From "Tolkien: A Cultural Phenomenon" (2003) by Brian Rosebury

This text is reproduced exclusively for the purposes of discussion on The One

[page 52]

‘That,’ said Sam, when he had finished reciting, ‘that’s a rhyme we have in the Shire ... I’ve heard tales of the big folk down away in the
Sunlands. Swertings we call ’em in our tales; and they ride on oliphaunts, ’tis said, when they fight. They put houses and towers on the
oliphauntses backs and all, and the oliphaunts throw rocks and trees at one another .... But now I don’t suppose I’ll ever see an oliphaunt.
Maybe there ain’t no such beast.’
He sighed.

‘No, no oliphaunts’, said Gollum again. ‘Sméagol has not heard of them. He does not want to see them. He does not want them to be.’
(TT, 255)