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Thursday, October 18 12:01 EST

Lord of the Rings Coma Victim Awakens

By Peter Clifton

London - Simon Hardwick, 17, awoke today after seven days in a coma induced by the ballads in J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings.

Ballad ComaHis family found him slumped on his bed last week with a copy of Lord Of The Rings lying by his side.

At his press conference Simon said, "I had read LOTR at least five times but always skipped the ballads. On checking with my friends I found they did the same, even those who had read it more times than I."

"I decided to see what I was missing. At first it wasn't too bad, Frodo's song at Bree only caused mild drowsiness. Things started to get a bit more serious with Sam's ballad at Weathertop. I got as far as `Gil-galad was an Elven king', the next thing I knew I had missed the ending of a Star Trek episode that was on TV, I reckon I was out for 15 minutes and should have realized something was wrong."

"My big mistake was attempting to read the ballad of Lúthien Tinúviel. One verse in and everything went black, the next thing I remember is waking up here, in hospital."

Simon's parents said, "At first we thought the book fell off the shelf and hit Simon on the head. If we had known he was experimenting with Tolkien ballads we would have had that 'Just Say No' talk along time a go."

Simon was looking forward to going home. "A couple of weeks back, I spotted my Granddad’s copy of 'The Silmarillion' in the attic and can't wait to read it."

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Then asked why his Granddad was not there at his bedside, Simon replied, "Mum and Dad say he his having one of his *off days*. Something happened to him in the early Seventies, which no one has been able to explain. Since that time there are days when Granddad doesn't seem to be coherent, he just sits staring at the wall saying 'I will get past page six even if it costs me my sanity.' "

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