You may have discussed this before, and perhaps I missed it, but how does Arlen feel about Telenger’s appreciation of Bosmer humor?
I love this book and I’ll tell you why (it’s not because I originally typed ‘blook’ there). I can totally see Telenger staying with this ultraBosmer family—and it’s Vulkwasten, which is almost as Bosmer as it gets—and huddled over on a little stool in the corner, scribbling these ridiculous things down in a moleskine, as if he’s verging on some great anthropological(? we’ll go with that) breakthrough.
When in reality, the family likely did a small huddle of their own before Telly came to board with them and said: Hey, let’s mess with the beard. Because that’s the real Bosmer sense of humor!
So as they go about their ordinary business, they start casually dropping these terrible jokes like it’s just what they do. One of them even gives Telly some yarn about how their ribbing is “evocative of the jocular spirit of Y’ffre” and they encourage him to tell some jokes of his own.
So Telly thinks about it. Then he thinks about it too hard and straight-up overthinks it. His concerns that he’d offend Y’ffre if he failed to be as off-the-cuff as his host family prove counterproductive.
Finally, over dinner (during which the host mother convinced Telly that it’s a perfectly normal and regular occurrence "in the V" to boil a rawhide hat and consume it after its outlived its hattiness, so please try it, won’t you? That’s it, chew it done, aye, there’s a good lad…), Telly lets loose with the following red-hot jape:
Telenger: My fine feathered friends. Thank you for this indigestion—er—meal, yes. And now, I’d like to repay your kindness with an offering. Not only to you, but to the jocular spirit of Y’ffrrrrrrmmmpppphh. Ah. Excuse me. Yes. Ahem. What type of vegetable is—er—I mean. No, that gives away too much. Just forget I said the vegetable part, yes. Uh. What object is orange and sounds like a parrot? Have I skunked you? The answer, of course, is a carrot. The proof, I shall now lay out thusly—
Host Daughter: —none doin’. We’re not ‘llowed to have carrots in this house.
Telenger spends the rest of the evening a-lump in the same corner as before, foot wedged firmly between his upper and lower lips.
And it pains him to admit it, but even that still tastes better than Bosmeri cooking.
As for Arlen, he was tickled by the book, especially given what he knows about Telenger. He was touched that Telly actually took the time to get to know his people better, or at least make the valiant attempt.
"It’s not too far off from what you’d hear ‘round Valenwood, the jokes anyway," says Arlen. "I danno. There’s no significance about it. We just like telling stupid jokes. Don’t you do that too? What else are y’going to do on a slow night, after the soap’s worn down to a sliver and the board games’re’all been chucked into a fire?"
As a footnote, he says Telly’s book gives a much more flattering account of the Bosmer than other books he’s seen.