the Violet
A Christmas Play

I’m sorry, Emerald, if I am rude

But in this queer dark unexpected place

My words as well drop unexpectedly

I feel I’m in a dream.

— Lila in A Christmas Play, Tales Before Tolkien, p. 402

Not intended for publication or professional staging, Lindsay’s Christmas Play was a seasonal diversion for the family, and was probably written in the 1930s. It remained something of a rumour till Douglas A Anderson unearthed it for publication in his anthology of short fiction by writers that may have inspired J R R Tolkien, Tales Before Tolkien.


The fairy Emerald wants to find princes as husbands for the three daughters of a woodcutter, but Titania, Queen of the Fairies, says only two princes are to be found, and leaves the choice of the third husband to Mother Nightshade, a witch of evil repute.

More detailed plot summary here.


A Christmas Play

2003 — included in Tales Before Tolkien: The Roots of Modern Fantasy, edited & introduced by Douglas A Anderson, Del Rey US HB & PB

You can read an interview with Douglas A Anderson about Tales Before Tolkien here.

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Tales Before Tolkien, Del Rey 2003