My Fling with the —lings

xkcd: Fiction Rule of Thumb

I did this.  My only excuse is that I was so young I wrote the thing in pink sparkle pen in a unicorn notebook.  I’m praying for a statute of limitations.

It seems to me that a lot of writers who grew up devouring  the Tolkeinesque  fantasies that flourished during the seventies and eighties have a programmed urge to do at least one quest fantasy and have one race or species that was somewhat shorter than the world norm—usually rural innocents, hairy toes optional—who are called the something-lings.  Shortlings, manlings, quarterlings, hairlings, chitlings . . . 

 Mine were halflings—when I derive, I don’t mess around As I recall, they trained  Kynbrothers (horses—but at least they didn’t talk) and wore carved Yrthstones ( tiger’s eyes)  in one ear as a religious thing.  Oh, and they had female swordswomen priestesses called something special with  lot of Ys in it.  Yrythyagys?*

Regrettably, the chart is fairly accurate, at least in regard to my epic.

But there must be a reason why we all love the small, barefoot —ling people so much.   I went so far as to google it, and found this:


This is more of a statement than an explanation . . . but it makes me feel a little better about the Kynbrothers.


Comic courtesy of Randall Munroe.  Image courtesy of Lord_Poote and Photobucket.

*And why is it that the letter Y seems so otherworldlyand magical—magykyl?—to the English-reading public?