A terrible quarrel in the pocket
About Tolkien's childhood, languages, tarantulas and cows.
John Ronald Reuel Tolkien was born in a truly unusual place – in Bloemfontein, South Africa. The first years of little John's life were marked by unusual scenes of monkeys, snakes and spiders. A tarantula also managed to bite him, which perhaps explains his later contempt for these creatures. When he was three years old, his mother traveled with him to England so that she could give birth to his brother in better conditions. But then the first unfortunate event that hit the small family happened.
While they were apart, John's father unfortunately passed away. Mother Mabel then settled in Sarehole, now Hall Green. It was this area that inspired Tolkien the most, to the extent that he used the name "Bag End", the name of his aunt Jane's farm, in his most famous work.
John was educated at home, taught by his extremely educated mother, Mabel. John received regular lessons in botany and Latin, with the latter lessons being a particular favorite of his. He developed a love for linguistics which, in the later stages of his life, will result in the fact that today we know Tolkien as the author of numerous perfectly developed fictional languages.
When John was twelve and Hillary was ten, Mabel died of diabetes. The boys became orphans, and priest Francis Xavier Morgan took care of them.
At first John lived with his aunt Beatrice. Then, together with his cousins Mary and Marjorie, he embarked on inventing his first language. It was very simple and made up of animal names. For example, "dog nightingale woodpecker forty" would mean "You are a donkey!".
After Marjorie gave up the game, Mary and John started working on another, more complicated language they called "nevbosh". They also wrote a poem in that language that read: "Dar fys ma vel gom co palt: – Hoc Pys go iskili far maino woc? Pro si go fys do roc de Do cat ym maino bocte De volt fact soc ma taimful gyroc!"
Translated, this meant: "There was an old man who said: - How could I carry my cow? Because if I ask her to go into my pocket, it would cause such a terrible fight! –"
The only thing that can be read from this poem is that Tolkien was not born with a sense of writing. Fortunately, his life story is just beginning at this point, and he still has many years of practice ahead of him.