bilgebucket’s First Law of Auntie’s Gravy-Tea: Keep going till you hit the sky!”
To which there were again many nods and agreements, with several smaller Hobbits starting to jump around to see if they could do it.
“I can prove it is Higginbottom’s Second Law by using these Fizz-Sticks.” Philoneaus said, removing some sticks filled with sherbet from his jacket pocket.
“So you are saying that you can use Fizz-sticks to prove there is Gravy-Tea?” A Hobbit in the back called out. Followed by calls of “How?” and “Show us!”
On the crowds urging, mostly because they were getting hungry with all this talk of roast beef, gravy and sherbet, Philoneaus opened one of the Fizz-sticks and pouring in a small drop of water. Quickly closing it up, he shook it vigorously in one hand then threw it upwards as hard as he could. A few seconds later there was a spectacular sherbet explosion in the sky above the crowd, and small specks of sugary delight raining down on expectant mouths.
“You know, I don’t think a Wizard could have done any better.” One voice commented.
“Perhaps not even two whistling Wizard could have created that kind of explosion.” Another voice called in reply.
“Fireworks would be a doddle for three wise Wizards, big massive explosions that looked like vegetables.” A third voice interrupted angrily.
“I do remember hearing about the Big Vegetable Escapade when four wandering Wizards wandered by. For days on end large turnips would grow inside people’s houses no matter how hard you tried to kill them. I even heard old Sronkleworts had one growing up his nose.” A fourth voice began, before being rude pushed back into the crowd.
“Whatever happened before, I am certain that not even five wily Wizards could explain Gravy-Tea.” Philoneaus finally said, satisfied that his experiment was winning over the crowd.
“Still think it’s a hoax.” Angus muttered in the background before suddenly tripping up on a discarded banana-skin someone had so kindly deposited on the floor.
- Laiquendi

Five WilyWizards

Five wily wizards
passing a pipe around
nary a noticed sound.

Five wily wizards
concentrating so very hard
they're all such cards.

Five wily wizards
each very hip
making their smoke ships.
- Silivren Ithildin


Being sent from the Undying Lands felt like banishment. Radagast even wondered aloud if that was the case. Gandalf was quick to assure him they would be able to return once they had accomplished the tasks appointed them by the Valar.

Saruman, as usual, muttered fiercely. He had no love for men nor for their land. He would do his duty and return as quickly as possible. No long lingering on this foreign soil. The ground bit his feet, used as they were to the lush grasses of Valinor.Five wily wizards indeed,” he harrumphed loudly, “five stupid, trusting Maiar.”


Five wily wizards wailing
Wandered, wanting wassail, hailing
Waldorf the Wide, who wassailed all,
Whose wondrous wares were near the wall,
Where wads of wafting spices waved,
Which wily wizards were wont to crave.
"Wassail! Wassail!" went whining wizards,
"We want wassail, to wash our gizzards!", then again....maybe not....
- Primula

A young proto-hobbit wandered through the woods near the Gladden Fields early on in the Third Age. Now this, in and of itself, was strange enough, for everyone knows no hobbit worth his weight in seed cakes would be found scurrying about for no good reason in so deep an unknown forest, but this was no ordinary hobbit. This hobbit was quite adventurous (for a hobbit,) and he was trying to find the last of the autumn’s mushrooms before the cold winter set in for the season.

Now hobbits and mushrooms go back further than their ability to write, but oral tradition says that no good mushroom should go to waste, so he was quickly gathering all he could in the fading light.

Naturally, as he gathered he grew quite hungry, so he ate some as he walked, stooped and picked.
Unfortunatley for him, one kind of mushroom that was not deemed edible slipped in to his hands and gullet, owing to the hobbit’s wish for speed of gathering and his voracious appetite.

All day up to this point his mushroom-picking venture seemed rather ordinary, but soon this changed, owing to the combined effects of eating the bad mushroom and then coming upon five old men talking in a clearing. It turned out that these five old men were actually wizards, Maiar from the undying lands fresh from their trip overseas to aid in the fight over the Dark Lord, tales as are told in other stories.

Now, these five wily wizards were (or are) known as Saruman, Mithrandir, Radagast, Alatar and Pallando. They sat and discussed their journey up to that point, their prospective upcoming journeys, and the dividing up of the powers given to them communally by the Valar.

It is at this point that the young hobbit moved within earshot and eyesight of this gathering of the wizards.

“If I am to be the White, I must have all the Powers appropriate to that position. I need to be able conjure up many spells at will!” said Saruman.

As he spoke these words, he held his staff aloft and, pointing at a dead tree nearby, a bright light leapt from the tip and struck the tree full force. At once the tree caught fire and spouted many colors of flaming balls of fire up to the heavens, only to self-extinguish after a few seconds, leaving only smoke and vapor in it’s trail.

Meanwhile, the hobbit was beginning to feel the full effects of the bad mushroom, and was seeing this psychedelic transformation of the tree in an extreme spectrum of colors and brightness of lights.

That was enough for the little hobbit. He was heard but not seen running and screaming off in the distance. The wizards, meanwhile, who had heard the yell, only found a basket in the place from which the noise had come from. After searching the area, they picked up the basket and returned to their clearing with a tasty treat, having not yet eaten anything from Middle-earth.
After the meal much more was said and agreed upon between these wise men. After the finished meeting, the wizards went each on their own way to their respective regions of Middle-earth.

And the poor hobbit? Ah, he was never seen nor heard from again.
- Pi

Thirteen Dwarves seeking treasure did go,
To the Loneliest Mountain I know.
Twas not five wily wizards,
that would empty the lizard's
Den. No! It was small brave Bilbo!
- Doctor Gamgee

Five wily Wizards were sent from the West
And all were put to the test
2 were not heard of
Radagast preferred animal's love
And Gandalf turned out as the best.
- Pi
There once were five wizards so wily,
With advanced computations their styley,
That all would bow in awe
From the moment they saw
The Five Wily Wizards cute smiley.
- Primula