Still the Prettiest… a Fable
Froggy & Rilian

In times of yore, in the mystically mysterious land of Middle-earth, there lived a handsome elf by the name of Legolas. On a warm summer evening, once a year, he would go into a seldom-occupied room on the second floor of his father’s palace in Mirkwood. In this room, there was not much that caught the eye. The worn furniture that occupied the corners and the faded tapestries that festooned the walls were hardly of any notice — compared with the large, shining golden-framed mirror on the wall opposite the door. This, of course, was what Legolas would stride uncertainly toward once a year, and stand staring at with a look of feebly disguised trepidation. Presently, there would be a grand swirl of colors within the mirror, and an indistinguishable face would appear. At this time, the elf would recite monotonously, “Mirror, mirror, on the wall… who is the fairest one of all?”

More often than not, the mirror would reply, “You are,” and Legolas would sigh a prodigious breath of relief. On one occasion, however, Legolas was horrified to hear, “In Lórien wood dwells Haldir fair. Strong is his arm, gold is his hair.”

“What? Why that sneaky title-pilferer! I’ll show him!” Legolas at once stormed from the room. The first thing he realized had to be done was find a way to “uglify” Haldir. There were no holds barred in Legolas’ book. He would reclaim the title of which he was so possessive — “Fairest of them all.”

Legolas approached his secretary with a fiendish command. “Send Haldir fifteen boxes of the most fattening chocolate and a five-thousand year subscription to the Fatter, the Fairer magazine,” he said. “It’s something subtle. He will never suspect. Oh, and make sure it’s an anonymous gift!”

The subsequent week, Legolas returned to the mirror expectantly, and was overjoyed to find his title restored, at the expense of making Haldir fat.

A few years later, Legolas was making certain his prestigious identity was still safe, when he heard the sickening phrase, “In Rivendell dwells Arwen Evenstar. Compared to her hair, new silk is like tar.”

“No!” yelled Legolas irately. “Arwen is not fairer than I! I must change this horrible lie! (Why do I feel it necessary to rhyme?)” He sat down on a faded blue chair and began to scheme. After a few hours, he had finally thought of a plan.

“I have it!” he chortled. “It’s brilliant! ‘In Rivendell dwells Arwen Evenstar. Compared to her hair, new silk is like tar.’ By the time I’m finished with her, no one will think her hair is like silk, or say that she is fairer than me!” The envious elf laughed evilly and went to work on his plan. As soon as he was finished planning every little detail, he leapt onto his horse and rode straight away to Rivendell. After several hours’ hard riding, the elf arrived at Rivendell and sought out Arwen.

“Legolas!” the daughter of Elrond exulted. “What a pleasant surprise!”

“You look lovely, Arwen,” said Legolas, trying to mask the resentment dripping from his voice. “Come for a stroll in the garden with me, won’t you?”

“Of course,” Arwen agreed amiably. (She always had liked Legolas, even though she sometimes wondered at his narcissism.) When the two were alone, Legolas conveniently pulled out a small bucket, filled with hot tar and oil, and poured it on Arwen’s head.

“AHHHHH! What are you doing?” yelled Arwen.

Legolas began laughing evilly as he grabbed her hair, scrubbing the tar and oil in. Arwen screamed and tried to get away, but Legolas had too tight of a grip on her hair. Legolas then reached into his pocket, pulled out a pair of scissors, and began cutting her hair into extraordinarily uneven lengths. Elrond soon appeared at the balcony, looking immensely displeased, and began yelling. Legolas, however, had already made his escape over the back wall of the garden — his horse was now rapidly eating up ground as they sped back to Mirkwood.

As soon as he reached his destination, Legolas rushed upstairs to the mirror and asked, “Now, who is the fairest of them all?”

“In Lórien dwells the Lady of the Light. Her beauty shines as the stars in the night.”

Legolas screeched with rage and commenced bashing furniture. Everyone in the palace endeavored to ignore his outburst, but a servant finally rushed in when Legolas flung a chair out the window. The prince shooed him out immediately.

“How could this happen?” Legolas lamented. “I am supposed to be the fairest! I shall reclaim my title… even if it kills me!”

Once again, he set about contemplating a plan.


The next day, in the cool hours of a Lothlórien morning, Lady Galadriel was enjoying a lovely stroll about her grounds. She strode softly over to her mirror to admire herself. Presently, she felt a chill run down her spine; she turned around swiftly — there was a dwarf, Gimli, to be precise! Galadriel cried out in alarm. Gimli waved, trying to look cute, but it did not work very well. Then he, for Legolas had hired him, threw the dwarf powder on her (as many now know, Dwarves do not spring out of holes in the ground) and she became a dwarf woman.

Legolas, who had been watching from afar, began laughing hysterically. “Yes!” he chortled. “Now who is the fairest?”

He returned to his mirror confidently, only to find that it had been stolen.

“What? But — but that’s so miserably unfair!” Legolas sobbed. “Must get it! Must get it back! Must get the Precious!” Therefore, he said to himself, “If there is one person who knows anything about a precious, it is Gollum!” Thus, he set out to find the pitiful creature.

Now Gollum lived in the dark depths of a dank, fusty cave in the Misty Mountains. When Legolas finally reached Gollum’s home, he found to his surprise that Gollum had taken his magic mirror!

“My Precious!” Legolas screeched. He “Gollum-ed” a few times, and then retrieved his mirror, only to find that he now looked like Gollum!


Legolas was so upset that he began hyperventilating. Then, he realized that the reflection in the mirror was not matching his movements. Gollum was behind him — and he himself was invisible!

He heard the mirror’s voice: “I’ve made you invisible until you can learn that true farness radiates from within. You will never truly be beautiful until you understand this principle.”

After Legolas mourned for forty-five hours straight (Gollum kindly trying to console him), he returned to Mirkwood to make restitution as best he could. He sent Haldir a subscription to Weight Watchers, Arwen a free pass to the best hair salon in Middle-earth, and requested by letter that Gimli use a rare dwarf antidote to restore Galadriel to her elven self. After all this had been done, Legolas sent apology notes to those he had wronged.

The next morning, he woke up and he was visible once more. He had learned his lesson once and for all!


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