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The Lord of the Rings Part 1

The Fellowship of the Ring


By J. R. R. Tolkien
Part 1: The Fellowship of the Ring
Part 2: The Two Towers
Part 3: The Return of the ing
Three Rings for the !l"en#kings under
the sky$
%e"en for the &warf#lords in their
halls of stone$
'ine for (ortal (en doo)ed to die$
*ne for the &ark Lord on his dark
throne
+n the Land of (ordor where the
%hadows lie.
*ne Ring to rule the) all$ *ne Ring
to find the)$
*ne Ring to ,ring the) all and in the
darkness ,ind the)
+n the Land of (ordor where the
%hadows lie.
-*'T!'T%
F*R!.*R&
PR*L*/0!
1. -on1erning 2o,,its
2. -on1erning Pipe#weed
3. *f the *rdering of the %hire
3. *f the Finding of the Ring
'ote on the %hire re1ords
T2! F!LL*.%2+P *F T2! R+'/
Book +
-hapter 1 4 Long#e5pe1ted Party
-hapter 2 The %hadow of the Past
-hapter 3 Three is -o)pany
-hapter 3 4 %hort -ut to (ushroo)s
-hapter 6 4 -onspira1y 0n)asked
-hapter 7 The *ld Forest
-hapter 8 +n the 2ouse of To)
Bo),adil
-hapter 9 Fog on the Barrow#&owns
-hapter : 4t the %ign of The Pran1ing
Pony
-hapter 1; %trider
-hapter 11 4 nife in the &ark
-hapter 12 Flight to the Ford
Book ++
-hapter 1 (any (eetings
-hapter 2 The -oun1il of !lrond
-hapter 3 The Ring /oes %outh
-hapter 3 4 Journey in the &ark
-hapter 6 The Bridge of ha<ad#d=)
-hapter 7 Lothl>rien
-hapter 8 The (irror of /aladriel
-hapter 9 Farewell to L>rien
-hapter : The /reat Ri"er
-hapter 1; The Breaking of the
Fellowship
T2! T.* T*.!R%
Book +++
-hapter 1 The &eparture of Boro)ir
-hapter 2 The Riders of Rohan
-hapter 3 The 0ruk#2ai
-hapter 3 Tree,eard
-hapter 6 The .hite Rider
-hapter 7 The ing of the /olden
2all
-hapter 8 2el)?s &eep
-hapter 9 The Road to +sengard
-hapter : Flotsa) and Jetsa)
-hapter 1; The @oi1e of %aru)an
-hapter 11 The PalantAr
Book +@
-hapter 1 The Ta)ing of %)Bagol
-hapter 2 The Passage of the (arshes
-hapter 3 The Bla1k /ate is -losed
-hapter 3 *f 2er,s and %tewed
Ra,,it
-hapter 6 The .indow on the .est
-hapter 7 The For,idden Pool
-hapter 8 Journey to the -ross#roads
-hapter 9 The %tairs of -irith 0ngol
-hapter : %helo,?s Lair
-hapter 1; The -hoi1es of (aster
%a)wise
T2! R!T0R' *F T2! +'/
Book @
-hapter 1 (inas Tirith
-hapter 2 The Passing of the /rey
-o)pany
-hapter 3 The (uster of Rohan
-hapter 3 The %iege of /ondor
-hapter 6 The Ride of the Rohirri)
-hapter 7 The Battle of the Pelennor
Fields
-hapter 8 The Pyre of &enethor
-hapter 9 The 2ouses of 2ealing
-hapter : The Last &e,ate
-hapter 1; The Bla1k /ate *pens
Book @+
-hapter 1 The Tower of -irith 0ngol
-hapter 2 The Land of %hadow
-hapter 3 (ount &oo)
-hapter 3 The Field of -or)allen
-hapter 6 The %teward and the ing
-hapter 7 (any Partings
-hapter 8 2o)eward Bound
-hapter 9 The %1ouring of the %hire
-hapter : The /rey 2a"ens
4PP!'&+-!%
4 4''4L% *F T2! +'/% 4'&
R0L!R%
+ The 'C)enorean ings
D+E 'C)enor
D++E The Real)s +n !5ile
D+++E !riador$ 4rnor$ and The 2eirs *f
+sildur
D+@E /ondor and The 2eirs *f
4nFrion
D@E 2ere Follows a Part of The Tale
of 4ragorn and 4rwen
++ T2! 2*0%! *F !*RL
+++ &0R+'?% F*L
2ere follows one of the last notes in
the Red Book
B T2! T4L! *F G!4R%
D-2R*'*L*/G *F T2!
.!%TL4'&%E
The %e1ond 4ge
The Third 4ge
- F4(+LG TR!!%
& -4L!'&4R%
%2+R! -4L!'&4R F*R 0%! +'
4LL G!4R%
T2! -4L!'&4R%
! .R+T+'/ 4'& %P!LL+'/
+ Pronun1iation of .ords and 'a)es
++ .riting
F
+ The Languages and Peoples of The
Third 4ge
++ *n Translation
+'&!H!%
+ %ongs and @erses
++ Persons$ Beasts and (onsters
+++ Pla1es
+@ Things
##############################################
F*R!.*R&
This tale grew in the telling$ until it
,e1a)e a history of the /reat .ar of
the Ring and in1luded
)any gli)pses of the yet )ore
an1ient history that pre1eded it. +t was
,egun soon after AThe
2o,,itA was written and ,efore its
pu,li1ation in 1:38I ,ut + did not go
on with this seJuel$ for +
wished first to 1o)plete and set in
order the )ythology and legends of
the !lder &ays$ whi1h had
then ,een taking shape for so)e
years. + desired to do this for )y own
satisfa1tion$ and + had little
hope that other people would ,e
interested in this work$ espe1ially
sin1e it was pri)arily linguisti1
in inspiration and was ,egun in order
to pro"ide the ne1essary ,a1kground
of ?history? for !l"ish
tongues.
.hen those whose ad"i1e and opinion
+ sought 1orre1ted Alittle hopeA to Ano
hope$A + went
,a1k to the seJuel$ en1ouraged ,y
reJuests fro) readers for )ore
infor)ation 1on1erning ho,,its
and their ad"entures. But the story
was drawn irresisti,ly towards the
older world$ and ,e1a)e an
a11ount$ as it were$ of its end and
passing away ,efore its ,eginning and
)iddle had ,een told. The
pro1ess had ,egun in the writing of
AThe 2o,,it$A in whi1h there were
already so)e referen1es to
the older )atter: !lrond$ /ondolin$
the 2igh#el"es$ and the or1s$ as well
as gli)pses that had arisen
un,idden of things higher or deeper or
darker than its surfa1e: &urin$ (oria$
/andalf$ the
'e1ro)an1er$ the Ring. The
dis1o"ery of the signifi1an1e of these
gli)pses and of their relation to
the an1ient histories re"ealed the
Third 4ge and its 1ul)ination in the
.ar of the Ring.
Those who had asked for )ore
infor)ation a,out ho,,its e"entually
got it$ ,ut they had to wait
a long ti)eI for the 1o)position of
AThe Lord of the RingsA went on at
inter"als during the years
1:37 to 1:3:$ a period in whi1h + had
)any duties that + did not negle1t$ and
)any other interests
as a learner and tea1her that often
a,sor,ed )e. The delay was$ of
1ourse$ also in1reased ,y the
out,reak of war in 1:3:$ ,y the end of
whi1h year the tale had not yet
rea1hed the end of Book
*ne. +n spite of the darkness of the
ne5t fi"e years + found that the story
1ould not now ,e wholly
a,andoned$ and + plodded on$ )ostly
,y night$ till + stood ,y Balin?s to),
in (oria. There + halted
for a long while. +t was al)ost a year
later when + went on and so 1a)e to
Lothl>rien and the /reat
Ri"er late in 1:31. +n the ne5t year +
wrote the first drafts of the )atter that
now stands as Book
Three$ and the ,eginnings of 1hapters
+ and +++ of Book Fi"eI and there as
the ,ea1ons flared in
4n>rien and ThBoden 1a)e to
2arrowdale + stopped. Foresight had
failed and there was no ti)e for
thought.
+t was during 1:33 that$ lea"ing the
loose ends and perple5ities of a war
whi1h it was )y task to
1ondu1t$ or at least to report$ 1 for1ed
)yself to ta1kle the Kourney of Frodo
to (ordor. These
1hapters$ e"entually to ,e1o)e Book
Four$ were written and sent out as a
serial to )y son$
-hristopher$ then in %outh 4fri1a with
the R4F. 'onetheless it took another
fi"e years ,efore the
tale was ,rought to its present endI in
that ti)e + 1hanged )y house$ )y
1hair$ and )y 1ollege$ and
the days though less dark were no less
la,orious. Then when the ?end? had at
last ,een rea1hed the
whole story had to ,e re"ised$ and
indeed largely re#written ,a1kwards.
4nd it had to ,e typed$ and
re#typed: ,y )eI the 1ost of
professional typing ,y the ten#
fingered was ,eyond )y )eans.
AThe Lord of the RingsA has ,een
read ,y )any people sin1e it finally
appeared in printI and +
should like to say so)ething here
with referen1e to the )any opinions
or guesses that + ha"e
re1ei"ed or ha"e read 1on1erning the
)oti"es and )eaning of the tale. The
pri)e )oti"e was the
desire of a tale#teller to try his hand at
a really long story that would hold the
attention of readers$
a)use the)$ delight the)$ and at
ti)es )ay,e e51ite the) or deeply
)o"e the). 4s a guide + had
only )y own feelings for what is
appealing or )o"ing$ and for )any
the guide was ine"ita,ly often
at fault. %o)e who ha"e read the
,ook$ or at any rate ha"e re"iewed it$
ha"e found it ,oring$
a,surd$ or 1onte)pti,leI and + ha"e no
1ause to 1o)plain$ sin1e + ha"e
si)ilar opinions of their
works$ or of the kinds of writing that
they e"idently prefer. But e"en fro)
the points of "iew of
)any who ha"e enKoyed )y story
there is )u1h that fails to please. +t is
perhaps not possi,le in a
long tale to please e"ery,ody at all
points$ nor to displease e"ery,ody at
the sa)e pointsI for + find
fro) the letters that + ha"e re1ei"ed
that the passages or 1hapters that are
to so)e a ,le)ish are all
,y others spe1ially appro"ed. The
)ost 1riti1al reader of all$ )yself$
now finds )any defe1ts$ )inor
and )aKor$ ,ut ,eing fortunately
under no o,ligation either to re"iew
the ,ook or to write it again$
he will pass o"er these in silen1e$
e51ept one that has ,een noted ,y
others: the ,ook is too short.
4s for any inner )eaning or
?)essage?$ it has in the intention of the
author none. +t is neither
allegori1al nor topi1al. 4s the story
grew it put down roots Dinto the pastE
and threw out une5pe1ted
,ran1hes: ,ut its )ain the)e was
settled fro) the outset ,y the
ine"ita,le 1hoi1e of the Ring as the
link ,etween it and AThe 2o,,it.A
The 1ru1ial 1hapter$ LThe %hadow of
the Past?$ is one of the
oldest parts of the tale. +t was written
long ,efore the foreshadow of 1:3:
had yet ,e1o)e a threat
of ine"ita,le disaster$ and fro) that
point the story would ha"e de"eloped
along essentially the
sa)e lines$ if that disaster had ,een
a"erted. +ts sour1es are things long
,efore in )ind$ or in so)e
1ases already written$ and little or
nothing in it was )odified ,y the war
that ,egan in 1:3: or its
seJuels.
The real war does not rese),le the
legendary war in its pro1ess or its
1on1lusion. +f it had
inspired or dire1ted the de"elop)ent
of the legend$ then 1ertainly the Ring
would ha"e ,een sei<ed
and used against %auronI he would
not ha"e ,een annihilated ,ut
ensla"ed$ and Barad#d=r would
not ha"e ,een destroyed ,ut o11upied.
%aru)an$ failing to get possession of
the Ring$ would ) the
1onfusion and trea1heries of the ti)e
ha"e found in (ordor the )issing
links in his own resear1hes
into Ring#lore$ and ,efore long he
would ha"e )ade a /reat Ring of his
own with whi1h to
1hallenge the self#styled Ruler of
(iddle#earth. +n that 1onfli1t ,oth
sides would ha"e held ho,,its
in hatred and 1onte)pt: they would
not long ha"e sur"i"ed e"en as sla"es.
*ther arrange)ents 1ould ,e de"ised
a11ording to the tastes or "iews of
those who like allegory
or topi1al referen1e. But + 1ordially
dislike allegory in all its
)anifestations$ and always ha"e done
so sin1e + grew old and wary enough
to dete1t its presen1e. + )u1h prefer
history$ true or feigned$
with its "aried appli1a,ility to the
thought and e5perien1e of readers. +
think that )any 1onfuse
?appli1a,ility? with ?allegory?I ,ut the
one resides in the freedo) of the
reader$ and the other in the
purposed do)ination of the author.
4n author 1annot of 1ourse re)ain
wholly unaffe1ted ,y his e5perien1e$
,ut the ways in whi1h a
story#ger) uses the soil of e5perien1e
are e5tre)ely 1o)ple5$ and atte)pts
to define the pro1ess
are at ,est guesses fro) e"iden1e that
is inadeJuate and a),iguous. +t is
also false$ though
naturally attra1ti"e$ when the li"es of
an author and 1riti1 ha"e o"erlapped$
to suppose that the
)o"e)ents of thought or the e"ents
of ti)es 1o))on to ,oth were
ne1essarily the )ost powerful
influen1es. *ne has indeed personally
to 1o)e under the shadow of war to
feel fully its oppressionI
,ut as the years go ,y it see)s now
often forgotten that to ,e 1aught in
youth ,y 1:13 was no less
hideous an e5perien1e than to ,e
in"ol"ed in 1:3: and the following
years. By 1:19 all ,ut one of
)y 1lose friends were dead. *r to
take a less grie"ous )atter: it has ,een
supposed ,y so)e that
?The %1ouring of the %hire? refle1ts the
situation in !ngland at the ti)e when
+ was finishing )y
tale. +t does not. +t is an essential part
of the plot$ foreseen fro) the outset$
though in the e"ent
)odified ,y the 1hara1ter of %aru)an
as de"eloped in the story without$
need + say$ any allegori1al
signifi1an1e or 1onte)porary politi1al
referen1e whatsoe"er. +t has indeed
so)e ,asis in
e5perien1e$ though slender Dfor the
e1ono)i1 situation was entirely
differentE$ and )u1h further
,a1k. The 1ountry in whi1h + li"ed in
1hildhood was ,eing sha,,ily
destroyed ,efore + was ten$ in
days when )otor#1ars were rare
o,Ke1ts D+ had ne"er seen oneE and
)en were still ,uilding
su,ur,an railways. Re1ently + saw in
a paper a pi1ture of the last
de1repitude of the on1e thri"ing
1orn#)ill ,eside its pool that long ago
see)ed to )e so i)portant. + ne"er
liked the looks of the
Goung )iller$ ,ut his father$ the *ld
)iller$ had a ,la1k ,eard$ and he was
not na)ed %andy)an.
AThe Lord of the RingsA is now
issued in a new edition$ and the
opportunity has ,een taken of
re"ising it. 4 nu),er of errors and
in1onsisten1ies that still re)ained in
the te5t ha"e ,een
1orre1ted$ and an atte)pt has ,een
)ade to pro"ide infor)ation on a few
points whi1h attenti"e
readers ha"e raised. + ha"e 1onsidered
all their 1o))ents and enJuiries$ and
if so)e see) to ha"e
,een passed o"er that )ay ,e ,e1ause
+ ha"e failed to keep )y notes in
orderI ,ut )any enJuiries
1ould only ,e answered ,y additional
appendi1es$ or indeed ,y the
produ1tion of an a11essory
"olu)e 1ontaining )u1h of the
)aterial that + did not in1lude in the
original edition$ in parti1ular
)ore detailed linguisti1 infor)ation.
+n the )eanti)e this edition offers
this Foreword$ an addition
to the Prologue$ so)e notes$ and an
inde5 of the na)es of persons and
pla1es. This inde5 is in
intention 1o)plete in ite)s ,ut not in
referen1es$ sin1e for the present
purpose it has ,een
ne1essary to redu1e its ,ulk. 4
1o)plete inde5$ )aking full use of the
)aterial prepared for )e ,y
(rs. '. %)ith$ ,elongs rather to the
a11essory "olu)e.
PR*L*/0!
This ,ook is largely 1on1erned with
2o,,its$ and fro) its pages a reader
)ay dis1o"er )u1h of
their 1hara1ter and a little of their
history. Further infor)ation will also
,e found in the sele1tion
fro) the Red Book of .est)ar1h that
has already ,een pu,lished$ under the
title of AThe 2o,,itA.
That story was deri"ed fro) the
earlier 1hapters of the Red Book$
1o)posed ,y Bil,o hi)self$ the
first 2o,,it to ,e1o)e fa)ous in the
world at large$ and 1alled ,y hi)
AThere and Ba1k 4gain$A
sin1e they told of his Kourney into the
!ast and his return: an ad"enture
whi1h later in"ol"ed all the
2o,,its in the great e"ents of that
4ge that are here related.
(any$ howe"er$ )ay wish to know
)ore a,out this re)arka,le people
fro) the outset$ while
so)e )ay not possess the earlier
,ook. For su1h readers a few notes on
the )ore i)portant points
are here 1olle1ted fro) 2o,,it#lore$
and the first ad"enture is ,riefly
re1alled.
2o,,its are an uno,trusi"e ,ut "ery
an1ient people$ )ore nu)erous
for)erly than they are
todayI for they lo"e pea1e and Juiet
and good tilled earth: a well#ordered
and well#far)ed
1ountryside was their fa"ourite haunt.
They do not and did not understand or
like )a1hines )ore
1o)pli1ated than a forge#,ellows$ a
water#)ill$ or a hand#loo)$ though
they were skilful with
tools. !"en in an1ient days they were$
as a rule$ shy of ?the Big Folk?$ as they
1all us$ and now they
a"oid us with dis)ay and are
,e1o)ing hard to find. They are Jui1k
of hearing and sharp#eyed$ and
though they are in1lined to ,e fat and
do not hurry unne1essarily$ they are
nonetheless ni),le and
deft in their )o"e)ents. They
possessed fro) the first the art of
disappearing swiftly and silently$
when large folk who) they do not
wish to )eet 1o)e ,lundering ,yI and
this an they ha"e
de"eloped until to (en it )ay see)
)agi1al. But 2o,,its ha"e ne"er$ in
fa1t$ studied )agi1 of any
kind$ and their elusi"eness is due
solely to a professional skill that
heredity and pra1ti1e$ and a
1lose friendship with the earth$ ha"e
rendered ini)ita,le ,y ,igger and
1lu)sier ra1es.
For they are a little people$ s)aller
than &war"es: less tout and sto1ky$
that is$ e"en when they
are not a1tually )u1h shorter. Their
height is "aria,le$ ranging ,etween
two and four feet of our
)easure. They seldo) now rea1h
three feetI ,ut they hi"e dwindled$
they say$ and in an1ient days
they were taller. 411ording to the Red
Book$ Bando,ras Took DBullroarerE$
son of +sengri) the
%e1ond$ was four foot fi"e and a,le to
ride a horse. 2e was surpassed in all
2o,,it re1ords only ,y
two fa)ous 1hara1ters of oldI ,ut that
1urious )atter is dealt with in this
,ook.
4s for the 2o,,its of the %hire$ with
who) these tales are 1on1erned$ in
the days of their pea1e
and prosperity they were a )erry folk.
They dressed in ,right 1olours$ ,eing
nota,ly fond of yellow
and greenI ,ut they seldo) wore
shoes$ sin1e their feet had tough
leathery soles and were 1lad in a
thi1k 1urling hair$ )u1h like the hair
of their heads$ whi1h was 1o))only
,rown. Thus$ the only
1raft little pra1tised a)ong the) was
shoe#)akingI ,ut they had long and
skilful fingers and 1ould
)ake )any other useful and 1o)ely
things. Their fa1es were as a rule
good#natured rather than
,eautiful$ ,road$ ,right#eyed$ red#
1heeked$ with )ouths apt to laughter$
and to eating and drinking.
4nd laugh they did$ and eat$ and
drink$ often and heartily$ ,eing fond
of si)ple Kests at all ti)es$
and of si5 )eals a day Dwhen they
1ould get the)E. They were hospita,le
and delighted in parties$
and in presents$ whi1h they ga"e away
freely and eagerly a11epted.
+t is plain indeed that in spite of later
estrange)ent 2o,,its are relati"es of
ours: far nearer to us
than !l"es$ or e"en than &war"es. *f
old they spoke the languages of (en$
after their own fashion$
and liked and disliked )u1h the sa)e
things as (en did. But what e5a1tly
our relationship is 1an
no longer ,e dis1o"ered. The
,eginning of 2o,,its lies far ,a1k in
the !lder &ays that are now lost
and forgotten. *nly the !l"es still
preser"e any re1ords of that "anished
ti)e$ and their traditions
are 1on1erned al)ost entirely with
their own history$ in whi1h (en
appear seldo) and 2o,,its are
not )entioned at all. Get it is 1lear
that 2o,,its had$ in fa1t$ li"ed Juietly
in (iddle#earth for )any
long years ,efore other folk ,e1a)e
e"en aware of the). 4nd the world
,eing after all full of
strange 1reatures ,eyond 1ount$ these
little people see)ed of "ery little
i)portan1e. But in the days
of Bil,o$ and of Frodo his heir$ they
suddenly ,e1a)e$ ,y no wish of their
own$ ,oth i)portant and
renowned$ and trou,led the 1ounsels
of the .ise and the /reat.
Those days$ the Third 4ge of (iddle#
earth$ are now long past$ and the
shape of all lands has
,een 1hangedI ,ut the regions in
whi1h 2o,,its then li"ed were
dou,tless the sa)e as those in
whi1h they still linger: the 'orth#
.est of the *ld .orld$ east of the
%ea. *f their original ho)e the
2o,,its in Bil,o?s ti)e preser"ed no
knowledge. 4 lo"e of learning Dother
than genealogi1al loreE
was far fro) general a)ong the)$ ,ut
there re)ained still a few in the older
fa)ilies who studied
their own ,ooks$ and e"en gathered
reports of old ti)es and distant lands
fro) !l"es$ &war"es$ and
(en. Their own re1ords ,egan only
after the settle)ent of the %hire$ and
their )ost an1ient legends
hardly looked further ,a1k than their
.andering &ays. +t is 1lear$
nonetheless$ fro) these legends$
and fro) the e"iden1e of their
pe1uliar words and 1usto)s$ that like
)any other folk 2o,,its had in
the distant past )o"ed westward.
Their earliest tales see) to gli)pse a
ti)e when they dwelt in the
upper "ales of 4nduin$ ,etween the
ea"es of /reenwood the /reat and the
(isty (ountains. .hy
they later undertook the hard and
perilous 1rossing of the )ountains
into !riador is no longer
1ertain. Their own a11ounts speak of
the )ultiplying of (en in the land$
and of a shadow that fell
on the forest$ so that it ,e1a)e
darkened and its new na)e was
(irkwood.
Before the 1rossing of the )ountains
the 2o,,its had already ,e1o)e
di"ided into three
so)ewhat different ,reeds: 2arfoots$
%toors$ and Fallohides. The 2arfoots
were ,rowner of skin$
s)aller$ and shorter$ and they were
,eardless and ,ootlessI their hands
and feet were neat and
ni),leI and they preferred highlands
and hillsides. The %toors were
,roader$ hea"ier in ,uildI their
feet and hands were larger$ and they
preferred flat lands and ri"ersides.
The Fallohides were fairer
of skin and also of hair$ and they were
taller and sli))er than the othersI
they were lo"ers of trees
and of woodlands.
The 2arfoots had )u1h to do with
&war"es in an1ient ti)es$ and long
li"ed in the foothills of
the )ountains. They )o"ed westward
early$ and roa)ed o"er !riador as far
as .eathertop while
the others were still in the .ilderland.
They were the )ost nor)al and
representati"e "ariety of
2o,,it$ and far the )ost nu)erous.
They were the )ost in1lined to settle
in one pla1e$ and longest
preser"ed their an1estral ha,it of
li"ing in tunnels and holes.
The %toors lingered long ,y the ,anks
of the /reat Ri"er 4nduin$ and were
less shy of (en.
They 1a)e west after the 2arfoots
and followed the 1ourse of the
Loudwater southwardsI and there
)any of the) long dwelt ,etween
Thar,ad and the ,orders of &unland
,efore they )o"ed north
again.
The Fallohides$ the least nu)erous$
were a northerly ,ran1h. They were
)ore friendly with
!l"es than the other 2o,,its were$
and had )ore skill in language and
song than in handi1raftsI and
of old they preferred hunting to
tilling. They 1rossed the )ountains
north of Ri"endell and 1a)e
down the Ri"er 2oarwell. +n !riador
they soon )ingled with the other
kinds that had pre1eded
the)$ ,ut ,eing so)ewhat ,older and
)ore ad"enturous$ they were often
found as leaders or
1hieftains a)ong 1lans of 2arfoots or
%toors. !"en in Bil,o?s ti)e the
strong Fallohidish strain
1ould still ,e noted a)ong the greater
fa)ilies$ su1h as the Tooks and the
(asters of Bu1kland.
+n the westlands of !riador$ ,etween
the (isty (ountains and the
(ountains of Lune$ the
2o,,its found ,oth (en and !l"es.
+ndeed$ a re)nant still dwelt there of
the &Cnedain$ the kings
of (en that 1a)e o"er the %ea out of
.esternesseI ,ut they were dwindling
fast and the lands of
their 'orth ingdo) were falling far
and wide into waste. There was roo)
and to spare for
in1o)ers$ and ere long the 2o,,its
,egan to settle in ordered
1o))unities. (ost of their earlier
settle)ents had long disappeared and
,een forgotten in Bil,o?s ti)eI ,ut one
of the first to ,e1o)e
i)portant still endured$ though
redu1ed in si<eI this was at Bree and
in the -hetwood that lay round
a,out$ so)e forty )iles east of the
%hire.
+t was in these early days$ dou,tless$
that the 2o,,its learned their letters
and ,egan to write
after the )anner of the &Cnedain$
who had in their turn long ,efore
learned the art fro) the !l"es.
4nd in those days also they forgot
whate"er languages they had used
,efore$ and spoke e"er after
the -o))on %pee1h$ the .estron as
it was na)ed$ that was 1urrent
through all the lands of the
kings fro) 4rnor to /ondor$ and
a,out all the 1oasts of the %ea fro)
Belfalas to Lune. Get they
kept a few words of their own$ as well
as their own na)es of )onths and
days$ and a great store of
personal na)es out of the past.
4,out this ti)e legend a)ong the
2o,,its first ,e1o)es history with a
re1koning of years. For it
was in the one thousand si5 hundred
and first year of the Third 4ge that
the Fallohide ,rothers$
(ar1ho and Blan1o$ set out fro)
BreeI and ha"ing o,tained per)ission
fro) the high king at
Fornost$ they 1rossed the ,rown ri"er
Baranduin with a great following of
2o,,its. They passed
o"er the Bridge of %tone,ows$ that
had ,een ,uilt in the days of the
power of the 'orth ingdo)$
and they took ail the land ,eyond to
dwell in$ ,etween the ri"er and the
Far &owns. 4ll that was
de)anded of the) was that they
should keep the /reat Bridge in
repair$ and all other ,ridges and
roads$ speed the king?s )essengers$
and a1knowledge his lordship.
Thus ,egan the A%hire#re1koning$A
for the year of the 1rossing of the
Brandywine Das the
2o,,its turned the na)eE ,e1a)e
Gear *ne of the %hire$ and all later
dates were re1koned fro) it.
4t on1e the western 2o,,its fell in
lo"e with their new land$ and they
re)ained there$ and soon
passed on1e )ore out of the history of
(en and of !l"es. .hile there was
still a king they were in
na)e his su,Ke1ts$ ,ut they were$ in
fa1t$ ruled ,y their own 1hieftains and
)eddled not at all with
e"ents in the world outside. To the
last ,attle at Fornost with the .it1h#
lord of 4ng)ar they sent
so)e ,ow)en to the aid of the king$
or so they )aintained$ though no tales
of (en re1ord it. But in
that war the 'orth ingdo) endedI
and then the 2o,,its took the land for
their own$ and they
1hose fro) their own 1hiefs a Thain
to hold the authority of the king that
was gone. There for a
thousand years they were little
trou,led ,y wars$ and they prospered
and )ultiplied after the &ark
Plague D%.R. 38E until the disaster of
the Long .inter and the fa)ine that
followed it. (any
thousands then perished$ ,ut the &ays
of &earth D1169#7;E were at the ti)e
of this tale long past
and the 2o,,its had again ,e1o)e
a11usto)ed to plenty. The land was
ri1h and kindly$ and though
it had long ,een deserted when they
entered it$ it had ,efore ,een well
tilled$ and there the king had
on1e had )any far)s$ 1ornlands$
"ineyards$ and woods.
Forty leagues it stret1hed fro) the Far
&owns to the Brandywine Bridge$ and
fifty fro) the
northern )oors to the )arshes in the
south. The 2o,,its na)ed it the
%hire$ as the region of the
authority of their Thain$ and a distri1t
of well#ordered ,usinessI and there in
that pleasant 1o)er of
the world they plied their well#
ordered ,usiness of li"ing$ and they
heeded less and less the world
outside where dark things )o"ed$
until they 1a)e to think that pea1e
and plenty were the rule in
(iddle#earth and the right of all
sensi,le folk. They forgot or ignored
what little they had e"er
known of the /uardians$ and of the
la,ours of those that )ade possi,le
the long pea1e of the %hire.
They were$ in fa1t$ sheltered$ ,ut they
had 1eased to re)e),er it.
4t no ti)e had 2o,,its of any kind
,een warlike$ and they had ne"er
fought a)ong the)sel"es.
+n olden days they had$ of 1ourse$
,een often o,liged to fight to )aintain
the)sel"es in a hard
worldI ,ut in Bil,o?s ti)e that was
"ery an1ient history. The last ,attle$
,efore this story opens$ and
indeed the only one that had e"er ,een
fought within the ,orders of the %hire$
was ,eyond li"ing
)e)ory: the Battle of /reenfields$
%.R. 1138$ in whi1h Bando,ras Took
routed an in"asion of
*r1s. !"en the weathers had grown
)ilder$ and the wol"es that had on1e
1o)e ra"ening out of the
'orth in ,itter white winters were
now only a grandfather?s tale. %o$
though there was still so)e
store of weapons in the %hire$ these
were used )ostly as trophies$ hanging
a,o"e hearths or on
walls$ or gathered into the )useu) at
(i1hel &el"ing. The (atho)#house
it was 1alledI for
anything that 2o,,its had no
i))ediate use for$ ,ut were unwilling
to throw away$ they 1alled a
A)atho)A. Their dwellings were apt
to ,e1o)e rather 1rowded with
)atho)s$ and )any of the
presents that passed fro) hand to
hand were of that son.
'onetheless$ ease and pea1e had left
this people still 1uriously tough. They
were$ if it 1a)e to it$
diffi1ult to daunt or to killI and they
were$ perhaps$ so unwearyingly fond
of good things not least
,e1ause they 1ould$ when put to it$ do
without the)$ and 1ould sur"i"e
rough handling ,y grief$
foe$ or weather in a way that
astonished those who did not know
the) well and looked no further
than their ,ellies and their well#fed
fa1es. Though slow to Juarrel$ and for
sport killing nothing that
li"ed$ they were doughty at ,ay$ and
at need 1ould still handle ar)s. They
shot well with the ,ow$
for they were keen#eyed and sure at
the )ark. 'ot only with ,ows and
arrows. +f any 2o,,it
stooped for a stone$ it was well to get
Jui1kly under 1o"er$ as all trespassing
,easts knew "ery well.
4ll 2o,,its had originally li"ed in
holes in the ground$ or so they
,elie"ed$ and in su1h
dwellings they still felt )ost at ho)eI
,ut in the 1ourse of ti)e they had
,een o,liged to adopt other
for)s of a,ode. 41tually in the %hire
in Bil,o?s days it was$ as a rule$ only
the ri1hest and the
poorest 2o,,its that )aintained the
old 1usto). The poorest went on
li"ing in ,urrows of the )ost
pri)iti"e kind$ )ere holes indeed$
with only one window or noneI while
the well#to#do still
1onstru1ted )ore lu5urious "ersions
of the si)ple diggings of old. But
suita,le sites for these large
and ra)ifying tunnels Dor As)ialsA as
they 1alled the)E were not
e"erywhere to ,e foundI and in
the flats and the low#lying distri1ts the
2o,,its$ as they )ultiplied$ ,egan to
,uild a,o"e ground.
+ndeed$ e"en in the hilly regions and
the older "illages$ su1h as 2o,,iton or
Tu1k,orough$ or in the
1hief township of the %hire$ (i1hel
&el"ing on the .hite &owns$ there
were now )any houses of
wood$ ,ri1k$ or stone. These were
spe1ially fa"oured ,y )illers$ s)iths$
ropers$ and 1artwrights$
and others of that sortI for e"en when
they had holes to li"e in. 2o,,its had
long ,een a11usto)ed
to ,uild sheds and workshops.
The ha,it of ,uilding far)houses and
,arns was said to ha"e ,egun a)ong
the inha,itants of the
(arish down ,y the Brandywine. The
2o,,its of that Juarter$ the
!astfarthing$ were rather large
and hea"y#legged$ and they wore
dwarf#,oots in )uddy weather. But
they were well known to ,e
%toors in a large part of their ,lood$ as
indeed was shown ,y the down that
)any grew on their
1hins. 'o 2arfoot or Fallohide had
any tra1e of a ,eard. +ndeed$ the folk
of the (arish$ and of
Bu1kland$ east of the Ri"er$ whi1h
they afterwards o11upied$ 1a)e for
the )ost part later into the
%hire up fro) south#awayI and they
still had )any pe1uliar na)es and
strange words not found
elsewhere in the %hire.
+t is pro,a,le that the 1raft of
,uilding$ as )any other 1rafts ,eside$
was deri"ed fro) the
&Cnedain. But the 2o,,its )ay ha"e
learned it dire1t fro) the !l"es$ the
tea1hers of (en in their
youth. For the !l"es of the 2igh
indred had not yet forsaken (iddle#
earth$ and they dwelt still at
that ti)e at the /rey 2a"ens away to
the west$ and in other pla1es within
rea1h of the %hire. Three
!lf#towers of i))e)orial age were
still to ,e seen on the Tower 2ills
,eyond the western )ar1hes.
They shone far off in the )oonlight.
The tallest was furthest away$
standing alone upon a green
)ound. The 2o,,its of the
.estfarthing said that one 1ould see
the %ea fro) the lop of that towerI
,ut no 2o,,it had e"er ,een known to
1li), it. +ndeed$ few 2o,,its had e"er
seen or sailed upon
the %ea$ and fewer still had e"er
returned to report it. (ost 2o,,its
regarded e"en ri"ers and s)all
,oats with deep )isgi"ings$ and not
)any of the) 1ould swi). 4nd as the
days of the %hire
lengthened they spoke less and less
with the !l"es$ and grew afraid of
the)$ and distrustful of those
that had dealings with the)I and the
%ea ,e1a)e a word of fear a)ong
the)$ and a token of death$
and they turned their fa1es away fro)
the hills in the west.
The 1raft of ,uilding )ay ha"e 1o)e
fro) !l"es or (en$ ,ut the 2o,,its
used it in their own
fashion. They did not go in for towers.
Their houses were usually long$ low$
and 1o)forta,le. The
oldest kind were$ indeed$ no )ore
than ,uilt i)itations of As)ials$A
that1hed with dry grass or
straw$ or roofed with tur"es$ and
ha"ing walls so)ewhat ,ulged. That
stage$ howe"er$ ,elonged to
the early days of the %hire$ and
ho,,it#,uilding had long sin1e ,een
altered$ i)pro"ed ,y de"i1es$
learned fro) &war"es$ or dis1o"ered
,y the)sel"es. 4 preferen1e for round
windows$ and e"en
round doors$ was the 1hief re)aining
pe1uliarity of ho,,it#ar1hite1ture.
The houses and the holes of %hire#
ho,,its were often large$ and
inha,ited ,y large fa)ilies.
DBil,o and Frodo Baggins were as
,a1helors "ery e51eptional$ as they
were also in )any other
ways$ su1h as their friendship with the
!l"es.E %o)eti)es$ as in the 1ase of
the Tooks of /reat
%)ials$ or the Brandy,u1ks of Brandy
2all$ )any generations of relati"es
li"ed in D1o)parati"eE
pea1e together in one an1estral and
)any#tunnelled )ansion. 4ll 2o,,its
were$ in any 1ase$
1lannish and re1koned up their
relationships with great 1are. They
drew long and ela,orate fa)ilytrees
with innu)era,le ,ran1hes. +n dealing
with 2o,,its it is i)portant to
re)e),er who is related
to who)$ and in what degree. +t
would ,e i)possi,le in this ,ook to
set out a fa)ily#tree that
in1luded e"en the )ore i)portant
)e),ers of the )ore i)portant
fa)ilies at the ti)e whi1h these
tales tell of. The genealogi1al trees at
the end of the Red Book of
.est)ar1h are a s)all ,ook in
the)sel"es$ and all ,ut 2o,,its would
find the) e51eedingly dull. 2o,,its
delighted in su1h
things$ if they were a11urate: they
liked to ha"e ,ooks filled with things
that they already knew$ set
out fair and sJuare with no
1ontradi1tions.
There is another astonishing thing
a,out 2o,,its of old that )ust ,e
)entioned$ an astonishing
ha,it: they i),i,ed or inhaled$
through pipes of 1lay or wood$ the
s)oke of the ,urning lea"es of a
her,$ whi1h they 1alled Apipe#weedA
or Aleaf$A a "ariety pro,a,ly of
A'i1otiana.A 4 great deal of
)ystery surrounds the origin of this
pe1uliar 1usto)$ or ?art? as the 2o,,its
preferred to 1all it. 4ll
that 1ould ,e dis1o"ered a,out it in
antiJuity was put together ,y
(eriado1 Brandy,u1k Dlater
(aster of Bu1klandE$ and sin1e he and
the to,a11o of the %outhfarthing play
a part in the history
that follows$ his re)arks in the
introdu1tion to his A2er,lore of the
%hireA )ay ,e Juoted.
?This$? he says$ ?is the one art that we
1an 1ertainly 1lai) to ,e our own
in"ention. .hen 2o,,its
first ,egan to s)oke is not known$ all
the legends and fa)ily histories take
it for grantedI for ages
folk in the %hire s)oked "arious
her,s$ so)e fouler$ so)e sweeter. But
all a11ounts agree that
To,old 2orn,lower of Long,otto) in
the %outhfarthing first grew the true
pipe#weed in his
gardens in the days of +sengri) the
%e1ond$ a,out the year 1;8; of %hire#
re1koning. The ,est
ho)e#grown still 1o)es fro) that
distri1t$ espe1ially the "arieties now
known as Long,otto) Leaf$
*ld To,y$ and %outhern %tar.
?2ow *ld To,y 1a)e ,y the plant is
not re1orded$ for to his dying day he
would not tell. 2e
knew )u1h a,out her,s$ ,ut he was
no tra"eller. +t is said that in his youth
he went often to Bree$
though he 1ertainly ne"er went further
fro) the %hire than that. +t is thus
Juite possi,le that he
learned of this plant in Bree$ where
now$ at any rate$ it grows well on the
south slopes of the hill.
The Bree#ho,,its 1lai) to ha"e ,een
the first a1tual s)okers of the pipe#
weed. They 1lai)$ of
1ourse$ to ha"e done e"erything
,efore the people of the %hire$ who)
they refer to as L1olonistsLI
,ut in this 1ase their 1lai) is$ + think$
likely to ,e true. 4nd 1ertainly it was
fro) Bree that the art of
s)oking the genuine weed spread in
the re1ent 1enturies a)ong &war"es
and su1h other folk$
Rangers$ .i<ards$ or wanderers$ as
still passed to and fro through that
an1ient road#)eeting. The
ho)e and 1entre of the an is thus to ,e
found in the old inn of Bree$ AThe
Pran1ing Pony$A that has
,een kept ,y the fa)ily of Butter,ur
fro) ti)e ,eyond re1ord.
?4ll the sa)e$ o,ser"ations that + ha"e
)ade on )y own )any Kourneys
south ha"e 1on"in1ed
)e that the weed itself is not nati"e to
our parts of the world$ ,ut 1a)e
northward fro) the lower
4nduin$ whither it was$ + suspe1t$
originally ,rought o"er %ea ,y the
(en of .esternesse. +t grows
a,undantly in /ondor$ and there is
ri1her and larger than in the 'orth$
where it is ne"er found wild$
and flourishes only in war) sheltered
pla1es like Long,otto). The (en of
/ondor 1all it Asweet
galenas$A and estee) it only for the
fragran1e of its flowers. Fro) that
land it )ust ha"e ,een
1arried up the /reenway during the
long 1enturies ,etween the 1o)ing of
!lendil and our own day.
But e"en the &Cnedain of /ondor
allow us this 1redit: 2o,,its first put
it into pipes. 'ot e"en the
.i<ards first thought of that ,efore
we did. Though one .i<ard that +
knew took up the art long
ago$ and ,e1a)e as skilful in it as in
all other things that he put his )ind
to.?
The %hire was di"ided into four
Juarters$ the Farthings already
referred to. 'orth$ %outh$ !ast$
and .estI and these again ea1h into a
nu),er of folklands$ whi1h still ,ore
the na)es of so)e of
the old leading fa)ilies$ although ,y
the ti)e of this history these na)es
were no longer found only
in their proper folklands. 'early all
Tooks still li"ed in the Tookland$ ,ut
that was not true of )any
other fa)ilies$ su1h as the Bagginses
or the Boffins. *utside the Farthings
were the !ast and .est
(ar1hes: the Bu1kland Dsee ,eginning
of -hapter @$ Book +EI and the
.est)ar1h added to the
%hire in %.R. 1372.
The %hire at this ti)e had hardly any
?go"ern)ent?. Fa)ilies for the )ost
part )anaged their
own affairs. /rowing food and eating
it o11upied )ost of their ti)e. +n
other )atters they were$ as
a rule$ generous and not greedy$ ,ut
1ontented and )oderate$ so that
estates$ far)s$ workshops$ and
s)all trades tended to re)ain
un1hanged for generations.
There re)ained$ of 1ourse$ the an1ient
tradition 1on1erning the high king at
Fornost$ or 'or,ury
as they 1alled it$ away north of the
%hire. But there had ,een no king for
nearly a thousand years$
and e"en the ruins of ings? 'or,ury
were 1o"ered with grass. Get the
2o,,its still said of wild
folk and wi1ked things Dsu1h as trollsE
that they had not heard of the king.
For they attri,uted to the
king of old all their essential lawsI
and usually they kept the laws of free
will$ ,e1ause they were
The Rules Das they saidE$ ,oth an1ient
and Kust.
+t is true that the Took fa)ily had
long ,een pre#e)inentI for the offi1e
of Thain had passed to
the) Dfro) the *ld,u1ksE so)e
1enturies ,efore$ and the 1hief Took
had ,orne that title e"er sin1e.
The Thain was the )aster of the
%hire#)oot$ and 1aptain of the %hire#
)uster and the 2o,,itry#inar)s$
,ut as )uster and )oot were only
held in ti)es of e)ergen1y$ whi1h no
longer o11urred$ the
Thainship had 1eased to ,e )ore than
a no)inal dignity. The Took fa)ily
was still$ indeed$
a11orded a spe1ial respe1t$ for it
re)ained ,oth nu)erous and
e51eedingly wealthy$ and was lia,le
to produ1e in e"ery generation strong
1hara1ters of pe1uliar ha,its and e"en
ad"enturous
te)pera)ent. The latter Jualities$
howe"er$ were now rather tolerated
Din the ri1hE than generally
appro"ed. The 1usto) endured$
nonetheless$ of referring to the head
of the fa)ily as The Took$ and
of adding to his na)e$ if reJuired$ a
nu),er: su1h as +sengri) the %e1ond$
for instan1e.
The only real offi1ial in the %hire at
this date was the (ayor of (i1hel
&el"ing Dor of the %hireE$
who was ele1ted e"ery se"en years at
the Free Fair on the .hite &owns at
the Lithe$ that is at
(idsu))er. 4s )ayor al)ost his
only duty was to preside at ,anJuets$
gi"en on the %hireholidays$
whi1h o11urred at freJuent inter"als.
But the offi1es of Post)aster and First
%hirriff were
atta1hed to the )ayoralty$ so that he
)anaged ,oth the (essenger %er"i1e
and the .at1h. These
were the only %hire#ser"i1es$ and the
(essengers were the )ost nu)erous$
and )u1h the ,usier of
the two. By no )eans all 2o,,its
were lettered$ ,ut those who were
wrote 1onstantly to all their
friends Dand a sele1tion of their
relationsE who li"ed further off than
an afternoon?s walk.
The %hirriffs was the na)e that the
2o,,its ga"e to their poli1e$ or the
nearest eJui"alent that
they possessed. They had$ of 1ourse$
no unifor)s Dsu1h things ,eing Juite
unknownE$ only a feather
in their 1apsI and they were in
pra1ti1e rather haywards than
poli1e)en$ )ore 1on1erned with the
strayings of ,easts than of people.
There were in all the %hire only
twel"e of the)$ three in ea1h
Farthing$ for +nside .ork. 4 rather
larger ,ody$ "arying at need$ was
e)ployed to ?,eat the ,ounds?$
and to see that *utsiders of any kind$
great or s)all$ did not )ake
the)sel"es a nuisan1e.
4t the ti)e when this story ,egins the
Bounders$ as they were 1alled$ had
,een greatly
in1reased. There were )any reports
and 1o)plaints of strange persons and
1reatures prowling
a,out the ,orders$ or o"er the): the
first sign that all was not Juite as it
should ,e$ and always had
,een e51ept in tales and legends of
long ago. Few heeded the sign$ and
not e"en Bil,o yet had any
notion of what it portended. %i5ty
years had passed sin1e he set out on
his )e)ora,le Kourney$ and
he was old e"en for 2o,,its$ who
rea1hed a hundred as often as notI ,ut
)u1h e"idently still
re)ained of the 1onsidera,le wealth
that he had ,rought ,a1k. 2ow )u1h
or how little he re"ealed
to no one$ not e"en to Frodo his
fa"ourite ?nephew?. 4nd he still kept
se1ret the ring that he ,ad
found.
4s is told in The 2o,,it$ there 1a)e
one day to Bil,o?s door the great
.i<ard$ /andalf the /rey$
and thirteen dwar"es with hi): none
other$ indeed$ than Thorin
*akenshield$ des1endant of kings$
and his twel"e 1o)panions in e5ile.
.ith the) he set out$ to his own
lasting astonish)ent$ on a
)orning of 4pril$ it ,eing then the
year 1331 %hire#re1koning$ on a Juest
of great treasure$ the
dwarf#hoards of the ings under the
(ountain$ ,eneath !re,or in &ale$ far
off in the !ast. The
Juest was su11essful$ and the &ragon
that guarded the hoard was destroyed.
Get$ though ,efore all
was won the Battle of Fi"e 4r)ies
was fought$ and Thorin was slain$ and
)any deeds of renown
were done$ the )atter would s1ar1ely
ha"e 1on1erned later history$ or
earned )ore than a note in
the long annals of the Third 4ge$ ,ut
for an ?a11ident? ,y the way. The party
was assailed ,y *r1s in
a high pass of the (isty (ountains as
they went towards .ilderlandI and so
it happened that Bil,o
was lost for a while in the ,la1k or1#
)ines deep under the )ountains$ and
there$ as he groped in
"ain in the dark$ he put his hand on a
ring$ lying on the floor of a tunnel. 2e
put it in his po1ket. +t
see)ed then like )ere lu1k.
Trying to find his way out. Bil,o went
on down to the roots of the
)ountains$ until he 1ould go
no further. 4t the ,otto) of the tunnel
lay a 1old lake far fro) the light$ and
on an island of ro1k in
the water li"ed /ollu). 2e was a
loathso)e little 1reature: he paddled a
s)all ,oat with his large
flat feet$ peering with pale lu)inous
eyes and 1at1hing ,lind fish with his
long fingers$ and eating
the) raw. 2e ate any li"ing thing$
e"en or1$ if he 1ould 1at1h it and
strangle it without a struggle.
2e possessed a se1ret treasure that
had 1o)e to hi) long ages ago$ when
he still li"ed in the light: a
ring of gold that )ade its wearer
in"isi,le. +t was the one thing he
lo"ed$ his ?pre1ious?$ and he
talked to it$ e"en when it was not with
hi). For he kept it hidden safe in a
hole on his island$ e51ept
when he was hunting or spying on the
ores of the )ines.
(ay,e he would ha"e atta1ked Bil,o
at on1e$ if the ring had ,een on hi)
when they )etI ,ut it
was not$ and the ho,,it held in his
hand an !l"ish knife$ whi1h ser"ed
hi) as a sword. %o to gain
ti)e /ollu) 1hallenged Bil,o to the
Riddle#ga)e$ saying that if he asked a
riddle whi1h Bil,o
1ould not guess$ then he would kill
hi) and eat hi)I ,ut if Bil,o defeated
hi)$ then he would do as
Bil,o wished: he would lead hi) to a
way out of the tunnels.
%in1e he was lost in the dark without
hope$ and 1ould neither go on nor
,a1k. Bil,o a11epted the
1hallengeI and they asked one another
)any riddles. +n the end Bil,o won
the ga)e$ )ore ,y lu1k
Das it see)edE than ,y witsI for he was
stu)ped at last for a riddle to ask$ and
1ried out$ as his hand
1a)e upon the ring he lad pi1ked up
and forgotten: A.hat haw + got in )y
po1ketMA This /ollu)
failed to answer$ though he de)anded
three guesses.
The 4uthorities$ it is true$ differ
whether this last Juestion was a )ere
?Juestion? and not a
?riddle? a11ording to the stri1t rules of
the /a)eI ,ut all agree that$ after
a11epting it and trying to
guess the answer$ /ollu) was ,ound
,y his pro)ise. 4nd Bil,o pressed
hi) to keep his wordI for
the thought 1a)e to hi) that this
sli)y 1reature )ight pro"e false$ e"en
though su1h pro)ises were
held sa1red$ and of old all ,ut the
wi1kedest things feared to ,reak
the). But after ages alone in the
dark /ollu)?s heart was ,la1k$ and
trea1hery was in it. 2e slipped away$
and returned to the island$
of whi1h Bil,o knew nothing$ not far
off in the dark water. There$ he
thought$ lay his ring. 2e was
hungry now$ and angry$ and on1e his
?pre1ious? was with hi) he would not
fear any weapon at all.
But the ring was not on the islandI he
had lost it$ it was gone. 2is s1ree1h
sent a shi"er down
Bil,o?s ,a1k$ though he did not yet
understand what had happened. But
/ollu) had at last leaped to
a guess$ too late. A.hat has it got in
its po1ketsesMA he 1ried. The light in
his eyes was like a green
fla)e as he sped ,a1k to )urder the
ho,,it and re1o"er his ?pre1ious?. Just
in ti)e Bil,o saw his
peril$ and he fled ,lindly up the
passage away fro) the waterI and
on1e )ore he was sa"ed ,y his
lu1k. For Kust as he ran he put his
hand in his po1ket$ and the ring
slipped Juietly on to his finger.
%o it was that /ollu) passed hi)
without seeing hi)$ and went to guard
the way out$ lest the ?thief?
should es1ape. .arily Bil,o followed
hi)$ as he went along$ 1ursing$ and
talking to hi)self a,out
his ?pre1ious?I fro) whi1h talk at last
e"en Bil,o guessed the truth$ and
hope 1a)e to hi) in the
darkness: he hi)self had found the
)ar"ellous ring and a 1han1e of
es1ape fro) the or1s and fro)
/ollu).
4t length they 1a)e to a halt ,efore
an unseen opening that led to the
lower gates of the )ines$
on the eastward side of the )ountains.
There /ollu) 1rou1hed at ,ay$
s)elling and listeningI and
Bil,o was te)pted to slay hi) with
his sword. But pity stayed hi)$ and
though he kept the ring$ in
whi1h his only hope lay$ he would not
use it to help hi) kill the wret1hed
1reature at a
disad"antage. +n the end$ gathering his
1ourage$ he leaped o"er /ollu) in the
dark$ and fled away
down the passage$ pursued ,y his
ene)y?s 1ries of hate and despair:
AThief$ thiefN BagginsN .e
hates it for e"erNA
'ow it is a 1urious fa1t that this is not
the story as Bil,o first told it to his
1o)panions. To the)
his a11ount was that /ollu) had
pro)ised to gi"e hi) a Apresent$A if
he won the ga)eI ,ut when
/ollu) went to fet1h it fro) his
island he found the treasure was gone:
a )agi1 ring$ whi1h had
,een gi"en to hi) long ago on his
,irthday. Bil,o guessed that this was
the "ery ring that he had
found$ and as he had won the ga)e$ it
was already his ,y right. But ,eing in
a tight pla1e$ he said
nothing a,out it$ and )ade /ollu)
show hi) the way out$ as a reward
instead of a present. This
a11ount Bil,o set down in his
)e)oirs$ and he see)s ne"er to ha"e
altered it hi)self$ not e"en
after the -oun1il of !lrond. !"idently
it still appeared in the original Red
Book$ as it did in se"eral
of the 1opies and a,stra1ts. But )any
1opies 1ontain the true a11ount Das an
alternati"eE$ deri"ed no
dou,t fro) notes ,y Frodo or
%a)wise$ ,oth of who) learned the
truth$ though they see) to ha"e
,een unwilling to delete anything
a1tually written ,y the old ho,,it
hi)self.
/andalf$ howe"er$ dis,elie"ed Bil,o?s
first story$ as soon as he heard it$ and
he 1ontinued to ,e
"ery 1urious a,out the ring.
!"entually he got the true tale out of
Bil,o after )u1h Juestioning$
whi1h for a while strained their
friendshipI ,ut the wi<ard see)ed to
think the truth i)portant.
Though he did not say so to Bil,o$ he
also thought it i)portant$ and
distur,ing$ to find that the good
ho,,it had not told the truth fro) the
first: Juite 1ontrary to his ha,it. The
idea of a ?present? was
not )ere ho,,itlike in"ention$ all the
sa)e. +t was suggested to Bil,o$ as he
1onfessed$ ,y /ollu)?s
talk that he o"erheardI for /ollu)
did$ in fa1t$ 1all the ring his ?,irthday
present?$ )any ti)es. That
also /andalf thought strange and
suspi1iousI ,ut he did not dis1o"er the
truth in this point for )any
)ore years$ as will ,e seen in this
,ook.
*f Bil,o?s later ad"entures little )ore
need ,e said here. .ith the help of the
ring he es1aped
fro) the or1#guards at the gate and
reKoined his 1o)panions. 2e used the
ring )any ti)es on his
Juest$ 1hiefly for the help of his
friendsI ,ut he kept it se1ret fro)
the) as long as he 1ould. 4fter
his return to his ho)e he ne"er spoke
of it again to anyone$ sa"e /andalf
and FrodoI and no one
else in the %hire knew of its e5isten1e$
or so he ,elie"ed. *nly to Frodo did
he show the a11ount of
his Journey that he was writing.
2is sword$ %ting$ Bil,o hung o"er his
firepla1e$ and his 1oat of )ar"ellous
)ail$ the gift of the
&war"es fro) the &ragon#hoard$ he
lent to a )useu)$ to the (i1hel
&el"ing (atho)#house in
fa1t. But he kept in a drawer at Bag
!nd the old 1loak and hood that he
had worn on his tra"elsI and
the ring$ se1ured ,y a fine 1hain$
re)ained in his po1ket.
2e returned to his ho)e at Bag !nd
on June the 22nd in his fifty#se1ond
year D%.R. 1332E$ and
nothing "ery nota,le o11urred in the
%hire until (r. Baggins ,egan the
preparations for the
1ele,ration of his hundred#and#
ele"enth ,irthday D%.R. 13;1E. 4t this
point this 2istory ,egins.
4t the end of the Third 4ge the part
played ,y the 2o,,its in the great
e"ents that led to the
in1lusion of the %hire in the Reunited
ingdo) awakened a)ong the) a
)ore widespread interest
in their own historyI and )any of
their traditions$ up to that ti)e still
)ainly oral$ were 1olle1ted
and .ritten down. The greater
fa)ilies were also 1on1erned with
e"ents in the ingdo) at large$
and )any of their )e),ers studied its
an1ient histories and legends. By the
end of the first 1entury
of the Fourth 4ge there were already
to ,e found in the %hire se"eral
li,raries that 1ontained )any
histori1al ,ooks and re1ords.
The largest of these 1olle1tions were
pro,a,ly at 0ndertowers$ at /reat
%)ials$ and at Brandy
2all. This a11ount of the end of the
Third 4ge is drawn )ainly fro) the
Red Book of .est)ar1h.
That )ost i)portant sour1e for the
history of the .ar of the Ring was so
1alled ,e1ause it was long
preser"ed at 0ndertowers$ the ho)e
of the Fair,airns$ .ardens of the
.est)ar1h. +t was in origin
Bil,o?s pri"ate diary$ whi1h he took
with hi) to Ri"endell. Frodo ,rought
it ,a1k to the %hire$
together with )any loose lea"es of
notes$ and during %.R. 132;#1 he
nearly filled its pages with his
a11ount of the .ar. But anne5ed to it
and preser"ed with it$ pro,a,ly ) a
single red 1ase$ were the
three large "olu)es$ ,ound in red
leather$ that Bil,o ga"e to hi) as a
parting gift. To these four
"olu)es there was added in
.est)ar1h a fifth 1ontaining
1o))entaries$ genealogies$ and
"arious
other )atter 1on1erning the ho,,it
)e),ers of the Fellowship.
The original Red Book has not ,een
preser"ed$ ,ut )any 1opies were
)ade$ espe1ially of the
first "olu)e$ for the use of the
des1endants of the 1hildren of (aster
%a)wise. The )ost i)portant
1opy$ howe"er$ has a different history.
+t was kept at /reat %)ials$ ,ut it was
written in -ondor$
pro,a,ly at the reJuest of the great#
grandson of Peregrin$ and 1o)pleted
in %.R. 16:2 DF.4. 182E.
+ts southern s1ri,e appended this note:
Findegil$ ing?s .riter$ finished this
work in +@ 182. +t is an
e5a1t 1opy in all details of the Thain?s
Book ) (inas Tirith. That ,ook was
a 1opy$ )ade at the
reJuest of ing !lessar$ of the Red
Book of the Periannath$ and was
,rought to hi) ,y the Thain
Peregrin when he retired to /ondor in
+@ 73.
The Thain?s Book was thus the first
1opy )ade of the Red Book and
1ontained )u1h that was
later o)itted or lost. +n (inas Tirith it
re1ei"ed )u1h annotation$ and )any
1orre1tions$ espe1ially
of na)es$ words$ and Juotations in
the !l"ish languagesI and there was
added to it an a,,re"iated
"ersion of those parts of AThe Tale of
4ragorn and 4rwenA whi1h lie
outside the a11ount of the
.ar. The full tale is stated to ha"e
,een written ,y Barahir$ grandson of
the %teward Fara)ir$ so)e
ti)e after the passing of the ing. But
the 1hief i)portan1e of Findegil?s
1opy is that it alone
1ontains the whole of Bil,o?s
?Translations fro) the !l"ish?. These
three "olu)es were found to ,e
a work of great skill and learning in
whi1h$ ,etween 13;3 and 1319$ he
had used all the sour1es
a"aila,le to hi) in Ri"endell$ ,oth
li"ing and written. But sin1e they
were little used ,y Frodo$
,eing al)ost entirely 1on1erned with
the !lder &ays$ no )ore is said of
the) here.
%in1e (eriado1 and Peregrin ,e1a)e
the heads of their great fa)ilies$ and
at the sa)e ti)e kept
up their 1onne5ions with Rohan and
/ondor$ the li,raries at Bu1kle,ury
and Tu1k,orough
1ontained )u1h that did not appear in
the Red Book. +n Brandy 2all there
were )any works
dealing with !riador and the history
of Rohan. %o)e of these were
1o)posed or ,egun ,y
(eriado1 hi)self$ though in the %hire
he was 1hiefly re)e),ered for his
A2er,lore of the %hire$A
and for his ARe1koning of GearsA )
whi1h he dis1ussed the relation of the
1alendars of the %hire
and Bree to those of Ri"endell$
/ondor$ and Rohan. 2e also wrote a
short treatise on A*ld .ords
and 'a)es in the %hire$A ha"ing
spe1ial interest in dis1o"ering the
kinship with the language of the
Rohirri) of su1h ?shire#words? as
A)atho)A and old ele)ents in pla1e
na)es.
4t /reat %)ials the ,ooks were of
less interest to %hire#folk$ though
)ore i)portant for larger
history. 'one of the) was written ,y
Peregrin$ ,ut he and his su11essors
1olle1ted )any
)anus1ripts written ,y s1ri,es of
/ondor: )ainly 1opies or su))aries
of histories or legends
relating to !lendil and his heirs. *nly
here in the %hire were to ,e found
e5tensi"e )aterials for the
history of 'C)enor and the arising of
%auron. +t was pro,a,ly at /reat
%)ials that AThe Tale of
GearsA was put together$ with the
assistan1e of )aterial 1olle1ted ,y
(eriado1. Though the dates
gi"en are often 1onKe1tural$ espe1ially
for the %e1ond 4ge$ they deser"e
attention. +t is pro,a,le that
(eriado1 o,tained assistan1e and
infor)ation fro) Ri"endell$ whi1h he
"isited )ore than on1e.
There$ though !lrond had departed$
his sons long re)ained$ together with
so)e of the 2igh#el"en
folk. +t is said that -ele,orn went to
dwell there after the departure of
/aladrielI ,ut there is no
re1ord of the day when at last he
sought the /rey 2a"ens$ and with hi)
went the last li"ing
)e)ory of the !lder &ays in (iddle#
earth.
##############################################
############
T2! F!LL*.%2+P *F T2! R+'/
A,eing the first part of
The Lord of the RingsA
B** +
A-hapter 1A
4 Long#e5pe1ted Party
.hen (r. Bil,o Baggins of Bag !nd
announ1ed that he would shortly ,e
1ele,rating his
ele"enty#first ,irthday with a party of
spe1ial )agnifi1en1e$ there was )u1h
talk and e51ite)ent in
2o,,iton.
Bil,o was "ery ri1h and "ery pe1uliar$
and had ,een the wonder of the %hire
for si5ty years$ e"er
sin1e his re)arka,le disappearan1e
and une5pe1ted return. The ri1hes he
had ,rought ,a1k fro) his
tra"els had now ,e1o)e a lo1al
legend$ and it was popularly ,elie"ed$
whate"er the old folk )ight
say$ that the 2ill at Bag !nd was full
of tunnels stuffed with treasure. 4nd
if that was not enough
for fa)e$ there was also his prolonged
"igour to )ar"el at. Ti)e wore on$
,ut it see)ed to ha"e
little effe1t on (r. Baggins. 4t ninety
he was )u1h the sa)e as at fifty. 4t
ninety#nine they ,egan
to 1all hi) AwellA#preser"ed$ ,ut
Aun1hangedA would ha"e ,een nearer
the )ark. There were so)e
that shook their heads and thought
this was too )u1h of a good thingI it
see)ed unfair that anyone
should possess DapparentlyE perpetual
youth as well as DreputedlyE
ine5hausti,le wealth.
?+t will ha"e to ,e paid for$? they said.
?+t isn?t natural$ and trou,le will 1o)e
of itN?
But so far trou,le had not 1o)eI and
as (r. Baggins was generous with his
)oney$ )ost people
were willing to forgi"e hi) his
oddities and his good fortune. 2e
re)ained on "isiting ter)s with
his relati"es De51ept$ of 1ourse$ the
%a1k"ille#BagginsesE$ and he had
)any de"oted ad)irers
a)ong the ho,,its of poor and
uni)portant fa)ilies. But he had no
1lose friends$ until so)e of his
younger 1ousins ,egan to grow up.
The eldest of these$ and Bil,o?s
fa"ourite$ was young Frodo Baggins.
.hen Bil,o was ninetynine$
he adopted Frodo as his heir$ and
,rought hi) to li"e at Bag !ndI and
the hopes of the
%a1k"ille#Bagginses were finally
dashed. Bil,o and Frodo happened to
ha"e the sa)e ,irthday$
%epte),er 22nd. ?Gou had ,etter
1o)e and li"e here$ Frodo )y lad$?
said Bil,o one dayI ?and then
we 1an 1ele,rate our ,irthday#parties
1o)forta,ly together.? 4t that ti)e
Frodo was still in his
Atweens$A as the ho,,its 1alled the
irresponsi,le twenties ,etween
1hildhood and 1o)ing of age at
thirty#three.
Twel"e )ore years passed. !a1h year
the Bagginses had gi"en "ery li"ely
1o),ined ,irthdayparties
at Bag !ndI ,ut now it was
understood that so)ething Juite
e51eptional was ,eing planned
for that autu)n. Bil,o was going to
,e Aele"enty#one$A 111$ a rather
1urious nu),er and a "ery
respe1ta,le age for a ho,,it Dthe *ld
Took hi)self had only rea1hed 13;EI
and Frodo was going to
,e Athirty#three$A 33E an i)portant
nu),er: the date of his ?1o)ing of
age?.
Tongues ,egan to wag in 2o,,iton
and BywaterI and ru)our of the
1o)ing e"ent tra"elled all
o"er the %hire. The history and
1hara1ter of (r. Bil,o Baggins
,e1a)e on1e again the 1hief topi1
of 1on"ersationI and the older folk
suddenly found their re)inis1en1es in
wel1o)e de)and.
'o one had a )ore attenti"e audien1e
than old 2a) /a)gee$ 1o))only
known as the /affer.
2e held forth at AThe +"y BushA$ a
s)all inn on the Bywater roadI and he
spoke with so)e
authority$ for he had tended the
garden at Bag !nd for forty years$ and
had helped old 2ol)an in
the sa)e Ko, ,efore that. 'ow that he
was hi)self growing old and stiff in
the Koints$ the Ko, was
)ainly 1arried on ,y his youngest
son$ %a) /a)gee. Both father and
son were on "ery friendly
ter)s with Bil,o and Frodo. They
li"ed on the 2ill itself$ in 'u),er 3
Bagshot Row Kust ,elow
Bag !nd.
?4 "ery ni1e well#spoken gentleho,,it
is (r. Bil,o$ as +?"e always said$? the
/affer de1lared.
.ith perfe1t truth: for Bil,o was "ery
polite to hi)$ 1alling hi) ?(aster
2a)fast?$ and 1onsulting
hi) 1onstantly upon the growing of
"egeta,les O in the )atter of ?roots?$
espe1ially potatoes$ the
/affer was re1ogni<ed as the leading
authority ,y all in the neigh,ourhood
Din1luding hi)selfE.
?But what a,out this Frodo that li"es
with hi)M? asked *ld 'oakes of
Bywater. ?Baggins is his
na)e$ ,ut he?s )ore than half a
Brandy,u1k$ they say. +t ,eats )e
why any Baggins of 2o,,iton
should go looking for a wife away
there in Bu1kland$ where folks are so
Jueer.?
?4nd no wonder they?re Jueer$? put in
&addy Twofoot Dthe /affer?s ne5t#
door neigh,ourE$ ?if they
li"e on the wrong side of the
Brandywine Ri"er$ and right agin the
*ld Forest. That?s a dark ,ad
pla1e$ if half the tales ,e true.?
?Gou?re right$ &adN? said the /affer.
?'ot that the Brandy,u1ks of Bu1k#
land li"e AinA the *ld
ForestI ,ut they?re a Jueer ,reed$
see)ingly. They fool a,out with ,oats
on that ,ig ri"er O and that
isn?t natural. %)all wonder that
trou,le 1a)e of it$ + say. But ,e that
as it )ay$ (r. Frodo is as ni1e
a young ho,,it as you 1ould wish to
)eet. @ery )u1h like (r. Bil,o$ and
in )ore than looks. 4fter
all his father was a Baggins. 4 de1ent
respe1ta,le ho,,it was (r. &rogo
BagginsI there was ne"er
)u1h to tell of hi)$ till he was
drownded.?
?&rowndedM? said se"eral "oi1es. They
had heard this and other darker
ru)ours ,efore$ of
1ourseI ,ut ho,,its ha"e a passion for
fa)ily history$ and they were ready to
hear it again. ?.ell$ so
they say$? said the /affer. ?Gou see:
(r. &rogo$ he )arried poor (iss
Pri)ula Brandy,u1k. %he
was our (r. Bil,o?s first 1ousin on the
)other?s side Dher )other ,eing the
youngest of the *ld
Took?s daughtersEI and (r. &rogo
was his se1ond 1ousin. %o (r. Frodo
is his first AandA se1ond
1ousin$ on1e re)o"ed either way$ as
the saying is$ if you follow )e. 4nd
(r. &rogo was staying at
Brandy 2all with his father#in#law$
old (aster /or,ado1$ as he often did
after his )arriage Dhi)
,eing partial to his "ittles$ and old
/or,ado1 keeping a )ighty generous
ta,leEI and he went out
A,oatingAon the Brandywine Ri"erI
and he and his wife were drownded$
and poor (r. Frodo only a
1hild and all. ?
?+?"e heard they went on the water
after dinner in the )oonlight$? said
*ld 'oakesI ?and it was
&rogo?s weight as sunk the ,oat.?
?4nd A+A heard she pushed hi) in$ and
he pulled her in after hi)$? said
%andy)an$ the 2o,,iton
)iller.
?Gou shouldn?t listen to all you hear$
%andy)an$? said the /affer$ who did
not )u1h like the
)iller. ?There isn?t no 1all to go
talking of pushing and pulling. Boats
are Juite tri1ky enough for
those that sit still without looking
further for the 1ause of trou,le.
4nyway: there was this (r.
Frodo left an orphan and stranded$ as
you )ight say$ a)ong those Jueer
Bu1klanders$ ,eing
,rought up anyhow in Brandy 2all. 4
regular warren$ ,y all a11ounts. *ld
(aster /or,ado1 ne"er
had fewer than a 1ouple of hundred
relations in the pla1e. (r. Bil,o ne"er
did a kinder deed than
when he ,rought the lad ,a1k to li"e
a)ong de1ent folk.
?But + re1kon it was a nasty sho1k for
those %a1k"ille#Bagginses. They
thought they were going
to get Bag !nd$ that ti)e when he
went off and was thought to ,e dead.
4nd then he 1o)es ,a1k
and orders the) offI and he goes on
li"ing and li"ing$ and ne"er looking a
day older$ ,less hi)N
4nd suddenly he produ1es an heir$
and has all the papers )ade out
proper. The %a1k"ille#
Bagginses won?t ne"er see the inside
of Bag !nd now$ or it is to ,e hoped
not.?
?There?s a tidy ,it of )oney tu1ked
away up there$ + hear tell$? said a
stranger$ a "isitor on
,usiness fro) (i1hel &el"ing in the
.estfarthing. ?4ll the top of your hill
is full of tunnels pa1ked
with 1hests of gold and sil"er$
AandAKools$ ,y what +?"e heard. ?
?Then you?"e heard )ore than + 1an
speak to$? answered the /affer. + know
nothing a,out
AKools.A (r. Bil,o is free with his
)oney$ and there see)s no la1k of itI
,ut + know of no tunnel)aking.
+ saw (r. Bil,o when he 1a)e ,a1k$ a
)atter of si5ty years ago$ when + was
a lad. +?d not
long 1o)e prenti1e to old 2ol)an
Dhi) ,eing )y dad?s 1ousinE$ ,ut he
had )e up at Bag !nd
helping hi) to keep folks fro)
tra)pling and trapessing all o"er the
garden while the sale was on.
4nd in the )iddle of it all (r. Bil,o
1o)es up the 2ill with a pony and
so)e )ighty ,ig ,ags and
a 1ouple of 1hests. + don?t dou,t they
were )ostly full of treasure he had
pi1ked up in foreign parts$
where there ,e )ountains of gold$
they sayI ,ut there wasn?t enough to
fill tunnels. But )y lad %a)
will know )ore a,out that. 2e?s in
and out of Bag !nd. -ra<y a,out
stories of the old days he is$
and he listens to all (r. Bil,o?s tales.
(r. Bil,o has learned hi) his letters O
)eaning no har)$
)ark you$ and + hope no har) will
1o)e of it.
A?!l"es and &ragons?A + says to hi).
?A-a,,ages and potatoes are ,etter for
)e and you. &on?t
go getting )i5ed up in the ,usiness of
your ,etters$ or you?ll land in trou,le
too ,ig for you$?A+ says
to hi). 4nd + )ight say it to others$?
he added with a look at the stranger
and the )iller.
But the /affer did not 1on"in1e his
audien1e. The legend of Bil,o?s
wealth was now too fir)ly
fi5ed in the )inds of the younger
generation of ho,,its.
?4h$ ,ut he has likely enough ,een
adding to what he ,rought at first$?
argued the )iller$ "oi1ing
1o))on opinion. ?2e?s often away
fro) ho)e. 4nd look at the
outlandish folk that "isit hi):
dwar"es 1o)ing at night$ and that old
wandering 1onKuror$ /andalf$ and all.
Gou 1an say what you
like$ /affer$ ,ut Bag !nd?s a Jueer
pla1e$ and its folk are Jueerer.?
?4nd you 1an say Awhat youA like$
a,out what you know no )ore of than
you do of ,oating$ (r.
%andy)an$? retorted the /affer$
disliking the )iller e"en )ore than
usual. +f that?s ,eing Jueer$ then
we 1ould do with a ,it )ore Jueerness
in these parts. There?s so)e not far
away that wouldn?t offer
a pint of ,eer to a friend$ if they li"ed
in a hole with golden walls. But they
do things proper at Bag
!nd. *ur %a) says that Ae"eryone?sA
going to ,e in"ited to the party$ and
there?s going to ,e
presents$ )ark you$ presents for all O
this "ery )onth as is.?
That "ery )onth was %epte),er$ and
as fine as you 1ould ask. 4 day or two
later a ru)our
Dpro,a,ly started ,y the
knowledgea,le %a)E was spread
a,out that there were going to ,e
fireworks O fireworks$ what is )ore$
su1h as had not ,een seen in the %hire
for nigh on a 1entury$
not indeed sin1e the *ld Took died.
&ays passed and The &ay drew
nearer. 4n odd#looking waggon laden
with odd#looking
pa1kages rolled into 2o,,iton one
e"ening and toiled up the 2ill to Bag
!nd. The startled ho,,its
peered out of la)plit doors to gape at
it. +t was dri"en ,y outlandish folk$
singing strange songs:
dwar"es with long ,eards and deep
hoods. 4 few of the) re)ained at
Bag !nd. 4t the end of the
se1ond week in %epte),er a 1art
1a)e in through Bywater fro) the
dire1tion of the Brandywine
Bridge in ,road daylight. 4n old )an
was dri"ing it all alone. 2e wore a tall
pointed ,lue hat$ a
long grey 1loak$ and a sil"er s1arf. 2e
had a long white ,eard and ,ushy
eye,rows that stu1k out
,eyond the ,ri) of his hat. %)all
ho,,it#1hildren ran after the 1art all
through 2o,,iton and right
up the hill. +t had a 1argo of
fireworks$ as they rightly guessed. 4t
Bil,o?s front door the old )an
,egan to unload: there were great
,undles of fireworks of all sorts and
shapes$ ea1h la,elled with a
large red / and the elf#rune$ .
That was /andalf?s )ark$ of 1ourse$
and the old )an was /andalf the
.i<ard$ whose fa)e in
the %hire was due )ainly to his skill
with fires$ s)okes$ and lights. 2is real
,usiness was far )ore
diffi1ult and dangerous$ ,ut the %hire#
folk knew nothing a,out it. To the)
he was Kust one of the
?attra1tions? at the Party. 2en1e the
e51ite)ent of the ho,,it#1hildren. ?/
for /randN? they shouted$
and the old )an s)iled. They knew
hi) ,y sight$ though he only appeared
in 2o,,iton
o11asionally and ne"er stopped longI
,ut neither they nor any ,ut the oldest
of their elders had seen
one of his firework displays O they
now ,elonged to the legendary past.
.hen the old )an$ helped ,y Bil,o
and so)e dwar"es$ had finished
unloading. Bil,o ga"e a
few pennies awayI ,ut not a single
sJui, or 1ra1ker was forth1o)ing$ to
the disappoint)ent of the
onlookers.
?Run away nowN? said /andalf. ?Gou
will get plenty when the ti)e 1o)es.?
Then he disappeared
inside with Bil,o$ and the door was
shut. The young ho,,its stared at the
door in "ain for a while$
and then )ade off$ feeling that the
day of the party would ne"er 1o)e.
+nside Bag !nd$ Bil,o and /andalf
were sitting at the open window of a
s)all roo) looking out
west on to the garden. The late
afternoon was ,right and pea1eful.
The flowers glowed red and
golden: snap#dragons and sun#
flowers$ and nasturtiu)s trailing all
o"er the turf walls and peeping
in at the round windows.
?2ow ,right your garden looksN? said
/andalf.
?Ges$? said Bil,o. + a) "ery fond
indeed of it$ and of all the dear old
%hireI ,ut + think + need a
holiday.?
?Gou )ean to go on with your plan
thenM?
?+ do. + )ade up )y )ind )onths ago$
and + ha"en?t 1hanged it.?
?@ery well. +t is no good saying any
)ore. %ti1k to your plan O your whole
plan$ )ind O and +
hope it will turn out for the ,est$ for
you$ and for all of us.?
?+ hope so. 4nyway + )ean to enKoy
)yself on Thursday$ and ha"e )y
little Koke.?
?.ho will laugh$ + wonderM? said
/andalf$ shaking his head.
?.e shall see$? said Bil,o.
The ne5t day )ore 1arts rolled up the
2ill$ and still )ore 1arts. There )ight
ha"e ,een so)e
gru),ling a,out ?dealing lo1ally?$ ,ut
that "ery week orders ,egan to pour
out of Bag !nd for e"ery
kind of pro"ision$ 1o))odity$ or
lu5ury that 1ould ,e o,tained in
2o,,iton or Bywater or
anywhere in the neigh,ourhood.
People ,e1a)e enthusiasti1I and they
,egan to ti1k off the days on
the 1alendarI and they wat1hed
eagerly for the post)an$ hoping for
in"itations.
Before long the in"itations ,egan
pouring out$ and the 2o,,iton post#
offi1e was ,lo1ked$ and
the Bywater post#offi1e was snowed
under$ and "oluntary assistant
post)en were 1alled for. There
was a 1onstant strea) of the) going
up the 2ill$ 1arrying hundreds of
polite "ariations on AThank
you$ + shall 1ertainly 1o)e.A
4 noti1e appeared on the gate at Bag
!nd: '* 4&(+TT4'-! !H-!PT
*' P4RTG
B0%+'!%%. !"en those who had$ or
pretended to ha"e Party Business
were seldo) allowed inside.
Bil,o was ,usy: writing in"itations$
ti1king off answers$ pa1king up
presents$ and )aking so)e
pri"ate preparations of his own. Fro)
the ti)e of /andalf?s arri"al he
re)ained hidden fro) "iew.
*ne )orning the ho,,its woke to find
the large field$ south of Bil,o?s front
door$ 1o"ered with
ropes and poles for tents and
pa"ilions. 4 spe1ial entran1e was 1ut
into the ,ank leading to the road$
and wide steps and a large white gate
were ,uilt there. The three ho,,it#
fa)ilies of Bagshot Row$
adKoining the field$ were intensely
interested and generally en"ied. *ld
/affer /a)gee stopped
e"en pretending to work in his garden.
The tents ,egan to go up. There was a
spe1ially large pa"ilion$ so ,ig that
the tree that grew in
the field was right inside it$ and stood
proudly near one end$ at the head of
the 1hief ta,le. Lanterns
were hung on all its ,ran1hes. (ore
pro)ising still Dto the ho,,its? )indE:
an enor)ous open#air
kit1hen was ere1ted in the north
1orner of the field. 4 draught of
1ooks$ fro) e"ery inn and
eatinghouse
for )iles around$ arri"ed to
supple)ent the dwar"es and other odd
folk that were Juartered
at Bag !nd. !51ite)ent rose to its
height.
Then the weather 1louded o"er. That
was on .ednesday the e"e of the
Party. 4n5iety was
intense. Then Thursday$ %epte),er
the 22nd$ a1tually dawned. The sun
got up$ the 1louds
"anished$ flags were unfurled and the
fun ,egan.
Bil,o Baggins 1alled it a Aparty$A ,ut
it was really a "ariety of
entertain)ents rolled into one.
Pra1ti1ally e"ery,ody li"ing near was
in"ited. 4 "ery few were o"erlooked
,y a11ident$ ,ut as they
turned up all the sa)e$ that did not
)atter. (any people fro) other parts
of the %hire were also
askedI and there were e"en a few
fro) outside the ,orders. Bil,o )et
the guests Dand additionsE at
the new white gate in person. 2e ga"e
away presents to all and sundry O the
latter were those who
went out again ,y a ,a1k way and
1a)e in again ,y the gate. 2o,,its
gi"e presents to other people
on their own ,irthdays. 'ot "ery
e5pensi"e ones$ as a rule$ and not so
la"ishly as on this o11asionI
,ut it was not a ,ad syste). 41tually
in 2o,,iton and Bywater e"ery day in
the year it was
so)e,ody?s ,irthday$ so that e"ery
ho,,it in those parts had a fair 1han1e
of at least one present at
least on1e a week. But they ne"er got
tired of the).
*n this o11asion the presents were
unusually good. The ho,,it#1hildren
were so e51ited that for
a while they al)ost forgot a,out
eating. There were toys the like of
whi1h they had ne"er seen
,efore$ all ,eautiful and so)e
o,"iously )agi1al. (any of the) had
indeed ,een ordered a year
,efore$ and had 1o)e all the way
fro) the (ountain and fro) &ale$
and were of real dwarf#)ake.
.hen e"ery guest had ,een wel1o)ed
and was finally inside the gate$ there
were songs$ dan1es$
)usi1$ ga)es$ and$ of 1ourse$ food
and drink. There were three offi1ial
)eals: lun1h$ tea$ and
dinner Dor supperE. But lun1h and tea
were )arked 1hiefly ,y the fa1t that at
those ti)es all the
guests were sitting down and eating
together. 4t other ti)es there were
)erely lots of people eating
and drinking O 1ontinuously fro)
ele"enses until si5#thirty$ when the
fireworks started.
The fireworks were ,y /andalf: they
were not only ,rought ,y hi)$ ,ut
designed and )ade ,y
hi)I and the spe1ial effe1ts$ set
pie1es$ and flights of ro1kets were let
off ,y hi). But there was
also a generous distri,ution of sJui,s$
1ra1kers$ ,a1karappers$ sparklers$
tor1hes$ dwarf#1andles$
elf#fountains$ go,lin#,arkers and
thunder#1laps. They were all super,.
The art of /andalf i)pro"ed
with age.
There were ro1kets like a flight of
s1intillating ,irds singing with sweet
"oi1es. There were
green trees with trunks of dark s)oke:
their lea"es opened like a whole
spring unfolding in a
)o)ent$ and their shining ,ran1hes
dropped glowing flowers down upon
the astonished ho,,its$
disappearing with a sweet s1ent Kust
,efore they tou1hed their upturned
fa1es. There were fountains
of ,utterflies that flew glittering into
the treesI there were pillars of
1oloured fires that rose and
turned into eagles$ or sailing ships$ or
a phalan5 of flying swansI there was a
red thunderstor) and
a shower of yellow rainI there was a
forest of sil"er spears that sprang
suddenly into the air with a
yell like an e),attled ar)y$ and 1a)e
down again into the .ater with a hiss
like a hundred hot
snakes. 4nd there was also one last
surprise$ in honour of Bil,o$ and it
startled the ho,,its
e51eedingly$ as /andalf intended. The
lights went out. 4 great s)oke went
up. +t shaped itself like
a )ountain seen in the distan1e$ and
,egan to glow at the su))it. +t
spouted green and s1arlet
fla)es. *ut flew a red#golden dragon
O not life#si<e$ ,ut terri,ly life#like:
fire 1a)e fro) his Kaws$
his eyes glared downI there was a
roar$ and he whi<<ed three ti)es o"er
the heads of the 1rowd.
They all du1ked$ and )any fell flat on
their fa1es. The dragon passed like an
e5press train$ turned a
so)ersault$ and ,urst o"er Bywater
with a deafening e5plosion.
?That is the signal for supperN? said
Bil,o. The pain and alar) "anished at
on1e$ and the prostrate
ho,,its leaped to their feet. There was
a splendid supper for e"eryoneI for
e"eryone$ that is$ e51ept
those in"ited to the spe1ial fa)ily
dinner#party. This was held in the
great pa"ilion with the tree.
The in"itations were li)ited to twel"e
do<en Da nu),er also 1alled ,y the
ho,,its one /ross$
though the word was not 1onsidered
proper to use of peopleEI and the
guests were sele1ted fro) all
the fa)ilies to whi1h Bil,o and Frodo
were related$ with the addition of a
few spe1ial unrelated
friends Dsu1h as /andalfE. (any
young ho,,its were in1luded$ and
present ,y parental per)issionI
for ho,,its were easy#going with their
1hildren in the )atter of sitting up
late$ espe1ially when
there was a 1han1e of getting the) a
free )eal. Bringing up young ho,,its
took a lot of pro"ender.
There were )any Bagginses and
Boffins$ and also )any Tooks and
Brandy,u1ksI there were
"arious /ru,,s Drelations of Bil,o
Baggins? grand)otherE$ and "arious
-hu,,s D1onne5ions of his
Took grandfatherEI and a sele1tion of
Burrowses$ Bolgers$ Bra1egirdles$
Bro1khouses$ /ood,odies$
2orn,lowers and Proudfoots. %o)e of
these were only "ery distantly
1onne1ted with Bil,o$ and
so)e of the) had hardly e"er ,een in
2o,,iton ,efore$ as they li"ed in
re)ote 1orners of the %hire.
The %a1k"ille#Bagginses were not
forgotten. *tho and his wife Lo,elia
were present. They disliked
Bil,o and detested Frodo$ ,ut so
)agnifi1ent was the in"itation 1ard$
written in golden ink$ that
they had felt it was i)possi,le to
refuse. Besides$ their 1ousin$ Bil,o$
had ,een spe1iali<ing in food
for )any years and his ta,le had a
high reputation.
4ll the one hundred and forty#four
guests e5pe1ted a pleasant feastI
though they rather dreaded
the after#dinner spee1h of their host
Dan ine"ita,le ite)E. 2e was lia,le to
drag in ,its of what he
1alled poetryI and so)eti)es$ after a
glass or two$ would allude to the
a,surd ad"entures of his
)ysterious Kourney. The guests were
not disappointed: they had a A"eryA
pleasant feast$ in fa1t an
engrossing entertain)ent: ri1h$
a,undant$ "aried$ and prolonged. The
pur1hase of pro"isions fell
al)ost to nothing throughout the
distri1t in the ensuing weeksI ,ut as
Bil,o?s 1atering had depleted
the sto1ks of )ost stores$ 1ellars and
warehouses for )iles around$ that did
not )atter )u1h.
4fter the feast D)ore or lessE 1a)e the
%pee1h. (ost of the 1o)pany were$
howe"er$ now in a
tolerant )ood$ at that delightful stage
whi1h they 1alled ?filling up the
1orners?. They were sipping
their fa"ourite drinks$ and ni,,ling at
their fa"ourite dainties$ and their fears
were forgotten. They
were prepared to listen to anything$
and to 1heer at e"ery full stop.
A(y dear People$A ,egan Bil,o$
rising in his pla1e. ?2earN 2earN 2earN?
they shouted$ and kept
on repeating it in 1horus$ see)ing
relu1tant to follow their own ad"i1e.
Bil,o left his pla1e and
went and stood on a 1hair under the
illu)inated tree. The light of the
lanterns fell on his ,ea)ing
fa1eI the golden ,uttons shone on his
e),roidered silk waist1oat. They
1ould all see hi) standing$
wa"ing one hand in the air$ the other
was in his trouser#po1ket.
A(y dear Bagginses and Boffins$A he
,egan againI Aand )y dear Tooks and
Brandy,u1ks$ and
/ru,,s$ and -hu,,s$ and Burrowses$
and 2orn,lowers$ and Bolgers$
Bra1egirdles$ /ood,odies$
Bro1khouses and Proudfoots.A
?ProudF!!TN? shouted an elderly
ho,,it fro) the ,a1k of the
pa"ilion. 2is na)e$ of 1ourse$ was
Proudfoot$ and well )eritedI his feet
were large$ e51eptionally
furry$ and ,oth were on the ta,le.
AProudfoots$A repeated Bil,o. A4lso
)y good %a1k"ille#Bagginses that +
wel1o)e ,a1k at last
to Bag !nd. Today is )y one hundred
and ele"enth ,irthday: + a) ele"enty#
one todayNA ?2urrayN
2urrayN (any 2appy ReturnsN? they
shouted$ and they ha))ered Koyously
on the ta,les. Bil,o was
doing splendidly. This was the sort of
stuff they liked: short and o,"ious.
A+ hope you are all enKoying
yoursel"es as )u1h as + a).A
&eafening 1heers. -ries of AGesA
Dand A'oE.A 'oises of tru)pets and
horns$ pipes and flutes$ and other
)usi1al instru)ents. There
were$ as has ,een said$ )any young
ho,,its present. 2undreds of )usi1al
1ra1kers had ,een pulled.
(ost of the) ,ore the )ark &4L! on
the)I whi1h did not 1on"ey )u1h to
)ost of the ho,,its$ ,ut
they all agreed they were )ar"ellous
1ra1kers. They 1ontained instru)ents$
s)all$ ,ut of perfe1t
)ake and en1hanting tones. +ndeed$ in
one 1orner so)e of the young Tooks
and Brandy,u1ks$
supposing 0n1le Bil,o to ha"e
finished Dsin1e he had plainly said all
that was ne1essaryE$ now got
up an i)pro)ptu or1hestra$ and ,egan
a )erry dan1e#tune. (aster !"erard
Took and (iss (elilot
Brandy,u1k got on a ta,le and with
,ells in their hands ,egan to dan1e the
%pringle#ring: a pretty
dan1e$ ,ut rather "igorous.
But Bil,o had not finished. %ei<ing a
horn fro) a youngster near ,y$ he
,lew three loud hoots.
The noise su,sided. A+ shall not keep
you long$A he 1ried. -heers fro) all
the asse),ly. A+ ha"e
1alled you all together for a Purpose.A
%o)ething in the way that he said this
)ade an i)pression.
There was al)ost silen1e$ and one or
two of the Tooks pri1ked up their
ears.
A+ndeed$ for Three PurposesN First of
all$ to tell you that + a) i))ensely
fond of you all$ and
that ele"enty#one years is too short a
ti)e to li"e a)ong su1h e51ellent and
ad)ira,le ho,,its.A
Tre)endous out,urst of appro"al.
A+ don?t know half of you half as well
as + should likeI and + like less than
half of you half as
well as you deser"e.A This was
une5pe1ted and rather diffi1ult. There
was so)e s1attered 1lapping$
,ut )ost of the) were trying to work
it out and see if it 1a)e to a
1o)pli)ent.
A%e1ondly$ to 1ele,rate )y ,irthday.A
-heers again. A+ should say: *0R
,irthday. For it is$ of
1ourse$ also the ,irthday of )y heir
and nephew$ Frodo. 2e 1o)es of age
and into his inheritan1e
today.A %o)e perfun1tory 1lapping ,y
the eldersI and so)e loud shouts of
?FrodoN FrodoN Jolly old
Frodo$? fro) the Kuniors. The
%a1k"ille#Bagginses s1owled$ and
wondered what was )eant ,y
?1o)ing into his inheritan1e?.
ATogether we s1ore one hundred and
forty#four. Gour nu),ers were
1hosen to fit this re)arka,le total:
*ne /ross$ if + )ay use the
e5pression.A 'o 1heers. This was
ridi1ulous. (any of his guests$ and
espe1ially the %a1k"ille#Bagginses$
were insulted$ feeling sure
they had only ,een asked to fill up the
reJuired nu),er$ like goods in a
pa1kage. ?*ne /ross$
indeedN @ulgar e5pression.?
A+t is also$ if + )ay ,e allowed to refer
to an1ient history$ the anni"ersary of
)y arri"al ,y ,arrel
at !sgaroth on the Long LakeI though
the fa1t that it wasA )y A,irthday
slipped )y )e)ory on
that o11asion. + was only fifty#one
then$ and ,irthdays did not see) so
i)portant. The ,anJuet was
"ery splendid$ howe"er$ though + had
a ,ad 1old at the ti)e$ + re)e),er$
and 1ould only say ?thag
you "ery ,u1h?. + now repeat it )ore
1orre1tly: Thank you "ery )u1h for
1o)ing to )y little party.A
*,stinate silen1e. They all feared that
a song or so)e poetry was now
i))inentI and they were
getting ,ored. .hy 1ouldn?t he stop
talking and let the) drink his healthM
But Bil,o did not sing or
re1ite. 2e paused for a )o)ent.
AThirdly and finally$A he said$ A+ wish
to )ake an 4''*0'-!(!'TA. 2e
spoke this last
word so loudly and suddenly that
e"eryone sat up who still 1ould. A+
regret to announ1e that O
though$ as + said$ ele"enty#one years
is far too short a ti)e to spend a)ong
you O this is the !'&. +
a) going. + a) lea"ing '*..
/**&#BG!NA
2e stepped down and "anished. There
was a ,linding flash of light$ and the
guests all ,linked.
.hen they opened their eyes Bil,o
was nowhere to ,e seen. *ne hundred
and forty#four
fla,,ergasted ho,,its sat ,a1k
spee1hless. *ld *do Proudfoot
re)o"ed his feet fro) the ta,le and
sta)ped. Then there was a dead
silen1e$ until suddenly$ after se"eral
deep ,reaths$ e"ery Baggins$
Boffin$ Took$ Brandy,u1k$ /ru,,$
-hu,,$ Burrows$ Bolger$ Bra1egirdle$
Bro1khouse$ /ood,ody$
2orn,lower$ and Proudfoot ,egan to
talk at on1e.
+t was generally agreed that the Koke
was in "ery ,ad taste$ and )ore food
and drink were
needed to 1ure the guests of sho1k and
annoyan1e. ?2e?s )ad. + always said
so$? was pro,a,ly the
)ost popular 1o))ent. !"en the
Tooks Dwith a few e51eptionsE
thought Bil,o?s ,eha"iour was
a,surd. For the )o)ent )ost of the)
took it for granted that his
disappearan1e was nothing )ore
than a ridi1ulous prank.
But old Rory Brandy,u1k was not so
sure. 'either age nor an enor)ous
dinner had 1louded his
wits$ and he said to his daughter#in#
law$ !s)eralda: ?There?s so)ething
fishy in this$ )y dearN +
,elie"e that )ad Baggins is off again.
%illy old fool. But why worryM 2e
hasn?t taken the "ittles
with hi).? 2e 1alled loudly to Frodo
to send the wine round again.
Frodo was the only one present who
had said nothing. For so)e ti)e he
had sat silent ,eside
Bil,o?s e)pty 1hair$ and ignored all
re)arks and Juestions. 2e had
enKoyed the Koke$ of 1ourse$
e"en though he had ,een in the know.
2e had diffi1ulty in keeping fro)
laughter at the indignant
surprise of the guests. But at the sa)e
ti)e he felt deeply trou,led: he
reali<ed suddenly that he
lo"ed the old ho,,it dearly. (ost of
the guests went on eating and
drinking and dis1ussing Bil,o
Baggins? oddities$ past and presentI
,ut the %a1k"ille#Bagginses had
already departed in wrath.
Frodo did not want to ha"e any )ore
to do with the party. 2e ga"e orders
for )ore wine to ,e
ser"edI then he got up and drained his
own glass silently to the health of
Bil,o$ and slipped out of
the pa"ilion.
4s for Bil,o Baggins$ e"en while he
was )aking his spee1h$ he had ,een
fingering the golden
ring in his po1ket: his )agi1 ring that
he had kept se1ret for so )any years.
4s he stepped down he
slipped it on his finger$ and he was
ne"er seen ,y any ho,,it in 2o,,iton
again.
2e walked ,riskly ,a1k to his hole$
and stood for a )o)ent listening with
a s)ile to the din in
the pa"ilion and to the sounds of
)erry)aking in other parts of the
field. Then he went in. 2e took
off his party 1lothes$ folded up and
wrapped in tissue#paper his
e),roidered silk waist1oat$ and put
it away. Then he put on Jui1kly so)e
old untidy gar)ents$ and fastened
round his waist a worn
leather ,elt. *n it he hung a short
sword in a ,attered ,la1k#leather
s1a,,ard. Fro) a lo1ked
drawer$ s)elling of )oth#,alls$ he
took out an old 1loak and hood. They
had ,een lo1ked up as if
they were "ery pre1ious$ ,ut they
were so pat1hed and weatherstained
that their original 1olour
1ould hardly ,e guessed: it )ight
ha"e ,een dark green. They were
rather too large for hi). 2e
then went into his study$ and fro) a
large strong#,o5 took out a ,undle
wrapped in old 1loths$ and a
leather#,ound )anus1riptI and also a
large ,ulky en"elope. The ,ook and
,undle he stuffed into the
top of a hea"y ,ag that was standing
there$ already nearly full. +nto the
en"elope he slipped his
golden ring$ and its fine 1hain$ and
then sealed it$ and addressed it to
Frodo. 4t first he put it on the
)antelpie1e$ ,ut suddenly he re)o"ed
it and stu1k it in his po1ket. 4t that
)o)ent the door opened
and /andalf 1a)e Jui1kly in.
?2ulloN? said Bil,o. ?+ wondered if you
would turn up.?
?+ a) glad to find you "isi,le$? replied
the wi<ard$ sitting down in a 1hair$ ?+
wanted to 1at1h you
and ha"e a few final words. + suppose
you feel that e"erything has gone off
splendidly and
a11ording to planM?
?Ges$ + do$? said Bil,o. LThough that
flash was surprising: it Juite startled
)e$ let alone the
others. 4 little addition of your own$ +
supposeM?
+t was. Gou ha"e wisely kept that ring
se1ret all these years$ and it see)ed to
)e ne1essary to
gi"e your guests so)ething else that
would see) to e5plain your sudden
"anish)ent.?
?4nd would spoil )y Koke. Gou are an
interfering old ,usy,ody$? laughed
Bil,o$ ?,ut + e5pe1t
you know ,est$ as usual.?
?+ do O when + know anything. But +
don?t feel too sure a,out this whole
affair. +t has now 1o)e
to the final point. Gou ha"e had your
Koke$ and alar)ed or offended )ost of
your relations$ and
gi"en the whole %hire so)ething to
talk a,out for nine days$ or ninety#
nine )ore likely. 4re you
going any furtherM?
?Ges$ + a). + feel + need a holiday$ a
"ery long holiday$ as + ha"e told you
,efore. Pro,a,ly a
per)anent holiday: + don?t e5pe1t +
shall return. +n fa1t$ + don?t )ean to$
and + ha"e )ade all
arrange)ents.
?+ a) old$ /andalf. + don?t look it$ ,ut
+ a) ,eginning to feel it in )y heart
of hearts. A.ellpreser"edA
indeedN? he snorted. ?.hy$ + feel all
thin$ sort of Astret1hed$A if you know
what + )ean:
like ,utter that has ,een s1raped o"er
too )u1h ,read. That 1an?t ,e right. +
need a 1hange$ or
so)ething.?
/andalf looked 1uriously and 1losely
at hi). ?'o$ it does not see) right$? he
said thoughtfully.
?'o$ after all + ,elie"e your plan is
pro,a,ly the ,est.?
?.ell$ +?"e )ade up )y )ind$
anyway. + want to see )ountains
again$ /andalf$ A)ountains$A
and then find so)ewhere where + 1an
Arest.A +n pea1e and Juiet$ without a
lot of relati"es prying
around$ and a string of 1onfounded
"isitors hanging on the ,ell. + )ight
find so)ewhere where +
1an finish )y ,ook. + ha"e thought of
a ni1e ending for it: Aand he li"ed
happily e"er after to the
end of his days. ?A
/andalf laughed. + hope he will. But
no,ody will read the ,ook$ howe"er it
ends.?
?*h$ they )ay$ in years to 1o)e.
Frodo has read so)e already$ as far as
it has gone. Gou?ll keep
an eye on Frodo$ won?t youM?
?Ges$ + will O two eyes$ as often as +
1an spare the).?
?2e would 1o)e with )e$ of 1ourse$ if
+ asked hi). +n fa1t he offered to
on1e$ Kust ,efore the
party. But he does not really want to$
yet. + want to see the wild 1ountry
again ,efore + die$ and the
(ountainsI ,ut he is still in lo"e with
the %hire$ with woods and fields and
little ri"ers. 2e ought to
,e 1o)forta,le here. + a) lea"ing
e"erything to hi)$ of 1ourse$ e51ept a
few odd)ents. + hope he
will ,e happy$ when he gets used to
,eing on his own. +t?s ti)e he was his
own )aster now.?
?!"erythingM? said /andalf. ?The ring
as wellM Gou agreed to that$ you
re)e),er.?
?.ell$ er$ yes$ + suppose so$?
sta))ered Bil,o.
?.here is itM?
?+n an en"elope$ if you )ust know$?
said Bil,o i)patiently. ?There on the
)antelpie1e. .ell$ noN
2ere it is in )y po1ketN? 2e hesitated.
?+sn?t that odd nowM? he said softly to
hi)self. ?Get after all$
why notM .hy shouldn?t it stay thereM?
/andalf looked again "ery hard at
Bil,o$ and there was a glea) in his
eyes. ?+ think$ Bil,o$? he
said Juietly$ ?+ should lea"e it ,ehind.
&on?t you want toM?
?.ell yes O and no. 'ow it 1o)es to
it$ + don?t like parting with it at all$ +
)ay say. 4nd + don?t
really see why + should. .hy do you
want )e toM? he asked$ and a 1urious
1hange 1a)e o"er his
"oi1e. +t was sharp with suspi1ion and
annoyan1e. ?Gou are always ,adgering
)e a,out )y ringI
,ut you ha"e ne"er ,othered )e a,out
the other things that + got on )y
Kourney.?
?'o$ ,ut + had to ,adger you$? said
/andalf. ?+ wanted the truth. +t was
i)portant. (agi1 rings are
O well$ )agi1alI and they are rare and
1urious. + was professionally
interested in your ring$ you )ay
sayI and + still a). + should like to
know where it is$ if you go wandering
again. 4lso + think
AyouAha"e had it Juite long enough.
Gou won?t need it any )ore. Bil,o$
unless + a) Juite
)istaken.?
Bil,o flushed$ and there was an angry
light in his eyes. 2is kindly fa1e grew
hard. ?.hy notM? he
1ried. ?4nd what ,usiness is it of
yours$ anyway$ to know what + do
with )y own thingsM +t is )y
own. + found it. +t 1a)e to )e.?
?Ges$ yes$? said /andalf. ?But there is
no need to get angry.?
?+f + a) it is your fault$? said Bil,o. ?+t
is )ine$ + tell you. (y own. (y
pre1ious. Ges$ )y
pre1ious.?
The wi<ard?s fa1e re)ained gra"e and
attenti"e$ and only a fli1ker in his
deep eyes showed that
he was startled and indeed alar)ed. ?+t
has ,een 1alled that ,efore$? he said$
?,ut not ,y you.?
?But + say it now. 4nd why notM !"en
if /ollu) said the sa)e on1e. +t?s not
his now$ ,ut )ine.
4nd + shall keep it$ + say.?
/andalf stood up. 2e spoke sternly.
?Gou will ,e a fool if you do. Bil,o$?
he said. ?Gou )ake that
1learer with e"ery word you say. +t
has got far too )u1h hold on you. Let
it goN 4nd then you 1an
go yourself$ and ,e free.?
?+?ll do as + 1hoose and go as + please$?
said Bil,o o,stinately.
?'ow$ now$ )y dear ho,,itN ? said
/andalf. ?4ll your long life we ha"e
,een friends$ and you
owe )e so)ething. -o)eN &o as you
pro)ised: gi"e it upN ?
?.ell$ if you want )y ring yourself$
say soN? 1ried Bil,o. ?But you won?t
get it. + won?t gi"e )y
pre1ious away$ + tell you.? 2is hand
strayed to the hilt of his s)all sword.
/andalf?s eyes flashed. +t will ,e )y
turn to get angry soon$? he said. +f you
say that again$ +
shall. Then you will see /andalf the
/rey un1loaked.? 2e took a step
towards the ho,,it$ and he
see)ed to grow tall and )ena1ingI his
shadow filled the little roo).
Bil,o ,a1ked away to the wall$
,reathing hard$ his hand 1lut1hing at
his po1ket. They stood for a
while fa1ing one another$ and the air
of the roo) tingled. /andalf?s eyes
re)ained ,ent on the
ho,,it. %lowly his hands rela5ed$ and
he ,egan to tre),le.
?+ don?t know what has 1o)e o"er you$
/andalf$? he said. ?Gou ha"e ne"er
,een like this ,efore.
.hat is it all a,outM +t is )ine isn?t itM
+ found it$ and /ollu) would ha"e
killed )e$ if + hadn?t kept
it. +?) not a thief$ whate"er he said.?
?+ ha"e ne"er 1alled you one$? /andalf
answered. ?4nd + a) not one either. +
a) not trying to ro,
you$ ,ut to help you. + wish you
would trust )e$ as you used.? 2e
turned away$ and the shadow
passed. 2e see)ed to dwindle again
to an old grey )an$ ,ent and trou,led.
Bil,o drew his hand o"er his eyes. +
a) sorry$? he said. ?But + felt so Jueer.
4nd yet it would ,e a
relief in a way not to ,e ,othered with
it any )ore. +t has ,een so growing on
)y )ind lately.
%o)eti)es + ha"e felt it was like an
eye looking at )e. 4nd + a) always
wanting to put it on and
disappear$ don?t you knowI or
wondering if it is safe$ and pulling it
out to )ake sure. + tried lo1king
it up$ ,ut + found + 1ouldn?t rest
without it in )y po1ket. + don?t know
why. 4nd + don?t see) a,le to
)ake up )y )ind.?
?Then trust )ine$? said /andalf. ?+t is
Juite )ade up. /o away and lea"e it
,ehind. %top
possessing it. /i"e it to Frodo$ and +
will look after hi).?
Bil,o stood for a )o)ent tense and
unde1ided. Presently he sighed. ?4ll
right$? he said with an
effort. + will.? Then he shrugged his
shoulders$ and s)iled rather ruefully.
?4fter all that?s what this
party ,usiness was all a,out$ really: to
gi"e away lots of ,irthday presents$
and so)ehow )ake it
easier to gi"e it away at the sa)e
ti)e. +t hasn?t )ade it any easier in the
end$ ,ut it would ,e a pity
to waste all )y preparations. +t would
Juite spoil the Koke.?
?+ndeed it would take away the only
point + e"er saw in the affair$? said
/andalf.
?@ery well$? said Bil,o$ ?it goes to
Frodo with all the rest.? 2e drew a
deep ,reath. ?4nd now +
really )ust ,e starting$ or so)e,ody
else will 1at1h )e. + ha"e said good#
,ye$ and + 1ouldn?t ,ear to
do it all o"er again.? 2e pi1ked up his
,ag and )o"ed to the door.
?Gou ha"e still got the ring in your
po1ket$? said the wi<ard. ?.ell$ so +
ha"eN? 1ried Bil,o. ?4nd
)y will and all the other do1u)ents
too. Gou had ,etter take it and deli"er
it for )e. That will ,e
safest.?
?'o$ don?t gi"e the ring to )e$? said
/andalf. ?Put it on the )antelpie1e. +t
will ,e safe enough
there$ till Frodo 1o)es. + shall wait for
hi).?
Bil,o took out the en"elope$ ,ut Kust
as he was a,out to set it ,y the 1lo1k$
his hand Kerked ,a1k$
and the pa1ket fell on the floor.
Before he 1ould pi1k it up$ the wi<ard
stooped and sei<ed it and set
it in its pla1e. 4 spas) of anger
passed swiftly o"er the ho,,it?s fa1e
again. %uddenly it ga"e way to
a look of relief and a laugh. ?.ell$
that?s that$? he said. ?'ow +?) offN?
They went out into the hall. Bil,o
1hose his fa"ourite sti1k fro) the
standI then he whistled.
Three dwar"es 1a)e out of different
roo)s where they had ,een ,usy.
?+s e"erything readyM? asked Bil,o.
?!"erything pa1ked and la,elledM?
?!"erything$? they answered.
?.ell$ let?s start thenN? 2e stepped out
of the front#door.
+t was a fine night$ and the ,la1k sky
was dotted with stars. 2e looked up$
sniffing the air. ?.hat
funN .hat fun to ,e off again$ off on
the Road with dwar"esN This is what +
ha"e really ,een
longing for$ for yearsN /ood#,yeN ? he
said$ looking at his old ho)e and
,owing to the door. ?/ood,ye$
/andalfN?
?/ood#,ye$ for the present$ Bil,o.
Take 1are of yourselfN Gou are old
enough$ and perhaps wise
enough.?
?Take 1areN + don?t 1are. &on?t you
worry a,out )eN + a) as happy now
as + ha"e e"er ,een$ and
that is saying a great deal. But the
ti)e has 1o)e. + a) ,eing swept off
)y feet at last$? he added$
and then in a low "oi1e$ as if to
hi)self$ he sang softly in the dark:
The Road goes e"er on and on
&own fro) the door where it ,egan.
'ow far ahead the Road has gone$
4nd + )ust follow$ if + 1an$
Pursuing it with eager feet$
0ntil it Koins so)e larger way
.here )any paths and errands )eet.
4nd whither thenM + 1annot say.
2e paused$ silent for a )o)ent. Then
without another word he turned away
fro) the lights and
"oi1es in the fields and tents$ and
followed ,y his three 1o)panions
went round into his garden$
and trotted down the long sloping
path. 2e Ku)ped o"er a low pla1e in
the hedge at the ,otto)$ and
took to the )eadows$ passing into the
night like a rustle of wind in the grass.
/andalf re)ained for a while staring
after hi) into the darkness. ?/ood,ye$
)y dear Bil,o O
until our ne5t )eetingN? he said softly
and went ,a1k indoors.
Frodo 1a)e in soon afterwards$ and
found hi) sitting in the dark$ deep in
thought. ?2as he
goneM? he asked.
?Ges$? answered /andalf$ ?he has gone
at last.?
? + wish O + )ean$ + hoped until this
e"ening that it was only a Koke$? said
Frodo. ?But + knew in
)y heart that he really )eant to go.
2e always used to Koke a,out serious
things. + wish + had 1o)e
,a1k sooner$ Kust to see hi) off.?
+ think really he preferred slipping off
Juietly in the end$? said /andalf.
?&on?t ,e too trou,led.
2e?ll ,e all right O now. 2e left a
pa1ket for you. There it isN?
Frodo took the en"elope fro) the
)antelpie1e$ and glan1ed at it$ ,ut did
not open it.
?Gou?ll find his will and all the other
do1u)ents in there$ + think$? said the
wi<ard. ?Gou are the
)aster of Bag !nd now. 4nd also$ +
fan1y$ you?ll find a golden ring.?
?The ringN? e51lai)ed Frodo. ?2as he
left )e thatM + wonder why. %till$ it
)ay ,e useful.?
?+t )ay$ and it )ay not$? said /andalf.
?+ should not )ake use of it$ if + were
you. But keep it
se1ret$ and keep it safeN 'ow + a)
going to ,ed.?
4s )aster of Bag !nd Frodo felt it his
painful duty to say good#,ye to the
guests. Ru)ours of
strange e"ents had ,y now spread all
o"er the field$ ,ut Frodo would only
say Ano dou,t e"erything
will ,e 1leared up in the )orningA.
4,out )idnight 1arriages 1a)e for
the i)portant folk. *ne ,y
one they rolled away$ filled with full
,ut "ery unsatisfied ho,,its.
/ardeners 1a)e ,y arrange)ent$
and re)o"ed in wheel#,arrows those
that had inad"ertently re)ained
,ehind.
'ight slowly passed. The sun rose.
The ho,,its rose rather later. (orning
went on. People 1a)e
and ,egan D,y ordersE to 1lear away
the pa"ilions and the ta,les and the
1hairs$ and the spoons and
kni"es and ,ottles and plates$ and the
lanterns$ and the flowering shru,s in
,o5es$ and the 1ru),s
and 1ra1ker#paper$ the forgotten ,ags
and glo"es and handker1hiefs$ and the
uneaten food Da "ery
s)all ite)E. Then a nu),er of other
people 1a)e Dwithout ordersE:
Bagginses$ and Boffins$ and
Bolgers$ and Tooks$ and other guests
that li"ed or were staying near. By
)id#day$ when e"en the
,est#fed were out and a,out again$
there was a large 1rowd at Bag !nd$
unin"ited ,ut not
une5pe1ted.
Frodo was waiting on the step$
s)iling$ ,ut looking rather tired and
worried. 2e wel1o)ed all
the 1allers$ ,ut he had not )u1h )ore
to say than ,efore. 2is reply to all
inJuiries was si)ply this:
?(r. Bil,o Baggins has gone awayI as
far as + know$ for good.? %o)e of the
"isitors he in"ited to
1o)e inside$ as Bil,o had left
?)essages? for the).
+nside in the hall there was piled a
large assort)ent of pa1kages and
par1els and s)all arti1les of
furniture. *n e"ery ite) there was a
la,el tied. There were se"eral la,els
of this sort:
AFor 4&!L4R& T**$ for his
@!RG *.'$ fro) Bil,o$A on an
u),rella. 4delard had
1arried off )any unla,elled ones.
AFor &*R4 B4//+'% in )e)ory of
a L*'/ 1orresponden1e$ with lo"e
fro) Bil,o$A on a
large waste#paper ,asket. &ora was
&rogo?s sister and the eldest sur"i"ing
fe)ale relati"e of Bil,o
and FrodoI she was ninety#nine$ and
had written rea)s of good ad"i1e for
)ore than half a 1entury.
AFor (+L* B0RR*.%$ hoping it
will ,e useful$ fro) B.B.$A on a gold
pen and ink#,ottle.
(ilo ne"er answered letters.
AFor 4'/!L+-4?% use$ fro) 0n1le
Bil,o$A on a round 1on"e5 )irror.
%he was a young
Baggins$ and too o,"iously
1onsidered her fa1e shapely.
AFor the 1olle1tion of 20/*
BR4-!/+R&L!$ fro) a
1ontri,utor$A on an De)ptyE ,ook#
1ase.
2ugo was a great ,orrower of ,ooks$
and worse than usual at returning
the).
AFor L*B!L+4 %4-@+LL!#
B4//+'%$ as a PR!%!'T$A on a
1ase of sil"er spoons. Bil,o
,elie"ed that she had a1Juired a good
)any of his spoons$ while he was
away on his for)er
Kourney. Lo,elia knew that Juite well.
.hen she arri"ed later in the day$ she
took the point at on1e$
,ut she also took the spoons.
This is only a s)all sele1tion of the
asse),led presents. Bil,o?s residen1e
had got rather
1luttered up with things in the 1ourse
of his long life. +t was a tenden1y of
ho,,it#holes to get
1luttered up: for whi1h the 1usto) of
gi"ing so )any ,irthday#presents was
largely responsi,le.
'ot$ of 1ourse$ that the ,irthday#
presents were always Anew$A there
were one or two old
A)atho)sA of forgotten uses that had
1ir1ulated all around the distri1tI ,ut
Bil,o had usually gi"en
new presents$ and kept those that he
re1ei"ed. The old hole was now ,eing
1leared a little.
!"ery one of the "arious parting gifts
had la,els$ written out personally ,y
Bil,o$ and se"eral
had so)e point$ or so)e Koke. But$ of
1ourse$ )ost of the things were gi"en
where they would ,e
wanted and wel1o)e. The poorer
ho,,its$ and espe1ially those of
Bagshot Row$ did "ery well. *ld
/affer /a)gee got two sa1ks of
potatoes$ a new spade$ a woollen
waist1oat$ and a ,ottle of
oint)ent for 1reaking Koints. *ld Rory
Brandy,u1k$ in return for )u1h
hospitality$ got a do<en
,ottles of *ld .inyards: a strong red
wine fro) the %outhfarthing$ and now
Juite )ature$ as it had
,een laid down ,y Bil,o?s father.
Rory Juite forga"e Bil,o$ and "oted
hi) a 1apital fellow after the
first ,ottle.
There was plenty of e"erything left
for Frodo. 4nd$ of 1ourse$ all the
1hief treasures$ as well as
the ,ooks$ pi1tures$ and )ore than
enough furniture$ were left in his
possession. There was$
howe"er$ no sign nor )ention of
)oney or Kewellery: not a penny#pie1e
or a glass ,ead was gi"en
away.
Frodo had a "ery trying ti)e that
afternoon. 4 false ru)our that the
whole household was ,eing
distri,uted free spread like wildfireI
and ,efore long the pla1e was pa1ked
with people who had no
,usiness there$ ,ut 1ould not ,e kept
out. La,els got torn off and )i5ed$
and Juarrels ,roke out.
%o)e people tried to do swaps and
deals in the hallI and others tried to
)ake AoffA with )inor
ite)s not addressed to the)$ or with
anything that see)ed unwanted or
unwat1hed. The road to the
gate was ,lo1ked with ,arrows and
hand1arts.
+n the )iddle of the 1o))otion the
%a1k"ille#Bagginses arri"ed. Frodo
had retired for a while
and left his friend (erry Brandy,u1k
to keep an eye on things. .hen *tho
loudly de)anded to see
Frodo$ (erry ,owed politely.
?2e is indisposed$? he said. ?2e is
resting.?
?2iding$ you )ean$? said Lo,elia.
?4nyway we want to see hi) and we
)ean to see hi). Just go
and tell hi) soN?
(erry left the) a long while in the
hall$ and they had ti)e to dis1o"er
their parting gift of
spoons. +t did not i)pro"e their
te)pers. !"entually they were shown
into the study. Frodo was
sitting at a ta,le with a lot of papers in
front of hi). 2e looked indisposed O
to see %a1k"ille#
Bagginses at any rateI and he stood
up$ fidgeting with so)ething in his
po1ket. But he spoke Juite
politely.
The %a1k"ille#Bagginses were rather
offensi"e. They ,egan ,y offering
hi) ,ad ,argain#pri1es
Das ,etween friendsE for "arious
"alua,le and unla,elled things. .hen
Frodo replied that only the
things spe1ially dire1ted ,y Bil,o
were ,eing gi"en away$ they said the
whole affair was "ery fishy.
?*nly one thing is 1lear to )e$? said
*tho$ ?and that is that you are doing
e51eedingly well out of
it. + insist on seeing the will.?
*tho would ha"e ,een Bil,o?s heir$
,ut for the adoption of Frodo. 2e read
the will 1arefully and
snorted. +t was$ unfortunately$ "ery
1lear and 1orre1t Da11ording to the
legal 1usto)s of ho,,its$
whi1h de)and a)ong other things
se"en signatures of witnesses in red
inkE.
?Foiled againN? he said to his wife.
?4nd after waiting Asi5tyA years.
%poonsM Fiddlesti1ksN? 2e
snapped his fingers under Frodo?s
nose and slu)ped off. But Lo,elia
was not so easily got rid of. 4
little later Frodo 1a)e out of the study
to see how things were going on and
found her still a,out
the pla1e$ in"estigating nooks and
1o)ers and tapping the floors. 2e
es1orted her fir)ly off the
pre)ises$ after he had relie"ed her of
se"eral s)all D,ut rather "alua,leE
arti1les that had so)ehow
fallen inside her u),rella. 2er fa1e
looked as if she was in the throes of
thinking out a really
1rushing parting re)arkI ,ut all she
found to say$ turning round on the
step$ was:
?Gou?ll li"e to regret it$ young fellowN
.hy didn?t you go tooM Gou don?t
,elong hereI you?re no
Baggins O you O you?re a
Brandy,u1kN?
?&id you hear that$ (erryM That was
an insult$ if you like$? said Frodo as he
shut the door on her.
?+t was a 1o)pli)ent$? said (erry
Brandy,u1k$ ?and so$ of 1ourse$ not
true.?
Then they went round the hole$ and
e"i1ted three young ho,,its Dtwo
Boffins and a BolgerE who
were kno1king holes in the walls of
one of the 1ellars. Frodo also had a
tussle with young %an1ho
Proudfoot Dold *do Proudfoot?s
grandsonE$ who had ,egun an
e51a"ation in the larger pantry$
where he thought there was an e1ho.
The legend of Bil,o?s gold e51ited
,oth 1uriosity and hopeI for
legendary gold D)ysteriously
o,tained$ if not positi"ely ill#gottenE$
is$ as e"ery one knows$ any
one?s for the finding O unless the
sear1h is interrupted.
.hen he had o"er1o)e %an1ho and
pushed hi) out$ Frodo 1ollapsed on a
1hair in the hall. +t?s
ti)e to 1lose the shop$ (erry$? he
said. ?Lo1k the door$ and don?t open it
to anyone today$ not e"en
if they ,ring a ,attering ra).? Then he
went to re"i"e hi)self with a ,elated
1up of tea.
2e had hardly sat down$ when there
1a)e a soft kno1k at the front#door.
?Lo,elia again )ost
likely$? he thought. ?%he )ust ha"e
thought of so)ething really nasty$ and
ha"e 1o)e ,a1k again to
say it. +t 1an wait.?
2e went on with his tea. The kno1k
was repeated$ )u1h louder$ ,ut he
took no noti1e. %uddenly
the wi<ard?s head appeared at the
window.
?+f you don?t let )e in$ Frodo$ + shall
,low your door right down your hole
and out through the
hill$? he said.
?(y dear /andalfN 2alf a )inuteN?
1ried Frodo$ running out of the roo)
to the door. ?-o)e inN
-o)e inN + thought it was Lo,elia.?
?Then + forgi"e you. But + saw her
so)e ti)e ago$ dri"ing a pony#trap
towards Bywater with a
fa1e that would ha"e 1urdled new
)ilk.?
?%he had already nearly 1urdled )e.
2onestly$ + nearly tried on Bil,o?s
ring. + longed to
disappear.?
?&on?t do thatN? said /andalf$ sitting
down. ?&o ,e 1areful of that ring$
FrodoN +n fa1t$ it is partly
a,out that that + ha"e 1o)e to say a
last word.?
?.ell$ what a,out itM?
?.hat do you know alreadyM?
?*nly what Bil,o told )e. + ha"e
heard his story: how he found it$ and
how he used it: on his
Kourney$ + )ean.?
?.hi1h story$ + wonder$? said /andalf.
?*h$ not what he told the dwar"es and
put in his ,ook$? said Frodo. ?2e told
)e the true story
soon after + 1a)e to li"e here. 2e said
you had pestered hi) till he told you$
so + had ,etter know
too. L'o se1rets ,etween us$ Frodo$L
he saidI L,ut they are not to go any
further. +t?s )ine anyway.L?
?That?s interesting$? said /andalf.
?.ell$ what did you think of it allM?
?+f you )ean$ in"enting all that a,out
a LpresentL$ well$ + thought the true
story )u1h )ore
likely$ and + 1ouldn?t see the point of
altering it at all. +t was "ery unlike
Bil,o to do so$ anywayI
and + thought it rather odd.?
?%o did +. But odd things )ay happen
to people that ha"e su1h treasures O if
they use the). Let it
,e a warning to you to ,e "ery 1areful
with it. +t )ay ha"e other powers than
Kust )aking you
"anish when you wish to.?
?+ don?t understand$? said Frodo.
?'either do +$? answered the wi<ard. ?+
ha"e )erely ,egun to wonder a,out
the ring$ espe1ially
sin1e last night. 'o need to worry.
But if you take )y ad"i1e you will
use it "ery seldo)$ or not at
all. 4t least + ,eg you not to use it in
any way that will 1ause talk or rouse
suspi1ion. + say again:
keep it safe$ and keep it se1retN?
?Gou are "ery )ysteriousN .hat are
you afraid ofM?
?+ a) not 1ertain$ so + will say no
)ore. + )ay ,e a,le to tell you
so)ething when + 1o)e ,a1k. +
a) going off at on1e: so this is good#
,ye for the present.? 2e got up.
?4t on1eN? 1ried Frodo. ?.hy$ +
thought you were staying on for at
least a week. + was looking
forward to your help.?
?+ did )ean to O ,ut + ha"e had to
1hange )y )ind. + )ay ,e away for a
good whileI ,ut +?ll
1o)e and see you again$ as soon as +
1an. !5pe1t )e when you see )eN +
shall slip in Juietly. +
shan?t often ,e "isiting the %hire
openly again. + find that + ha"e
,e1o)e rather unpopular. They say
+ a) a nuisan1e and a distur,er of the
pea1e. %o)e people are a1tually
a11using )e of spiriting
Bil,o away$ or worse. +f you want to
know$ there is supposed to ,e a plot
,etween you and )e to
get hold of his wealth.?
?%o)e peopleN? e51lai)ed Frodo. ?Gou
)ean *tho and Lo,elia. 2ow
a,o)ina,leN + would gi"e
the) Bag !nd and e"erything else$ if
+ 1ould get Bil,o ,a1k and go off
tra)ping in the 1ountry
with hi). + lo"e the %hire. But + ,egin
to wish$ so)ehow$ that + had gone
too. + wonder if + shall
e"er see hi) again.?
?%o do +$? said /andalf. ?4nd + wonder
)any other things. /ood#,ye nowN
Take 1are of yourselfN
Look out for )e$ espe1ially at
unlikely ti)esN /ood#,yeN?
Frodo saw hi) to the door. 2e ga"e a
final wa"e of his hand$ and walked off
at a surprising
pa1eI ,ut Frodo thought the old
wi<ard looked unusually ,ent$ al)ost
as if he was 1arrying a great
weight. The e"ening was 1losing in$
and his 1loaked figure Jui1kly
"anished into the twilight.
Frodo did not see hi) again for a long
ti)e.
A-hapter 2A
The %hadow of the Past
The talk did not die down in nine or
e"en ninety#nine days. The se1ond
disappearan1e of (r.
Bil,o Baggins was dis1ussed in
2o,,iton$ and indeed all o"er the
%hire$ for a year and a day$ and
was re)e),ered )u1h longer than
that. +t ,e1a)e a fireside#story for
young ho,,itsI and
e"entually (ad Baggins$ who used to
"anish with a ,ang and a flash and
reappear with ,ags of
Kewels and gold$ ,e1a)e a fa"ourite
1hara1ter of legend and li"ed on long
after all the true e"ents
were forgotten.
But in the )eanti)e$ the general
opinion in the neigh,ourhood was that
Bil,o$ who had always
,een rather 1ra1ked$ had at last gone
Juite )ad$ and had run off into the
Blue. There he had
undou,tedly fallen into a pool or a
ri"er and 1o)e to a tragi1$ ,ut hardly
an unti)ely$ end. The
,la)e was )ostly laid on /andalf.
?+f only that dratted wi<ard will lea"e
young Frodo alone$ perhaps he?ll
settle down and grow
so)e ho,,it#sense$? they said. 4nd to
all appearan1e the wi<ard did lea"e
Frodo alone$ and he did
settle down$ ,ut the growth of ho,,it#
sense was not "ery noti1ea,le. +ndeed$
he at on1e ,egan to
1arry on Bil,o?s reputation for oddity.
2e refused to go into )ourningI and
the ne5t year he ga"e a
party in honour of Bil,o?s hundred#
and#twelfth ,irthday$ whi1h he 1alled
2undred#weight Feast.
But that was short of the )ark$ for
twenty guests were in"ited and there
were se"eral )eals at
whi1h it snowed food and rained
drink$ as ho,,its say.
%o)e people were rather sho1kedI ,ut
Frodo kept up the 1usto) of gi"ing
Bil,o?s Birthday
Party year after year until they got
used to it. 2e said that he did not
think Bil,o was dead. .hen
they asked: ?.here is he thenM? he
shrugged his shoulders.
2e li"ed alone$ as Bil,o had doneI ,ut
he had a good )any friends$
espe1ially a)ong the
younger ho,,its D)ostly des1endants
of the *ld TookE who had as 1hildren
,een fond of Bil,o and
often in and out of Bag !nd. Fol1o
Boffin and Fredegar Bolger were two
of theseI ,ut his 1losest
friends were Peregrin Took Dusually
1alled PippinE$ and (erry Brandy,u1k
Dhis real na)e was
(eriado1$ ,ut that was seldo)
re)e),eredE. Frodo went tra)ping
all o"er the %hire with the)I
,ut )ore often he wandered ,y
hi)self$ and to the a)a<e)ent of
sensi,le folk he was so)eti)es
seen far fro) ho)e walking in the
hills and woods under the starlight.
(erry and Pippin suspe1ted
that he "isited the !l"es at ti)es$ as
Bil,o had done.
4s ti)e went on$ people ,egan to
noti1e that Frodo also showed signs of
good ?preser"ation?:
outwardly he retained the appearan1e
of a ro,ust and energeti1 ho,,it Kust
out of his tweens. ?%o)e
folk ha"e all the lu1k$? they saidI ,ut it
was not until Frodo approa1hed the
usually )ore so,er age
of fifty that they ,egan to think it
Jueer.
Frodo hi)self$ after the first sho1k$
found that ,eing his own )aster and
AtheA (r. Baggins of
Bag !nd was rather pleasant. For
so)e years he was Juite happy and
did not worry )u1h a,out the
future. But half unknown to hi)self
the regret that he had not gone with
Bil,o was steadily
growing. 2e found hi)self wondering
at ti)es$ espe1ially in the autu)n$
a,out the wild lands$ and
strange "isions of )ountains that he
had ne"er seen 1a)e into his drea)s.
2e ,egan to say to
hi)self: ?Perhaps + shall 1ross the
Ri"er )yself one day.? To whi1h the
other half of his )ind
always replied: ?'ot yet.?
%o it went on$ until his forties were
running out$ and his fiftieth ,irthday
was drawing near: fifty
was a nu),er that he felt was
so)ehow signifi1ant Dor o)inousEI it
was at any rate at that age that
ad"enture had suddenly ,efallen
Bil,o. Frodo ,egan to feel restless$
and the old paths see)ed too
well#trodden. 2e looked at )aps$ and
wondered what lay ,eyond their
edges: )aps )ade in the
%hire showed )ostly white spa1es
,eyond its ,orders. 2e took to
wandering further afield and
)ore often ,y hi)selfI and (erry and
his other friends wat1hed hi)
an5iously. *ften he was seen
walking and talking with the strange
wayfarers that ,egan at this ti)e to
appear in the %hire.
There were ru)ours of strange things
happening in the world outsideI and
as /andalf had not at
that ti)e appeared or sent any
)essage for se"eral years$ Frodo
gathered all the news he 1ould.
!l"es$ who seldo) walked in the
%hire$ 1ould now ,e seen passing
westward through the woods in
the e"ening$ passing and not
returningI ,ut they were lea"ing
(iddle#earth and were no longer
1on1erned with its trou,les. There
were$ howe"er$ dwar"es on the road
in unusual nu),ers. The
an1ient !ast#.est Road ran through
the %hire to its end at the /rey
2a"ens$ and dwar"es had
always used it on their way to their
)ines in the Blue (ountains. They
were the ho,,its? 1hief
sour1e of news fro) distant parts O if
they wanted any: as a rule dwar"es
said little and ho,,its
asked no )ore. But now Frodo often
)et strange dwar"es of far 1ountries$
seeking refuge in the
.est. They were trou,led$ and so)e
spoke in whispers of the !ne)y and
of the Land of (ordor.
That na)e the ho,,its only knew in
legends of the dark past$ like a
shadow in the ,a1kground of
their )e)oriesI ,ut it was o)inous
and disJuieting. +t see)ed that the
e"il power in (irkwood had
,een dri"en out ,y the .hite -oun1il
only to reappear in greater strength in
the old strongholds of
(ordor. The &ark Tower had ,een
re,uilt$ it was said. Fro) there the
power was spreading far and
wide$ and away far east and south
there were wars and growing fear.
*r1s were )ultiplying again
in the )ountains. Trolls were a,road$
no longer dull#witted$ ,ut 1unning and
ar)ed with dreadful
weapons. 4nd there were )ur)ured
hints of 1reatures )ore terri,le than
all these$ ,ut they had no
na)e.
Little of all this$ of 1ourse$ rea1hed
the ears of ordinary ho,,its. But e"en
the deafest and )ost
stay#at#ho)e ,egan to hear Jueer
talesI and those whose ,usiness took
the) to the ,orders saw
strange things. The 1on"ersation in
AThe /reen &ragonA at Bywater$ one
e"ening in the spring of
Frodo?s fiftieth year$ showed that e"en
in the 1o)forta,le heart of the %hire
ru)ours had ,een
heard$ though )ost ho,,its still
laughed at the).
%a) /a)gee was sitting in one
1orner near the fire$ and opposite hi)
was Ted %andy)an$ the
)iller?s sonI and there were "arious
other rusti1 ho,,its listening to their
talk.
?Pueer things you do hear these days$
to ,e sure$? said %a).
?4h$? said Ted$ ?you do$ if you listen.
But + 1an hear fireside#tales and
1hildren?s stories at ho)e$
if + want to.?
?'o dou,t you 1an$? retorted %a)$ ?and
+ daresay there?s )ore truth in so)e of
the) than you
re1kon. .ho in"ented the stories
anywayM Take dragons now.?
?'o thank ?ee$? said Ted$ ?+ won?t. +
heard tell of the) when + was a
youngster$ ,ut there?s no 1all
to ,elie"e in the) now. There?s only
one &ragon in Bywater$ and that?s
/reen$? he said$ getting a
general laugh.
?4ll right$? said %a)$ laughing with the
rest. ?But what a,out these Tree#)en$
these giants$ as you
)ight 1all the)M They do say that one
,igger than a tree was seen up away
,eyond the 'orth
(oors not long ,a1k.?
?.ho?s AtheyAM?
?(y 1ousin 2al for one. 2e works for
(r. Boffin at *"erhill and goes up to
the 'orthfarthing
for the hunting. 2e AsawA one.?
?%ays he did$ perhaps. Gour 2al?s
always saying he?s seen thingsI and
)ay,e he sees things that
ain?t there.?
?But this one was as ,ig as an el)
tree$ and walking O walking se"en
yards to a stride$ if it was
an in1h.?
?Then + ,et it wasn?t an in1h. .hat he
saw AwasA an el) tree$ as like as not.?
?But this one was Awalking$A + tell
youI and there ain?t no el) tree on the
'orth (oors.?
?Then 2al 1an?t ha"e seen one$? said
Ted. There was so)e laughing and
1lapping: the audien1e
see)ed to think that Ted had s1ored a
point.
?4ll the sa)e$? said %a)$ ?you 1an?t
deny that others ,esides our 2alfast
ha"e seen Jueer folk
1rossing the %hire O 1rossing it$ )ind
you: there are )ore that are turned
,a1k at the ,orders. The
Bounders ha"e ne"er ,een so ,usy
,efore.
?4nd +?"e heard tell that !l"es are
)o"ing west. They do say they are
going to the har,ours$ out
away ,eyond the .hite Towers.? %a)
wa"ed his ar) "aguely: neither he nor
any of the) knew
how far it was to the %ea$ past the old
towers ,eyond the western ,orders of
the %hire. But it was an
old tradition that away o"er there
stood the /rey 2a"ens$ fro) whi1h at
ti)es el"en#ships set sail$
ne"er to return.
?They are sailing$ sailing$ sailing o"er
the %ea$ they are going into the .est
and lea"ing us$? said
%a)$ half 1hanting the words$ shaking
his head sadly and sole)nly. But Ted
laughed.
?.ell$ that isn?t anything new$ if you
,elie"e the old tales. 4nd + don?t see
what it )atters to )e
or you. Let the) sailN But + warrant
you ha"en?t seen the) doing itI nor
any one else in the %hire.?
?.ell + don?t know$? said %a)
thoughtfully. 2e ,elie"ed he had on1e
seen an !lf in the woods$
and still hoped to see )ore one day.
*f all the legends that he had heard in
his early years su1h
frag)ents of tales and half#
re)e),ered stories a,out the !l"es as
the ho,,its knew$ had always
)o"ed hi) )ost deeply. ?There are
so)e$ e"en in these parts$ as know the
Fair Folk and get news
of the)$? he said. ?There?s (r. Baggins
now$ that + work for. 2e told )e that
they were sailing and
he knows a ,it a,out !l"es. 4nd old
(r. Bil,o knew )ore: )any?s the talk
+ had with hi) when +
was a little lad.?
?*h$ they?re ,oth 1ra1ked$? said Ted.
?Leastways old Bil,o was 1ra1ked$
and Frodo?s 1ra1king. +f
that?s where you get your news fro)$
you?ll ne"er want for )oonshine.
.ell$ friends$ +?) off ho)e.
Gour good healthN? 2e drained his
)ug and went out noisily.
%a) sat silent and said no )ore. 2e
had a good deal to think a,out. For
one thing$ there was a
lot to do up in the Bag !nd garden$
and he would ha"e a ,usy day
to)orrow$ if the weather 1leared.
The grass was growing fast. But %a)
had )ore on his )ind than gardening.
4fter a while he
sighed$ and got up and went out.
+t was early 4pril and the sky was
now 1learing after hea"y rain. The sun
was down$ and a 1ool
pale e"ening was Juietly fading into
night. 2e walked ho)e under the
early stars through 2o,,iton
and up the 2ill$ whistling softly and
thoughtfully.
+t was Kust at this ti)e that /andalf
reappeared after his long a,sen1e. For
three years after the
Party he had ,een away. Then he paid
Frodo a ,rief "isit$ and after taking a
good look at hi) he
went off again. &uring the ne5t year
or two he had turned up fairly often$
1o)ing une5pe1tedly
after dusk$ and going off without
warning ,efore sunrise. 2e would not
dis1uss his own ,usiness
and Kourneys$ and see)ed 1hiefly
interested in s)all news a,out Frodo?s
health and doings.
Then suddenly his "isits had 1eased. +t
was o"er nine years sin1e Frodo had
seen or heard of
hi)$ and he had ,egun to think that
the wi<ard would ne"er return and
had gi"en up all interest in
ho,,its. But that e"ening$ as %a) was
walking ho)e and twilight was
fading$ there 1a)e the on1e
fa)iliar tap on the study window.
Frodo wel1o)ed his old friend with
surprise and great delight. They
looked hard at one another.
?4h well ehM? said /andalf. ?Gou look
the sa)e as e"er$ FrodoN?
?%o do you$? Frodo repliedI ,ut
se1retly he thought that /andalf
looked older and )ore 1areworn.
2e pressed hi) for news of hi)self
and of the wide world$ and soon they
were deep in talk$ and
they stayed up far into the night.
'e5t )orning after a late ,reakfast$
the wi<ard was sitting with Frodo ,y
the open window of
the study. 4 ,right fire was on the
hearth$ ,ut the sun was war)$ and the
wind was in the %outh.
!"erything looked fresh$ and the new
green of %pring was shi))ering in
the fields and on the tips
of the trees? fingers.
/andalf was thinking of a spring$
nearly eighty years ,efore$ when
Bil,o had run out of Bag
!nd without a handker1hief. 2is hair
was perhaps whiter than it had ,een
then$ and his ,eard and
eye,rows were perhaps longer$ and
his fa1e )ore lined with 1are and
wisdo)I ,ut his eyes were as
,right as e"er$ and he s)oked and
,lew s)oke#rings with the sa)e
"igour and delight.
2e was s)oking now in silen1e$ for
Frodo was sitting still$ deep in
thought. !"en in the light of
)orning he felt the dark shadow of
the tidings that /andalf had ,rought.
4t last he ,roke the
silen1e.
?Last night you ,egan to tell )e
strange things a,out )y ring$
/andalf$? he said. ?4nd then you
stopped$ ,e1ause you said that su1h
)atters were ,est left until daylight.
&on?t you think you had
,etter finish nowM Gou say the ring is
dangerous$ far )ore dangerous than +
guess. +n what wayM?
?+n )any ways$? answered the wi<ard.
+t is far )ore powerful than + e"er
dared to think at first$
so powerful that in the end it would
utterly o"er1o)e anyone of )ortal
ra1e who possessed it. +t
would possess hi).
?+n !region long ago )any !l"en#
rings were )ade$ )agi1 rings as you
1all the)$ and they were$
of 1ourse$ of "arious kinds: so)e
)ore potent and so)e less. The lesser
rings were only essays in
the 1raft ,efore it was full#grown$ and
to the !l"en#s)iths they were ,ut
trifles O yet still to )y
)ind dangerous for )ortals. But the
/reat Rings$ the Rings of Power$ they
were perilous.
?4 )ortal$ Frodo$ who keeps one of
the /reat Rings$ does not die$ ,ut he
does not grow or o,tain
)ore life$ he )erely 1ontinues$ until
at last e"ery )inute is a weariness.
4nd if he often uses the
Ring to )ake hi)self in"isi,le$ heA
fades:A he ,e1o)es in the end
in"isi,le per)anently$ and
walks in the twilight under the eye of
the dark power that rules the Rings.
Ges$ sooner or later O
later$ if he is strong or well#)eaning
to ,egin with$ ,ut neither strength nor
good purpose will last O
sooner or later the dark power will
de"our hi).?
?2ow terrifyingN? said Frodo. There
was another long silen1e. The sound
of %a) /a)gee 1utting
the lawn 1a)e in fro) the garden.
?2ow long ha"e you known thisM?
asked Frodo at length. ?4nd how
)u1h did Bil,o knowM?
?Bil,o knew no )ore than he told you$
+ a) sure$? said /andalf. ?2e would
1ertainly ne"er ha"e
passed on to you anything that he
thought would ,e a danger$ e"en
though + pro)ised to look after
you. 2e thought the ring was "ery
,eautiful$ and "ery useful at needI and
if anything was wrong or
Jueer$ it was hi)self. 2e said that it
was Lgrowing on his )indL$ and he
was always worrying a,out
itI ,ut he did not suspe1t that the ring
itself was to ,la)e. Though he had
found out that the thing
needed looking afterI it did not see)
always of the sa)e si<e or weightI it
shrank or e5panded in an
odd way$ and )ight suddenly slip off
a finger where it had ,een tight.?
?Ges$ he warned )e of that in his last
letter$? said Frodo$ ?so + ha"e always
kept it on its 1hain.?
?@ery wise$? said /andalf. ?But as for
his long life$ Bil,o ne"er 1onne1ted it
with the ring at all.
2e took all the 1redit for that to
hi)self$ and he was "ery proud of it.
Though he was getting
restless and uneasy. AThin and
stret1hedA he said. 4 sign that the ring
was getting 1ontrol.?
?2ow long ha"e you known all thisM?
asked Frodo again.
?nownM? said /andalf. ?+ ha"e known
)u1h that only the .ise know$ Frodo.
But if you )ean
Lknown a,out AthisA ringL$ well$ + still
do not Aknow$Aone )ight say. There
is a last test to )ake.
But + no longer dou,t )y guess.
?.hen did + first ,egin to guessM? he
)used$ sear1hing ,a1k in )e)ory.
?Let )e see O it was in
the year that the .hite -oun1il dro"e
the dark power fro) (irkwood$ Kust
,efore the Battle of Fi"e
4r)ies$ that Bil,o found his ring. 4
shadow fell on )y heart then$ though
+ did not know yet what
+ feared. + wondered often how
/ollu) 1a)e ,y a /reat Ring$ as
plainly it was O that at least was
1lear fro) the first. Then + heard
Bil,o?s strange story of how he had
LwonL it$ and + 1ould not
,elie"e it. .hen + at last got the truth
out of hi)$ + saw at on1e that he had
,een trying to put his
1lai) to the ring ,eyond dou,t. (u1h
like /ollu) with his L,irthday
presentL. The lies were too
)u1h alike for )y 1o)fort. -learly
the ring had an unwholeso)e power
that set to work on its
keeper at on1e. That was the first real
warning + had that all was not well. +
told Bil,o often that
su1h rings were ,etter left unusedI ,ut
he resented it$ and soon got angry.
There was little else that +
1ould do. + 1ould not take it fro) hi)
without doing greater har)I and + had
no right to do so
anyway. + 1ould only wat1h and wait.
+ )ight perhaps ha"e 1onsulted
%aru)an the .hite$ ,ut
so)ething always held )e ,a1k.?
?.ho is heM? asked Frodo. + ha"e
ne"er heard of hi) ,efore.?
?(ay,e not$? answered /andalf.
?2o,,its are$ or were$ no 1on1ern of
his. Get he is great a)ong
the .ise. 2e is the 1hief of )y order
and the head of the -oun1il. 2is
knowledge is deep$ ,ut his
pride has grown with it$ and he takes
ill any )eddling. The lore of the
!l"en#rings$ great and s)all$
is his pro"in1e. 2e has long studied it$
seeking the lost se1rets of their
)akingI ,ut when the Rings
were de,ated in the -oun1il$ all that
he would re"eal to us of his ring#lore
told against )y fears. %o
)y dou,t slept O ,ut uneasily. %till +
wat1hed and + waited.
?4nd all see)ed well with Bil,o. 4nd
the years passed. Ges$ they passed$
and they see)ed not to
tou1h hi). 2e showed no signs of
age. The shadow fell on )e again. But
+ said to )yself: L4fter
all he 1o)es of a long#li"ed fa)ily on
his )other?s side. There is ti)e yet.
.aitNL
?4nd + waited. 0ntil that night when
he left this house. 2e said and did
things then that filled )e
with a fear that no words of %aru)an
1ould allay. + knew at last that
so)ething dark and deadly was
at work. 4nd + ha"e spent )ost of the
years sin1e then in finding out the
truth of it.?
?There wasn?t any per)anent har)
done$ was thereM? asked Frodo
an5iously. ?2e would get all
right in ti)e$ wouldn?t heM Be a,le to
rest in pea1e$ + )eanM?
?2e felt ,etter at on1e$? said /andalf.
?But there is only one Power in this
world that knows all
a,out the Rings and their effe1tsI and
as far as + know there is no Power in
the world that knows all
a,out ho,,its. 4)ong the .ise + a)
the only one that goes in for ho,,it#
lore: an o,s1ure ,ran1h of
knowledge$ ,ut full of surprises. %oft
as ,utter they 1an ,e$ and yet
so)eti)es as tough as old treeroots.
+ think it likely that so)e would resist
the Rings far longer than )ost of the
.ise would
,elie"e. + don?t think you need worry
a,out Bil,o.
?*f 1ourse$ he possessed the ring for
)any years$ and used it$ so it )ight
take a long while for
the influen1e to wear off O ,efore it
was safe for hi) to see it again$ for
instan1e. *therwise$ he
)ight li"e on for years$ Juite happily:
Kust stop as he was when he parted
with it. For he ga"e it up
in the end of his own a11ord: an
i)portant point. 'o$ + was not
trou,led a,out dear Bil,o any )ore$
on1e he had let the thing go. +t is for
AyouA that + feel responsi,le.
?!"er sin1e Bil,o left + ha"e ,een
deeply 1on1erned a,out you$ and
a,out all these 1har)ing$
a,surd$ helpless ho,,its. +t would ,e a
grie"ous ,low to the world$ if the
&ark Power o"er1a)e the
%hireI if all your kind$ Kolly$ stupid
Bolgers$ 2orn,lowers$ Boffins$
Bra1egirdles$ and the rest$ not to
)ention the ridi1ulous Bagginses$
,e1a)e ensla"ed.?
Frodo shuddered. ?But why should we
,eM? he asked. ?4nd why should he
want su1h sla"esM?
?To tell you the truth$? replied /andalf$
?+ ,elie"e that hitherto O
Ahitherto$A)ark you O he has
entirely o"erlooked the e5isten1e of
ho,,its. Gou should ,e thankful. But
your safety has passed.
2e does not need you O he has )any
)ore useful ser"ants O ,ut he won?t
forget you again. 4nd
ho,,its as )isera,le sla"es would
please hi) far )ore than ho,,its
happy and free. There is su1h a
thing as )ali1e and re"enge.?
?Re"engeM? said Frodo. ?Re"enge for
whatM + still don?t understand what all
this has to do with
Bil,o and )yself$ and our ring.?
?+t has e"erything to do with it$? said
/andalf. ?Gou do not know the real
peril yetI ,ut you shall. +
was not sure of it )yself when + was
last hereI ,ut the ti)e has 1o)e to
speak. /i"e )e the ring for
a )o)ent.?
Frodo took it fro) his ,ree1hes#
po1ket$ where it was 1lasped to a
1hain that hung fro) his ,elt.
2e unfastened it and handed it slowly
to the wi<ard. +t felt suddenly "ery
hea"y$ as if either it or
Frodo hi)self was in so)e way
relu1tant for /andalf to tou1h it.
/andalf held it up. +t looked to ,e
)ade of pure and solid gold. ?-an you
see any )arkings on
itM? he asked.
?'o$? said Frodo. ?There are none. +t is
Juite plain$ and it ne"er shows a
s1rat1h or sign of wear.?
?.ell then$ lookN? To Frodo?s
astonish)ent and distress the wi<ard
threw it suddenly into the
)iddle of a glowing 1orner of the fire.
Frodo ga"e a 1ry and groped for the
tongsI ,ut /andalf held
hi) ,a1k.
?.aitN? he said in a 1o))anding
"oi1e$ gi"ing Frodo a Jui1k look fro)
under his ,ristling
,rows.
'o apparent 1hange 1a)e o"er the
ring. 4fter a while /andalf got up$
1losed the shutters
outside the window$ and drew the
1urtains. The roo) ,e1a)e dark and
silent$ though the 1la1k of
%a)?s shears$ now nearer to the
windows$ 1ould still ,e heard faintly
fro) the garden. For a
)o)ent the wi<ard stood looking at
the fireI then he stooped and re)o"ed
the ring to the hearth
with the tongs$ and at on1e pi1ked it
up. Frodo gasped.
+t is Juite 1ool$? said /andalf. ?Take
itN? Frodo re1ei"ed it on his shrinking
pal): it see)ed to
ha"e ,e1o)e thi1ker and hea"ier than
e"er.
?2old it upN? said /andalf. ?4nd look
1loselyN?
4s Frodo did so$ he now saw fine
lines$ finer than the finest pen#strokes$
running along the ring$
outside and inside: lines of fire that
see)ed to for) the letters of a
flowing s1ript. They shone
pier1ingly ,right$ and yet re)ote$ as if
out of a great depth.
?+ 1annot read the fiery letters$? said
Frodo in a Jua"ering "oi1e.
?'o$? said /andalf$ ?,ut + 1an. The
letters are !l"ish$ of an an1ient )ode$
,ut the language is that
of (ordor$ whi1h + will not utter here.
But this in the -o))on Tongue is
what is said$ 1lose
enough:
A*ne Ring to rule the) all$ *ne Ring
to find the)$
*ne Ring to ,ring the) all and in the
darkness ,ind the).A
+t is only two lines of a "erse long
known in !l"en#lore:
AThree Rings for the !l"en#kings
under the sky$
%e"en for the &warf#lords in their
halls of stone$
'ine for (ortal (en doo)ed to die$
*ne for the &ark Lord on his dark
throne
+n the Land of (ordor where the
%hadows lie.
*ne Ring to rule the) all. *ne Ring
to find the)$
*ne Ring to ,ring the) all and in the
darkness ,ind the)
+n the Land of (ordor where the
%hadows lie.?A
2e paused$ and then said slowly in a
deep "oi1e: ?This is the (aster#ring$
the *ne Ring to rule
the) all. This is the *ne Ring that he
lost )any ages ago$ to the great
weakening of his power. 2e
greatly desires it O ,ut he )ust AnotA
get it.?
Frodo sat silent and )otionless. Fear
see)ed to stret1h out a "ast hand$ like
a dark 1loud rising
in the !ast and loo)ing up to engulf
hi). ?This ringN? he sta))ered. ?2ow$
how on earth did it
1o)e to )eM?
?4hN? said /andalf. ?That is a "ery long
story. The ,eginnings lie ,a1k in the
Bla1k Gears$ whi1h
only the lore#)asters now re)e),er.
+f + were to tell you all that tale$ we
should still ,e sitting here
when %pring had passed into .inter.
?But last night + told you of %auron the
/reat$ the &ark Lord. The ru)ours
that you ha"e heard
are true: he has indeed arisen again
and left his hold in (irkwood and
returned to his an1ient
fastness in the &ark Tower of (ordor.
That na)e e"en you ho,,its ha"e
heard of$ like a shadow on
the ,orders of old stories. 4lways
after a defeat and a respite$ the
%hadow takes another shape and
grows again.?
?+ wish it need not ha"e happened in
)y ti)e$? said Frodo.
?%o do +$? said /andalf$ ?and so do all
who li"e to see su1h ti)es. But that is
not for the) to
de1ide. 4ll we ha"e to de1ide is what
to do with the ti)e that is gi"en$ us.
4nd already$ Frodo$ our
ti)e is ,eginning to look ,la1k. The
!ne)y is fast ,e1o)ing "ery strong.
2is plans are far fro)
ripe$ + think$ ,ut they are ripening. .e
shall ,e hard put to it. .e should ,e
"ery hard put to it$ e"en
if it were not for this dreadful 1han1e.
?The !ne)y still la1ks one thing to
gi"e hi) strength and knowledge to
,eat down all resistan1e$
,reak the last defen1es$ and 1o"er all
the lands in a se1ond darkness. 2e
la1ks the *ne Ring.
?The Three$ fairest of all$ the !lf#lords
hid fro) hi)$ and his hand ne"er
tou1hed the) or sullied
the). %e"en the &warf#kings
possessed$ ,ut three he has re1o"ered$
and the others the dragons
ha"e 1onsu)ed. 'ine he ga"e to
(ortal (en$ proud and great$ and so
ensnared the). Long ago
they fell under the do)inion of the
*ne$ and they ,e1a)e Ringwraiths$
shadows under his great
%hadow$ his )ost terri,le ser"ants.
Long ago. +t is )any a year sin1e the
'ine walked a,road. Get
who knowsM 4s the %hadow grows
on1e )ore$ they too )ay walk again.
But 1o)eN .e will not
speak of su1h things e"en in the
)orning of the %hire.
?%o it is now: the 'ine he has gathered
to hi)selfI the %e"en also$ or else
they are destroyed. The
Three are hidden still. But that no
longer trou,les hi). 2e only needs
the *neI for he )ade that
Ring hi)self$ it is his$ and he let a
great part of his own for)er power
pass into it$ so that he 1ould
rule all the others. +f he re1o"ers it$
then he will 1o))and the) all again$
where"er they ,e$ e"en
the Three$ and all that has ,een
wrought with the) will ,e laid ,are$
and he will ,e stronger than
e"er.
?4nd this is the dreadful 1han1e$
Frodo. 2e ,elie"ed that the *ne had
perishedI that the !l"es
had destroyed it$ as should ha"e ,een
done. But he knows now that it has
AnotA perished$ that it has
,een found. %o he is seeking it$
seeking it$ and all his thought is ,ent
on it. +t is his great hope and
our great fear.?
?.hy$ why wasn?t it destroyedM? 1ried
Frodo. ?4nd how did the !ne)y e"er
1o)e to lose it$ if he
was so strong$ and it was so pre1ious
to hi)M? 2e 1lut1hed the Ring in his
hand$ as if he saw already
dark fingers stret1hing out to sei<e it.
?+t was taken fro) hi)$? said /andalf.
?The strength of the !l"es to resist hi)
was greater long
agoI and not all (en were estranged
fro) the). The (en of .esternesse
1a)e to their aid. That is
a 1hapter of an1ient history whi1h it
)ight ,e good to re1allI for there was
sorrow then too$ and
gathering dark$ ,ut great "alour$ and
great deeds that were not wholly "ain.
*ne day$ perhaps$ + will
tell you all the tale$ or you shall hear
it told in full ,y one who knows it
,est.
?But for the )o)ent$ sin1e )ost of all
you need to know how this thing
1a)e to you$ and that
will ,e tale enough$ this is all that +
will say. +t was /il#galad$ !l"en#king
and !lendil of
.esternesse who o"erthrew %auron$
though they the)sel"es perished in
the deedI and +sildur
!lendil?s son 1ut the Ring fro)
%auron?s hand and took it for his own.
Then %auron was "anJuished
and his spirit fled and was hidden for
long years$ until his shadow took
shape again in (irkwood.
?But the Ring was lost. +t fell into the
/reat Ri"er$ 4nduin$ and "anished.
For +sildur was
)ar1hing north along the east ,anks
of the Ri"er$ and near the /ladden
Fields he was waylaid ,y
the *r1s of the (ountains$ and al)ost
all his folk were slain. 2e leaped into
the waters$ ,ut the
Ring slipped fro) his finger as he
swa)$ and then the *r1s saw hi) and
killed hi) with arrows.?
/andalf paused. ?4nd there in the dark
pools a)id the /ladden Fields$? he
said$ ?the Ring passed
out of knowledge and legendI and
e"en so )u1h of its history is known
now only to a few$ and the
-oun1il of the .ise 1ould dis1o"er no
)ore. But at last + 1an 1arry on the
story$ + think.
?Long after$ ,ut still "ery long ago$
there li"ed ,y the ,anks of the /reat
Ri"er on the edge of
.ilderland a 1le"er#handed and Juiet#
footed little people. + guess they were
of ho,,it#kindI akin to
the fathers of the fathers of the %toors$
for they lo"ed the Ri"er$ and often
swa) in it$ or )ade little
,oats of reeds. There was a)ong the)
a fa)ily of high repute$ for it was
large and wealthier than
)ost$ and it was ruled ,y a
grand)other of the folk$ stern and
wise in old lore$ su1h as they had.
The )ost inJuisiti"e and 1urious#
)inded of that fa)ily was 1alled
%)Bagol. 2e was interested in
roots and ,eginningsI he di"ed into
deep poolsI he ,urrowed under trees
and growing plantsI he
tunnelled into green )oundsI and he
1eased to look up at the hill#tops$ or
the lea"es on trees$ or the
flowers opening in the air: his head
and his eyes were downward.
?2e had a friend 1alled &Bagol$ of
si)ilar sort$ sharper#eyed ,ut not so
Jui1k and strong. *n a
ti)e they took a ,oat and went down
to the /ladden Fields$ where there
were great ,eds of iris and
flowering reeds. There %)Bagol got
out and went nosing a,out the ,anks
,ut &eal sat in the ,oat
and fished. %uddenly a great fish took
his hook$ and ,efore he knew where
he was$ he was dragged
out and down into the water$ to the
,otto). Then he let go of his line$ for
he thought he saw
so)ething shining in the ri"er#,edI
and holding his ,reath he gra,,ed at
it.
?Then up he 1a)e spluttering$ with
weeds in his hair and a handful of
)udI and he swa) to the
,ank. 4nd ,eholdN when he washed
the )ud away$ there in his hand lay a
,eautiful golden ringI
and it shone and glittered in the sun$
so that his heart was glad. But
%)Bagol had ,een wat1hing
hi) fro) ,ehind a tree$ and as &eal
gloated o"er the ring$ %)Bagol 1a)e
softly up ,ehind.
?L/i"e us that$ &eal$ )y lo"e$L said
%)Bagol$ o"er his friend?s shoulder.
?L.hyML said &eal.
? LBe1ause it?s )y ,irthday$ )y lo"e$
and + wants it$L said %)Bagol.
?L+ don?t 1are$L said &eal. L+ ha"e
gi"en you a present already$ )ore
than + 1ould afford. + found
this$ and +?) going to keep it.L
? L*h$ are you indeed$ )y lo"e$L said
%)BagolI and he 1aught &eal ,y the
throat and strangled
hi)$ ,e1ause the gold looked so
,right and ,eautiful. Then he put the
ring on his finger.
?'o one e"er found out what had
,e1o)e of &ealI he was )urdered far
fro) ho)e$ and his ,ody
was 1unningly hidden. But %)Bagol
returned aloneI and he found that
none of his fa)ily 1ould see
hi)$ when he was wearing the ring.
2e was "ery pleased with his
dis1o"ery and he 1on1ealed itI
and he used it to find out se1rets$ and
he put his knowledge to 1rooked and
)ali1ious uses. 2e
,e1a)e sharp#eyed and keen#eared
for all that was hurtful. The ring had
gi"en hi) power
a11ording to his stature. +t is not to ,e
wondered at that he ,e1a)e "ery
unpopular and was shunned
Dwhen "isi,leE ,y all his relations.
They ki1ked hi)$ and he ,it their feet.
2e took to thie"ing$ and
going a,out )uttering to hi)self$ and
gurgling in his throat. %o they 1alled
hi) A/ollu)$A and
1ursed hi)$ and told hi) to go far
awayI and his grand)other$ desiring
pea1e$ e5pelled hi) fro)
the fa)ily and turned hi) out of her
hole.
?2e wandered in loneliness$ weeping a
little for the hardness of the world$
and he Kourneyed up
the Ri"er$ till he 1a)e to a strea) that
flowed down fro) the )ountains$ and
he went that way. 2e
1aught fish in deep pools with
in"isi,le fingers and ate the) raw.
*ne day it was "ery hot$ and as
he was ,ending o"er a pool$ he felt a
,urning on the ,a1k of his headE and a
da<<ling light fro) the
water pained his wet eyes. 2e
wondered at it$ for he had al)ost
forgotten a,out the %un. Then for
the last ti)e he looked up and shook
his fist at her.
?But as he lowered his eyes$ he saw far
a,o"e the tops of the (isty
(ountains$ out of whi1h the
strea) 1a)e. 4nd he thought
suddenly: L+t would ,e 1ool and shady
under those )ountains. The
%un 1ould not wat1h )e there. The
roots of those )ountains )ust ,e
roots indeedI there )ust ,e
great se1rets ,uried there whi1h ha"e
not ,een dis1o"ered sin1e the
,eginning.L
?%o he Kourneyed ,y night up into the
highlands$ and he found a little 1a"e
out of whi1h the dark
strea) ranI and he wor)ed his way
like a )aggot into the heart of the
hills$ and "anished out of all
knowledge. The Ring went into the
shadows with hi)$ and e"en the
)aker$ when his power had
,egun to grow again$ 1ould learn
nothing of it.?
?/ollu)N? 1ried Frodo. ?/ollu)M &o
you )ean that this is the "ery /ollu)#
1reature that Bil,o
)etM 2ow loathso)eN?
?+ think it is a sad story$? said the
wi<ard$ ?and it )ight ha"e happened
to others$ e"en to so)e
ho,,its that + ha"e known.?
?+ 1an?t ,elie"e that /ollu) was
1onne1ted with ho,,its$ howe"er
distantly$? said Frodo with
so)e heat. ?.hat an a,o)ina,le
notionN?
?+t is true all the sa)e$? replied
/andalf. ?4,out their origins$ at any
rate$ + know )ore than
ho,,its do the)sel"es. 4nd e"en
Bil,o?s story suggests the kinship.
There was a great deal in the
,a1kground of their )inds and
)e)ories that was "ery si)ilar. They
understood one another
re)arka,ly well$ "ery )u1h ,etter
than a ho,,it would understand$ say$ a
&warf$ or an *r1$ or e"en
an !lf. Think of the riddles they ,oth
knew$ for one thing.?
?Ges$? said Frodo. ?Though other folks
,esides ho,,its ask riddles$ and of
)u1h the sa)e sort.
4nd ho,,its don?t 1heat. /ollu)
)eant to 1heat all the ti)e. 2e was
Kust trying to put poor Bil,o
off his guard. 4nd + daresay it a)used
his wi1kedness to start a ga)e whi1h
)ight end in pro"iding
hi) with an easy "i1ti)$ ,ut if he lost
would not hurt hi).?
?*nly too true$ + fear$? said /andalf.
?But there was so)ething else in it$ +
think$ whi1h you don?t
see yet. !"en /ollu) was not wholly
ruined. 2e had pro"ed tougher than
e"en one of the .ise
would ha"e guessed #as a ho,,it
)ight. There was a little 1orner of his
)ind that was still his own$
and light 1a)e through it$ as through
a 1hink in the dark: light out of the
past. +t was a1tually
pleasant$ + think$ to hear a kindly
"oi1e again$ ,ringing up )e)ories of
wind$ and trees$ and sun on
the grass$ and su1h forgotten things.
?But that$ of 1ourse$ would only )ake
the e"il part of hi) angrier in the end
O unless it 1ould ,e
1onJuered. 0nless it 1ould ,e 1ured.?
/andalf sighed. ?4lasN there is little
hope of that for hi). Get
not no hope. 'o$ not though he
possessed the Ring so long$ al)ost as
far ,a1k as he 1an re)e),er.
For it was long sin1e he had worn it
)u1h: in the ,la1k darkness it was
seldo) needed. -ertainly he
had ne"er LfadedL. 2e is thin and
tough still. But the thing was eating
up his )ind$ of 1ourse$ and
the tor)ent had ,e1o)e al)ost
un,eara,le.
?4ll the Lgreat se1retsL under the
)ountains had turned out to ,e Kust
e)pty night: there was
nothing )ore to find out$ nothing
worth doing$ only nasty furti"e eating
and resentful re)e),ering.
2e was altogether wret1hed. 2e hated
the dark$ and he hated light )ore: he
hated e"erything$ and
the Ring )ost of all.?
?.hat do you )eanM? said Frodo.
?%urely the Ring was his pre1ious and
the only thing he 1ared
forM But if he hated it$ why didn?t he
get rid of it$ or go away and lea"e itM?
?Gou ought to ,egin to understand$
Frodo$ after all you ha"e heard$? said
/andalf. ?2e hated it
and lo"ed it$ as he hated and lo"ed
hi)self. 2e 1ould not get rid of it. 2e
had no will left in the
)atter.
?4 Ring of Power looks after itself$
Frodo. A+tA )ay slip off
trea1herously$ ,ut its keeper ne"er
a,andons it. 4t )ost he plays with the
idea of handing it on to so)eone
else?s 1are O and that only
at an early stage$ when it first ,egins
to grip. But as far as + know Bil,o
alone in history has e"er
gone ,eyond playing$ and really done
it. 2e needed all )y help$ too. 4nd
e"en so he would ne"er
ha"e Kust forsaken it$ or 1ast it aside.
+t was not /ollu)$ Frodo$ ,ut the
Ring itself that de1ided
things. The Ring left Ahi).?A
?.hat$ Kust in ti)e to )eet Bil,oM?
said Frodo. ?.ouldn?t an *r1 ha"e
suited it ,etterM?
?+t is no laughing )atter$? said
/andalf. ?'ot for you. +t was the
strangest e"ent in the whole
history of the Ring so far: Bil,o?s
arri"al Kust at that ti)e$ and putting
his hand on it$ ,lindly$ in the
dark.
?There was )ore than one power at
work$ Frodo. The Ring was trying to
get ,a1k to its )aster.
+t had slipped fro) +sildur?s hand and
,etrayed hi)I then when a 1han1e
1a)e it 1aught poor &eal$
and he was )urderedI and after that
/ollu)$ and it had de"oured hi). +t
1ould )ake no further use
of hi): he was too s)all and )eanI
and as long as it stayed with hi) he
would ne"er lea"e his deep
pool again. %o now$ when its )aster
was awake on1e )ore and sending out
his dark thought fro)
(irkwood$ it a,andoned /ollu).
*nly to ,e pi1ked up ,y the )ost
unlikely person i)agina,le:
Bil,o fro) the %hireN
?Behind that there was so)ething else
at work$ ,eyond any design of the
Ring#)aker. + 1an put it
no plainer than ,y saying that Bil,o
was A)eantAto find the Ring$ and
AnotA ,y its )aker. +n whi1h
1ase you also were A)eantAto ha"e it.
4nd that )ay,e an en1ouraging
thought.?
+t is not$? said Frodo. LThough + a)
not sure that + understand you. But
how ha"e you learned all
this a,out the Ring$ and a,out
/ollu)M &o you really know it all$ or
are you Kust guessing stillM?
/andalf looked at Frodo$ and his eyes
glinted. + knew )u1h and + ha"e
learned )u1h$? he
answered. ?But + a) not going to gi"e
an a11ount of all )y doings to Ayou.A
The history of !lendil
and +sildur and the *ne Ring is
known to all the .ise. Gour ring is
shown to ,e that *ne Ring ,y
the fire#writing alone$ apart fro) any
other e"iden1e.? ?4nd when did you
dis1o"er thatM? asked
Frodo$ interrupting. ?Just now in this
roo)$ of 1ourse$? answered the wi<ard
sharply. ?But + e5pe1ted
to find it. + ha"e 1o)e ,a1k fro) dark
Kourneys and long sear1h to )ake that
final test. +t is the last
proof$ and all is now only too 1lear.
(aking out /ollu)?s part$ and fitting
it into the gap in the
history$ reJuired so)e thought. + )ay
ha"e started with guesses a,out
/ollu)$ ,ut + a) not
guessing now. + know. + ha"e seen
hi).?
?Gou ha"e seen /ollu)M? e51lai)ed
Frodo in a)a<e)ent.
?Ges. The o,"ious thing to do$ of
1ourse$ if one 1ould. + tried long agoI
,ut + ha"e )anaged it at
last.?
?Then what happened after Bil,o
es1aped fro) hi)M &o you know
thatM?
?'ot so 1learly. .hat + ha"e told you
is what /ollu) was willing to tell O
though not$ of 1ourse$
in the way + ha"e reported it. /ollu)
is a liar$ and you ha"e to sift his
words. For instan1e$ he
1alled the Ring his L,irthday presentL$
and he stu1k to that. 2e said it 1a)e
fro) his grand)other$
who had lots of ,eautiful things of
that kind. 4 ridi1ulous story. + ha"e
no dou,t that %)Bagol?s
grand)other was a )atriar1h$ a great
person in her way$ ,ut to talk of her
possessing )any !l"enrings
was a,surd$ and as for gi"ing the)
away$ it was a lie. But a lie with a
grain of truth.
?The )urder of &eal haunted /ollu)$
and he had )ade up a defen1e$
repeating it to his
Lpre1iousL o"er and o"er again$ as he
gnawed ,ones in the dark$ until he
al)ost ,elie"ed it. +t
AwasA his ,irthday. &eal ought to
ha"e gi"en the ring to hi). +t had
pre"iously turned up Kust so as
to ,e a present. +t AwasA his ,irthday
present$ and so on$ and on.
+ endured hi) as long as + 1ould$ ,ut
the truth was desperately i)portant$
and in the end + had to
,e harsh. + put the fear of fire on hi)$
and wrung the true story out of hi)$
,it ,y ,it$ together with
)u1h sni"elling and snarling. 2e
thought he was )isunderstood and ill#
used. But when he had at
last told )e his history$ as far as the
end of the Riddle#ga)e and Bil,o?s
es1ape$ he would not say
any )ore$ e51ept in dark hints. %o)e
other fear was on hi) greater than
)ine. 2e )uttered that he
was going to gel his own ,a1k. People
would see if he would stand ,eing
ki1ked$ and dri"en into a
hole and then Aro,,ed.A /ollu) had
good friends now$ good friends and
"ery strong. They would
help hi). Baggins would pay for it.
That was his 1hief thought. 2e hated
Bil,o and 1ursed his
na)e. .hat is )ore$ he knew where
he 1a)e fro).?
?But how did he find that outM? asked
Frodo.
?.ell$ as for the na)e$ Bil,o "ery
foolishly told /ollu) hi)selfI and
after that it would not ,e
diffi1ult to dis1o"er his 1ountry$ on1e
/ollu) 1a)e out. *h yes$ he 1a)e
out. 2is longing for the
Ring pro"ed stronger than his fear of
the *r1s$ or e"en of the light. 4fter a
year or two he left the
)ountains. Gou see$ though still
,ound ,y desire of it$ the Ring was no
longer de"ouring hi)I he
,egan to re"i"e a little. 2e felt old$
terri,ly old$ yet less ti)id$ and he was
)ortally hungry.
?Light$ light of %un and (oon$ he still
feared and hated$ and he always will$ +
thinkI ,ut he was
1unning. 2e found he 1ould hide fro)
daylight and )oonshine$ and )ake his
way swiftly and
softly ,y dead of night with his pale
1old eyes$ and 1at1h s)all frightened
or unwary things. 2e
grew stronger and ,older with new
food and new air. 2e found his way
into (irkwood$ as one
would e5pe1t.?
?+s that where you found hi)M? asked
Frodo.
?+ saw hi) there$? answered /andalf$
?,ut ,efore that he had wandered far$
following Bil,o?s trail.
+t was diffi1ult to learn anything fro)
hi) for 1ertain$ for his talk was
1onstantly interrupted ,y
1urses and threats. L.hat had it got in
its po1ketsesML he said. L+t wouldn?t
say$ no pre1ious. Little
1heat. 'ot a fair Juestion. +t 1heated
first$ it did. +t ,roke the rules. .e
ought to ha"e sJuee<ed it$
yes pre1ious. 4nd we will$ pre1iousNL
?That is a sa)ple of his talk. + don?t
suppose you want any )ore. + had
weary days of it. But fro)
hints dropped a)ong the snarls + e"en
gathered that his padding feet had
taken hi) at last to
!sgaroth$ and e"en to the streets of
&ale$ listening se1retly and peering.
.ell$ the news of the great
e"ents went far and wide in
.ilderland$ and )any had heard
Bil,o?s na)e and knew where he
1a)e fro). .e had )ade no se1ret of
our return Kourney to his ho)e in the
.est. /ollu)?s sharp
ears would soon learn what he
wanted.?
?Then why didn?t he tra1k Bil,o
furtherM? asked Frodo. ?.hy didn?t he
1o)e to the %hireM?
?4h$? said /andalf$ ?now we 1o)e to
it. + think /ollu) tried to. 2e set out
and 1a)e ,a1k
westward$ as far as the /reat Ri"er.
But then he turned aside. 2e was not
daunted ,y the distan1e$ +
a) sure. 'o$ so)ething else drew hi)
away. %o )y friends think$ those that
hunted hi) for )e.
?The .ood#el"es tra1ked hi) first$ an
easy task for the)$ for his trail was
still fresh then.
Through (irkwood and ,a1k again it
led the)$ though they ne"er 1aught
hi). The wood was full
of the ru)our of hi)$ dreadful tales
e"en a)ong ,easts and ,irds. The
.ood)en said that there
was so)e new terror a,road$ a ghost
that drank ,lood. +t 1li),ed trees to
find nestsI it 1rept into
holes to find the youngI it slipped
through windows to find 1radles.
?But at the western edge of (irkwood
the trail turned away. +t wandered off
southwards and
passed out of the .ood#el"es? ken$
and was lost. 4nd then + )ade a great
)istake. Ges$ Frodo$ and
not the firstI though + fear it )ay
pro"e the worst. + let the )atter ,e. +
let hi) goI for + had )u1h
else to think of at that ti)e$ and + still
trusted the lore of %aru)an.
?.ell$ that was years ago. + ha"e paid
for it sin1e with )any dark and
dangerous days. The trail
was long 1old when + took it up again$
after Bil,o left here. 4nd )y sear1h
would ha"e ,een in
"ain$ ,ut for the help that + had fro) a
friend: 4ragorn$ the greatest tra"eller
and hunts)an of this
age of the world. Together we sought
for /ollu) down the whole length of
.ilderland$ without
hope$ and without su11ess. But at last$
when + had gi"en up the 1hase and
turned to other parts$
/ollu) was found. (y friend
returned out of the great perils
,ringing the )isera,le 1reature with
hi).
?.hat he had ,een doing he would not
say. 2e only wept and 1alled us 1ruel$
with )any a
Agollu)A in his throatI and when we
pressed hi) he whined and 1ringed$
and ru,,ed his long
hands$ li1king his fingers as if they
pained hi)$ as if he re)e),ered
so)e old torture. But + a)
afraid there is no possi,le dou,t: he
had )ade his slow$ sneaking way$
step ,y step$ )ile ,y )ile$
south$ down at last to the Land of
(ordor.?
4 hea"y silen1e fell in the roo).
Frodo 1ould hear his heart ,eating.
!"en outside e"erything
see)ed still. 'o sound of %a)?s
shears 1ould now ,e heard.
?Ges$ to (ordor$? said /andalf. ?4lasN
(ordor draws all wi1ked things$ and
the &ark Power was
,ending all its will to gather the)
there. The Ring of the !ne)y would
lea"e its )ark$ too$ lea"e
hi) open to the su))ons. 4nd all
folk were whispering then of the new
%hadow in the %outh$ and
its hatred of the .est. There were his
fine new friends$ who would help hi)
in his re"engeN
?.ret1hed foolN +n that land he would
learn )u1h$ too )u1h for his 1o)fort.
4nd sooner or later
as he lurked and pried on the ,orders
he would ,e 1aught$ and taken O for
e5a)ination. That was
the way of it$ + fear. .hen he was
found he had already ,een there long$
and was on his way ,a1k.
*n so)e errand of )is1hief. But that
does not )atter )u1h now. 2is worst
)is1hief was done.
?Ges$ alasN through hi) the !ne)y has
learned that the *ne has ,een found
again. 2e knows
where +sildur fell. 2e knows where
/ollu) found his ring. 2e knows that
it is a /reat Ring$ for it
ga"e long life. 2e knows that it is not
one of the Three$ for they ha"e ne"er
,een lost$ and they
endure no e"il. 2e knows that it is not
one of the %e"en$ or the 'ine$ for they
are a11ounted for. 2e
knows that it is the *ne. 4nd he has
at last heard$ + think$ of Aho,,itsA and
the A%hire.A
?The %hire O he )ay ,e seeking for it
now$ if he has not already found out
where it lies. +ndeed$
Frodo$ + fear that he )ay e"en think
that the long#unnoti1ed na)e of
ABagginsA has ,e1o)e
i)portant.?
?But this is terri,leN? 1ried Frodo. ?Far
worse than the worst that + i)agined
fro) your hints and
warnings. * /andalf$ ,est of friends$
what a) + to doM For now + a) really
afraid. .hat a) + to
doM .hat a pity that Bil,o did not
sta, that "ile 1reature$ when he had a
1han1eN?
?PityM +t was Pity that stayed his hand.
Pity$ and (er1y: not to strike without
need. 4nd he has
,een well rewarded$ Frodo. Be sure
that he took so little hurt fro) the
e"il$ and es1aped in the end$
,e1ause he ,egan his ownership of the
Ring so. .ith Pity.?
?+ a) sorry$? said Frodo. ?But + a)
frightenedI and + do not feel any pity
for /ollu).?
?Gou ha"e not seen hi)$? /andalf
,roke in.
?'o$ and + don?t want to$? said Frodo. +
1an?t understand you. &o you )ean to
say that you$ and
the !l"es$ ha"e let hi) li"e on after
all those horri,le deedsM 'ow at any
rate he is as ,ad as an *r1$
and Kust an ene)y. 2e deser"es
death.?
?&eser"es itN + daresay he does. (any
that li"e deser"e death. 4nd so)e that
die deser"e life.
-an you gi"e it to the)M Then do not
,e too eager to deal out death in
Kudge)ent. For e"en the "ery
wise 1annot see all ends. + ha"e not
)u1h hope that /ollu) 1an ,e 1ured
,efore he dies$ ,ut there is
a 1han1e of it. 4nd he is ,ound up
with the fate of the Ring. (y heart
tells )e that he has so)e part
to play yet$ for good or ill$ ,efore the
endI and when that 1o)es$ the pity of
Bil,o )ay rule the fate
of )any O yours not least. +n any 1ase
we did not kill hi): he is "ery old and
"ery wret1hed. The
.ood#el"es ha"e hi) in prison$ ,ut
they treat hi) with su1h kindness as
they 1an find in their wise
hearts.?
?4ll the sa)e$? said Frodo$ ?e"en if
Bil,o 1ould not kill /ollu)$ + wish he
had not kept the Ring.
+ wish he had ne"er found it$ and that
+ had not got itN .hy did you let )e
keep itM .hy didn?t you
)ake )e throw it away$ or$ or destroy
itM?
?Let youM (ake youM? said the wi<ard.
?2a"en?t you ,een listening to all that
+ ha"e saidM Gou are
not thinking of what you are saying.
But as for throwing it away$ that was
o,"iously wrong. These
Rings ha"e a way of ,eing found. +n
e"il hands it )ight ha"e done great
e"il. .orst of all$ it )ight
ha"e fallen into the hands of the
!ne)y. +ndeed it 1ertainly wouldI for
this is the *ne$ and he is
e5erting all his power to find it or
draw it to hi)self.
?*f 1ourse$ )y dear Frodo$ it was
dangerous for youI and that has
trou,led )e deeply. But there
was so )u1h at stake that + had to take
so)e risk O though e"en when + was
far away there has
ne"er ,een a day when the %hire has
not ,een guarded ,y wat1hful eyes.
4s long as you ne"er used
it$ + did not think that the Ring would
ha"e any lasting effe1t on you$ not for
e"il$ not at any rate for
a "ery long ti)e. 4nd you )ust
re)e),er that nine years ago$ when +
last saw you$ + still knew
little for 1ertain.?
?But why not destroy it$ as you say
should ha"e ,een done long agoM?
1ried Frodo again. +f you
had warned )e$ or e"en sent )e a
)essage$ + would ha"e done away
with it.?
?.ould youM 2ow would you do thatM
2a"e you e"er triedM?
?'o. But + suppose one 1ould ha))er
it or )elt it.?
?TryN? said /andalf. Try nowN?
Frodo drew the Ring out of his po1ket
again and looked at it. +t now
appeared plain and s)ooth$
without )ark or de"i1e that he 1ould
see. The gold looked "ery fair and
pure$ and Frodo thought
how ri1h and ,eautiful was its 1olour$
how perfe1t was its roundness. +t was
an ad)ira,le thing and
altogether pre1ious. .hen he took it
out he had intended to fling it fro)
hi) into the "ery hottest
part of the fire. But he found now that
he 1ould not do so$ not without a great
struggle. 2e weighed
the Ring in his hand$ hesitating$ and
for1ing hi)self to re)e),er all that
/andalf had told hi)I and
then with an effort of will he )ade a
)o"e)ent$ as if to 1ast it away O ,ut
he found that he had put
it ,a1k in his po1ket.
/andalf laughed gri)ly. ?Gou seeM
4lready you too$ Frodo$ 1annot easily
let it go$ nor will to
da)age it. 4nd + 1ould not L)akeL
you O e51ept ,y for1e$ whi1h would
,reak your )ind. But as for
,reaking the Ring$ for1e is useless.
!"en if you took it and stru1k it with a
hea"y sledge#ha))er$ it
would )ake no dint in it. +t 1annot ,e
un)ade ,y your hands$ or ,y )ine.
?Gour s)all fire$ of 1ourse$ would not
)elt e"en ordinary gold. This Ring
has already passed
through it uns1athed$ and e"en
unheated. But there is no s)ith?s forge
in this %hire that 1ould
1hange it at all. 'ot e"en the an"ils
and furna1es of the &war"es 1ould do
that. +t has ,een said that
dragon#fire 1ould )elt and 1onsu)e
the Rings of Power$ ,ut there is not
now any dragon left on
earth in whi1h the old fire is hot
enoughI nor was there e"er any
dragon$ not e"en 4n1alagon the
Bla1k$ who 1ould ha"e har)ed the
*ne Ring$ the Ruling Ring$ for that
was )ade ,y %auron
hi)self. There is only one way: to
find the -ra1ks of &oo) in the depths
of *rodruin$ the Fire)ountain$
and 1ast the Ring in there$ if you
really wish to destroy it$ to put it
,eyond the grasp of
the !ne)y for e"er.?
?+ do really wish to destroy itN? 1ried
Frodo. ?*r$ well$ to ha"e it destroyed.
+ a) not )ade for
perilous Juests. + wish + had ne"er
seen the RingN .hy did it 1o)e to
)eM .hy was + 1hosenM?
?%u1h Juestions 1annot ,e answered$?
said /andalf. ?Gou )ay ,e sure that it
was not for any
)erit that others do not possess: not
for power or wisdo)$ at any rate. But
you ha"e ,een 1hosen$
and you )ust therefore use su1h
strength and heart and wits as you
ha"e.?
?But + ha"e so little of any of these
thingsN Gou are wise and powerful.
.ill you not take the
RingM?
?'oN? 1ried /andalf$ springing to his
feet. ?.ith that power + should ha"e
power too great and
terri,le. 4nd o"er )e the Ring would
gain a power still greater and )ore
deadly.? 2is eyes flashed
and his fa1e was lit as ,y a fire within.
?&o not te)pt )eN For + do not wish
to ,e1o)e like the &ark
Lord hi)self. Get the way of the Ring
to )y heart is ,y pity$ pity for
weakness and the desire of
strength to do good. &o not te)pt )eN
+ dare not take it$ not e"en to keep it
safe$ unused. The wish
to wield it would ,e too great$ for )y
strength. + shall ha"e su1h need of it.
/reat perils lie ,efore
)e.?
2e went to the window and drew
aside the 1urtains and the shutters.
%unlight strea)ed ,a1k
again into the roo). %a) passed
along the path outside whistling. ?4nd
now$? said the wi<ard$
turning ,a1k to Frodo$ ?the de1ision
lies with you. But + will always help
you.? 2e laid his hand on
Frodo?s shoulder. ?+ will help you ,ear
this ,urden$ as long as +t is yours to
,ear. But we )ust do
so)ething$ soon. The !ne)y is
)o"ing.?
There was a long silen1e. /andalf sat
down again and puffed at his pipe$ as
if lost in thought.
2is eyes see)ed 1losed$ ,ut under the
lids he was wat1hing Frodo intently.
Frodo ga<ed fi5edly at
the red e),ers on the hearth$ until
they filled all his "ision$ and he
see)ed to ,e looking down into
profound wells of fire. 2e was
thinking of the fa,led -ra1ks of
&oo) and the terror of the Fiery
(ountain.
?.ellN? said /andalf at last. ?.hat are
you thinking a,outM 2a"e you
de1ided what to doM?
?'oN? answered Frodo$ 1o)ing ,a1k to
hi)self out of darkness$ and finding
to his surprise that it
was not dark$ and that out of the
window he 1ould see the sunlit
garden. ?*r perhaps$ yes. 4s far as
+ understand what you ha"e said$ +
suppose + )ust keep the Ring and
guard it$ at least for the
present$ whate"er it )ay do to )e.?
?.hate"er it )ay do$ it will ,e slow$
slow to e"il$ if you keep it with that
purpose$? said /andalf.
?+ hope so$? said Frodo. ?But + hope that
you )ay find so)e other ,etter
keeper soon. But in the
)eanwhile it see)s that + a) a
danger$ a danger to all that li"e near
)e. + 1annot keep the Ring and
stay here. + ought to lea"e Bag !nd$
lea"e the %hire$ lea"e e"erything and
go away.? 2e sighed.
?+ should like to sa"e the %hire$ if +
1ould O though there ha"e ,een ti)es
when + thought the
inha,itants too stupid and dull for
words$ and ha"e felt that an
earthJuake or an in"asion of dragons
)ight ,e good for the). But + don?t
feel like that now. + feel that as long
as the %hire lies ,ehind$
safe and 1o)forta,le$ + shall find
wandering )ore ,eara,le: + shall
know that so)ewhere there is a
fir) foothold$ e"en if )y feet 1annot
stand there again.
?*f 1ourse$ + ha"e so)eti)es thought
of going away$ ,ut + i)agined that as
a kind of holiday$ a
series of ad"entures like Bil,o?s or
,etter$ ending in pea1e. But this
would )ean e5ile$ a flight fro)
danger into danger$ drawing it after
)e. 4nd + suppose + )ust go alone$ if
+ a) to do that and sa"e
the %hire. But + feel "ery s)all$ and
"ery uprooted$ and well O desperate.
The !ne)y is so strong
and terri,le.?
2e did not tell /andalf$ ,ut as he was
speaking a great desire to follow
Bil,o fla)ed up in his
heart O to follow Bil,o$ and e"en
perhaps to find hi) again. +t was so
strong that it o"er1a)e his
fear: he 1ould al)ost ha"e run out
there and then down the road without
his hat$ as Bil,o had done
on a si)ilar )orning long ago.
?(y dear FrodoN? e51lai)ed /andalf.
?2o,,its really are a)a<ing 1reatures$
as + ha"e said
,efore. Gou 1an learn all that there is
to know a,out their ways in a )onth$
and yet after a hundred
years they 1an still surprise you at a
pin1h. + hardly e5pe1ted to get su1h
an answer$ not e"en fro)
you. But Bil,o )ade no )istake in
1hoosing his heir$ though he little
thought how i)portant it
would pro"e. + a) afraid you are
right. The Ring will not ,e a,le to
stay hidden in the %hire )u1h
longerI and for your own sake$ as well
as for others$ you will ha"e to go$ and
lea"e the na)e of
Baggins ,ehind you. That na)e will
not ,e safe to ha"e$ outside the %hire
or in the .ild. + will gi"e
you a tra"elling na)e now. .hen you
go$ go as (r. 0nderhill.
?But + don?t think you need go alone.
'ot if you know of anyone you 1an
trust$ and who would
,e willing to go ,y your side O and
that you would ,e willing to take into
unknown perils. But if
you look for a 1o)panion$ ,e 1areful
in 1hoosingN 4nd ,e 1areful of what
you say$ e"en to your
1losest friendsN The ene)y has )any
spies and )any ways of hearing.?
%uddenly he stopped as if listening.
Frodo ,e1a)e aware that all was "ery
Juiet$ inside and
outside. /andalf 1rept to one side of
the window. Then with a dart he
sprang to the sill$ and thrust a
long ar) out and downwards. There
was a sJuawk$ and up 1a)e %a)
/a)gee?s 1urly head hauled
,y one ear.
?.ell$ well$ ,less )y ,eardN? said
/andalf. ?%a) /a)gee is itM 'ow
what )ay you ,e doingM?
?Lor ,less you$ (r. /andalf$ sirN? said
%a). ?'othingN Leastways + was Kust
tri))ing the grass,order
under the window$ if you follow )e.?
2e pi1ked up his shears and e5hi,ited
the) as
e"iden1e.
?+ don?t$? said /andalf gri)ly. +t is
so)e ti)e sin1e + last heard the sound
of your shears. 2ow
long ha"e you ,een ea"esdroppingM?
?!a"esdropping$ sirM + don?t follow
you$ ,egging your pardon. There ain?t
no ea"es at Bag !nd$
and that?s a fa1t.?
?&on?t ,e a foolN .hat ha"e you
heard$ and why did you listenM?
/andalf?s eyes flashed and his
,rows stu1k out like ,ristles.
?(r. Frodo$ sirN? 1ried %a) Juaking.
?&on?t let hi) hurt )e$ sirN &on?t let
hi) turn )e into
anything unnaturalN (y old dad
would take on so. + )eant no har)$ on
)y honour$ sirN?
?2e won?t hurt you$? said Frodo$ hardly
a,le to keep fro) laughing$ although
he was hi)self
startled and rather pu<<led. ?2e
knows$ as well as + do$ that you )ean
no har). But Kust you up and
answer his Juestions straight awayN?
?.ell$ sir$? said %a) dithering a little.
?+ heard a deal that + didn?t rightly
understand$ a,out an
ene)y$ and rings$ and (r. Bil,o$ sir$
and dragons$ and a fiery )ountain$
and O and !l"es$ sir. +
listened ,e1ause + 1ouldn?t help
)yself$ if you know what + )ean. Lor
,less )e$ sir$ ,ut + do lo"e
tales of that sort. 4nd + ,elie"e the)
too$ whate"er Ted )ay say. !l"es$ sirN
+ would dearly lo"e to
see Athe).A -ouldn?t you take )e to
see !l"es$ sir$ when you goM?
%uddenly /andalf laughed. ?-o)e
insideN? he shouted$ and putting out
,oth his ar)s he lifted the
astonished %a)$ shears$ grass#
1lippings and all$ right through the
window and stood hi) on the
floor. ?Take you to see !l"es$ ehM? he
said$ eyeing %a) 1losely$ ,ut with a
s)ile fli1kering on his
fa1e. ?%o you heard that (r. Frodo is
going awayM?
?+ did$ sir. 4nd that?s why + 1hoked:
whi1h you heard see)ingly. + tried
not to$ sir$ ,ut it ,urst out
of )e: + was so upset.?
?+t 1an?t ,e helped$ %a)$? said Frodo
sadly. 2e had suddenly reali<ed that
flying fro) the %hire
would )ean )ore painful partings
than )erely saying farewell to the
fa)iliar 1o)forts of Bag !nd.
?+ shall ha"e to go. But? O and here he
looked hard at %a) O ?if you really
1are a,out )e$ you will
keep that AdeadA se1ret. %eeM +f you
don?t$ if you e"en ,reathe a word of
what you?"e heard here$
then + hope /andalf will turn you into
a spotted toad and fill the garden full
of grass#snakes.?
%a) fell on his knees$ tre),ling. ?/et
up$ %a)N? said /andalf. + ha"e thought
of so)ething ,etter
than that. %o)ething to shut your
)outh$ and punish you properly for
listening. Gou shall go away
with (r. FrodoN?
?(e$ sirN? 1ried %a)$ springing up like
a dog in"ited for a walk. ?(e go and
see !l"es and allN
2oorayN? he shouted$ and then ,urst
into tears.
A-hapter 3A
Three is -o)pany
?Gou ought to go Juietly$ and you
ought to go soon$? said /andalf. Two
or three weeks had
passed$ and still Frodo )ade no sign
of getting ready to go.
?+ know. But it is diffi1ult to do ,oth$?
he o,Ke1ted. +f + Kust "anish like Bil,o$
the tale will ,e all
o"er the %hire in no ti)e.?
?*f 1ourse you )ustn?t "anishN? said
/andalf. ?That wouldn?t do at allN +
said Asoon$A not
Ainstantly.A +f you 1an think of any
way of slipping out of the %hire
without its ,eing generally
known$ it will ,e worth a little delay.
But you )ust not delay too long.?
?.hat a,out the autu)n$ on or after
*ur BirthdayM? asked Frodo. ?+ think +
1ould pro,a,ly )ake
so)e arrange)ents ,y then.?
To tell the truth$ he was "ery relu1tant
to start$ now that it had 1o)e to the
point. Bag !nd
see)ed a )ore desira,le residen1e
than it had for years$ and he wanted to
sa"our as )u1h as he
1ould of his last su))er in the %hire.
.hen autu)n 1a)e$ he knew that part
at least of his heart
would think )ore kindly of
Kourneying$ as it always did at that
season. 2e had indeed pri"ately
)ade up his )ind to lea"e on his
fiftieth ,irthday: Bil,o?s one hundred
and twenty#eighth. +t
see)ed so)ehow the proper day on
whi1h to set out and follow hi).
Following Bil,o was
upper)ost in his )ind$ and the one
thing that )ade the thought of lea"ing
,eara,le. 2e thought as
little as possi,le a,out the Ring$ and
where it )ight lead hi) in the end.
But he did not tell all his
thoughts to /andalf. .hat the wi<ard
guessed was always diffi1ult to tell.
2e looked at Frodo and s)iled. ?@ery
well$? he said. ?+ think that will do O
,ut it )ust not ,e any
later. + a) getting "ery an5ious. +n the
)ean#while$ do take 1are$ and don?t
let out any hint of where
you are goingN 4nd see that %a)
/a)gee does not talk. +f he does$ +
really shall turn hi) into a
toad.?
?4s for Awhere +A a) going$? said
Frodo$ ?it would ,e diffi1ult to gi"e
that away$ for + ha"e no
1lear idea )yself$ yet.?
?&on?t ,e a,surdN? said /andalf. ?+ a)
not warning you against lea"ing an
address at the postoffi1eN
But you are lea"ing the %hire O and
that should not ,e known$ until you
are far away. 4nd
you )ust go$ or at least set out$ either
'orth$ %outh$ .est or !ast O and the
dire1tion should
1ertainly not ,e known.?
?+ ha"e ,een so taken up with the
thoughts of lea"ing Bag !nd$ and of
saying farewell$ that +
ha"e ne"er e"en 1onsidered the
dire1tion$? said Frodo. ?For where a) +
to goM 4nd ,y what shall +
steerM .hat is to ,e )y JuestM Bil,o
went to find a treasure$ there and ,a1k
againI ,ut + go to lose
one$ and not return$ as far as + 1an
see.?
?But you 1annot see "ery far$? said
/andalf. ?'either 1an +. +t )ay ,e
your task to find the -ra1ks
of &oo)I ,ut that Juest )ay ,e for
others: + do not know. 4t any rate you
are not ready for that
long road yet.?
?'o indeedN? said Frodo. ?But in the
)eanti)e what 1ourse a) + to lakeM?
?Towards dangerI ,ut not too rashly$
nor too straight$? answered the wi<ard.
?+f you want )y
ad"i1e$ )ake for Ri"endell. That
Kourney should not pro"e too perilous$
though the Road is less
easy than it was$ and it will grow
worse as the year fails.?
?Ri"endellN? said Frodo. ?@ery good: +
will go east$ and + will )ake for
Ri"endell. + will take %a)
to "isit the !l"esI he will ,e
delighted.? 2e spoke lightlyI ,ut his
heart was )o"ed suddenly with a
desire to see the house of !lrond
2alfel"en$ and ,reathe the air of that
deep "alley where )any of
the Fair Folk still dwelt in pea1e.
*ne su))er?s e"ening an astonishing
pie1e of news rea1hed the A+"y BushA
and A/reen
&ragon.A /iants and other portents on
the ,orders of the %hire were
forgotten for )ore i)portant
)atters: (r. Frodo was selling Bag
!nd$ indeed he had already sold it O to
the %a1k"ille#BagginsesN
?For a ni1e ,it$ loo$? said so)e. ?4t a
,argain pri1e$? said others$ ?and that?s
)ore likely when
(istress Lo,elia?s the ,uyer.? D*tho
had died so)e years ,efore$ at the
ripe ,ut disappointed age of
1;2.E
Just why (r. Frodo was selling his
,eautiful hole was e"en )ore
de,ata,le than the pri1e. 4
few held the theory O supported ,y the
nods and hints of (r. Baggins hi)self
O that Frodo?s )oney
was running out: he was going to
lea"e 2o,,iton and li"e in a Juiet
way on the pro1eeds of the sale
down in Bu1kland a)ong his
Brandy,u1k relations. ?4s far fro) the
%a1k"ille#Bagginses as )ay
,e$? so)e added. But so fir)ly fi5ed
had the notion of the i))easura,le
wealth of the Bagginses of
Bag !nd ,e1o)e that )ost found this
hard to ,elie"e$ harder than any other
reason or unreason that
their fan1y 1ould suggest: to )ost it
suggested a dark and yet unre"ealed
plot ,y /andalf. Though
he kept hi)self "ery Juiet and did not
go a,out ,y day$ it was well known
that he was ?hiding up in
the Bag !nd?. But howe"er a re)o"al
)ight fit in with the designs of his
wi<ardry$ there was no
dou,t a,out the fa1t: Frodo Baggins
was going ,a1k to Bu1kland.
?Ges$ + shall ,e )o"ing this autu)n$?
he said. ?(erry Brandy,u1k is looking
out for a ni1e little
hole for )e$ or perhaps a s)all house.?
4s a )atter of fa1t with (erry?s help
he had already 1hosen and ,ought a
little house at
-ri1khollow in the 1ountry ,eyond
Bu1kle,ury. To all ,ut %a) he
pretended he was going to settle
down there per)anently. The de1ision
to set out eastwards had suggested the
idea to hi)I for
Bu1kland was on the eastern ,orders
of the %hire$ and as he had li"ed there
in 1hildhood his going
,a1k would at least see) 1redi,le.
/andalf stayed in the %hire for o"er
two )onths. Then one e"ening$ at the
end of June$ soon
after Frodo?s plan had ,een finally
arranged$ he suddenly announ1ed that
he was going off again
ne5t )orning. ?*nly for a short while$
+ hope$? he said. ?But + a) going down
,eyond the southern
,orders to get so)e news$ if + 1an. +
ha"e ,een idle longer than + should.?
2e spoke lightly$ ,ut it see)ed to
Frodo that he looked rather worried.
?2as anything happenedM?
he asked.
?.ell noI ,ut + ha"e heard so)ething
that has )ade )e an5ious and needs
looking into. +f + think
it ne1essary after all for you to get off
at on1e$ + shall 1o)e ,a1k
i))ediately$ or at least send
word. +n the )eanwhile sti1k to your
planI ,ut ,e )ore 1areful than e"er$
espe1ially of the Ring.
Let )e i)press on you on1e )ore:
Adon?t use itN?A
2e went off at dawn. ?+ )ay ,e ,a1k
any day$? he said. ?4t the "ery latest +
shall 1o)e ,a1k for
the farewell party. + think after all you
)ay need )y 1o)pany on the Road.?
4t first Frodo was a good deal
distur,ed$ and wondered often what
/andalf 1ould ha"e heardI
,ut his uneasiness wore off$ and in the
fine weather he forgot his trou,les for
a while. The %hire
had seldo) seen so fair a su))er$ or
so ri1h an autu)n: the trees were
laden with apples$ honey
was dripping in the 1o),s$ and the
1orn was tall and full.
4utu)n was well under way ,efore
Frodo ,egan to worry a,out /andalf
again. %epte),er was
passing and there was still no news of
hi). The Birthday$ and the re)o"al$
drew nearer$ and still he
did not 1o)e$ or send word. Bag !nd
,egan to ,e ,usy. %o)e of Frodo?s
friends 1a)e to stay and
help hi) with the pa1king: there was
Fredegar Bolger and Fol1o Boffin$
and of 1ourse his spe1ial
friends Pippin Took and (erry
Brandy,u1k. Between the) they
turned the whole pla1e upsidedown.
*n %epte),er 2;th two 1o"ered 1arts
went off laden to Bu1kland$
1on"eying the furniture and
goods that Frodo had not sold to his
new ho)e$ ,y way of the Brandywine
Bridge. The ne5t day
Frodo ,e1a)e really an5ious$ and
kept a 1onstant look#out for /andalf.
Thursday$ his ,irthday
)orning$ dawned as fair and 1lear as
it had long ago for Bil,o?s great party.
%till /andalf did not
appear. +n the e"ening Frodo ga"e his
farewell feast: it was Juite s)all$ Kust
a dinner for hi)self
and his four helpersI ,ut he was
trou,led and fell in no )ood for it.
The thought that he would so
soon ha"e to part with his young
friends weighed on his heart. 2e
wondered how he would ,reak it
to the).
The four younger ho,,its were$
howe"er$ in high spirits$ and the party
soon ,e1a)e "ery
1heerful in spite of /andalf?s a,sen1e.
The dining#roo) was ,are e51ept for
a ta,le and 1hairs$ ,ut
the food was good$ and there was
good wine: Frodo?s wine had not ,een
in1luded in the sale to the
%a1k"ille#Bagginses.
?.hate"er happens to the rest of )y
stuff$ when the %.#B.s get their 1laws
on it$ at any rate +
ha"e found a good ho)e for thisN? said
Frodo$ as he drained his glass. +t was
the last drop of *ld
.inyards.
.hen they had sung )any songs$ and
talked of )any things they had done
together$ they
toasted Bil,o?s ,irthday$ and they
drank his health and Frodo?s together
a11ording to Frodo?s
1usto). Then they went out for a sniff
of air$ and gli)pse of the stars$ and
then they went to ,ed.
Frodo?s party was o"er$ and /andalf
had not 1o)e.
The ne5t )orning they were ,usy
pa1king another 1art with the
re)ainder of the luggage. (erry
took 1harge of this$ and dro"e off with
Fatty Dthat is Fredegar BolgerE.
?%o)eone )ust get there and
war) the house ,efore you arri"e$?
said (erry. ?.ell$ see you later O the
day after to)orrow$ if you
don?t go to sleep on the wayN?
Fol1o went ho)e after lun1h$ ,ut
Pippin re)ained ,ehind. Frodo was
restless and an5ious$
listening in "ain for a sound of
/andalf. 2e de1ided to wait until
nightfall. 4fter that$ if /andalf
wanted hi) urgently$ he would go to
-ri1khollow$ and )ight e"en get there
first. For Frodo was
going on foot. 2is plan O for pleasure
and a last look at the %hire as )u1h as
any other reason O was
to walk fro) 2o,,iton to Bu1kle,ury
Ferry$ taking it fairly easy.
?+ shall get )yself a ,it into training$
too$? he said$ looking at hi)self in a
dusty )irror in the
half#e)pty hall. 2e had not done any
strenuous walking for a long ti)e$ and
the refle1tion looked
rather fla,,y$ he thought.
4fter lun1h$ the %a1k"ille#Bagginses$
Lo,elia and her sandy#haired son$
Lotho$ turned up$ )u1h
to Frodo?s annoyan1e. ?*urs at lastN?
said Lo,elia$ as she stepped inside. +t
was not politeI nor
stri1tly true$ for the sale of Bag !nd
did not take effe1t until )idnight. But
Lo,elia 1an perhaps ,e
forgi"en: she had ,een o,liged to wait
a,out se"enty#se"en years longer for
Bag !nd than she on1e
hoped$ and she was now a hundred
years old. 4nyway$ she had 1o)e to
see that nothing she had
paid for had ,een 1arried offI and she
wanted the keys. +t took a long while
to satisfy her$ as she
had ,rought a 1o)plete in"entory
with her and went right through it. +n
the end she departed with
Lotho and the spare key and the
pro)ise that the other key would ,e
left at the /a)gees? in
Bagshot Row. %he snorted$ and
showed plainly that she thought the
/a)gees 1apa,le of plundering
the hole during the night. Frodo did
not offer her any tea.
2e took his own tea with Pippin and
%a) /a)gee in the kit1hen. +t had
,een offi1ially
announ1ed that %a) was 1o)ing to
Bu1kland ?to do for (r. Frodo and
look after his ,it of garden?I
an arrange)ent that was appro"ed ,y
the /affer$ though it did not 1onsole
hi) for the prospe1t of
ha"ing Lo,elia as a neigh,our.
?*ur last )eal at Bag !ndN? said
Frodo$ pushing ,a1k his 1hair. They
left the washing up for
Lo,elia. Pippin and %a) strapped up
their three pa1ks and piled the) in the
por1h. Pippin went out
for a last stroll in the garden. %a)
disappeared.
The sun went down. Bag !nd see)ed
sad and gloo)y and dishe"elled.
Frodo wandered round
the fa)iliar roo)s$ and saw the light
of the sunset fade on the walls$ and
shadows 1reep out of the
1orners. +t grew slowly dark indoors.
2e went out and walked down to the
gate at the ,otto) of the
path$ and then on a short way down
the 2ill Road. 2e half e5pe1ted to see
/andalf 1o)e striding
up through the dusk.
The sky was 1lear and the stars were
growing ,right. ?+t?s going to ,e a fine
night$? he said aloud.
?That?s good for a ,eginning. + feel
like walking. + 1an?t ,ear any )ore
hanging a,out. + a) going to
start$ and /andalf )ust follow )e.?
2e turned to go ,a1k$ and then
slopped$ for he heard "oi1es$
Kust round the 1orner ,y the end of
Bagshot Row. *ne "oi1e was
1ertainly the old /affer?sI the
other was strange$ and so)ehow
unpleasant. 2e 1ould not )ake out
what it said$ ,ut he heard the
/affer?s answers$ whi1h were rather
shrill. The old )an see)ed put out.
?'o$ (r. Baggins has gone away.
.ent this )orning$ and )y %a) went
with hi): anyway all
his stuff went. Ges$ sold out and gone$
+ tell?ee. .hyM .hy?s none of )y
,usiness$ or yours. .here
toM That ain?t no se1ret. 2e?s )o"ed to
Bu1kle,ury or so)e su1h pla1e$ away
down yonder. Ges it is
O a tidy way. +?"e ne"er ,een so far
)yselfI they?re Jueer folks in
Bu1kland. 'o$ + 1an?t gi"e no
)essage. /ood night to youN?
Footsteps went away down the 2ill.
Frodo wondered "aguely why the fa1t
that they did not
1o)e on up the 2ill see)ed a great
relief. ?+ a) si1k of Juestions and
1uriosity a,out )y doings$ +
suppose$? he thought. ?.hat an
inJuisiti"e lot they all areN? 2e had
half a )ind to go and ask the
/affer who the inJuirer wasI ,ut he
thought ,etter Dor worseE of it$ and
turned and walked Jui1kly
,a1k to Bag !nd.
Pippin was sitting on his pa1k in the
por1h. %a) was not there. Frodo
stepped inside the dark
door. ?%a)N? he 1alled. ?%a)N Ti)eN?
?-o)ing$ sirN? 1a)e the answer fro)
far within$ followed soon ,y %a)
hi)self$ wiping his
)outh. 2e had ,een saying farewell
to the ,eer#,arrel in the 1ellar.
?4ll a,oard$ %a)M? said Frodo.
?Ges$ sir. +?ll last for a ,it now$ sir.?
Frodo shut and lo1ked the round door$
and ga"e the key to %a). ?Run down
with this to your
ho)e$ %a)N? he said. ?Then 1ut along
the Row and )eet us as Jui1k as you
1an at the gate in the
lane ,eyond the )eadows. .e are not
going through the "illage tonight. Too
)any ears pri1king
and eyes prying.? %a) ran off at full
speed.
?.ell$ now we?re off at lastN? said
Frodo. They shouldered their pa1ks
and took up their sti1ks$
and walked round the 1orner to the
west side of Bag !nd. ?/ood#,yeN?
said Frodo$ looking at the
dark ,lank windows. 2e wa"ed his
hand$ and then turned and Dfollowing
Bil,o$ if he had known itE
hurried after Peregrin down the
garden#path. They Ku)ped o"er the
low pla1e in the hedge at the
,otto) and took to the fields$ passing
into the darkness like a rustle in the
grasses.
4t the ,otto) of the 2ill on its
western side they 1a)e to the gate
opening on to a narrow lane.
There they halted and adKusted the
straps of their pa1ks. Presently %a)
appeared$ trotting Jui1kly
and ,reathing hardI his hea"y pa1k
was hoisted high on his shoulders$ and
he had put on his head a
tall shapeless fell ,ag$ whi1h he 1alled
a hat. +n the gloo) he looked "ery
)u1h like a dwarf.
?+ a) sure you ha"e gi"en )e all the
hea"iest stuff$? said Frodo. ?+ pity
snails$ and all that 1arry
their ho)es on their ,a1ks.?
?+ 1ould take a lot )ore yet$ sir. (y
pa1ket is Juite light$? said %a) stoutly
and untruthfully.
?'o$ you don?t$ %a)N? said Pippin. ?+t is
good for hi). 2e?s got nothing e51ept
what he ordered us
to pa1k. 2e?s ,een sla1k lately$ and
he?ll feel the weight less when he?s
walked off so)e of his own.?
?Be kind to a poor old ho,,itN? laughed
Frodo. ?+ shall ,e as thin as a willow#
wand$ +?) sure$
,efore + get to Bu1kland. But + was
talking nonsense. + suspe1t you ha"e
taken )ore than your
share$ %a)$ and + shall look into it at
our ne5t pa1king.? 2e pi1ked up his
sti1k again. ?.ell$ we all
like walking in the dark$? he said$ ?so
let?s put so)e )iles ,ehind us ,efore
,ed.?
For a short way they followed the lane
westwards. Then lea"ing it they
turned left and took
Juietly to the fields again. They went
in single file along hedgerows and the
,orders of 1oppi1es$
and night fell dark a,out the). +n
their dark 1loaks they were as
in"isi,le as if they all had )agi1
rings. %in1e they were all ho,,its$ and
were trying to ,e silent$ they )ade no
noise that e"en
ho,,its would hear. !"en the wild
things in the fields and woods hardly
noti1ed their passing.
4fter so)e ti)e they 1rossed the
.ater$ west of 2o,,iton$ ,y a narrow
plank#,ridge. The
strea) was there no )ore than a
winding ,la1k ri,,on$ ,ordered with
leaning alder#trees. 4 )ile or
two further south they hastily 1rossed
the great road fro) the Brandywine
BridgeI they were now in
the Tookland and ,ending south#
eastwards they )ade for the /reen
2ill -ountry. 4s they ,egan to
1li), its first slopes they looked ,a1k
and saw the la)ps in 2o,,iton far off
twinkling in the gentle
"alley of the .ater. %oon it
disappeared in the folds of the
darkened land$ and was followed ,y
Bywater ,eside its grey pool. .hen
the light of the last far) was far
,ehind$ peeping a)ong the
trees$ Frodo turned and wa"ed a hand
in farewell.
?+ wonder if + shall e"er look down
into that "alley again$? he said Juietly.
.hen they had walked for a,out three
hours they rested. The night was
1lear$ 1ool$ and starry$
,ut s)oke#like wisps of )ist were
1reeping up the hill#sides fro) the
strea)s and deep )eadows.
Thin#1lad ,ir1hes$ swaying in a light
wind a,o"e their heads$ )ade a ,la1k
net against the pale sky.
They ate a "ery frugal supper Dfor
ho,,itsE$ and then went on again.
%oon they stru1k a narrow
road$ that went rolling up and down$
fading grey into the darkness ahead:
the road to .oodhall$ and
%to1k$ and the Bu1kle,ury Ferry. +t
1li),ed away fro) the )ain road in
the .ater#"alley$ and
wound o"er the skirts of the /reen
2ills towards .oody#!nd$ a wild
1orner of the !astfarthing.
4fter a while they plunged into a
deeply 1lo"en tra1k ,etween tall trees
that rustled their dry
lea"es in the night. +t was "ery dark.
4t first they talked$ or hu))ed a tune
softly together$ ,eing
now far away fro) inJuisiti"e ears.
Then they )ar1hed on in silen1e$ and
Pippin ,egan to lag
,ehind. 4t last$ as they ,egan to 1li),
a steep slope$ he stopped and yawned.
?+ a) so sleepy$? he said$ ?that soon +
shall fall down on the road. 4re you
going to sleep on your
legsM +t is nearly )idnight.?
?+ thought you liked walking in the
dark$? said Frodo. ?But there is no
great hurry. (erry e5pe1ts
us so)e ti)e the day after to)orrowI
,ut that lea"es us nearly two days
)ore. .e?ll halt at the first
likely spot.?
?The wind?s in the .est$? said %a). ?+f
we get to the other side of this hill$ we
shall find a spot
that is sheltered and snug enough$ sir.
There is a dry fir#wood Kust ahead$ if +
re)e),er rightly.?
%a) knew the land well within twenty
)iles of 2o,,iton$ ,ut that was the
li)it of his geography.
Just o"er the top of the hill they 1a)e
on the pat1h of fir#wood. Lea"ing the
road they went into
the deep resin#s1ented darkness of the
trees$ and gathered dead sti1ks and
1ones to )ake a fire.
%oon they had a )erry 1ra1kle of
fla)e at the foot of a large fir#tree and
they sat round it for a
while$ until they ,egan to nod. Then$
ea1h in an angle of the great tree?s
roots$ they 1urled up in
their 1loaks and ,lankets$ and were
soon fast asleep. They set no wat1hI
e"en Frodo feared no
danger yet$ for they were still in the
heart of the %hire. 4 few 1reatures
1a)e and looked at the)
when the fire had died away. 4 fo5
passing through the wood on ,usiness
of his own stopped
se"eral )inutes and sniffed.
?2o,,itsN? he thought. ?.ell$ what
ne5tM + ha"e heard of strange doings
in this land$ ,ut + ha"e
seldo) heard of a ho,,it sleeping out
of doors under a tree. Three of the)N
There?s so)ething
)ighty Jueer ,ehind this.? 2e was
Juite right$ ,ut he ne"er found out any
)ore a,out it.
The )orning 1a)e$ pale and 1la))y.
Frodo woke up first$ and found that a
tree#root had )ade
a hole in his ,a1k$ and that his ne1k
was stiff.
?.alking for pleasureN .hy didn?t +
dri"eM? he thought$ as he usually did at
the ,eginning of an
e5pedition. ?4nd all )y ,eautiful
feather ,eds are sold to the %a1k"ille#
BagginsesN These tree#roots
would do the) good.? 2e stret1hed.
?.ake up$ ho,,itsN? he 1ried. +t?s a
,eautiful )orning.?
?.hat?s ,eautiful a,out itM? said
Pippin$ peering o"er the edge of his
,lanket with one eye. ?%a)N
/el ,reakfast ready for half#past nineN
2a"e you got the ,ath#water hotM?
%a) Ku)ped up$ looking rather ,leary.
?'o$ sir$ + ha"en?t$ sirN? he said.
Frodo stripped the ,lankets fro)
Pippin and rolled hi) o"er$ and then
walked off to the edge of
the wood. 4way eastward the sun was
rising red out of the )ists that lay
thi1k on the world.
Tou1hed with gold and red the
autu)n trees see)ed to ,e sailing
rootless in a shadowy sea. 4 little
,elow hi) to the left the road ran
down steeply into a hollow and
disappeared.
.hen he returned %a) and Pippin
had got a good fire going. ?.aterN?
shouted Pippin. ?.here?s
the waterM?
?+ don?t keep water in )y po1kets$?
said Frodo. ?.e thought you had gone
to find so)e$? said
Pippin$ ,usy setting out the food$ and
1ups. ?Gou had ,etter go now.?
?Gou 1an 1o)e too$? said Frodo$ ?and
,ring all the water#,ottles.? There was
a strea) at the foot
of the hill. They filled their ,ottles
and the s)all 1a)ping kettle at a little
fall where the water fell a
few feet o"er an out1rop of grey
stone. +t was i1y 1oldI and they
spluttered and puffed as they
,athed their fa1es and hands.
.hen their ,reakfast was o"er$ and
their pa1ks all trussed up again$ it was
after ten o?1lo1k$ and
the day was ,eginning to turn fine and
hot. They went down the slope$ and
a1ross the strea) where
it di"ed under the road$ and up the
ne5t slope$ and up and down another
shoulder of the hillsI and
,y that ti)e their 1loaks$ ,lankets$
water$ food$ and other gear already
see)ed a hea"y ,urden.
The day?s )ar1h pro)ised to ,e war)
and tiring work. 4fter so)e )iles$
howe"er$ the road
1eased to roll up and down: it 1li),ed
to the top of a steep ,ank in a weary
<ig#<agging sort of way$
and then prepared to go down for the
last ti)e. +n front of the) they saw
the lower lands dotted
with s)all 1lu)ps of trees that )elted
away in the distan1e to a ,rown
woodland ha<e. They were
looking a1ross the .oody !nd
towards the Brandywine Ri"er. The
road wound away ,efore the)
like a pie1e of string.
?The road goes on for e"er$? said
PippinI ?,ut + 1an?t without a rest. +t is
high ti)e for lun1h.? 2e
sat down on the ,ank at the side of the
road and looked away east into the
ha<e$ ,eyond whi1h lay
the Ri"er$ and the end of the %hire in
whi1h he had spent all his life. %a)
stood ,y hi). 2is round
eyes were wide open O for he was
looking a1ross lands he had ne"er
seen to a new hori<on.
?&o !l"es li"e in those woodsM? he
asked.
?'ot that + e"er heard$? said Pippin.
Frodo was silent. 2e too was ga<ing
eastward along the road$
as if he had ne"er seen it ,efore.
%uddenly he spoke$ aloud ,ut as if to
hi)self$ saying slowly:
The Road goes e"er on and on
&own fro) the door where it ,egan.
'ow far ahead the Road has gone$
4nd + )ust follow$ if + 1an$
Pursuing it with weary feet$
0ntil it Koins so)e larger way$
.here )any paths and errands )eet.
4nd whither thenM + 1annot say.
?That sounds like a ,it of old Bil,o?s
rhy)ing$? said Pippin. ?*r is it one of
your i)itationsM +t
does not sound altogether
en1ouraging.?
?+ don?t know$? said Frodo. +t 1a)e to
)e then$ as if + was )aking it upI ,ut
+ )ay ha"e heard it
long ago. -ertainly it re)inds )e
"ery )u1h of Bil,o in the last years$
,efore he went away. 2e
used often to say there was only one
RoadI that it was like a great ri"er: its
springs were at e"ery
doorstep$ and e"ery path was its
tri,utary. L+t?s a dangerous ,usiness$
Frodo$ going out of your
door$L he used to say. LGou step into
the Road$ and if you don?t keep your
feet$ there is no knowing
where you )ight ,e swept off to. &o
you reali<e that this is the "ery path
that goes through
(irkwood$ and that if you let it$ it
)ight take you to the Lonely
(ountain or e"en further and to
worse pla1esML 2e used to say that on
the path outside the front door at Bag
!nd$ espe1ially after he
had ,een out for a long walk.?
?.ell$ the Road won?t sweep )e
anywhere for an hour at least$? said
Pippin$ unslinging his pa1k.
The others followed his e5a)ple$
putting their pa1ks against the ,ank
and their legs out into the
road. 4fter a rest they had a good
lun1h$ and then )ore rest.
The sun was ,eginning to get low and
the light of afternoon was on the land
as they went down
the hill. %o far they had not )et a soul
on the road. This way was not )u1h
used$ ,eing hardly fit
for 1arts$ and there was little traffi1 to
the .oody !nd. They had ,een
Kogging along again for an
hour or )ore when %a) stopped a
)o)ent as if listening. They were
now on le"el ground$ and the
road after )u1h winding lay straight
ahead through grass#land sprinkled
with tall trees$ outliers of
the approa1hing woods.
?+ 1an hear a pony or a horse 1o)ing
along the road ,ehind$? said %a).
They looked ,a1k$ ,ut the turn of the
road pre"ented the) fro) seeing far.
?+ wonder if that is
/andalf 1o)ing after us$? said FrodoI
,ut e"en as he said it$ he had a feeling
that it was not so$ and
a sudden desire to hide fro) the "iew
of the rider 1a)e o"er hi).
?+t )ay not )atter )u1h$? he said
apologeti1ally$ ?,ut + would rather not
,e seen on the road O ,y
anyone. + a) si1k of )y doings ,eing
noti1ed and dis1ussed. 4nd if it is
/andalf$? he added as an
afterthought$ ?we 1an gi"e hi) a little
surprise$ to pay hi) out for ,eing so
late. Let?s get out of
sightN?
The other two ran Jui1kly to the left
and down into a little hollow not far
fro) the road. There
they lay flat. Frodo hesitated for a
se1ond: 1uriosity or so)e other
feeling was struggling with his
desire to hide. The sound of hoofs
drew nearer. Just in ti)e he threw
hi)self down in a pat1h of
long grass ,ehind a tree that
o"ershadowed the road. Then he lifted
his head and peered 1autiously
a,o"e one of the great roots.
Round the 1orner 1a)e a ,la1k horse$
no ho,,it#pony ,ut a full#si<ed horseI
and on it sat a large
)an$ who see)ed to 1rou1h in the
saddle$ wrapped in a great ,la1k 1loak
and hood$ so that only his
,oots in the high stirrups showed
,elowI his fa1e was shadowed and
in"isi,le.
.hen it rea1hed the tree and was
le"el with Frodo the horse stopped.
The riding figure sat Juite
still with its head ,owed$ as if
listening. Fro) inside the hood 1a)e
a noise as of so)eone sniffing
to 1at1h an elusi"e s1entI the head
turned fro) side to side of the road.
4 sudden unreasoning fear of
dis1o"ery laid hold of Frodo$ and he
thought of his Ring. 2e
hardly dared to ,reathe$ and yet the
desire to get it out of his po1ket
,e1a)e so strong that he ,egan
slowly to )o"e his hand. 2e felt that
he had only to slip it on$ and then he
would ,e safe. The
ad"i1e of /andalf see)ed a,surd.
Bil,o had used the Ring. ?4nd + a)
still in the %hire$? he thought$
as his hand tou1hed the 1hain on
whi1h it hung. 4t that )o)ent the
rider sat up$ and shook the
reins. The horse stepped forward$
walking slowly at first$ and then
,reaking into a Jui1k trot.
Frodo 1rawled to the edge of the road
and wat1hed the rider$ until he
dwindled into the distan1e.
2e 1ould not ,e Juite sure$ ,ut it
see)ed to hi) that suddenly$ ,efore it
passed out of sight$ the
horse turned aside and went into the
trees on the right.
?.ell$ + 1all that "ery Jueer$ and
indeed distur,ing$? said Frodo to
hi)self$ as he walked towards
his 1o)panions. Pippin and %a) had
re)ained flat in the grass$ and had
seen nothingI so Frodo
des1ri,ed the rider and his strange
,eha"iour.
?+ 1an?t say why$ ,ut + felt 1ertain he
was looking or As)ellingA for )eI
and also + felt 1ertain
that + did not want hi) to dis1o"er
)e. +?"e ne"er seen or fell anything
like it in the %hire ,efore.?
?But what has one of the Big People
got to do with usM? said Pippin. ?4nd
what is he doing in this
part of the worldM?
?There are so)e (en a,out$? said
Frodo. ?&own in the %outhfarthing
they ha"e had trou,le with
Big People$ + ,elie"e. But + ha"e
ne"er heard of anything like this rider.
+ wonder where he 1o)es
fro).?
?Begging your pardon$? put in %a)
suddenly$ ?+ know where he 1o)es
fro). +t?s fro) 2o,,iton
that this here ,la1k rider 1o)es$
unless there?s )ore than one. 4nd +
know where he?s going to.?
?.hat do you )eanM? said Frodo
sharply$ looking at hi) in
astonish)ent. ?.hy didn?t you speak
up ,eforeM?
?+ ha"e only Kust re)e),ered$ sir. +t
was like this: when + got ,a1k to our
hole yesterday e"ening
with the key$ )y dad$ he says to )e:
A2ello$ %a)NA he says. A+ thought you
were away with (r.
Frodo this )orning. There?s ,een a
strange 1usto)er asking for (r.
Baggins of Bag !nd$ and he?s
only Kust gone. +?"e sent hi) on to
Bu1kle,ury. 'ot that + liked the sound
of hi). 2e see)ed
)ighty put out$ when + told hi) (r.
Baggins had left his old ho)e for
good. 2issed at )e$ he did.
+t ga"e )e Juite a shudder. .hat sort
of a fellow was heMA says + to the
/affer. A+ don?t know$A
says heI A,ut he wasn?t a ho,,it. 2e
was tall and ,la1k#like$ and he
stooped a"er )e. + re1kon it was
one of the Big Folk fro) foreign
parts. 2e spoke funny.A
?+ 1ouldn?t stay to hear )ore$ sir$ sin1e
you were waitingI and + didn?t gi"e
)u1h heed to it
)yself. The /affer is getting old$ and
)ore than a ,it ,lind$ and it )ust ha"e
,een near dark when
this fellow 1o)e up the 2ill and
found hi) taking the air at the end of
our Row. + hope he hasn?t
done no har)$ sir$ nor )e.?
?The /affer 1an?t ,e ,la)ed anyway$?
said Frodo. ?4s a )atter of fa1t + heard
hi) talking to a
stranger$ who see)ed to ,e inJuiring
for )e$ and + nearly went and asked
hi) who it was. + wish +
had$ or you had told )e a,out it
,efore. + )ight ha"e ,een )ore
1areful on the road.?
?%till$ there )ay ,e no 1onne5ion
,etween this rider and the /affer?s
stranger$? said Pippin. ?.e
left 2o,,iton se1retly enough$ and +
don?t see how he 1ould ha"e followed
us.?
?.hat a,out the As)elling$A sirM? said
%a). ?4nd the /affer said he was a
,la1k 1hap.?
?+ wish + had waited for /andalf$?
Frodo )uttered. ?But perhaps it would
only ha"e )ade )atters
worse.?
?Then you know or guess so)ething
a,out this riderM? said Pippin$ who had
1aught the )uttered
words.
?+ don?t know$ and + would rather not
guess$? said Frodo. ?4ll right$ 1ousin
FrodoN Gou 1an keep
your se1ret for the present$ if you
want to ,e )ysterious. +n the
)eanwhile what are we to doM +
should like a ,ite and a sup$ ,ut
so)ehow + think we had ,etter )o"e
on fro) here. Gour talk of
sniffing riders with in"isi,le noses has
unsettled )e.?
?Ges$ + think we will )o"e on now$?
said FrodoI ?,ut not on the road #in
1ase that rider 1o)es
,a1k$ or another follows hi). .e
ought to do a good step )ore today.
Bu1kland is still )iles away.?
The shadows of the trees were long
and thin on the grass$ as they started
off again. They now
kept a stone?s throw to the left of the
road$ and kept out of sight of it as
)u1h as they 1ould. But this
hindered the)I for the grass was thi1k
and tusso1ky$ and the ground une"en$
and the trees ,egan to
draw together into thi1kets.
The sun had gone down red ,ehind
the hills at their ,a1ks$ and e"ening
was 1o)ing on ,efore
they 1a)e ,a1k to the road at the end
of the long le"el o"er whi1h it had run
straight for so)e
)iles. 4t that point it ,ent left and
went down into the lowlands of the
Gale )aking for %to1kI ,ut a
lane ,ran1hed right$ winding through
a wood of an1ient oak#trees on its way
to .oodhall. ?That is
the way for us$? said Frodo.
'ot far fro) the road#)eeting they
1a)e on the huge hulk of a tree: it
was still ali"e and had
lea"es on the s)all ,ran1hes that it
had put out round the ,roken stu)ps
of its long#fallen li),sI
,ut it was hollow$ and 1ould ,e
entered ,y a great 1ra1k on the side
away fro) the road. The
ho,,its 1rept inside$ and sat there
upon a floor of old lea"es and
de1ayed wood. They rested and
had a light )eal$ talking Juietly and
listening fro) ti)e to ti)e.
Twilight was a,out the) as they 1rept
,a1k to the lane. The .est wind was
sighing in the
,ran1hes. Lea"es were whispering.
%oon the road ,egan to fall gently ,ut
steadily into the dusk. 4
star 1a)e out a,o"e the trees in the
darkening !ast ,efore the). They
went a,reast and in step$ to
keep up their spirits. 4fter a ti)e$ as
the stars grew thi1ker and ,righter$ the
feeling of disJuiet left
the)$ and they no longer listened for
the sound of hoofs. They ,egan to
hu) softly$ as ho,,its ha"e
a way of doing as they walk along$
espe1ially when they are drawing near
to ho)e at night. .ith
)ost ho,,its it is a supper#song or a
,ed#songI ,ut these ho,,its hu))ed a
walking#song Dthough
not$ of 1ourse$ without any )ention of
supper and ,edE. Bil,o Baggins had
)ade the words$ to a
tune that was as old as the hills$ and
taught it to Frodo as they walked in
the lanes of the .ater"alley
and talked a,out 4d"enture.
0pon the hearth the fire is red$
Beneath the roof there is a ,edI
But not yet weary are our feet$
%till round the 1orner we )ay )eet
4 sudden tree or standing stone
That none ha"e seen ,ut we alone.
Tree and flower and leaf and grass$
Let the) passN Let the) passN
2ill and water under sky$
Pass the) ,yN Pass the) ,yN
%till round the 1orner there )ay wait
4 new road or a se1ret gate$
4nd though we pass the) ,y today$
To)orrow we )ay 1o)e this way
4nd take the hidden paths that run
Towards the (oon or to the %un.
4pple$ thorn$ and nut and sloe$
Let the) goN Let the) goN
%and and stone and pool and dell$
Fare you wellN Fare you wellN
2o)e is ,ehind$ the world ahead$
4nd there are )any paths to tread
Through shadows to the edge of night$
0ntil the stars are all alight.
Then world ,ehind and ho)e ahead$
.e?ll wander ,a1k to ho)e and ,ed.
(ist and twilight$ 1loud and shade$
4way shall fadeN 4way shall fadeN
Fire and la)p$ and )eat and ,read$
4nd then to ,edN 4nd then to ,edN
The song ended. ?4nd AnowA to ,edN
4nd AnowA to ,edN? sang Pippin in a
high "oi1e.
?2ushN? said Frodo. ?+ think + hear
hoofs again.?
They slopped suddenly and stood as
silent as tree#shadows$ listening.
There was a sound of
hoofs in the lane$ so)e way ,ehind$
,ut 1o)ing slow and 1lear down the
wind. Pui1kly and Juietly
they slipped off the path$ and ran into
the deeper shade under the oak#trees.
?&on?t let us go too farN? said Frodo. ?+
don?t want to ,e seen$ ,ut + want to
see if it is another
Bla1k Rider.?
?@ery wellN? said Pippin. ?But don?t
forget the sniffingN?
The hoofs drew nearer. They had no
ti)e to find any hiding#pla1e ,etter
than the general
darkness under the treesI %a) and
Pippin 1rou1hed ,ehind a large tree#
,ole$ while Frodo 1rept ,a1k
a few yards towards the lane. +t
showed grey and pale$ a line of fading
light through the wood.
4,o"e it the stars were thi1k in the
di) sky$ ,ut there was no )oon.
The sound of hoofs stopped. 4s Frodo
wat1hed he saw so)ething dark pass
a1ross the lighter
spa1e ,etween two trees$ and then
halt. +t looked like the ,la1k shade of
a horse led ,y a s)aller
,la1k shadow. The ,la1k shadow
stood 1lose to the point where they
had left the path$ and it
swayed fro) side to side. Frodo
thought he heard the sound of
snuffling. The shadow ,ent to the
ground$ and then ,egan to 1rawl
towards hi).
*n1e )ore the desire to slip on the
Ring 1a)e o"er FrodoI ,ut this ti)e it
was stronger than
,efore. %o strong that$ al)ost ,efore
he reali<ed what he was doing$ his
hand was groping in his
po1ket. But at that )o)ent there
1a)e a sound like )ingled song and
laughter. -lear "oi1es rose
and fell in the starlit air. The ,la1k
shadow straightened up and retreated.
+t 1li),ed on to the
shadowy horse and see)ed to "anish
a1ross the lane into the darkness on
the other side. Frodo
,reathed again.
?!l"esN? e51lai)ed %a) in a hoarse
whisper. ?!l"es$ sirN? 2e would ha"e
,urst out of the trees and
dashed off towards the "oi1es$ if they
had not pulled hi) ,a1k.
?Ges$ it is !l"es$? said Frodo. ?*ne 1an
)eet the) so)eti)es in the .oody
!nd. They don?t li"e
in the %hire$ ,ut they wander into it in
%pring and 4utu)n$ out of their own
lands away ,eyond the
Tower 2ills. + a) thankful that they
doN Gou did not see$ ,ut that Bla1k
Rider stopped Kust here and
was a1tually 1rawling towards us
when the song ,egan. 4s soon as he
heard the "oi1es he slipped
away.?
?.hat a,out the !l"esM? said %a)$ too
e51ited to trou,le a,out the rider.
?-an?t we go and see
the)M?
?ListenN They are 1o)ing this way$?
said Frodo. ?.e ha"e only to wait.?
The singing drew nearer.
*ne 1lear "oi1e rose now a,o"e the
others. +t was singing in the fair
el"en#tongue$ of whi1h Frodo
knew only a little$ and the others
knew nothing. Get the sound ,lending
with the )elody see)ed to
shape itself in their thought into
words whi1h they only partly
understood. This was the song as
Frodo heard it:
%now#whiteN %now#whiteN * Lady
1learN
* Pueen ,eyond the .estern %easN
* Light to us that wander here
4)id the world of wo"en treesN
/ilthonielN * !l,erethN
-lear are thy eyes and ,right thy
,reathN
%now#whiteN %now#whiteN .e sing to
thee
+n a far land ,eyond the %ea.
* stars that in the %unless Gear
.ith shining hand ,y her were sawn$
+n windy fields now ,right and 1lear
.e see your sil"er ,losso) ,lownN
* !l,erethN /ilthonielN
.e still re)e),er$ we who dwell
+n this far land ,eneath the trees$
Thy starlight on the .estern %eas.
The song ended. ?These are 2igh
!l"esN They spoke the na)e of
!l,erethN? said Frodo in
a)a<e)ent$ ?Few of that fairest folk
are e"er seen in the %hire. 'ot )any
now re)ain in (iddleearth$
east of the /reat %ea. This is indeed a
strange 1han1eN?
The ho,,its sat in shadow ,y the
wayside. Before long the !l"es 1a)e
down the lane towards
the "alley. They passed slowly$ and
the ho,,its 1ould see the starlight
gli))ering on their hair and
in their eyes. They ,ore no lights$ yet
as they walked a shi))er$ like the
light of the )oon a,o"e
the ri) of the hills ,efore it rises$
see)ed to fall a,out their feet. They
were now silent$ and as the
last !lf passed he turned and looked
towards the ho,,its and laughed.
?2ail$ FrodoN? he 1ried. ?Gou are
a,road late. *r are you perhaps lostM?
Then he 1alled aloud to
the others$ and all the 1o)pany
stopped and gathered round.
?This is indeed wonderfulN? they said.
?Three ho,,its in a wood at nightN .e
ha"e not seen su1h a
thing sin1e Bil,o went away. .hat is
the )eaning of itM?
?The )eaning of it$ fair people$? said
Frodo$ ?is si)ply that we see) to ,e
going the sa)e way as
you are. + like walking under the stars.
But + would wel1o)e your 1o)pany.?
?But we ha"e no need of other
1o)pany$ and ho,,its are so dull$?
they laughed. ?4nd how do you
know that we go the sa)e way as you$
for you do not know whither we are
goingM?
?4nd how do you know )y na)eM?
asked Frodo in return.
?.e know )any things$? they said.
?.e ha"e seen you often ,efore with
Bil,o$ though you )ay
not ha"e seen us.?
?.ho are you$ and who is your lordM?
asked Frodo.
?+ a) /ildor$? answered their leader$
the !lf who had first hailed hi).
?/ildor +nglorion of the
2ouse of Finrod. .e are !5iles$ and
)ost of our kindred ha"e long ago
departed and we too are
now only tarrying here a while$ ere
we return o"er the /reat %ea. But
so)e of our kinsfolk dwell
still in pea1e in Ri"endell. -o)e now$
Frodo$ tell us what you are doingM For
we see that there is
so)e shadow of fear upon you.?
?* .ise PeopleN? interrupted Pippin
eagerly. ?Tell us a,out the Bla1k
RidersN?
?Bla1k RidersM? they said in low
"oi1es. ?.hy do you ask a,out Bla1k
RidersM?
?Be1ause two Bla1k Riders ha"e
o"ertaken us today$ or one has done
so twi1e$? said PippinI ?only
a little while ago he slipped away as
you drew near.?
The !l"es did not answer at on1e$ ,ut
spoke together softly in their own
tongue. 4t length
/ildor turned to the ho,,its. ?.e will
not speak of this here$? he said. ?.e
think you had ,est 1o)e
now with us. +t is not our 1usto)$ ,ut
for this ti)e we will lake you on our
road$ and you shall
lodge with us tonight$ if you will.?
?* Fair FolkN This is good fortune
,eyond )y hope$? said Pippin. %a)
was spee1hless. ?+ thank
you indeed$ /ildor +nglorion$? said
Frodo ,owing. A?!len sQla lC)enn?
o)entiel"o$A a star shines on
the hour of our )eeting$? he added in
the high#el"en spee1h.
?Be 1areful$ friendsN? 1ried /ildor
laughing. ?%peak no se1retsN 2ere is a
s1holar in the 4n1ient
Tongue. Bil,o was a good )aster.
2ail$ !lf#friendN? he said$ ,owing to
Frodo. ?-o)e now with your
friends and Koin our 1o)panyN Gou
had ,est walk in the )iddle so that
you )ay not stray. Gou )ay
,e weary ,efore we halt.?
?.hyM .here are you goingM? asked
Frodo.
?For tonight we go to the woods on the
hills a,o"e .oodhall. +t is so)e
)iles$ ,ut you shall
ha"e rest at the end of it$ and it will
shorten your Kourney to)orrow.?
They now )ar1hed on again in
silen1e$ and passed like shadows and
faint lights: for !l"es De"en
)ore than ho,,itsE 1ould walk when
they wished without sound or footfall.
Pippin soon ,egan to
feel sleepy$ and staggered on1e or
twi1eI ,ut ea1h ti)e a tall !lf at his
side put out his ar) and
sa"ed hi) fro) a fall. %a) walked
along at Frodo?s side$ as if in a drea)$
with an e5pression on his
fa1e half of fear and half of astonished
Koy.
The woods on either side ,e1a)e
denserI the trees were now younger
and thi1kerI and as the
lane went lower$ running down into a
fold of the hills$ there were )any
deep ,rakes of ha<el on the
rising slopes at either hand. 4t last the
!l"es turned aside fro) the path. 4
green ride lay al)ost
unseen through the thi1kets on the
rightI and this they followed as it
wound away ,a1k up the
wooded slopes on to the top of a
shoulder of the hills that stood out
into the lower land of the ri"er"alley.
%uddenly they 1a)e out of the
shadow of the trees$ and ,efore the)
lay a wide spa1e of
grass$ grey under the night. *n three
sides the woods pressed upon itI ,ut
eastward the ground fell
steeply and the tops of the dark trees$
growing at the ,otto) of the slope$
were ,elow their feet.
Beyond$ the low lands lay di) and
flat under the stars. 'earer at hand a
few lights twinkled in the
"illage of .oodhall.
The !l"es sat on the grass and spoke
together in soft "oi1esI they see)ed to
take no further
noti1e of the ho,,its. Frodo and his
1o)panions wrapped the)sel"es in
1loaks and ,lankets$ and
drowsiness stole o"er the). The night
grew on$ and the lights in the "alley
went out. Pippin fell
asleep$ pillowed on a green hillo1k.
4way high in the !ast swung
Re))irath$ the 'etted %tars$ and
slowly a,o"e the )ists red
Borgil rose$ glowing like a Kewel of
fire. Then ,y so)e shift of airs all the
)ist was drawn away
like a "eil$ and there leaned up$ as he
1li),ed o"er the ri) of the world$ the
%words)an of the %ky$
(enel"agor with his shining ,elt. The
!l"es all ,urst into song. %uddenly
under the trees a fire
sprang up with a red light.
?-o)eN? the !l"es 1alled to the
ho,,its. ?-o)eN 'ow is the ti)e for
spee1h and )erri)entN?
Pippin sat up and ru,,ed his eyes. 2e
shi"ered. ?There is a fire in the hall$
and food for hungry
guests$? said an !lf standing ,efore
hi).
4t the south end of the greensward
there was an opening. There the green
floor ran on into the
wood$ and for)ed a wide spa1e like a
hall$ roofed ,y the ,oughs of trees.
Their great trunks ran like
pillars down ea1h side. +n the )iddle
there was a wood#fire ,la<ing$ and
upon the tree#pillars
tor1hes with lights of gold and sil"er
were ,urning steadily. The !l"es sat
round the fire upon the
grass or upon the sawn rings of old
trunks. %o)e went to and fro ,earing
1ups and pouring drinkI
others ,rought food on heaped plates
and dishes.
?This is poor fare$? they said to the
ho,,itsI ?for we are lodging in the
greenwood far fro) our
halls. +f e"er you are our guests at
ho)e$ we will treat you ,etter.?
?+t see)s to )e good enough for a
,irthday#party$? said Frodo.
Pippin afterwards re1alled little of
either food or drink$ for his )ind was
filled with the light
upon the elf#fa1es$ and the sound of
"oi1es so "arious and so ,eautiful that
he felt in a waking
drea). But he re)e),ered that there
was ,read$ surpassing the sa"our of a
fair white loaf to one
who is star"ingI and fruits sweet as
wild,erries and ri1her than the tended
fruits of gardensI he
drained a 1up that was filled with a
fragrant draught$ 1ool as a 1lear
fountain$ golden as a su))er
afternoon.
%a) 1ould ne"er des1ri,e in words$
nor pi1ture 1learly to hi)self$ what he
felt or thought that
night$ though it re)ained in his
)e)ory as one of the 1hief e"ents of
his life. The nearest he e"er
got was to say: ?.ell$ sir$ if + 1ould
grow apples like that$ + would 1all
)yself a gardener. But it was
the singing that went to )y heart$ if
you know what + )ean.?
Frodo sat$ eating$ drinking$ and
talking with delightI ,ut his )ind was
1hiefly on the words
spoken. 2e knew a little of the elf#
spee1h and listened eagerly. 'ow and
again he spoke to those
that ser"ed hi) and thanked the) in
their own language. They s)iled at
hi) and said laughing:
?2ere is a Kewel a)ong ho,,itsN?
4fter a while Pippin fell fast asleep$
and was lifted up and ,orne away to a
,ower under the
treesI there he was laid upon a soft
,ed and slept the rest of the night
away. %a) refused to lea"e
his )aster. .hen Pippin had gone$ he
1a)e and sat 1urled up at Frodo?s feet$
where at last he
nodded and 1losed his eyes. Frodo
re)ained long awake$ talking with
/ildor.
They spoke of )any things$ old and
new$ and Frodo Juestioned /ildor
)u1h a,out happenings
in the wide world outside the %hire.
The tidings were )ostly sad and
o)inous: of gathering
darkness$ the wars of (en$ and the
flight of the !l"es. 4t last Frodo
asked the Juestion that was
nearest to his heart:
?Tell )e$ /ildor$ ha"e you e"er seen
Bil,o sin1e he left usM?
/ildor s)iled. ?Ges$? he answered.
?Twi1e. 2e said farewell to us on this
"ery spot. But + saw
hi) on1e again$ far fro) here.? 2e
would say no )ore a,out Bil,o$ and
Frodo fell silent.
?Gou do not ask )e or tell )e )u1h
that 1on1erns yourself$ Frodo$? said
/ildor. ?But + already
know a little$ and + 1an read )ore in
your fa1e and in the thought ,ehind
your Juestions. Gou are
lea"ing the %hire$ and yet you dou,t
that you will find what you seek$ or
a11o)plish what you
intend$ or that you will e"er return. +s
not that soM?
?+t is$? said FrodoI ?,ut + thought )y
going was a se1ret known only to
/andalf and )y faithful
%a).? 2e looked down at %a)$ who
was snoring gently.
?The se1ret will not rea1h the !ne)y
fro) us$? said /ildor.
?The !ne)yM? said Frodo. ?Then you
know why + a) lea"ing the %hireM?
?+ do not know for what reason the
!ne)y is pursuing you$? answered
/ildorI ?,ut + per1ei"e that
he is O strange indeed though that
see)s to )e. 4nd + warn you that
peril is now ,oth ,efore you
and ,ehind you$ and upon either side.?
?Gou )ean the RidersM + feared that
they were ser"ants of the !ne)y.
.hat AareA the Bla1k
RidersM?
?2as /andalf told you nothingM?
?'othing a,out su1h 1reatures.?
?Then + think it is not for )e to say
)ore O lest terror should keep you
fro) your Kourney. For it
see)s to )e that you ha"e set out
only Kust in ti)e$ if indeed you are in
ti)e. Gou )ust now )ake
haste$ and neither stay nor turn ,a1kI
for the %hire is no longer any
prote1tion to you.?
?+ 1annot i)agine what infor)ation
1ould ,e )ore terrifying than your
hints and warnings$?
e51lai)ed Frodo. ?+ knew that danger
lay ahead$ of 1ourseI ,ut + did not
e5pe1t to )eet it in our
own %hire. -an?t a ho,,it walk fro)
the .ater to the Ri"er in pea1eM?
?But it is not your own %hire$? said
/ildor. ?*thers dwelt here ,efore
ho,,its wereI and others
will dwell here again when ho,,its
are no )ore. The wide world is all
a,out you: you 1an fen1e
yoursel"es in$ ,ut you 1annot for e"er
fen1e it out.?
?+ know O and yet it has always
see)ed so safe and fa)iliar. .hat 1an
+ do nowM (y plan was to
lea"e the %hire se1retly$ and )ake )y
way to Ri"endellI ,ut now )y
footsteps are dogged$ ,efore
e"er + get to Bu1kland.?
?+ think you should still follow that
plan$? said /ildor. ?+ do not think the
Road will pro"e too
hard for your 1ourage. But if you
desire 1learer 1ounsel$ you should ask
/andalf. + do not know the
reason for your flight$ and therefore +
do not know ,y what )eans your
pursuers will assail you.
These things /andalf )ust know. +
suppose that you will see hi) ,efore
you lea"e the %hireM?
?+ hope so. But that is another thing
that )akes )e an5ious. + ha"e ,een
e5pe1ting /andalf for
)any days. 2e was to ha"e 1o)e to
2o,,iton at the latest two nights agoI
,ut he has ne"er
appeared. 'ow + a) wondering what
1an ha"e happened. %hould + wait for
hi)M?
/ildor was silent for a )o)ent. ?+ do
not like this news$? he said at last.
?That /andalf should ,e
late$ does not ,ode well. But it is said:
A&o not )eddle in the affairs of
.i<ards$ for they are su,tle
and Jui1k to anger.A The 1hoi1e is
yours: to go or wait.?
?4nd it is also said$? answered Frodo:
?/o Anot to the !l"es for 1ounsel$ for
they will say ,oth no
and yes.?A
?+s it indeedM? laughed /ildor. ?!l"es
seldo) gi"e unguarded ad"i1e$ for
ad"i1e is a dangerous
gift$ e"en fro) the wise to the wise$
and all 1ourses )ay run ill. But what
would youM Gou ha"e not
told )e all 1on1erning yourselfI and
how then shall + 1hoose ,etter than
youM But if you de)and
ad"i1e$ + will for friendship?s sake
gi"e it. + think you should now go at
on1e$ without delayI and if
/andalf does not 1o)e ,efore you set
out$ then + also ad"ise this: do not go
alone. Take su1h
friends as are trusty and willing. 'ow
you should ,e grateful$ for + do not
gi"e this 1ounsel gladly.
The !l"es ha"e their own la,ours and
their own sorrows$ and they are little
1on1erned with the
ways of ho,,its$ or of any other
1reatures upon earth. *ur paths 1ross
theirs seldo)$ ,y 1han1e or
purpose. +n this )eeting there )ay ,e
)ore than 1han1eI ,ut the purpose is
not 1lear to )e$ and +
fear to say too )u1h.?
?+ a) deeply grateful$? said FrodoI ?,ut
+ wish you would tell )e plainly what
the Bla1k Riders
are. +f + take your ad"i1e + )ay not
see /andalf for a long while$ and +
ought to know what is the
danger that pursues )e.?
?+s it not enough to know that they are
ser"ants of the !ne)yM? answered
/ildor. ?Flee the)N
%peak no words to the)N They are
deadly. 4sk no )ore of )eN But )y
heart for,odes that$ ere all
is ended$ you$ Frodo son of &rogo$
will know )ore of these fell things
than /ildor +nglorion. (ay
!l,ereth prote1t youN?
?But where shall + find 1ourageM?
asked Frodo. ?That is what + 1hiefly
need.?
?-ourage is found in unlikely pla1es$?
said /ildor. ?Be of good hopeN %leep
nowN +n the )orning
we shall ha"e goneI ,ut we will send
our )essages through the lands. The
.andering -o)panies
shall know of your Kourney$ and those
that ha"e power for good shall ,e on
the wat1h. + na)e you
!lf#friendI and )ay the stars shine
upon the end of your roadN %eldo)
ha"e we had su1h delight in
strangers$ and it is fair to hear words
of the 4n1ient %pee1h fro) the lips of
other wanderers in the
world.?
Frodo felt sleep 1o)ing upon hi)$
e"en as /ildor finished speaking. ?+
will sleep now$? he saidI
and the !lf led hi) to a ,ower ,eside
Pippin$ and he threw hi)self upon a
,ed and fell at on1e into
a drea)less slu),er.
A-hapter 3A
4 %hort -ut to (ushroo)s
+n the )orning Frodo woke refreshed.
2e was lying in a ,ower )ade ,y a
li"ing tree with
,ran1hes la1ed and drooping to the
groundI his ,ed was of fern and grass$
deep and soft and
strangely fragrant. The sun was
shining through the fluttering lea"es$
whi1h were still green upon
the tree. 2e Ku)ped up and went out.
%a) was sitting on the grass near the
edge of the wood. Pippin was
standing studying the sky
and weather. There was no sign of the
!l"es.
?They ha"e left us fruit and drink$ and
,read$? said Pippin. ?-o)e and ha"e
your ,reakfast. The
,read tastes al)ost as good as it did
last night. + did not want to lea"e you
any$ ,ut %a) insisted.?
Frodo sat down ,eside %a) and ,egan
to eat. ?.hat is the plan for todayM?
asked Pippin.
?To walk to Bu1kle,ury as Jui1kly as
possi,le$? answered Frodo$ and ga"e
his attention to the
food.
?&o you think we shall see anything of
those RidersM? asked Pippin
1heerfully. 0nder the
)orning sun the prospe1t of seeing a
whole troop of the) did not see)
"ery alar)ing to hi).
?Ges$ pro,a,ly$? said Frodo$ not liking
the re)inder. ?But + hope to get a1ross
the ri"er without
their seeing us.?
?&id you find out anything a,out the)
fro) /ildorM?
?'ot )u1h O only hints and riddles$?
said Frodo e"asi"ely. ?&id you ask
a,out the sniffingM?
?.e didn?t dis1uss it$? said Frodo with
his )outh full.
?Gou should ha"e. + a) sure it is "ery
i)portant.?
?+n that 1ase + a) sure /ildor would
ha"e refused to e5plain it$? said Frodo
sharply. ?4nd now
lea"e )e in pea1e for a ,itN + don?t
want to answer a string of Juestions
while + a) eating. + want to
thinkN?
?/ood hea"ensN? said Pippin. ?4t
,reakfastM? 2e walked away towards
the edge of the green.
Fro) Frodo?s )ind the ,right
)orning O trea1herously ,right$ he
thought O had not ,anished the
fear of pursuitI and he pondered the
words of /ildor. The )erry "oi1e of
Pippin 1a)e to hi). 2e
was running on the green turf and
singing.
?'oN + 1ould notN? he said to hi)self.
?+t is one thing to take )y young
friends walking o"er the
%hire with )e$ until we are hungry
and weary$ and food and ,ed are
sweet. To take the) into e5ile$
where hunger and weariness )ay
ha"e no 1ure$ is Juite another O e"en
if they are willing to 1o)e.
The inheritan1e is )ine alone. + don?t
think + ought e"en to take %a).? 2e
looked at %a) /a)gee$
and dis1o"ered that %a) was
wat1hing hi).
?.ell$ %a)N? he said. ?.hat a,out itM +
a) lea"ing the %hire as soon as e"er +
1an O in fa1t + ha"e
)ade up )y )ind now not e"en to
wait a day at -ri1khollow$ if it 1an ,e
helped.?
?@ery good$ sirN?
?Gou still )ean to 1o)e with )eM?
?+ do.?
?+t is going to ,e "ery dangerous$ %a).
?+t is already dangerous. (ost likely
neither of us will
1o)e ,a1k.?
?+f you don?t 1o)e ,a1k$ sir$ then +
shan?t$ that?s 1ertain$? said %a).
A?&on?t you lea"e hi)NA they
said to )e. ALea"e hi)NA + said. A+
ne"er )ean to. + a) going with hi)$
if he 1li),s to the (oon$
and if any of those Bla1k Rulers try to
stop hi)$ they?ll ha"e %a) /a)gee to
re1kon with$A + said.
They laughed.?
?.ho are Athey$A and what are you
talking a,outM?
?The !l"es$ sir. .e had so)e talk last
nightI and they see)ed to know you
were going away$ so
+ didn?t see the use of denying it.
.onderful folk$ !l"es$ sirN
.onderfulN?
?They are$? said Frodo. ?&o you like
the) still$ now you ha"e had a 1loser
"iewM?
?They see) a ,it a,o"e )y likes and
dislikes$ so to speak$? answered %a)
slowly. ?+t don?t see)
to )atter what + think a,out the).
They are Juite different fro) what +
e5pe1ted O so old and
young$ and so gay and sad$ as it were.?
Frodo looked at %a) rather startled$
half e5pe1ting to see so)e outward
sign of the odd 1hange
that see)ed to ha"e 1o)e o"er hi). +t
did not sound like the "oi1e of the old
%a) /a)gee that he
thought he knew. But it looked like
the old %a) /a)gee sitting there$
e51ept that his fa1e was
unusually thoughtful.
?&o you feel any need to lea"e the
%hire now O now that your wish to see
the) has 1o)e true
alreadyM? he asked.
?Ges$ sir. + don?t know how to say it$
,ut after last night + feel different. +
see) to see ahead$ in a
kind of way. + know we are going to
take a "ery long road$ into darknessI
,ut + know + 1an?t turn
,a1k. +t isn?t to see !l"es now$ nor
dragons$ nor )ountains$ that + want O
+ don?t rightly know what +
want: ,ut + ha"e so)ething to do
,efore the end$ and it lies ahead$ not
in the %hire. + )ust see it
through$ sir$ if you understand )e.?
?+ don?t altogether. But + understand
that /andalf 1hose )e a good
1o)panion. + a) 1ontent. .e
will go together.?
Frodo finished his ,reakfast in
silen1e. Then standing up he looked
o"er the land ahead$ and
1alled to Pippin.
?4ll ready to startM? he said as Pippin
ran up. ?.e )ust ,e getting off at
on1e. .e slept lateI and
there are a good )any )iles to go.?
A?GouA slept late$ you )ean$? said
Pippin. ?+ was up long ,eforeI and we
are only waiting for you
to finish eating and thinking.?
?+ ha"e finished ,oth now. 4nd + a)
going to )ake for Bu1kle,ury Ferry
as Jui1kly as possi,le.
+ a) not going out of the way$ ,a1k to
the road we left last night: + a) going
to 1ut straight a1ross
1ountry fro) here.?
?Then you are going to fly$? said
Pippin. ?Gou won?t 1ut straight on foot
anywhere in this
1ountry.?
?.e 1an 1ut straighter than the road
anyway$? answered Frodo. ?The Ferry
is east fro) .oodhallI
,ut the hard road 1ur"es away to the
left #you 1an see a ,end of it away
north o"er there. +t goes
round the north end of the (arish so
as to strike the 1auseway fro) the
Bridge a,o"e %to1k. But
that is )iles out of the way. .e 1ould
sa"e a Juarter of the distan1e if we
)ade a line for the Ferry
fro) where we stand.?
A?%hort 1uts )ake long delays$?A
argued Pippin. ?The 1ountry is rough
round here$ and there are
,ogs and all kinds of diffi1ulties down
in the (arish #+ know the land in
these parts. 4nd if you are
worrying a,out Bla1k Riders$ + 1an?t
see that it is any worse )eeting the)
on a road than in a wood
or a field.?
?+t is less easy to find people in the
woods and fields$? answered Frodo.
?4nd if you are supposed
to ,e on the road$ there is so)e
1han1e that you will ,e looked for on
the road and not off it.?
?4ll rightN? said Pippin. ?+ will follow
you into e"ery ,og and dit1h. But it is
hardN + had 1ounted
on passing the A/olden Per1hA at
%to1k ,efore sundown. The ,est ,eer
in the !astfarthing$ or used
to ,e: it is a long ti)e sin1e + tasted
it.?
?That settles itN? said Frodo. ?%hort 1uts
)ake delays$ ,ut inns )ake longer
ones. 4t all 1osts we
)ust keep you away fro) the
A/olden Per1hA. .e want to get to
Bu1kle,ury ,efore dark. .hat do
you say$ %a)M?
?+ will go along with you$ (r. Frodo$?
said %a) Din spite of pri"ate
)isgi"ing and a deep regret
for the ,est ,eer in the !astfarthingE.
?Then if we are going to toil through
,og and ,riar$ let?s go nowN? said
Pippin.
+t was already nearly as hot as it had
,een the day ,eforeI ,ut 1louds were
,eginning to 1o)e up
fro) the .est. +t looked likely to turn
to rain. The ho,,its s1ra),led down a
steep green ,ank and
plunged into the thi1k trees ,elow.
Their 1ourse had ,een 1hosen to lea"e
.oodhall to their left$
and to 1ut slanting through the woods
that 1lustered along the eastern side of
the hills$ until they
rea1hed the flats ,eyond. Then they
1ould )ake straight for the Ferry o"er
1ountry that was open$
e51ept for a few dit1hes and fen1es.
Frodo re1koned they had eighteen
)iles to go in a straight line.
2e soon found that the thi1ket was
1loser and )ore tangled than it had
appeared. There were no
paths in the undergrowth$ and they did
not get on "ery fast. .hen they had
struggled to the ,otto)
of the ,ank$ they found a strea)
running down fro) the hills ,ehind in
a deeply dug ,ed with steep
slippery sides o"erhung with
,ra),les. (ost in1on"eniently it 1ut
a1ross the line they had 1hosen.
They 1ould not Ku)p o"er it$ nor
indeed get a1ross it at all without
getting wet$ s1rat1hed$ and
)uddy. They halted$ wondering what
to do. ?First 1he1kN? said Pippin$
s)iling gri)ly.
%a) /a)gee looked ,a1k. Through
an opening in the trees he 1aught a
gli)pse of the top of the
green ,ank fro) whi1h they had
1li),ed down.
?LookN? he said$ 1lut1hing Frodo ,y
the ar). They all looked$ and on the
edge high a,o"e the)
they saw against the sky a horse
standing. Beside it stooped a ,la1k
figure.
They at on1e ga"e up any idea of
going ,a1k. Frodo led the way$ and
plunged Jui1kly into the
thi1k ,ushes ,eside the strea).
?.hewN? he said to Pippin. ?.e were
,oth rightN The short 1ut has
gone 1rooked alreadyI ,ut we got
under 1o"er only Kust in ti)e. Gou?"e
got sharp ears$ %a): 1an
you hear anything 1o)ingM?
They stood still$ al)ost holding their
,reath as they listenedI ,ut there was
no sound of pursuit.
?+ don?t fan1y he would try ,ringing
his horse down that ,ank$? said %a).
?But + guess he knows we
1a)e down it. .e had ,etter ,e going
on.?
/oing on was not altogether easy.
They had pa1ks to 1arry$ and the
,ushes and ,ra),les were
relu1tant to let the) through. They
were 1ut off fro) the wind ,y the
ridge ,ehind$ and the air was
still and stuffy. .hen they for1ed
their way at last into )ore open
ground$ they were hot and tired
and "ery s1rat1hed$ and they were
also no longer 1ertain of the dire1tion
in whi1h they were going.
The ,anks of the strea) sank$ as it
rea1hed the le"els and ,e1a)e
,roader and shallower$
wandering off towards the (arish and
the Ri"er.
?.hy$ this is the %to1k#,rookN? said
Pippin. ?+f we are going to try and get
,a1k on to our 1ourse$
we )ust 1ross at on1e and ,ear right.?
They waded the strea)$ and hurried
o"er a wide open spa1e$ rush#grown
and treeless$ on the
further side. Beyond that they 1a)e
again to a ,elt of trees: tall oaks$ for
the )ost part$ with here
and there an el) tree or an ash. The
ground was fairly le"el$ and there was
little undergrowthI ,ut
the trees were loo 1lose for the) to
see far ahead. The lea"es ,lew
upwards in sudden gusts of
wind$ and spots of rain ,egan to fall
fro) the o"er1ast sky. Then the wind
died away and the rain
1a)e strea)ing down. They trudged
along as fast as they 1ould$ o"er
pat1hes of grass$ and through
thi1k drifts of old lea"esI and all a,out
the) the rain pattered and tri1kled.
They did not talk$ ,ut
kept glan1ing ,a1k$ and fro) side to
side.
4fter half an hour Pippin said: ?+ hope
we ha"e not turned too )u1h towards
the south$ and are
not walking longwise through this
woodN +t is not a "ery ,road ,elt #+
should ha"e said no )ore
than a )ile at the widest O and we
ought to ha"e ,een through it ,y now.?
?+t is no good our starting to go in <ig#
<ags$? said Frodo. ?That won?t )end
)atters. Let us keep
on as we are goingN + a) not sure that
+ want to 1o)e out into the open yet.?
They went on for perhaps another
1ouple of )iles. Then the sun
glea)ed out of ragged 1louds
again and the rain lessened. +t was
now past )id#day$ and they felt it was
high ti)e for lun1h. They
halted under an el) tree: its lea"es
though fast turning yellow were still
thi1k$ and the ground at its
feel was fairly dry and sheltered.
.hen they 1a)e to )ake their )eal$
they found that the !l"es had
filled their ,ottles with a 1lear drink$
pale golden in 1olour: it had the s1ent
of a honey )ade of
)any flowers$ and was wonderfully
refreshing. @ery soon they were
laughing$ and snapping their
fingers at rain$ and at Bla1k Riders.
The last few )iles$ they felt$ would
soon ,e ,ehind the).
Frodo propped his ,a1k against the
tree#trunk$ and 1losed his eyes. %a)
and Pippin sat near$ and
they ,egan to hu)$ and then to sing
softly:
2oN 2oN 2oN to the ,ottle + go
To heal )y heart and drown )y woe.
Rain )ay fall and wind )ay ,low$
4nd )any )iles ,e still to go$
But under a tall tree + will lie$
4nd let the 1louds go sailing ,y.
A2oN 2oN 2oNA they ,egan again
louder. They stopped short suddenly.
Frodo sprang to his feet.
4 long#drawn wail 1a)e down the
wind$ like the 1ry of so)e e"il and
lonely 1reature. +t rose and
fell$ and ended on a high pier1ing
note. !"en as they sat and stood$ as if
suddenly fro<en$ it was
answered ,y another 1ry$ fainter and
further off$ ,ut no less 1hilling to the
,lood. There was then a
silen1e$ ,roken only ,y the sound of
the wind in the lea"es.
?4nd what do you think that wasM?
Pippin asked at last$ trying to speak
lightly$ ,ut Jua"ering a
little. ?+f it was a ,ird$ it was one that +
ne"er heard in the %hire ,efore.?
?+t was not ,ird or ,east$? said Frodo.
?+t was a 1all$ or a signal O there were
words in that 1ry$
though + 1ould not 1at1h the). But no
ho,,it has su1h a "oi1e.?
'o )ore was said a,out it. They were
all thinking of the Riders$ ,ut no one
spoke of the). They
were now relu1tant either to stay or go
onI ,ut sooner or later they had got to
get a1ross the open
1ountry to the Ferry$ and it was ,est to
go sooner and in daylight. +n a few
)o)ents they had
shouldered their pa1ks again and were
off.
Before long the wood 1a)e to a
sudden end. .ide grass#lands
stret1hed ,efore the). They now
saw that they had$ in fa1t$ turned too
)u1h to the south. 4way o"er the
flats they 1ould gli)pse the
low hill of Bu1kle,ury a1ross the
Ri"er$ ,ut it was now to their left.
-reeping 1autiously out fro)
the edge of the trees$ they set off
a1ross the open as Jui1kly as they
1ould.
4t first they felt afraid$ away fro) the
shelter of the wood. Far ,a1k ,ehind
the) stood the high
pla1e where they had ,reakfasted.
Frodo half e5pe1ted to see the s)all
distant figure of a horse)an
on the ridge dark against the skyI ,ut
there was no sign of one. The sun
es1aping fro) the ,reaking
1louds$ as it sank towards the hills
they had left$ was now shining
,rightly again. Their fear left
the)$ though they still felt uneasy.
But the land ,e1a)e steadily )ore
ta)e and well#ordered. %oon
they 1a)e into well#tended fields and
)eadows: there were hedges and
gates and dikes for
drainage. !"erything see)ed Juiet
and pea1eful$ Kust an ordinary 1orner
of the %hire. Their spirits
rose with e"ery step. The line of the
Ri"er grew nearerI and the Bla1k
Riders ,egan to see) like
phanto)s of the woods now left far
,ehind.
They passed along the edge of a huge
turnip#field$ and 1a)e to a stout gate.
Beyond it a rutted
lane ran ,etween low well#laid hedges
towards a distant 1lu)p of trees.
Pippin stopped.
?+ know these fields and this gateN? he
said. ?This is Ba)furlong$ old Far)er
(aggot?s land.
That?s his far) away there in the
trees.?
?*ne trou,le after anotherN? said
Frodo$ looking nearly as )u1h
alar)ed as if Pippin had de1lared
the lane was the slot leading to a
dragon?s den. The others looked at
hi) in surprise.
?.hat?s wrong with old (aggotM?
asked Pippin. ?2e?s a good friend to all
the Brandy ,u1ks. *f
1ourse he?s a terror to trespassers$ and
keeps fero1ious dogs O ,ut after all$
folk down here are near
the ,order and ha"e to ,e )ore on
their guard.?
?+ know$? said Frodo. ?But all the
sa)e$? he added with a sha)efa1ed
laugh$ ?+ a) terrified of hi)
and his dogs. + ha"e a"oided his far)
for years and years. 2e 1aught )e
se"eral ti)es trespassing
after )ushroo)s$ when + was a
youngster at Brandy 2all. *n the last
o11asion he ,eat )e$ and then
took )e and showed )e to his dogs.
L%ee$ lads$L he said$ Lne5t ti)e this
young "ar)int sets foot on
)y land$ you 1an eat hi). 'ow see
hi) offNL They 1hased )e all the way
to the Ferry. + ha"e ne"er
got o"er the fright O though + daresay
the ,easts knew their ,usiness and
would not really ha"e
tou1hed )e.?
Pippin laughed. ?.ell$ it?s ti)e you
)ade it up. !spe1ially if you are
1o)ing ,a1k to li"e in
Bu1kland. *ld (aggot is really a
stout fellow O if you lea"e his
)ushroo)s alone. Let?s get into the
lane and then we shan?t ,e trespassing.
+f we )eet hi)$ +?ll do the talking. 2e
is a friend of (erry?s$
and + used to 1o)e here with hi) a
good deal at one ti)e.?
They went along the lane$ until they
saw the that1hed roofs of a large
house and far)#,uildings
peeping out a)ong the trees ahead.
The (aggots$ and the Puddifoots of
%to1k$ and )ost of the
inha,itants of the (arish$ were house#
dwellersI and this far) was stoutly
,uilt of ,ri1k and had a
high wall all round it. There was a
wide wooden gate opening out of the
wall into the lane.
%uddenly as they drew nearer a
terrifi1 ,aying and ,arking ,roke out$
and a loud "oi1e was
heard shouting: ?/ripN FangN .olfN
-o)e on$ ladsN?
Frodo and %a) stopped dead$ ,ut
Pippin walked on a few pa1es. The
gate opened and three
huge dogs 1a)e pelting out into the
lane$ and dashed towards the
tra"ellers$ ,arking fier1ely. They
took no noti1e of PippinI ,ut %a)
shrank against the wall$ while two
wol"ish#looking dogs sniffed
at hi) suspi1iously$ and snarled if he
)o"ed. The largest and )ost
fero1ious of the three halted in
front of Frodo$ ,ristling and growling.
Through the gate there now appeared
a ,road thi1k#set ho,,it with a round
red fa1e. ?2alloN
2alloN 4nd who )ay you ,e$ and
what )ay you ,e wantingM? he asked.
?/ood afternoon$ (r. (aggotN? said
Pippin.
The far)er looked at hi) 1losely.
?.ell$ if it isn?t (aster Pippin O (r.
Peregrin Took$ + should
sayN? he 1ried$ 1hanging fro) a s1owl
to a grin. ?+t?s a long ti)e sin1e + saw
you round here. +t?s
lu1ky for you that + know you. + was
Kust going out to set )y dogs on any
strangers. There are so)e
funny things going on today. *f
1ourse$ we do get Jueer folk
wandering in these parts at ti)es. Too
near the Ri"er$? he said$ shaking his
head. ?But this fellow was the )ost
outlandish + ha"e e"er set
eyes on. 2e won?t 1ross )y land
without lea"e a se1ond ti)e$ not if +
1an stop it.?
?.hat fellow do you )eanM? asked
Pippin.
?Then you ha"en?t seen hi)M? said the
far)er. ?2e went up the lane towards
the 1auseway not a
long while ,a1k. 2e was a funny
1usto)er and asking funny Juestions.
But perhaps you?ll 1o)e
along inside$ and we?ll pass the news
)ore 1o)forta,le. +?"e a drop of good
ale on tap$ if you and
your friends are willing$ (r. Took.?
+t see)ed plain that the far)er would
tell the) )ore$ if allowed to do it in
his own ti)e and
fashion$ so they all a11epted the
in"itation. ?.hat a,out the dogsM?
asked Frodo an5iously.
The far)er laughed. ?They won?t har)
you O not unless + tell ?e) to. 2ere$
/ripN FangN 2eelN? he
1ried. ?2eel$ .olfN? To the relief of
Frodo and %a)$ the dogs walked
away and let the) go free.
Pippin introdu1ed the other two to the
far)er. ?(r. Frodo Baggins$? he said.
?Gou )ay not
re)e),er hi)$ ,ut he used to li"e at
Brandy 2all.? 4t the na)e Baggins
the far)er started$ and
ga"e Frodo a sharp glan1e. For a
)o)ent Frodo thought that the
)e)ory of stolen )ushroo)s had
,een aroused$ and that the dogs would
,e told to see hi) off. But Far)er
(aggot took hi) ,y the
ar).
?.ell$ if that isn?t Jueerer than e"erM?
he e51lai)ed. ?(r. Baggins is itM
-o)e insideN .e )ust
ha"e a talk.?
They went into the far)er?s kit1hen$
and sat ,y the wide fire#pla1e. (rs.
(aggot ,rought out
,eer in a huge Kug$ and filled four
large )ugs. +t was a good ,rew$ and
Pippin found hi)self )ore
than 1o)pensated for )issing the
A/olden Per1h.A %a) sipped his ,eer
suspi1iously. 2e had a
natural )istrust of the inha,itants of
other parts of the %hireI and also he
was not disposed to ,e
Jui1k friends with anyone who had
,eaten his )aster$ howe"er long ago.
4fter a few re)arks a,out the weather
and the agri1ultural prospe1ts Dwhi1h
were no worse than
usualE$ Far)er (aggot put down his
)ug and looked at the) all in turn.
?'ow$ (r. Peregrin$? he said$ ?where
)ight you ,e 1o)ing fro)$ and where
)ight you ,e going
toM .ere you 1o)ing to "isit? )eM
For$ if so$ you had gone past )y gate
without )y seeing you.?
?.ell$ no$? answered Pippin. ?To tell
you the truth$ sin1e you ha"e guessed
it$ we got into the lane
fro) the other end: we had 1o)e o"er
your fields. But that was Juite ,y
a11ident. .e lost our way
in the woods$ ,a1k near .oodhall$
trying to take a short 1ut to the Ferry.?
?+f you were in a hurry$ the road would
ha"e ser"ed you ,etter$? said the
far)er. ?But + wasn?t
worrying a,out that. Gou ha"e lea"e
to walk o"er )y land$ if you ha"e a
)ind$ (r. Peregrin. 4nd
you$ (r. Baggins O though + daresay
you still like )ushroo)s.? 2e
laughed. ?4h yes$ + re1ogni<ed
the na)e. + re1olle1t the ti)e when
young Frodo Baggins was one of the
worst young ras1als of
Bu1kland. But it wasn?t )ushroo)s +
was thinking of. + had Kust heard the
na)e Baggins ,efore you
turned up. .hat do you think that
funny 1usto)er asked )eM?
They waited an5iously for hi) to go
on. ?.ell$? the far)er 1ontinued$
approa1hing his point with
slow relish$ ?he 1a)e riding on a ,ig
,la1k horse in at the gate$ whi1h
happened to ,e open$ and
right up to )y door. 4ll ,la1k he was
hi)self$ too$ and 1loaked and hooded
up$ as if he did not
want to ,e known. L'ow what in the
%hire 1an he wantML + thought to
)yself. .e don?t see )any of
the Big Folk o"er the ,orderI and
anyway + had ne"er heard of any like
this ,la1k fellow.
? L/ood#day to youNL + says$ going out
to hi). LThis lane don?t lead
anywhere$ and where"er you
)ay ,e going$ your Jui1kest way will
,e ,a1k to the road.L + didn?t like the
looks of hi)I and when
/rip 1a)e out$ he took one sniff and
let out a yelp as if he had ,een slung:
he put down his tail and
,olted off howling. The ,la1k fellow
sat Juite still.
? L+ 1o)e fro) yonder$L he said$ slow
and stiff#like$ pointing ,a1k west$
o"er A)yA fields$ if you
please. L2a"e you seen ABagginsMLA
he asked in a Jueer "oi1e$ and ,ent
down towards )e. + 1ould
not see any fa1e$ for his hood fell
down so lowI and + felt a sort of
shi"er down )y ,a1k. But + did
not see why he should 1o)e riding
o"er )y land so ,old.
? LBe offNL + said. LThere are no
Bagginses here. Gou?re in the wrong
part of the %hire. Gou had
,etter go ,a1k west to 2o,,iton O ,ut
you 1an go ,y road this ti)e.L
? LBaggins has left$L he answered in a
whisper. L2e is 1o)ing. 2e is not far
away. + wish to find
hi). +f he passes will you tell )eM +
will 1o)e ,a1k with gold.L
? L'o you won?t$L + said. LGou?ll go
,a1k where you ,elong$ dou,le Jui1k.
+ gi"e you one )inute
,efore + 1all all )y dogs.L
?2e ga"e a sort of hiss. +t )ight ha"e
,een laughing$ and it )ight not. Then
he spurred his great
horse right at )e$ and + Ku)ped out of
the way only Kust in ti)e. + 1alled the
dogs$ ,ut he swung off$
and rode through the gate and up the
lane towards the 1auseway like a ,olt
of thunder. .hat do you
think of thatM?
Frodo sat for a )o)ent looking at the
fire$ ,ut his only thought was how on
earth would they
rea1h the Ferry. ?+ don?t know what to
think$? he said at last.
?Then +?ll tell you what to think$? said
(aggot. ?Gou should ne"er ha"e gone
)i5ing yourself up
with 2o,,iton folk$ (r. Frodo. Folk
are Jueer up there.? %a) stirred in his
1hair$ and looked at the
far)er with an unfriendly eye. ?But
you were always a re1kless lad. .hen
+ heard you had left the
Brandy,u1ks and gone off to that old
(r. Bil,o$ + said that you were going
to find trou,le. (ark
)y words$ this all 1o)es of those
strange doings of (r. Bil,o?s. 2is
)oney was got in so)e
strange fashion in foreign parts$ they
say. (ay,e there is so)e that want to
know what has ,e1o)e
of the gold and Kewels that he ,uried
in the hill of 2o,,iton$ as + hearM?
Frodo said nothing: the shrewd
guesses of the far)er were rather
dis1on1erting.
?.ell$ (r. Frodo$? (aggot went on$
?+?) glad that you?"e had the sense to
1o)e ,a1k to
Bu1kland. (y ad"i1e is: stay thereN
4nd don?t get )i5ed up with these
outlandish folk. Gou?ll ha"e
friends in these parts. +f any of these
,la1k fellows 1o)e after you again$
+?ll deal with the). +?ll say
you?re dead$ or ha"e left the %hire$ or
anything you like. 4nd that )ight ,e
true enoughI for as like
as not it is old (r. Bil,o they want
news of.?
?(ay,e you?re right$? said Frodo$
a"oiding the far)er?s eye and staring
at the fire.
(aggot looked at hi) thoughtfully.
?.ell$ + see you ha"e ideas of your
own$? he said. ?+t is as
plain as )y nose that no a11ident
,rought you and that rider here on the
sa)e afternoonI and )ay,e
)y news was no great news to you$
after all. + a) not asking you to tell
)e anything you ha"e a
)ind to keep to yourselfI ,ut + see
you are in so)e kind of trou,le.
Perhaps you are thinking it
won?t ,e too easy to get to the Ferry
without ,eing 1aughtM?
?+ was thinking so$? said Frodo. ?But
we ha"e got to try and get thereI and it
won?t ,e done ,y
sitting and thinking. %o + a) afraid we
)ust ,e going. Thank you "ery )u1h
indeed for your
kindnessN +?"e ,een in terror of you
and your dogs for o"er thirty years$
Far)er (aggot$ though you
)ay laugh to hear it. +t?s a pity: for
+?"e )issed a good friend. 4nd now
+?) sorry to lea"e so soon.
But +?ll 1o)e ,a1k$ perhaps$ one day O
if + get a 1han1e.?
?Gou?ll ,e wel1o)e when you 1o)e$?
said (aggot. ?But now +?"e a notion.
+t?s near sundown
already$ and we are going to ha"e our
supperI for we )ostly go to ,ed soon
after the %un. +f you
and (r. Peregrin and all 1ould stay
and ha"e a ,ite with us$ we would ,e
pleasedN?
?4nd so should weN? said Frodo. ?But
we )ust ,e going at on1e$ +?) afraid.
!"en now it will ,e
dark ,efore we 1an rea1h the Ferry.?
?4hN ,ut wait a )inuteN + was going to
say: after a ,it of supper$ +?ll gel out a
s)all waggon$ and
+?ll dri"e you all to the Ferry. That will
sa"e you a good step$ and it )ight
also sa"e you trou,le of
another sort.?
Frodo now a11epted the in"itation
gratefully$ to the relief of Pippin and
%a). The sun was
already ,ehind the western hills$ and
the light was failing. Two of (aggot?s
sons and his three
daughters 1a)e in$ and a generous
supper was laid on the large ta,le.
The kit1hen was lit with
1andles and the fire was )ended. (rs.
(aggot hustled in and out. *ne or
two other ho,,its
,elonging to the far)#household
1a)e in. +n a short while fourteen sat
down to eat. There was ,eer
in plenty$ and a )ighty dish of
)ushroo)s and ,a1on$ ,esides )u1h
other solid far)house fare.
The dogs lay ,y the fire and gnawed
rinds and 1ra1ked ,ones.
.hen they had finished$ the far)er
and his sons went out with a lantern
and got the waggon
ready. +t was dark in the yard$ when
the guests 1a)e out. They threw their
pa1ks on ,oard and
1li),ed in. The far)er sat in the
dri"ing#seat$ and whipped up his two
stout ponies. 2is wife stood
in the light of the open door.
?Gou ,e 1areful of yourself. (aggotN?
she 1alled. ?&on?t go arguing with any
foreigners$ and
1o)e straight ,a1kN?
?+ willN? said he$ and dro"e out of the
gate. There was now no ,reath of
wind stirringI the night
was still and Juiet$ and a 1hill was in
the air. They went without lights and
took it slowly. 4fter a
)ile or two the lane 1a)e to an end$
1rossing a deep dike$ and 1li),ing a
short slope up on to the
high#,anked 1auseway.
(aggot got down and took a good
look either way$ north and south$ ,ut
nothing 1ould ,e seen
in the darkness$ and there was not a
sound in the still air. Thin strands of
ri"er#)ist were hanging
a,o"e the dikes$ and 1rawling o"er the
fields.
?+t?s going to ,e thi1k$? said (aggotI
?,ut +?ll not light )y lantern till + turn
for ho)e. .e?ll hear
anything on the road long ,efore we
)eet it tonight.?
+t was fi"e )iles or )ore fro)
(aggot?s lane to the Ferry. The
ho,,its wrapped the)sel"es up$
,ut their ears were strained for any
sound a,o"e the 1reak of the wheels
and the slow A1lopA of the
ponies? hoofs. The waggon see)ed
slower than a snail to Frodo. Beside
hi) Pippin was nodding
towards sleepI ,ut %a) was staring
forwards into the rising fog.
They rea1hed the entran1e to the
Ferry lane at last. +t was )arked ,y
two tall white posts that
suddenly loo)ed up on their right.
Far)er (aggot drew in his ponies
and the waggon 1reaked to a
halt. They were Kust ,eginning lo
s1ra),le out$ when suddenly they
heard what they had all ,een
dreading: hoofs on the road ahead.
The sound was 1o)ing towards the).
(aggot Ku)ped down and stood
holding the ponies? heads$ and peering
forward into the gloo).
A-lip#1lop$ 1lip#1lopA 1a)e the
approa1hing rider. The fall of the
hoofs sounded loud in the still$
foggy air.
?Gou?d ,etter ,e hidden$ (r. Frodo$?
said %a) an5iously. ?Gou get down in
the waggon and
1o"er up with ,lankets$ and we?ll send
this rider to the righta,outsN? 2e
1li),ed out and went to the
far)er?s side. Bla1k Riders would
ha"e to ride o"er hi) to get near the
waggon.
A-lop#1lop$ 1lop#1lop.A The rider was
nearly on the).
?2allo thereN? 1alled Far)er (aggot.
The ad"an1ing hoofs stopped short.
They thought they
1ould di)ly guess a dark 1loaked
shape in the )ist$ a yard or two ahead.
?'ow thenN? said the
far)er$ throwing the reins to %a) and
striding forward. ?&on?t you 1o)e a
step nearerN .hat do you
want$ and where are you goingM?
?+ want (r. Baggins. 2a"e you seen
hi)M? said a )uffled "oi1e O ,ut the
"oi1e was the "oi1e of
(erry Brandy,u1k. 4 dark lantern
was un1o"ered$ and its light fell on
the astonished fa1e of the
far)er.
?(r. (erryN? he 1ried.
?Ges$ of 1ourseN .ho did you think it
wasM? said (erry 1o)ing forward. 4s
he 1a)e out of the
)ist and their fears su,sided$ he
see)ed suddenly to di)inish to
ordinary ho,,it#si<e. 2e was
riding a pony$ and a s1arf was
swathed round his ne1k and o"er his
1hin to keep out the fog.
Frodo sprang out of the waggon to
greet hi). ?%o there you are at lastN?
said (erry. ?+ was
,eginning to wonder if you would
turn up at all today$ and + was Kust
going ,a1k to supper. .hen it
grew foggy + 1a)e a1ross and rode up
towards %to1k to see if you had fallen
in any dit1hes. But +?)
,lest if + know whi1h way you ha"e
1o)e. .here did you find the)$ (r.
(aggotM +n your du1kpondM?
?'o$ + 1aught ?e) trespassing$? said the
far)er$ ?and nearly set )y dogs on
?e)I ,ut they?ll tell
you all the story$ +?"e no dou,t. 'ow$
if you?ll e51use )e$ (r. (erry and
(r. Frodo and all$ +?d ,est
,e turning for ho)e. (rs. (aggot
will ,e worriting with the night
getting thi1k.?
2e ,a1ked the waggon into the lane
and turned it. ?.ell$ good night to you
all$? he said. ?+t?s ,een
a Jueer day$ and no )istake. But all?s
well as ends wellI though perhaps we
should not say that until
we rea1h our own doors. +?ll not deny
that +?ll ,e glad now when + do.? 2e lit
his lanterns$ and got
up. %uddenly he produ1ed a large
,asket fro) under the seat. ?+ was
nearly forgetting$? he said. ?(rs.
(aggot put this up for (r. Baggins$
with her 1o)pli)ents.? 2e handed it
down and )o"ed off$
followed ,y a 1horus of thanks and
good#nights.
They wat1hed the pale rings of light
round his lanterns as they dwindled
into the foggy night.
%uddenly Frodo laughed: fro) the
1o"ered ,asket he held$ the s1ent of
)ushroo)s was rising.
A-hapter 6A
4 -onspira1y 0n)asked
?'ow we had ,etter get ho)e
oursel"es$? said (erry. There?s
so)ething funny a,out all this$ +
seeI ,ut it )ust wait till we get in.?
They turned down the Ferry lane$
whi1h was straight and well#kept and
edged with large whitewashed
stones. +n a hundred yards or so it
,rought the) to the ri"er#,ank$ where
there was a ,road
wooden landing#stage. 4 large flat
ferry#,oat was )oored ,eside it. The
white ,ollards near the
water?s edge gli))ered in the light of
two la)ps on high posts. Behind the)
the )ists in the flat
fields were now a,o"e the hedgesI ,ut
the water ,efore the) was dark$ with
only a few 1urling
wisps like stea) a)ong the reeds ,y
the ,ank. There see)ed to ,e less fog
on the further side.
(erry led the pony o"er a gangway
on to the ferry$ and the others
followed. (erry then pushed
slowly off with a long pole. The
Brandywine flowed slow and ,road
,efore the). *n the other side
the ,ank was steep$ and up it a
winding path 1li),ed fro) the further
landing. La)ps were
twinkling there. Behind loo)ed up
the Bu1k 2illI and out of it$ through
stray shrouds of )ist$
shone )any round windows$ yellow
and red. They were the windows of
Brandy 2all$ the an1ient
ho)e of the Brandy,u1ks.
Long ago /orhendad *ld,u1k$ head
of the *ld,u1k fa)ily$ one of the
oldest in the (arish or
indeed in the %hire$ had 1rossed the
ri"er$ whi1h was the original
,oundary of the land eastwards.
2e ,uilt Dand e51a"atedE Brandy 2all$
1hanged his na)e to Brandy,u1k$ and
settled down to
,e1o)e )aster of what was "irtually
a s)all independent 1ountry. 2is
fa)ily grew and grew$ and
after his days 1ontinued to grow$ until
Brandy 2all o11upied the whole of
the low hill$ and had
three large front#doors$ )any side#
doors$ and a,out a hundred windows.
The Brandy,u1ks and their
nu)erous dependants then ,egan to
,urrow$ and later to ,uild$ all round
a,out. That was the origin
of Bu1kland$ a thi1kly inha,ited strip
,etween the ri"er and the *ld Forest$
a sort of 1olony fro)
the %hire. +ts 1hief "illage was
Bu1kle,ury$ 1lustering in the ,anks
and slopes ,ehind Brandy 2all.
The people in the (arish were
friendly with the Bu1klanders$ and the
authority of the (aster of
the 2all Das the head of the
Brandy,u1k fa)ily was 1alledE was
still a1knowledged ,y the far)ers
,etween %to1k and Rushey. But )ost
of the folk of the old %hire regarded
the Bu1klanders as
pe1uliar$ half foreigners as it were.
Though$ as a )atter of fa1t$ they were
not "ery different fro)
the other ho,,its of the Four
Farthings. !51ept in one point: they
were fond of ,oats$ and so)e of
the) 1ould swi).
Their land was originally unprote1ted
fro) the !astI ,ut on that side they
had ,uilt a hedge: the
2igh 2ay. +t had ,een planted )any
generations ago$ and was now thi1k
and tail$ for it was
1onstantly tended. +t ran all the way
fro) Brandywine Bridge$ in a ,ig
loop 1ur"ing away fro) the
ri"er$ to 2aysend Dwhere the
.ithywindle flowed out of the Forest
into the BrandywineE: well o"er
twenty )iles fro) end to end. But$ of
1ourse$ it was not a 1o)plete
prote1tion. The Forest drew
1lose to the hedge in )any pla1es.
The Bu1klanders kept their doors
lo1ked after dark$ and that also
was not usual in the %hire.
The ferry#,oat )o"ed slowly a1ross
the water. The Bu1kland shore drew
nearer. %a) was the
only )e),er of the party who had not
,een o"er the ri"er ,efore. 2e had a
strange feeling as the
slow gurgling strea) slipped ,y: his
old life lay ,ehind in the )ists$ dark
ad"enture lay in front. 2e
s1rat1hed his head$ and for a )o)ent
had a passing wish that (r. Frodo
1ould ha"e gone on li"ing
Juietly at Bag !nd.
The four ho,,its stepped off the ferry.
(erry was tying it up$ and Pippin was
already leading the
pony up the path$ when %a) Dwho had
,een looking ,a1k$ as if to take
farewell of the %hireE said in
a hoarse whisper:
?Look ,a1k$ (r. FrodoN &o you see
anythingM?
*n the far stage$ under the distant
la)ps$ they 1ould Kust )ake out a
figure: it looked like a dark
,la1k ,undle left ,ehind. But as they
looked it see)ed to )o"e and sway
this way and that$ as if
sear1hing the ground. +t then 1rawled$
or went 1rou1hing$ ,a1k into the
gloo) ,eyond the la)ps.
?.hat in the %hire is thatM? e51lai)ed
(erry.
?%o)ething that is following us$? said
Frodo. ?But don?t ask any )ore nowN
Let?s get away at
on1eN? They hurried up the path to the
top of the ,ank$ ,ut when they looked
,a1k the far shore was
shrouded in )ist$ and nothing 1ould
,e seen.
?Thank goodness you don?t keep any
,oats on the west#,ankN? said Frodo.
?-an horses 1ross the
ri"erM?
?They 1an go twenty )iles north to
Brandywine Bridge O or they )ight
swi)$? answered (erry.
?Though + ne"er heard of any horse
swi))ing the Brandywine. But what
ha"e horses to do with itM?
+?ll tell you later. Let?s get indoors and
then we 1an talk.?
?4ll rightN Gou and Pippin know your
wayI so +?ll Kust ride on and tell Fatty
Bolger that you are
1o)ing. .e?ll see a,out supper and
things.?
?.e had our supper early with Far)er
(aggot$? said FrodoI ?,ut we 1ould do
with another.?
?Gou shall ha"e itN /i"e )e that
,asketN? said (erry$ and rode ahead
into the darkness.
+t was so)e distan1e fro) the
Brandywine to Frodo?s new house at
-ri1khollow. They passed
Bu1k 2ill and Brandy 2all on their
left$ and on the outskirts of
Bu1kle,ury stru1k the )ain road of
Bu1kland that ran south fro) the
Bridge. 2alf a )ile northward along
this they 1a)e to a lane
opening on their right. This they
followed for a 1ouple of )iles as it
1li),ed up and down into the
1ountry.
4t last they 1a)e to a narrow gate in a
thi1k hedge. 'othing 1ould ,e seen of
the house in the
dark: it stood ,a1k fro) the lane in
the )iddle of a wide 1ir1le of lawn
surrounded ,y a ,elt of low
trees inside the outer hedge. Frodo
had 1hosen it$ ,e1ause it stood in an
out#of#the#way 1orner of
the 1ountry$ and there were no other
dwellings 1lose ,y. Gou 1ould get in
and out without ,eing
noti1ed. +t had ,een ,uilt a long while
,efore ,y the Brandy,u1ks$ for the
use of guests$ or
)e),ers of the fa)ily that wished to
es1ape fro) the 1rowded life of
Brandy 2all for a ti)e. +t
was an old#fashioned 1ountrified
house$ as )u1h like a ho,,it#hole as
possi,le: it was long and
low$ with no upper storeyI and it had a
roof of turf$ round windows$ and a
large round door.
4s they walked lip the green path
fro) the gate no light was "isi,leI the
windows were dark and
shuttered. Frodo kno1ked on the door$
and Fatty Bolger opened it. 4 friendly
light strea)ed out.
They slipped in Jui1kly and shut
the)sel"es and the light inside. They
were in a wide hall with
doors on either sideI in front of the) a
passage ran ,a1k down the )iddle of
the house.
?.ell$ what do you think of itM? asked
(erry 1o)ing up the passage. ?.e
ha"e done our ,est in a
short ti)e to )ake it look like ho)e.
4fter all Fatty and + only got here
with the last 1art#load
yesterday.?
Frodo looked round. +t did look like
ho)e. (any of his own fa"ourite
things O or Bil,o?s things
Dthey re)inded hi) sharply of hi) in
their new sellingE O were arranged as
nearly as possi,le as
they had ,een at Bag !nd. +t was a
pleasant$ 1o)forta,le$ wel1o)ing
pla1eI and he found hi)self
wishing that he was really 1o)ing
here to settle down in Juiet
retire)ent. +t see)ed unfair to ha"e
put his friends to all this trou,leI and
he wondered again how he was going
to ,reak the news to
the) that he )ust lea"e the) so soon$
indeed at on1e. Get that would ha"e to
,e done that "ery
night$ ,efore they all went to ,ed.
?+t?s delightfulN? he said with an effort.
?+ hardly feel that + ha"e )o"ed at all.?
The tra"ellers hung up their 1loaks$
and piled their pa1ks on the floor.
(erry led the) down the
passage and threw open a door at the
far end. Firelight 1a)e out$ and a puff
of stea).
?4 ,athN? 1ried Pippin. ?* ,lessed
(eriado1N?
?.hi1h order shall we go inM? said
Frodo. ?!ldest first$ or Jui1kest firstM
Gou?ll ,e last either way$
(aster Peregrin.?
?Trust )e to arrange things ,etter than
thatN? said (erry. ?.e 1an?t ,egin life
at -ri1khollow with
a Juarrel o"er ,aths. +n that roo)
there are AthreeA tu,s$ and a 1opper
full of ,oiling water. There
are also towels$ )ats and soap. /et
inside$ and ,e Jui1kN?
(erry and Fatty went into the kit1hen
on the other side of the passage$ and
,usied the)sel"es
with the final preparations for a late
supper. %nat1hes of 1o)peting songs
1a)e fro) the ,athroo)
)i5ed with the sound of splashing
and wallowing. The "oi1e of Pippin
was suddenly lifted up
a,o"e the others in one of Bil,o?s
fa"ourite ,ath#songs.
%ing heyN for the ,ath at 1lose of day
that washes the weary )ud awayN
4 loon is he that will not sing:
*N .ater 2ot is a no,le thingN
*N %weet is the sound of falling rain$
and the ,rook that leaps fro) hill to
plainI
,ut ,etter than rain or rippling strea)s
is .ater 2ot that s)okes and stea)s.
*N .ater 1old we )ay pour at need
down a thirsty throat and ,e glad
indeedI
,ut ,etter is Beer$ if drink we la1k$
and .ater 2ot poured down the ,a1k.
*N .ater is fair that leaps on high
in a fountain white ,eneath the skyI
,ut ne"er did fountain sound so sweet
as splashing 2ot .ater with )y feetN
There was a terrifi1 splash$ and a
shout of A.hoaNA fro) Frodo. +t
appeared that a lot of Pippin?s
,ath had i)itated a fountain and
leaped on high.
(erry went to the door: ?.hat a,out
supper and ,eer in the throatM? he
1alled. Frodo 1a)e out
drying his hair.
?There?s so )u1h water in the air that
+?) 1o)ing into the kit1hen to finish$?
he said.
?LawksN? said (erry$ looking in. The
stone floor was swi))ing. ?Gou
ought to )op all that up
,efore you get anything to eat.
Peregrin$? he said. ?2urry up$ or we
shan?t wait for you.?
They had supper in the kit1hen on a
ta,le near the fire. ?+ suppose you
three won?t want
)ushroo)s againM? said Fredegar
without )u1h hope.
?Ges we shallN? 1ried Pippin.
?They?re )ineN? said Frodo. ?/i"en to
A)eA ,y (rs. (aggot$ a Jueen
a)ong far)ers? wi"es.
Take your greedy hands away$ and +?ll
ser"e the).?
2o,,its ha"e a passion for
)ushroo)s$ surpassing e"en the
greediest likings of Big People. 4
fa1t whi1h partly e5plains young
Frodo?s long e5peditions to the
renowned fields of the (arish$ and
the wrath of the inKured (aggot. *n
this o11asion there was plenty for all$
e"en a11ording to ho,,it
standards. There were also )any
other things to follow$ and when they
had finished e"en Fatty
Bolger hea"ed a sigh of 1ontent. They
pushed ,a1k the ta,le$ and drew
1hairs round the fire.
?.e?ll 1lear up later$? said (erry.
?'ow tell )e all a,out itN + guess that
you ha"e ,een ha"ing
ad"entures$ whi1h was not Juite fair
without )e. + want a full a11ountI and
)ost of all + want to
know what was the )atter with old
(aggot$ and why he spoke to )e like
that. 2e sounded al)ost
as if he was As1ared$A if that is
possi,le.?
?.e ha"e all ,een s1ared$? said Pippin
after a pause$ in whi1h Frodo stared at
the fire and did not
speak. ?Gou would ha"e ,een$ too$ if
you had ,een 1hased for two days ,y
Bla1k Riders.?
?4nd what are theyM?
?Bla1k figures riding on ,la1k horses$?
answered Pippin. ?+f Frodo won?t talk$
+ will tell you the
whole tale fro) the ,eginning.? 2e
then ga"e a full a11ount of their
Kourney fro) the ti)e when
they left 2o,,iton. %a) ga"e "arious
supporting nods and e51la)ations.
Frodo re)ained silent.
?+ should think you were )aking it all
up$? said (erry$ ?if + had not seen that
,la1k shape on the
landing#stage O and heard the Jueer
sound in (aggot?s "oi1e. .hat do
you )ake of it all$ FrodoM?
?-ousin Frodo has ,een "ery 1lose$?
said Pippin. ?But the ti)e has 1o)e
for hi) to open out. %o
far we ha"e ,een gi"en nothing )ore
to go on than Far)er (aggot?s guess
that it has so)ething to
do with old Bil,o?s treasure.?
?That was only a guess$? said Frodo
hastily. ?(aggot does not
AknowAanything.?
?*ld (aggot is a shrewd fellow$? said
(erry. ?4 lot goes on ,ehind his
round fa1e that does not
1o)e out in his talk. +?"e heard that he
used to go into the *ld Forest at one
ti)e$ and he has the
reputation of knowing a good )any
strange things. But you 1an at least
tell us$ Frodo$ whether you
think his guess good or ,ad.?
?+ Athink$?A answered Frodo slowly$
?that it was a good guess$ as far as it
goes. There Ais aA
1onne5ion with Bil,o?s old
ad"entures$ and the Riders are
looking$ or perhaps one ought to say
Asear1hing$A for hi) or for )e. + also
fear$ if you want to know$ that it is no
Koke at allI and that +
a) not safe here or anywhere else.?
2e looked round at the windows and
walls$ as if he was afraid
they would suddenly gi"e way. The
others looked at hi) in silen1e$ and
e51hanged )eaning
glan1es a)ong the)sel"es.
?+t?s 1o)ing out in a )inute$?
whispered Pippin to (erry. (erry
nodded.
?.ellN? said Frodo at last$ sitting up
and straightening his ,a1k$ as if he
had )ade a de1ision. ?+
1an?t keep it dark any longer. + ha"e
got so)ething to tell you all. But +
don?t know Juite how to
,egin.?
?+ think + 1ould help you$? said (erry
Juietly$ ?,y telling you so)e of it
)yself.?
?.hat do you )eanM? said Frodo$
looking at hi) an5iously. ?Just this$
)y dear old Frodo: you are
)isera,le$ ,e1ause you don?t know
how to say good#,ye. Gou )eant to
lea"e the %hire$ of 1ourse.
But danger has 1o)e on you sooner
than you e5pe1ted$ and now you are
)aking up your )ind to
go at on1e. 4nd you don?t want to. .e
are "ery sorry for you.?
Frodo opened his )outh and shut it
again. 2is look of surprise was so
1o)i1al that they laughed.
?&ear old FrodoN? said Pippin. ?&id
you really think you had thrown dust
in all our eyesM Gou ha"e
not ,een nearly 1areful or 1le"er
enough for thatN Gou ha"e o,"iously
,een planning to go and
saying farewell to all your haunts all
this year sin1e 4pril. .e ha"e
1onstantly heard you )uttering:
L%hall + e"er look down into that
"alley again$ + wonderL$ and things
like that. 4nd pretending that
you had 1o)e to the end of your
)oney$ and a1tually selling your
,elo"ed Bag !nd to those
%a1k"ille#BagginsesN 4nd all those
1lose talks with /andalf.?
?/ood hea"ensN? said Frodo. ?+ thought
+ had ,een ,oth 1areful and 1le"er. +
don?t know what
/andalf would say. +s all the %hire
dis1ussing )y departure thenM?
?*h noN? said (erry. ?&on?t worry
a,out thatN The se1ret won?t keep for
long$ of 1ourseI ,ut at
present it is$ + think$ only known to us
1onspirators. 4fter all$ you )ust
re)e),er that we know
you well$ and are often with you. .e
1an usually guess what you are
thinking. + knew Bil,o$ too.
To tell you the truth$ + had ,een
wat1hing you rather 1losely e"er sin1e
he left. + thought you would
go after hi) sooner or laterI indeed +
e5pe1ted you to go sooner$ and lately
we ha"e ,een "ery
an5ious. .e ha"e ,een terrified that
you )ight gi"e us the slip$ and go off
suddenly$ all on your
own like he did. !"er sin1e this spring
we ha"e kept our eyes open$ and done
a good deal of
planning on our own a11ount. Gou are
not going to es1ape so easilyN?
?But + )ust go$? said Frodo. ?+t 1annot
,e helped$ dear friends. +t is wret1hed
for us all$ ,ut it is no
use your trying to keep )e. %in1e you
ha"e guessed so )u1h$ please help )e
and do not hinder
)eN?
?Gou do not understandN? said Pippin.
?Gou )ust go O and therefore we
)ust$ too. (erry and +
are 1o)ing with you. %a) is an
e51ellent fellow$ and would Ku)p
down a dragon?s throat to sa"e
you$ if he did not trip o"er his own
feetI ,ut you will need )ore than one
1o)panion in your
dangerous ad"enture.?
?(y dear and )ost ,elo"ed ho,,itsN?
said Frodo deeply )o"ed. ?But + 1ould
not allow it. +
de1ided that long ago$ too. Gou speak
of danger$ ,ut you do not understand.
This is no treasurehunt$
no there#and#,a1k Kourney. + a)
flying fro) deadly peril into deadly
peril.?
?*f 1ourse we understand$? said (erry
fir)ly. ?That is why we ha"e de1ided
to 1o)e. .e know
the Ring is no laughing#)atterI ,ut
we are going to do our ,est to help
you against the !ne)y.?
?The RingN? said Frodo$ now
1o)pletely a)a<ed.
?Ges$ the Ring$? said (erry. ?(y dear
old ho,,it$ you don?t allow for the
inJuisiti"eness of
friends. + ha"e known a,out the
e5isten1e of the Ring for years O
,efore Bil,o went away$ in fa1tI
,ut sin1e he o,"iously regarded it as
se1ret$ + kept the knowledge in )y
head$ until we for)ed our
1onspira1y. + did not know Bil,o$ of
1ourse$ as well as + know youI + was
too young$ and he was
also )ore 1areful O ,ut he was not
1areful enough. +f you want to know
how + first found out$ + will
tell you.?
?/o onN? said Frodo faintly.
?+t was the %a1k"ille#Bagginses that
were his downfall$ as you )ight
e5pe1t. *ne day$ a year
,efore the Party$ + happened to ,e
walking along the road$ when + saw
Bil,o ahead. %uddenly in the
distan1e the %.#B.s appeared$ 1o)ing
towards us. Bil,o slowed down$ and
then hey prestoN he
"anished. + was so startled that +
hardly had the wits to hide )yself in a
)ore ordinary fashionI ,ut +
got through the hedge and walked
along the field inside. + was peeping
through into the road$ after
the %.#B.s had passed$ and was
looking straight at Bil,o when he
suddenly reappeared. + 1aught a
glint of gold as he put so)ething ,a1k
in his trouser#po1ket.
?4fter that + kept )y eyes open. +n
fa1t$ + 1onfess that + spied. But you
)ust ad)it that it was
"ery intriguing$ and + was only in )y
teens. + )ust ,e the only one in the
%hire$ ,esides you Frodo$
that has e"er seen the old fellow?s
se1ret ,ook.?
?Gou ha"e read his ,ookN? 1ried Frodo.
?/ood hea"ens a,o"eN +s nothing
safeM?
?'ot too safe$ + should say$? said
(erry. ?But + ha"e only had one rapid
glan1e$ and that was
diffi1ult to get. 2e ne"er left the ,ook
a,out. + wonder what ,e1a)e of it. +
should like another
look. 2a"e you got it$ FrodoM?
?'o. +t was not at Bag !nd. 2e )ust
ha"e taken it away.?
?.ell$ as + was saying$? (erry
pro1eeded$ ?+ kept )y knowledge to
)yself$ till this %pring when
things got serious. Then we for)ed
our 1onspira1yI and as we were
serious$ too$ and )eant
,usiness$ we ha"e not ,een too
s1rupulous. Gou are not a "ery easy
nut to 1ra1k$ and /andalf is
worse. But if you want to ,e
introdu1ed to our 1hief in"estigator$ +
1an produ1e hi).?
?.here is heM? said Frodo$ looking
round$ as if he e5pe1ted a )asked and
sinister figure to 1o)e
out of a 1up,oard.
?%tep forward$ %a)N? said (erryI and
%a) stood up with a fa1e s1arlet up to
the ears. ?2ere?s our
1olle1tor of infor)ationN 4nd he
1olle1ted a lot$ + 1an tell you$ ,efore
he was finally 1aught. 4fter
whi1h$ + )ay say$ he see)ed to regard
hi)self as on parole$ and dried up.?
?%a)N? 1ried Frodo$ feeling that
a)a<e)ent 1ould go no further$ and
Juite una,le to de1ide
whether he felt angry$ a)used$
relie"ed$ or )erely foolish.
?Ges$ sirN? said %a). ?Begging your
pardon$ sirN But + )eant no wrong to
you$ (r. Frodo$ nor to
(r. /andalf for that )atter. A2eA has
so)e sense$ )ind youI and when you
said Ago alone$A he
said AnoN lake so)eone as you 1an
trust.?A
?But it does not see) that + 1an trust
anyone$? said Frodo. %a) looked at
hi) unhappily. ?+t all
depends on what you want$? put in
(erry. ?Gou 1an trust us to sti1k to
you through thi1k and thin O
to the ,itter end. 4nd you 1an trust us
to keep any se1ret of yours O 1loser
than you keep it yourself.
But you 1annot trust us to let you fa1e
trou,le alone$ and go off without a
word. .e are your
friends$ Frodo. 4nyway: there it is.
.e know )ost of what /andalf has
told you. .e know a good
deal a,out the Ring. .e are horri,ly
afraid O ,ut we are 1o)ing with youI
or following you like
hounds.?
?4nd after all$ sir$? added %a)$ ?you
did ought to take the !l"es? ad"i1e.
/ildor said you should
take the) as was willing$ and you
1an?t deny it.?
?+ don?t deny it$? said Frodo$ looking at
%a)$ who was now grinning. ?+ don?t
deny it$ ,ut +?ll ne"er
,elie"e you are sleeping again$
whether you snore or not. + shall ki1k
you hard to )ake sure.
?Gou are a set of de1eitful s1oundrelsN?
he said$ turning to the others. ?But
,less youN? he laughed$
getting up and wa"ing his ar)s$ ?+
gi"e in. + will take /ildor?s ad"i1e. +f
the danger were not so
dark$ + should dan1e for Koy. !"en so$
+ 1annot help feeling happyI happier
than + ha"e felt for a
long ti)e. + had dreaded this e"ening.?
?/oodN That?s settled. Three 1heers for
-aptain Frodo and 1o)panyN? they
shoutedI and they
dan1ed round hi). (erry and Pippin
,egan a song$ whi1h they had
apparently got ready for the
o11asion.
+t was )ade on the )odel of the
dwarf#song that started Bil,o on his
ad"enture long ago$ and
went to the sa)e tune:
Farewell we 1all to hearth and hallN
Though wind )ay ,low and rain )ay
fall$
.e )ust away ere ,reak of day
Far o"er wood and )ountain tall.
To Ri"endell$ where !l"es yet dwell
+n glades ,eneath the )isty fell$
Through )oor and waste we ride in
haste$
4nd whither then we 1annot tell.
.ith foes ahead$ ,ehind us dread$
Beneath the sky shall ,e our ,ed$
0ntil at last our toil ,e passed$
*ur Kourney done$ our errand sped.
.e )ust awayN .e )ust awayN
.e ride ,efore the ,reak of dayN
?@ery goodN? said Frodo. ?But in that
1ase there are a lot of things to do
,efore we go to ,ed O
under a roof$ for tonight at any rate.?
?*hN That was poetryN? said Pippin.
?&o you really )ean to start ,efore the
,reak of dayM?
?+ don?t know$? answered Frodo. ?+ fear
those Bla1k Riders$ and + a) sure it is
unsafe to stay in
one pla1e long$ espe1ially in a pla1e
to whi1h it is known + was going.
4lso /ildor ad"ised )e not
to wait. But + should "ery )u1h like
to see /andalf. + 1ould see that e"en
/ildor was distur,ed
when he heard that /andalf had ne"er
appeared. +t really depends on two
things. 2ow soon 1ould
the Riders get to Bu1kle,uryM 4nd
how soon 1ould we get offM +t will
take a good deal of
preparation.?
?The answer to the se1ond Juestion$?
said (erry$ ?is that we 1ould get off in
an hour. + ha"e
prepared pra1ti1ally e"erything. There
are si5 ponies in a sta,le a1ross the
fieldsI stores and ta1kle
are all pa1ked$ e51ept for a few e5tra
1lothes$ and the perisha,le food.?
?+t see)s to ha"e ,een a "ery effi1ient
1onspira1y$? said Frodo. ?But what
a,out the Bla1k RidersM
.ould it ,e safe to wait one day for
/andalfM?
?That all depends on what you think
the Riders would do$ if they found
you here$? answered
(erry. ?They A1ouldA ha"e rea1hed
here ,y now$ of 1ourse$ if they were
not stopped at the 'orthgate$
where the 2edge runs down to the
ri"er#,ank$ Kust this side of the
Bridge. The gate#guards
would not let the) through ,y night$
though they )ight ,reak through.
!"en in the daylight they
would try to keep the) out$ + think$ at
any rate until they got a )essage
through to the (aster of the
2all O for they would not like the look
of the Riders$ and would 1ertainly ,e
frightened ,y the).
But$ of 1ourse$ Bu1kland 1annot resist
a deter)ined atta1k for long. 4nd it is
possi,le that in the
)orning e"en a Bla1k Rider that rode
up and asked for (r. Baggins would
,e let through. +t is
pretty generally known that you are
1o)ing ,a1k to li"e at -ri1khollow.?
Frodo sat for a while in thought. ?+
ha"e )ade up )y )ind$? he said
finally. ?+ a) starting
to)orrow$ as soon as it is light. But +
a) not going ,y road: it would ,e
safer to wait here than that.
+f + go through the 'orth#gate )y
departure fro) Bu1kland will ,e
known at on1e$ instead of ,eing
se1ret for se"eral days at least$ as it
)ight ,e. 4nd what is )ore$ the
Bridge and the !ast Road near
the ,orders will 1ertainly ,e wat1hed$
whether any Rider gets into Bu1kland
or not. .e don?t know
how )any there areI ,ut there are at
least two$ and possi,ly )ore. The
only thing to do is to go off
in a Juite une5pe1ted dire1tion.?
?But that 1an only )ean going into the
*ld ForestN? said Fredegar horrified.
?Gou 1an?t ,e
thinking of doing that. +t is Juite as
dangerous as Bla1k Riders.?
?'ot Juite$? said (erry. +t sounds "ery
desperate$ ,ut + ,elie"e Frodo is right.
+t is the only way
of getting off without ,eing followed
at on1e. .ith lu1k we )ight gel a
1onsidera,le start.?
?But you won?t ha"e any lu1k in the
*ld Forest$? o,Ke1ted Fredegar. ?'o
one e"er has lu1k in
there. Gou?ll gel lost. People don?t go
in there.?
?*h yes they doN? said (erry. ?The
Brandy,u1ks go in O o11asionally
when the fit takes the).
.e ha"e a pri"ate entran1e. Frodo
went in on1e$ long ago. + ha"e ,een in
se"eral ti)es: usually in
daylight$ of 1ourse$ when the trees are
sleepy and fairly Juiet.?
?.ell$ do as you think ,estN? said
Fredegar. ?+ a) )ore afraid of the *ld
Forest than of anything +
know a,out: the stories a,out it are a
night)areI ,ut )y "ote hardly 1ounts$
as + a) not going on
the Kourney. %till$ + a) "ery glad
so)eone is stopping ,ehind$ who 1an
tell /andalf what you ha"e
done$ when he turns up$ as + a) sure
he will ,efore long.?
Fond as he was of Frodo$ Fatty Bolger
had no desire to lea"e the %hire$ nor to
see what lay
outside it. 2is fa)ily 1a)e fro) the
!astfarthing$ fro) Budgeford in
Bridgefields in fa1t$ ,ut he
had ne"er ,een o"er the Brandywine
Bridge. 2is task$ a11ording to the
original plans of the
1onspirators$ was to stay ,ehind and
deal with inJuisiti"e folk$ and to keep
up as long as possi,le
the preten1e that (r. Baggins was still
li"ing at -ri1khollow. 2e had e"en
,rought along so)e old
1lothes of Frodo?s to help hi) in
playing the part. They little thought
how dangerous that part )ight
pro"e.
?!51ellentN? said Frodo$ when he
understood the plan. ?.e 1ould not
ha"e left any )essage
,ehind for /andalf otherwise. + don?t
know whether these Riders 1an read
or not$ of 1ourse$ ,ut +
should not ha"e dared to risk a written
)essage$ in 1ase they got in and
sear1hed the house. But if
Fatty is willing to hold the fort$ and +
1an ,e sure of /andalf knowing the
way we ha"e gone$ that
de1ides )e. + a) going into the *ld
Forest first thing to)orrow.?
?.ell$ that?s that$? said Pippin. ?*n the
whole + would rather ha"e our Ko,
than Fatty?s O waiting
here till Bla1k Riders 1o)e.?
?Gou wait till you are well inside the
Forest$? said Fredegar. ?Gou?ll wish
you were ,a1k here with
)e ,efore this ti)e to)orrow.?
?+t?s no good arguing a,out it any
)ore$? said (erry. ?.e ha"e still got
to tidy up and put the
finishing tou1hes to the pa1king$
,efore we get to ,ed. + shall 1all you
all ,efore the ,reak of day.?
.hen at last he had got to ,ed$ Frodo
1ould not sleep for so)e ti)e. 2is
legs a1hed. 2e. was
glad that he was riding in the
)orning. !"entually he fell into a
"ague drea)$ in whi1h he see)ed
to ,e looking out of a high window
o"er a dark sea of tangled trees. &own
,elow a)ong the roots
there was the sound of 1reatures
1rawling and snuffling. 2e felt sure
they would s)ell hi) out
sooner or later.
Then he heard a noise in the distan1e.
4t first he thought it was a great wind
1o)ing o"er the
lea"es of the forest. Then he knew
that it was not lea"es$ ,ut the sound of
the %ea far#offI a sound
he had ne"er heard in waking life$
though it had often trou,led his
drea)s. %uddenly he found he
was out in the open. There were no
trees after all. 2e was on a dark heath$
and there was a strange
salt s)ell in the air. Looking up he
saw ,efore hi) a tall white tower$
standing alone on a high
ridge. 4 great desire 1a)e o"er hi) to
1li), the tower and see the %ea. 2e
started to struggle up
the ridge towards the tower: ,ut
suddenly a light 1a)e in the sky$ and
there was a noise of thunder.
A-hapter 7A
The *ld Forest
Frodo woke suddenly. +t was still dark
in the roo). (erry was standing there
with a 1andle in
one hand$ and ,anging on the door
with the other. ?4ll rightN .hat is itM?
said Frodo$ still shaken
and ,ewildered.
?.hat is itN? 1ried (erry. ?+t is ti)e to
get up. +t is half past four and "ery
foggy. -o)e onN %a)
is already getting ,reakfast ready.
!"en Pippin is up. + a) Kust going to
saddle the ponies$ and fet1h
the one that is to ,e the ,aggage#
1arrier. .ake that sluggard FattyN 4t
least he )ust get up and see
us off.?
%oon after si5 o?1lo1k the fi"e ho,,its
were ready to start. Fatty Bolger was
still yawning. They
stole Juietly out of the house. (erry
went in front leading a laden pony$
and took his way along a
path that went through a spinney
,ehind the house$ and then 1ut a1ross
se"eral fields. The lea"es of
trees were glistening$ and e"ery twig
was drippingI the grass was grey with
1old dew. !"erything
was still$ and far#away noises see)ed
near and 1lear: fowls 1hattering in a
yard$ so)eone 1losing a
door of a distant house.
+n their shed they found the poniesI
sturdy little ,easts of the kind lo"ed
,y ho,,its$ not speedy$
,ut good for a long day?s work. They
)ounted$ and soon they were riding
off into the )ist$ whi1h
see)ed to open relu1tantly ,efore
the) and 1lose for,iddingly ,ehind
the). 4fter riding for a,out
an hour$ slowly and without talking$
they saw the 2edge loo)ing suddenly
ahead. +t was tall and
netted o"er with sil"er 1o,we,s. ?2ow
are you going to get through thisM?
asked Fredegar. ?Follow
)eN? said (erry$ ?and you will see.? 2e
turned to the left along the 2edge$ and
soon they 1a)e to a
point where it ,ent inwards$ running
along the lip of a hollow. 4 1utting
had ,een )ade$ at so)e
distan1e fro) the 2edge$ and went
sloping gently down into the ground.
+t had walls of ,ri1k at the
sides$ whi1h rose steadily$ until
suddenly they ar1hed o"er and for)ed
a tunnel that di"ed deep
under the 2edge and 1a)e out in the
hollow on the other side.
2ere Fatty Bolger halted. ?/ood#,ye$
FrodoN? he said. ?+ wish you were not
going into the Forest.
+ only hope you will not need res1uing
,efore the day is out. But good lu1k to
you O today and
e"ery dayN?
?+f there are no worse things ahead
than the *ld Forest$ + shall ,e lu1ky$?
said Frodo. ?Tell
/andalf to hurry along the !ast Road:
we shall soon ,e ,a1k on it and going
as fast as we 1an.?
?/ood#,yeN? they 1ried$ and rode down
the slope and disappeared fro)
Fredegar?s sight into the
tunnel.
+t was dark and da)p. 4t the far end
it was 1losed ,y a gate of thi1k#set
iron ,ars. (erry got
down and unlo1ked the gate$ and
when they had all passed through he
pushed it to again. +t shut
with a 1lang$ and the lo1k 1li1ked.
The sound was o)inous.
?ThereN? said (erry. ?Gou ha"e left the
%hire$ and are now outside$ and on the
edge of the *ld
Forest.?
?4re the stories a,out it trueM? asked
Pippin.
?+ don?t know what stories you )ean$?
(erry answered. ?+f you )ean the old
,ogey#stories Fatty?s
nurses used to tell hi)$ a,out go,lins
and wol"es and things of that sort$ +
should say no. 4t any
rate + don?t ,elie"e the). But the
Forest AisA Jueer. !"erything in it is
"ery )u1h )ore ali"e$ )ore
aware of what is going on$ so to
speak$ than things are in the %hire.
4nd the trees do not like
strangers. They wat1h you. They are
usually 1ontent )erely to wat1h you$
as long as daylight lasts$
and don?t do )u1h. *11asionally the
)ost unfriendly ones )ay drop a
,ran1h$ or sti1k a root out$ or
grasp at you with a long trailer. But at
night things 1an ,e )ost alar)ing$ or
so + a) told. + ha"e
only on1e or twi1e ,een in here after
dark$ and then only near the hedge. +
thought all the trees were
whispering to ea1h other$ passing
news and plots along in an
unintelligi,le languageI and the
,ran1hes swayed and groped without
any wind. They do say the trees do
a1tually )o"e$ and 1an
surround strangers and he) the) in.
+n fa1t long ago they atta1ked the
2edge: they 1a)e and
planted the)sel"es right ,y it$ and
leaned o"er it. But the ho,,its 1a)e
and 1ut down hundreds of
trees$ and )ade a great ,onfire in the
Forest$ and ,urned all the ground in a
long strip east of the
2edge. 4fter that the trees ga"e up
the atta1k$ ,ut they ,e1a)e "ery
unfriendly. There is still a wide
,are spa1e not far inside where the
,onfire was )ade.?
?+s it only the trees that are
dangerousM? asked Pippin.
?There are "arious Jueer things li"ing
deep in the Forest$ and on the far
side$? said (erry$ ?or at
least + ha"e heard soI ,ut + ha"e ne"er
seen any of the). But so)ething
)akes paths. .hene"er
one 1o)es inside one finds open
tra1ksI ,ut they see) to shift and
1hange fro) ti)e to ti)e in a
Jueer fashion. 'ot far fro) this tunnel
there is$ or was for a long ti)e$ the
,eginning of Juite a
,road path leading to the Bonfire
/lade$ and then on )ore or less in our
dire1tion$ east and a little
north. That is the path + a) going to
try and find.?
The ho,,its now left the tunnel#gate
and rode a1ross the wide hollow. *n
the far side was a faint
path leading up on to the floor of the
Forest$ a hundred yards and )ore
,eyond the 2edgeI ,ut it
"anished as soon as it ,rought the)
under the trees. Looking ,a1k they
1ould see the dark line of
the 2edge through the ste)s of trees
that were already thi1k a,out the).
Looking ahead they 1ould
see only tree#trunks of innu)era,le
si<es and shapes: straight or ,ent$
twisted$ leaning$ sJuat or
slender$ s)ooth or gnarled and
,ran1hedI and all the ste)s were
green or grey with )oss and
sli)y$ shaggy growths.
(erry alone see)ed fairly 1heerful.
?Gou had ,etter lead on and find that
path$? Frodo said to
hi). ?&on?t let us lose one another$ or
forget whi1h way the 2edge liesN?
They pi1ked a way a)ong the trees$
and their ponies plodded along$
1arefully a"oiding the )any
writhing and interla1ing roots. There
was no undergrowth. The ground was
rising steadily$ and as
they went forward it see)ed that the
trees ,e1a)e taller$ darker$ and
thi1ker. There was no sound$
e51ept an o11asional drip of )oisture
falling through the still lea"es. For the
)o)ent there was no
whispering or )o"e)ent a)ong the
,ran1hesI ,ut they all got an
un1o)forta,le feeling that they
were ,eing wat1hed with disappro"al$
deepening to dislike and e"en en)ity.
The feeling steadily
grew$ until they found the)sel"es
looking up Jui1kly$ or glan1ing ,a1k
o"er their shoulders$ as if
they e5pe1ted a sudden ,low.
There was not as yet any sign of a
path$ and the trees see)ed 1onstantly
to ,ar their way. Pippin
suddenly felt that he 1ould not ,ear it
any longer$ and without warning let
out a shout. ?*iN *iN? he
1ried. ?+ a) not going to do anything.
Just let )e pass through$ will youN?
The others halted startledI ,ut the 1ry
fell as if )uffled ,y a hea"y 1urtain.
There was no e1ho or
answer though the wood see)ed to
,e1o)e )ore 1rowded and )ore
wat1hful than ,efore.
?+ should not shout$ if + were you$? said
(erry. +t does )ore har) than good.?
Frodo ,egan to wonder if it were
possi,le to find a way through$ and if
he had ,een right to
)ake the others 1o)e into this
a,o)ina,le wood. (erry was looking
fro) side to side$ and see)ed
already un1ertain whi1h way to go.
Pippin noti1ed it. ?+t has not taken you
long to lose us$? he said.
But at that )o)ent (erry ga"e a
whistle of relief and pointed ahead.
?.ell$ wellN? he said. ?These trees AdoA
shift. There is the Bonfire /lade in
front of us Dor + hope
soE$ ,ut the path to it see)s to ha"e
)o"ed awayN?
The light grew 1learer as they went
forward. %uddenly they 1a)e out of
the trees and found
the)sel"es in a wide 1ir1ular spa1e.
There was sky a,o"e the)$ ,lue and
1lear to their surprise$ for
down under the Forest#roof they had
not ,een a,le to see the rising
)orning and the lifting of the
)ist. The sun was not$ howe"er$ high
enough yet to shine down into the
1learing$ though its light
was on the tree#tops. The lea"es were
all thi1ker and greener a,out the
edges of the glade$
en1losing it with an al)ost solid wall.
'o tree grew there$ only rough grass
and )any tall plants:
stalky and faded he)lo1ks and wood#
parsley$ fire#weed seeding into fluffy
ashes$ and ra)pant
nettles and thistles. 4 dreary pla1e:
,ut it see)ed a 1har)ing and 1heerful
garden after the 1lose
Forest.
The ho,,its felt en1ouraged$ and
looked up hopefully at the ,roadening
daylight in the sky. 4t
the far side of the glade there was a
,reak in the wall of trees$ and a 1lear
path ,eyond it. They
1ould see it running on into the wood$
wide in pla1es and open a,o"e$
though e"ery now and again
the trees drew in and o"ershadowed it
with their dark ,oughs. 0p this path
they rode. They were
still 1li),ing gently$ ,ut they now
went )u1h Jui1ker$ and with ,etter
heartI for it see)ed to the)
that the Forest had relented$ and was
going to let the) pass unhindered
after all.
But after a while the air ,egan to get
hot and stuffy. The trees drew 1lose
again on either side$
and they 1ould no longer see far
ahead. 'ow stronger than e"er they
felt again the ill will of the
wood pressing on the). %o silent was
it that the fall of their ponies? hoofs$
rustling on dead lea"es
and o11asionally stu),ling on hidden
roots$ see)ed to thud in their ears.
Frodo tried to sing a song
to en1ourage the)$ ,ut his "oi1e sank
to a )ur)ur.
*N .anderers in the shadowed land
despair notN For though dark they
stand$
all woods there ,e )ust end at last$
and see the open sun go past:
the setting sun$ the rising sun$
the day?s end$ or the day ,egun.
For east or west all woods )ust fail ...
AFail #A e"en as he said the word his
"oi1e faded into silen1e. The air
see)ed hea"y and the
)aking of words weariso)e. Just
,ehind the) a large ,ran1h fell fro)
an old o"erhanging tree
with a 1rash into the path. The trees
see)ed to 1lose in ,efore the).
?They do not like all that a,out ending
and failing$? said (erry. ?+ should not
sing any )ore at
present. .ait till we do get to the
edge$ and then we?ll turn and gi"e
the) a rousing 1horusN?
2e spoke 1heerfully$ and if he felt any
great an5iety$ he did not show it. The
others did not
answer. They were depressed. 4
hea"y weight was settling steadily on
Frodo?s heart$ and he
regretted now with e"ery step forward
that he had e"er thought of
1hallenging the )ena1e of the
trees. 2e was$ indeed$ Kust a,out to
stop and propose going ,a1k Dif that
was still possi,leE$ when
things took a new turn. The path
stopped 1li),ing$ and ,e1a)e for a
while nearly le"el. The dark
trees drew aside$ and ahead they 1ould
see the path going al)ost straight
forward. Before the)$ ,ut
so)e distan1e off$ there stood a green
hill#top$ treeless$ rising like a ,ald
head out of the en1ir1ling
wood. The path see)ed to ,e )aking
dire1tly for it.
They now hurried forward again$
delighted with the thought of 1li),ing
out for a while a,o"e
the roof of the Forest. The path
dipped$ and then again ,egan to 1li),
upwards$ leading the) at last
to the foot of the steep hillside. There
it left the trees and faded into the turf.
The wood stood all
round the hill like thi1k hair that
ended sharply in a 1ir1le round a
sha"en 1rown.
The ho,,its led their ponies up$
winding round and round until they
rea1hed the top. There they
stood and ga<ed a,out the). The air
was glea)ing and sunlit$ ,ut ha<yI
and they 1ould not see to
any great distan1e. 'ear at hand the
)ist was now al)ost goneI though
here and there it lay in
hollows of the wood$ and to the south
of the)$ out of a deep fold 1utting
right a1ross the Forest$ the
fog still rose like stea) or wisps of
white s)oke.
?That$? said (erry$ pointing with his
hand$ ?that is the line of the
.ithywindle. +t 1o)es down
out of the &owns and flows south#
west through the )idst of the Forest
to Koin the Brandywine
,elow 2aysend. .e don?t want to go
AthatA wayN The .ithywindle "alley
is said to ,e the Jueerest
part of the whole wood O the 1entre
fro) whi1h all the Jueerness 1o)es$
as it were.?
The others looked in the dire1tion that
(erry pointed out$ ,ut they 1ould see
little ,ut )ists o"er
the da)p and deep#1ut "alleyI and
,eyond it the southern half of the
Forest faded fro) "iew.
The sun on the hill#lop was now
getting hot. +t )ust ha"e ,een a,out
ele"en o?1lo1kI ,ut the
autu)n ha<e still pre"ented the)
fro) seeing )u1h in other dire1tions.
+n the west they 1ould not
)ake out either the line of the 2edge
or the "alley of the Brandywine
,eyond it. 'orthward$ where
they looked )ost hopefully$ they
1ould see nothing that )ight ,e the
line of the great !ast Road$
for whi1h they were )aking. They
were on an island in a sea of trees$
and the hori<on was "eiled.
*n the south#eastern side the ground
fell "ery steeply$ as if the slopes of the
hill were 1ontinued
far down under the trees$ like island#
shores that really are the sides of a
)ountain rising out of deep
waters. They sat on the green edge
and looked out o"er the woods ,elow
the)$ while they ate their
)id#day )eal. 4s the sun rose and
passed noon they gli)psed far off in
the east the grey#green
lines of the &owns that lay ,eyond the
*ld Forest on that side. That 1heered
the) greatlyI for it
was good to see a sight of anything
,eyond the wood?s ,orders$ though
they did not )ean to go that
way$ if they 1ould help it: the Barrow#
downs had as sinister a reputation in
ho,,it#legend as the
Forest itself.
4t length they )ade up their )inds to
go on again. The path that had
,rought the) to the hill
reappeared on the northward sideI ,ut
they had not followed it far ,efore
they ,e1a)e aware that it
was ,ending steadily to the right.
%oon it ,egan to des1end rapidly and
they guessed that it )ust
a1tually ,e heading towards the
.ithywindle "alley: not at all the
dire1tion they wished lo take.
4fter so)e dis1ussion they de1ided to
lea"e this )isleading path and strike
northwardI for although
they had not ,een a,le to see it fro)
the hill#top$ the Road )ust lie that
way$ and it 1ould not ,e
)any )iles off. 4lso northward$ and
to the left of the path$ the land see)ed
lo ,e drier and )ore
open$ 1li),ing up to slopes where the
trees were thinner$ and pines and firs
repla1ed the oaks and
ashes and other strange and na)eless
trees of the denser wood.
4t first their 1hoi1e see)ed to ,e
good: they got along at a fair speed$
though whene"er they got
a gli)pse of the sun in an open glade
they see)ed una11ounta,ly to ha"e
"eered eastwards. But
after a ti)e the trees ,egan to 1lose in
again$ Kust where they had appeared
fro) a distan1e to ,e
thinner and less tangled. Then deep
folds in the ground were dis1o"ered
une5pe1tedly$ like the ruts
of great giant#wheels or wide )oats
and sunken roads long disused and
1hoked with ,ra),les.
These lay usually right a1ross their
line of )ar1h$ and 1ould only ,e
1rossed ,y s1ra),ling down
and out again$ whi1h was trou,leso)e
and diffi1ult with their ponies. !a1h
ti)e they 1li),ed down
they found the hollow filled with
thi1k ,ushes and )atted undergrowth$
whi1h so)ehow would not
yield to the left$ ,ut only ga"e way
when they turned to the rightI and
they had to go so)e distan1e
along the ,otto) ,efore they 1ould
find a way up the further ,ank. !a1h
ti)e they 1la),ered out$
the trees see)ed deeper and darkerI
and always to the left and upwards it
was )ost diffi1ult to find
a way$ and they were for1ed to the
right and downwards.
4fter an hour or two they had lost all
1lear sense of dire1tion$ though they
knew well enough
that they had long 1eased to go
northward at all. They were ,eing
headed off$ and were si)ply
following a 1ourse 1hosen for the) O
eastwards and southwards$ into the
heart of the Forest and not
out of it.
The afternoon was wearing away
when they s1ra),led and stu),led
into a fold that was wider
and deeper than any they had yet )et.
+t was so sleep and o"erhung that it
pro"ed i)possi,le to
1li), out of it again$ either forwards
or ,a1kwards$ without lea"ing their
ponies and their ,aggage
,ehind. 4ll they 1ould do was to
follow the fold O downwards. The
ground grew soft$ and in pla1es
,oggyI springs appeared in the ,anks$
and soon they found the)sel"es
following a ,rook that
tri1kled and ,a,,led through a weedy
,ed. Then the ground ,egan to fall
rapidly$ and the ,rook
growing strong and noisy$ flowed and
leaped swiftly downhill. They were in
a deep di)#lit gully
o"er#ar1hed ,y trees high a,o"e the).
4fter stu),ling along for so)e way
along the strea)$ they 1a)e Juite
suddenly out of the
gloo). 4s if through a gate they saw
the sunlight ,efore the). -o)ing to
the opening they found
that they had )ade their way down
through a 1left in a high sleep ,ank$
al)ost a 1liff. 4t its feet
was a wide spa1e of grass and reedsI
and in the distan1e 1ould ,e gli)psed
another ,ank al)ost as
steep. 4 golden afternoon of late
sunshine lay war) and drowsy upon
the hidden land ,etween. +n
the )idst of it there wound la<ily a
dark ri"er of ,rown water$ ,ordered
with an1ient willows$
ar1hed o"er with willows$ ,lo1ked
with fallen willows$ and fle1ked with
thousands of faded
willow#lea"es. The air was thi1k with
the)$ fluttering yellow fro) the
,ran1hesI for there was a
war) and gentle ,ree<e ,lowing
softly in the "alley$ and the reeds
were rustling$ and the willow,oughs
were 1reaking.
?.ell$ now + ha"e at least so)e notion
of where we areN? said (erry. ?.e
ha"e 1o)e al)ost in
the opposite dire1tion to whi1h we
intended. This is the Ri"er
.ithywindleN + will go on and
e5plore.?
2e passed out into the sunshine and
disappeared into the long grasses.
4fter a while he
reappeared$ and reported that there
was fairly solid ground ,etween the
1liff#foot and the ri"erI in
so)e pla1es fir) turf went down to
the water?s edge. ?.hat?s )ore$? he
said$ ?there see)s to ,e
so)ething like a footpath winding
along on this side of the ri"er. +f we
turn left and follow it$ we
shall ,e ,ound to 1o)e out on the east
side of the Forest e"entually.?
?+ dare sayN? said Pippin. ?That is$ if the
tra1k goes on so far$ and does not
si)ply lead us into a
,og and lea"e us there. .ho )ade the
tra1k$ do you suppose$ and whyM + a)
sure it was not for our
,enefit. + a) getting "ery suspi1ious
of this Forest and e"erything in it$ and
+ ,egin to ,elie"e all
the stories a,out it. 4nd ha"e you any
idea how far eastward we should ha"e
to goM?
?'o$? said (erry$ ?+ ha"en?t. + don?t
know in the least how far down the
.ithywindle we are$ or
who 1ould possi,ly 1o)e here often
enough to )ake a path along it. But
there is no other way out
that + 1an see or think of.?
There ,eing nothing else for it$ they
filed out$ and (erry led the) to the
path that he had
dis1o"ered. !"erywhere the reeds and
grasses were lush and tall$ in pla1es
far a,o"e their headsI
,ut on1e found$ the path was easy to
follow$ as it turned and twisted$
pi1king out the sounder
ground a)ong the ,ogs and pools.
2ere and there it passed o"er other
rills$ running down gullies
into the .ithywindle out of the higher
forest#lands$ and at these points there
were tree#trunks or
,undles of ,rushwood laid 1arefully
a1ross.
The ho,,its ,egan to feel "ery hot.
There were ar)ies of flies of all kinds
,u<<ing round their
ears$ and the afternoon sun was
,urning on their ,a1ks. 4t last they
1a)e suddenly into a thin
shadeI great grey ,ran1hes rea1hed
a1ross the path. !a1h step forward
,e1a)e )ore relu1tant than
the last. %leepiness see)ed to ,e
1reeping out of the ground and up
their legs$ and falling softly out
of the air upon their heads and eyes.
Frodo felt his 1hin go down and his
head nod. Just in front of hi) Pippin
fell forward on to his
knees. Frodo halted. ?+t?s no good$? he
heard (erry saying. ?-an?t go another
step without rest. (ust
ha"e nap. +t?s 1ool under the willows.
Less fliesN?
Frodo did not like the sound of this.
?-o)e onN? he 1ried. ?.e 1an?t ha"e a
nap yet. .e )ust get
1lear of the Forest first.? But the others
were too far gone to 1are. Beside
the) %a) stood yawning
and ,linking stupidly.
%uddenly Frodo hi)self felt sleep
o"erwhel)ing hi). 2is head swa).
There now see)ed
hardly a sound in the air. The flies had
stopped ,u<<ing. *nly a gentle noise
on the edge of hearing$
a soft fluttering as of a song half
whispered$ see)ed to stir in the
,oughs a,o"e. 2e lifted his hea"y
eyes and saw leaning o"er hi) a huge
willow#tree$ old and hoary. !nor)ous
it looked$ its
sprawling ,ran1hes going up like
rea1hing ar)s with )any long#
fingered hands$ its knotted and
twisted trunk gaping in wide fissures
that 1reaked faintly as the ,oughs
)o"ed. The lea"es
fluttering against the ,right sky
da<<led hi)$ and he toppled o"er$
lying where he fell upon the
grass.
(erry and Pippin dragged the)sel"es
forward and lay down with their
,a1ks to the willowtrunk.
Behind the) the great 1ra1ks gaped
wide to re1ei"e the) as the tree
swayed and 1reaked.
They looked up at the grey and yellow
lea"es$ )o"ing softly against the
light$ and singing. They
shut their eyes$ and then it see)ed
that they 1ould al)ost hear words$
1ool words$ saying so)ething
a,out water and sleep. They ga"e
the)sel"es up to the spell and fell fast
asleep at the foot of the
great grey willow.
Frodo lay for a while fighting with the
sleep that was o"erpowering hi)I
then with an effort he
struggled to his feel again. 2e felt a
1o)pelling desire for 1ool water.
?.ait for )e$ %a)$? he
sta))ered. ?(ust ,athe feet a
)inute.?
2alf in a drea) he wandered forward
to the ri"erward side of the tree$
where great winding
roots grew out into the strea)$ like
gnarled dragonets straining down to
drink. 2e straddled one of
these$ and paddled his hot feel in the
1ool ,rown waterI and there he too
suddenly fell asleep with
his ,a1k against the tree.
%a) sat down and s1rat1hed his head$
and yawned like a 1a"ern. 2e was
worried. The afternoon
was getting late$ and he thought this
sudden sleepiness un1anny. ?There?s
)ore ,ehind this than sun
and war) air$? he )uttered to hi)self.
?+ don?t like this great ,ig tree. + don?t
trust it. 2ark at it
singing a,out sleep nowN This won?t
do at allN?
2e pulled hi)self to his feet$ and
staggered off to see what had ,e1o)e
of the ponies. 2e found
that two had wandered on a good way
along the pathI and he had Kust 1aught
the) and ,rought
the) ,a1k towards the others$ when
he heard two noisesI one loud$ and the
other soft ,ut "ery
1lear. *ne was the splash of
so)ething hea"y falling into the
waterI the other was a noise like the
sni1k of a lo1k when a door Juietly
1loses fast.
2e rushed ,a1k to the ,ank. Frodo
was in the water 1lose to the edge$ and
a great tree#root
see)ed to ,e o"er hi) and holding
hi) down$ ,ut he was not struggling.
%a) gripped hi) ,y the
Ka1ket$ and dragged hi) fro) under
the rootI and then with diffi1ulty
hauled hi) on to the ,ank.
4l)ost at on1e he woke$ and 1oughed
and spluttered.
?&o you know$ %a)$? he said at length$
?the ,eastly tree AthrewA )e inN + felt
it. The ,ig root Kust
twisted round and tipped )e inN?
?Gou were drea)ing + e5pe1t$ (r.
Frodo$? said %a). ?Gou shouldn?t sit in
su1h a pla1e$ if you feel
sleepy.?
?.hat a,out the othersM? Frodo asked.
?+ wonder what sort of drea)s they are
ha"ing.?
They went round to the other side of
the tree$ and then %a) understood the
1li1k that he had
heard. Pippin had "anished. The 1ra1k
,y whi1h he had laid hi)self had
1losed together$ so that not
a 1hink 1ould ,e seen. (erry was
trapped: another 1ra1k had 1losed
a,out his waistI his legs lay
outside$ ,ut the rest of hi) was inside
a dark opening$ the edges of whi1h
gripped like a pair of
pin1ers.
Frodo and %a) ,eat first upon the
tree#trunk where Pippin had lain.
They then struggled
franti1ally to pull open the Kaws of the
1ra1k that held poor (erry. +t was
Juite useless.
?.hat a foul thing to happenN? 1ried
Frodo wildly. ?.hy did we e"er 1o)e
into this dreadful
ForestM + wish we were all ,a1k at
-ri1khollowN? 2e ki1ked the tree with
all his strength$ heedless
of his own feet. 4 hardly per1epti,le
shi"er ran through the ste) and up
into the ,ran1hesI the
lea"es rustled and whispered$ ,ut with
a sound now of faint and far#off
laughter.
?+ suppose we ha"en?t got an a5e
a)ong our luggage$ (r. FrodoM?
asked %a).
?+ ,rought a little hat1het for 1hopping
firewood$? said Frodo. ?That wouldn?t
,e )u1h use.?
?.ait a )inuteN? 1ried %a)$ stru1k ,y
an idea suggested ,y firewood. ?.e
)ight do so)ething
with fireN?
?.e )ight$? said Frodo dou,tfully.
?.e )ight su11eed in roasting Pippin
ali"e inside.?
?.e )ight try to hurt or frighten this
tree to ,egin with$? said %a) fier1ely.
?+f it don?t let the)
go$ +?ll ha"e it down$ if + ha"e to gnaw
it.? 2e ran to the ponies and ,efore
long 1a)e ,a1k with two
tinder#,o5es and a hat1het.
Pui1kly they gathered dry grass and
lea"es$ and ,its of ,arkI and )ade a
pile of ,roken twigs
and 1hopped sti1ks. These they
heaped against the trunk on the far
side of the tree fro) the
prisoners. 4s soon as %a) had stru1k
a spark into the tinder$ it kindled the
dry grass and a flurry of
fla)e and s)oke went up. The twigs
1ra1kled. Little fingers of fire li1ked
against the dry s1ored
rind of the an1ient tree and s1or1hed
it. 4 tre)or ran through the whole
willow. The lea"es see)ed
to hiss a,o"e their heads with a sound
of pain and anger. 4 loud s1rea)
1a)e fro) (erry$ and
fro) far inside the tree they heard
Pippin gi"e a )uffled yell.
?Put it outN Put it outN? 1ried (erry.
?2e?ll sJuee<e )e in two$ if you don?t.
2e says soN?
?.hoM .hatM? shouted Frodo$ rushing
round to the other side of the tree.
?Put it outN Put it outN? ,egged (erry.
The ,ran1hes of the willow ,egan to
sway "iolently. There
was a sound as of a wind rising and
spreading outwards to the ,ran1hes of
all the other trees round
a,out$ as though they had dropped a
stone into the Juiet slu),er of the
ri"er#"alley and set up
ripples of anger that ran out o"er the
whole Forest. %a) ki1ked at the little
fire and sta)ped out the
sparks. But Frodo$ without any 1lear
idea of why he did so$ or what he
hoped for$ ran along the path
1rying AhelpN helpN helpNA+t see)ed to
hi) that he 1ould hardly hear the
sound of his own shrill
"oi1e: it was ,lown away fro) hi) ,y
the willow#wind and drowned in a
1la)our of lea"es$ as
soon as the words left his )outh. 2e
felt desperate: lost and witless.
%uddenly he slopped. There was an
answer$ or so he thoughtI ,ut it
see)ed to 1o)e fro) ,ehind
hi)$ away down the path further ,a1k
in the Forest. 2e turned round and
listened$ and soon there
1ould ,e no dou,t: so)eone was
singing a songI a deep glad "oi1e was
singing 1arelessly and
happily$ ,ut it was singing nonsense:
2ey dolN )erry dolN ring a dong dilloN
Ring a dongN hop alongN fal lal the
willowN
To) Bo)$ Kolly To)$ To)
Bo),adilloN
2alf hopeful and half afraid of so)e
new danger$ Frodo and %a) now ,oth
stood still. %uddenly
out of a long string of nonsense#words
Dor so they see)edE the "oi1e rose up
loud and 1lear and
,urst into this song:
2eyN -o)e )erry dotN derry dolN (y
darlingN
Light goes the weather#wind and the
feathered starling.
&own along under 2ill$ shining in the
sunlight$
.aiting on the doorstep for the 1old
starlight$
There )y pretty lady is. Ri"er#
wo)an?s daughter$
%lender as the willow#wand$ 1learer
than the water.
*ld To) Bo),adil water#lilies
,ringing
-o)es hopping ho)e again. -an you
hear hi) singingM
2eyN -o)e )erry dolN deny dolN and
)erry#o$
/old,erry$ /old,erry$ )erry yellow
,erry#oN
Poor old .illow#)an$ you tu1k your
roots awayN
To)?s in a hurry now. !"ening will
follow day.
To)?s going ho)e again water#lilies
,ringing.
2eyN -o)e derry dolN -an you hear
)e singingM
Frodo and %a) stood as if en1hanted.
The wind puffed out. The lea"es hung
silently again on
stiff ,ran1hes. There was another
,urst of song$ and then suddenly$
hopping and dan1ing along the
path$ there appeared a,o"e the reeds
an old ,attered hat with a tall 1rown
and a long ,lue feather
stu1k in the ,and. .ith another hop
and a ,ound there 1a)e into "iew a
)an$ or so it see)ed. 4t
any rate he was too large and hea"y
for a ho,,it$ if not Juite tall enough
for one of the Big People$
though he )ade noise enough for one$
slu)ping along with great yellow
,oots on his thi1k legs$
and 1harging through grass and rushes
like a 1ow going down to drink. 2e
had a ,lue 1oat and a
long ,rown ,eardI his eyes were ,lue
and ,right$ and his fa1e was red as a
ripe apple$ ,ut 1reased
into a hundred wrinkles of laughter. +n
his hands he 1arried on a large leaf as
on a tray a s)all pile
of white water#lilies.
?2elpN? 1ried Frodo and %a) running
towards hi) with their hands
stret1hed out.
?.hoaN .hoaN steady thereN? 1ried the
old )an$ holding up one hand$ and
they stopped short$ as
if they had ,een stru1k stiff. ?'ow$ )y
little fellows$ where ,e you a#going
to$ puffing like a
,ellowsM .hat?s the )atter here thenM
&o you know who + a)M +?) To)
Bo),adil. Tell )e what?s
your trou,leN To)?s in a hurry now.
&on?t you 1rush )y liliesN?
?(y friends are 1aught in the willow#
tree$? 1ried Frodo ,reathlessly.
?(aster (erry?s ,eing sJuee<ed in a
1ra1kN? 1ried %a).
?.hatM? shouted To) Bo),adil$
leaping up in the air. ?*ld (an
.illowM 'aught worse than
that$ ehM That 1an soon ,e )ended. +
know the tune for hi). *ld grey
.illow#)anN +?ll free<e his
)arrow 1old$ if he don?t ,eha"e
hi)self. +?ll sing his roots off. +?ll sing
a wind up and ,low leaf and
,ran1h away. *ld (an .illowN?
%etting down his lilies 1arefully on
the grass$ he ran to the tree.
There he saw (erry?s feet still
sti1king out O the rest had already
,een drawn further inside. To)
put his )outh to the 1ra1k and ,egan
singing into it in a low "oi1e. They
1ould not 1at1h the words$
,ut e"idently (erry was aroused. 2is
legs ,egan to ki1k. To) sprang away$
and ,reaking off a
hanging ,ran1h s)ote the side of the
willow with it. ?Gou let the) out
again$ *ld (an .illowN? he
said. ?.hat ,e you a#thinking ofM Gou
should not ,e waking. !at earthN &ig
deepN &rink waterN /o
to sleepN Bo),adil is talkingN? 2e
then sei<ed (erry?s feet and drew hi)
out of the suddenly
widening 1ra1k.
There was a tearing 1reak and the
other 1ra1k split open$ and out of it
Pippin sprang$ as if he had
,een ki1ked. Then with a loud snap
,oth 1ra1ks 1losed fast again. 4
shudder ran through the tree
fro) root to tip$ and 1o)plete silen1e
fell.
?Thank youN? said the ho,,its$ one
after the other.
To) Bo),adil ,urst out laughing.
?.ell$ )y little fellowsN? said he$
stooping so that he peered
into their fa1es. ?Gou shall 1o)e ho)e
with )eN The ta,le is all laden with
yellow 1rea)$
honey1o),$ and white ,read and
,utter. /old,erry is waiting. Ti)e
enough for Juestions around
the supper ta,le. Gou follow after )e
as Jui1k as you are a,leN? .ith that he
pi1ked up his lilies$
and then with a ,e1koning wa"e of his
hand went hopping and dan1ing along
the path eastward$
still singing loudly and nonsensi1ally.
Too surprised and too relie"ed to talk$
the ho,,its followed after hi) as fast
as they 1ould. But
that was not fast enough. To) soon
disappeared in front of the)$ and the
noise of his singing got
fainter and further away. %uddenly his
"oi1e 1a)e floating ,a1k to the) in a
loud hallooN
2op along$ )y little friends$ up the
.ithywindleN
To)?s going on ahead 1andles for to
kindle.
&own west sinks the %un: soon you
will ,e groping.
.hen the night#shadows fall$ then the
door will open$
*ut of the window#panes light will
twinkle yellow.
Fear no alder ,la1kN 2eed no hoary
willowN
Fear neither root nor ,oughN To)
goes on ,efore you.
2ey nowN )erry dotN .e?ll ,e waiting
for youN
4fter that the ho,,its heard no )ore.
4l)ost at on1e the sun see)ed to sink
into the trees
,ehind the). They thought of the
slanting light of e"ening glittering on
the Brandywine Ri"er$ and
the windows of Bu1kle,ury ,eginning
to glea) with hundreds of lights.
/reat shadows fell a1ross
the)I trunks and ,ran1hes of trees
hung dark and threatening o"er the
path. .hite )ists ,egan to
rise and 1url on the surfa1e of the
ri"er and stray a,out the roots of the
trees upon its ,orders. *ut
of the "ery ground at their feet a
shadowy stea) arose and )ingled
with the swiftly falling dusk.
+t ,e1a)e diffi1ult to follow the path$
and they were "ery tired. Their legs
see)ed leaden.
%trange furti"e noises ran a)ong the
,ushes and reeds on either side of
the)I and if they looked up
to the pale sky$ they 1aught sight of
Jueer gnarled and kno,,ly fa1es that
gloo)ed dark against the
twilight$ and leered down at the)
fro) the high ,ank and the edges of
the wood. They ,egan to
feel that all this 1ountry was unreal$
and that they were stu),ling through
an o)inous drea) that
led to no awakening.
Just as they felt their feet slowing
down to a standstill$ they noti1ed that
the ground was gently
rising. The water ,egan to )ur)ur. +n
the darkness they 1aught the white
gli))er of foa)$ where
the ri"er flowed o"er a short fall.
Then suddenly the trees 1a)e to an
end and the )ists were left
,ehind. They stepped out fro) the
Forest$ and found a wide sweep of
grass welling up ,efore the).
The ri"er$ now s)all and swift$ was
leaping )errily down to )eet the)$
glinting here and there in
the light of the stars$ whi1h were
already shining in the sky.
The grass under their feet was s)ooth
and short$ as if it had ,een )own or
sha"en. The ea"es of
the Forest ,ehind were 1lipped$ and
tri) as a hedge. The path was now
plain ,efore the)$ welltended
and ,ordered with stone. +t wound up
on to the top of a grassy knoll$ now
grey under the
pale starry nightI and there$ still high
a,o"e the) on a further slope$ they
saw the twinkling lights
of a house. &own again the path went$
and then up again$ up a long s)ooth
hillside of turf$ towards
the light. %uddenly a wide yellow
,ea) flowed out ,rightly fro) a door
that was opened. There
was To) Bo),adil?s house ,efore
the)$ up$ down$ under hill. Behind it
a steep shoulder of the
land lay grey and ,are$ and ,eyond
that the dark shapes of the Barrow#
downs stalked away into the
eastern night.
They all hurried forward$ ho,,its and
ponies. 4lready half their weariness
and all their fears had
fallen fro) the). A2eyN -o)e )erry
dolNA rolled out the song to greet
the).
2eyN -o)e derry dolN 2op along$ )y
heartiesN
2o,,itsN Ponies allN .e are fond of
parties.
'ow let the fun ,eginN Let us sing
togetherN
Then another 1lear "oi1e$ as young
and as an1ient as %pring$ like the song
of a glad water
flowing down into the night fro) a
,right )orning in the hills$ 1a)e
falling like sil"er to )eet
the):
'ow let the song ,eginN Let us sing
together
*f sun$ stars$ )oon and )ist$ rain and
1loudy weather$
Light on the ,udding leaf$ dew on the
feather$
.ind on the open hill$ ,ells on the
heather$
Reeds ,y the shady pool$ lilies on the
water:
*ld To) Bo),adil and the Ri"er#
daughterN
4nd with that song the ho,,its stood
upon the threshold$ and a golden light
was all a,out the).
A-hapter 8A
+n the 2ouse of To) Bo),adil
The four ho,,its stepped o"er the
wide stone threshold$ and stood still$
,linking. They were in a
long low roo)$ filled with the light of
la)ps swinging fro) the ,ea)s of the
roofI and on the ta,le
of dark polished wood stood )any
1andles$ tall and yellow$ ,urning
,rightly.
+n a 1hair$ at the far side of the roo)
fa1ing the outer door$ sat a wo)an.
2er long yellow hair
rippled down her shouldersI her gown
was green$ green as young reeds$ shot
with sil"er like ,eads
of dewI and her ,elt was of gold$
shaped like a 1hain of flag#lilies set
with the pale#,lue eyes of
forget#)e#nots. 4,out her feel in
wide "essels of green and ,rown
earthenware$ white water#lilies
were floating$ so that she see)ed to
,e enthroned in the )idst of a pool.
?!nter$ good guestsN? she said$ and as
she spoke they knew that it was her
1lear "oi1e they had
heard singing. They 1a)e a few ti)id
steps further into the roo)$ and ,egan
to ,ow low$ feeling
strangely surprised and awkward$ like
folk that$ kno1king at a 1ottage door
to ,eg for a drink of
water$ ha"e ,een answered ,y a fair
young elf#Jueen 1lad in li"ing
flowers. But ,efore they 1ould
say anything$ she sprang lightly up
and o"er the lily#,owls$ and ran
laughing towards the)I and as
she ran her gown rustled softly like
the wind in the flowering ,orders of a
ri"er.
?-o)e dear folkN? she said$ taking
Frodo ,y the hand. ?Laugh and ,e
)erryN + a) /old,erry$
daughter of the Ri"er.? Then lightly
she passed the) and 1losing the door
she turned her ,a1k to it$
with her white ar)s spread out a1ross
it. ?Let us shut out the nightN? she said.
?For you are still
afraid$ perhaps$ of )ist and tree#
shadows and deep water$ and unta)e
things. Fear nothingN For
tonight you are under the roof of To)
Bo),adil.?
The ho,,its looked at her in wonderI
and she looked at ea1h of the) and
s)iled. ?Fair lady
/old,erryN? said Frodo at last$ feeling
his heart )o"ed with a Koy that he did
not understand. 2e
stood as he had at ti)es stood
en1hanted ,y fair el"en#"oi1esI ,ut
the spell that was now laid upon
hi) was different: less keen and lofty
was the delight$ ,ut deeper and nearer
to )ortal heartI
)ar"ellous and yet not strange. ?Fair
lady /old,erryN? he said again. ?'ow
the Koy that was hidden
in the songs we heard is )ade plain to
)e.
* slender as a willow#wandN *
1learer than 1lear waterN
* reed ,y the li"ing poolN Fair Ri"er#
daughterN
* spring#ti)e and su))er#ti)e$ and
spring again afterN
* wind on the waterfall$ and the
lea"es? laughterN?
%uddenly he stopped and sta))ered$
o"er1o)e with surprise to hear
hi)self saying su1h things.
But /old,erry laughed.
?.el1o)eN? she said. ?+ had not heard
that folk of the %hire were so sweet#
tongued. But + see you
are an elf#friendI the light in your eyes
and the ring in your "oi1e tells it. This
is a )erry )eetingN
%it now$ and wait for the (aster of
the houseN 2e will not ,e long. 2e is
tending your tired ,easts.?
The ho,,its sat down gladly in low
rush#seated 1hairs$ while /old,erry
,usied herself a,out the
ta,leI and their eyes followed her$ for
the slender gra1e of her )o"e)ent
filled the) with Juiet
delight. Fro) so)ewhere ,ehind the
house 1a)e the sound of singing.
!"ery now and again they
1aught$ a)ong )any a Aderry dolA
and a A)erry dolA and a Aring a ding
dilloA the repeated words:
*ld To) Bo),adil is a )erry fellowI
Bright ,lue his Ka1ket is$ and his ,oots
are yellow.
?Fair ladyN? said Frodo again after a
while. ?Tell )e$ if )y asking does not
see) foolish$ who is
To) Bo),adilM?
?2e is$? said /old,erry$ staying her
swift )o"e)ents and s)iling.
Frodo looked at her Juestioningly. ?2e
is$ as you ha"e seen hi)$? she said in
answer to his look.
?2e is the (aster of wood$ water$ and
hill.?
?Then all this strange land ,elongs to
hi)M?
?'o indeedN? she answered$ and her
s)ile faded. ?That would indeed ,e a
,urden$? she added in a
low "oi1e$ as if to herself. ?The trees
and the grasses and all things growing
or li"ing in the land
,elong ea1h to the)sel"es. To)
Bo),adil is the (aster. 'o one has
e"er 1aught old To) walking
in the forest$ wading in the water$
leaping on the hill#tops under light
and shadow. 2e has no fear.
To) Bo),adil is )aster.?
4 door opened and in 1a)e To)
Bo),adil. 2e had now no hat and his
thi1k ,rown hair was
1rowned with autu)n lea"es. 2e
laughed$ and going to /old,erry$ took
her hand.
?2ere?s )y pretty ladyN? he said$
,owing to the ho,,its. ?2ere?s )y
/old,erry 1lothed all in
sil"er#green with flowers in her
girdleN +s the ta,le ladenM + see yellow
1rea) and honey1o),$ and
white ,read$ and ,utterI )ilk$ 1heese$
and green her,s and ripe ,erries
gathered. +s that enough for
usM +s the supper readyM?
?+t is$? said /old,erryI ?,ut the guests
perhaps are notM?
To) 1lapped his hands and 1ried:
?To)$ To)N your guests are tired$ and
you had near forgottenN
-o)e now$ )y )erry friends$ and
To) will refresh youN Gou shall 1lean
gri)y hands$ and wash
your weary fa1esI 1ast off your
)uddy 1loaks and 1o), out your
tanglesN?
2e opened the door$ and they
followed hi) down a short passage
and round a sharp turn. They
1a)e to a low roo) with a sloping
roof Da penthouse$ it see)ed$ ,uilt on
to the north end of the
houseE. +ts walls were of 1lean stone$
,ut they were )ostly 1o"ered with
green hanging )ats and
yellow 1urtains. The floor was
flagged$ and strewn with fresh green
rushes. There were four deep
)attresses$ ea1h piled with white
,lankets$ laid on the floor along one
side. 4gainst the opposite
wall was a long ,en1h laden with
wide earthenware ,asins$ and ,eside it
stood ,rown ewers filled
with water$ so)e 1old$ so)e stea)ing
hot. There were soft green slippers set
ready ,eside ea1h
,ed.
Before long$ washed and refreshed$
the ho,,its were seated at the ta,le$
two on ea1h side$ while
at either end sat /old,erry and the
(aster. +t was a long and )erry )eal.
Though the ho,,its ate$
as only fa)ished ho,,its 1an eat$
there was no la1k. The drink in their
drinking#,owls see)ed to ,e
1lear 1old water$ yet it went to their
hearts like wine and set free their
"oi1es. The guests ,e1a)e
suddenly aware that they were singing
)errily$ as if it was easier and )ore
natural than talking.
4t last To) and /old,erry rose and
1leared the ta,le swiftly. The guests
were 1o))anded to sit
Juiet$ and were set in 1hairs$ ea1h
with a footstool to his tired feet. There
was a fire in the wide
hearth ,efore the)$ and it was
,urning with a sweet s)ell$ as if it
were ,uilt of apple#wood. .hen
e"erything was set in order$ all the
lights in the roo) were put out$
e51ept one la)p and a pair of
1andles at ea1h end of the 1hi)ney#
shelf. Then /old,erry 1a)e and stood
,efore the)$ holding a
1andleI and she wished the) ea1h a
good night and deep sleep.
?2a"e pea1e now$? she said$ ?until the
)orningN 2eed no nightly noisesN For
nothing passes door
and window here sa"e )oonlight and
starlight and the wind off the hill#top.
/ood nightN? %he
passed out of the roo) with a
gli))er and a rustle. The sound of
her footsteps was like a strea)
falling gently away downhill o"er
1ool stones in the Juiet of night.
To) sat on a while ,eside the) in
silen1e$ while ea1h of the) tried to
)uster the 1ourage to ask
one of the )any Juestions he had
)eant to ask at supper. %leep gathered
on their eyelids. 4t last
Frodo spoke:
?&id you hear )e 1alling$ (aster$ or
was it Kust 1han1e that ,rought you at
that )o)entM?
To) stirred like a )an shaken out of
a pleasant drea). ?!h$ whatM? said he.
?&id + hear you
1allingM 'ay$ + did not hear: + was
,usy singing. Just 1han1e ,rought )e
then$ if 1han1e you 1all it.
+t was no plan of )ine$ though + was
waiting for you. .e heard news of
you$ and learned that you
were wandering. .e guessed you?d
1o)e ere long down to the water: all
paths lead that way$ down
to .ithywindle. *ld grey .illow#
)an$ he?s a )ighty singerI and it?s
hard for little folk to es1ape
his 1unning )a<es. But To) had an
errand there$ that he dared not hinder.?
To) nodded as if sleep
was taking hi) againI ,ut he went on
in a soft singing "oi1e:
+ had an errand there: gathering water#
lilies$
green lea"es and lilies white to please
)y pretty lady$
the last ere the year?s end to keep
the) fro) the winter$
to flower ,y her pretty feet tilt the
snows are )elted.
!a1h year at su))er?s end + go to find
the) for her$
in a wide pool$ deep and 1lear$ far
down .ithywindleI
there they open first in spring and
there they linger latest.
By that pool long ago + found the
Ri"er#daughter$
fair young /old,erry sitting in the
rushes.
%weet was her singing then$ and her
heart was ,eatingN
2e opened his eyes and looked at
the) with a sudden glint of ,lue:
4nd that pro"ed well for you O for
now + shall no longer
go down deep again along the forest#
water$
not while the year is old. 'or shall +
,e passing
*ld (an .illow?s house this side of
spring#ti)e$
not till the )erry spring$ when the
Ri"er#daughter
dan1es down the withy#path to ,athe
in the water.
2e fell silent againI ,ut Frodo 1ould
not help asking one )ore Juestion:
the one he )ost desired
to ha"e answered. ?Tell us$ (aster$? he
said$ ?a,out the .illow#)an. .hat is
heM + ha"e ne"er heard
of hi) ,efore.?
?'o$ don?tN? said (erry and Pippin
together$ sitting suddenly upright.
?'ot nowN 'ot until the
)orningN?
?That is rightN? said the old )an. ?'ow
is the ti)e for resting. %o)e things
are ill to hear when the
world?s in shadow. %leep till the
)orning#light$ rest on the pillowN
2eed no nightly noiseN Fear no
grey willowN? 4nd with that he took
down the la)p and ,lew it out$ and
grasping a 1andle in either
hand he led the) out of the roo).
Their )attresses and pillows were soft
as down$ and the ,lankets were of
white wool. They had
hardly laid the)sel"es on the deep
,eds and drawn the light 1o"ers o"er
the) ,efore they were
asleep.
+n the dead night$ Frodo lay in a
drea) without light. Then he saw the
young )oon risingI under
its thin light there loo)ed ,efore hi)
a ,la1k wall of ro1k$ pier1ed ,y a dark
ar1h like a great gate.
+t see)ed to Frodo that he was lifted
up$ and passing o"er he saw that the
ro1k#wall was a 1ir1le of
hills$ and that within it was a plain$
and in the )idst of the plain stood a
pinna1le of stone$ like a
"ast tower ,ut not )ade ,y hands. *n
its top stood the figure of a )an. The
)oon as it rose see)ed
to hang for a )o)ent a,o"e his head
and glistened in his white hair as the
wind stirred it. 0p fro)
the dark plain ,elow 1a)e the 1rying
of fell "oi1es$ and the howling of
)any wol"es. %uddenly a
shadow$ like the shape of great wings$
passed a1ross the )oon. The figure
lifted his ar)s and a
light flashed fro) the staff that he
wielded. 4 )ighty eagle swept down
and ,ore hi) away. The
"oi1es wailed and the wol"es
ya))ered. There was a noise like a
strong wind ,lowing$ and on it
was ,orne the sound of hoofs$
galloping$ galloping$ galloping fro)
the !ast. ?Bla1k RidersN? thought
Frodo as he wakened$ with the sound
of the hoofs still e1hoing in his )ind.
2e wondered if he
would e"er again ha"e the 1ourage to
lea"e the safety of these stone walls.
2e lay )otionless$ still
listeningI ,ut all was now silent$ and
at last he turned and fell asleep again
or wandered into so)e
other unre)e),ered drea).
4t his side Pippin lay drea)ing
pleasantlyI ,ut a 1hange 1a)e o"er
his drea)s and he turned
and groaned. %uddenly he woke$ or
thought he had waked$ and yet still
heard in the darkness the
sound that had distur,ed his drea):
Atip#tap$ sJueakA: the noise was like
,ran1hes fretting in the
wind$ twig#fingers s1raping wall and
window: A1reak$ 1reak$ 1reak.A 2e
wondered if there were
willow#trees 1lose to the houseI and
then suddenly he had a dreadful
feeling that he was not in an
ordinary house at all$ ,ut inside the
willow and listening to that horri,le
dry 1reaking "oi1e
laughing at hi) again. 2e sat up$ and
felt the soft pillows yield to his hands$
and he lay down again
relie"ed. 2e see)ed to hear the e1ho
of words in his ears: ?Fear nothingN
2a"e pea1e until the
)orningN 2eed no nightly noisesN?
Then he went to sleep again.
+t was the sound of water that (erry
heard falling into his Juiet sleep:
water strea)ing down
gently$ and then spreading$ spreading
irresisti,ly all round the house into a
dark shoreless pool. +t
gurgled under the walls$ and was
rising slowly ,ut surely. ?+ shall ,e
drownedN? he thought. +t will
find its way in$ and then + shall
drown.? 2e felt that he was lying in a
soft sli)y ,og$ and springing
up he set his fool on the 1orner of a
1old hard flagstone. Then he
re)e),ered where he was and lay
down again. 2e see)ed to hear or
re)e),er hearing: ?'othing passes
doors or windows sa"e
)oonlight and starlight and the wind
off the hill#top.? 4 little ,reath of
sweet air )o"ed the 1urtain.
2e ,reathed deep and fell asleep
again.
4s far as he 1ould re)e),er$ %a)
slept through the night in deep
1ontent$ if logs are 1ontented.
They woke up$ all four at on1e$ in the
)orning light. To) was )o"ing
a,out the roo) whistling
like a starling. .hen he heard the)
stir he 1lapped his hands$ and 1ried:
?2eyN -o)e )erry dolN
derry dolN (y heartiesN? 2e drew ,a1k
the yellow 1urtains$ and the ho,,its
saw that these had
1o"ered the windows$ at either end of
the roo)$ one looking east and the
other looking west.
They leapt up refreshed. Frodo ran to
the eastern window$ and found
hi)self looking into a
kit1hen#garden grey with dew. 2e had
half e5pe1ted to see turf right up to
the walls$ turf all po1ked
with hoof#prints. 41tually his "iew
was s1reened ,y a tall line of ,eans on
polesI ,ut a,o"e and far
,eyond the) the grey top of the hill
loo)ed up against the sunrise. +t was
a pale )orning: in the
!ast$ ,ehind long 1louds like lines of
soiled wool stained red at the edges$
lay gli))ering deeps of
yellow. The sky spoke of rain to
1o)eI ,ut the light was ,roadening
Jui1kly$ and the red flowers on
the ,eans ,egan to glow against the
wet green lea"es.
Pippin looked out of the western
window$ down into a pool of )ist.
The Forest was hidden
under a fog. +t was like looking down
on to a sloping 1loud#roof fro)
a,o"e. There was a fold or
1hannel where the )ist was ,roken
into )any plu)es and ,illowsI the
"alley of the .ithywindle.
The strea) ran down the hill on the
left and "anished into the white
shadows. 'ear at hand was a
flower#garden and a 1lipped hedge
sil"er#netted$ and ,eyond that grey
sha"en grass pale with dewdrops.
There was no willow#tree to ,e seen.
?/ood )orning$ )erry friendsN? 1ried
To)$ opening the eastern window
wide. 4 1ool air flowed
inI it had a rainy s)ell. ?%un won?t
show her fa1e )u1h today. +?)
thinking. + ha"e ,een walking
wide$ leaping on the hilltops$ sin1e the
grey dawn ,egan$ nosing wind and
weather$ wet grass
underfoot$ wet sky a,o"e )e. +
wakened /old,erry singing under
windowI ,ut nought wakes
ho,,it#folk in the early )orning. +n
the night little folk wake up in the
darkness$ and sleep after
light has 1o)eN Ring a ding dilloN
.ake now$ )y )erry friendsN Forget
the nightly noisesN Ring a
ding dillo delN derry del$ )y heartiesN
+f you 1o)e soon you?ll find ,reakfast
on the ta,le. +f you
1o)e late you?ll get grass and rain#
waterN?
'eedless to say O not that To)?s
threat sounded "ery serious O the
ho,,its 1a)e soon$ and left
the ta,le late and only when it was
,eginning lo look rather e)pty.
'either To) nor /old,erry
were there. To) 1ould ,e heard a,out
the house$ 1lattering in the kit1hen$
and up and down the
stairs$ and singing here and there
outside. The roo) looked westward
o"er the )ist#1louded "alley$
and the window was open. .ater
dripped down fro) the that1hed ea"es
a,o"e. Before they had
finished ,reakfast the 1louds had
Koined into an un,roken roof$ and a
straight grey rain 1a)e softly
and steadily down. Behind its deep
1urtain the Forest was 1o)pletely
"eiled.
4s they looked out of the window
there 1a)e falling gently as if it was
flowing down the rain
out of the sky$ the 1lear "oi1e of
/old,erry singing up a,o"e the).
They 1ould hear few words$ ,ut
it see)ed plain to the) that the song
was a rain#song$ as sweet as showers
on dry hills$ that told the
tale of a ri"er fro) the spring in the
highlands to the %ea far ,elow. The
ho,,its listened with
delightI and Frodo was glad in his
heart$ and ,lessed the kindly weather$
,e1ause it delayed the)
fro) departing. The thought of going
had ,een hea"y upon hi) fro) the
)o)ent he awokeI ,ut he
guessed now that they would not go
further that day.
The upper wind settled in the .est
and deeper and wetter 1louds rolled
up to spill their laden
rain on the ,are heads of the &owns.
'othing 1ould ,e seen all round the
house ,ut falling water.
Frodo stood near the open door and
wat1hed the white 1halky path turn
into a little ri"er of )ilk
and go ,u,,ling away down into the
"alley. To) Bo),adil 1a)e trotting
round the 1orner of the
house$ wa"ing his ar)s as if he was
warding off the rain O and indeed
when he sprang o"er the
threshold he see)ed Juite dry$ e51ept
for his ,oots. These he took off and
put in the 1hi)ney1orner.
Then he sat in the largest 1hair and
1alled the ho,,its to gather round
hi).
?This is /old,erry?s washing day$? he
said$ ?and her autu)n#1leaning. Too
wet for ho,,it#folk O
let the) rest while they are a,leN +t?s a
good day for long tales$ for Juestions
and for answers$ so
To) will start the talking.?
2e then told the) )any re)arka,le
stories$ so)eti)es half as if speaking
to hi)self$ so)eti)es
looking at the) suddenly with a
,right ,lue eye under his deep ,rows.
*ften his "oi1e would turn
to song$ and he would get out of his
1hair and dan1e a,out. 2e told the)
tales of ,ees and flowers$
the ways of trees$ and the strange
1reatures of the Forest$ a,out the e"il
things and good things$
things friendly and things unfriendly$
1ruel things and kind things$ and
se1rets hidden under
,ra),les.
4s they listened$ they ,egan to
understand the li"es of the Forest$
apart fro) the)sel"es$ indeed
to feel the)sel"es as the strangers
where all other things were at ho)e.
(o"ing 1onstantly in and
out of his talk was *ld (an .illow$
and Frodo learned now enough to
1ontent hi)$ indeed )ore
than enough$ for it was not
1o)forta,le lore. To)?s words laid
,are the hearts of trees and their
thoughts$ whi1h were often dark and
strange$ and filled with a hatred of
things that go free upon the
earth$ gnawing$ ,iting$ ,reaking$
ha1king$ ,urning: destroyers and
usurpers. +t was not 1alled the
*ld Forest without reason$ for it was
indeed an1ient$ a sur"i"or of "ast
forgotten woodsI and in it
there li"ed yet$ ageing no Jui1ker than
the hills$ the fathers of the fathers of
trees$ re)e),ering
ti)es when they were lords. The
1ountless years had filled the) with
pride and rooted wisdo)$ and
with )ali1e. But none were )ore
dangerous than the /reat .illow: his
heart was rotten$ ,ut his
strength was greenI and he was
1unning$ and a )aster of winds$ and
his song and thought ran
through the woods on ,oth sides of
the ri"er. 2is grey thirsty spirit drew
power out of the earth and
spread like fine root#threads in the
ground$ and in"isi,le twig#fingers in
the air$ till it had under its
do)inion nearly all the trees of the
Forest fro) the 2edge to the &owns.
%uddenly To)?s talk left the woods
and went leaping up the young
strea)$ o"er ,u,,ling
waterfalls$ o"er pe,,les and worn
ro1ks$ and a)ong s)all flowers in
1lose grass and wet 1rannies$
wandering at last up on to the &owns.
They heard of the /reat Barrows$ and
the green )ounds$ and
the stone#rings upon the hills and in
the hollows a)ong the hills. %heep
were ,leating in flo1ks.
/reen walls and white walls rose.
There were fortresses on the heights.
ings of little kingdo)s
fought together$ and the young %un
shone like fire on the red )etal of
their new and greedy swords.
There was "i1tory and defeatI and
towers fell$ fortresses were ,urned$
and fla)es went up into the
sky. /old was piled on the ,iers of
dead kings and JueensI and )ounds
1o"ered the)$ and the
stone doors were shutI and the grass
grew o"er all. %heep walked for a
while ,iting the grass$ ,ut
soon the hills were e)pty again. 4
shadow 1a)e out of dark pla1es far
away$ and the ,ones were
stirred in the )ounds. Barrow#wights
walked in the hollow pla1es with a
1link of rings on 1old
fingers$ and gold 1hains in the wind.?
%tone rings grinned out of the ground
like ,roken teeth in the
)oonlight.
The ho,,its shuddered. !"en in the
%hire the ru)our of the Barrow#
wights of the Barrow#downs
,eyond the Forest had ,een heard. But
it was not a tale that any ho,,it liked
to listen to$ e"en ,y a
1o)forta,le fireside far away. These
four now suddenly re)e),ered what
the Koy of this house had
dri"en fro) their )inds: the house of
To) Bo),adil nestled under the "ery
shoulder of those
dreaded hills. They lost the thread of
his tale and shifted uneasily$ looking
aside at one another.
.hen they 1aught his words again
they found that he had now wandered
into strange regions
,eyond their )e)ory and ,eyond
their waking thought$ into li)es when
the world was wider$ and
the seas flowed straight to the western
%horeI and still on and ,a1k To)
went singing out into
an1ient starlight$ when only the !lf#
sires were awake. Then suddenly he
slopped$ and they saw that
he nodded as if he was falling asleep.
The ho,,its sat still ,efore hi)$
en1hantedI and it see)ed as
if$ under the spell of his words$ the
wind had gone$ and the 1louds had
dried up$ and the day had
,een withdrawn$ and darkness had
1o)e fro) !ast and .est$ and all the
sky was filled with the
light of white stars.
.hether the )orning and e"ening of
one day or of )any days had passed
Frodo 1ould not tell.
2e did not feel either hungry or tired$
only filled with wonder. The stars
shone through the window
and the silen1e of the hea"ens see)ed
to ,e round hi). 2e spoke at last out
of his wonder and a
sudden fear of that silen1e:
?.ho are you$ (asterM? he asked.
?!h$ whatM? said To) sitting up$ and
his eyes glinting in the gloo). ?&on?t
you know )y na)e
yetM That?s the only answer. Tell )e$
who are you$ alone$ yourself and
na)elessM But you are
young and + a) old. !ldest$ that?s
what + a). (ark )y words$ )y
friends: To) was here ,efore the
ri"er and the treesI To) re)e),ers
the first raindrop and the first a1orn.
2e )ade paths ,efore the
Big People$ and saw the little People
arri"ing. 2e was here ,efore the
ings and the gra"es and the
Barrow#wights. .hen the !l"es
passed westward$ To) was here
already$ ,efore the seas were
,ent. 2e knew the dark under the stars
when it was fearless O ,efore the &ark
Lord 1a)e fro)
*utside.?
4 shadow see)ed to pass ,y the
window$ and the ho,,its glan1ed
hastily through the panes.
.hen they turned again$ /old,erry
stood in the door ,ehind$ fra)ed in
light. %he held a 1andle$
shielding its fla)e fro) the draught
with her handI and the light flowed
through it$ like sunlight
through a white shell.
?The rain has ended$? she saidI ?and
new waters are running downhill$
under the stars. Let us now
laugh and ,e gladN?
?4nd let us ha"e food and drinkN? 1ried
To). ?Long tales are thirsty. 4nd long
listening?s hungry
work$ )orning$ noon$ and e"eningN?
.ith that he Ku)ped out of his 1hair$
and with a ,ound took a
1andle fro) the 1hi)ney#shelf and lit
it in the fla)e that /old,erry heldI
then he dan1ed a,out the
ta,le. %uddenly he hopped through
the door and disappeared.
Pui1kly he returned$ ,earing a large
and laden tray. Then To) and
/old,erry set the ta,leI and
the ho,,its sat half in wonder and half
in laughter: so fair was the gra1e of
/old,erry and so )erry
and odd the 1aperings of To). Get in
so)e fashion they see)ed to wea"e a
single dan1e$ neither
hindering the other$ in and out of the
roo)$ and round a,out the ta,leI and
with great speed food
and "essels and lights were set in
order. The ,oards ,la<ed with
1andles$ white and yellow. To)
,owed to his guests. ?%upper is ready$?
said /old,erryI and now the ho,,its
saw that she was
1lothed all in sil"er with a white
girdle$ and her shoes were like fishes?
)ail. But To) was all in
1lean ,lue$ ,lue as rain#washed
forget#)e#nots$ and he had green
sto1kings.
+t was a supper e"en ,etter than
,efore. The ho,,its under the spell of
To)?s words )ay ha"e
)issed one )eal or )any$ ,ut when
the food was ,efore the) it see)ed at
least a week sin1e they
had eaten. They did not sing or e"en
speak )u1h for a while$ and paid
1lose attention to ,usiness.
But after a ti)e their hearts and spirit
rose high again$ and their "oi1es rang
out in )irth and
laughter.
4fter they had eaten$ /old,erry sang
)any songs for the)$ songs that
,egan )errily in the hills
and fell softly down into silen1eI and
in the silen1es they saw in their )inds
pools and waters wider
than any they had known$ and looking
into the) they saw the sky ,elow
the) and the stars like
Kewels in the depths. Then on1e )ore
she wished the) ea1h good night and
left the) ,y the
fireside. But To) now see)ed wide
awake and plied the) with Juestions.
2e appeared already to know )u1h
a,out the) and all their fa)ilies$ and
indeed to know )u1h
of all the history and doings of the
%hire down fro) days hardly
re)e),ered a)ong the ho,,its
the)sel"es. +t no longer surprised
the)I ,ut he )ade no se1ret that he
owed his re1ent knowledge
largely to Far)er (aggot$ who) he
see)ed to regard as a person of )ore
i)portan1e than they
had i)agined. ?There?s earth under his
old feet$ and 1lay on his fingersI
wisdo) in his ,ones$ and
,oth his eyes are open$? said To). +t
was also 1lear that To) had dealings
with the !l"es$ and it
see)ed that in so)e fashion$ news
had rea1hed hi) fro) /ildor
1on1erning the flight of Frodo.
+ndeed so )u1h did To) know$ and
so 1unning was his Juestioning$ that
Frodo found hi)self
telling hi) )ore a,out Bil,o and his
own hopes and fears than he had told
,efore e"en to /andalf.
To) wagged his head up and down$
and there was a glint in his eyes when
he heard of the Riders.
?%how )e the pre1ious RingN? he said
suddenly in the )idst of the story: and
Frodo$ to his own
astonish)ent$ drew out the 1hain fro)
his po1ket$ and unfastening the Ring
handed it at on1e to
To).
+t see)ed to grow larger as it lay for a
)o)ent on his ,ig ,rown#skinned
hand. Then suddenly
he put it to his eye and laughed. For a
se1ond the ho,,its had a "ision$ ,oth
1o)i1al and alar)ing$
of his ,right ,lue eye glea)ing
through a 1ir1le of gold. Then To)
put the Ring round the end of
his little finger and held it up to the
1andlelight. For a )o)ent the ho,,its
noti1ed nothing strange
a,out this. Then they gasped. There
was no sign of To) disappearingN
To) laughed again$ and then he spun
the Ring in the air O and it "anished
with a flash. Frodo
ga"e a 1ry O and To) leaned forward
and handed it ,a1k to hi) with a
s)ile.
Frodo looked at it 1losely$ and rather
suspi1iously Dlike one who has lent a
trinket to a KugglerE.
+t was the sa)e Ring$ or looked the
sa)e and weighed the sa)e: for that
Ring had always see)ed
to Frodo to weigh strangely hea"y in
the hand. But so)ething pro)pted
hi) to )ake sure. 2e was
perhaps a trifle annoyed with To) for
see)ing to )ake so light of what e"en
/andalf thought so
perilously i)portant. 2e waited for an
opportunity$ when the talk was going
again$ and To) was
telling an a,surd story a,out ,adgers
and their Jueer ways O then he slipped
the Ring on.
(erry turned towards hi) to say
so)ething and ga"e a start$ and
1he1ked an e51la)ation. Frodo
was delighted Din a wayE: it was his
own ring all right$ for (erry was
staring ,lankly at his 1hair$
and o,"iously 1ould not see hi). 2e
got up and 1rept Juietly away fro)
the fireside towards the
outer door.
?2ey thereN? 1ried To)$ glan1ing
towards hi) with a )ost seeing look
in his shining eyes. ?2eyN
-o)e Frodo$ thereN .here ,e you a#
goingM *ld To) Bo),adil?s not as
,lind as that yet. Take off
your golden ringN Gour hand?s )ore
fair without it. -o)e ,a1kN Lea"e
your ga)e and sit down
,eside )eN .e )ust talk a while
)ore$ and think a,out the )orning.
To) )ust tea1h the right
road$ and keep your feet fro)
wandering.?
Frodo laughed Dtrying to feel pleasedE$
and taking off the Ring he 1a)e and
sat down again.
To) now told the) that he re1koned
the %un would shine to)orrow$ and it
would ,e a glad
)orning$ and setting out would ,e
hopeful. But they would do well to
start earlyI for weather in
that 1ountry was a thing that e"en
To) 1ould not ,e sure of for long$
and it would 1hange
so)eti)es Jui1ker than he 1ould
1hange his Ka1ket. ?+ a) no weather#
)aster$? he saidI ?nor is aught
that goes on two legs.?
By his ad"i1e they de1ided to )ake
nearly due 'orth fro) his house$ o"er
the western and
lower slopes of the &owns: they
)ight hope in that way to strike the
!ast Road in a day?s Kourney$
and a"oid the Barrows. 2e told the)
not to ,e afraid O ,ut to )ind their
own ,usiness.
?eep to the green grass. &on?t you go
a#)eddling with old stone or 1old
.ights or prying in
their houses$ unless you ,e strong folk
with hearts that ne"er falterN? 2e said
this )ore than on1eI
and he ad"ised the) to pass ,arrows
,y on the west#side$ if they 1han1ed to
stray near one. Then he
taught the) a rhy)e to sing$ if they
should ,y ill#lu1k fall into any danger
or diffi1ulty the ne5t
day.
2oN To) Bo),adil$ To)
Bo),adilloN
By water$ wood and hill$ ,y the reed
and willow$
By fire$ sun and )oon$ harken now
and hear usN
-o)e$ To) Bo),adil$ for our need is
near usN
.hen they had sung this altogether
after hi)$ he 1lapped the) ea1h on
the shoulder with a
laugh$ and taking 1andles led the)
,a1k to their ,edroo).
A-hapter 9A
Fog on the Barrow#&owns
That night they heard no noises. But
either in his drea)s or out of the)$ he
1ould not tell whi1h$
Frodo heard a sweet singing running
in his )indI a song that see)ed to
1o)e like a pale light
,ehind a grey rain#1urtain$ and
growing stronger to turn the "eil all to
glass and sil"er$ until at last it
was rolled ,a1k$ and a far green
1ountry opened ,efore hi) under a
swift sunrise.
The "ision )elted into wakingI and
there was To) whistling like a tree#
full of ,irdsI and the sun
was already slanting down the hill and
through the open window. *utside
e"erything was green and
pale gold.
4fter ,reakfast$ whi1h they again ate
alone$ they )ade ready to say
farewell$ as nearly hea"y of
heart as was possi,le on su1h a
)orning: 1ool$ ,right$ and 1lean under
a washed autu)n sky of thin
,lue. The air 1a)e fresh fro) the
'orth#west. Their Juiet ponies were
al)ost frisky$ sniffing and
)o"ing restlessly. To) 1a)e out of
the house and wa"ed his hat and
dan1ed upon the doorstep$
,idding the ho,,its to get up and ,e
off and go with good speed.
They rode off along a path that wound
away fro) ,ehind the house$ and
went slanting up
towards the north end of the hill#,row
under whi1h it sheltered. They had
Kust dis)ounted to lead
their ponies up the last steep slope$
when suddenly Frodo stopped.
?/old,erryN? he 1ried. ?(y fair lady$
1lad all in sil"er greenN .e ha"e
ne"er said farewell to her$
nor seen her sin1e the e"eningN? 2e
was so distressed that he turned ,a1kI
,ut at that )o)ent a 1lear
1all 1a)e rippling down. There on the
hill#,row she stood ,e1koning to
the): her hair was flying
loose$ and as it 1aught the sun it shone
and shi))ered. 4 light like the glint
of water on dewy grass
flashed fro) under her feet as she
dan1ed.
They hastened up the last slope$ and
stood ,reathless ,eside her. They
,owed$ ,ut with a wa"e
of her ar) she ,ade the) look roundI
and they looked out fro) the hill#top
o"er lands under the
)orning. +t was now as 1lear and far#
seen as it had ,een "eiled and )isty
when they stood upon the
knoll in the Forest$ whi1h 1ould now
,e seen rising pale and green out of
the dark trees in the .est.
+n that dire1tion the land rose in
wooded ridges$ green$ yellow$ russet
under the sun$ ,eyond whi1h
lay hidden the "alley of the
Brandywine. To the %outh$ o"er the
line of the .ithywindle$ there was
a distant glint like pale glass where
the Brandywine Ri"er )ade a great
loop in the lowlands and
flowed away out of the knowledge of
the ho,,its. 'orthward ,eyond the
dwindling downs the land
ran away in flats and swellings of
grey and green and pale earth#1olours$
until it faded into a
featureless and shadowy distan1e.
!astward the Barrow#downs rose$
ridge ,ehind ridge into the
)orning$ and "anished out of eyesight
into a guess: it was no )ore than a
guess of ,lue and a
re)ote white gli))er ,lending with
the he) of the sky$ ,ut it spoke to
the)$ out of )e)ory and
old tales$ of the high and distant
)ountains.
They took a deep draught of the air$
and felt that a skip and a few stout
strides would ,ear the)
where"er they wished. +t see)ed
fainthearted to go Kogging aside o"er
the 1ru)pled skirts of the
downs towards the Road$ when they
should ,e leaping$ as lusty as To)$
o"er the stepping stones of
the hills straight towards the
(ountains.
/old,erry spoke to the) and re1alled
their eyes and thoughts. ?%peed now$
fair guestsN? she said.
?4nd hold to your purposeN 'orth with
the wind in the left eye and a ,lessing
on your footstepsN
(ake haste while the %un shinesN?
4nd to Frodo she said: ?Farewell$ !lf#
friend$ it was a )erry
)eetingN?
But Frodo found no words to answer.
2e ,owed low$ and )ounted his
pony$ and followed ,y
his friends Kogged slowly down the
gentle slope ,ehind the hill. To)
Bo),adil?s house and the
"alley$ and the Forest were lost to
"iew. The air grew war)er ,etween
the green walls of hillside
and hillside$ and the s1ent of turf rose
strong and sweet as they ,reathed.
Turning ,a1k$ when they
rea1hed the ,otto) of the green
hollow$ they saw /old,erry$ now
s)all and slender like a sunlit
flower against the sky: she was
standing still wat1hing the)$ and her
hands were stret1hed out
towards the). 4s they looked she
ga"e a 1lear 1all$ and lifting up her
hand she turned and "anished
,ehind the hill.
Their way wound along the floor of
the hollow$ and round the green feet
of a steep hill into
another deeper and ,roader "alley$
and then o"er the shoulder of further
hills$ and down their long
li),s$ and up their s)ooth sides
again$ up on to new hill#tops and
down into new "alleys. There
was no tree nor any "isi,le water: it
was a 1ountry of grass and short
springy turf$ silent e51ept for
the whisper of the air o"er the edges
of the land$ and high lonely 1ries of
strange ,irds. 4s they
Kourneyed the sun )ounted$ and grew
hot. !a1h ti)e they 1li),ed a ridge
the ,ree<e see)ed to
ha"e grown less. .hen they 1aught a
gli)pse of the 1ountry westward the
distant Forest see)ed to
,e s)oking$ as if the fallen rain was
stea)ing up again fro) leaf and root
and )ould. 4 shadow
now lay round the edge of sight$ a
dark ha<e a,o"e whi1h the upper sky
was like a ,lue 1ap$ hot
and hea"y.
4,out )id#day they 1a)e to a hill
whose top was wide and flattened$
like a shallow sau1er with
a green )ounded ri). +nside there
was no air stirring$ and the sky
see)ed near their heads. They
rode a1ross and looked northwards.
Then their hearts rose$ for it see)ed
plain that they had 1o)e
further already than they had
e5pe1ted. -ertainly the distan1es had
now all ,e1o)e ha<y and
de1epti"e$ ,ut there 1ould ,e no dou,t
that the &owns were 1o)ing to an
end. 4 long "alley lay
,elow the) winding away
northwards$ until it 1a)e to an
opening ,etween two steep shoulders.
Beyond$ there see)ed to ,e no )ore
hills. &ue north they faintly gli)psed
a long dark line. That is
a line of trees$? said (erry$ ?and that
)ust )ark the Road. 4ll along it for
)any leagues east of the
Bridge there are trees growing. %o)e
say they were planted in the old days.?
?%plendidN? said Frodo. ?+f we )ake as
good going this afternoon as we ha"e
done this )orning$
we shall ha"e left the &owns ,efore
the %un sets and ,e Kogging on in
sear1h of a 1a)ping pla1e.?
But e"en as he spoke he turned his
glan1e eastwards$ and he saw that on
that side the hills were
higher and looked down upon the)I
and all those hills were 1rowned with
green )ounds$ and on
so)e were standing stones$ pointing
upwards like Kagged teeth out of green
gu)s.
That "iew was so)ehow disJuietingI
so they turned fro) the sight and went
down into the
hollow 1ir1le. +n the )idst of it there
stood a single stone$ standing tall
under the sun a,o"e$ and at
this hour 1asting no shadow. +t was
shapeless and yet signifi1ant: like a
land)ark$ or a guarding
finger$ or )ore like a warning. But
they were now hungry$ and the sun
was still at the fearless
noonI so they set their ,a1ks against
the east side of the stone. +t was 1ool$
as if the sun had had no
power to war) itI ,ut at that ti)e this
see)ed pleasant. There they took
food and drink$ and )ade
as good a noon#)eal under the open
sky as anyone 1ould wishI for the
food 1a)e fro) ?down under
2ill?. To) had pro"ided the) with
plenty for the 1o)fort of the day.
Their ponies un,urdened
strayed upon the grass.
Riding o"er the hills$ and eating their
fill$ the war) sun and the s1ent of
turf$ lying a little too
long$ stret1hing out their legs and
looking at the sky a,o"e their noses:
these things are$ perhaps$
enough to e5plain what happened.
2owe"er$ that )ay ,e: they woke
suddenly and un1o)forta,ly
fro) a sleep they had ne"er )eant to
take. The standing stone was 1old$
and it 1ast a long pale
shadow that stret1hed eastward o"er
the). The sun$ a pale and watery
yellow$ was glea)ing
through the )ist Kust a,o"e the west
wall of the hollow in whi1h they layI
north$ south$ and east$
,eyond the wall the fog was thi1k$
1old and white. The air was silent$
hea"y and 1hill. Their ponies
were standing 1rowded together with
their heads down.
The ho,,its sprang to their feet in
alar)$ and ran to the western ri).
They found that they were
upon an island in the fog. !"en as
they looked out in dis)ay towards the
setting sun$ it sank ,efore
their eyes into a white sea$ and a 1old
grey shadow sprang up in the !ast
,ehind. The fog rolled up
to the walls and rose a,o"e the)$ and
as it )ounted it ,ent o"er their heads
until it ,e1a)e a roof:
they were shut in a hall of )ist whose
1entral pillar was the standing stone.
They felt as if a trap was 1losing
a,out the)I ,ut they did not Juite lose
heart. They still
re)e),ered the hopeful "iew they
had had of the line of the Road ahead$
and they still knew in
whi1h dire1tion it lay. +n any 1ase$
they now had so great a dislike for
that hollow pla1e a,out the
stone that no thought of re)aining
there was in their )inds. They pa1ked
up as Jui1kly as their
1hilled fingers would work.
%oon they were leading their ponies in
single file o"er the ri) and down the
long northward
slope of the hill$ down into a foggy
sea. 4s they went down the )ist
,e1a)e 1older and da)per$
and their hair hung lank and dripping
on their foreheads. .hen they
rea1hed the ,otto) it was so
1old that they halted and got out
1loaks and hoods$ whi1h soon ,e1a)e
,edewed with grey drops.
Then$ )ounting their ponies$ they
went slowly on again$ feeling their
way ,y the rise and fall of the
ground. They were steering$ as well as
they 1ould guess$ for the gate#like
opening at the far
northward end of the long "alley
whi1h they had seen in the )orning.
*n1e they were through the
gap$ they had only lo keep on in
anything like a straight line and they
were ,ound in the end to
strike the Road. Their thoughts did
not go ,eyond that$ e51ept for a "ague
hope that perhaps away
,eyond the &owns there )ight ,e no
fog.
Their going was "ery slow. To
pre"ent their getting separated and
wandering in different
dire1tions they went in file$ with
Frodo leading. %a) was ,ehind hi)$
and after hi) 1a)e Pippin$
and then (erry. The "alley see)ed to
stret1h on endlessly. %uddenly Frodo
saw a hopeful sign. *n
either side ahead a darkness ,egan to
loo) through the )istI and he
guessed that they were at last
approa1hing the gap in the hills$ the
north#gate of the Barrow#downs. +f
they 1ould pass that$ they
would ,e free.
?-o)e onN Follow )eN? he 1alled ,a1k
o"er his shoulder$ and he hurried
forward. But his hope
soon 1hanged to ,ewilder)ent and
alar). The dark pat1hes grew darker$
,ut they shrankI and
suddenly he saw$ towering o)inous
,efore hi) and leaning slightly
towards one another like the
pillars of a headless door$ two huge
standing stones. 2e 1ould not
re)e),er ha"ing seen any sign
of these in the "alley$ when he looked
out fro) the hill in the )orning. 2e
had passed ,etween
the) al)ost ,efore he was aware: and
e"en as he did so darkness see)ed to
fall round hi). 2is
pony reared and snorted$ and he fell
off. .hen he looked ,a1k he found
that he was alone: the
others had not followed hi). ?%a)N?
he 1alled. ?PippinN (erryN -o)e
alongN .hy don?t you keep
upM?
There was no answer. Fear took hi)$
and he ran ,a1k past the stones
shouting wildly: ?%a)N
%a)N (erryN PippinN? The pony ,olted
into the )ist and "anished. Fro)
so)e way off$ or so it
see)ed$ he thought he heard a 1ry:
?2oyN FrodoN 2oyN? +t was away
eastward$ on his left as he stood
under the great stones$ staring and
straining into the gloo). 2e plunged
off in the dire1tion of the
1all$ and found hi)self going steeply
uphill.
4s he struggled on he 1alled again$
and kept on 1alling )ore and )ore
franti1allyI ,ut he heard
no answer for so)e ti)e$ and then it
see)ed faint and far ahead and high
a,o"e hi). ?FrodoN 2oyN?
1a)e the thin "oi1es out of the )ist:
and then a 1ry that sounded like
Ahelp$ helpNA often repeated$
ending with a last AhelpNA that trailed
off into a long wail suddenly 1ut
short. 2e stu),led forward
with all the speed he 1ould towards
the 1riesI ,ut the light was now gone$
and 1linging night had
1losed a,out hi)$ so that it was
i)possi,le to ,e sure of any dire1tion.
2e see)ed all the ti)e to ,e
1li),ing up and up.
*nly the 1hange in the le"el of the
ground at his feet told hi) when he at
last 1a)e to the top of
a ridge or hill. 2e was weary$
sweating and yet 1hilled. +t was
wholly dark.
?.here are youM? he 1ried out
)isera,ly.
There was no reply. 2e stood
listening. 2e was suddenly aware that
it was getting "ery 1old$
and that up here a wind was ,eginning
to ,low$ an i1y wind. 4 1hange was
1o)ing in the weather.
The )ist was flowing past hi) now in
shreds and tatters. 2is ,reath was
s)oking$ and the darkness
was less near and thi1k. 2e looked up
and saw with surprise that faint stars
were appearing
o"erhead a)id the strands of hurrying
1loud and fog. The wind ,egan to hiss
o"er the grass.
2e i)agined suddenly that he 1aught
a )uffled 1ry$ and he )ade towards
itI and e"en as he
went forward the )ist was rolled up
and thrust aside$ and the starry sky
was un"eiled. 4 glan1e
showed hi) that he was now fa1ing
southwards and was on a round hill#
top$ whi1h he )ust ha"e
1li),ed fro) the north. *ut of the
east the ,iting wind was ,lowing. To
his right there loo)ed
against the westward stars a dark
,la1k shape. 4 great ,arrow stood
there.
?.here are youM? he 1ried again$ ,oth
angry and afraid.
?2ereN? said a "oi1e$ deep and 1old$
that see)ed to 1o)e out of the
ground. ?+ a) waiting for
youN?
?'oN? said FrodoI ,ut he did not run
away. 2is knees ga"e$ and he fell on
the ground. 'othing
happened$ and there was no sound.
Tre),ling he looked up$ in ti)e to
see a tall dark figure like a
shadow against the stars. +t leaned
o"er hi). 2e thought there were two
eyes$ "ery 1old though lit
with a pale light that see)ed to 1o)e
fro) so)e re)ote distan1e. Then a
grip stronger and 1older
than iron sei<ed hi). The i1y tou1h
fro<e his ,ones$ and he re)e),ered
no )ore.
.hen he 1a)e to hi)self again$ for a
)o)ent he 1ould re1all nothing
e51ept a sense of dread.
Then suddenly he knew that he was
i)prisoned$ 1aught hopelesslyI he was
in a ,arrow. 4 Barrowwight
had taken hi)$ and he was pro,a,ly
already under the dreadful spells of
the Barrow#wights
a,out whi1h whispered tales spoke.
2e dared not )o"e$ ,ut lay as he
found hi)self: flat on his
,a1k upon a 1old stone with his hands
on his ,reast.
But though his fear was so great that
it see)ed to ,e part of the "ery
darkness that was round
hi)$ he found hi)self as he lay
thinking a,out Bil,o Baggins and his
stories$ of their Kogging along
together in the lanes of the %hire and
talking a,out roads and ad"entures.
There is a seed of 1ourage
hidden Doften deeply$ it is trueE in the
heart of the fattest and )ost ti)id
ho,,it$ wailing for so)e
final and desperate danger to )ake it
grow. Frodo was neither "ery fat nor
"ery ti)idI indeed$
though he did not know it$ Bil,o Dand
/andalfE had thought hi) the ,est
ho,,it in the %hire. 2e
thought he had 1o)e to the end of his
ad"enture$ and a terri,le end$ ,ut the
thought hardened hi).
2e found hi)self stiffening$ as if for a
final springI he no longer felt li)p
like a helpless prey.
4s he lay there$ thinking and getting a
hold of hi)self$ he noti1ed all at on1e
that the darkness
was slowly gi"ing way: a pale
greenish light was growing round
hi). +t did not at first show hi)
what kind of a pla1e he was in$ for the
light see)ed to ,e 1o)ing out of
hi)self$ and fro) the floor
,eside hi)$ and had not yet rea1hed
the roof or wall. 2e turned$ and there
in the 1old glow he saw
lying ,eside hi) %a)$ Pippin$ and
(erry. They were on their ,a1ks$ and
their fa1es looked deathly
paleI and they were 1lad in white.
4,out the) lay )any treasures$ of
gold )ay,e$ though in that
light they looked 1old and unlo"ely.
*n their heads were 1ir1lets$ gold
1hains were a,out their
waists$ and on their fingers were
)any rings. %words lay ,y their sides$
and shields were at their
feet. But a1ross their three ne1ks lay
one long naked sword.
%uddenly a song ,egan: a 1old
)ur)ur$ rising and falling. The "oi1e
see)ed far away and
i))easura,ly dreary$ so)eti)es high
in the air and thin$ so)eti)es like a
low )oan fro) the
ground. *ut of the for)less strea) of
sad ,ut horri,le sounds$ strings of
words would now and
again shape the)sel"es: gri)$ hard$
1old words$ heartless and )isera,le.
The night was railing
against the )orning of whi1h it was
,erea"ed$ and the 1old was 1ursing
the war)th for whi1h it
hungered. Frodo was 1hilled to the
)arrow. 4fter a while the song
,e1a)e 1learer$ and with dread
in his heart he per1ei"ed that it had
1hanged into an in1antation:
-old ,e hand and heart and ,one$
and 1old ,e sleep under stone:
ne"er )are to wake on stony ,ed$
ne"er$ till the %un fails and the (oon
is dead.
+n the ,la1k wind the stars shall die$
and still on gold here let the) lie$
till the dark lord lifts his hand
o"er dead sea and withered land.
2e heard ,ehind his head a 1reaking
and s1raping sound. Raising hi)self
on one ar) he looked$
and saw now in the pale light that
they were in a kind of passage whi1h
,ehind the) turned a
1orner. Round the 1orner a long ar)
was groping$ walking on its fingers
towards %a)$ who was
lying nearest$ and towards the hilt of
the sword that lay upon hi).
4t first Frodo felt as if he had indeed
,een turned into stone ,y the
in1antation. Then a wild
thought of es1ape 1a)e to hi). 2e
wondered if he put on the Ring$
whether the Barrow#wight
would )iss hi)$ and he )ight find
so)e way out. 2e thought of hi)self
running free o"er the
grass$ grie"ing for (erry$ and %a)$
and Pippin$ ,ut free and ali"e hi)self.
/andalf would ad)it
that there had ,een nothing else he
1ould do.
But the 1ourage that had ,een
awakened in hi) was now too strong:
he 1ould not lea"e his
friends so easily. 2e wa"ered$ groping
in his po1ket$ and then fought with
hi)self againI and as he
did so the ar) 1rept nearer. %uddenly
resol"e hardened in hi)$ and he
sei<ed a short sword that lay
,eside hi)$ and kneeling he stooped
low o"er the ,odies of his
1o)panions. .ith what strength he
had he hewed at the 1rawling ar)
near the wrist$ and the hand ,roke offI
,ut at the sa)e )o)ent
the sword splintered up to the hilt.
There was a shriek and the light
"anished. +n the dark there was
a snarling noise.
Frodo fell forward o"er (erry$ and
(erry?s fa1e felt 1old. 4ll at on1e
,a1k into his )ind$ fro)
whi1h it had disappeared with the first
1o)ing of the fog$ 1a)e the )e)ory
of the house down
under the 2ill$ and of To) singing.
2e re)e),ered the rhy)e that To)
had taught the). +n a
s)all desperate "oi1e he ,egan: A2oN
To) Bo),adilNA and with that na)e
his "oi1e see)ed to
grow strong: it had a full and li"ely
sound$ and the dark 1ha),er e1hoed
as if to dru) and tru)pet.
2oN To) Bo),adil$ To)
Bo),adilloN
By water$ wood and hill$ ,y the reed
and willow$
By fire$ sun and )oon$ harken now
and hear usN
-o)e$ To) Bo),adil$ for our need is
near usN
There was a sudden deep silen1e$ in
whi1h Frodo 1ould hear his heart
,eating. 4fter a long slow
)o)ent he heard plain$ ,ut far away$
as if it was 1o)ing down through the
ground or through thi1k
walls$ an answering "oi1e singing:
*ld To) Bo),adil is a )erry fellow$
Bright ,lue his Ka1ket is$ and his ,oots
are yellow.
'one has e"er 1aught hi) yet$ for
To)$ he is the )aster:
2is songs are stronger songs$ and his
feet are faster.
There was a loud ru),ling sound$ as
of stones rolling and falling$ and
suddenly light strea)ed
in$ real light$ the plain light of day. 4
low door#like opening appeared at the
end of the 1ha),er
,eyond Frodo?s feetI and there was
To)?s head Dhat$ feather$ and allE
fra)ed against the light of the
sun rising red ,ehind hi). The light
fell upon the floor$ and upon the fa1es
of the three ho,,its
lying ,eside Frodo. They did not stir$
,ut the si1kly hue had left the). They
looked now as if they
were only "ery deeply asleep.
To) stooped$ re)o"ed his hat$ and
1a)e into the dark 1ha),er$ singing:
/et out$ you old .ightN @anish in the
sunlightN
%hri"el like the 1old )ist$ like the
winds go wailing$
*ut into the ,arren lands far ,eyond
the )ountainsN
-o)e ne"er here againN Lea"e your
,arrow e)ptyN
Lost and forgotten ,e$ darker than the
darkness$
.here gates stand for e"er shut$ till
the world is )ended.
4t these words there was a 1ry and
part of the inner end of the 1ha),er
fell in with a 1rash.
Then there was a long trailing shriek$
fading away into an unguessa,le
distan1eI and after that
silen1e.
?-o)e$ friend FrodoN? said To). ?Let
us get out on to 1lean grassN Gou )ust
help )e ,ear the).?
Together they 1arried out (erry$
Pippin$ and %a). 4s Frodo left the
,arrow for the last ti)e he
thought he saw a se"ered hand
wriggling still$ like a wounded spider$
in a heap of fallen earth. To)
went ,a1k in again$ and there was a
sound of )u1h thu)ping and
sta)ping. .hen he 1a)e out he
was ,earing in his ar)s a great load
of treasure: things of gold$ sil"er$
1opper$ and ,ron<eI )any
,eads and 1hains and Kewelled
orna)ents. 2e 1li),ed the green
,arrow and laid the) all on top in
the sunshine.
There he stood$ with his hat in his
hand and the wind in his hair$ and
looked down upon the
three ho,,its$ that had ,een laid on
their ,a1ks upon the grass at the west
side of the )ound.
Raising his right hand he said in a
1lear and 1o))anding "oi1e:
.ake now )y )erry tadsN .ake and
hear )e 1allingN
.ar) now ,e heart and li),N The
1old stone is fallenI
&ark door is standing wideI dead
hand is ,roken.
'ight under 'ight is flown$ and the
/ate is openN
To Frodo?s great Koy the ho,,its
stirred$ stret1hed their ar)s$ ru,,ed
their eyes$ and then
suddenly sprang up. They looked
a,out in a)a<e)ent$ first at Frodo$
and then at To) standing
large as life on the ,arrow#top a,o"e
the)I and then at the)sel"es in their
thin white rags$ 1rowned
and ,elted with pale gold$ and Kingling
with trinkets.
?.hat in the na)e of wonderM? ,egan
(erry$ feeling the golden 1ir1let that
had slipped o"er one
eye. Then he stopped$ and a shadow
1a)e o"er his fa1e$ and he 1losed his
eyes. ?*f 1ourse$ +
re)e),erN? he said. ?The )en of -arn
&=) 1a)e on us at night$ and we
were worsted. 4hN the
spear in )y heartN? 2e 1lut1hed at his
,reast. ?'oN 'oN? he said$ opening his
eyes. ?.hat a) +
sayingM + ha"e ,een drea)ing. .here
did you get to$ FrodoM?
?+ thought that + was lost$? said FrodoI
?,ut + don?t want to speak of it. Let us
think of what we are
to do nowN Let us go onN?
?&ressed up like this$ sirM? said %a).
?.here are )y 1lothesM? 2e flung his
1ir1let$ ,elt$ and rings
on the grass$ and looked round
helplessly$ as if he e5pe1ted to find
his 1loak$ Ka1ket$ and ,ree1hes$
and other ho,,it#gar)ents lying
so)ewhere to hand.
?Gou won?t find your 1lothes again$?
said To)$ ,ounding down fro) the
)ound$ and laughing as
he dan1ed round the) in the sunlight.
*ne would ha"e thought that nothing
dangerous or dreadful
had happenedI and indeed the horror
faded out of their hearts as they
looked at hi)$ and saw the
)erry glint in his eyes.
?.hat do you )eanM? asked Pippin$
looking at hi)$ half pu<<led and half
a)used. ?.hy notM?
But To) shook his head$ saying:
?Gou?"e found yoursel"es again$ out of
the deep water. -lothes
are ,ut little loss$ if you es1ape fro)
drowning. Be glad$ )y )erry friends$
and let the war)
sunlight heal now heart and li),N
-ast off these 1old ragsN Run naked
on the grass$ while To) goes
a#huntingN?
2e sprang away down hill$ whistling
and 1alling. Looking down after hi)
Frodo saw hi)
running away southwards along the
green hollow ,etween their hill and
the ne5t$ still whistling and
1rying:
2eyN nowN -o)e hoy nowN .hither
do you wanderM
0p$ down$ near or far$ here$ there or
yonderM
%harp#ears$ .ise#nose$ %wish#tail and
Bu)pkin$
.hite#so1ks )y little lad$ and old
Fatty Lu)pkinN
%o he sang$ running fast$ tossing up
his hat and 1at1hing it$ until he was
hidden ,y a fold of the
ground: ,ut for so)e ti)e his Ahey
nowN hoy nowNA1a)e floating ,a1k
down the wind$ whi1h had
shifted round towards the south.
The air was growing "ery war)
again. The ho,,its ran a,out for a
while on the grass$ as he told
the). Then they lay ,asking in the
sun with the delight of those that ha"e
,een wafted suddenly
fro) ,itter winter to a friendly 1li)e$
or of people that$ after ,eing long ill
and ,edridden$ wake one
day to find that they are une5pe1tedly
well and the day is again full of
pro)ise.
By the ti)e that To) returned they
were feeling strong Dand hungryE. 2e
reappeared$ hat first$
o"er the ,row of the hill$ and ,ehind
hi) 1a)e in an o,edient line Asi5A
ponies: their own fi"e and
one )ore. The last was plainly old
Fatty Lu)pkin: he was larger$
stronger$ fatter Dand olderE than
their own ponies. (erry$ to who) the
others ,elonged$ had not$ in fa1t$
gi"en the) any su1h
na)es$ ,ut they answered to the new
na)es that To) had gi"en the) for
the rest of their li"es.
To) 1alled the) one ,y one and they
1li),ed o"er the ,row and stood in a
line. Then To) ,owed
to the ho,,its.
?2ere are your ponies$ nowN? he said.
?They?"e )ore sense Din so)e waysE
than you wandering
ho,,its ha"e O )ore sense in their
noses. For they sniff danger ahead
whi1h you walk right intoI
and if they run to sa"e the)sel"es$
then they run the right way. Gou )ust
forgi"e the) allI for
though their hearts are faithful$ to fa1e
fear of Barrow#wights is not what
they were )ade for. %ee$
here they 1o)e again$ ,ringing all
their ,urdensN?
(erry$ %a)$ and Pippin now 1lothed
the)sel"es in spare gar)ents fro)
their pa1ksI and they
soon felt too hot$ for they were
o,liged to put on so)e of the thi1ker
and war)er things that they
had ,rought against the on1o)ing of
winter.
?.here does that other old ani)al$
that Fatty Lu)pkin$ 1o)e fro)M?
asked Frodo.
?2e?s )ine$? said To). ?(y four#
legged friendI though + seldo) ride
hi)$ and he wanders often
far$ free upon the hillsides. .hen
your ponies stayed with )e$ they got
to know )y Lu)pkinI and
they s)elt hi) in the night$ and
Jui1kly ran to )eet hi). + thought
he?d look for the) and with his
words of wisdo) take all their fear
away. But now$ )y Kolly Lu)pkin$
old To)?s going to ride.
2eyN he?s 1o)ing with you$ Kust to set
you on the roadI so he needs a pony.
For you 1annot easily
talk to ho,,its that are riding$ when
you?re on your own legs trying to trot
,eside the).?
The ho,,its were delighted to hear
this$ and thanked To) )any ti)esI
,ut he laughed$ and said
that they were so good at losing
the)sel"es that he would not feel
happy till he had seen the) safe
o"er the ,orders of his land. ?+?"e got
things to do$? he said: ?)y )aking and
)y singing$ )y talking
and )y walking$ and )y wat1hing of
the 1ountry. To) 1an?t ,e always near
to open doors and
willow#1ra1ks. To) has his house to
)ind$ and /old,erry is waiting.?
+t was still fairly early ,y the sun$
so)ething ,etween nine and ten$ and
the ho,,its turned their
)inds to food. Their last )eal had
,een lun1h ,eside the standing stone
the day ,efore. They
,reakfasted now off the re)ainder of
To)?s pro"isions$ )eant for their
supper$ with additions that
To) had ,rought with hi). +t was not
a large )eal D1onsidering ho,,its and
the 1ir1u)stan1esE$ ,ut
they felt )u1h ,etter for it. .hile
they were eating To) went up to the
)ound$ and looked through
the treasures. (ost of these he )ade
into a pile that glistened and sparkled
on the grass. 2e ,ade
the) lie there ?free to all finders$
,irds$ ,easts. !l"es or (en$ and all
kindly 1reatures?I for so the
spell of the )ound should ,e ,roken
and s1attered and no .ight e"er 1o)e
,a1k to it. 2e 1hose for
hi)self fro) the pile a ,roo1h set
with ,lue stones$ )any#shaded like
fla5#flowers or the wings of
,lue ,utterflies. 2e looked long at it$
as if stirred ,y so)e )e)ory$ shaking
his head$ and saying at
last:
?2ere is a pretty toy for To) and for
his ladyN Fair was she who long ago
wore this on her
shoulder. /old,erry shall wear it now$
and we will not forget herN?
For ea1h of the ho,,its he 1hose a
dagger$ long$ leaf#shaped$ and keen$
of )ar"ellous
work)anship$ da)asked with
serpent#for)s in red and gold. They
glea)ed as he drew the) fro)
their ,la1k sheaths$ wrought of so)e
strange )etal$ light and strong$ and
set with )any fiery
stones. .hether ,y so)e "irtue in
these sheaths or ,e1ause of the spell
that lay on the )ound$ the
,lades see)ed untou1hed ,y ti)e$
unrusted$ sharp$ glittering in the sun.
?*ld kni"es are long enough as swords
for ho,,it#people$? he said. ?%harp
,lades are good to
ha"e$ if %hire#folk go walking$ east$
south$ or far away into dark and
danger.? Then he told the)
that these ,lades were forged )any
long years ago ,y (en of
.esternesse: they were foes of the
&ark Lord$ ,ut they were o"er1o)e
,y the e"il king of -arn &=) in the
Land of 4ng)ar.
?Few now re)e),er the)$? To)
)ur)ured$ ?yet still so)e go
wandering$ sons of forgotten
kings walking in loneliness$ guarding
fro) e"il things folk that are
heedless.?
The ho,,its did not understand his
words$ ,ut as he spoke they had a
"ision as it were of a great
e5panse of years ,ehind the)$ like a
"ast shadowy plain o"er whi1h there
strode shapes of (en$
tall and gri) with ,right swords$ and
last 1a)e one with a star on his ,row.
Then the "ision faded$
and they were ,a1k in the sunlit
world. +t was ti)e to start again. They
)ade ready$ pa1king their
,ags and lading their ponies. Their
new weapons they hung on their
leather ,elts under their
Ka1kets$ feeling the) "ery awkward$
and wondering if they would ,e of
any use. Fighting had not
,efore o11urred to any of the) as one
of the ad"entures in whi1h their flight
would land the).
4t last they set off. They led their
ponies down the hillI and then
)ounting they trotted Jui1kly
along the "alley. They looked ,a1k
and saw the top of the old )ound on
the hill$ and fro) it the
sunlight on the gold went up like a
yellow fla)e. Then they turned a
shoulder of the &owns and it
was hidden fro) "iew.
Though Frodo looked a,out hi) on
e"ery side he saw no sign of the great
stones standing like a
gate$ and ,efore long they 1a)e to the
northern gap and rode swiftly
through$ and the land fell
away ,efore the). +t was a )erry
Kourney with To) Bo),adil trotting
gaily ,eside the)$ or ,efore
the)$ on Fatty Lu)pkin$ who 1ould
)o"e )u1h faster than his girth
pro)ised. To) sang )ost of
the ti)e$ ,ut it was 1hiefly nonsense$
or else perhaps a strange language
unknown to the ho,,its$ an
an1ient language whose words were
)ainly those of wonder and delight.
They went forward steadily$ ,ut they
soon saw that the Road was further
away than they had
i)agined. !"en without a fog$ their
sleep at )id#day would ha"e
pre"ented the) fro) rea1hing it
until after nightfall on the day ,efore.
The dark line they had seen was not a
line of trees ,ut a line
of ,ushes growing on the edge of a
deep dike with a steep wall on the
further side. To) said that it
had on1e ,een the ,oundary of a
kingdo)$ ,ut a "ery long li)e ago.
2e see)ed to re)e),er
so)ething sad a,out it$ and would not
say )u1h.
They 1li),ed down and out of the
dike and through a gap in the wall$
and then To) turned due
north$ for they had ,een ,earing
so)ewhat to the west. The land was
now open and fairly le"el$ and
they Jui1kened their pa1e$ ,ut the sun
was already sinking low when at last
they saw a line of tall
trees ahead$ and they knew that they
had 1o)e ,a1k to the Road after )any
une5pe1ted ad"entures.
They galloped their ponies o"er the
last furlongs$ and halted under the
long shadows of the trees.
They were on the top of a sloping
,ank$ and the Road$ now di) as
e"ening drew on$ wound away
,elow the). 4t this point it ran nearly
fro) %outh#west to 'orth#east$ and on
their right it fell
Jui1kly down into a wide hollow. +t
was rutted and ,ore )any signs of the
re1ent hea"y rainI there
were pools and pot#holes full of
water. They rode down the ,ank and
looked up and down. There
was nothing to ,e seen. ?.ell$ here we
are again at lastN? said Frodo. ?+
suppose we ha"en?t lost )ore
than two days ,y )y short 1ut through
the ForestN But perhaps the delay will
pro"e useful O it )ay
ha"e put the) off our trail.?
The others looked at hi). The shadow
of the fear of the Bla1k Riders 1a)e
suddenly o"er the)
again. !"er sin1e they had entered the
Forest they had thought 1hiefly of
getting ,a1k to the RoadI
only now when it lay ,eneath their
feet did they re)e),er the danger
whi1h pursued the)$ and was
)ore than likely to ,e lying in wait
for the) upon the Road itself. They
looked an5iously ,a1k
towards the setting sun$ ,ut the Road
was ,rown and e)pty.
?&o you think$? asked Pippin
hesitatingly$ ?do you think we )ay ,e
pursued$ tonightM?
?'o$ + hope not tonight$? answered
To) Bo),adilI ?nor perhaps the ne5t
day. But do not trust )y
guessI for + 1annot tell for 1ertain. *ut
east )y knowledge fails. To) is not
)aster of Riders fro)
the Bla1k Land far ,eyond his
1ountry.?
4ll the sa)e the ho,,its wished he
was 1o)ing with the). They felt that
he would know how to
deal with Bla1k Riders$ if anyone did.
They would soon now ,e going
forward into lands wholly
strange to the)$ and ,eyond all ,ut
the )ost "ague and distant legends of
the %hire$ and in the
gathering twilight they longed for
ho)e. 4 deep loneliness and sense of
loss was on the). They
stood silent$ relu1tant to )ake the
final parting$ and only slowly ,e1a)e
aware that To) was
wishing the) farewell$ and telling
the) to ha"e good heart and to ride
on till dark without halting.
?To) will gi"e you good ad"i1e$ till
this day is o"er Dafter that your own
lu1k )ust go with you
and guide youE: four )iles along the
Road you?ll 1o)e upon a "illage$ Bree
under Bree#hill$ with
doors looking westward. There you?ll
find an old inn that is 1alled AThe
Pran1ing Pony.A Barli)an
Butter,ur is the worthy keeper. There
you 1an stay the night$ and afterwards
the )orning will speed
you upon your way. Be ,old$ ,ut
waryN eep up your )erry hearts$ and
ride to )eet your fortuneN?
They ,egged hi) to 1o)e at least as
far as the inn and drink on1e )ore
with the)I ,ut he
laughed and refused$ saying:
To)?s 1ountry ends here: he will not
pass the ,orders.
To) has his house to )ind$ and
/old,erry is waitingN
Then he turned$ tossed up his hat$
leaped on Lu)pkin?s ,a1k$ and rode
up o"er the ,ank and
away singing into the dusk.
The ho,,its 1li),ed up and wat1hed
hi) until he was out of sight.
?+ a) sorry to take lea"e of (aster
Bo),adil$? said %a). ?2e?s a 1aution
and no )istake. + re1kon
we )ay go a good deal further and
see naught ,etter$ nor Jueerer. But +
won?t deny +?ll ,e glad to
see this APran1ing PonyAhe spoke of.
+ hope it?ll ,e like AThe /reen
&ragonA away ,a1k ho)eN
.hat sort of folk are they in BreeM?
?There are ho,,its in Bree$? said
(erry$ ?as well as Big Folk. + daresay
it will ,e ho)elike
enough. AThe PonyA is a good inn ,y
all a11ounts. (y people ride out there
now and again.?
?+t )ay ,e all we 1ould wish$? said
FrodoI ?,ut it is outside the %hire all
the sa)e. &on?t )ake
yoursel"es too )u1h at ho)eN Please
re)e),er #all of you O that the na)e
of Baggins )ust '*T
,e )entioned. + a) (r. 0nderhill$ if
any na)e )ust ,e gi"en.?
They now )ounted their ponies and
rode off silently into the e"ening.
&arkness 1a)e down
Jui1kly$ as they plodded slowly
downhill and up again$ until at last
they saw lights twinkling so)e
distan1e ahead.
Before the) rose Bree#hill ,arring the
way$ a dark )ass against )isty starsI
and under its
western flank nestled a large "illage.
Towards it they now hurried desiring
only to find a fire$ and a
door ,etween the) and the night.
A-hapter :A
4t the %ign of
The Pran1ing PonyA
Bree was the 1hief "illage of the Bree#
land$ a s)all inha,ited region$ like an
island in the e)pty
lands round a,out. Besides Bree itself$
there was %taddle on the other side of
the hill$ -o),e in a
deep "alley a little further eastward$
and 4r1het on the edge of the
-hetwood. Lying round Breehill
and the "illages was a s)all 1ountry
of fields and ta)ed woodland only a
few )iles ,road.
The (en of Bree were ,rown#haired$
,road$ and rather short$ 1heerful and
independent: they
,elonged to no,ody ,ut the)sel"esI
,ut they were )ore friendly and
fa)iliar with 2o,,its$
&war"es$ !l"es$ and other inha,itants
of the world a,out the) than was Dor
isE usual with Big
People. 411ording to their own tales
they were the original inha,itants and
were the des1endants of
the first (en that e"er wandered into
the .est of the )iddle#world. Few
had sur"i"ed the tur)oils
of the !lder &aysI ,ut when the ings
returned again o"er the /reat %ea they
had found the Bree)en
still there$ and they were still there
now$ when the )e)ory of the old
ings had faded into the
grass.
+n those days no other (en had
settled dwellings so far west$ or
within a hundred leagues of the
%hire. But in the wild lands ,eyond
Bree there were )ysterious
wanderers. The Bree#folk 1alled
the) Rangers$ and knew nothing of
their origin. They were taller and
darker than the (en of Bree
and were ,elie"ed to ha"e strange
powers of sight and hearing$ and to
understand the languages of
,easts and ,irds. They roa)ed at will
southwards$ and eastwards e"en as far
as the (isty
(ountainsI ,ut they were now few
and rarely seen. .hen they appeared
they ,rought news fro)
afar$ and told strange forgotten tales
whi1h were eagerly listened toI ,ut
the Bree#folk did not )ake
friends of the).
There were also )any fa)ilies of
ho,,its in the Bree#land and
AtheyA1lai)ed to ,e the oldest
settle)ent of 2o,,its in the world$
one that was founded long ,efore
e"en the Brandywine was
1rossed and the %hire 1oloni<ed. They
li"ed )ostly in %taddle though there
were so)e in Bree
itself$ espe1ially on the higher slopes
of the hill$ a,o"e the houses of the
(en. The Big Folk and the
Little Folk Das they 1alled one
anotherE were on friendly ter)s$
)inding their own affairs in their
own ways$ ,ut ,oth rightly regarding
the)sel"es as ne1essary parts of the
Bree#folk. 'owhere else
in the world was this pe1uliar D,ut
e51ellentE arrange)ent to ,e found.
The Bree#folk$ Big and Little$ did not
the)sel"es tra"el )u1hI and the
affairs of the four
"illages were their 1hief 1on1ern.
*11asionally the 2o,,its of Bree
went as far as Bu1kland$ or the
!astfarthingI ,ut though their link
land was not )u1h further than a day?s
riding east of the
Brandywine Bridge$ the 2o,,its of
the %hire now seldo) "isited it. 4n
o11asional Bu1klander or
ad"enturous Took would 1o)e out to
the +nn for a night or two$ ,ut e"en
that was ,e1o)ing less
and less usual. The %hire#ho,,its
referred to those of Bree$ and to any
others that li"ed ,eyond the
,orders$ as *utsiders$ and took "ery
little interest in the)$ 1onsidering
the) dull and un1outh.
There were pro,a,ly )any )ore
*utsiders s1attered a,out in the .est
of the .orld in those days
than the people of the %hire i)agined.
%o)e$ dou,tless$ were no ,etter than
tra)ps$ ready to dig a
hole in any ,ank and stay only as long
as it suited the). But in the Bree#land$
at any rate$ the
ho,,its were de1ent and prosperous$
and no )ore rusti1 than )ost of their
distant relati"es +nside. +t
was not yet forgotten that there had
,een a ti)e when there was )u1h
1o)ing and going ,etween
the %hire and Bree. There was Bree#
,lood in the Brandy,u1ks ,y all
a11ounts.
The "illage of Bree had so)e hundred
stone houses of the Big Folk$ )ostly
a,o"e the Road$
nestling on the hillside with windows
looking west. *n that side$ running in
)ore than half a 1ir1le
fro) the hill and ,a1k to it$ there was
a deep dike with a thi1k hedge on the
inner side. *"er this the
Road 1rossed ,y a 1ausewayI ,ut
where it pier1ed the hedge it was
,arred ,y a great gate. There
was another gate in the southern
1o)er where the Road ran out of the
"illage. The gates were
1losed at nightfallI ,ut Kust inside
the) were s)all lodges for the
gatekeepers.
&own on the Road$ where it swept to
the right to go round the foot of the
hill$ there was a large
inn. +t had ,een ,uilt long ago when
the traffi1 on the roads had ,een far
greater. For Bree stood at
an old )eeting of waysI another
an1ient road 1rossed the !ast Road
Kust outside Dhe dike at the
western end of the "illage$ and in
for)er days (en and other folk of
"arious sorts had tra"elled
)u1h on it. A%trange as 'ews fro)
BreeA was still a saying in the
!astfarthing$ des1ending fro)
those days$ when news fro) 'orth$
%outh$ and !ast 1ould ,e heard in the
inn$ and when the %hireho,,its
used to go )ore often to hear it. But
the 'orthern Lands had long ,een
desolate$ and the
'orth Road was now seldo) used: it
was grass#grown$ and the Bree#folk
1alled it the /reenway.
The +nn of Bree was still there$
howe"er$ and the innkeeper was an
i)portant person. 2is house
was a )eeting pla1e for the idle$
talkati"e$ and inJuisiti"e a)ong the
inha,itants$ large and s)all$
of the four "illagesI and a resort of
Rangers and other wanderers$ and for
su1h tra"ellers D)ostly
dwar"esE as still Kourneyed on the
!ast Road$ to and fro) the
(ountains.
+t was dark$ and white stars were
shining$ when Frodo and his
1o)panions 1a)e at last to the
/reenway#1rossing and drew near the
"illage. They 1a)e to the .est#gate
and found it shut$ ,ut at
the door of the lodge ,eyond it$ there
was a )an sitting. 2e Ku)ped up and
fet1hed a lantern and
looked o"er the gate at the) in
surprise.
?.hat do you want$ and where do you
1o)e fro)M? he asked gruffly.
?.e are )aking for the inn here$?
answered Frodo. ?.e are Kourneying
east and 1annot go further
tonight.?
?2o,,itsN Four ho,,itsN 4nd what?s
)ore$ out of the %hire ,y their talk$?
said the gatekeeper$
softly as if speaking to hi)self. 2e
stared at the) darkly for a )o)ent$
and then slowly opened the
gate and let the) ride through.
?.e don?t often see %hire#folk riding
on the Road at night$? he went on$ as
they halted a )o)ent
,y his door. ?Gou?ll pardon )y
wondering what ,usiness takes you
away east of BreeN .hat )ay
your na)es ,e$ )ight + askM?
?*ur na)es and our ,usiness are our
own$ and this does not see) a good
pla1e to dis1uss the)$?
said Frodo$ not liking the look of the
)an or the tone of his "oi1e.
?Gour ,usiness is your own$ no dou,t$?
said the )anI ?,ut it?s )y ,usiness to
ask Juestions after
nightfall.?
?.e are ho,,its fro) Bu1kland$ and
we ha"e a fan1y to tra"el and to stay
at the inn here$? put in
(erry. ?+ a) (r. Brandy,u1k. +s that
enough for youM The Bree#folk used
to ,e fair#spoken to
tra"ellers$ or so + had heard.?
?4ll right$ all rightN? said the )an. ?+
)eant no offen1e. But you?ll find
)ay,e that )ore folk than
old 2arry at the gate will ,e asking
you Juestions. There?s Jueer folk
a,out. +f you go on to AThe
Pony$A you?ll find you?re oat the only
guests.?
2e wished the) good night$ and they
said no )oreI ,ut Frodo 1ould see in
the lantern#light that
the )an was still eyeing the)
1uriously. 2e was glad to hear the
gate 1lang to ,ehind the)$ as they
rode forward. 2e wondered why the
)an was so suspi1ious$ and whether
any one had ,een asking
for Anews ofA a party of ho,,its.
-ould it ha"e ,een /andalfM 2e
)ight ha"e arri"ed$ while they
were delayed in the Forest and the
&owns. But there was so)ething in
the look and the "oi1e of the
gatekeeper that )ade hi) uneasy.
The )an stared after the ho,,its for a
)o)ent$ and then he went ,a1k to his
house. 4s soon as
his ,a1k was turned$ a dark figure
1li),ed Jui1kly in o"er the gate and
)elted into the shadows of
the "illage street.
The ho,,its rode on up a gentle slope$
passing a few deta1hed houses$ and
drew up outside the
inn. The houses looked large and
strange to the). %a) stared up at the
inn with its three storeys
and )any windows$ and felt his heart
sink. 2e had i)agined hi)self
)eeting giants taller than
trees$ and other 1reatures e"en )ore
terrifying$ so)e ti)e or other in the
1ourse of his KourneyI ,ut
at the )o)ent he was finding his first
sight of (en and their tall houses
Juite enough$ indeed too
)u1h for the dark end of a tiring day.
2e pi1tured ,la1k horses standing all
saddled in the shadows
of the inn#yard$ and Bla1k Riders
peering out of dark upper windows.
?.e surely aren?t going to stay here
for the night$ are we$ sirM? he
e51lai)ed. ?+f there are ho,,itfolk
in these pans$ why don?t we look for
so)e that would ,e willing to take us
inM +t would ,e
)ore ho)elike.?
?.hat?s wrong with the innM? said
Frodo. ?To) Bo),adil re1o))ended
it. + e5pe1t it?s ho)elike
enough inside.?
!"en fro) the outside the inn looked
a pleasant house to fa)iliar eyes. +t
had a front on the
Road$ and two wings running ,a1k on
land partly 1ut out of the lower slopes
of the hill$ so that at
the rear the se1ond#floor windows
were le"el with the ground. There was
a wide ar1h leading to a
1ourtyard ,etween the two wings$ and
on the left under the ar1h there was a
large doorway rea1hed
,y a few ,road steps. The door was
open and light strea)ed out of it.
4,o"e the ar1h there was a
la)p$ and ,eneath it swung a large
sign,oard: a fat white pony reared up
on its hind legs. *"er the
door was painted in white letters:
T2! PR4'-+'/ P*'G ,y
B4RL+(4' B0TT!RB0R. (any
of the lower windows showed lights
,ehind thi1k 1urtains.
4s they hesitated outside in the
gloo)$ so)eone ,egan singing a
)erry song inside$ and )any
1heerful "oi1es Koined loudly in the
1horus. They listened to this
en1ouraging sound for a )o)ent
and then got off their ponies. The
song ended and there was a ,urst of
laughter and 1lapping.
They led their ponies under the ar1h$
and lea"ing the) standing in the yard
they 1li),ed up the
steps. Frodo went forward and nearly
,u)ped into a short fat )an with a
,ald head and a red fa1e.
2e had a white apron on$ and was
,ustling out of one door and in
through another$ 1arrying a tray
laden with full )ugs.
?-an we#? ,egan Frodo.
?2alf a )inute$ if you pleaseN? shouted
the )an o"er his shoulder$ and
"anished into a ,a,el of
"oi1es and a 1loud of s)oke. +n a
)o)ent he was out again$ wiping his
hands on his apron.
?/ood e"ening$ little )asterN? he said$
,ending down. ?.hat )ay you ,e
wantingM?
?Beds for four$ and sta,ling for fi"e
ponies$ if that 1an ,e )anaged. 4re
you (r. Butter,urM?
?That?s rightN Barli)an is )y na)e.
Barli)an Butter,ur at your ser"i1eN
Gou?re fro) the %hire$
ehM? he said$ and then suddenly he
1lapped his hand to his forehead$ as if
trying to re)e),er
so)ething. ?2o,,itsN? he 1ried. ?'ow
what does that re)ind )e ofM (ight +
ask your na)es$ sirM?
?(r. Took and (r. Brandy,u1k$? said
FrodoI ?and this is %a) /a)gee. (y
na)e is 0nderhill.?
?There nowN? said (r. Butter,ur$
snapping his fingers. ?+t?s gone againN
But it?ll 1o)e ,a1k$ when
+ ha"e ti)e to think. +?) run off )y
feetI ,ut +?ll see what + 1an do for you.
.e don?t often get a
party out of the %hire nowadays$ and +
should ,e sorry not to )ake you
wel1o)e. But there is su1h
a 1rowd already in the house tonight
as there hasn?t ,een for long enough.
+t ne"er rains ,ut it
pours$ we say in Bree.
?2iN 'o,N? he shouted. ?.here are you$
you woolly#footed slow#1oa1hM 'o,N?
?-o)ing$ sirN -o)ingN? 4 1heery#
looking ho,,it ,o,,ed out of a door$
and seeing the tra"ellers$
stopped short and stared at the) with
great interest.
?.here?s Bo,M? asked the landlord.
?Gou don?t knowM .ell find hi)N
&ou,le sharpN + ha"en?t got
si5 legs$ nor si5 eyes neitherN Tell
Bo, there?s fi"e ponies that ha"e to ,e
sta,led. 2e )ust find
roo) so)ehow.? 'o, trotted off with
a grin and a wink.
?.ell$ now$ what was + going to sayM?
said (r. Butter,ur$ tapping his
forehead. ?*ne thing dri"es
out another$ so to speak. +?) that ,usy
tonight$ )y head is going round.
There?s a party that 1a)e up
the /reenway fro) down %outh last
night O and that was strange enough to
,egin with. Then there?s
a tra"elling 1o)pany of dwar"es
going .est 1o)e in this e"ening. 4nd
now there?s you. +f you
weren?t ho,,its$ + dou,t if we 1ould
house you. But we?"e got a roo) or
two in the north wing that
were )ade spe1ial for ho,,its$ when
this pla1e was ,uilt. *n the ground
floor as they usually
preferI round windows and all as they
like it. + hope you?ll ,e 1o)forta,le.
Gou?ll ,e wanting
supper$ + don?t dou,t. 4s soon as )ay
,e. This way nowN?
2e led the) a short way down a
passage$ and opened a door. ?2ere is a
ni1e little parlourN? he
said. ?+ hope it will suit. !51use )e
now. +?) that ,usy. 'o ti)e for
talking. + )ust ,e trotting. +t?s
hard work for two legs$ ,ut + don?t get
thinner. +?ll look in again later. +f you
want anything$ ring the
hand#,ell$ and 'o, will 1o)e. +f he
don?t 1o)e$ ring and shoutN?
*ff he went at last$ and left the)
feeling rather ,reathless. 2e see)ed
1apa,le of an endless
strea) of talk$ howe"er ,usy he )ight
,e. They found the)sel"es in a s)all
and 1osy roo). There
was a ,it of ,right fire ,urning on the
hearth$ and in front of it were so)e
low and 1o)forta,le
1hairs. There was a round ta,le$
already spread with a white 1loth$ and
on it was a large hand#,ell.
But 'o,$ the ho,,it ser"ant$ 1a)e
,ustling in long ,efore they thought
of ringing. 2e ,rought
1andles and a tray full of plates.
?.ill you ,e wanting anything to
drink$ )astersM? he asked. ?4nd shall +
show you the ,edroo)s$
while your supper is got readyM?
They were washed and in the )iddle
of good deep )ugs of ,eer when (r.
Butter,ur and 'o,
1a)e in again. +n a twinkling the ta,le
was laid. There was hot soup$ 1old
)eats$ a ,la1k,erry tart$
new loa"es$ sla,s of ,utter$ and half a
ripe 1heese: good plain food$ as good
as the %hire 1ould
show$ and ho)elike enough to dispel
the last of %a)?s )isgi"ings Dalready
)u1h relie"ed ,y the
e51ellen1e of the ,eerE.
The landlord ho"ered round for a link$
and then prepared to lea"e the). ?+
don?t know whether
you would 1are to Koin the 1o)pany$
when you ha"e supped$? he said$
standing at the door. ?Perhaps
you would rather go to your ,eds.
%till the 1o)pany would ,e "ery
pleased to wel1o)e youA$A if
you had a )ind. .e don?t get
*utsiders O tra"ellers fro) the %hire$ +
should say$ ,egging your
pardon O oftenI and we like to hear a
,it of news$ or any story or song you
)ay ha"e in )ind. But
as you pleaseN Ring the ,ell$ if you
la1k anythingN?
%o refreshed and en1ouraged did they
feel at the end of their supper Da,out
three Juarters of an
hour?s steady going$ not hindered ,y
unne1essary talkE that Frodo$ Pippin$
and %a) de1ided to Koin
the 1o)pany. (erry said it would ,e
too stuffy. ?+ shall sit here Juietly ,y
the fire for a ,it$ and
perhaps go out later for a sniff of the
air. (ind your Ps and Ps$ and don?t
forget that you are
supposed to ,e es1aping in se1ret$ and
are still AonA the high#road and not
"ery far fro) the %hireN?
?4ll rightN? said Pippin. ?(ind
yourselfN &on?t get lost$ and don?t
forget that it is safer indoorsN?
The 1o)pany was in the ,ig 1o))on#
roo) of the inn. The gathering was
large and )i5ed$ as
Frodo dis1o"ered$ when his eyes got
used to the light. This 1a)e 1hiefly
fro) a ,la<ing log#fire$ for
the three la)ps hanging fro) the
,ea)s were di)$ and half "eiled in
s)oke. Barli)an Butter,ur
was standing near the fire$ talking to a
1ouple of dwar"es and one or two
strange#looking )en. *n
the ,en1hes were "arious folk: )en of
Bree$ a 1olle1tion of lo1al ho,,its
Dsitting 1hattering
togetherE$ a few )ore dwar"es$ and
other "ague figures diffi1ult to )ake
out away in the shadows
and 1o)ers.
4s soon as the %hire#ho,,its entered$
there was a 1horus of wel1o)e fro)
the Bree#landers. The
strangers$ espe1ially those that had
1o)e up the /reenway$ stared at the)
1uriously. The landlord
introdu1ed the new1o)ers to the
Bree#folk$ so Jui1kly that$ though
they 1aught )any na)es$ they
were seldo) sure who the na)es
,elonged to. The (en of Bree see)ed
all to ha"e rather ,otani1al
Dand to the %hire#folk rather oddE
na)es$ like Rushlight$ /oatleaf$
2eathertoes$ 4ppledore$
Thistlewool and Ferny Dnot to
)ention Butter,urE. %o)e of the
ho,,its had si)ilar na)es. The
(ugworts$ for instan1e$ see)ed
nu)erous. But )ost of the) had
natural na)es$ su1h as Banks$
Bro1khouse$ Longholes$ %andhea"er$
and Tunnelly$ )any of whi1h were
used in the %hire. There
were se"eral 0nderhills fro) %addle$
and as they 1ould not i)agine sharing
a na)e without ,eing
related$ they took Frodo to their hearts
as a long#lost 1ousin.
The Bree#ho,,its were$ in fa1t$
friendly and inJuisiti"e$ and Frodo
soon found that so)e
e5planation of what he was doing
would ha"e to ,e gi"en. 2e ga"e out
that he was interested in
history and geography Dat whi1h there
was )u1h wagging of heads$ although
neither of these words
were )u1h used in the Bree#diale1tE.
2e said he was thinking of writing a
,ook Dat whi1h there was
silent astonish)entE$ AandA that he
and his friends wanted to 1olle1t
infor)ation a,out ho,,its
li"ing outside the %hire$ espe1ially in
the eastern lands.
4t this a 1horus of "oi1es ,roke out. +f
Frodo had really wanted to write a
,ook$ and had had
)any ears$ he would ha"e learned
enough for se"eral 1hapters in a few
)inutes. 4nd if that was not
enough$ he was gi"en a whole list of
na)es$ ,eginning with ?*ld Barli)an
here?$ to who) he 1ould
go for further infor)ation. But after a
ti)e$ as Frodo did not show any
AsignA of writing a ,ook on
the spot$ the ho,,its returned to their
Juestions a,out doings in the %hire.
Frodo did not pro"e "ery
1o))uni1ati"e$ and he soon found
hi)self sitting alone in a 1o)er$
listening and looking around.
The (en and &war"es were )ostly
talking of distant e"ents and telling
flews of a kind that was
,e1o)ing only too fa)iliar. There
was trou,le away in the %outh$ and it
see)ed that the (en who
had 1o)e up the /reenway were on
the )o"e$ looking for lands where
they 1ould find so)e pea1e.
The Bree#folk were sy)patheti1$ ,ut
plainly not "ery ready to take a large
nu),er of strangers into
their little land. *ne of the tra"ellers$
a sJuint#eyed ill#fa"oured fellow$ was
foretelling that )ore
and )ore people would ,e 1o)ing
north in the near future. ?+f roo) isn?t
found for the)$ they?ll find
it for the)sel"es. They?"e a right to
li"e$ sa)e as other folk$? he said
loudly. The lo1al inha,itants
did not look pleased at the prospe1t.
The ho,,its did not pay )u1h
attention to all this$ and it did not at
the )o)ent see) to 1on1ern
ho,,its. Big Folk 1ould hardly ,eg for
lodgings in ho,,it#holes. They were
)ore interested in %a)
and Pippin$ who were now feeling
Juite at ho)e$ and were 1hatting gaily
a,out e"ents in the %hire.
Pippin roused a good deal of laughter
with an a11ount of the 1ollapse of the
roof of the Town 2ole
in (i1hel &el"ing: .ill .hitfoot$ the
(ayor$ and the fattest ho,,it in the
.estfarthing$ had ,een
,uried in 1halk$ and 1a)e out like a
floured du)pling. But there were
se"eral Juestions asked that
)ade Frodo a little uneasy. *ne of the
Bree#landers$ who see)ed to ha"e
,een in the %hire se"eral
ti)es$ wanted to know where the
0nderhills li"ed and who they were
related to.
%uddenly Frodo noti1ed that a
strange#looking weather#,eaten )an$
sitting in the shadows near
the wall$ was also listening intently to
the ho,,it#talk. 2e had a tall tankard
in front of hi)$ and was
s)oking a long#ste))ed pipe
1uriously 1ar"ed. 2is legs were
stret1hed out ,efore hi)$ showing
high ,oots of supple leather that fitted
hi) well$ ,ut had seen )u1h wear and
were now 1aked with
)ud. 4 tra"el#stained 1loak of hea"y
dark#green 1loth was drawn 1lose
a,out hi)$ and in spite of
the heat of the roo) he wore a hood
that o"ershadowed his fa1eI ,ut the
glea) of his eyes 1ould ,e
seen as he wat1hed the ho,,its.
?.ho is thatM? Frodo asked$ when he
got a 1han1e to whisper to (r.
Butter,ur. ?+ don?t think you
introdu1ed hi)M?
?2i)M? said the landlord in an
answering whisper$ 1o1king an eye
without turning his head. ?+
don?t rightly know. 2e is one of the
wandering folk #Rangers we 1all
the). 2e seldo) talks: not ,ut
what he 1an tell a rare tale when he
has the )ind. 2e disappears for a
)onth$ or a year$ and then he
pops up again. 2e was in and out
pretty often last springI ,ut + ha"en?t
seen hi) a,out lately. .hat
his right na)e is +?"e ne"er heard: ,ut
he?s known round here as %trider.
/oes a,out at a great pa1e
on his long shanksI though he don?t
tell no,ody what 1ause he has to
hurry. But there?s no
a11ounting for !ast and .est$ as we
say in Bree$ )eaning the Rangers and
the %hire#folk$ ,egging
your pardon. Funny you should ask
a,out hi).? But at that )o)ent (r.
Butter,ur was 1alled away
,y a de)and for )ore ale and his last
re)ark re)ained une5plained.
Frodo found that %trider was now
looking at hi)$ as if he had heard or
guessed all that had ,een
said. Presently$ with a wa"e of his
hand and a nod$ he in"ited Frodo to
1o)e o"er and sit ,y hi).
4s Frodo drew near ,e threw ,a1k his
hood$ showing a shaggy head of dark
hair ne1ked with grey$
and in a pale ste) fa1e a pair of keen
grey eyes.
?+ a) 1alled %trider$? he said in a low
"oi1e. ?+ a) "ery pleased to )eet you.
(aster O 0nderhill$
if old Butter,ur got your na)e right.?
?2e did$? said Frodo stiffly. 2e felt far
fro) 1o)forta,le under the stare of
those keen eyes.
?.ell$ (aster 0nderhill$? said %trider$
?if + were you$ + should stop your
young friends fro)
talking too )u1h. &rinkA$A fire$ and
1han1e#)eeting are pleasant enough$
,ut$ well O this isn?t the
%hire. There are Jueer folk a,out.
Though + say it as shouldn?t$ you )ay
think$? he added with a wry
s)ile$ seeing Frodo?s glan1e. ?4nd
there ha"e ,een e"en stranger
tra"ellers through Bree lately$? he
went on$ wat1hing Frodo?s fa1e.
Frodo returned his ga<e ,ut said
nothingI and %trider )ade no further
sign. 2is attention see)ed
suddenly to ,e fi5ed on Pippin. To his
alar) Frodo ,e1a)e aware that the
ridi1ulous young Took$
en1ouraged ,y his su11ess with the fat
(ayor of (i1hel &el"ing$ was now
a1tually gi"ing a 1o)i1
a11ount of Bil,o?s farewell party. 2e
was already gi"ing an i)itation of the
%pee1h$ and was
drawing near to the astonishing
&isappearan1e.
Frodo was annoyed. +t was a har)less
enough tale for )ost of the lo1al
ho,,its$ no dou,t: Kust a
funny story a,out those funny people
away ,eyond the Ri"erI ,ut so)e Dold
Butter,ur$ for
instan1eE knew a thing or two$ and
had pro,a,ly heard ru)ours long ago
a,out Bil,o?s "anishing. +t
would ,ring the na)e of Baggins to
their )inds$ espe1ially if there had
,een inJuiries in Bree after
that na)e.
Frodo fidgeted$ wondering what to do.
Pippin was e"idently )u1h enKoying
the attention he was
getting$ and had ,e1o)e Juite
forgetful of their danger. Frodo had a
sudden fear that in his present
)ood he )ight e"en )ention the
RingI and that )ight well ,e
disastrous.
?Gou had ,etter do so)ething Jui1kN?
whispered %trider in his ear.
Frodo Ku)ped up and stood on a ta,le$
and ,egan to talk. The attention of
Pippin?s audien1e was
distur,ed. %o)e of the ho,,its looked
at Frodo and laughed and 1lapped$
thinking that (r.
0nderhill had taken as )u1h ale as
was good for hi).
Frodo suddenly felt "ery foolish$ and
found hi)self Das was his ha,it when
)aking a spee1hE
fingering the things in his po1ket. 2e
felt the Ring on its 1hain$ and Juite
una11ounta,ly the desire
1a)e o"er hi) to slip it on and "anish
out of the silly situation. +t see)ed to
hi)$ so)ehow$ as if
)e suggestion 1a)e to hi) fro)
outside$ fro) so)eone or so)ething a
the roo). 2e resisted the
te)ptation fir)ly$ and 1lasped the
Ring in his hand$ as if to keep a hold
on it and pre"ent it fro)
es1aping or doing AanyA )is1hief. 4t
any rate it ga"e hi) no inspiration. 2e
spoke ?a few suita,le
words?$ as they would ha"e said in the
%hire: A.e are all "ery )u1h gratified
,y the kindness of
your re1eption$ and + "enture to hope
that )y ,rief "isit will help to renew
the old ties of friendship
,etween the %hire and BreeIAand then
he hesitated and 1oughed.
!"eryone in the roo) was now
looking at hi). ?4 songN? shouted one
of the ho,,its. ?4 songN 4
songN? shouted all the others. ?-o)e
on now$ )aster$ sing us so)ething
that we ha"en?t heard
,eforeN?
For a )o)ent Frodo stood gaping.
Then in desperation he ,egan a
ridi1ulous song that Bil,o
had ,een rather fond of Dand indeed
rather proud of$ for he had )ade up
the words hi)selfE. +t was
a,out an innI and that is pro,a,ly why
it 1a)e into Frodo?s )ind Kust then.
2ere it is in full. *nly a
few words of it are now$ as a rule$
re)e),ered.
There is an inn$ a )erry old inn
,eneath an old grey hill$
4nd there they ,rew a ,eer so ,rown
That the (an in the (oon hi)self
1a)e down
one night to drink his fill.
The ostler has a tipsy 1at
that plays a fi"e#stringed fiddleI
4nd up and down he runs his ,ow$
'ow sJueaking high$ now purring
low$
now sawing in the )iddle.
The landlord keeps a little dog
that is )ighty fond of KokesI
.hen there?s good 1heer a)ong the
guests$
2e 1o1ks an ear at all the Kests
and laughs until he 1hokes.
They also keep a horned 1ow
as proud as any JueenI
But )usi1 turns her head like ale$
4nd )akes her wa"e her tufted tail
and dan1e upon the green.
4nd *N the rows of sil"er dishes
and the store of sil"er spoonsN
For %unday there?s a spe1ial pair$
4nd these they polish up with 1are
on %aturday afternoons.
The (an in the (oon was drinking
deep$
and the 1at ,egan to wailI
4 dish and a spoon on the ta,le
dan1ed$
The 1ow in the garden )adly pran1ed$
and the little dog 1hased his tail.
The (an in the (oon took another
)ug$
and then rolled ,eneath his 1hairI
4nd there he do<ed and drea)ed of
ale$
Till in the sky the stars were pale$
and dawn was in the air.
Then the ostler said to his tipsy 1at:
?The white horses of the (oon$
They neigh and 1ha)p their sil"er
,itsI
But their )aster?s ,een and drowned
his wits$
and the %un?ll ,e rising soonN?
%o the 1at on his fiddle played hey#
diddle#diddle$
a Kig that would wake the dead:
2e sJueaked and sawed and
Jui1kened the tune$
.hile the landlord shook the (an in
the (oon:
?+t?s after threeN? he said.
They rolled the (an slowly up the hill
and ,undled hi) into the (oon$
.hile his horses galloped up in rear$
4nd the 1ow 1a)e 1apering like a
deer$
and a dish ran up with the spoon.
'ow Jui1ker the fiddle went deedle#
du)#diddleI
the dog ,egan to roar$
The 1ow and the horses stood on their
headsI
The guests all ,ounded fro) their
,eds
and dan1ed upon the floor.
.ith a ping and a pong the fiddle#
strings ,rokeN
the 1ow Ku)ped o"er the (oon$
4nd the little dog laughed to see su1h
fun$
4nd the %aturday dish went off at a
run
with the sil"er %unday spoon.
The round (oon rolled ,ehind the hill
as the %un raised up her head.
%he hardly ,elie"ed her fiery eyesI
For though it was day$ to her surprise
they all went ,a1k to ,edN
There was loud and long applause.
Frodo had a good "oi1e$ and the song
ti1kled their fan1y.
?.here?s old BarleyM? they 1ried. ?2e
ought to hear this. Bo, ought to learn
his 1at the fiddle$ and
then we?d ha"e a dan1e.? They 1alled
for )ore ale$ and ,egan to shout:
?Let?s ha"e it again$ )asterN
-o)e on nowN *n1e )oreN?
They )ade Frodo ha"e another drink$
and then ,egin his song again$ while
)any of the) Koined
inI for the tune was well known$ and
they were Jui1k at pi1king up words.
+t was now Frodo?s turn
to feel pleased with hi)self. 2e
1apered a,out on the ta,leI and when
he 1a)e a se1ond ti)e to
Athe 1ow Ku)ped o"er the (oon$A he
leaped in the air. (u1h too
"igorouslyI for he 1a)e down$
,ang$ into a tray full of )ugs$ and
slipped$ and rolled off the ta,le with a
1rash$ 1latter$ and ,u)pN
The audien1e all opened their )ouths
wide for laughter$ and stopped short a
gaping silen1eI for the
singer disappeared. 2e si)ply
"anished$ as if he had gone slap
through the floor without lea"ing a
holeN
The lo1al ho,,its stared in
a)a<e)ent$ and then sprang to their
feet and shouted for Barli)an.
4ll the 1o)pany drew away fro)
Pippin and %a)$ who found
the)sel"es left alone in a 1o)er$ and
eyed darkly and dou,tfully fro) a
distan1e. +t was plain that )any
people regarded the) now as
the 1o)panions of a tra"elling
)agi1ian of unknown powers and
purpose. But there was one
swarthy Bree#lander$ who stood
looking at the) with a knowing and
half#)o1king e5pression that
)ade the) feel "ery un1o)forta,le.
Presently he slipped out of the door$
followed ,y the sJuinteyed
southerner: the two had ,een
whispering together a good deal
during the e"ening. 2arry the
gatekeeper also went out Kust ,ehind
the)..
Frodo felt a fool. 'ot knowing what
else to do$ he 1rawled away under the
ta,les to the dark
1o)er ,y %trider$ who sat un)o"ed$
gi"ing no sign of his thoughts. Frodo
leaned ,a1k against the
wall and took off the Ring. 2ow it
1a)e to ,e on his finger he 1ould not
tell. 2e 1ould only
suppose that he had ,een handling it
in his po1ket while he sang$ and that
so)ehow it had slipped
on when he stu1k out his hand with a
Kerk to sa"e his fall. For a )o)ent he
wondered if the Ring
itself had not played hi) a tri1kI
perhaps it had tried to re"eal itself in
response to so)e wish or
1o))and that was felt in the roo).
2e did not like the looks of the )en
that had gone out.
?.ellM? said %trider$ when he
reappeared. ?.hy did you do thatM
.orse than anything your
friends 1ould ha"e saidN Gou ha"e put
your foot in itN *r should + say your
fingerM?
?+ don?t know what you )ean$? said
Frodo$ annoyed and alar)ed.
?*h yes$ you do$? answered %triderI
?,ut we had ,etter wait until the
uproar has died down. Then$
if you please$ (r. ABaggins$ +A should
like a Juiet word with you.?
?.hat a,outM? asked Frodo$ ignoring
the sudden use of his proper na)e.
?4 )atter of so)e i)portan1e O to us
,oth$? answered %trider$ looking Frodo
in the eye. ?Gou
)ay hear so)ething to your
ad"antage.?
?@ery well$? said Frodo$ trying to
appear un1on1erned. ?+?ll talk to you
later.?
(eanwhile an argu)ent was going on
,y the firepla1e. (r. Butter,ur had
1o)e trotting in$ and
he was now trying to listen to se"eral
1onfli1ting a11ounts of the e"ent at
the sa)e ti)e.
?+ saw hi)$ (r. Butter,ur$? said a
ho,,itI ?or leastways + didn?t see hi)$
if you take )y )eaning.
2e Kust "anished into thin air$ in a
)anner of speaking.?
?Gou don?t say$ (r. (ugwortN? said
the landlord$ looking pu<<led.
?Ges + doN? replied (ugwort. ?4nd +
)ean what + say$ what?s )ore.?
?There?s so)e )istake so)ewhere$?
said Butter,ur$ shaking his head.
There was too )u1h of that
(r. 0nderhill to go "anishing into
thin airI or into thi1k air$ as is )ore
likely in this roo).?
?.ell$ where is he nowM? 1ried se"eral
"oi1es.
?2ow should + knowM 2e?s wel1o)e to
go where he will$ so long as he pays
in the )orning.
There?s (r. Took$ now: he?s not
"anished.?
?.ell$ + saw what + saw$ and + saw
what + didn?t$? said (ugwort
o,stinately.
?4nd + say there?s so)e )istake$?
repeated Butter,ur$ pi1king up the
tray and gathering up the
,roken 1ro1kery.
?*f 1ourse there?s a )istakeN? said
Frodo. ?+ ha"en?t "anished. 2ere + a)N
+?"e Kust ,een ha"ing a
few words with %trider in the 1o)er.?
2e 1a)e forward into the firelightI
,ut )ost of the 1o)pany ,a1ked
away$A$A e"en )ore
pertur,ed than ,efore. They were not
in the least satisfied ,y his
e5planation that he had 1rawled
away Jui1kly under the ta,les after he
had fallen. (ost of the 2o,,its and
the (en of Bree went
off then and there in a huff$ ha"ing no
fan1y for further entertain)ent that
e"ening. *ne or two
ga"e Frodo a ,la1k look and departed
)uttering a)ong the)sel"es. The
&war"es and the two or
three strange (en that still re)ained
got up and said good night to the
landlord$ ,ut not to Frodo
and his friends. Before long no one
was left ,ut %trider$ who sat on$
unnoti1ed$ ,y the wall.
(r. Butter,ur did not see) )u1h put
out. 2e re1koned$ "ery pro,a,ly$ that
his house would ,e
full again on )any future nights$ until
the present )ystery had ,een
thoroughly dis1ussed. ?'ow
what ha"e you ,een doing$ (r.
0nderhillM? he asked. ?Frightening )y
1usto)ers and ,reaking up
)y 1ro1ks with your a1ro,ati1sN?
?+ a) "ery sorry to ha"e 1aused any
trou,le$? said Frodo. ?+t was Juite
unintentional$ + assure you.
4 )ost unfortunate a11ident.?
?4ll right$ (r. 0nderhillN But if you?re
going to do any )ore tu),ling$ or
1onKuring$ or whate"er
it was$ you?d ,est warn folk
,eforehand O and warn A)e.A .e?re a
,it suspi1ious round here of
anything out of the way #un1anny$ if
you understand )eI and we don?t take
to it all of a sudden.?
?+ shan?t ,e doing anything of the sort
again$ (r. Butter,ur$ + pro)ise you.
4nd now + think +?ll
,e getting to ,ed. .e shall ,e )aking
an early start. .ill you see that our
ponies are ready ,y eight
o?1lo1kM?
?@ery goodN But ,efore you go$ +
should like a word with you in
pri"ate$ (r. 0nderhill.
%o)ething has Kust 1o)e ,a1k to )y
)ind that + ought to tell you. + hope
that you?ll not take it
a)iss. .hen +?"e seen to a thing or
two$ +?ll 1o)e along to your roo)$ if
you?re willing.?
?-ertainlyN? said FrodoI ,ut his heart
sank. 2e wondered how )any pri"ate
talks he would ha"e
,efore he got to ,ed$ and what they
would re"eal. .ere these people all in
league against hi)M 2e
,egan to suspe1t e"en old Butter,ur?s
fat fa1e of 1on1ealing dark designs.
A-hapter 1;A
%trider
Frodo$ Pippin$ and %a) )ade their
way ,a1k to the parlour. There was no
light. (erry was not
there$ and the fire had ,urned low. +t
was not until they had puffed up the
e),ers into a ,la<e and
thrown on a 1ouple of faggots that
they dis1o"ered %trider had 1o)e with
the). There he was
1al)ly sitting in a 1hair ,y the doorN
?2alloN? said Pippin. ?.ho are you$ and
what do you wantM?
?+ a) 1alled %trider$? he answered: ?and
though he )ay ha"e forgotten it$ your
friend pro)ised to
ha"e a Juiet talk with )e.?
?Gou said + )ight hear so)ething to
)y ad"antage$ + ,elie"e$? said Frodo.
?.hat ha"e you to
sayM?
?%e"eral things$? answered %trider.
?But$ of 1ourse$ + ha"e )y pri1e.?
?.hat do you )eanM? asked Frodo
sharply.
?&on?t ,e alar)edN + )ean Kust this: +
will tell you what + know$ and gi"e
you so)e good ad"i1e
O ,ut + shall want a reward.?
?4nd what will that ,e$ prayM? said
Frodo. 2e suspe1ted now that he had
fallen in with a ras1al$
and he thought un1o)forta,ly that he
had ,rought only a little )oney with
hi). 4ll of it would
hardly satisfy a rogue$ and he 1ould
not spare any of it.
?'o )ore than you 1an afford$?
answered %trider with a slow s)ile$ as
if he guessed Frodo?s
thoughts. ?Just this: you )ust take )e
along with you$ until + wish to lea"e
you.?
?*h$ indeedN? replied Frodo$ surprised$
,ut not )u1h relie"ed. ?!"en if +
wanted another
1o)panion$ + should not agree to any
su1h thing$ until + knew a good deal
)ore a,out you$ and your
,usiness.?
?!51ellentN? e51lai)ed %trider$
1rossing his legs and sitting ,a1k
1o)forta,ly. ?Gou see) to ,e
1o)ing to your senses again$ and that
is all to the good. Gou ha"e ,een
)u1h too 1areless so far.
@ery wellN + will tell you what +
know$ and lea"e the reward to you.
Gou )ay ,e glad to grant it$
when you ha"e heard )e.?
?/o on thenN? said Frodo. ?.hat do
you knowM?
?Too )u1hI too )any dark things$?
said %trider gri)ly. ?But as for your
,usiness #? 2e got up and
went to the door$ opened it Jui1kly
and looked out. Then he shut it
Juietly and sat down again. ?+
ha"e Jui1k ears$? he went on$ lowering
his "oi1e$ ?and though + 1annot
disappear$ + ha"e hunted
)any wild and wary things and + 1an
usually a"oid ,eing seen$ if + wish.
'ow$ + was ,ehind the
hedge this e"ening on the Road west
of Bree$ when four ho,,its 1a)e out
of the &ownlands. + need
not repeat all that they said to old
Bo),adil or to one another$ ,ut one
thing interested )e. APlease
re)e),er$A said one of the)$ Athat
the na)e Baggins )ust not ,e
)entioned. + a) (r. 0nderhill$
if any na)e )ust ,e gi"en.A That
interested )e so )u1h that + followed
the) here. + slipped o"er
the gate Kust ,ehind the). (ay,e (r.
Baggins has an honest reason for
lea"ing his na)e ,ehindI
,ut if so$ + should ad"ise hi) and his
friends to ,e )ore 1areful.?
?+ don?t see what interest )y na)e has
for any one in Bree$? said Frodo
angrily$ ?and + ha"e still
to learn why it interests you. (r.
%trider )ay ha"e an honest reason for
spying and ea"esdroppingI
,ut if so$ + should ad"ise hi) to
e5plain it.?
?.ell answeredN? said %trider
laughing. ?But the e5planation is
si)ple:
+ was looking for a 2o,,it 1alled
Frodo Baggins. + wanted to find hi)
Jui1kly. + had learned
that he was 1arrying out of the %hire$
well$ a se1ret that 1on1erned )e and
)y friends.
?'ow$ don?t )istake )eN? he 1ried$ as
Frodo rose fro) his seat$ and %a)
Ku)ped up with a s1owl.
?+ shall take )ore 1are of the se1ret
than you do. 4nd 1are is neededN? 2e
leaned forward and looked
at the). ?.at1h e"ery shadowN? he
said in a low "oi1e. ?Bla1k horse)en
ha"e passed through Bree.
*n (onday one 1a)e down the
/reenway$ they sayI and another
appeared later$ 1o)ing up the
/reenway fro) the south.?
There was a silen1e. 4t last Frodo
spoke to Pippin and %a): ?+ ought to
ha"e guessed it fro) the
way the gatekeeper greeted us$? he
said. ?4nd the landlord see)s to ha"e
heard so)ething. .hy did
he press us to Koin the 1o)panyM 4nd
why on earth did we ,eha"e so
foolishly: we ought to ha"e
stayed Juiet in here.?
?+t would ha"e ,een ,etter$? said
%trider. ?+ would ha"e stopped your
going into the 1o))onroo)$
if + 1ouldI ,ut the innkeeper would not
let )e in to see you$ or take a
)essage.?
?&o you think heOOO? ,egan Frodo.
?'o$ + don?t think any har) of old
Butter,ur. *nly he does not altogether
like )ysterious
"aga,onds of )y sort.? Frodo ga"e
hi) a pu<<led look. ?.ell$ + ha"e
rather a ras1ally look$ ha"e +
notM? said %trider with a 1url of his lip
and a Jueer glea) in his eye. ?But +
hope we shall get to
know one another ,etter. .hen we
do$ + hope you will e5plain what
happened at the end of your
song. For that little prankOOO?
?+t was sheer a11identN? interrupted
Frodo.
?+ wonder$? said %trider. ?411ident$
then. That a11ident has )ade your
position dangerous.?
?2ardly )ore than it was already$? said
Frodo. ?+ knew these horse)en were
pursuing )eI ,ut
now at any rate they see) to ha"e
)issed )e and to ha"e gone away.?
?Gou )ust not 1ount on thatN? said
%trider sharply. ?They will return. 4nd
)ore are 1o)ing.
There are others. + know their
nu),er. + know these Riders.? 2e
paused$ and his eyes were 1old and
hard. ?4nd there are so)e folk in Bree
who are not to ,e trusted$? he went on.
?Bill Ferny$ for
instan1e. 2e has an e"il na)e in the
Bree#land$ and Jueer folk 1all at his
house. Gou )ust ha"e
noti1ed hi) a)ong the 1o)pany: a
swarthy sneering fellow. 2e was "ery
1lose with one of the
%outhern strangers$ and they slipped
out together Kust after your La11identL.
'ot all of those
%outherners )ean wellI and as for
Ferny$ he would sell anything to
any,odyI or )ake )is1hief for
a)use)ent.?
?.hat will Ferny sell$ and what has
)y a11ident got to do with hi)M? said
Frodo$ still deter)ined
not to understand %trider?s hints.
?'ews of you$ of 1ourse$? answered
%trider. ?4n a11ount of your
perfor)an1e would ,e "ery
interesting to 1ertain people. 4fter
that they would hardly need to ,e told
your real na)e. +t see)s
to )e only too likely that they will
hear of it ,efore this night is o"er. +s
that enoughM Gou 1an do
as you like a,out )y reward: take )e
as a guide or not. But + )ay say that +
know all the lands
,etween the %hire and the (isty
(ountains$ for + ha"e wandered o"er
the) for )any years. + a)
older than + look. + )ight pro"e
useful. Gou will ha"e to lea"e the
open road after tonightI for the
horse)en will wat1h it night and day.
Gou )ay es1ape fro) Bree$ and ,e
allowed to go forward
while the %un is upI ,ut you won?t go
far. They will 1o)e on you in the
wild$ in so)e dark pla1e
where there is no help. &o you wish
the) to find youM They are terri,leN?
The ho,,its looked at hi)$ and saw
with surprise that his fa1e was drawn
as if with pain$ and his
hands 1len1hed the ar)s of his 1hair.
The roo) was "ery Juiet and still$ and
the light see)ed to
ha"e grown di). For a while he sat
with unseeing eyes as if walking in
distant )e)ory or listening
to sounds in the 'ight far away.
?ThereN? he 1ried after a )o)ent$
drawing his hand a1ross his ,row.
?Perhaps + know )ore a,out
these pursuers than you do. Gou fear
the)$ ,ut you do not fear the)
enough$ yet. To)orrow you
will ha"e to es1ape$ if you 1an. %trider
1an take you ,y paths that are seldo)
trodden. .ill you
ha"e hi)M?
There was a hea"y silen1e. Frodo
)ade no answer$ his )ind was
1onfused with dou,t and fear.
%a) frowned$ and looked at his
)asterI and at last he ,roke out:
?.ith your lea"e$ (r. Frodo$ +?d say
noN This %trider here$ he warns and he
says take 1areI and +
Asay yesA to that$ and let?s ,egin with
hi). 2e 1o)es out of the .ild$ and +
ne"er heard no good of
su1h folk. 2e knows so)ething$ that?s
plain$ and )ore than + likeI ,ut it?s no
reason why we should
let hi) go leading us out into so)e
dark pla1e far fro) help$ as he puts it.?
Pippin fidgeted and looked
un1o)forta,le. %trider did not reply
to %a)$ ,ut turned his keen eyes
on Frodo. Frodo 1aught his glan1e and
looked away. ?'o$? he said slowly. ?+
don?t agree. + think$ +
think you are not really as you 1hoose
to look. Gou ,egan to talk to )e like
the Bree#folk$ ,ut your
"oi1e has 1hanged. %till %a) see)s
right in this: + don?t see why you
should warn us to take 1are$
and yet ask us to take you on trust.
.hy the disguiseM .ho are youM
.hat do you really know
a,out O a,out )y ,usinessI and how
do you know itM?
?The lesson in 1aution has ,een well
learned$? said %trider with a gri)
s)ile. ?But 1aution is one
thing and wa"ering is another. Gou
will ne"er get to Ri"endell now on
your own$ and to trust )e is
your only 1han1e. Gou )ust )ake up
your )ind. + will answer so)e of your
Juestions$ if that will
help you to do so. But why should
you ,elie"e )y story$ if you do not
trust )e alreadyM %till here it
isOOO?
4t that )o)ent there 1a)e a kno1k at
the door. (r. Butter,ur had arri"ed
with 1andles$ and
,ehind hi) was 'o, with 1ans of hot
water. %trider withdrew into a dark
1orner.
?+?"e 1o)e to ,id you good night$? said
the landlord$ putting the 1andles on
the ta,le. ?'o,N Take
the water to the roo)sN? 2e 1a)e in
and shut the door.
?+t?s like this$? he ,egan$ hesitating and
looking trou,led. ?+f +?"e done any
har)$ +?) sorry indeed.
But one thing dri"es out another$ as
you?ll ad)itI and +?) a ,usy )an. But
first one thing and then
another this week ha"e Kogged )y
)e)ory$ as the saying goesI and not
too late + hope. Gou see$ +
was asked to look out for ho,,its of
the %hire$ and for one ,y the na)e of
Baggins in parti1ular.?
?4nd what has that got to do with )eM?
asked Frodo.
?4hN you know ,est$? said the landlord$
knowingly. ?+ won?t gi"e you awayI
,ut + was told that
this Baggins would ,e going ,y the
na)e of 0nderhill$ and + was gi"en a
des1ription that fits you
well enough$ if + )ay say so.?
?+ndeedN Let?s ha"e it thenN? said
Frodo$ unwisely interrupting.
A?4 stout little fellow with red
1heeks$?A said (r. Butter,ur
sole)nly. Pippin 1hu1kled$ ,ut %a)
looked indignant. A?That won?t help
you )u1hI it goes for )ost ho,,its.
Barley$A he says to )e$?
1ontinued (r. Butter,ur with a glan1e
at Pippin. A?But this one is taller than
so)e and fairer than
)ost$ and he has a 1left in his 1hin:
perky 1hap with a ,right eye.A
Begging your pardon$ ,ut he
said it$ not )e.?
A?2eA said itM 4nd who was heM?
asked Frodo eagerly.
?4hN That was /andalf$ if you know
who + )ean. 4 wi<ard they say he is$
,ut he?s a good friend
of )ine$ whether or no. But now +
don?t know what he?ll ha"e to say to
)e$ if + see hi) again: turn
all )y ale sour or )e into a ,lo1k of
wood$ + shouldn?t wonder. 2e?s a ,it
hasty. %till what?s done
1an?t ,e undone. ?
?.ell$ what ha"e you doneM? said
Frodo$ getting i)patient with the slow
unra"elling of
Butter,ur?s thoughts.
?.here was +M? said the landlord$
pausing and snapping his fingers. ?4h$
yesN *ld /andalf. Three
)onths ,a1k he walked right into )y
roo) without a kno1k. ABarley$A he
says$ A+?) off in the
)orning. .ill you do so)ething for
)eM Gou?"e only to na)e it$A + said.
A+?) in a hurry$A said he$
Aand +?"e no ti)e )yself$ ,ut + want a
)essage took to the %hire. 2a"e you
anyone you 1an send$
and trust to goM + 1an find so)eone$A +
said$ Ato)orrow$ )ay,e$ or the day
after. (ake it
to)orrow$A he says$ and then he ga"e
)e a letter.
?+t?s addressed plain enough$? said (r.
Butter,ur$ produ1ing a letter fro) his
po1ket$ and reading
out the address slowly and proudly
Dhe "alued his reputation as a lettered
)anE:
A(r. FR*&* B4//+'%$ B4/
!'&$ 2*BB+T*' in the %2+R!.A
?4 letter for )e fro) /andalfN? 1ried
Frodo.
?4hN? said (r. Butter,ur. ?Then your
right na)e is BagginsM?
?+t is$? said Frodo$ ?and you had ,etter
gi"e )e that letter at on1e$ and
e5plain why you ne"er sent
it. That?s what you 1a)e to tell )e$ +
suppose$ though you?"e taken a long
ti)e to 1o)e to the
point.?
Poor (r. Butter,ur looked trou,led.
?Gou?re right$ )aster$? he said$ ?and +
,eg your pardon. 4nd
+?) )ortal afraid of what /andalf will
say$ if har) 1o)es of it. But + didn?t
keep it ,a1k a#purpose.
+ put it ,y safe. Then + 1ouldn?t find
no,ody willing to go to the %hire ne5t
day$ nor the day after$
and none of )y own folk were to
spareI and then one thing after another
dro"e it out of )y )ind.
+?) a ,usy )an. +?ll do what + 1an to
set )atters right$ and if there?s any
help + 1an gi"e$ you?"e only
to na)e it.
?Lea"ing the letter aside$ + pro)ised
/andalf no less. ABarley$A he says to
)e$ Athis friend of
)ine fro) the %hire$ he )ay ,e
1o)ing out this way ,efore long$ hi)
and another. 2e?ll ,e 1alling
hi)self 0nderhill. (ind thatN But you
need ask no Juestions. 4nd if +?) not
with hi)$ he )ay ,e in
trou,le$ and he )ay need help. &o
whate"er you 1an for hi)$ and +?ll ,e
grateful$A he says. 4nd
here you are$ and trou,le is not far
off$ see)ingly.?
?.hat do you )eanM? asked Frodo.
?These ,la1k )en$? said the landlord
lowering his "oi1e. ?They?re looking
for ABaggins$A and if
they )ean well$ then +?) a ho,,it. +t
was on (onday$ and all the dogs were
ya))ering and the
geese s1rea)ing. 0n1anny$ + 1alled it.
'o,$ he 1a)e and told )e that two
,la1k )en were at the
door asking for a ho,,it 1alled
Baggins. 'o,?s hair was all stood on
end. + ,id the ,la1k fellows ,e
off$ and sla))ed the door on the)I
,ut they?"e ,een asking the sa)e
Juestion all the way to
4r1het$ + hear. 4nd that Ranger$
%trider$ he?s ,een asking Juestions$
too. Tried to get in here to see
you$ ,efore you?d had ,ite or sup$ he
did.?
?2e didN? said %trider suddenly$
1o)ing forward into the light. ?4nd
)u1h trou,le would ha"e
,een sa"ed$ if you had let hi) in$
Barli)an.?
The landlord Ku)ped with surprise.
?GouN? he 1ried. ?Gou?re always
popping up. .hat do you
want nowM?
?2e?s here with )y lea"e$? said Frodo.
?2e 1a)e to offer )e his help.?
?.ell$ you know your own ,usiness$
)ay,e$? said (r. Butter,ur$ looking
suspi1iously at %trider.
?But if + was in your plight$ + wouldn?t
take up with a Ranger.?
?Then who would you take up withM?
asked %trider. ?4 fat innkeeper who
only re)e),ers his
own na)e ,e1ause people shout it at
hi) all dayM They 1annot stay in AThe
PonyA for e"er$ and
they 1annot go ho)e. They ha"e a
long road ,efore the). .ill you go
with the) and keep the
,la1k )en offM?
?(eM Lea"e BreeN + wouldn?t do that
for any )oney$? said (r. Butter,ur$
looking really s1ared.
?But why 1an?t you stay here Juiet for
a ,it$ (r. 0nderhillM .hat are all
these Jueer goings onM
.hat are these ,la1k )en after$ and
where do they 1o)e fro)$ +?d like to
knowM?
?+?) sorry + 1an?t e5plain it all$?
answered Frodo. ?+ a) tired and "ery
worried$ and it?s a long tale.
But if you )ean to help )e$ + ought to
warn you that you will ,e in danger as
long as + a) in your
house. These Bla1k Riders: + a) not
sure$ ,ut + think$ + fear they 1o)e
fro)OOO?
?They 1o)e fro) (ordor$? said %trider
in a low "oi1e. ?Fro) (ordor$
Barli)an$ if that )eans
anything to you.?
?%a"e usN? 1ried (r. Butter,ur turning
paleI the na)e e"idently was known
to hi). ?That is the
worst news that has 1o)e to Bree in
)y ti)e.? ?+t is$? said Frodo. ?4re you
still willing to help )eM? ?+
a)$? said (r. Butter,ur. ?(ore than
e"er. Though + don?t know what the
likes of )e 1an do against$
againstOOO? he faltered.
?4gainst the %hadow in the !ast$? said
%trider Juietly. ?'ot )u1h$ Barli)an$
,ut e"ery little
helps. Gou 1an let (r. 0nderhill stay
here tonight$ as (r. 0nderhill$ and
you 1an forget the na)e
of Baggins$ till he is far away.?
?+?ll do that$? said Butter,ur. ?But
they?ll find out he?s here without help
fro) )e$ +?) afraid. +t?s a
pity (r. Baggins drew attention to
hi)self this e"ening$ to say no )ore.
The story of that (r.
Bil,o?s going off has ,een heard
,efore tonight in Bree. !"en our 'o,
has ,een doing so)e
guessing in his slow pate: and there
are others in Bree Jui1ker in the
uptake than he is.?
?.ell$ we 1an only hope the Riders
won?t 1o)e ,a1k yet$? said Frodo.
?+ hope not$ indeed$? said Butter,ur.
?But spooks or no spooks$ they won?t
get in AThe PonyAso
easy. &on?t you worry till the
)orning. 'o,?ll say no word. 'o
,la1k )an shall pass )y doors$
while + 1an stand on )y legs. (e and
)y folk?ll keep wat1h tonightI ,ut you
had ,est get so)e
sleep$ if you 1an.?
?+n any 1ase we )ust ,e 1alled at
dawn$? said Frodo. ?.e )ust get off as
early as possi,le.
Breakfast at si5#thirty$ please.?
?RightN +?ll see to the orders$? said the
landlord. ?/ood night$ (r. Baggins O
0nderhill$ + should
sayN /ood night O now$ ,less )eN
.here?s your (r. Brandy,u1kM?
?+ don?t know$? said Frodo with sudden
an5iety. They had forgotten all a,out
(erry$ and it was
getting late. ?+ a) afraid he is out. 2e
said so)ething a,out going for a
,reath of air.?
?.ell$ you do want looking after and
no )istake: your party )ight ,e on a
holidayN? said
Butter,ur. ?+ )ust go and ,ar the
doors Jui1k$ ,ut +?ll see your friend is
let in when he 1o)es. +?d
,etter send 'o, to look for hi). /ood
night to you allN? 4t last (r. Butter,ur
went out$ with
another dou,tful look at %trider and a
shake of his head. 2is footsteps
retreated down the passage.
?.ellM? said %trider. ?.hen are you
going to open that letterM? Frodo
looked 1arefully at the seal
,efore he ,roke it. +t see)ed 1ertainly
to ,e /andalf?s. +nside$ written in the
wi<ard?s strong ,ut
gra1eful s1ript$ was the following
)essage:
AT2! PR4'-+'/ P*'G$ BR!!.
(idyear?s &ay$ %hire Gear$ 1319.A
A&ear Frodo$A
ABad news has rea1hed )e here. +
)ust go off at on1e. Gou had ,etter
lea"e Bag !nd soon$ and
get out of the %hire ,efore the end of
July at latest. + will return as soon as +
1anI and + will follow
you$ if + find that you are gone. Lea"e
a )essage for )e here$ if you pass
through Bree. Gou 1an
trust the landlord DButter,urE. Gou
)ay )eet a friend of )ine on the
Road: a (an$ lean$ dark$ tall$
,y so)e 1alled %trider. 2e knows our
,usiness and will help you. (ake for
Ri"endell. There + hope
we )ay )eet again. +f + do not 1o)e$
!lrond will ad"ise you.A
AGours in hasteA
A/4'&4LFA.
AP%. &o '*T use +t again$ not far any
reason whate"erN &o not tra"el ,y
nightNA
APP%. (ake sure that it is the real
%trider. There are )any strange )en
on the roads. 2is true
na)e is 4ragornA.
4ll that is gold does not glitter$
'ot all those who wander are lostI
The old that is strong does not wither$
&eep roots are not rea1hed ,y the
frost.
Fro) the ashes a fire shall ,e woken$
4 light fro) the shadows shall springI
Renewed shall ,e ,lade that was
,roken$
The 1rownless again shall ,e king.
APPP%. + hope Butter,ur sends this
pro)ptly. 4 worthy )an$ ,ut his
)e)ory is like a
lu),er#roo): thing wanted always
,uried. +f he forgets$ + shall roast
hi).A
AFare .ellNA
Frodo read the letter to hi)self$ and
then passed it to Pippin and %a).
?Really old Butter,ur has
)ade a )ess of thingsN? he said. ?2e
deser"es roasting. +f + had got this at
on1e$ we )ight all ha"e
,een safe in Ri"endell ,y now. But
what 1an ha"e happened to /andalfM
2e writes as if he was
going into great danger.?
?2e has ,een doing that for )any
years$? said %trider.
Frodo turned and looked at hi)
thoughtfully$ wondering a,out
/andalf?s se1ond posts1ript.
?.hy didn?t you tell )e that you were
/andalf?s friend at on1eM? he asked. ?+t
would ha"e sa"ed
ti)e.?
?.ould itM .ould any of you ha"e
,elie"ed )e till nowM? said %trider. ?+
knew nothing of this
letter. For all + knew + had to persuade
you to trust )e without proofs$ if +
was to help you. +n any
1ase$ + did not intend to tell you all
a,out )yself at on1e. + had to study
AyouA first$ and )ake sure
of you. The !ne)y has set traps for
)e ,efore now. 4s soon as + had
)ade up )y )ind$ + was
ready to tell you whate"er you asked.
But + )ust ad)it$? he added with a
Jueer laugh$ ?that + hoped
you would take to )e for )y own
sake. 4 hunted )an so)eti)es
wearies of distrust and longs for
friendship. But there$ + ,elie"e )y
looks are against )e.?
?They are O at first sight at any rate$?
laughed Pippin with sudden relief
after reading /andalf?s
letter. ?But handso)e is as handso)e
does$ as we say in the %hireI and +
daresay we shall all look
)u1h the sa)e after lying for days in
hedges and dit1hes.?
?+t would take )ore than a few days$
or weeks$ or years$ of wandering in
the .ild to )ake you
look like %trider$? he answered. ?4nd
you would die first$ unless you are
)ade of sterner stuff than
you look to ,e.?
Pippin su,sidedI ,ut %a) was not
daunted$ and he still eyed %trider
du,iously. ?2ow do we
know you are the %trider that /andalf
speaks a,outM? he de)anded. ?Gou
ne"er )entioned /andalf$
till this letter 1a)e out. Gou )ight ,e
a play#a1ting spy$ for all + 1an see$
trying to get us to go with
you. Gou )ight ha"e done in the real
%trider and took his 1lothes. .hat
ha"e you to say to thatM?
?That you are a stout fellow$? answered
%triderI ?,ut + a) afraid )y only
answer to you$ %a)
/a)gee$ is this. +f + had killed the real
%trider$ + 1ould kill you. 4nd + should
ha"e killed you
already without so )u1h talk. +f + was
after the Ring$ + 1ould ha"e it O
'*.N?
2e stood up$ and see)ed suddenly to
grow taller. +n his eyes glea)ed a
light$ keen and
1o))anding. Throwing ,a1k his
1loak$ he laid his hand on the hilt of a
sword that had hung
1on1ealed ,y his side. They did not
dare to )o"e. %a) sat wide#)outhed
staring at hi) du),ly.
?But + Aa)A the real %trider$
fortunately$? he said$ looking down at
the) with his fa1e softened ,y
a sudden s)ile. ?+ a) 4ragorn son of
4rathornI and if ,y life or death + 1an
sa"e you$ + will.?
There was a long silen1e. 4t last
Frodo spoke with hesitation. ?+
,elie"ed that you were a friend
,efore the letter 1a)e$? he said$ ?or at
least + wished to. Gou ha"e frightened
)e se"eral ti)es
tonight$ ,ut ne"er in the way that
ser"ants of the !ne)y would$ or so +
i)agine. + think one of his
spies would O well$ see) fairer and
feel fouler$ if you understand.?
?+ see$? laughed %trider. ?+ look foul
and feel fair. +s that itM A4ll that is
gold does not glitter$ not
all those who wander are lost.?A
?&id the "erses apply to you thenM?
asked Frodo. ?+ 1ould not )ake out
what they were a,out. But
how did you know that they were in
/andalf?s letter$ if you ha"e ne"er
seen itM?
?+ did not know$? he answered. ?But +
a) 4ragorn$ and those "erses go with
that na)e.? 2e drew
out his sword$ and they saw that the
,lade was indeed ,roken a foot ,elow
the hilt. ?'ot )u1h use is
it$ %a)M? said %trider. ?But the ti)e is
near when it shall ,e forged anew.?
%a) said nothing.
?.ell$? said %trider$ ?with %a)?s
per)ission we will 1all that settled.
%trider shall ,e your guide.
.e shall ha"e a rough road to)orrow.
!"en if we are allowed to lea"e Bree
unhindered$ we 1an
hardly hope now to lea"e it unnoti1ed.
But + shall try to get lost as soon as
possi,le. + know one or
two ways out of Bree#land other than
the )ain road. +f on1e we shake off
the pursuit$ + shall )ake
for .eathertop.?
?.eathertopM? said %a). ?.hat?s thatM?
?+t is a hill$ Kust to the north of the
Road$ a,out half way fro) here to
Ri"endell. +t 1o))ands a
wide "iew all roundI and there we
shall ha"e a 1han1e to look a,out us.
/andalf will )ake for that
point$ if he follows us. 4fter
.eathertop our Kourney will ,e1o)e
)ore diffi1ult$ and we shall ha"e
to 1hoose ,etween "arious dangers.?
?.hen did you last see /andalfM?
asked Frodo. ?&o you know where he
is$ or what he is doingM?
%trider looked gra"e. ?+ do not know$?
he said. ?+ 1a)e west with hi) in the
spring. + ha"e often
kept wat1h on the ,orders of the %hire
in the last few years$ when he was
,usy elsewhere. 2e
seldo) left it unguarded. .e last )et
on the first of (ay: at %a) Ford down
the Brandywine. 2e
told )e that his ,usiness with you had
gone well$ and that you would ,e
starting for Ri"endell in
the last week of %epte),er. 4s +
knew he was at your side$ + went
away on a Kourney of )y own.
4nd that has pro"ed illI for plainly
so)e news rea1hed hi)$ and + was
not at hand to help.
?+ a) trou,led$ for the first ti)e sin1e
+ ha"e known hi). .e should ha"e
had )essages$ e"en if
he 1ould not 1o)e hi)self. .hen +
returned$ )any days ago$ + heard the
ill news. The tidings had
gone far and wide that /andalf was
)issing and the horse)en had ,een
seen. +t was the !l"en#folk
of /ildor that told )e thisI and later
they told )e that you had left your
ho)eI ,ut there was no
news of your lea"ing Bu1kland. +
ha"e ,een wat1hing the !ast Road
an5iously.?
?&o you think the Bla1k Riders ha"e
anything to do with it O with
/andalf?s a,sen1e$ + )eanM?
asked Frodo.
?+ do not know of anything else that
1ould ha"e hindered hi)$ e51ept the
!ne)y hi)self$? said
%trider. ?But do not gi"e up hopeN
/andalf is greater than you %hire#folk
know O as a rule you 1an
only see his Kokes and toys. But this
,usiness of ours will ,e his greatest
task.?
Pippin yawned. ?+ a) sorry$? he said$
?,ut + a) dead tired. +n spite of all the
danger and worry +
)ust go to ,ed$ or sleep where + sit.
.here is that silly fellow$ (erryM +t
would ,e the last straw$ if
we had to go out in the dark to look
for hi).?
4t that )o)ent they heard a door
sla)I then feet 1a)e running along
the passage. (erry 1a)e
in with a rush followed ,y 'o,. 2e
shut the door hastily$ and leaned
against it. 2e was out of
,reath. They stared at hi) in alar)
for a )o)ent ,efore he gasped: ?+
ha"e seen the)$ FrodoN +
ha"e seen the)N Bla1k RidersN?
?Bla1k RidersN? 1ried Frodo. ?.hereM?
?2ere. +n the "illage. + stayed indoors
for an hour. Then as you did not 1o)e
,a1k$ + went out for
a stroll. + had 1o)e ,a1k again and
was standing Kust outside the light of
the la)p looking at the
stars. %uddenly + shi"ered and felt that
so)ething horri,le was 1reeping near:
there was a son of
deeper shade a)ong the shadows
a1ross the road$ Kust ,eyond the edge
of the la)plight. +t slid
away at on1e into the dark without a
sound. There was no horse.?
?.hi1h way did it goM? asked %trider$
suddenly and sharply. (erry started$
noti1ing the stranger
for the first ti)e. ?/o onN? said Frodo.
?This is a friend of /andalf?s. + will
e5plain later.?
?+t see)ed to )ake off up the Road$
eastward$? 1ontinued (erry. ?+ tried to
follow. *f 1ourse$ it
"anished al)ost at on1eI ,ut + went
round the 1orner and on as far as the
last house on the Road.?
%trider looked at (erry with wonder.
?Gou ha"e a stout heart$? he saidI ?,ut
it was foolish.?
?+ don?t know$? said (erry. ?'either
,ra"e nor silly$ + think. + 1ould hardly
help )yself. + see)ed
to ,e drawn so)ehow. 4nyway$ +
went$ and suddenly + heard "oi1es ,y
the hedge. *ne was
)utteringI and the other was
whispering$ or hissing. + 1ouldn?t hear
a word that was said. + did not
1reep any 1loser$ ,e1ause + ,egan to
tre),le all o"er. Then + felt terrified$
and + turned ,a1k$ and
was Kust going to ,olt ho)e$ when
so)ething 1a)e ,ehind )e and +... +
fell o"er.?
?+ found hi)$ sir$? put in 'o,. ?(r.
Butter,ur sent )e out with a lantern. +
went down to .estgate$
and then ,a1k up towards %outh#gate.
Just nigh Bill Ferny?s house + thought
+ 1ould see
so)ething in the Road. + 1ouldn?t
swear to it$ ,ut it looked to )e as if
two )en was stooping o"er
so)ething$ lilting it. + ga"e a shout$
,ut where + got up to the spot there
was no signs of the)$ and
only (r. Brandy,u1k lying ,y the
roadside. 2e see)ed to ,e asleep. L+
thought + had fallen into
deep water$L he says to )e$ when +
shook hi). @ery Jueer he was$ and as
soon as + had roused hi)$
he got up and ran ,a1k here like a
hare.?
?+ a) afraid that?s true$? said (erry$
?though + don?t know what + said. + had
an ugly drea)$ whi1h
+ 1an?t re)e),er. + went to pie1es. +
don?t know what 1a)e o"er )e.?
?+ do$? said %trider. ?The Bla1k Breath.
The Riders )ust ha"e left their horses
outside$ and passed
,a1k through the %outh#gate in se1ret.
They will know all the news now$ for
they ha"e "isited Bill
FernyI and pro,a,ly that %outherner
was a spy as well. %o)ething )ay
happen in the night$ ,efore
we lea"e Bree.?
?.hat will happenM? said (erry. ?.ill
they atta1k the innM? ?'o$ + think not$?
said %trider. ?They
are not all here yet. 4nd in any 1ase
that is not their way. +n dark and
loneliness they are strongestI
they will not openly atta1k a house
where there are lights and )any
people #not until they are
desperate$ not while all the long
leagues of !riador still lie ,efore us.
But their power is in terror$
and already so)e in Bree are in their
1lut1h. They will dri"e these wret1hes
to so)e e"il work:
Ferny$ and so)e of the strangers$ and$
)ay,e$ the gatekeeper too. They had
words with 2arry at
.est#gate on (onday. + was
wat1hing the). 2e was white and
shaking when they left hi).?
?.e see) to ha"e ene)ies all round$?
said Frodo. ?.hat are we to doM?
?%tay here$ and do not go to your
roo)sN They are sure to ha"e found
out whi1h those are. The
ho,,it#roo)s ha"e windows looking
north and 1lose to the ground. .e will
all re)ain together and
,ar this window and the door. But
first 'o, and + will fet1h your
luggage.?
.hile %trider was gone$ Frodo ga"e
(erry a rapid a11ount of all that had
happened sin1e
supper. (erry was still reading and
pondering /andalf?s letter when
%trider and 'o, returned.
?.ell (asters$? said 'o,$ ?+?"e ruffled
up the 1lothes and put in a ,olster
down the )iddle of
ea1h ,ed. 4nd + )ade a ni1e i)itation
of your head with a ,rown woollen
)at$ (r. Bag O
0nderhill$ sir$? he added with a grin.
Pippin laughed. ?@ery life#likeN? he
said. ?But what will happen when they
ha"e penetrated the
disguiseM?
?.e shall see$? said %trider. ?Let us
hope to hold the fort till )orning.?
?/ood night to you$? said 'o,$ and
went off to take his part in the wat1h
on the doors.
Their ,ags and gear they piled on the
parlour#floor. They pushed a low
1hair against the door
and shut the window. Peering out$
Frodo saw that the night was still
1lear. The %i1kle was swinging
,right a,o"e the shoulders of Bree#
hill. 2e then 1losed and ,arred the
hea"y inside shutters and
drew the 1urtains together. %trider
,uilt up the fire and ,lew out all the
1andles.
The ho,,its lay down on their
,lankets with their feet towards the
hearthI ,ut %trider settled
hi)self in the 1hair against the door.
They talked for a little$ for (erry still
had se"eral Juestions to
ask.
?Ju)ped o"er the (oonN? 1hu1kled
(erry as he rolled hi)self in his
,lanket. ?@ery ridi1ulous of
you$ FrodoN But + wish + had ,een
there to see. The worthies of Bree will
,e dis1ussing it a hundred
years hen1e.?
?+ hope so$? said %trider. Then they all
fell silent$ and one ,y one the ho,,its
dropped off to sleep.
A-hapter 11A
4 nife in the &ark
4s they prepared for sleep in the inn
at Bree$ darkness lay on Bu1klandI a
)ist strayed in the
dells and along the ri"er#,ank. The
house at -ri1khollow stood silent.
Fatty Bolger opened the door
1autiously and peered out. 4 feeling
of fear had ,een growing on hi) all
day$ and he was una,le to
rest or go to ,ed: there was a ,rooding
threat in the ,reathless night#air. 4s
he stared out into the
gloo)$ a ,la1k shadow )o"ed under
the treesI the gate see)ed to open of
its own a11ord and 1lose
again without a sound. Terror sei<ed
hi). 2e shrank ,a1k$ and for a
)o)ent he stood tre),ling in
the hall. Then he shut and lo1ked the
door.
The night deepened. There 1a)e the
soft sound of horses led with stealth
along the lane. *utside
the gate they stopped$ and three ,la1k
figures entered$ like shades of night
1reeping a1ross the
ground. *ne went to the door$ one to
the 1orner of the house on either sideI
and there they stood$ as
still as the shadows of stones$ while
night went slowly on. The house and
the Juiet trees see)ed to
,e waiting ,reathlessly.
There was a faint stir in the lea"es$
and a 1o1k 1rowed far away. The 1old
hour ,efore dawn was
passing. The figure ,y the door
)o"ed. +n the dark without )oon or
stars a drawn ,lade glea)ed$
as if a 1hill light had ,een unsheathed.
There was a ,low$ soft ,ut hea"y$ and
the door shuddered.
?*pen$ in the na)e of (ordorN? said a
"oi1e thin and )ena1ing.
4t a se1ond ,low the door yielded and
fell ,a1k$ with ti),ers ,urst and lo1k
,roken. The ,la1k
figures passed swiftly in.
4t that )o)ent$ a)ong the trees
near,y$ a horn rang out. +t rent the
night like fire on a hill#top.
4.4!N F!4RN F+R!N F*!%N
4.4!N
Fatty Bolger had not ,een idle. 4s
soon as he saw the dark shapes 1reep
fro) the garden$ he
knew that he )ust run for it$ or perish.
4nd run he did$ out of the ,a1k door$
through the garden$
and o"er the fields. .hen he rea1hed
the nearest house$ )ore than a )ile
away$ he 1ollapsed on the
doorstep. ?'o$ no$ noN? he was 1rying.
?'o$ not )eN + ha"en?t got itN? +t was
so)e ti)e ,efore anyone
1ould )ake out what he was ,a,,ling
a,out. 4t last they got the idea that
ene)ies were in
Bu1kland$ so)e strange in"asion fro)
the *ld Forest. 4nd then they lost no
)ore ti)e.
F!4RN F+R!N F*!%N
The Brandy,u1ks were ,lowing the
2orn#1all of Bu1kland$ that had not
,een sounded for a
hundred years$ not sin1e the white
wol"es 1a)e in the Fell .inter$ when
the Brandywine was
fro<en o"er.
4.4!N 4.4!N
Far#away answering horns were
heard. The alar) was spreading. The
,la1k figures fled fro)
the house. *ne of the) let fall a
ho,,it#1loak on the step$ as he ran. +n
the lane the noise of hoofs
,roke out$ and gathering to a gallop$
went ha))ering away into the
darkness. 4ll a,out
-ri1khollow there was the sound of
horns ,lowing$ and "oi1es 1rying and
feet running. But the
Bla1k Riders rode like a gale to the
'orth#gate. Let the little people ,lowN
%auron would deal with
the) later. (eanwhile they had
another errand: they knew now that
the house was e)pty and the
Ring had gone. They rode down the
guards at the gate and "anished fro)
the %hire.
+n the early night Frodo woke fro)
deep sleep$ suddenly$ as if so)e
sound or presen1e had
distur,ed hi). 2e saw that %trider
was sitting alert in his 1hair: his eyes
glea)ed in the light of the
fire$ whi1h had ,een tended and was
,urning ,rightlyI ,ut he )ade no sign
or )o"e)ent.
Frodo soon went to sleep againI ,ut
his drea)s were again trou,led with
the noise of wind and
of galloping hoofs. The wind see)ed
to ,e 1urling round the house and
shaking itI and far off he
heard a horn ,lowing wildly. 2e
opened his eyes$ and heard a 1o1k
1rowing lustily in the inn#yard.
%trider had drawn the 1urtains and
pushed ,a1k the shutters with a 1lang.
The first grey light of day
was in the roo)$ and a 1old air was
1o)ing through the open window.
4s soon as %trider had roused the)
all$ he led the way to their ,edroo)s.
.hen they saw the)
they were glad that they had taken his
ad"i1e: the windows had ,een for1ed
open and were
swinging$ and the 1urtains were
flappingI the ,eds were tossed a,out$
and the ,olsters slashed and
flung upon the floorI the ,rown )at
was torn to pie1es.
%trider i))ediately went to fet1h the
landlord. Poor (r. Butter,ur looked
sleepy and
frightened. 2e had hardly 1losed his
eyes all night Dso he saidE$ ,ut he had
ne"er heard a sound.
?'e"er has su1h a thing happened in
)y ti)eN? he 1ried$ raising his hands
in horror. ?/uests
una,le to sleep in their ,eds$ and good
,olsters ruined and allN .hat are we
1o)ing toM?
?&ark ti)es$? said %trider. ?But for the
present you )ay ,e left in pea1e$
when you ha"e got rid of
us. .e will lea"e at on1e. 'e"er )ind
a,out ,reakfast: a drink and a ,ite
standing will ha"e to do.
.e shall ,e pa1ked in a few )inutes.?
(r. Butter,ur hurried off to see that
their ponies were got ready$ and to
fet1h the) a ?,ite?. But
"ery soon he 1a)e ,a1k in dis)ay.
The ponies had "anishedN The sta,le#
doors had all ,een opened
in the night$ and they were gone: not
only (erry?s ponies$ ,ut e"ery other
horse and ,east in the
pla1e.
Frodo was 1rushed ,y the news. 2ow
1ould they hope to rea1h Ri"endell on
foot$ pursued ,y
)ounted ene)iesM They )ight as well
set out for the (oon. %trider sat silent
for a while$ looking at
the ho,,its$ as if he was weighing up
their strength and 1ourage.
?Ponies would not help us to es1ape
horse)en$? he said at last$
thoughtfully$ as if he guessed
what Frodo had in )ind. ?.e should
not go )u1h slower on foot$ not on
the roads that + )ean to
take. + was going to walk in any 1ase.
+t is the food and stores that trou,le
)e. .e 1annot 1ount on
getting anything to eat ,etween here
and Ri"endell$ e51ept what we take
with usI and we ought to
take plenty to spareI for we )ay ,e
delayed$ or for1ed to go round#a,out$
far out of the dire1t way.
2ow )u1h are you prepared to 1arry
on your ,a1ksM?
?4s )u1h as we )ust$? said Pippin
with a sinking heart$ ,ut trying to
show that he was tougher
than he looked Dor feltE.
?+ 1an 1arry enough for two$? said %a)
defiantly.
?-an?t anything ,e done$ (r.
Butter,urM? asked Frodo. ?-an?t we get
a 1ouple of ponies in the
"illage$ or e"en one Kust for the
,aggageM + don?t suppose we 1ould
hire the)$ ,ut we )ight ,e a,le
to ,uy the)$? he added$ dou,tfully$
wondering if he 1ould afford it.
?+ dou,t it$? said the landlord
unhappily. ?The two or three riding#
ponies that there were in Bree
were sta,led in )y yard$ and they?re
gone. 4s for other ani)als$ horses or
ponies for draught or
what not$ there are "ery few of the)
in Bree$ and they won?t ,e for sale.
But +?ll do what + 1an. +?ll
rout out Bo, and send hi) round as
soon as )ay ,e.?
?Ges$? said %trider relu1tantly$ ?you had
,etter do that. + a) afraid we shall
ha"e to try to get one
pony at least. But so ends all hope of
starting early$ and slipping away
JuietlyN .e )ight as well
ha"e ,lown a horn to announ1e our
departure. That was part of their plan$
no dou,t.?
?There is one 1ru), of 1o)fort$? said
(erry$ ?and )ore than a 1ru),$ +
hope: we 1an ha"e
,reakfast while we wait O and sit
down to it. Let?s get hold of 'o,N?
+n the end there was )ore than three
hours? delay. Bo, 1a)e ,a1k with the
report that no horse
or pony was to ,e got for lo"e or
)oney in the neigh,ourhood O e51ept
one: Bill Ferny had one that
he )ight possi,ly sell. ?4 poor old
half#star"ed 1reature it is$? said Bo,I
?,ut he won?t part with it for
less than thri1e its worth$ seeing how
you?re pla1ed$ not if + knows Bill
Ferny.?
?Bill FernyM? said Frodo. ?+sn?t there
so)e tri1kM .ouldn?t the ,east ,olt
,a1k to hi) with all our
stuff$ or help in tra1king us$ or
so)ethingM?
?+ wonder$? said %trider. ?But + 1annot
i)agine any ani)al running ho)e to
hi)$ on1e it got
away. + fan1y this is only an
afterthought of kind (aster Ferny?s:
Kust a way of in1reasing his profits
fro) the affair. The 1hief danger is
that the poor ,east is pro,a,ly at
death?s door. But there does
not see) any 1hoi1e. .hat does he
want for itM?
Bill Ferny?s pri1e was twel"e sil"er
penniesI and that was indeed at least
three ti)es the pony?s
"alue in those pans. +t pro"ed to ,e a
,ony$ underfed$ and dispirited ani)alI
,ut it did not look like
dying Kust yet. (r. Butter,ur paid for
it hi)self$ and offered (erry another
eighteen pen1e as so)e
1o)pensation for the lost ani)als. 2e
was an honest )an$ and well#off as
things were re1koned in
BreeI ,ut thirty sil"er pennies was a
sore ,low to hi)$ and ,eing 1heated
,y Bill Ferny )ade it
harder to ,ear.
4s a )atter of fa1t he 1a)e out on the
right side in the end. +t turned out later
that only one
horse had ,een a1tually stolen. The
others had ,een dri"en off$ or had
,olted in terror$ and were
found wandering in different 1orners
of the Bree#land. (erry?s ponies had
es1aped altogether$ and
e"entually Dha"ing a good deal of
senseE they )ade their way to the
&owns in sear1h of Fatty
Lu)pkin. %o they 1a)e under the
1are of To) Bo),adil for a while$
and were well#off. But when
news of the e"ents at Bree 1a)e to
To)?s ears$ he sent the) to (r.
Butter,ur$ who thus got fi"e
good ,easts at a "ery fair pri1e. They
had to work harder in Bree$ ,ut Bo,
treated the) wellI so on
the whole they were lu1ky: they
)issed a dark and dangerous Kourney.
But they ne"er 1a)e to
Ri"endell.
2owe"er$ in the )eanwhile for all
(r. Butter,ur knew his )oney was
gone for good$ or for ,ad.
4nd he had other trou,les. For there
was a great 1o))otion as soon as the
re)aining guests were
astir and heard news of the raid on the
inn. The southern tra"ellers had lost
se"eral horses and
,la)ed the innkeeper loudly$ until it
,e1a)e known that one of their own
nu),er had also
disappeared in the night$ none other
than Bill Ferny?s sJuint#eyed
1o)panion. %uspi1ion fell on hi)
at on1e.
?+f you pi1k up with a horse#thief$ and
,ring hi) to )y house$? said
Butter,ur angrily$ ?you ought
to pay for all the da)age yoursel"es
and not 1o)e shouting at )e. /o and
ask Ferny where your
handso)e friend isN? But it appeared
that he was no,ody?s friend$ and
no,ody 1ould re1olle1t when
he had Koined their party.
4fter their ,reakfast the ho,,its had
to re#pa1k$ and get together further
supplies for the longer
Kourney they were now e5pe1ting. +t
was 1lose on ten o?1lo1k ,efore they at
last got off. By that
ti)e the whole of Bree was ,u<<ing
with e51ite)ent. Frodo?s "anishing
tri1kI the appearan1e of the
,la1k horse)enI the ro,,ing of the
sta,lesI and not least the news that
%trider the Ranger had
Koined the )ysterious ho,,its$ )ade
su1h a tale as would last for )any
une"entful years. (ost of
the inha,itants of Bree and %taddle$
and )any e"en fro) -o),e and
4r1het$ were 1rowded in the
road to see the tra"ellers start. The
other guests in the inn were at the
doors or hanging out of the
windows.
%trider had 1hanged his )ind$ and he
de1ided to lea"e Bree ,y the )ain
road. 4ny atte)pt to set
off a1ross 1ountry at on1e would only
)ake )atters worse: half the
inha,itants would follow the)$
to see what they were up to$ and to
pre"ent the) fro) trespassing.
They said farewell to 'o, and Bo,$
and took lea"e of (r. Butter,ur with
)any thanks. ?+ hope
we shall )eet again so)e day$ when
things are )erry on1e )ore$? said
Frodo. ?+ should like nothing
,etter than to stay in your house in
pea1e for a while.?
They tra)ped off$ an5ious and
downhearted$ under the eyes of the
1rowd. 'ot all the fa1es were
friendly$ nor all the words that were
shouted. But %trider see)ed to ,e
held in awe ,y )ost of the
Bree#landers$ and those that he stared
at shut their )ouths and drew away.
2e walked in front with
FrodoI ne5t 1a)e (erry and PippinI
and last 1a)e %a) leading the pony$
whi1h was laden with as
)u1h of their ,aggage as they had the
heart to gi"e itI ,ut already it looked
less deKe1ted$ as if it
appro"ed of the 1hange in its fortunes.
%a) was 1hewing an apple
thoughtfully. 2e had a po1ket
full of the): a parting present fro)
'o, and Bo,. ?4pples for walking$
and a pipe for sitting$? he
said. ?But + re1kon +?ll )iss the) ,oth
,efore long.?
The ho,,its took no noti1e of the
inJuisiti"e heads that peeped out of
doors$ or popped o"er
walls and fen1es$ as they passed. But
as they drew near to the further gate$
Frodo saw a dark ill#kept
house ,ehind a thi1k hedge: the last
house in the "illage. +n one of the
windows he 1aught a gli)pse
of a sallow fa1e with sly$ slanting
eyesI ,ut it "anished at on1e.
?%o that?s where that southerner is
hidingN? he thought. ?2e looks )ore
than half like a go,lin.?
*"er the hedge another )an was
staring ,oldly. 2e had hea"y ,la1k
,rows$ and dark s1ornful
eyesI his large )outh 1urled in a
sneer. 2e was s)oking a short ,la1k
pipe. 4s they approa1hed he
took it out of his )outh and spat.
?(orning$ LongshanksN? he said. ?*ff
earlyM Found so)e friends at lastM?
%trider nodded$ ,ut did
not answer. ?(orning$ )y little
friendsN? he said to the others. ?+
suppose you know who you?"e
taken up withM That?s %ti1k#at#naught
%trider$ that isN Though +?"e heard
other na)es not so pretty.
.at1h out tonightN 4nd you$ %a))ie$
don?t go ill#treating )y poor old ponyN
PahN? 2e spat again.
%a) turned Jui1kly. ?4nd you. Ferny$?
he said$ ?put your ugly fa1e out of
sight$ or it will get
hurt.? .ith a sudden fli1k$ Jui1k as
lightning$ an apple left his hand and
hit Bill sJuare on the nose.
2e du1ked too late$ and 1urses 1a)e
fro) ,ehind the hedge. ?.aste of a
good apple$? said %a)
regretfully$ and strode on.
4t last they left the "illage ,ehind.
The es1ort of 1hildren and stragglers
that had followed the)
got tired and turned ,a1k at the %outh#
gate. Passing through$ they kept on
along the Road for so)e
)iles. +t ,ent to the left$ 1ur"ing ,a1k
into its eastward line as it rounded the
feet of Bree#hill$ and
then it ,egan to run swiftly
downwards into wooded 1ountry. To
their left they 1ould see so)e of
the houses and ho,,it#holes of
%taddle on the gentler south#eastern
slopes of the hillI down in a
deep hollow away north of the Road
there were wisps of rising s)oke that
showed where -o),e
layI
4r1het was hidden in the trees
,eyond.
4fter the Road had run down so)e
way$ and had left Bree#hill standing
tall and ,rown ,ehind$
they 1a)e on a narrow tra1k that led
off towards the 'orth. ?This is where
we lea"e the open and
take to 1o"er$? said %trider.
?'ot a Lshort 1utL$ + hope$? said Pippin.
?*ur last short 1ut through woods
nearly ended in
disaster.?
?4h$ ,ut you had not got )e with you
then$? laughed %trider. ?(y 1uts$ short
or long$ don?t go
wrong.? 2e took a look up and down
the Road. 'o one was in sightI and he
led the way Jui1kly
down towards the wooded "alley.
2is plan$ as far as they 1ould
understand it without knowing the
1ountry$ was to go towards
4r1het at first$ ,ut to ,ear right and
pass it on the east$ and then to steer as
straight as he 1ould o"er
the wild lands to .eathertop 2ill. +n
that way they would$ if all went well$
1ut off a great loop of
the Road$ whi1h further on ,ent
southwards to a"oid the (idgewater
(arshes. But$ of 1ourse$ they
would ha"e to pass through the
)arshes the)sel"es$ and %trider?s
des1ription of the) was not
en1ouraging.
2owe"er$ in the )eanwhile$ walking
was not unpleasant. +ndeed$ if it had
not ,een for the
distur,ing e"ents of the night ,efore$
they would ha"e enKoyed this pan of
the Kourney ,etter than
any up to that ti)e. The sun was
shining$ 1lear ,ut not too hot. The
woods in the "alley were still
leafy and full of 1olour$ and see)ed
pea1eful and wholeso)e. %trider
guided the) 1onfidently
a)ong the )any 1rossing paths$
although left to the)sel"es they
would soon ha"e ,een at a loss.
2e was taking a wandering 1ourse
with )any turns and dou,lings$ to put
off any pursuit.
?Bill Ferny will ha"e wat1hed where
we left the Road$ for 1ertain$? he saidI
?though + don?t think
he will follow us hi)self. 2e knows
the land round here well enough$ ,ut
he knows he is not a
)at1h for )e in a wood. +t is what he
)ay tell others that + a) afraid of. +
don?t suppose they are far
away. +f they think we ha"e )ade for
4r1het$ so )u1h the ,etter.?
.hether ,e1ause of %trider?s skill or
for so)e other reason$ they saw no
sign and heard no sound
of any other li"ing thing all that day:
neither two#footed$ e51ept ,irdsI nor
four#footed$ e51ept one
fo5 and a few sJuirrels. The ne5t day
they ,egan to steer a steady 1ourse
eastwardsI and still all was
Juiet and pea1eful. *n the third day
out fro) Bree they 1a)e out of the
-hetwood. The land had
,een falling steadily$ e"er sin1e they
turned aside fro) the Road$ and they
now entered a wide flat
e5panse of 1ountry$ )u1h )ore
diffi1ult to )anage. They were far
,eyond the ,orders of the Breeland$
out in the pathless wilderness$ and
drawing near to the (idge#water
(arshes.
The ground now ,e1a)e da)p$ and in
pla1es ,oggy and here and there they
1a)e upon pools$
and wide stret1hes of reeds and rushes
filled with the war,ling of little
hidden ,irds. They had to
pi1k their way 1arefully to keep ,oth
dry#footed and on their proper 1ourse.
4t first they )ade fanprogress$
,ut as they went on$ their passage
,e1a)e slower and )ore dangerous.
The )arshes were
,ewildering and trea1herous$ and
there was no per)anent trail e"en for
Rangers to find through
their shifting Juag)ires. The flies
,egan to tor)ent the)$ and the air
was full of 1louds of tiny
)idges that 1rept up their slee"es and
,ree1hes and into their hair.
?+ a) ,eing eaten ali"eN? 1ried Pippin.
?(idgewaterN There are )ore )idges
than waterN?
?.hat do they li"e on when they 1an?t
get ho,,itM? asked %a)$ s1rat1hing his
ne1k.
They spent a )isera,le day in this
lonely and unpleasant 1ountry. Their
1a)ping#pla1e was
da)p$ 1old$ and un1o)forta,leI and
the ,iting inse1ts would not let the)
sleep. There were also
a,o)ina,le 1reatures haunting the
reeds and tusso1ks that fro) the
sound of the) were e"il
relati"es of the 1ri1ket. There were
thousands of the)$ and they sJueaked
all round$ Aneek#,reek$
,reek#neek$A un1easingly all the
night$ until the ho,,its were nearly
franti1.
The ne5t day$ the fourth$ was little
,etter$ and the night al)ost as
1o)fortless. Though the
'eeker,reekers Das %a) 1alled the)E
had ,een left ,ehind$ the )idges still
pursued the).
4s Frodo lay$ tired ,ut una,le to 1lose
his eyes$ it see)ed to hi) that far
away there 1a)e a
light in the eastern sky: it flashed and
faded )any ti)es. +t was not the
dawn$ for that was still so)e
hours off.
?.hat is the lightM? he said to %trider$
who had risen$ and was standing$
ga<ing ahead into the
night.
?+ do not know$? %trider answered. ?+t is
too distant to )ake out. +t is like
lightning that leaps up
fro) the hill#tops.?
Frodo lay down again$ ,ut for a long
while he 1ould still see the white
flashes$ and against the)
the tall dark figure of %trider$ standing
silent and wat1hful. 4t last he passed
into uneasy sleep.
They had not gone far on the fifth day
when they left the last straggling
pools and reed#,eds of
the )arshes ,ehind the). The land
,efore the) ,egan steadily to rise
again. 4way in the distan1e
eastward they 1ould now see a line of
hills. The highest of the) was at the
right of the line and a
little separated fro) the others. +t had
a 1oni1al top$ slightly flattened at the
su))it.
?That is .eathertop$? said %trider. ?The
*ld Road$ whi1h we ha"e left far
away on our right$ runs
to the south of it and passes not far
fro) its foot. .e )ight rea1h it ,y
noon to)orrow$ if we go
straight towards it. + suppose we had
,etter do so.?
?.hat do you )eanM? asked Frodo.
?+ )ean: when we do get there$ it is
not 1ertain what we shall find. +t is
1lose to the Road.?
?But surely we were hoping to find
/andalf thereM?
?GesI ,ut the hope is faint. +f he 1o)es
this way at all$ he )ay not pass
through Bree$ and so he
)ay not know what we are doing.
4nd anyway$ unless ,y lu1k we arri"e
al)ost together$ we shall
)iss one anotherI it will not ,e safe
for hi) or for us to wait there long. +f
the Riders fail to find us
in the wilderness$ they are likely to
)ake for .eathertop the)sel"es. +t
1o))ands a wide "iew all
round. +ndeed$ there are )any ,irds
and ,easts in this 1ountry that 1ould
see us$ as we stand here$
fro) that hill#top. 'ot all the ,irds are
to ,e trusted$ and there are other spies
)ore e"il than they
are.?
The ho,,its looked an5iously at the
distant hills. %a) looked up into the
pale sky$ fearing to see
hawks or eagles ho"ering o"er the)
with ,right unfriendly eyes. ?Gou do
)ake )e feel
un1o)forta,le and loneso)e$ %triderN?
he said.
?.hat do you ad"ise us to doM? asked
Frodo.
?+ think$? answered %trider slowly$ as if
he was not Juite sure$ ?+ think the ,est
thing is to go as
straight eastward fro) here as we 1an$
to )ake for the line of hills$ not for
.eathertop. There we
1an strike a path + know that runs at
their feetI it will ,ring us to
.eathertop fro) the north and less
openly. Then we shall see what we
shall see.?
4ll that day they plodded along$ until
the 1old and early e"ening 1a)e
down. The land ,e1a)e
drier and )ore ,arrenI ,ut )ists and
"apours lay ,ehind the) on the
)arshes. 4 few )elan1holy
,irds were piping and wailing$ until
the round red sun sank slowly into the
western shadowsI then
an e)pty silen1e fell. The ho,,its
thought of the soft light of sunset
glan1ing through the 1heerful
windows of Bag !nd far away.
4t the day?s end they 1a)e to a strea)
that wandered down fro) the hills to
lose itself in the
stagnant )arshland$ and they went up
along its ,anks while the light lasted.
+t was already night
when at last they halted and )ade
their 1a)p under so)e stunted alder#
trees ,y the shores of the
strea). 4head there loo)ed now
against the dusky sky the ,leak and
treeless ,a1ks of the hills.
That night they set a wat1h$ and
%trider$ it see)ed$ did not sleep at all.
The )oon was wa5ing$ and
in the early night#hours a 1old grey
light lay on the land.
'e5t )orning they set out again soon
after sunrise. There was a frost in the
air$ and the sky was
a pale 1lear ,lue. The ho,,its felt
refreshed$ as if they had had a night of
un,roken sleep. 4lready
they were getting used to )u1h
walking on short 1o))ons O shorter
at any rate than what in the
%hire they would ha"e thought ,arely
enough to keep the) on their legs.
Pippin de1lared that Frodo
was looking twi1e the ho,,it that he
had ,een.
?@ery odd$? said Frodo$ tightening his
,elt$ ?1onsidering that there is a1tually
a good deal less of
)e. + hope the thinning pro1ess will
not go on indefinitely$ or + shall
,e1o)e a wraith.?
?&o not speak of su1h thingsN? said
%trider Jui1kly$ and with surprising
earnestness.
The hills drew nearer. They )ade an
undulating ridge$ often rising al)ost
to a thousand feet$
and here and there falling again to low
1lefts or passes leading into the
eastern land ,eyond. 4long
the 1rest of the ridge the ho,,its 1ould
see what looked to ,e the re)ains of
green#grown walls and
dikes$ and in the 1lefts there still stood
the ruins of old works of stone. By
night they had rea1hed
the feet of the westward slopes$ and
there they 1a)ped. +t was the night of
the fifth of *1to,er$ and
they were si5 days out fro) Bree.
+n the )orning they found$ for the
first ti)e sin1e they had left the
-hetwood$ a tra1k plain to
see. They turned right and followed it
southwards. +t ran 1unningly$ taking a
line that see)ed
1hosen so as to keep as )u1h hidden
as possi,le fro) the "iew$ ,oth of the
hill#tops a,o"e and of
the flats to the west. +t di"ed into
dells$ and hugged steep ,anksI and
where it passed o"er flatter
and )ore open ground on either side
of it there were lines of large ,oulders
and hewn stones that
s1reened the tra"ellers al)ost like a
hedge.
?+ wonder who )ade this path$ and
what for$? said (erry$ as they walked
along one of these
a"enues$ where the stones were
unusually large and 1losely set. ?+ a)
not sure that + like it: it has a
O well$ rather a ,arrow#wightish look.
+s there any ,arrow on .eathertopM?
?'o. There is no ,arrow on
.eathertop$ nor on any of these hills$?
answered %trider. ?The (en of
the .est did not li"e hereI though in
their latter days they defended the
hills for a while against the
e"il that 1a)e out of 4ng)ar. This
path was )ade to ser"e the forts along
the walls. But long
,efore$ in the first days of the 'orth
ingdo)$ they ,uilt a great wat1h#
tower on .eathertop$
4)on %=l they 1alled it. +t was
,urned and ,roken$ and nothing
re)ains of it now ,ut a tu),led
ring$ like a rough 1rown on the old
hill?s head. Get on1e it was tall and
fair. +t is told that !lendil
stood there wat1hing for the 1o)ing
of /il#galad out of the .est$ in the
days of the Last 4llian1e.?
The ho,,its ga<ed at %trider. +t
see)ed that he was learned in old
lore$ as well as in the ways of
the wild. ?.ho was /il#galadM? asked
(erryI ,ut %trider did not answer$ and
see)ed to ,e lost in
thought. %uddenly a low "oi1e
)ur)ured:
/il#galad was an !l"en#king.
*f hi) the harpers sadly sing:
the last whose real) was fair and free
,etween the (ountains and the %ea.
2is sword was long$ his lan1e was
keen$
his shining hel) afar was seenI
the 1ountless stars of hea"en?s field
were )irrored in his sil"er shield.
But long ago he rode away$
and where he dwelleth none 1an sayI
for into darkness fell his star
in (ordor where the shadows are.
The others turned in a)a<e)ent$ for
the "oi1e was %a)?s.
?&on?t stopN? said (erry.
?That?s all + know$? sta))ered %a)$
,lushing. ?+ learned it fro) (r. Bil,o
when + was a lad. 2e
used to tell )e tales like that$
knowing how + was always one for
hearing a,out !l"es. +t was (r.
Bil,o as taught )e )y letters. 2e was
)ighty ,ook#learned was dear old (r.
Bil,o. 4nd he wrote
Apoetry.A 2e wrote what + ha"e Kust
said.?
?2e did not )ake it up$? said %trider. ?+t
is pan of the lay that is 1alled AThe
Fall of /il#galad$A
whi1h is in an an1ient tongue. Bil,o
)ust ha"e translated it. + ne"er knew
that.?
?There was a lot )ore$? said %a)$ ?all
a,out (ordor. + didn?t learn that part$
it ga"e )e the shi"ers
+ ne"er thought + should ,e going that
way )yselfN?
?/oing to (ordorN? 1ried Pippin. ?+
hope it won?t 1o)e to thatN?
?&o not speak that na)e so loudlyN?
said %trider.
+t was already )id#day when they
drew near the southern end of the
path$ and saw ,efore the)$
in the pale 1lear light of the *1to,er
sun$ a grey#green ,ank$ leading up
like a ,ridge on to the
northward slope of the hill They
de1ided to )ake for the top at on1e$
while the daylight was ,road
-on1eal)ent was no longer possi,le$
and they 1ould only hope that no
ene)y or spy was o,ser"ing
the). 'othing was to ,e seen )o"ing
on the hill. +f /andalf was anywhere
a,out$ there was no sign
of hi).
*n the western flank of .eathertop
they found a sheltered hollow$ at the
,otto) of whi1h there
was a ,owl#shaped dell with grassy
sides. There they left %a) and Pippin
with the pony and their
pa1ks and luggage. The other three
went on. 4fter half an hour?s plodding
1li), %trider rea1hed the
1rown of the hillI Frodo and (erry
followed$ tired and ,reathless. The
last slope had ,een steep and
ro1ky.
*n the top they found$ as %trider had
said$ a wide ring of an1ient
stonework$ now 1ru),ling or
1o"ered with age#long grass. But in
the 1entre a 1airn of ,roken stones had
,een piled. They were
,la1kened as if with fire. 4,out the)
the turf was ,urned to the roots and
all within the ring the
grass was s1or1hed and shri"elled$ as
if fla)es had swept the hill#topI ,ut
there was no sign of any
li"ing thing.
%tanding upon the ri) of the ruined
1ir1le$ they saw all round ,elow the)
a wide prospe1t$ for
the )ost pan of lands e)pty and
featureless$ e51ept for pat1hes of
woodland away to the south$
,eyond whi1h they 1aught here and
there the glint of distant water.
Beneath the) on this southern
side there ran like a ri,,on the *ld
Road$ 1o)ing out of the .est and
winding up and down$ until it
faded ,ehind a ridge of dark land to
the east. 'othing was )o"ing on it.
Following its line eastward
with their eyes they saw the
(ountains: the nearer foothills were
,rown and so),reI
,ehind the) stood taller shapes of
grey$ and ,ehind those again were
high white peaks
gli))ering a)ong the 1louds.
?.ell$ here we areN? said (erry. ?4nd
"ery 1heerless and unin"iting it looksN
There is no water
and no shelter. 4nd no sign of
/andalf. But + don?t ,la)e hi) for not
waiting O if he e"er 1a)e
here.?
?+ wonder$? said %trider$ looking round
thoughtfully. ?!"en if he was a day or
two ,ehind us at
Bree$ he 1ould ha"e arri"ed here first.
2e 1an ride "ery swiftly when need
presses.? %uddenly he
stooped and looked at the stone on the
top of the 1airnI it was flatter than the
others$ and whiter$ as
if it had es1aped the fire. 2e pi1ked it
up and e5a)ined it$ turning it in his
fingers. LThis has ,een
handled re1ently$? he said. ?.hat do
you think of these )arksM?
*n the flat under#side Frodo saw
so)e s1rat1hes: ?There see)s to he a
stroke$ a dot$ and three
)ore strokes$? he said.
?The stroke on the left )ight ,e a /#
rune with thin ,ran1hes$? said %trider.
?+t )ight ,e a sign left
,y /andalf$ though one 1annot ,e
sure. The s1rat1hes are fine$ and they
1ertainly look fresh. But
the )arks )ight )ean so)ething
Juite different$ and ha"e nothing to do
with us. Rangers use
runes$ and they 1o)e here so)eti)es.?
?.hat 1ould they )ean$ e"en if
/andalf )ade the)M? asked (erry
?+ should say$? answered %trider$ ?that
they stood for /3$ and were a sign
that /andalf was here
on *1to,er the third: that is three days
ago now. +t would also show that he
was in a hurry and
danger was at hand$ so that he had no
ti)e or did not dare to write anything
longer or plainer. +f
that is so$ we )ust ,e wary.?
?+ wish we 1ould feel sure that he
)ade the )arks$ whate"er they )ay
)ean$? said Frodo ?+t
would ,e a great 1o)fort to know that
he was on the way$ in front of us or
,ehind us.?
?Perhaps$? said %trider. ?For )yself$ +
,elie"e that he was here$ and was in
danger. There ha"e
,een s1or1hing fla)es hereI and now
the light that we saw three nights ago
in the eastern sky
1o)es ,a1k to )y )ind. + guess that
he was atta1ked on this hill#top$ ,ut
with what result + 1annot
tell. 2e is here no longer$ and we
)ust now look after oursel"es and
)ake our own way to
Ri"endell$ as ,est we 1an ?
?2ow far is Ri"endellM? asked (erry$
ga<ing round wearily. The world
looked wild and wide
fro) .eathertop.
?+ don?t know if the Road has e"er
,een )easured in )iles ,eyond the
AForsaken +nn$A a day?s
Kourney east of Bree$? answered
%trider. ?%o)e say it is so far$ and
so)e say otherwise. +t is a
strange road$ and folk are glad to
rea1h their Kourney?s end$ whether the
ti)e is long or short. But +
know how long it would take )e on
)y own feet$ with fair weather and no
ill fortune twel"e days
fro) here to the Ford of Bruinen$
where the Road 1rosses the
Loudwater that runs out of Ri"endell.
.e ha"e at least a fortnight?s Kourney
,efore us$ for + do not think we shall
,e a,le to use the Road.?
?4 fortnightN? said Frodo. ?4 lot )ay
happen in that ti)e.?
?+t )ay$? said %trider.
They stood for a while silent on the
hill#top$ near its southward edge. +n
that lonely pla1e Frodo
for the first ti)e fully reali<ed his
ho)elessness and danger. 2e wished
,itterly that his fortune had
left hi) in the Juiet and ,elo"ed
%hire. 2e stared down at the hateful
Road$ leading ,a1k westward
O to his ho)e. %uddenly he was aware
that two ,la1k spe1ks were )o"ing
slowly along it$ going
westwardI and looking again he saw
that three others were 1reeping
eastward to )eet the). 2e
ga"e a 1ry and 1lut1hed %trider?s ar).
?Look$? he said$ pointing downwards.
4t on1e %trider flung hi)self on the
ground ,ehind the ruined 1ir1le$
pulling Frodo down ,eside
hi). (erry threw hi)self alongside.
?.hat is itM? he whispered.
?+ do not know$ ,ut + fear the worst$?
answered %trider.
%lowly they 1rawled up to the edge of
the ring again$ and peered through a
1left ,etween two
Kagged stones. The light was no longer
,right$ for the 1lear )orning had
faded$ and 1louds 1reeping
out of the !ast had now o"ertaken the
sun$ as it ,egan to go down. They
1ould all see the ,la1k
spe1ks$ ,ut neither Frodo nor (erry
1ould )ake out their shapes for
1ertainI yet so)ething told
the) that there$ far ,elow$ were Bla1k
Riders asse),ling on the Road
,eyond the foot of the hill.
?Ges$? said %trider$ whose keener sight
left hi) in no dou,t. ?The ene)y is
hereN?
2astily they 1rept away and slipped
down the north side of the hill to find
their 1o)panions.
%a) and Peregrin had not ,een idle.
They had e5plored the s)all dell and
the surrounding
slopes. 'ot far away they found a
spring of 1lear water in the hillside$
and near it footprints not
)ore than a day or two old. +n the dell
itself they found re1ent tra1es of a
fire$ and other signs of a
hasty 1a)p. There were so)e fallen
ro1ks on the edge of the dell nearest
to the hill. Behind the)
%a) 1a)e upon a s)all store of
firewood neatly sta1ked.
?+ wonder if old /andalf has ,een
here$? he said to Pippin. ?.hoe"er it
was put this stuff here
)eant to 1o)e ,a1k it see)s.?
%trider was greatly interested in these
dis1o"eries. ?+ wish + had waited and
e5plored the ground
down here )yself$? he said$ hurrying
off to the spring to e5a)ine the
footprints.
?+t is Kust as + feared$? he said$ when he
1a)e ,a1k. ?%a) and Pippin ha"e
tra)pled the soft
ground$ and the )arks are spoilt or
1onfused. Rangers ha"e ,een here
lately. +t is they who left the
firewood ,ehind. But there are also
se"eral newer tra1ks that were not
)ade ,y Rangers. 4t least
one set was )ade$ only a day or two
ago$ ,y hea"y ,oots. 4t least one. +
1annot now ,e 1ertain$ ,ut
+ think there were )any ,ooted feet.?
2e paused and stood in an5ious
thought.
!a1h of the ho,,its saw in his )ind a
"ision of the 1loaked and ,ooted
Riders. +f the horse)en
had already found the dell$ the sooner
%trider led the) so)ewhere else the
,etter. %a) "iewed the
hollow with great dislike$ now that he
had heard news of their ene)ies on
the Road$ only a few
)iles away.
?2adn?t we ,etter 1lear out Jui1k$ (r.
%triderM? he asked i)patiently. ?+t is
getting late$ and + don?t
like this hole: it )akes )y heart sink
so)ehow.?
?Ges$ we 1ertainly )ust de1ide what to
do at on1e$? answered %trider$ looking
up and 1onsidering
the ti)e and the weather. ?.ell$ %a)$?
he said at last$ ?+ do not like this pla1e
eitherI ,ut + 1annot
think of anywhere ,etter that we
1ould rea1h ,efore nightfall. 4t least
we are out of sight for the
)o)ent$ and if we )o"ed we should
,e )u1h )ore likely to ,e seen ,y
spies. 4ll we 1ould do
would ,e to go right out of our way
,a1k north on this side of the line of
hills$ where the land is all
)u1h the sa)e as it is here. The Road
is wat1hed$ ,ut we should ha"e to
1ross it$ if we tried to take
1o"er in the thi1kets away to the
south. *n the north side of the Road
,eyond the hills the 1ountry
is ,are and flat for )iles.?
?-an the Riders AseeM?A asked (erry.
?+ )ean$ they see) usually to ha"e
used their noses rather
than their eyes$ s)elling for us$ if
s)elling is the right word$ at least in
the daylight. But you )ade
us lie down flat when you saw the)
down ,elowI and now you talk of
,eing seen$ if we )o"e.?
?+ was too 1areless on the hill#top$?
answered %trider. ?+ was "ery an5ious
to find so)e sign of
/andalfI ,ut it was a )istake for three
of us to go up and stand there so long.
For the ,la1k horses
1an see$ and the Riders 1an use )en
and other 1reatures as spies$ as we
found at Bree. They
the)sel"es do not see the world of
light as we do$ ,ut our shapes 1ast
shadows in their )inds$
whi1h only the noon sun destroysI and
in the dark they per1ei"e )any signs
and for)s that are
hidden fro) us: then they are )ost to
,e feared. 4nd at all ti)es they s)ell
the ,lood of li"ing
things$ desiring and hating it. %enses$
too$ there are other than sight or
s)ell. .e 1an feel their
presen1e O it trou,led our hearts$ as
soon as we 1a)e here$ and ,efore we
saw the)I they feel ours
)ore keenly. 4lso$? he added$ and his
"oi1e sank to a whisper$ ?the Ring
draws the).?
?+s there no es1ape thenM? said Frodo$
looking round wildly. ?+f + )o"e +
shall ,e seen and huntedN
+f + stay$ + shall draw the) to )eN?
%trider laid his hand on his shoulder.
?There is still hope$? he said. ?Gou are
not alone. Let us take
this wood that is set ready for the fire
as a sign. There is little shelter or
defen1e here$ ,ut fire shall
ser"e for ,oth. %auron 1an put fire to
his e"il uses$ as he 1an all things$ ,ut
these Riders do not lo"e
it$ and fear those who wield it. Fire is
our friend in the wilderness.?
?(ay,e$? )uttered %a). ?+t is also as
good a way of saying Lhere we areL as
+ 1an think of$ ,ar
shouting.?
&own in the lowest and )ost
sheltered 1orner of the dell they lit a
fire$ and prepared a )eal. The
shades of e"ening ,egan to fall$ and it
grew 1old. They were suddenly aware
of great hunger$ for
they had not eaten anything sin1e
,reakfastI ,ut they dared not )ake
)ore than a frugal supper.
The lands ahead were e)pty of all
sa"e ,irds and ,easts$ unfriendly
pla1es deserted ,y all the ra1es
of the world. Rangers passed at ti)es
,eyond the hills$ ,ut they were few
and did not stay. *ther
wanderers were rare$ and of e"il sort:
trolls )ight stray down at ti)es out of
the northern "alleys of
the (isty (ountains. *nly on the
Road would tra"ellers ,e found$ )ost
often dwar"es$ hurrying
along on ,usiness of their own$ and
with no help and few words to spare
for strangers.
?+ don?t see how our food 1an ,e )ade
to last$? said Frodo. ?.e ha"e ,een
1areful enough in the
last few days$ and this supper is no
feastI ,ut we ha"e used )ore than we
ought$ if we ha"e two
weeks still to go$ and perhaps )ore.?
?There is food in the wild$? said
%triderI ?,erry$ root$ and her,I and +
ha"e so)e skill as a hunter
at need. Gou need not ,e afraid of
star"ing ,efore winter 1o)es. But
gathering and 1at1hing food is
long and weary work$ and we need
haste. %o tighten your ,elts$ and think
with hope of the ta,les of
!lrond?s houseN?
The 1old in1reased as darkness 1a)e
on. Peering out fro) the edge of the
dell they 1ould see
nothing ,ut a grey land now "anishing
Jui1kly into shadow. The sky a,o"e
had 1leared again and
was slowly filled with twinkling stars.
Frodo and his 1o)panions huddled
round the fire$ wrapped
in e"ery gar)ent and ,lanket they
possessedI ,ut %trider was 1ontent
with a single 1loak$ and sat a
little apart$ drawing thoughtfully at
his pipe.
4s night fell and the light of the fire
,egan to shine out ,rightly he ,egan
to tell the) tales to
keep their )inds fro) fear. 2e knew
)any histories and legends of long
ago$ of !l"es and (en and
the good and e"il deeds of the !lder
&ays. They wondered how old he
was$ and where he had
learned all this lore.
?Tell us of /il#galad$? said (erry
suddenly$ when he paused at the end
of a story of the !lf#
ingdo)s. ?&o you know any )ore of
that old lay that you spoke ofM?
?+ do indeed$? answered %trider. ?%o
also does Frodo$ for it 1on1erns us
1losely.? (erry and Pippin
looked at Frodo$ who was staring into
the fire.
?+ know only the little that /andalf has
told )e$? said Frodo slowly. ?/il#galad
was the last of the
great !lf#kings of (iddle#earth. /il#
galad is A%tarlightA in their tongue.
.ith !lendil$ the !lffriend$
he went to the land ofOOO?
?'oN? said %trider interrupting$ ?+ do
not think that tale should ,e told now
with the ser"ants of the
!ne)y at hand. +f we win through to
the house of !lrond$ you )ay hear it
there$ told in full.?
?Then tell us so)e other tale of the old
days$? ,egged %a)I ?a tale a,out the
!l"es ,efore the
fading ti)e. + would dearly like to
hear )ore a,out !l"esI the dark
see)s to press round so 1lose.?
?+ will tell you the tale of TinC"iel$?
said %trider$ ?in ,rief O for it is a long
tale of whi1h the end is
not knownI and there are none now$
e51ept !lrond$ that re)e),er it aright
as it was told of old. +t
is a fair tale$ though it is sad$ as are all
the tales of (iddle#earth$ and yet it
)ay lift up your hearts.?
2e was silent for so)e ti)e$ and then
he ,egan not to speak ,ut to 1hant
softly:
The lea"es were long$ the grass was
green$
The he)lo1k#u),els tall and fair$
4nd in the glade a light was seen
*f stars in shadow shi))ering.
TinC"iel was dan1ing there
To )usi1 of a pipe unseen$
4nd light of stars was in her hair$
4nd in her rai)ent gli))ering.
There Beren 1a)e fro) )ountains
1old$
4nd lost he wandered under lea"es$
4nd where the !l"en#ri"er rolled
2e walked alone and sorrowing.
2e peered ,etween the he)lo1k#
lea"es
4nd saw in wander flowers of gold
0pon her )antle and her slee"es$
4nd her hair like shadow following.
!n1hant)ent healed his weary feet
That o"er hills were doo)ed to roa)I
4nd forth he hastened$ strong and
fleet$
4nd grasped at )oon,ea)s
glistening.
Through wo"en woods in !l"enho)e
%he tightly fled on dan1ing feet$
4nd left hi) lonely still to roa)
+n the silent forest listening.
2e heard there oft the flying sound
*f feet as light as linden#lea"es$
*r )usi1 welling underground$
+n hidden hollows Jua"ering.
'ow withered lay the he)lo1k#
shea"es$
4nd one ,y one with sighing sound
.hispering fell the ,ee1hen lea"es
+n the wintry woodland wa"ering.
2e sought her e"er$ wandering far
.here lea"es of years were thi1kly
strewn$
By light of )oon and ray of star
+n frosty hea"ens shi"ering.
2er )antle glinted in the )oon$
4s on a hill#top high and far
%he dan1ed$ and at her feet was
strewn
4 )ist of sil"er Jui"ering.
.hen winter passed$ she 1a)e again$
4nd her song released the sudden
spring$
Like rising lark$ and falling rain$
4nd )elting water ,u,,ling.
2e saw the el"en#flowers spring
4,out her feet$ and healed again
2e longed ,y her to dan1e and sing
0pon the grass untrou,ling.
4gain she fled$ ,ut swift he 1a)e.
TinC"ielN TinC"ielN
2e 1alled her ,y her el"ish na)eI
4nd there she halted listening.
*ne )o)ent stood she$ and a spell
2is "oi1e laid on her: Beren 1a)e$
4nd doo) fell on TinC"iel
That in his ar)s lay glistening.
4s Beren looked into her eyes
.ithin the shadows of her hair$
The tre),ling starlight of the skies
2e saw there )irrored shi))ering.
TinC"iel the el"en#fair$
+))ortal )aiden el"en#wise$
4,out hi) 1ast her shadowy hair
4nd ar)s like sil"er gli))ering.
Long was the way that fate the) ,ore$
*?er stony )ountains 1old and grey$
Through halls of iron and darkling
door$
4nd woods of nightshade )orrowless.
The %undering %eas ,etween the)
lay$
4nd yet at last they )et on1e )ore$
4nd long ago they passed away
+n the forest singing sorrowless.
%trider sighed and paused ,efore he
spoke again. ?That is a song$? he said$
?in the )ode that is
1alled Aann#thennathA a)ong the
!l"es$ ,ut is hard to render in our
-o))on %pee1h$ and this is
,ut a rough e1ho of it. +t tells of the
)eeting of Beren son of Barahir and
LCthien TinC"iel. Beren
was a )ortal )an$ ,ut LCthien was
the daughter of Thingol$ a ing of
!l"es upon (iddle#earth
when the world was youngI and she
was the fairest )aiden that has e"er
,een a)ong all the
1hildren of this world. 4s the stars
a,o"e the )ists of the 'orthern lands
was her lo"eliness$ and in
her fa1e was a shining light. +n those
days the /reat !ne)y$ of who)
%auron of (ordor was ,ut a
ser"ant$ dwelt in 4ng,and in the
'orth$ and the !l"es of the .est
1o)ing ,a1k to (iddle#earth
)ade war upon hi) to regain the
%il)arils whi1h he had stolenI and the
fathers of (en aided the
!l"es. But the !ne)y was "i1torious
and Barahir was slain$ and Beren
es1aping through great peril
1a)e o"er the (ountains of Terror
into the hidden ingdo) of Thingol
in the forest of 'eldoreth.
There he ,eheld LCthien singing and
dan1ing in a glade ,eside the
en1hanted ri"er !sgalduinI and
he na)ed her TinC"iel$ that is
'ightingale in the language of old.
(any sorrows ,efell the)
afterwards$ and they were parted long.
TinC"iel res1ued Beren fro) the
dungeons of %auron$ and
together they passed through great
dangers$ and 1ast down e"en the /reat
!ne)y fro) his throne$
and took fro) his iron 1rown one of
the three %il)arils$ ,rightest of all
Kewels$ to ,e the ,ride#pri1e
of LCthien to Thingol her father. Get
at the last Beren was slain ,y the
.olf that 1a)e fro) the
gates of 4ng,and$ and he died in the
ar)s of TinC"iel. But she 1hose
)ortality$ and to die fro) the
world$ so that she )ight follow hi)I
and it is sung that they )et again
,eyond the %undering %eas$
and after a ,rief ti)e walking ali"e
on1e )ore in the green woods$
together they passed$ long ago$
,eyond the 1onfines of this world. %o
it is that LCthien TinC"iel alone of the
!lf#kindred has died
indeed and left the world$ and they
ha"e lost her who) they )ost lo"ed.
But fro) her the lineage
of the !lf#lords of old des1ended
a)ong (en. There li"e still those of
who) LCthien was the
fore)other$ and it is said that her line
shall ne"er fail. !lrond of Ri"endell is
of that in. For of
Beren and LCthien was ,orn &ior
Thingol?s heirI and of hi) !lwing the
.hite who) !Rrendil
wedded$ he that sailed his ship out of
the )ists of the world into the seas of
hea"en with the
%il)aril upon his ,row. 4nd of
!Rrendil 1a)e the ings of 'C)enor$
that is .esternesse.?
4s %trider was speaking they wat1hed
his strange eager fa1e$ di)ly lit in the
red glow of the
wood#fire. 2is eyes shone$ and his
"oi1e was ri1h and deep. 4,o"e hi)
was a ,la1k starry sky.
%uddenly a pale light appeared o"er
the 1rown of .eathertop ,ehind hi).
The wa5ing )oon was
1li),ing slowly a,o"e the hill that
o"ershadowed the)$ and the stars
a,o"e the hill#top faded.
The story ended. The ho,,its )o"ed
and stret1hed. ?LookN? said (erry.
?The (oon is rising: it
)ust ,e getting late.?
The others looked up. !"en as they
did so$ they saw on the top of the hill
so)ething s)all and
dark against the gli))er of the
)oonrise. +t was perhaps only a large
stone or Kutting ro1k shown
up ,y the pale light.
%a) and (erry got up and walked
away fro) the fire. Frodo and Pippin
re)ained seated in
silen1e. %trider was wat1hing the
)oonlight on the hill intently. 4ll
see)ed Juiet and still$ ,ut
Frodo felt a 1old dread 1reeping o"er
his heart$ now that %trider was no
longer speaking. 2e
huddled 1loser to the fire. 4t that
)o)ent %a) 1a)e running ,a1k fro)
the edge of the dell.
?+ don?t know what it is$? he said$ ?,ut +
suddenly felt afraid. + durstn?t go
outside this dell for any
)oneyI + felt that so)ething was
1reeping up the slope.?
?&id you AseeA anythingM? asked
Frodo$ springing to his feet.
?'o$ sir. + saw nothing$ ,ut + didn?t
stop to look.?
?+ saw so)ething$? said (erryI ?or +
thought + did O away westwards
where the )oonlight was
falling on the flats ,eyond the shadow
of the hill#tops$ + AthoughtA there
were two or three ,la1k
shapes. They see)ed to ,e )o"ing
this way.?
?eep 1lose to the fire$ with your fa1es
outwardN? 1ried %trider. ?/et so)e of
the longer sti1ks
ready in your handsN?
For a ,reathless ti)e they sat there$
silent and alert$ with their ,a1ks
turned to the wood#fire$
ea1h ga<ing into the shadows that
en1ir1led the). 'othing happened.
There was no sound or
)o"e)ent in the night. Frodo stirred$
feeling that he )ust ,reak the silen1e:
he longed to shout out
aloud.
?2ushN? whispered %trider. ?.hat?s
thatM? gasped Pippin at the sa)e
)o)ent.
*"er the lip of the little dell$ on the
side away fro) the hill$ they felt$
rather than saw$ a shadow
rise$ one shadow or )ore than one.
They strained their eyes$ and the
shadows see)ed to grow.
%oon there 1ould ,e no dou,t:
three or four tall ,la1k figures were
standing there on the slope$ looking
down on the). %o ,la1k
were they that they see)ed like ,la1k
holes in the deep shade ,ehind the).
Frodo thought that he
heard a faint hiss as of "eno)ous
,reath and felt a thin pier1ing 1hill.
Then the shapes slowly
ad"an1ed.
Terror o"er1a)e Pippin and (erry$
and they threw the)sel"es flat on the
ground. %a) shrank to
Frodo?s side. Frodo was hardly less
terrified than his 1o)panionsI he was
Juaking as if he was
,itter 1old$ ,ut his terror was
swallowed up in a sudden te)ptation
to put on the Ring. The desire to
do this laid hold of hi)$ and he 1ould
think of nothing else. 2e did not
forget the Barrow$ nor the
)essage of /andalfI ,ut so)ething
see)ed to ,e 1o)pelling hi) to
disregard all warnings$ and he
longed to yield. 'ot with the hope of
es1ape$ or of doing anything$ either
good or ,ad: he si)ply
felt that he )ust take the Ring and put
it on his finger. 2e 1ould not speak.
2e felt %a) looking at
hi)$ as if he knew that his )aster was
in so)e great trou,le$ ,ut he 1ould
not turn towards hi). 2e
shut his eyes and struggled for a
whileI ,ut resistan1e ,e1a)e
un,eara,le$ and at last he slowly
drew out the 1hain$ and slipped the
Ring on the forefinger of his left
hand.
+))ediately$ though e"erything else
re)ained as ,efore$ di) and dark$ the
shapes ,e1a)e
terri,ly 1lear. 2e was a,le to see
,eneath their ,la1k wrappings. There
were fi"e tall figures: two
standing on the lip of the dell$ three
ad"an1ing. +n their white fa1es ,urned
keen and )er1iless eyesI
under their )antles were long grey
ro,esI upon their grey hairs were
hel)s of sil"erI in their
haggard hands were swords of steel.
Their eyes fell on hi) and pier1ed
hi)$ as they rushed towards
hi). &esperate$ he drew his own
sword$ and it see)ed to hi) that it
fli1kered red$ as if it was a
fire,rand. Two of the figures halted.
The third was taller than the others:
his hair was long and
glea)ing and on his hel) was a
1rown. +n one hand he held a long
sword$ and in the other a knifeI
,oth the knife and the hand that held
it glowed with a pale light. 2e sprang
forward and ,ore down
on Frodo.
4t that )o)ent Frodo threw hi)self
forward on the ground$ and he heard
hi)self 1rying aloud:
* A!l,erethN /ilthonielNA 4t the sa)e
ti)e he stru1k at the feet of his
ene)y. 4 shrill 1ry rang out
in the nightI and he felt a pain like a
dart of poisoned i1e pier1e his left
shoulder. !"en as he
swooned he 1aught$ as through a
swirling )ist$ a gli)pse of %trider
leaping out of the darkness
with a fla)ing ,rand of wood in
either hand. .ith a last effort Frodo$
dropping his sword$ slipped
the Ring fro) his finger and 1losed
his right hand tight upon it.
A-hapter 12A
Flight to the Ford
.hen Frodo 1a)e to hi)self he was
still 1lut1hing the Ring desperately.
2e was lying ,y the
fire$ whi1h was now piled high and
,urning ,rightly. 2is three
1o)panions were ,ending o"er hi).
?.hat has happenedM .here is the
pale kingM? he asked wildly. They
were too o"erKoyed to hear
hi) speak to answer for a whileI nor
did they understand his Juestion. 4t
length he gathered fro)
%a) that they had seen nothing ,ut
the "ague shadowy shapes 1o)ing
towards the). %uddenly to
his horror %a) found that his )aster
had "anishedI and at that )o)ent a
,la1k shadow rushed past
hi)$ and he fell. 2e heard Frodo?s
"oi1e$ ,ut it see)ed to 1o)e fro) a
great distan1e$ or fro)
under the earth$ 1rying out strange
words. They saw nothing )ore$ until
they stu),led o"er the
,ody of Frodo$ lying as if dead$ fa1e
downwards on the grass with his
sword ,eneath hi). %trider
ordered the) to pi1k hi) up and lay
hi) near the fire$ and then he
disappeared. That was now a
good while ago.
%a) plainly was ,eginning to ha"e
dou,ts again a,out %triderI ,ut while
they were talking he
returned$ appearing suddenly out of
the shadows. They started$ and %a)
drew his sword and stood
o"er FrodoI ,ut %trider knelt down
swiftly at his side.
?+ a) not a Bla1k Rider$ %a)$? he said
gently$ ?nor in league with the). +
ha"e ,een trying to
dis1o"er so)ething of their
)o"e)entsI ,ut + ha"e found nothing.
+ 1annot think why they ha"e
gone and do not atta1k again. But
there is no feeling of their presen1e
anywhere at hand.?
.hen he heard what Frodo had to tell$
he ,e1a)e full of 1on1ern$ and shook
his head and
sighed. Then he ordered Pippin and
(erry to heat as )u1h water as they
1ould in their s)all
kettles$ and to ,athe the wound with
it. ?eep the fire going well$ and keep
Frodo war)N? he said.
Then he got up and walked away$ and
1alled %a) to hi). ?+ think +
understand things ,etter now$?
he said in a low "oi1e. ?There see)
only to ha"e ,een fi"e of the ene)y.
.hy they were not all
here$ + don?t knowI ,ut + don?t think
they e5pe1ted to ,e resisted. They
ha"e drawn off for the ti)e
,eing. But not far$ + fear. They will
1o)e again another night$ if we
1annot es1ape. They are only
waiting$ ,e1ause they think that their
purpose is al)ost a11o)plished$ and
that the Ring 1annot fly
)u1h further. + fear$ %a)$ that they
,elie"e your )aster has a deadly
wound that will su,due hi) to
their will. .e shall seeN? %a) 1hoked
with tears. ?&on?t despairN? said
%trider. ?Gou )ust trust )e
now. Gour Frodo is )ade of sterner
stuff than + had guessed$ though
/andalf hinted that it )ight
pro"e so. 2e is not slain$ and + think
he will resist the e"il power of the
wound longer than his
ene)ies e5pe1t. + will do all + 1an to
help and heal hi). /uard hi) well$
while + a) awayN? 2e
hurried off and disappeared again into
the darkness.
Frodo do<ed$ though the pain of his
wound was slowly growing$ and a
deadly 1hill was
spreading fro) his shoulder to his
ar) and side. 2is friends wat1hed
o"er hi)$ war)ing hi)$ and
,athing his wound. The night passed
slowly and wearily. &awn was
growing in the sky$ and the
dell was filling with grey light$ when
%trider at last returned.
?LookN? he 1riedI and stooping he
lifted fro) the ground a ,la1k 1loak
that had lain there hidden
,y the darkness. 4 foot a,o"e the
lower he) there was a slash. ?This
was the stroke of Frodo?s
sword$? he said. ?The only hurt that it
did to his ene)y$ + fearI for it is
unhar)ed$ ,ut all ,lades
perish that pier1e that dreadful ing.
(ore deadly to hi) was the na)e of
!l,ereth.?
?4nd )ore deadly to Frodo was thisN?
2e stooped again and lifted up a long
thin knife. There
was a 1old glea) in it. 4s %trider
raised it they saw that near the end its
edge was not1hed and the
point was ,roken off. But e"en as he
held it up in the growing light$ they
ga<ed in astonish)ent$ for
the ,lade see)ed to )elt$ and
"anished like a s)oke in the air$
lea"ing only the hilt in %trider?s
hand. ?4lasN? he 1ried. ?+t was this
a11ursed knife that ga"e the wound.
Few now ha"e the skill in
healing to )at1h su1h e"il weapons.
But + will do what + 1an.?
2e sat down on the ground$ and
taking the dagger#hilt laid it on his
knees$ and he sang o"er it a
slow song in a strange tongue. Then
setting it aside$ he turned to Frodo and
in a soft tone spoke
words the others 1ould not 1at1h.
Fro) the pou1h at his ,elt he drew
out the long lea"es of a plant.
?These lea"es$? he said$ ?+ ha"e walked
far to findI for this plant does not
grow in the ,are hillsI
,ut in the thi1kets away south of the
Road + found it in the dark ,y the
s1ent of its lea"es.? 2e
1rushed a leaf in his fingers$ and it
ga"e out a sweet and pungent
fragran1e. ?+t is fortunate that +
1ould find it$ for it is a healing plant
that the (en of the .est ,rought to
(iddle#earth. A4thelasA
they na)ed it$ and it grows now
sparsely and only near pla1es where
they dwelt or 1a)ped of oldI
and it is not known in the 'orth$
e51ept to so)e of those who wander
in the .ild. +t has great
"irtues$ ,ut o"er su1h a wound as this
its healing powers )ay ,e s)all.?
2e threw the lea"es into ,oiling water
and ,athed Frodo?s shoulder. The
fragran1e of the stea)
was refreshing$ and those that were
unhurt felt their )inds 1al)ed and
1leared. The her, had also
so)e power o"er the wound$ for
Frodo felt the pain and also the sense
of fro<en 1old lessen in his
sideI ,ut the life did not return to his
ar)$ and he 1ould not raise or use his
hand. 2e ,itterly
regretted his foolishness$ and
reproa1hed hi)self for weakness of
willI for he now per1ei"ed that in
putting on the Ring he o,eyed not his
own desire ,ut the 1o))anding wish
of his ene)ies. 2e
wondered if he would re)ain )ai)ed
for life$ and how they would now
)anage to 1ontinue their
Kourney. 2e fell too weak to stand.
The others were dis1ussing this "ery
Juestion. They Jui1kly de1ided to
lea"e .eathertop as
soon as possi,le. ?+ think now$? said
%trider$ ?that the ene)y has ,een
wat1hing this pla1e for so)e
days. +f /andalf e"er 1a)e here$ then
he )ust ha"e ,een for1ed to ride
away$ and he will not
return. +n any 1ase we are in great
peril here after dark$ sin1e the atta1k
of last night$ and we 1an
hardly )eet greater danger where"er
we go.?
4s soon as the daylight was full$ they
had so)e hurried food and pa1ked. +t
was i)possi,le for
Frodo to walk$ so they di"ided the
greater part of their ,aggage a)ong
the four of the)$ and put
Frodo on the pony. +n the last few
days the poor ,east had i)pro"ed
wonderfullyI it already see)ed
fatter and stronger$ and had ,egun to
show an affe1tion for its new )asters$
espe1ially for %a). Bill
Ferny?s treat)ent )ust ha"e ,een "ery
hard for the Kourney in the wild to
see) so )u1h ,etter than
its for)er life.
They started off in a southerly
dire1tion. This would )ean 1rossing
the Road$ ,ut. it was the
Jui1kest way to )ore wooded
1ountry. 4nd they needed fuelI for
%trider said that Frodo )ust ,e
kept war)$ espe1ially at night$ while
fire would ,e so)e prote1tion for
the) all. +t was also his
plan to shorten their Kourney ,y
1utting a1ross another great loop of
the Road: east ,eyond
.eathertop it 1hanged its 1ourse and
took a wide ,end northwards.
They )ade their way slowly and
1autiously round the south#western
slopes of the hill$ and 1a)e
in a little while to the edge of the
Road. There was no sign of the
Riders. But e"en as they were
hurrying a1ross they heard far away
two 1ries: a 1old "oi1e 1alling and a
1old "oi1e answering.
Tre),ling they sprang forward$ and
)ade for the thi1kets that lay ahead.
The land ,efore the)
sloped away southwards$ ,ut it was
wild and pathlessI ,ushes and stunted
trees grew in dense
pat1hes with wide ,arren spa1es in
,etween. The grass was s1anty$
1oarse$ and greyI and the lea"es
in the thi1kets were faded and falling.
+t was a 1heerless land$ and their
Kourney was slow and
gloo)y. They spoke little as they
trudged along. Frodo?s heart was
grie"ed as he wat1hed the)
walking ,eside hi) with their heads
down$ and their ,a1ks ,owed under
their ,urdens. !"en %trider
see)ed tired and hea"y#hearted.
Before the first day?s )ar1h was o"er
Frodo?s pain ,egan to grow again$ ,ut
he did not speak of
it for a long ti)e. Four days passed$
without the ground or the s1ene
1hanging )u1h$ e51ept that
,ehind the) .eathertop slowly sank$
and ,efore the) the distant )ountains
loo)ed a little nearer.
Get sin1e that far 1ry they had seen
and heard no sign that the ene)y had
)arked their flight or
followed the). They dreaded the dark
hours$ and kept wat1h in pairs ,y
night$ e5pe1ting at any
ti)e to see ,la1k shapes stalking in
the grey night$ di)ly lit ,y the 1loud#
"eiled )oonI ,ut they saw
nothing$ and heard no sound ,ut the
sigh of withered lea"es and grass. 'ot
on1e did they feel the
sense of present e"il that had assailed
the) ,efore the atta1k in the dell. +t
see)ed too )u1h to hope
that the Riders had already lost their
trail again. Perhaps they were waiting
to )ake so)e a),ush
in a narrow pla1eM
4t the end of the fifth day the ground
,egan on1e )ore to rise slowly out of
the wide shallow
"alley into whi1h they had des1ended.
%trider now turned their 1ourse again
north#eastwards$ and
on the si5th day they rea1hed the top
of a long slow#1li),ing slope$ and
saw far ahead a huddle of
wooded hills. 4way ,elow the) they
1ould see the Road sweeping round
the feet of the hillsI and
to their right a grey ri"er glea)ed pale
in the thin sunshine. +n the distan1e
they gli)psed yet
another ri"er in a stony "alley half#
"eiled in )ist.
L+ a) afraid we )ust go ,a1k to the
Road here for a while$? said %trider.
?.e ha"e now 1o)e to
the Ri"er 2oarwell$ that the !l"es 1all
(itheithel. +t flows down out of the
!tten)oors$ the trollfells
north of Ri"endell$ and Koins the
Loudwater away in the %outh. %o)e
1all it the /reyflood
after that. +t is a great water ,efore it
finds the %ea. There is no way o"er it
,elow its sour1es in the
!tten)oors$ e51ept ,y the Last Bridge
on whi1h the Road 1rosses.?
?.hat is that other ri"er we 1an see far
away thereM? asked (erry.
?That is Loudwater$ the Bruinen of
Ri"endell$? answered %trider. ?The
Road runs along the edge
of the hills for )any )iles fro) the
Bridge to the Ford of Bruinen. But +
ha"e not yet thought how
we shall 1ross that water. *ne ri"er at
a ti)eN .e shall ,e fortunate indeed if
we do not find the
Last Bridge held against us.?
'e5t day$ early in the )orning$ they
1a)e down again to the ,orders of the
Road. %a) and
%trider went forward$ ,ut they found
no sign of any tra"ellers or riders.
2ere under the shadow of
the hills there had ,een so)e rain.
%trider Kudged that it had fallen two
days ,efore$ and had washed
away all footprints. 'o horse)an had
passed sin1e then$ as far as he 1ould
see.
They hurried along with all the speed
they 1ould )ake$ and after a )ile or
two they saw the Last
Bridge ahead$ at the ,otto) of a short
steep slope. They dreaded to see ,la1k
figures waiting there$
,ut they saw none. %trider )ade the)
take 1o"er in a thi1ket at the side of
the Road$ while he went
forward to e5plore.
Before long he 1a)e hurrying ,a1k. ?+
1an see no sign of the ene)y$? he said$
?and + wonder "ery
)u1h what that )eans. But + ha"e
found so)ething "ery strange.?
2e held out his hand$ and showed a
single pale#green Kewel. ?+ found it in
the )ud in the )iddle
of the Bridge$? he said. ?+t is a ,eryl$ an
elf#stone. .hether it was set there$ or
let fall ,y 1han1e$ +
1annot sayI ,ut it ,rings hope to )e. +
will take it as a sign that we )ay pass
the BridgeI ,ut ,eyond
that + dare not keep to the Road$
without so)e 1learer token.?
4t on1e they went on again. They
1rossed the Bridge in safety$ hearing
no sound ,ut the water
swirling against its three great ar1hes.
4 )ile further on they 1a)e to a
narrow ra"ine that led away
northwards through the steep lands on
the left of the Road. 2ere %trider
turned aside$ and soon they
were lost in a so),re 1ountry of dark
trees winding a)ong the feet of sullen
hills.
The ho,,its were glad to lea"e the
1heerless lands and the perilous Road
,ehind the)I ,ut this
new 1ountry see)ed threatening and
unfriendly. 4s they went forward the
hills a,out the) steadily
rose. 2ere and there upon heights and
ridges they 1aught gli)pses of an1ient
walls of stone$ and the
ruins of towers: they had an o)inous
look. Frodo$ who was not walking$
had ti)e to ga<e ahead
and to think. 2e re1alled Bil,o?s
a11ount of his Kourney and the
threatening towers on the hills north
of the Road$ in the 1ountry near the
Troll?s wood where his first serious
ad"enture had happened.
Frodo guessed that they were now in
the sa)e region$ and wondered if ,y
1han1e they would pass
near the spot.
?.ho li"es in this landM? he asked.
?4nd who ,uilt these towersM +s this
troll#1ountryM?
?'oN? said %trider. ?Trolls do not ,uild.
'o one li"es in this land. (en on1e
dwelt here$ ages agoI
,ut none re)ain now. They ,e1a)e
an e"il people$ as legends tell$ for they
fell under the shadow of
4ng)ar. But all were destroyed in the
war that ,rought the 'orth ingdo)
to its end. But that is
now so long ago that the hills ha"e
forgotten the)$ though a shadow still
lies on the land.?
?.here did you learn su1h tales$ if all
the land is e)pty and forgetfulM?
asked Peregrin. ?The ,irds
and ,easts do not tell tales of that son.?
?The heirs of !lendil do not forget all
things past$? said %triderI ?and )any
)ore things than + 1an
tell are re)e),ered in Ri"endell.?
?2a"e you often ,een to Ri"endellM?
said Frodo. ?+ ha"e$? said
%trider. ?+ dwelt there on1e$ and still +
return when + )ay.
There )y heart isI ,ut it is not )y fate
to sit in pea1e$ e"en in the fair house
of !lrond.?
The hills now ,egan to shut the) in.
The Road ,ehind held on its way to
the Ri"er Bruinen$ ,ut
,oth were now hidden fro) "iew. The
tra"ellers 1a)e into a long "alleyI
narrow$ deeply 1lo"en$
dark and silent. Trees with old and
twisted roots hung o"er 1liffs$ and
piled up ,ehind into
)ounting slopes of pine#wood.
The ho,,its grew "ery weary. They
ad"an1ed slowly$ for they had to pi1k
their way through a
pathless 1ountry$ en1u),ered ,y
fallen trees and tu),led ro1ks. 4s
long as they 1ould they
a"oided 1li),ing for Frodo?s sake$
and ,e1ause it was in fa1t diffi1ult to
find any way up out of the
narrow dales. They had ,een two days
in this 1ountry when the weather
turned wet. The wind
,egan to ,low steadily out of the .est
and pour the water of the distant seas
on the dark heads of
the hills in fine dren1hing rain. By
nightfall they were all soaked$ and
their 1a)p was 1heerless$ for
they 1ould not get any fire to ,urn.
The ne5t day the hills rose still higher
and steeper ,efore the)$
and they were for1ed to turn away
northwards out of their 1ourse. %trider
see)ed to ,e getting
an5ious: they were nearly ten days out
fro) .eathertop$ and their sto1k of
pro"isions was
,eginning to run low. +t went on
raining.
That night they 1a)ped on a stony
shelf with a ro1k#wall ,ehind the)$ in
whi1h there was a
shallow 1a"e$ a )ere s1oop in the
1liff. Frodo was restless. The 1old and
wet had )ade his wound
)ore painful than e"er$ and the a1he
and sense of deadly 1hill took away
all sleep. 2e lay tossing
and turning and listening fearfully to
the stealthy night#noises: wind in
1hinks of ro1k$ water
dripping$ a 1ra1k$ the sudden rattling
fall of a loosened stone. 2e felt that
,la1k shapes were
ad"an1ing to s)other hi)I ,ut when
he sat up he saw nothing ,ut the ,a1k
of %trider sitting
hun1hed up$ s)oking his pipe$ and
wat1hing. 2e lay down again and
passed into an uneasy drea)$
in whi1h he walked on the grass in his
garden in the %hire$ ,ut it see)ed
faint and di)$ less 1lear
than the tall ,la1k shadows that stood
looking o"er the hedge.
+n the )orning he woke to find that
the rain had stopped. The 1louds were
still thi1k$ ,ut they
were ,reaking$ and pale strips of ,lue
appeared ,etween the). The wind
was shifting again. They
did not start early. +))ediately after
their 1old and 1o)fortless ,reakfast
%trider went off alone$
telling the others to re)ain under the
shelter of the 1liff$ until he 1a)e ,a1k.
2e was going to 1li),
up$ if he 1ould$ and get a look at the
lie of the land.
.hen he returned he was not
reassuring. ?.e ha"e 1o)e too far to
the north$? he said$ ?and we
)ust find so)e way to turn ,a1k
southwards again. +f we keep on as
we are going we shall get up
into the !ttendales far north of
Ri"endell. That is troll#1ountry$ and
little known to )e. .e 1ould
perhaps find our way through and
1o)e round to Ri"endell fro) the
northI ,ut it would take too
long$ for + do not know the way$ and
our food would not last. %o so)ehow
or other we )ust find
the Ford of Bruinen.?
The rest of that day they spent
s1ra),ling o"er ro1ky ground. They
found a passage ,etween
two hills that led the) into a "alley
running south#east$ the dire1tion that
they wished to takeI ,ut
towards the end of the day they found
their road again ,arred ,y a ridge of
high landI its dark edge
against the sky was ,roken into )any
,are points like teeth of a ,lunted
saw. They had a 1hoi1e
,etween going ,a1k or 1li),ing o"er
it.
They de1ided to atte)pt the 1li),$
,ut it pro"ed "ery diffi1ult. Before
long Frodo was o,liged
to dis)ount and struggle along on
foot. !"en so they often despaired of
getting their pony up$ or
indeed of finding a path for
the)sel"es$ ,urdened as they were.
The light was nearly gone$ and they
were all e5hausted$ when at last they
rea1hed the top. They had 1li),ed on
to a narrow saddle
,etween two higher points$ and the
land fell steeply away again$ only a
short distan1e ahead. Frodo
threw hi)self down$ and lay on the
ground shi"ering. 2is left ar) was
lifeless$ and his side and
shoulder felt as if i1y 1laws were laid
upon the). The trees and ro1ks a,out
hi) see)ed shadowy
and di).
?.e 1annot go any further$? said
(erry to %trider. ?+ a) afraid this has
,een too )u1h for Frodo.
+ a) dreadfully an5ious a,out hi).
.hat are we to doM &o you think they
will ,e a,le to 1ure hi)
in Ri"endell$ if we e"er get thereM?
?.e shall see$? answered %trider.
?There is nothing )ore that + 1an do in
the wildernessI and it is
1hiefly ,e1ause of his wound that +
a) so an5ious to press on. But + agree
that we 1an go no further
tonight.?
?.hat is the )atter with )y )asterM?
asked %a) in a low "oi1e$ looking
appealingly at %trider.
?2is wound was s)all$ and it is
already 1losed. There?s nothing to ,e
seen ,ut a 1old white )ark on
his shoulder.?
?Frodo has ,een tou1hed ,y the
weapons of the !ne)y$? said %trider$
?and there is so)e poison or
e"il at work that is ,eyond )y skill to
dri"e out. But do not gi"e up hope$
%a)N?
'ight was 1old up on the high ridge.
They lit a s)all fire down under the
gnarled roots of an old
pine$ that hung o"er a shallow pit: it
looked as if stone had on1e ,een
Juarried there. They sat
huddled together. The wind ,lew 1hill
through the pass$ and they heard the
tree#tops lower down
)oaning and sighing. Frodo lay half
in a drea)$ i)agining that endless
dark wings were sweeping
,y a,o"e hi)$ and that on the wings
rode pursuers that sought hi) in all
the hollows of the hills.
The )orning dawned ,right and fairI
the air was 1lean$ and the light pale
and 1lear in a rainwashed
sky. Their hearts were en1ouraged$
,ut Dhey longed for the sun to war)
their 1old stiff
li),s. 4s soon as it was light$ %trider
took (erry with hi) and went to
sur"ey the 1ountry fro) the
height to the east of the pass. The sun
had risen and was shining ,rightly
when he returned with
)ore 1o)forting news. They were
now going )ore or less in the right
dire1tion. +f they went on$
down the further side of the ridge$
they would ha"e the (ountains on
their left. %o)e way ahead
%trider had 1aught a gli)pse of the
Loudwater again$ and he knew that$
though it was hidden fro)
"iew$ the Road to the Ford was not far
fro) the Ri"er and lay on the side
nearest to the).
?.e )ust )ake for the Road again$?
he said. ?.e 1annot hope to find a
path through these hills.
.hate"er danger )ay ,eset it$ the
Road is our only way to the Ford.?
4s soon as they had eaten they set out
again. They 1li),ed slowly down the
southern side of the
ridgeI ,ut the way was )u1h easier
than they had e5pe1ted$ for the slope
was far less steep on this
side$ and ,efore long Frodo was a,le
to ride again. Bill Ferny?s poor old
pony was de"eloping an
une5pe1ted talent for pi1king out a
path$ and for sparing its rider as )any
Kolts as possi,le. The
spirits of the party rose again. !"en
Frodo felt ,etter in the )orning light$
,ut e"ery now and again
a )ist see)ed to o,s1ure his sight$
and he passed his hands o"er his eyes.
Pippin was a little ahead of the others.
%uddenly he turned round and 1alled
to the). ?There is a
path hereN? he 1ried.
.hen they 1a)e up with hi)$ they
saw that he had )ade no )istake:
there were 1learly the ,eginnings of a
path$ that 1li),ed with )any
windings out of the woods
,elow and faded away on the hill#top
,ehind. +n pla1es it was now faint and
o"ergrown$ or 1hoked
with fallen stones and treesI ,ut at one
ti)e it see)ed to ha"e ,een )u1h
used. +t was a path )ade
,y strong ar)s and hea"y feet. 2ere
and there old trees had ,een 1ut or
,roken down$ and large
ro1ks 1lo"en or hea"ed aside to )ake
a way.
They followed the tra1k for so)e
while$ for it offered )u1h the easiest
way down$ ,ut they went
1autiously$ and their an5iety in1reased
as they 1a)e into the dark woods$ and
the path grew plainer
and ,roader. %uddenly 1o)ing out of
a ,elt of fir#trees it ran steeply down a
slope$ and turned
sharply to the left round the 1o)er of
a ro1ky shoulder of the hill. .hen
they 1a)e to the 1o)er
they looked round and saw that the
path ran on o"er a le"el strip under
the fa1e of a low 1liff
o"erhung with trees. +n the stony wall
there was a door hanging 1rookedly
aKar upon one great
hinge.
*utside the door they all halted. There
was a 1a"e or ro1k#1ha),er ,ehind$
,ut in the gloo)
inside nothing 1ould ,e seen. %trider$
%a)$ and (erry pushing with all their
strength )anaged to
open the door a little wider$ and then
%trider and (erry went in. They did
not go far$ for on the
floor lay )any old ,ones$ and nothing
else was to ,e seen near the entran1e
e51ept so)e great
e)pty Kars and ,roken pots.
?%urely this is a troll#hole$ if e"er there
was oneN? said Pippin. ?-o)e out$ you
two$ and let us get
away. 'ow we know who )ade the
path #and we had ,etter get off it
Jui1k.?
?There is no need$ + think$? said
%trider$ 1oining out. ?+t is 1ertainly a
troll#hole$ ,ut it see)s to
ha"e ,een long forsaken. + don?t think
we need ,e afraid. But let us go on
down warily$ and we
shall see.?
The path went on again fro) the door$
and turning to the right again a1ross
the le"el spa1e
plunged down a thi1k wooded slope.
Pippin$ not liking to show %trider that
he was still afraid$ went
on ahead with (erry. %a) and %trider
1a)e ,ehind$ one on ea1h side of
Frodo?s pony$ for the path
was now ,road enough for four or
fi"e ho,,its to walk a,reast. But they
had not gone "ery far
,efore Pippin 1a)e running ,a1k$
followed ,y (erry. They ,oth looked
terrified.
?There AareA trollsN? Pippin panted.
?&own in a 1learing in the woods not
far ,elow. .e got a
sight of the) through the tree#trunks.
They are "ery largeN?
?.e will 1o)e and look at the)$? said
%trider$ pi1king up a sti1k. Frodo said
nothing$ ,ut %a)
looked s1ared.
The sun was now high$ and it shone
down through the half#stripped
,ran1hes of the trees$ and lit
the 1learing with ,right pat1hes of
light. They halted suddenly on the
edge$ and peered through the
tree#trunks$ holding their ,reath.
There stood the trolls: three large
trolls. *ne was stooping$ and the
other two stood staring at hi).
%trider walked forward
un1on1ernedly. ?/et up$ old stoneN? he
said$ and ,roke his sti1k upon the
stooping troll.
'othing happened. There was a gasp
of astonish)ent fro) the ho,,its$ and
then e"en Frodo
laughed. ?.ellN? he said. ?.e are
forgetting our fa)ily historyN These
)ust ,e the "ery three that
were 1aught ,y /andalf$ Juarrelling
o"er the right way to 1ook thirteen
dwar"es and one ho,,it.?
?+ had no idea we were anywhere near
the pla1eN? said Pippin. 2e knew the
story well. Bil,o and
Frodo had told it oftenI ,ut as a )atter
of fa1t he had ne"er )ore than half
,elie"ed it. !"en now he
looked at the stone trolls with
suspi1ion$ wondering if so)e )agi1
)ight not suddenly ,ring the)
to life again.
?Gou are forgetting not only your
fa)ily history$ ,ut all you e"er knew
a,out trolls$? said %trider.
?+t is ,road daylight with a ,right sun$
and yet you 1o)e ,a1k trying to s1are
)e with a tale of li"e
trolls waiting for us in this gladeN +n
any 1ase you )ight ha"e noti1ed that
one of the) has an old
,ird?s nest ,ehind his ear. That would
,e a )ost unusual orna)ent for a li"e
trollN?
They all laughed. Frodo felt his spirits
re"i"ing: the re)inder of Bil,o?s first
su11essful
ad"enture was heartening. The sun$
too$ was war) and 1o)forting$ and
the )ist ,efore his eyes
see)ed to ,e lifting a little. They
rested for so)e ti)e in the glade$ and
took their )id#day )eal
right under the shadow of the trolls?
large legs.
?.on?t so)e,ody gi"e us a ,it of a
song$ while the sun is highM? said
(erry$ when they had
finished. ?.e ha"en?t had a song or a
tale for days.?
?'ot sin1e .eathertop$? said Frodo.
The others looked at hi). ?&on?t
worry a,out )eN? he added.
?+ feel )u1h ,etter$ ,ut + don?t think +
1ould sing. Perhaps %a) 1ould dig
so)ething out of his
)e)ory.?
?-o)e on$ %a)N? said (erry. ?There?s
)ore stored in your head than you let
on a,out.?
?+ don?t know a,out that$? said %a).
?But how would this suitM +t ain?t what
+ 1all proper poetry$ if
you understand )e: Kust a ,it of
nonsense. But these old i)ages here
,rought it to )y )ind.?
%tanding up$ with his hands ,ehind
his ,a1k$ as if he was at s1hool$ he
,egan to sing to an old tune.
Troll sat alone on his seat of stone$
4nd )un1hed and )u),led a ,are
old ,oneI
For )any a year he had gnawed it
near$
For )eat was hard to 1o)e ,y.
&one ,yN /u) ,yN
+n a 1ase in the hills he dwelt alone$
4nd )eat was hard to 1o)e ,y.
0p 1a)e To) with his ,ig ,oots on.
%aid he to Troll: ?Pray$ what is yonM
For it looks like the shin o? )y nun1le
Ti)$
4s should ,e a#lyin? in gra"eyard.
-a"eyardN Pa"eyardN
This )any a year has Ti) ,een gone$
4nd + thought he were lyin? in
gra"eyard.?
?(y lad$? said Troll$ ?this ,one + stole.
But what ,e ,ones that lie in a holeM
Thy nun1le was dead as a lu)p o?
lead$
4fore + found his shin,one.
Tin,oneN Thin,oneN
2e 1an spare a share for a poor old
troll$
For he don?t need his shin,one.?
%aid To): ?+ don?t see why the likes o?
thee
.ithout a5in? lea"e should go )akin?
free
.ith the shank or the shin o? )y
father?s kinI
%o hand the old ,one o"erN
Ro"erN Tro"erN
Though dead he ,e$ it ,elongs to heI
%o hand the old ,one o"erN?
?For a 1ouple o? pins$? says Troll$ and
grins$
?+?ll eat thee too$ and gnaw thy shins.
4 ,it o? fresh )eal will go down
sweetN
+?ll try )y teeth on thee now.
2ee nowN %ee nowN
+?) tired o? gnawing old ,ones and
skinsI
+?"e a )ind to dine on thee now.?
But Kust as he thought his dinner was
1aught$
2e found his hands had hold of
naught.
Before he 1ould )ind$ To) slipped
,ehind
4nd ga"e hi) the ,oot to larn hi).
.arn hi)N &arn hi)N
4 ,u)p o? the ,oot on the seat$ To)
thought$
.ould ,e the way to larn hi).
But harder than stone is the flesh and
,one
*f a troll that sits in the hills alone.
4s well set your ,oot to the
)ountain?s root$
For the seat of a troll don?t feel it.
Peel itN 2eal itN
*ld Troll laughed$ when he heard
To) groan$
4nd he knew his toes 1ould feel it.
To)?s leg is ga)e$ sin1e ho)e he
1a)e$
4nd his ,ootless foot is lasting la)eI
But Troll don?t 1are$ and he?s still
there
.ith the ,one he ,oned fro) its
owner.
&onerN BonerN
Troll?s old seat is still the sa)e$
4nd the ,one he ,oned fro) its
ownerN
?.ell$ that?s a warning to us allN?
laughed (erry. ?+t is as well you used
a sti1k$ and not your
hand$ %triderN?
?.here did you 1o)e ,y that$ %a)M?
asked Pippin. ?+?"e ne"er heard those
words ,efore.?
%a) )uttered so)ething inaudi,le.
?+t?s out of his own head$ of 1ourse$?
said Frodo. ?+ a)
learning a lot a,out %a) /a)gee on
this Kourney. First he was a
1onspirator$ now he?s a Kester. 2e?ll
end up ,y ,e1o)ing a wi<ard O or a
warriorN?
?+ hope not$? said %a). ?+ don?t want to
,e neitherN?
+n the afternoon they went on down
the woods. They were pro,a,ly
following the "ery tra1k
that /andalf$ Bil,o$ and the dwar"es
had used )any years ,efore. 4fter a
few )iles they 1a)e out
on the top of a high ,ank a,o"e the
Road. 4t this point the Road had left
the 2oarwell far ,ehind in
its narrow "alley$ and now 1lung 1lose
to the feet of the hills$ rolling and
winding eastward a)ong
woods and heather#1o"ered slopes
towards the Ford and the (ountains.
'ot far down the ,ank
%trider pointed out a stone in the
grass. *n it roughly 1ut and now
)u1h weathered 1ould still ,e
seen dwarf#runes and se1ret )arks.
?ThereN? said (erry. ?That )ust ,e the
stone that )arked the pla1e where the
trolls? gold was
hidden. 2ow )u1h is left of Bil,o?s
share$ + wonder$ FrodoM?
Frodo looked at the stone$ and wished
that Bil,o had ,rought ho)e no
treasure )ore perilous$
nor less easy to pan with. ?'one at all$?
he said. ?Bil,o ga"e it all away. 2e
told )e he did not feel it
was really his$ as it 1a)e fro)
ro,,ers.?
The Road lay Juiet under the long
shadows of early e"ening. There was
no sign of any other
tra"ellers to ,e seen. 4s there was
now no other possi,le 1ourse for the)
to take$ they 1li),ed
down the ,ank$ and turning left went
off as fast as they 1ould. %oon a
shoulder of the hills 1ut off
the light of the fast westering sun. 4
1old wind flowed down to )eet the)
fro) the )ountains
ahead.
They were ,eginning to look out for a
pla1e off the Road$ where they 1ould
1a)p for the night$
when they heard a sound that ,rought
sudden fear ,a1k into their hearts: the
noise of hoofs ,ehind
the). They looked ,a1k$ ,ut they
1ould not see far ,e1ause of the )any
windings and rollings of
the Road. 4s Jui1kly as they 1ould
they s1ra),led off the ,eaten way
and up into the deep heather
and ,il,erry ,rushwood on the slopes
a,o"e$ until they 1a)e to a s)all
pat1h of thi1k#growing
ha<els. 4s they peered out fro)
a)ong the ,ushes$ they 1ould see the
Road$ faint and grey in the
failing light$ so)e thirty feel ,elow
the). The sound of hoofs drew
nearer. They were going fast$
with a light A1lippety#1lippely#1lip.A
Then faintly$ as if it was ,lown away
fro) the) ,y the
,ree<e$ they see)ed to 1at1h a di)
ringing$ as of s)all ,ells tinkling.
?That does not sound like a Bla1k
Rider?s horseN? said Frodo$ listening
intently. The other ho,,its
agreed hopefully that it did not$ ,ut
they all re)ained full of suspi1ion.
They had ,een in fear of
pursuit for so long that any sound
fro) ,ehind see)ed o)inous and
unfriendly. But %trider was
now leaning forward$ stooped to the
ground$ with a hand to his ear$ and a
look of Koy on his fa1e.
The light faded$ and the lea"es on the
,ushes rustled softly. -learer and
nearer now the ,ells
Kingled$ and A1lippety#1lipA 1a)e the
Jui1k trotting feet. %uddenly into
"iew ,elow 1a)e a white
horse$ glea)ing in the shadows$
running swiftly. +n the dusk its
headstall fli1kered and flashed$ as if
it were studded with ge)s like li"ing
stars. The rider?s 1loak strea)ed
,ehind hi)$ and his hood
was thrown ,a1kI his golden hair
flowed shi))ering in the wind of his
speed. To Frodo it appeared
that a white light was shining through
the for) and rai)ent of the rider$ as if
through a thin "eil.
%trider sprang fro) hiding and dashed
down towards the Road$ leaping with
a 1ry through the
heatherI ,ut e"en ,efore he had
)o"ed or 1alled$ the rider had reined
in his horse and halted$
looking up towards the thi1ket where
they stood. .hen he saw %trider$ he
dis)ounted and ran to
)eet hi) 1alling out: A4i na "edui
&CnadanN (ae go"annenNA 2is
spee1h and 1lear ringing "oi1e
left no dou,t in their hearts: the rider
was of the !l"en#folk. 'o others that
dwelt in the wide world
had "oi1es so fair to hear. But there
see)ed to ,e a note of haste or fear in
his 1all$ and they saw
that he was now speaking Jui1kly and
urgently to %trider.
%oon %trider ,e1koned to the)$ and
the ho,,its left the ,ushes and hurried
down to the Road.
?This is /lorfindel$ who dwells in the
house of !lrond$? said %trider.
?2ail$ and well )et at lastN? said the
!lf#lord to Frodo. ?+ was sent fro)
Ri"endell to look for you.
.e feared that you were in danger
upon the road.?
?Then /andalf has rea1hed Ri"endellM?
1ried Frodo Koyfully.
?'o. 2e had not when + departedI ,ut
that was nine days ago$? answered
/lorfindel. ?!lrond
re1ei"ed news that trou,led hi).
%o)e of )y kindred$ Kourneying in
your land ,eyond the
Baranduin$ learned that things were
a)iss$ and sent )essages as swiftly as
they 1ould. They said
that the 'ine were a,road$ and that
you were astray ,earing a great
,urden without guidan1e$ for
/andalf had not returned. There are
few e"en in Ri"endell that 1an ride
openly against the 'ineI
,ut su1h as there were$ !lrond sent
out north$ west$ and south. +t was
thought that you )ight turn
far aside to a"oid pursuit$ and ,e1o)e
lost in the .ilderness.
?+t was )y lot to take the Road$ and +
1a)e to the Bridge of (itheithel$ and
left a token there$
nigh on se"en days ago. Three of the
ser"ants of %auron were upon the
Bridge$ ,ut they withdrew
and + pursued the) westward. + 1a)e
also upon two others$ ,ut they turned
away southward. %in1e
then + ha"e sear1hed for your trail.
Two days ago + found it$ and followed
it o"er the BridgeI and
today + )arked where you des1ended
fro) the hills again. But 1o)eN There
is no ti)e for further
news. %in1e you are here we )ust risk
the peril of the Road and go. There
are fi"e ,ehind us$ and
when they find your trail upon the
Road they will ride after us like the
wind. 4nd they are not all.
.here the other four )ay ,e$ + do not
know. + fear that we )ay find the
Ford is already held
against us.?
.hile /lorfindel was speaking the
shades of e"ening deepened. Frodo
felt a great weariness
1o)e o"er hi). !"er sin1e the sun
,egan to sink the )ist ,efore his eyes
had darkened$ and he felt
that a shadow was 1o)ing ,etween
hi) and the fa1es of his friends. 'ow
pain assailed hi)$ and he
felt 1old. 2e swayed$ 1lut1hing at
%a)?s ar).
?(y )aster is si1k and wounded$? said
%a) angrily. ?2e 1an?t go on riding
after nightfall. 2e
needs rest.?
/lorfindel 1aught Frodo as he sank to
the ground$ and taking hi) gently in
his ar)s he looked in
his fa1e with gra"e an5iety.
Briefly %trider told of the atta1k on
their 1a)p under .eathertop$ and of
the deadly knife. 2e
drew out the hilt$ whi1h he had kept$
and handed it to the !lf. /lorfindel
shuddered as he took it$
,ut he looked intently at it.
?There are e"il things written on this
hilt$? he saidI ?though )ay,e your eyes
1annot see the).
eep it$ 4ragorn$ till we rea1h the
house of !lrondN But ,e wary$ and
handle it as little as you )ayN
4lasN the wounds of this weapon are
,eyond )y skill to heal. + will do
what + 1an O ,ut all the )ore
do + urge you now to go on without
rest.?
2e sear1hed the wound on Frodo?s
shoulder with his fingers$ and his fa1e
grew gra"er$ as if what
he learned disJuieted hi). But Frodo
felt the 1hill lessen in his side and
ar)I a little war)th 1rept
down fro) his shoulder to his hand$
and the pain grew easier. The dusk of
e"ening see)ed to grow
lighter a,out hi)$ as if a 1loud had
,een withdrawn. 2e saw his friends?
fa1es )ore 1learly again$
and a )easure of new hope and
strength returned.
?Gou shall ride )y horse$? said
/lorfindel. ?+ will shorten the stirrups
up to the saddle#skins$ and
you )ust sit as tight as you 1an. But
you need not fear: )y horse will not
let any rider fall that +
1o))and hi) to ,ear. 2is pa1e is
light and s)oothI and if danger
presses too near$ he will ,ear
you away with a speed that e"en the
,la1k steeds of the ene)y 1annot
ri"al.?
?'o$ he will notN? said Frodo. ?+ shall
not ride hi)$ if + a) to ,e 1arried off
to Ri"endell or
anywhere else$ lea"ing )y friends
,ehind in danger.?
/lorfindel s)iled. ?+ dou,t "ery
)u1h$? he said$ ?if your friends would
,e in danger if you were
not with the)N The pursuit would
follow you and lea"e us in pea1e$ +
think. +t is you$ Frodo$ and
that whi1h you ,ear that ,rings us all
in peril.?
To that Frodo had no answer$ and he
was persuaded to )ount /lorfindel?s
white horse. The
pony was laden instead with a great
part of the others? ,urdens$ so that
they now )ar1hed lighter$
and for a ti)e )ade good speedI ,ut
the ho,,its ,egan to find it hard to
keep up with the swift
tireless feet of the !lf. *n he led
the)$ into the )outh of darkness$ and
still on under the deep
1louded night. There was neither star
nor )oon. 'ot until the grey of dawn
did he allow the) to
halt. Pippin$ (erry$ and %a) were ,y
that ti)e nearly asleep on their
stu),ling legsI and e"en
%trider see)ed ,y the sag of his
shoulders to ,e weary. Frodo sat upon
the horse in a dark drea).
They 1ast the)sel"es down in the
heather a few yards fro) the road#
side$ and fell asleep
i))ediately. They see)ed hardly to
ha"e 1losed their eyes when
/lorfindel$ who had set hi)self
to wat1h while they slept$ awoke the)
again. The sun had now 1li),ed far
into the )orning$ and
the 1louds and )ists of the night were
gone.
?&rink thisN? said /lorfindel to the)$
pouring for ea1h in turn a little liJuor
fro) his sil"erstudded
flask of leather. +t was 1lear as spring
water and had no taste$ and it did not
feel either 1ool
or war) in the )outhI ,ut strength
and "igour see)ed to flow into all
their li),s as they drank it.
!aten after that draught the stale
,read and dried fruit Dwhi1h was now
all that they had leftE
see)ed to satisfy their hunger ,etter
than )any a good ,reakfast in the
%hire had done.
They had rested rather less than fi"e
hours when they took to the Road
again. /lorfindel still
urged the) on$ and only allowed two
,rief halts during the day?s )ar1h. +n
this way they 1o"ered
al)ost twenty )iles ,efore nightfall$
and 1a)e to a point where the Road
,ent right and ran down
towards the ,otto) of the "alley$ now
)aking straight for the Bruinen. %o
far there had ,een no
sign or sound of pursuit that the
ho,,its 1ould see or hearI ,ut often
/lorfindel would halt and
listen for a )o)ent$ if they lagged
,ehind$ and a look of an5iety 1louded
his fa1e. *n1e or twi1e he
spoke to %trider in the elf#tongue.
But howe"er an5ious their guides
)ight ,e$ it was plain that the ho,,its
1ould go no further that
night. They were stu),ling along
di<<y with weariness$ and una,le to
think of anything ,ut their
feet and legs. Frodo?s pain had
redou,led$ and during the day things
a,out hi) faded to shadows of
ghostly grey. 2e al)ost wel1o)ed the
1o)ing of night$ for then the world
see)ed less pale and
e)pty.
The ho,,its were still weary$ when
they set out again early ne5t )orning.
There were )any
)iles yet to go ,etween the) and the
Ford$ and they ho,,led forward at the
,est pa1e they 1ould
)anage.
?*ur peril will ,e greatest Kust ere we
rea1h the ri"er$? said /lorfindelI ?for
)y heart warns )e
that the pursuit is now swift ,ehind
us$ and other danger )ay ,e waiting
,y the Ford.?
The Road was still running steadily
downhill$ and there was now in pla1es
)u1h grass at either
side$ in whi1h the ho,,its walked
when they 1ould$ to ease their tired
feet. +n the late afternoon they
1a)e to a pla1e where the Road went
suddenly under the dark shadow of
tall pine#trees$ and then
plunged into a deep 1utting with steep
)oist walls of red stone. !1hoes ran
along as they hurried
forwardI and there see)ed to ,e a
sound of )any footfalls following
their own. 4ll at on1e$ as if
through a gate of light$ the Road ran
out again fro) the end of the tunnel
into the open. There at the
,otto) of a sharp in1line they saw
,efore the) a long flat )ile$ and
,eyond that the Ford of
Ri"endell. *n the further side was a
steep ,rown ,ank$ threaded ,y a
winding pathI and ,ehind that
the tall )ountains 1li),ed$ shoulder
a,o"e shoulder$ and peak ,eyond
peak$ into the fading sky.
There was still an e1ho as of
following feet in the 1utting ,ehind
the)I a rushing noise as if a
wind were rising and pouring through
the ,ran1hes of the pines. *ne
)o)ent /lorfindel turned and
listened$ then he sprang forward with
a loud 1ry.
?FlyN? he 1alled. ?FlyN The ene)y is
upon usN?
The white horse leaped forward. The
ho,,its ran down the slope.
/lorfindel and %trider
followed as rear#guard. They were
only half way a1ross the flat$ when
suddenly there was a noise
of horses galloping. *ut of the gate in
the trees that they had Kust left rode a
Bla1k Rider. 2e reined
his horse in$ and halted$ swaying in
his saddle. 4nother followed hi)$ and
then anotherI then again
two )ore.
?Ride forwardN RideN? 1ried /lorfindel
to Frodo.
2e did not o,ey at on1e$ for a strange
relu1tan1e sei<ed hi). -he1king the
horse to a walk$ he
turned and looked ,a1k. The Riders
see)ed to sit upon their great steeds
like threatening statues
upon a hill$ dark and solid$ while all
the woods and land a,out the)
re1eded as if into a )ist.
%uddenly he knew in his heart that
they were silently 1o))anding hi) to
wait. Then at on1e fear
and hatred awoke in hi). 2is hand
left the ,ridle and gripped the hilt of
his sword$ and with a red
flash he drew it.
?Ride onN Ride onN? 1ried /lorfindel$
and then loud and 1lear he 1alled to
the horse in the elftongue:
Anoro li)$ noro li)$ 4sfalothNA
4t on1e the white horse sprang away
and sped like the wind along the last
lap of the Road. 4t
the sa)e )o)ent the ,la1k horses
leaped down the hill in pursuit$ and
fro) the Riders 1a)e a
terri,le 1ry$ su1h as Frodo had heard
filling the woods with horror in the
!astfarthing far away. +t
was answeredI and to the dis)ay of
Frodo and his friends out fro) the
trees and ro1ks away on the
left four other Riders 1a)e flying.
Two rode towards Frodo: two
galloped )adly towards the Ford
to 1ut off his es1ape. They see)ed to
hi) to run like the wind and to grow
swiftly larger and
darker$ as their 1ourses 1on"erged
with his.
Frodo looked ,a1k for a )o)ent o"er
his shoulder. 2e 1ould no longer see
his friends. The
Riders ,ehind were falling ,a1k: e"en
their great steeds were no )at1h in
speed for the white elfhorse
of /lorfindel. 2e looked forward
again$ and hope faded. There see)ed
no 1han1e of rea1hing
the Ford ,efore he was 1ut off ,y the
others that had lain in a),ush. 2e
1ould see the) 1learly
now: they appeared to ha"e 1ast aside
their hoods and ,la1k 1loaks$ and they
were ro,ed in white
and grey. %words were naked in their
pale handsI hel)s were on their
heads. Their 1old eyes
glittered$ and they 1alled to hi) with
fell "oi1es.
Fear now filled all Frodo?s )ind. 2e
thought no longer of his sword. 'o
1ry 1a)e fro) hi). 2e
shut his eyes and 1lung to the horse?s
)ane. The wind whistled in his ears$
and the ,ells upon the
harness rang wild and shrill. 4 ,reath
of deadly 1old pier1ed hi) like a
spear$ as with a last spurt$
like a flash of white fire$ the elf#horse
speeding as if on wings$ passed right
,efore the fa1e of the
fore)ost Rider.
Frodo heard the splash of water. +t
foa)ed a,out his feet. 2e felt the
Jui1k hea"e and surge as
the horse left the ri"er and struggled
up the stony path. 2e was 1li),ing
the steep ,ank. 2e was
a1ross the Ford.
But the pursuers were 1lose ,ehind.
4t the top of the ,ank the horse halted
and turned a,out
neighing fier1ely. There were 'ine
Riders at the water?s edge ,elow$ and
Frodo?s spirit Juailed
,efore the threat of their uplifted
fa1es. 2e knew of nothing that would
pre"ent the) fro) 1rossing
as easily as he had doneI and he felt
that it was useless to try to es1ape
o"er the long un1ertain path
fro) the Ford to the edge of
Ri"endell$ if on1e the Riders 1rossed.
+n any 1ase he felt that he was
1o))anded urgently to halt. 2atred
again stirred in hi)$ ,ut he had no
longer the strength to
refuse.
%uddenly the fore)ost Rider spurred
his horse forward. +t 1he1ked at the
water and reared up.
.ith a great effort Frodo sat upright
and ,randished his sword.
?/o ,a1kN? he 1ried. ?/o ,a1k to the
Land of (ordor$ and follow )e no
)oreN ? 2is "oi1e
sounded thin and shrill in his own
ears. The Riders halted$ ,ut Frodo had
not the power of
Bo),adil. 2is ene)ies laughed at
hi) with a harsh and 1hilling
laughter. ?-o)e ,a1kN -o)e
,a1kN? they 1alled. ?To (ordor we will
take youN?
?/o ,a1kN? he whispered.
?The RingN The RingN? they 1ried with
deadly "oi1esI and i))ediately their
leader urged his
horse forward into the water$ followed
1losely ,y two others.
?By !l,ereth and LCthien the Fair$?
said Frodo with a last effort$ lifting up
his sword$ ?you shall
ha"e neither the Ring nor )eN?
Then the leader$ who was now half
a1ross the Ford$ stood up )ena1ing in
his stirrups$ and raised
up his hand. Frodo was stri1ken
du),. 2e felt his tongue 1lea"e to his
)outh$ and his heart
la,ouring. 2is sword ,roke and fell
out of his shaking hand. The elf#horse
reared and snorted. The
fore)ost of the ,la1k horses had
al)ost set foot upon the shore.
4t that )o)ent there 1a)e a roaring
and a rushing: a noise of loud waters
rolling )any stones.
&i)ly Frodo saw the ri"er ,elow hi)
rise$ and down along its 1ourse there
1a)e a plu)ed 1a"alry
of wa"es. .hite fla)es see)ed to
Frodo to fli1ker on their 1rests and he
half fan1ied that he saw
a)id the water white riders upon
white horses with frothing )anes. The
three Riders that were still
in the )idst of the Ford were
o"erwhel)ed: they disappeared$
,uried suddenly under angry foa).
Those that were ,ehind drew ,a1k in
dis)ay.
.ith his last failing senses Frodo
heard 1ries$ and it see)ed to hi) that
he saw$ ,eyond the
Riders that hesitated on the shore$ a
shining figure of white lightI and
,ehind it ran s)all shadowy
for)s wa"ing fla)es$ that flared red
in the grey )ist that was falling o"er
the world.
The ,la1k horses were filled with
)adness$ and leaping forward in
terror they ,ore their riders
into the rushing flood. Their pier1ing
1ries were drowned in the roaring of
the ri"er as it 1arried
the) away. Then Frodo felt hi)self
falling$ and the roaring and 1onfusion
see)ed to rise and
engulf hi) together with his ene)ies.
2e heard and saw no )ore.
A-hapter 1A
(any (eetings
Frodo woke and found hi)self lying
in ,ed. 4t first he thought that he had
slept late$ after a long
unpleasant drea) that still ho"ered on
the edge of )e)ory. *r perhaps he
had ,een illM But the
1eiling looked strangeI it was flat$ and
it had dark ,ea)s ri1hly 1ar"ed. 2e
lay a little while longer
looking at pat1hes of sunlight on the
wall$ and listening to the sound of a
waterfall.
S.here a) +$ and what is the ti)eM? he
said aloud to the 1eiling. ?+n the 2ouse
of !lrond$ and it is
ten o?1lo1k in the )orning.? said a
"oi1e. S+t is the )orning of *1to,er
the twenty#fourth$ if you
want to know.?
S/andalfN? 1ried Frodo$ sitting up.
There was the old wi<ard$ sitting in a
1hair ,y the open
window.
SGes$? he said$ S+ a) here. 4nd you are
lu1ky to ,e here$ too$ after all the
a,surd things you ha"e
done sin1e you left ho)e.? Frodo lay
down again. 2e felt too 1o)forta,le
and pea1eful to argue$
and in any 1ase he did not think he
would get the ,etter of an argu)ent.
2e was fully awake now$
and the )e)ory of his Kourney was
returning: the disastrous Sshort 1ut?
through the *ld Forest the
Sa11ident? at AThe Pran1ing PonyAI
and his )adness in putting on the
Ring in the dell under
.eathertop. .hile he was thinking of
all these things and trying in "ain to
,ring his )e)ory down
to his arri"ing in Ri"endell$ there was
a long silen1e$ ,roken only ,y the soft
puffs of /andalf?s
pipe$ as he ,lew white s)oke#rings
out of the window.
?.here?s %a)M? Frodo asked at length.
?4nd are the others all rightM?
?Ges$ they are all safe and sound$?
answered /andalf. S%a) was here
until + sent hi) off to get
so)e rest$ a,out half an hour ago.?
S.hat happened at the FordM? said
Frodo. S+t all see)ed so di)
so)ehowI and it still does.?
?Ges$ it would. Gou were ,eginning to
fade$? answered /andalf. ?The wound
was o"er1o)ing
you at last. 4 few )ore hours and you
would ha"e ,een ,eyond our aid. But
you ha"e so)e
strength in you$ )y dear ho,,itN 4s
you showed in the Barrow. That was
tou1h and go: perhaps the
)ost dangerous )o)ent of all. + wish
you 1ould ha"e held out at
.eathertop.?
?Gou see) to know a great deal
already$? said Frodo. S+ ha"e not
spoken to the others a,out the
Barrow. 4t first it was too horri,leI
and afterwards there were other things
to think a,out. 2ow do
you know a,out itM?
?Gou ha"e talked long in your sleep$
Frodo$? said /andalf gently$ ?and it has
not ,een hard for )e
to read your )ind and )e)ory. &o
not worryN Though + said La,surdL
Kust now$ + did not )ean it. +
think well of you#and of the others. +t
is no s)all feat to ha"e 1o)e so far$
and through su1h
dangers$ still ,earing the Ring.?
?.e should ne"er ha"e done it without
%trider$? said Frodo. SBut we needed
you. + did not know
what to do without you.?
?+ was delayed$? said /andalf$ Sand
that nearly pro"ed our ruin. 4nd yet +
a) not sureI it )ay
ha"e ,een ,etter so.?
?+ wish you would tell )e what
happenedN?
?4ll in good ti)eN Gou are not
supposed to talk or worry a,out
anything today$ ,y !lrond?s
orders.?
SBut talking would stop )e thinking
and wondering$ whi1h are Juite as
tiring$? said Frodo. ?+ a)
wide awake now$ and + re)e),er so
)any things that want e5plaining.
.hy were you delayedM
Gou ought to tell )e that at least.?
?Gou will soon hear all you wish to
know$? said /andalf. ?.e shall ha"e a
-oun1il$ as soon as
you are well enough. 4t the )o)ent +
will only say that + was held 1apti"e.?
?GouM? 1ried Frodo.
?Ges$ +$ /andalf the /rey$? said the
wi<ard sole)nly. ?There are )any
powers in the world$ for
good or for e"il. %o)e are greater
than + a). 4gainst so)e + ha"e not
yet ,een )easured. But )y
ti)e is 1o)ing. The (orgul#lord and
his Bla1k Riders ha"e 1o)e forth.
.ar is preparingN?
SThen you knew of the Riders
already#,efore + )et the)M?
?Ges$ + knew of the). +ndeed + spoke
of the) on1e to youI for the Bla1k
Riders are the
Ringwraiths$ the 'ine %er"ants of the
Lord of the Rings. But + did not know
that they had arisen
again or + should ha"e fled with you
at on1e. + heard news of the) only
after + left you in JuneI ,ut
that story )ust wait. For the )o)ent
we ha"e ,een sa"ed fro) disaster$ ,y
4ragorn.?
?Ges$? said Frodo$ Sit was %trider that
sa"ed us. Get + was afraid of hi) at
first. %a) ne"er Juite
trusted hi). + think$ not at any rate
until we )et /lorfindel.?
/andalf s)iled. S+ ha"e heard all
a,out %a)$? he said. ?2e has no )ore
dou,ts now.?
?+ a) glad$? said Frodo. ?For + ha"e
,e1o)e "ery fond of %trider. .ell$
AfondA is not the right
word. + )ean he is dear to )eI though
he is strange$ and gri) at ti)es. +n
fa1t$ he re)inds )e often
of you. + didn?t know that any of the
Big People were like that. + thought$
well$ that they were Kust
,ig$ and rather stupid: kind and stupid
like Butter,urI or stupid and wi1ked
like Bill Ferny. But then
we don?t know )u1h a,out (en in the
%hire$ e51ept perhaps the
Breelanders.?
SGou don?t know )u1h e"en a,out
the)$ if you think old Barli)an is
stupid$? said /andalf. ?2e
is wise enough on his own ground. 2e
thinks less than he talks$ and slowerI
yet he 1an see through
a ,ri1k wall in ti)e Das they say in
BreeE. But there are few left in
(iddle#earth like 4ragorn son of
4rathorn. The ra1e of the ings fro)
o"er the %ea is nearly at an end. +t
)ay ,e that this .ar of the
Ring will ,e their last ad"enture.?
?&o you really )ean that %trider is one
of the people of the old ingsM? said
Frodo in wonder. S+
thought they had all "anished long
ago. + thought he was only a Ranger.?
?*nly a RangerN? 1ried /andalf. S(y
dear Frodo$ that is Kust what the
Rangers are: the last
re)nant in the 'orth of the great
people$ the (en of the .est. They
ha"e helped )e ,eforeI and +
shall need their help in the days to
1o)eI for we ha"e rea1hed Ri"endell$
,ut the Ring is not yet at
rest.?
?+ suppose not$? said Frodo. ?But so far
)y only thought has ,een to get hereI
and + hope + shan?t
ha"e to go any further. +t is "ery
pleasant Kust to rest. + ha"e had a
)onth of e5ile and ad"enture$
and + find that has ,een as )u1h as +
want.?
2e fell silent and shut his eyes. 4fter
a while he spoke again. ?+ ha"e ,een
re1koning$? he said$
Sand + 1an?t ,ring the total up to
*1to,er the twenty#fourth. +t ought to
,e the twenty#first. .e )ust
ha"e rea1hed the Ford ,y the
twentieth.?
?Gou ha"e talked and re1koned )ore
than is good for you$? said /andalf.
S2ow do the side and
shoulder feel nowM?
?+ don?t know.? Frodo answered. ?They
don?t feel at all: whi1h is an
i)pro"e)ent$ ,ut?#he )ade an
effort#?+ 1an )o"e )y ar) again a
little. Ges$ it is 1o)ing ,a1k to life. +t
is not 1old$? he added$
tou1hing his left hand with his right.
S/oodN? said /andalf. S+t is )ending
fast. Gou will soon ,e sound again.
!lrond has 1ured you:
he has tended you for days$ e"er sin1e
you were ,rought in.?
?&aysM? said Frodo.
S.ell$ four nights and three days$ to
,e e5a1t. The !l"es ,rought you fro)
this where you lost
1ount. .e ha"e ,een terri,ly an5ious$
and %a) has hardly left your side$ day
or night$ e51ept to run
)essages. !lrond is a )aster of
healing$ ,ut the weapons of our
!ne)y are deadly. To tell you the
truth$ + had "ery little hopeI for +
suspe1ted that there was so)e
frag)ent of the ,lade still in the
1losed wound. But it 1ould not ,e
found until last night. Then !lrond
re)o"ed a splinter. +t was
deeply ,uried. and it was working
inwards.?
Frodo shuddered$ re)e),ering the
1ruel knife with not1hed ,lade that
had "anished in %trider?s
hands. S&on?t ,e alar)edN? said
/andalf. S+t is gone now. +t has ,een
)elted. 4nd it see)s that
2o,,its fade "ery relu1tantly. + ha"e
known strong warriors of the Big
People who would Jui1kly
ha"e ,een o"er1o)e ,y that splinter$
whi1h you ,ore for se"enteen days.?
S.hat would they ha"e done to )eM?
asked Frodo. S.hat were the Riders
trying to doM?
?They tried to pier1e your heart with a
(orgul#knife whi1h re)ains in the
wound. +f they had
su11eeded$ you would ha"e ,e1o)e
like they are$ only weaker and under
their 1o))and. Gou
would ha"e ,e1a)e a wraith under
the do)inion of the &ark LordI and
he would ha"e tor)ented
you for trying to keep his Ring$ if any
greater tor)ent were possi,le than
,eing ro,,ed of it and
seeing it on his hand.?
?Thank goodness + did not reali<e the
horri,le dangerN? said Frodo faintly. +
was )ortally afraid$
of 1ourseI ,ut if + had known )ore$ +
should not ha"e dared e"en to )o"e.
+t is a )ar"el that +
es1apedN?
?Ges$ fortune or fate ha"e helped you$?
said /andalf$ Snot to )ention 1ourage.
For your heart was
not tou1hed$ and only your shoulder
was pier1edI and that was ,e1ause
you resisted to the last. But
it was a terri,ly narrow sha"e$ so to
speak. Gou were in gra"est peril while
you wore the Ring$ for
then you were half in the wraith#
world yourself$ and they )ight ha"e
sei<ed you. Gou 1ould see
the)$ and they 1ould see you.?
S+ know$? said Frodo. SThey were
terri,le to ,eholdN But why 1ould we
all see their horsesM?
SBe1ause they are real horsesI Kust as
the ,la1k ro,es are real ro,es that they
wear to gi"e shape
to their nothingness when they ha"e
dealings with the li"ing.?
SThen why do these ,la1k horses
endure su1h ridersM 4ll other ani)als
are terrified when they
draw near$ e"en the elf#horse of
/lorfindel. The dogs howl and the
geese s1rea) at the).?
SBe1ause these horses are ,orn and
,red to the ser"i1e of the &ark Lord in
(ordor. 'ot all his
ser"ants and 1hattels are wraithsN
There are or1s and trolls$ there are
wargs and werewol"esI and
there ha"e ,een and still are )any
(en$ warriors and kings$ that walk
ali"e under the %un$ and yet
are under his sway. 4nd their nu),er
is growing daily.?
S.hat a,out Ri"endell and the !l"esM
+s Ri"endell safeM?
SGes$ at present$ until all else is
1onJuered. The !l"es )ay fear the
&ark Lord$ and they )ay fly
,efore hi)$ ,ut ne"er again will they
listen to hi) or ser"e hi). 4nd here
in Ri"endell there li"e
still so)e of his 1hief foes: the !l"en#
wise$ lords of the !ldar fro) ,eyond
the furthest seas. They
do not fear the Ringwraiths$ for those
who ha"e dwelt in the Blessed Real)
li"e at on1e in ,oth
worlds$ and against ,oth the %een and
the 0nseen they ha"e great power.?
?+ thought that + saw a white figure
that shone and did not grow di) like
the others. .as that
/lorfindel thenM?
?Ges$ you saw hi) for a )o)ent as he
is upon the other side: one of the
)ighty of the First,orn.
2e is an !lf#lord of a house of
prin1es. +ndeed there is a power in
Ri"endell to withstand the )ight
of (ordor$ for a while: and elsewhere
other powers still dwell. There is
power$ too$ of another kind
in the %hire. But all su1h pla1es will
soon ,e1o)e islands under siege$ if
things go on as they are
going. The &ark Lord is putting forth
all his strength.
S%till$? he said$ standing suddenly up
and sti1king out his 1hin. while his
,eard went stiff and
straight like ,ristling wire$ Swe )ust
keep up our 1ourage. Gou will soon
,e well$ if + do not talk
you to death. Gou are in Ri"endell$
and you need not worry a,out
anything for the present.?
?+ ha"en?t any 1ourage to keep up$? said
Frodo$ S,ut + a) not worried at the
)o)ent. Just gi"e )e
news of )y friends$ and tell )e the
end of the affair at the Ford$ as + keep
on asking$ and + shall ,e
1ontent for the present. 4fter that +
shall ha"e another sleep$ + thinkI ,ut +
shan?t ,e a,le to 1lose )y
eyes until you ha"e finished the story
for )e.?
/andalf )o"ed his 1hair to the
,edside$ and took a good look at
Frodo. The 1olour had 1o)e
,a1k to his fa1e$ and his eyes were
1lear$ and fully awake and aware. 2e
was s)iling$ and there
see)ed to ,e little wrong with hi).
But to the wi<ard?s eye there was a
faint 1hange Kust a hint as it
were of transparen1y$ a,out hi)$ and
espe1ially a,out the left hand that lay
outside upon the
1o"erlet.
S%till that )ust ,e e5pe1ted$? said
/andalf to hi)self. S2e is not half
through yet$ and to what he
will 1o)e in the end not e"en !lrond
1an foretell. 'ot to e"il$ + think. 2e
)ay ,e1o)e like a glass
filled with a 1lear light for eyes to see
that 1an.?
SGou look splendid$? he said aloud. S+
will risk a ,rief tale without
1onsulting !lrond. But Juite
,rief$ )ind you$ and then you )ust
sleep again. This is what happened$ as
far as + 1an gather. The
Riders )ade straight for you$ as soon
as you fled. They did not need the
guidan1e of their horses
any longer: you had ,e1o)e "isi,le to
the)$ ,eing already on the threshold
of their world. 4nd also
the Ring drew the). Gour friends
sprang aside$ off the road$ or they
would ha"e ,een ridden down.
They knew that nothing 1ould sa"e
you$ if the white horse 1ould not. The
Riders were too swift to
o"ertake$ and too )any to oppose. *n
foot e"en /lorfindel and 4ragorn
together 1ould not with
stand all the 'ine at on1e.
S.hen the Ringwraiths swept ,y$
your friends ran up ,ehind. -lose to
the Ford there is a s)all
hollow ,eside the road )asked ,y a
few stunted trees. There they hastily
kindled fireI for
/lorfindel knew that a flood would
1o)e down$ if the Riders tried to
1ross$ and then he would ha"e
to deal with any that were left on his
side of the ri"er. The )o)ent the
flood appeared$ he rushed
out$ followed ,y 4ragorn and the.
others with fla)ing ,rands. -aught
,etween fire and water$ and
seeing an !lf#lord re"ealed in his
wrath$ they were dis)ayed$ and their
horses were stri1ken with
)adness. Three were 1arried away ,y
the first assault of the floodI the others
were now hurled into
the water ,y their horses and
o"erwhel)ed.?
?4nd is that the end of the Bla1k
RidersM? asked Frodo.
?'o$? said /andalf. ?Their horses )ust
ha"e perished$ and without the) they
are 1rippled. But the
Ringwraiths the)sel"es 1annot ,e so
easily destroyed. 2owe"er$ there is
nothing )ore to fear fro)
the) at present. Gour friends 1rossed
after the flood had passedI and they
found you lying on your
fa1e at the top of the ,ank$ with a
,roken sword under you. The horse
was standing guard ,eside
you. Gou were pale and 1old$ and they
feared that you were dead$ or worse.
!lrond?s folk )et the)$
1arrying you slowly towards
Ri"endell.?
S.ho )ade the floodM? asked Frodo.
?!lrond 1o))anded it$? answered
/andalf. SThe ri"er of this "alley is
under his power$ and it
will rise in anger when he has great
need to ,ar the Ford. 4s soon as the
1aptain of the Ringwraiths
rode into the water the flood was
released. +f + )ay say so$ + added a
few tou1hes of )y own: you
)ay not ha"e noti1ed$ ,ut so)e of the
wa"es took the for) of great white
horses with shining
white ridersI and there were )any
rolling and grinding ,oulders. For a
)o)ent + was afraid that we
had let loose too fier1e a wrath$ and
the flood would get out of hand and
wash you all away. There
is great "igour in the waters that 1o)e
down fro) the snows of the (isty
(ountains.?
SGes$ it all 1o)es ,a1k to )e now$?
said Frodo: ?the tre)endous roaring. +
thought + was
drowning$ with )y friends and
ene)ies and all. But now we are safeN?
/andalf looked Jui1kly at Frodo$ ,ut
he had shut his eyes. ?Ges$ you are all
safe for the present.
%oon there will ,e feasting and
)erry)aking to 1ele,rate the "i1tory
at the Ford of Bruinen$ and
you will all ,e there in pla1es of
honour.?
?%plendidN? said Frodo. S+t is
wonderful that !lrond$ and /lorfindel
and su1h great lords$ not to
)ention %trider$ should take so )u1h
trou,le and show )e so )u1h
kindness.?
S.ell$ there are )any reasons why
they should$? said /andalf$ s)iling. S+
a) one good reason.
The Ring is another: you are the Ring#
,earer. 4nd you are the heir of Bil,o$
the Ring#finder.?
S&ear Bil,oN? said Frodo sleepily. S+
wonder where he is. + wish he was
here and 1ould hear all
a,out it. +t would ha"e )ade hi)
laugh$ The 1ow Ku)ped o"er the
(oonN 4nd the poor old trollN?
.ith that he fell fast asleep.
Frodo was now safe in the Last
2o)ely 2ouse east of the %ea. That
house was$ as Bil,o had
long ago reported$ Sa perfe1t house$
whether you like food or sleep$ or
story#telling or singing$ or
Kust sitting and thinking ,est$ or a
pleasant )i5ture of the) all?. (erely
to ,e there was a 1ure for
weariness$ fear$ and sadness.
4s the e"ening drew on$ Frodo woke
up again$ and he found that he no
longer felt in need of rest
or sleep$ ,ut had a )ind for food and
drink$ and pro,a,ly for singing and
story#telling afterwards.
2e got out of ,ed and dis1o"ered that
his ar) was already nearly as useful
again as it e"er had
,een. 2e found laid ready 1lean
gar)ents of green 1loth that fitted hi)
e51ellently. Looking in a
)irror he was startled to see a )u1h
thinner refle1tion of hi)self than he
re)e),ered: it looked
re)arka,ly like the young nephew of
Bil,o who used to go tra)ping with
his un1le in the %hireI
,ut the eyes looked out at hi)
thoughtfully.
SGes$ you ha"e seen a thing or two
sin1e you last peeped out of a
looking#glass$? he said to his
refle1tion. ?But now for a )erry
)eetingN?
2e stret1hed out his ar)s and
whistled a tune.
4t that )o)ent there was a kno1k on
the door$ and %a) 1a)e in. 2e ran to
Frodo and took his
left hand$ awkwardly and shyly. 2e
stroked it gently and then he ,lushed
and turned hastily away.
S2ullo$ %a)N? said Frodo.
S+t?s war)N? said %a). S(eaning your
hand$ (r. Frodo. +t has felt so 1old
through the long
nights. But glory and tru)petsN? he
1ried$ turning round again with
shining eyes and dan1ing on the
floor. ?+t?s fine to see you up and
yourself again$ sirN /andalf asked )e
to 1o)e and see if you were
ready to 1o)e down$ and + thought he
was Koking.?
?+ a) ready$? said Frodo. ?Let?s go and
look for the rest of the partyN?
S+ 1an take you to the)$ sir$? said %a).
S+t?s a ,ig house this$ and "ery
pe1uliar. 4lways a ,it
)ore to dis1o"er$ and no knowing
what you?ll find round a 1orner. 4nd
!l"es$ sirN !l"es here$ and
!l"es thereN %o)e like kings$ terri,le
and splendidI and so)e as )erry as
1hildren. 4nd the )usi1
and the singing#not that + ha"e had the
ti)e or the heart for )u1h listening
sin1e we got here. But
+?) getting to know so)e of the ways
of the pla1e.?
?+ know what you ha"e ,een doing$
%a)$? said Frodo$ taking his ar). ?But
you shall ,e )erry
tonight$ and listen to your heart?s
1ontent. -o)e on$ guide )e round the
1ornersN?
%a) led hi) along se"eral passages
and down )any steps and out into a
high garden a,o"e the
steep ,ank of the ri"er. 2e found his
friends sitting in a por1h on the side
of the house looking east.
%hadows had fallen in the "alley
,elow$ ,ut there was still a light on
the fa1es of the )ountains far
a,o"e. The air was war). The sound
of running and falling water was loud$
and the e"ening was
filled with a faint s1ent of trees and
flowers$ as if su))er still lingered in
!lrond?s gardens.
S2urrayN? 1ried Pippin$ springing up.
S2ere is our no,le 1ousinN (ake way
for Frodo$ Lord of the
RingN?
?2ushN? said /andalf fro) the
shadows at the ,a1k of the por1h.
S!"il things do not 1o)e into
this "alleyI ,ut all the sa)e we should
not na)e the). The Lord of the Ring
is not Frodo$ ,ut the
)aster of the &ark Tower of (ordor$
whose power is again stret1hing out
o"er the worldN .e are
sitting in a fortress. *utside it is
getting dark.?
S/andalf has ,een saying )any
1heerful things like that$? said Pippin.
S2e thinks + need keeping
in order. But it see)s i)possi,le$
so)ehow$ to feel gloo)y or
depressed in this pla1e. + feel + 1ould
sing$ if + knew the right song for the
o11asion.?
S+ feel like singing )yself$? laughed
Frodo. SThough at the )o)ent + feel
)ore like eating and
drinkingN?
SThat will soon ,e 1ured$? said Pippin.
SGou ha"e shown your usual 1unning
in getting up Kust in
ti)e for a )eal.?
S(ore than )ealN 4 feastN? said
(erry. S4s soon as /andalf reported
that you were re1o"ered$
the preparations ,egan.? 2e had hardly
finished speaking when they were
su))oned to the hall ,y
the ringing of )any ,ells.
The hall of !lrond?s house was filled
with folk: !l"es for the )ost part$
though there were a few
guests of other sorts. !lrond$ as was
his 1usto)$ sat in a great 1hair at the
end of the long ta,le upon
the daisI and ne5t to hi) on the one
side sat /lorfindel$ on the other side
sat /andalf.
Frodo looked at the) in wonder$ for
he had ne"er ,efore seen !lrond$ of
who) so )any tales
spokeI and as they sat upon his right
hand and his left$ /lorfindel$ and e"en
/andalf$ who) he
thought he knew so well$ were
re"ealed as lords of dignity and
power. /andalf was shorter in
stature than the other twoI ,ut his long
white hair$ his sweeping sil"er ,eard$
and his ,road
shoulders$ )ade hi) look like so)e
wise king of an1ient legend. +n his
aged fa1e under great
snowy ,rows his dark eyes were set
like 1oals that 1ould leap suddenly
into fire.
/lorfindel was tall and straightI his
hair was of shining gold$ his fa1e fair
and young and fearless
and full of KoyI his eyes were ,right
and keen$ and his "oi1e like )usi1I on
his ,row sat wisdo)$
and in his hand was strength.
The fa1e of !lrond was ageless$
neither old nor young$ though in it
was written the )e)ory of
)any things ,oth glad and sorrowful.
2is hair was dark as the shadows of
twilight$ and upon it was
set a 1ir1let of sil"erI his eyes were
grey as a 1lear e"ening$ and in the)
was a light like the light of
stars. @enera,le he see)ed as a king
1rowned with )any winters$ and yet
hale as a tried warrior in
the fulness of his strength. 2e was the
Lord of Ri"endell and )ighty a)ong
,oth !l"es and (en.
+n the )iddle of the ta,le$ against the
wo"en 1loths upon the wall$ there was
a 1hair under a
1anopy$ and there sat a lady fair to
look upon$ and so like was she in
for) of wo)anhood to !lrond
that Frodo guessed that she was one
of his 1lose kindred. Goung she was
and yet not so. The ,raids
of her dark hair were tou1hed ,y no
frost$ her white ar)s and 1lear fa1e
were flawless and s)ooth$
and the light of stars was in her ,right
eyes$ grey as a 1loudless nightI yet
Jueenly she looked$ and
thought and knowledge were in her
glan1e$ as of one who has known
)any things that the years
,ring. 4,o"e her ,row her head was
1o"ered with a 1ap of sil"er la1e
netted with s)all ge)s$
glittering whiteI ,ut her soft grey
rai)ent had no orna)ent sa"e a girdle
of lea"es wrought in sil"er.
%o it was that Frodo saw her who)
few )ortals had yet seenI 4rwen$
daughter of !lrond$ in
who) it was said that the likeness of
LCthien had 1o)e on earth againI and
she was 1alled
0nd>)iel$ for she was the !"enstar of
her people. Long she had ,een in the
land of her )other?s
kin$ in L>rien ,eyond the )ountains$
and was ,ut lately returned to
Ri"endell to her father?s house.
But her ,rothers$ !lladan and !lrohir$
were out upon errantry: for they rode
often far afield with the
Rangers of the 'orth$ forgetting ne"er
their )other?s tor)ent in the dens of
the or1s.
%u1h lo"eliness in li"ing thing Frodo
had ne"er seen ,efore nor i)agined in
his )indI and he
was ,oth surprised and a,ashed to
find that he had a seat at !lrond?s
ta,le a)ong all these folk so
high and fair. Though he had a
suita,le 1hair$ and was raised upon
se"eral 1ushions$ he felt "ery
s)all$ and rather out of pla1eI ,ut that
feeling Jui1kly passed. The feast was
)erry and the food all
that his hunger 1ould desire. +t was
so)e ti)e ,efore he looked a,out hi)
again or e"en turned to
his neigh,ours.
2e looked first for his friends. %a)
had ,egged to ,e allowed to wait on
his )aster$ ,ut had
,een told that for this ti)e he was a
guest of honour. Frodo 1ould see hi)
now$ sitting with Pippin
and (erry at the upper end of one of
the side#ta,les 1lose to the dais. 2e
1ould see no sign of
%trider.
'e5t to Frodo on his right sat a dwarf
of i)portant appearan1e$ ri1hly
dressed. 2is ,eard$ "ery
long and forked$ was white$ nearly as
white as the snow#white 1loth of his
gar)ents. 2e wore a
sil"er ,elt$ and round his ne1k hung a
1hain of sil"er and dia)onds. Frodo
stopped eating to look at
hi).
?.el1o)e and well )etN? said the
dwarf$ turning towards hi). Then he
a1tually rose fro) his
seat and ,owed. S/l>in at your
ser"i1e$? he said$ and ,owed still
lower.
?Frodo Baggins at your ser"i1e and
your fa)ily?s$? said Frodo 1orre1tly$
rising in surprise and
s1attering his 1ushions. ?4) + right in
guessing that you are AtheA /l>in$ one
of the twel"e
1o)panions of the great Thorin
*akenshieldM?
SPuite right$? answered the dwarf$
gathering up the 1ushions and
1ourteously assisting Frodo
,a1k into his seat. ?4nd + do not ask$
for + ha"e already ,een told that you
are the kins)an and
adopted heir of our friend Bil,o the
renowned. 4llow )e to 1ongratulate
you on your re1o"ery.?
SThank you "ery )u1h$? said Frodo.
?Gou ha"e had so)e "ery strange
ad"entures$ + hear$? said /l>in. ?+
wonder greatly what ,rings
AfourA ho,,its on so long a Kourney.
'othing like it has happened sin1e
Bil,o 1a)e with us. But
perhaps + should not inJuire too
1losely$ sin1e !lrond and /andalf do
not see) disposed to talk of
thisM?
?+ think we will not speak of it$ at least
not yet$? said Frodo politely.
2e guessed that e"en in !lrond?s
house the )atter of the Ring was not
one for 1asual talkI and in
any 1ase he wished to forget his
trou,les for a ti)e. ?But + a) eJually
1urious$? he added$ Sto learn
what ,rings so i)portant a dwarf so
far fro) the Lonely (ountain.?
/l>in looked at hi). ?+f you ha"e not
heard$ + think we will not speak yet of
that either. (aster
!lrond will su))on us all ere long$ +
,elie"e$ and then we shall all hear
)any things. But there is
)u1h else that )ay ,e told.?
Throughout the rest of the )eal they
talked together$ ,ut Frodo listened
)ore than he spokeI for
the news of the %hire$ apart fro) the
Ring$ see)ed s)all and far#away and
uni)portant$ while
/l>in had )u1h to tell of e"ents in the
northern regions of .ilderland. Frodo
learned that
/ri),eorn the *ld$ son of Beorn$ was
now the lord of )any sturdy )en$ and
to their land ,etween
the (ountains and (irkwood neither
or1 nor wolf dared to go.
?lndeed$? said /l>in$ Sif it were not for
the Beornings$ the passage fro) &ale
to Ri"endell would
long ago ha"e ,e1o)e i)possi,le.
They are "aliant )en and keep open
the 2igh Pass and the Ford
of -arro1k. But their tolls are high$? he
added with a shake of his headI Sand
like Beorn of old they
are not o"er fond of dwar"es. %till$
they are trusty$ and that is )u1h in
these days. 'owhere are
there any )en so friendly to us as the
(en of &ale. They are good folk$ the
Bardings. The grandson
of Bard the Bow)an rules the)$
Brand son of Bain son of Bard. 2e is
a strong king$ and his real)
now rea1hes far south and east of
!sgaroth.?
?4nd what of your own peopleM? asked
Frodo.
SThere is )u1h to tell$ good and ,ad$?
said /l>inI ?yet it is )ostly good: we
ha"e so far ,een
fortunate$ though we do not es1ape
the shadow of these ti)es. +f you
really wish to hear of us$ +
will tell you tidings gladly. But stop
)e when you are wearyN &war"es?
tongues run on when
speaking of their handiwork$ they
say.?
4nd with that /l>in e),arked on a
long a11ount of the doings of the
&warf#kingdo). 2e was
delighted to ha"e found so polite a
listenerI for Frodo showed no sign of
weariness and )ade no
atte)pt to 1hange the su,Ke1t$ though
a1tually he soon got rather lost a)ong
the strange na)es of
people and pla1es that he had ne"er
heard of ,efore. 2e was interested$
howe"er$ to hear that &Tin
was still ing under the (ountain$
and was now old Dha"ing passed his
two hundred and fiftieth
yearE$ "enera,le$ and fa,ulously ri1h.
*f the ten 1o)panions who had
sur"i"ed the Battle of Fi"e
4r)ies se"en were still with hi):
&walin$ /l>in$ &ori$ 'ori$ Bifur$
Bofur$ and Bo),ur. Bo),ur
was now so fat that he 1ould not )o"e
hi)self fro) his 1ou1h to his 1hair at
ta,le$ and it took si5
young dwar"es to lift hi).
?4nd what has ,e1o)e of Balin and
*ri and UinM? asked Frodo.
4 shadow passed o"er /l>in?s fa1e.
S.e do not know$? he answered. ?+t is
largely on a11ount of
Balin that + ha"e 1o)e to ask the
ad"i1e of those that dwell in
Ri"endell. But tonight let us speak of
)errier thingsN?
/l>in ,egan then to talk of the works
of his people$ telling Frodo a,out their
great la,ours in
&ale and under the (ountain. ?.e
ha"e done well$? he said. SBut in
)etalwork we 1annot ri"al our
fathers$ )any of whose. se1rets are
lost. .e )ake good ar)our and keen
swords$ ,ut we 1annot
again )ake )ail or ,lade to )at1h
those that were )ade ,efore the
dragon 1a)e. *nly in )ining
and ,uilding ha"e we surpassed the
old days. Gou should see the
waterways of &ale$ Frodo$ and the
fountains$ and the poolsN Gou should
see the stone#pa"ed roads of )any
1oloursN 4nd the halls and
1a"ernous streets under the earth with
ar1hes 1ar"ed like treesI and the
terra1es and towers upon the
(ountain?s sidesN Then you would see
that we ha"e not ,een idle.?
?+ will 1o)e and see the)$ if e"er +
1an$? said Frodo. ?2ow surprised Bil,o
would ha"e ,een to
see all the 1hanges in the &esolation
of %)augN?
/l>in looked at Frodo and s)iled.
?Gou were "ery fond of Bil,o were
you notM? he asked.
SGes$? answered Frodo. ?+ would rather
see hi) than all the towers and
pala1es in the world.?
4t length the feast 1a)e to an end.
!lrond and 4rwen rose and went
down the hall$ and the
1o)pany followed the) in due order.
The doors were thrown open$ and they
went a1ross a wide
passage and through other doors$ and
1a)e into a further hall. +n it were no
ta,les$ ,ut a ,right fire
was ,urning in a great hearth ,etween
the 1ar"en pillars upon either side.
Frodo found hi)self walking with
/andalf. SThis is the 2all of Fire? said
the wi<ard. S2ere you
will hear )any songs and tales#if you
1an keep awake. But e51ept on high
days it usually stands
e)pty and Juiet$ and people 1o)e
here who wish for pea1e$ and thought.
There is always a fire
here$ all the year round$ ,ut there is
little other light.?
4s !lrond entered and went towards
the seat prepared for hi)$ el"ish
)instrels ,egan to )ake
sweet )usi1. %lowly the hall filled$
and Frodo looked with delight upon
the )any fair fa1es that
were gathered togetherI the golden
firelight played upon the) and
shi))ered in their hair.
%uddenly he noti1ed$ not far fro) the
further end of the fire$ a s)all dark
figure seated on a stool
with his ,a1k propped against a pillar.
Beside hi) on the ground was a
drinking#1up and so)e
,read. Frodo wondered whether he
was ill Dif people were e"er ill in
Ri"endellE$ and had ,een
una,le to 1o)e to the feast. 2is head
see)ed sunk in sleep on his ,reast$
and a fold of his dark
1loak was drawn o"er his fa1e.
!lrond went forward and stood ,eside
the silent figure. ?4wake little )aster.
he said$ with a
s)ile. Then$ turning to Frodo$ he
,e1koned to hi). ?'ow at last the
hour has 1o)e that you ha"e
wished for$ Frodo$? he said. S2ere is a
friend that you ha"e long )issed.?
The dark figure raised its head and
un1o"ered its fa1e.
SBil,oN? 1ried Frodo with sudden
re1ognition$ and he sprang forward.
S2ullo$ Frodo )y ladN? said Bil,o. S%o
you ha"e got here at last. + hoped you
would )anage it.
.ell$ wellN %o all this feasting is in
your honour$ + hear. + hope you
enKoyed yourselfM?
?.hy weren?t you thereM? 1ried Frodo.
S4nd why ha"en?t + ,een allowed to
see you ,eforeM?
SBe1ause you were asleep. + ha"e seen
a good deal of you. + ha"e sat ,y your
side with %a) ea1h
day. But as for the feastS + don?t go in
for su1h things )u1h now. 4nd + had
so)ething else to do.?
S.hat were you doingM?
S.hy$ sitting and thinking. + do a lot
of that nowadays$ and this is the ,est
pla1e to do it in$ as a
rule. .ake up$ indeedN? he said$
1o1king an eye at !lrond. There was a
,right twinkle in it and no
sign of sleepiness that Frodo 1ould
see. S.ake upN + was not asleep.
(aster !lrond. +f you want to
know$ you ha"e all 1o)e out fro)
your feast too soon$ and you ha"e
distur,ed )e#in the )iddle of
)aking up a song. + was stu1k o"er a
line or two$ and was thinking a,out
the)I ,ut now + don?t
suppose + shall e"er get the) right.
There will ,e su1h a deal of singing
that the ideas will ,e dri"en
1lean out of )y head. + shall ha"e to
get )y friend the &Cnadan to help
)e. .here is heM?
!lrond laughed. S2e shall ,e found$?
he said. SThen you two shall go into a
1orner and finish
your task$ and we will hear it and
Kudge it ,efore we end our
)erry)aking.? (essengers were sent
to find Bil,o?s friend$ though none
knew where he was$ or why he had
not ,een present at the feast.
+n the )eanwhile Frodo and Bil,o sat
side ,y side$ and %a) 1a)e Jui1kly
and pla1ed hi)self
near the). They talked together in
soft "oi1es$ o,li"ious of the )irth and
)usi1 in the hall a,out
the). Bil,o had not )u1h to say of
hi)self. .hen he had left 2o,,iton
he had wandered off
ai)lessly$ along the Road or in the
1ountry on either sideI ,ut so)ehow
he had steered all the ti)e
towards Ri"endell. S+ got here without
)u1h ad"enture$? he said$ Sand after a
rest + went on with the
dwar"es to &ale: )y last Kourney. +
shan?t tra"el again. *ld Balin had
gone away. Then + 1a)e ,a1k
here$ and here + ha"e ,een. + ha"e
done this and that. + ha"e written
so)e )ore of )y ,ook. 4nd$ of
1ourse$ + )ake up a few songs. They
sing the) o11asionally: Kust to please
)e$ + thinkI for$ of
1ourse$ they aren?t really good enough
for Ri"endell. 4nd + listen and + think.
Ti)e doesn?t see) to
pass here: it Kust is. 4 re)arka,le
pla1e altogether.
S+ hear all kinds of news$ fro) o"er
the (ountains$ and out of the %outh$
,ut hardly anything
fro) the %hire. + heard a,out the
Ring$ of 1ourse. /andalf has ,een
here often. 'ot that he has told
)e a great deal$ he has ,e1o)e 1loser
than e"er these last few years. The
&Cnadan has told )e
)ore. Fan1y that ring of )ine 1ausing
su1h a distur,an1eN +t is a pity that
/andalf did not find out
)ore sooner. + 1ould ha"e ,rought the
thing here )yself long ago without so
)u1h trou,le. + ha"e
thought se"eral ti)es of going ,a1k to
2o,,iton for itI ,ut + a) getting old$
and they would not let
)e: /andalf and !lrond$ + )ean.
They see)ed to think that the !ne)y
was looking high and low
for )e$ and would )ake )in1e)eat
of )e$ if he 1aught )e tottering a,out
in the .ild.
?4nd /andalf said: LThe Ring has
passed on$ Bil,o. +t would do no good
to you or to others$ if
you tried to )eddle with it again.L
*dd sort of re)ark$ Kust like /andalf.
But he said he was
looking after you$ so + let things ,e. +
a) frightfully glad to see you safe and
sound.? 2e paused and
looked at Frodo dou,tfully.
S2a"e you got it hereM? he asked in a
whisper. S+ 1an?t help feeling 1urious$
you know$ after all
+?"e heard. + should "ery )u1h like
Kust to peep at it again.?
SGes$ +?"e got it$? answered Frodo$
feeling a strange relu1tan1e. S+t looks
Kust the sa)e as e"er it
did.?
S.ell$ + should Kust like to see it for a
)o)ent$? said Bil,o.
.hen he had dressed$ Frodo found
that while he slept the Ring had ,een
hung a,out his ne1k on
a new 1hain$ light ,ut strong. %lowly
he drew it out. Bil,o put out his hand.
But Frodo Jui1kly drew
,a1k the Ring. To his distress and
a)a<e)ent he found that he was no
longer looking at Bil,oI a
shadow see)ed to ha"e fallen
,etween the)$ and through it he
found hi)self eyeing a little
wrinkled 1reature with a hungry fa1e
and ,ony groping hands. 2e felt a
desire to strike hi).
The )usi1 and singing round the)
see)ed to falter and a silen1e fell.
Bil,o looked Jui1kly at
Frodo?s fa1e and passed his hand
a1ross his eyes. S+ understand now$? he
said. SPut it awayN + a)
sorry: sorry you ha"e 1o)e in for this
,urden: sorry a,out e"erything. &on?t
ad"entures e"er ha"e
an endM + suppose not. %o)eone else
always has to 1arry on the story. .ell$
it 1an?t ,e helped. +
wonder if it?s any good trying to finish
)y ,ookM But don?t let?s worry a,out
it now#let?s ha"e so)e
real 'ewsN Tell )e all a,out the
%hireN?
Frodo hid the Ring away$ and the
shadow passed lea"ing hardly a shred
of )e)ory. The light
and )usi1 of Ri"endell was a,out hi)
again. Bil,o s)iled and laughed
happily. !"ery ite) of
news fro) the %hire that Frodo 1ould
tell#aided and 1orre1ted now and
again ,y %a)#was of the
greatest interest to hi)$ fro) the
felling of the least tree to the pranks
of the s)allest 1hild in
2o,,iton. They were so deep in the
doings of the Four Farthings that they
did not noti1e the arri"al
of a )an 1lad in dark green 1loth. For
)any )inutes he stood looking down
at the) with a s)ile.
%uddenly Bil,o looked up. ?4h$ there
you are at last$ &CnadanN? he 1ried.
S%triderN? said Frodo. SGou see) to
ha"e a lot of na)es.?
S.ell$ A%triderA is one that + ha"en?t
heard ,efore$ anyway$? said Bil,o.
S.hat do you 1all hi)
that forM?
SThey 1all )e that in Bree$? said
%trider laughing$ ?and that is how +
was introdu1ed to hi).?
S4nd why do you 1all hi) &CnadanM?
asked Frodo.
SATheA &Cnadan$? said Bil,o. S2e is
often 1alled that here. But + thought
you knew enough
!l"ish at least to know AdCn#udanA:
(an of the .est$ 'C)enorean. But
this is not the ti)e for
lessonsN? 2e turned to %trider.
S.here ha"e you ,een$ )y friendM
.hy weren?t you at the feastM The
Lady 4rwen was there.?
%trider looked down at Bil,o gra"ely.
S+ know$? he said. ?But often + )ust put
)irth aside.
!lladan and !lrohir ha"e returned out
of the .ild unlooked#for$ and they
had tidings that + wished
to hear at on1e.?
S.ell$ )y dear fellow$? said Bil,o$
Snow you?"e heard the news$ 1an?t you
spare )e a )o)entM +
want your help in so)ething urgent.
!lrond says this song of )ine is to ,e
finished ,efore the end
of the e"ening$ and + a) stu1k. Let?s
go off into a 1orner and polish it upN?
%trider s)iled. S-o)e thenN? he said.
SLet )e hear itN?
Frodo was left to hi)self for a while.
for %a) had fallen asleep. 2e was
alone and felt rather
forlornS although all a,out hi) the
folk of Ri"endell were gathered. But
those near hi) were silent$
intent upon the )usi1 of the "oi1es
and the instru)ents. and they ga"e no
heed to anything else.
Frodo ,egan to listen.
4t first the ,eauty of the )elodies and
of the interwo"en words in el"en#
tongues$ e"en though
he understood the) littleS held hi) in
a spell$ as soon as he ,egan to attend
to the). 4l)ost it
see)ed that the words took shape$ and
"isions of far lands and ,right things
that he had ne"er yet
i)agined opened out ,efore hi)I and
the firelit hall ,e1a)e like a golden
)ist a,o"e seas of foa)
that sighed upon the )argins of the
world. Then the en1hant)ent ,e1a)e
)ore and )ore
drea)like$ until he felt that an endless
ri"er of swelling gold and sil"er was
flowing o"er hi)$ too
)ultitudinous for its pattern to ,e
1o)prehendedI it ,e1a)e part of the
thro,,ing air a,out hi)$ and
it dren1hed and drowned hi). %wiftly
he sank under its shining weight into a
deep real) of sleep.
There he wandered long in a drea) of
)usi1 that turned into running water$
and then suddenly
into a "oi1e. +t see)ed to ,e the "oi1e
of Bil,o 1hanting "erses. Faint at first
and then 1learer ran
the words.
!Rrendil was a )ariner
that tarried in 4r"ernienI
he ,uilt a ,oat of ti),er felled
in 'i),rethil to Kourney inI
her sails he wo"e of sil"er fair$
of sil"er were her lanterns )ade$
her prow was fashioned like a swan$
and light upon her ,anners laid.
+n panoply of an1ient kings$
in 1hainBd rings he ar)oured hi)I
his shining shield was s1ored with
runes
to ward all wounds and har) fro)
hi)I
his ,ow was )ade of dragon#horn$
his arrows shorn of e,ony$
of sil"er was his ha,ergeon$
his s1a,,ard of 1hal1edonyI
his sword of steel was "aliant$
of ada)ant his hel)et tall$
an eagle#plu)e upon his 1rest$
upon his ,reast an e)erald.
Beneath the (oon and under star
he wandered far fro) northern
strands$
,ewildered on en1hanted ways
,eyond the days of )ortal lands.
Fro) gnashing of the 'arrow +1e
where shadow lies on fro<en hills$
fro) nether heats and ,urning waste
he turned in haste$ and ro"ing still
on starless waters far astray
at last he 1a)e to 'ight of 'aught$
and passed$ and ne"er sight he saw
of shining shore nor light he sought.
The winds of wrath 1a)e dri"ing hi)$
and ,lindly in the foa) he fled
fro) west to east and errandless$
unheralded he ho)eward sped.
There flying !lwing 1a)e to hi)$
and fla)e was in the darkness litI
)ore ,right than light of dia)ond
the fire upon her 1ar1anet.
The %il)aril she ,ound on hi)
and 1rowned hi) with the li"ing light
and dauntless then with ,urning ,row
he turned his prowI and in the night
fro) *therworld ,eyond the %ea
there strong and free a stor) arose$
a wind of power in Tar)enelI
,y paths that seldo) )ortal goes
his ,oat it ,ore with ,iting ,reath
as )ight of death a1ross the grey
and long#forsaken seas distressed:
fro) east to west he passed away.
Through !"ernight he ,a1k was ,orne
on ,la1k and roaring wa"es that ran
o?er leagues unlit and foundered
shores
that drowned ,efore the &ays ,egan$
until he heard on strands of pearl
when ends the world the )usi1 long$
where e"er foa)ing ,illows roll
the yellow gold and Kewels wan.
2e saw the (ountain silent rise
where twilight lies upon the knees
of @alinor$ and !lda)ar
,eheld afar ,eyond the seas.
4 wanderer es1aped fro) night
to ha"en white he 1a)e at last$
to !l"enho)e the green and fair
where keen the air$ where pale as
glass
,eneath the 2ill of +l)arin
a#gli))er in a "alley sheer
the la)plit towers of Tirion
are )irrored on the %hadow)ere.
2e tarried there fro) errantry$
and )elodies they taught to hi)$
and sages old hi) )ar"els told$
and harps of gold they ,rought to hi).
They 1lothed hi) then in el"en#white$
and se"en lights ,efore hi) sent$
as through the -ala1irian
to hidden land forlorn he went.
2e 1a)e unto the ti)eless halls
where shining fall the 1ountless years$
and endless reigns the!lder ing
in +l)arin on (ountain sheerI
and words unheard were spoken then
of folk of (en and !l"en#kin$
,eyond the world were "isions
showed
for,id to those that dwell therein.
4 ship then new they ,uilt for hi)
of )ithril and of el"en#glass
with shining prowI no sha"en oar
nor sail she ,ore on sil"er )ast:
the %il)aril as lantern light
and ,anner ,right with li"ing fla)e
to glea) thereon ,y !l,ereth
herself was set$ who thither 1a)e
and wings i))ortal )ade for hi)$
and laid on hi) undying doo)$
to sail the shoreless skies and 1o)e
,ehind the %un and light of (oon.
Fro) !"ere"en?s lofty hills
where softly sil"er fountains fall
his wings hi) ,ore$ a wandering light$
,eyond the )ighty (ountain .all.
Fro) .orld?s !nd then he turned
away
and yearned again to find afar
his ho)e through shadows
Kourneying$
and ,urning as an island star
on high a,o"e the )ists he 1a)e$
a distant fla)e ,efore the %un$
a wonder ere the waking dawn
where grey the 'orland waters run.
4nd o"er (iddle#earth he passed
and heard at last the weeping sore
of wo)en and of el"en#)aids
in !lder &ays$ in years of yore.
gut on hi) )ighty doo) was laid$
till (oon should fade$ an or,Bd star
to pass$ and tarry ne"er )ore
on 2ither %hores where )ortals areI
for e"er still a herald on
an errand that should ne"er rest
to ,ear his shining la)p afar$
the Fla))ifer of .esternesse.
The 1hanting 1eased. Frodo opened
his eyes and saw that Bil,o was
seated on his stool in a
1ir1le of listeners$ who were s)iling
and applauding.
S'ow we had ,etter ha"e it again$?
said an !lf.
Bil,o got up and ,owed. S+ a)
flattered$ Lindir$? he said. ?But it
would ,e too tiring to repeat it
all.?
?'ot too tiring for you$? the !l"es
answered laughing. ?Gou know you
are ne"er tired of re1iting
your own "erses. But really we 1annot
answer your Juestion at one hearingN?
S.hatN? 1ried Bil,o. ?Gou 1an?t tell
whi1h parts were )ine$ and whi1h
were the &Cnadan?sM?
?+t is not easy for us to tell the
differen1e ,etween two )ortals? said
the !lf.
?'onsense$ Lindir$? snorted Bil,o. ?+f
you 1an?t distinguish ,etween a (an
and a 2o,,it$ your
Kudge)ent is poorer than + i)agined.
They?re as different as peas and
apples.?
?(ay,e. To sheep other sheep no
dou,t appear different$? laughed
Lindir. S*r to shepherds. But
(ortals ha"e not ,een our study. .e
ha"e other ,usiness.?
?+ won?t argue with you$? said Bil,o. ?+
a) sleepy after so )u1h )usi1 and
singing. +?ll lea"e you
to guess$ if you want to.?
2e got up and 1a)e towards Frodo.
?.ell$ that?s o"er$? he said in a low
"oi1e. S+t went off ,etter
than + e5pe1ted. + don?t often get
asked for a se1ond hearing. .hat did
you think of itM?
S+ a) not going to try and guess$? said
Frodo s)iling.
SGou needn?t$? said Bil,o. S4s a )atter
of fa1t it was all )ine. !51ept that
4ragorn insisted on
)y putting in a green stone. 2e
see)ed to think it i)portant. + don?t
know why. *therwise he
o,"iously thought the whole thing
rather a,o"e )y head$ and he said that
if + had the 1heek to )ake
"erses a,out !Rrendil in the house of
!lrond$ it was )y affair. + suppose he
was right.?
?+ don?t know$? said Frodo. S+t see)ed
to )e to fit so)ehow$ though + 1an?t
e5plain. + was half
asleep when you ,egan$ and it see)ed
to follow on fro) so)ething that +
was drea)ing a,out. +
didn?t understand that it was really
you speaking until near the end.?
S+t AisA diffi1ult to keep awake here$
until you get used to itI? said Bil,o.
?'ot that ho,,its would
e"er a1Juire Juite the el"ish appetite
for )usi1 and poetry and tales. They
see) to like the) as
)u1h as food$ or )ore. They will ,e
going on for a long ti)e yet. .hat do
you say to slipping off
for so)e )ore Juiet talkM?
S-an weM? said Frodo.
S*f 1ourse. This is )erry)aking not
,usiness. -o)e and go as you like$ as
long as you don?t
)ake a noise.?
They got up and withdrew Juietly into
the shadows$ and )ade for the doors.
%a) they left
,ehind$ fast asleep still with a s)ile
on his fa1e. +n spite of his delight in
Bil,o?s 1o)pany Frodo
felt a tug of regret as they passed out
of the 2all of Fire. !"en as they
stepped o"er the threshold a
single 1lear "oi1e rose in song.
4 !l,ereth /ilthoniel$
sili"ren penna )Qriel
o )enel aglar elenathN
'a#1haered palan#dQriel
o galadhre))in ennorath$
Fanuilos$ le linnathon
nef aear$ sQ nef aearonN
Frodo halted for a )o)ent$ looking
,a1k. !lrond was in his 1hair and the
fire was on his fa1e
like su))er#light upon the trees.
'ear hi) sat the Lady 4rwen. To his
surprise Frodo saw that
4ragorn stood ,eside herI his dark
1loak was thrown ,a1k$ and he
see)ed to ,e 1lad in el"en#)ail$
and a star shone on his ,reast. They
spoke together$ and then suddenly it
see)ed to Frodo that
4rwen turned towards hi)$ and the
light of her eyes fell on hi) fro) afar
and pier1ed his heart.
2e stood still en1hanted$ while the
sweet sylla,les of the el"ish song fell
like 1lear Kewels of
,lended word and )elody. S+t is a
song to !l,ereth$? said Bil,o. SThey
will sing that$ and other
songs of the Blessed Real)$ )any
ti)es tonight. -o)e onN?
2e led Frodo ,a1k to his own little
roo). +t opened on to the gar dens and
looked south a1ross
the ra"ine of the Bruinen. There they
sat for so)e while$ looking through
the window at the ,right
stars a,o"e the steep#1li),ing woods$
and talking softly. They spoke no
)ore of the s)all news of
the %hire far away$ nor of the dark
shadows and perils that en1o)passed
the)$ ,ut of the fair things
they had seen in the world together$ of
the !l"es$ of the stars$ of trees$ and
the gentle fall of the
,right year in the woods.
4t last there 1a)e a kno1k on the
door. SBegging your pardon$? said
%a)$ putting in his head$
S,ut + was Kust wondering if you
would ,e wanting anything.?
S4nd ,egging yours$ %a) /a)gee$?
replied Bil,o. S+ guess you )ean that
it is ti)e your )aster
went to ,ed.?
S.ell$ sir$ there is a -oun1il early
to)orrow$ + hear and he only got up
today for the first ti)e.?
SPuite right$ %a)$? laughed Bil,o.
SGou 1an trot off and tell /andalf that
he has gone to ,ed.
/ood night$ FrodoN Bless )e$ ,ut it
has ,een good to see you againN There
are no folk like ho,,its
after all for a real good talk. + a)
getting "ery old$ and + ,egan to
wonder if + should e"er li"e to see
your 1hapters of our story. /ood
nightN +?ll take a walk$ + think$ and
look at the stars of !l,ereth in
the garden. %leep wellN?
A-hapter 2A
The -oun1il of !lrond
'e5t day Frodo woke early$ feeling
refreshed and well. 2e walked along
the terra1es a,o"e the
loud#flowing Bruinen and wat1hed
the pale$ 1ool sun rise a,o"e the far
)ountains$ and shine down.
%lanting through the thin sil"er )istI
the dew upon the yellow lea"es was
gli))ering$ and the
wo"en nets of gossa)er twinkled on
e"ery ,ush. %a) walked ,eside hi)$
saying nothing. ,ut
sniffing the air$ and looking e"ery
now and again with wonder in his
eyes at the great heights in the
!ast. The snow was white upon their
peaks.
*n a seat 1ut in the stone ,eside a turn
in the path they 1a)e upon /andalf
and Bil,o deep in
talk. S2ulloN /ood )orningN? said
Bil,o. SFeel ready for the great
1oun1ilM?
S+ feel ready for anything$? answered
Frodo. SBut )ost of all + should like
to go walking today
and e5plore the "alley. + should like to
get into those pine#woods up there.?
2e pointed away far up
the side of Ri"endell to the north.
?Gou )ay ha"e a 1han1e later$? said
/andalf. SBut we 1annot )ake any
plans yet. There is )u1h
to hear and de1ide today.?
%uddenly as they were talking a single
1lear ,ell rang out. SThat is the
warning ,ell for the
-oun1il of !lrond$? 1ried /andalf.
S-o)e along nowN Both you and
Bil,o are wanted.?
Frodo and Bil,o followed the wi<ard
Jui1kly along the winding path ,a1k
to the houseI ,ehind
the)$ unin"ited and for the )o)ent
forgotten$ trotted %a).
/andalf led the) to the por1h where
Frodo had found his friends the
e"ening ,efore. The light
of the 1lear autu)n )orning was now
glowing in the "alley. The noise of
,u,,ling waters 1a)e up
fro) the foa)ing ri"er#,ed. Birds
were singing$ and a wholeso)e pea1e
lay on the land. To Frodo
his dangerous flight$ and the ru)ours
of the darkness growing in the world
outside$ already see)ed
only the )e)ories of a trou,led
drea)I ,ut the fa1es that were turned
to )eet the) as they entered
were gra"e.
!lrond was there$ and se"eral others
were seated in silen1e a,out hi).
Frodo saw /lorfindel and
/l>inI and in a 1orner alone %trider
was sitting$ 1lad in his old tra"el#worn
1lothes again. !lrond
drew Frodo to a seat ,y his side$ and
presented hi) to the 1o)pany$
saying:
?2ere$ )y friends is the ho,,it$ Frodo
son of &rogo. Few ha"e e"er 1o)e
hither through greater
peril or on an errand )ore urgent.?
2e then pointed out and na)ed those
who) Frodo had not )et ,efore.
There was a younger
dwarf at /l>in?s side: his son /i)li.
Beside /lorfindel there were se"eral
other 1ounsellors of
!lrond?s household$ of who) !restor
was the 1hiefI and with hi) was
/aldor$ an !lf fro) the /rey
2a"ens who had 1o)e on an errand
fro) -Qrdan the %hipwright. There
was also a strange !lf 1lad
in green and ,rown$ Legolas$ a
)essenger fro) his father$ Thranduil$
the ing of the !l"es of
'orthern (irkwood. 4nd seated a
little apart was a tall )an with a fair
and no,le fa1e$ dark#haired
and grey#eyed$ proud and stern of
glan1e.
2e was 1loaked and ,ooted as if for a
Kourney on horse,a1kI and indeed
though his gar)ents
were ri1h$ and his 1loak was lined
with fur$ they were stained with long
tra"el. 2e had a 1ollar of
sil"er in whi1h a single white stone
was setI his lo1ks were shorn a,out
his shoulders. *n a ,aldri1
he wore a great horn tipped with
sil"er that now was laid upon his
knees. 2e ga<ed at Frodo and
Bil,o with sudden wonder.
S2ere$? said !lrond$ turning to
/andalf$ Sis Boro)ir$ a )an fro) the
%outh. 2e arri"ed in the
grey )orning$ and seeks for 1ounsel. +
ha"e ,idden hi) to ,e present$ for
here his Juestions will ,e
answered.?
'ot all that was spoken and de,ated
in the -oun1il need now ,e told.
(u1h was said of e"ents
in the world outside$ espe1ially in the
%outh$ and in the wide lands east of
the (ountains. *f these
things Frodo had already heard )any
ru)oursI ,ut the tale of /l>in was
new to hi)$ and when the
dwarf spoke he listened attenti"ely. +t
appeared that a)id the splendour of
their works of hand the
hearts of the &war"es of the Lonely
(ountain were trou,led.
S+t is now )any years ago$? said /l>in$
Sthat a shadow of disJuiet fell upon
our people. .hen1e
it 1a)e we did not at first per1ei"e.
.ords ,egan to ,e whispered in
se1ret: it was said that we were
he))ed in a narrow pla1e$ and that
greater wealth and splendour would
,e found in a wider world.
%o)e spoke of (oria: the )ighty
works of our fathers that are 1alled in
our own tongue ha<add=)I
and they de1lared that now at last we
had the power and nu),ers to return.?
/l>in sighed. S(oriaN (oriaN .onder
of the 'orthern worldN Too deep we
del"ed there$ and
woke the na)eless fear. Long ha"e its
"ast )ansions lain e)pty sin1e the
1hildren of &urin fled.
But now we spoke of it again with
longing$ and yet with dreadI for no
dwarf has dared to pass the
doors of ha<ad#d=) for )any li"es
of kings$ sa"e Thr>r only$ and he
perished. 4t last$ howe"er$
Balin listened to the whispers$ and
resol"ed to goI and though &Tin did
not gi"e lea"e willingly$ he
took with hi) *ri and Uin and )any
of our folk$ and they went away south.
LThat was nigh on thirty years ago.
For a while we had news and it
see)ed good: )essages
reported that (oria had ,een entered
and a great work ,egun there. Then
there was silen1e$ and no
word has e"er 1o)e fro) (oria
sin1e.
LThen a,out a year ago a )essenger
1a)e to &Tin$ ,ut not fro) (oria O
fro) (ordor: a
horse)an in the night$ who 1alled
&Tin to his gate. The Lord %auron the
/reat$ so he said$ wished
for our friendship. Rings he would
gi"e for it$ su1h as he ga"e of old.
4nd he asked urgently
1on1erning Aho,,itsA$ of what kind
they were$ and where they dwelt. LFor
%auron knows$L said he$
Lthat one of these was known to you
on a ti)e.L
?4t this we were greatly trou,led$ and
we ga"e no answer. 4nd then his fell
"oi1e was lowered$
and he would ha"e sweetened it if he
1ould. L4s a s)all token only of your
friendship %auron asks
this$L he said: Lthat you should find
this thief$L su1h was his word$ Land
get fro) hi)$ willing or no$
a little ring$ the least of rings$ that
on1e he stole. +t is ,ut a trifle that
%auron fan1ies$ and an earnest
of your good will. Find it$ and three
rings that the &warf sires possessed of
old shall ,e returned to
you$ and the real) of (oria shall ,e
yours for e"er. Find only news of the
thief$ whether he still
li"es and where$ and you shall ha"e
great reward and lasting friendship
fro) the Lord. Refuse$ and
things will not see) so well. &o you
refuseML
?4t that his ,reath 1a)e like the hiss
of snakes$ and all who stood ,y
shuddered$ ,ut &Tin said:
L+ say neither yea nor nay. + )ust
1onsider this )essage and what it
)eans under its fair 1loak.L
? L-onsider well$ ,ut not too long$L
said he.
? LThe ti)e of )y thought is )y own
to spend$L answered &Tin.
? LFor the present$L said he$ and rode
into the darkness.
?2ea"y ha"e the hearts of our
1hieftains ,een sin1e that night. .e
needed not the fell "oi1e of
the )essenger to warn us that his
words held ,oth )ena1e and de1eitI
for we knew already that the
power that has re#entered (ordor has
not 1hanged$ and e"er it ,etrayed us
of old. Twi1e the
)essenger has returned$ and has gone
unanswered. The third and last ti)e$
so he says$ is soon to
1o)e$ ,efore the ending of the year.
?4nd so + ha"e ,een sent at last ,y
&Tin to warn Bil,o that he is sought
,y the !ne)y$ and to
learn$ if )ay ,e$ why he desires this
ring$ this least of rings. 4lso we 1ra"e
the ad"i1e of !lrond.
For the %hadow grows and draws
nearer. .e dis1o"er that )essengers
ha"e 1o)e also to ing
Brand in &ale$ and that he is afraid.
.e fear that he )ay yield. 4lready
war is gathering on his
eastern ,orders. +f we )ake no
answer$ the !ne)y )ay )o"e (en of
his rule to assail ing Brand$
and &Tin also.?
SGou ha"e done well to 1o)e$? said
!lrond. SGou will hear today all that
you need in order to
understand the purposes of the
!ne)y. There is naught that you 1an
do$ other than to resist$ with
hope or without it. But you do not
stand alone. Gou will learn that your
trou,le is ,ut part of the
trou,le of all the western world. The
RingN .hat shall we do with the
Ring$ the least of rings$ the
trifle that %auron fan1iesM That is the
doo) that we )ust dee).
SThat is the purpose for whi1h you are
1alled hither. -alled$ + say. though +
ha"e not 1alled you
to )e$ strangers fro) distant lands.
Gou ha"e 1o)e and are here )et$ in
this "ery ni1k of ti)e$ ,y
1han1e as it )ay see). Get it is not
so. Belie"e rather that it is so ordered
that we$ who sit here$ and
none others$ )ust now find 1ounsel
for the peril of the world.
S'ow$ therefore$ things shall ,e
openly spoken that ha"e ,een hidden
fro) all ,ut a few until
this day. 4nd first$ so that all )ay
understand what is the peril$ the Tale
of the Ring shall ,e told
fro) the ,eginning e"en to this
present. 4nd + will ,egin that tale$
though others shall end it.?
Then all listened while !lrond in his
1lear "oi1e spoke of %auron and the
Rings of Power$ and
their forging in the %e1ond 4ge of the
world long ago. 4 part of his tale was
known to so)e there$
,ut the full tale to none$ and )any
eyes were turned tV !lrond in fear and
wonder as he told of the
!l"en#s)iths of !region and their
friendship with (oria$ and their
eagerness for knowledge$ ,y
whi1h %auron ensnared the). For in
that ti)e he was not yet e"il to
,ehold$ and they re1ei"ed his
aid and grew )ighty in 1raft$ whereas
he learned all their se1rets$ and
,etrayed the)$ and forged
se1retly in the (ountain of Fire the
*ne Ring to ,e their )aster. But
-ele,ri),or was aware of
hi)$ and hid the Three whi1h he had
)adeI and there was war$ and the land
was laid waste$ and the
gate of (oria was shut.
Then through all the years that
followed he tra1ed the RingI ,ut sin1e
that history is elsewhere
re1ounted$ e"en as !lrond hi)self set
it down in his ,ooks of lore$ it is not
here re1alled. For it is a
long tale$ full of deeds great and
terri,le$ and ,riefly though !lrond
spoke$ the sun rode up the sky$
and the )orning was passing ere he
1eased.
*f 'C)enor he spoke$ its glory and
its fall$ and the return of the ings of
(en to (iddle#earth
out of the deeps of the %ea$ ,orne
upon the wings of stor). Then !lendil
the Tall and his )ighty
sons$ +sildur and 4nTrion$ ,e1a)e
great lordsI and the 'orth#real) they
)ade in 4rnor$ and the
%outh#real) in /ondor a,o"e the
)ouths of 4nduin. But %auron of
(ordor assailed the)$ and they
)ade the Last 4llian1e of !l"es and
(en$ and the hosts of /il#galad and
!lendil were )ustered in
4rnor.
Thereupon !lrond paused a while and
sighed. S+ re)e),er well the
splendour of their ,anners$?
he said. S+t re1alled to )e the glory of
the !lder &ays and the hosts of
Beleriand$ so )any great
prin1es and 1aptains were asse),led.
4nd yet not so )any$ nor so fair$ as
when Thangorodri) was
,roken$ and the !l"es dee)ed that
e"il was ended for e"er$ and it was not
so.?
SGou re)e),erM? said Frodo$
speaking his thought aloud in his
astonish)ent. SBut + thought$? he
sta))ered as !lrond turned towards
hi)$ ?+ thought that the fall of /il#
galad was a long age ago.?
?%o it was indeed$? answered !lrond
gra"ely. SBut )y )e)ory rea1hes
,a1k e"en to the !lder
&ays. !Rrendil was )y sire$ who was
,orn in /ondolin ,efore its fallI and
)y )other was !lwing$
daughter of &ior$ son of LCthien of
&oriath. + ha"e seen three ages in the
.est of the world$ and
)any defeats$ and )any fruitless
"i1tories.
S+ was the herald of /il#galad and
)ar1hed with his host. + was at the
Battle of &agorlad ,efore
the Bla1k /ate of (ordor$ where we
had the )astery: for the %pear of /il#
galad and the %word of
!lendil$ 4iglos and 'arsil$ none 1ould
withstand. + ,eheld the last 1o),at on
the slopes of
*rodruin$ where /il#galad died$ and
!lendil fell$ and 'arsil ,roke ,eneath
hi)I ,ut %auron hi)self
was o"erthrown$ and +sildur 1ut the
Ring fro) his hand with the hilt#shard
of his father?s sword$
and took it for his own.?
4t this the stranger$ Boro)ir$ ,roke
in. S%o that is what ,e1a)e of the
RingN? he 1ried. S+f e"er
su1h a tale was told in the %outh$ it
has long ,een forgotten. + ha"e heard
of the /reat Ring of hi)
that we do not na)eI ,ut we ,elie"ed
that it perished fro) the world in the
ruin of his first real).
+sildur took itN That is tidings indeed.?
S4lasN yes$? said !lrond. S+sildur took
it$ as should not ha"e ,een. +t should
ha"e ,een 1ast then
into *rodruin?s fire nigh at hand
where it was )ade. But few )arked
what +sildur did. 2e alone
stood ,y his father in that last )ortal
1ontestI and ,y /il#galad only -Qrdan
stood$ and +. But +sildur
would not listen to our 1ounsel.
? LThis + will ha"e as weregild for )y
father$ and )y ,rother$L he saidI and
therefore whether we
would or no$ he took it to treasure it.
But soon he was ,etrayed ,y it to his
deathI and so it is na)ed
in the 'orth +sildur?s Bane. Get death
)ay,e was ,etter than what else
)ight ha"e ,efallen hi).
?*nly to the 'orth did these tidings
1o)e$ and only to a few. %)all
wonder it is that you ha"e
not heard the)$ Boro)ir. Fro) the
ruin of the /ladden Fields$ where
+sildur perished$ three )en
only 1a)e e"er ,a1k o"er the
)ountains after long wandering. *ne
of these was *htar$ the esJuire
of +sildur$ who ,ore the shards of the
sword of !lendilI and he ,rought
the) to @alandil$ the heir of
+sildur$ who ,eing ,ut a 1hild had
re)ained here in Ri"endell. But
'arsil was ,roken and its light
e5tinguished$ and it has not yet ,een
forged again.
SFruitless did + 1all the "i1tory of the
Last 4llian1eM 'ot wholly so$ yet it
did not a1hie"e its end.
%auron was di)inished$ ,ut not
destroyed. 2is Ring was lost ,ut not
un)ade. The &ark Tower was
,roken$ ,ut its foundations were not
re)o"edI for they were )ade with the
power of the Ring$ and
while it re)ains they will endure.
(any !l"es and )any )ighty (en$
and )any of their friends.
had perished in the war. 4nTrion was
slain$ and +sildur was slainI and /il#
galad and !lendil were
no )ore. 'e"er again shall there ,e
any su1h league of !l"es and (enI for
(en )ultiply and the
First,orn de1rease$ and the two
kindreds are estranged. 4nd e"er
sin1e that day the ra1e of
'C)enor has de1ayed$ and the span
of their years has lessened.
?+n the 'orth after the war and the
slaughter of the /ladden Fields the
(en of .esternesse were
di)inished$ and their 1ity of
4nnC)inas ,eside Lake !"endi) fell
into ruinI and the heirs of
@alandil re)o"ed and dwelt at
Fornost on the high 'orth &owns$ and
that now too is desolate.
(en 1all it &ead)en?s &ike$ and they
fear to tread there. For the folk of
4rnor dwindled$ and their
foes de"oured the)$ and their
lordship passed$ lea"ing only green
)ounds in the grassy hills.
?+n the %outh the real) of /ondor
long enduredI and for a while its
splendour grew$ re1alling
so)ewhat of the )ight of 'C)enor$
ere it fell. 2igh towers that people
,uilt$ and strong pla1es. and
ha"ens of )any shipsI and the winged
1rown of the ings of (en was held
in awe ,y folk of )any
tongues. Their 1hief 1ity was
*sgiliath$ -itadel of the %tars.
through the )idst of whi1h the Ri"er
flowed. 4nd (inas +thil they ,uilt$
Tower of the Rising (oon$ eastward
upon a shoulder of the
(ountains of %hadowI and westward
at the feet of the .hite (ountains
(inas 4nor they )ade$
Tower of the %etting %un. There in the
1ourts of the ing grew a white tree$
fro) the seed of that
tree whi1h +sildur ,rought o"er the
deep waters$ and the seed of that tree
,efore 1a)e fro) !ressWa$
and ,efore that out of the 0tter)ost
.est in the &ay ,efore days when the
world was young.
SBut in the wearing of the swift years
of (iddle#earth the line of (eneldil
son of 4nTrion failed$
and the Tree withered$ and the ,lood
of the 'C)enoreans ,e1a)e )ingled
with that of lesser )en.
Then the wat1h upon the walls of
(ordor slept$ and dark things 1rept
,a1k to /orgoroth. 4nd on a
ti)e e"il things 1a)e forth$ and they
took (inas +thil and a,ode in it$ and
they )ade it into a pla1e
of dreadI and it is 1alled (inas
(orgul$ the Tower of %or1ery. Then
(inas 4nor was na)ed anew
(inas Tirith$ the Tower of /uardI and
these two 1ities were e"er at war$ ,ut
*sgiliath whi1h lay
,etween was deserted and in its ruins
shadows walked.
?%o it has ,een for )any li"es of )en.
But the Lords of (inas Tirith still
fight on$ defying our
ene)ies$ keeping the passage of the
Ri"er fro) 4rgonath to the %ea. 4nd
now that part of the tale
that + shall tell is drawn to its 1lose.
For in the days of +sildur the Ruling
Ring passed out of all
knowledge$ and the Three were
released fro) its do)inion. But now
in this latter day they are in
peril on1e )ore$ for to our sorrow the
*ne has ,een found. *thers shall
speak of its finding$ for in
that + played s)all part.?
2e 1eased$ ,ut at on1e Boro)ir stood
up$ tall and proud$ ,efore the). /i"e
)e lea"e$ (aster
!lrond$ said he$ first to say )ore of
/ondorI for "erily fro) the land of
/ondor + a) 1o)e. 4nd it
would ,e well for all to know what
passes there. For few$ + dee)$ know
of our deeds$ and therefore
guess little of their peril$ if we should
fail at last.
SBelie"e not that in the land of
/ondor the ,lood of 'C)enor is
spent$ nor all its pride and
dignity forgotten. By our "alour the
wild folk of the !ast are still
restrained$ and the terror of
(orgul kept at ,ayI and thus alone are
pea1e and freedo) )aintained in the
lands ,ehind us$
,ulwark of the .est. But if the
passages of the Ri"er should ,e won$
what thenM
SGet that hour$ )ay,e$ is not now far
away. The 'a)eless !ne)y has
arisen again. %)oke rises
on1e )ore fro) *rodruin that we 1all
(ount &oo). The power of the Bla1k
Land grows and we
are hard ,eset. .hen the !ne)y
returned our folk were dri"en fro)
+thilien$ our fair do)ain east of
the Ri"er$ though we kept a foothold
there and strength of ar)s. But this
"ery year$ in the days of
June$ sudden war 1a)e upon us out of
(ordor$ and we were swept away.
.e were outnu),ered$
for (ordor has allied itself with the
!asterlings and the 1ruel 2aradri)I
,ut it was not ,y nu),ers
that we were defeated. 4 power was
there that we ha"e not felt ,efore.
S%o)e said that it 1ould ,e seen$ like a
great ,la1k horse)an$ a dark shadow
under the )oon.
.here"er he 1a)e a )adness filled
our foes$ ,ut fear fell on our ,oldest$
so that horse and )an
ga"e way and fled. *nly a re)nant of
our eastern for1e 1a)e ,a1k$
destroying the last ,ridge that
still stood a)id the ruins of *sgiliath.
?+ was in the 1o)pany that held the
,ridge$ until it was 1ast down ,ehind
us. Four only were
sa"ed ,y swi))ing: )y ,rother and
)yself and two others. But still we
fight on$ holding all the
west shores of 4nduinI and those who
shelter ,ehind us gi"e us praise$ if
e"er they hear our na)e:
)u1h praise ,ut little help. *nly fro)
Rohan now will any )en ride to us
when we 1all.
S+n this e"il hour + ha"e 1o)e on an
errand o"er )any dangerous leagues
to !lrond: a hundred
and ten days + ha"e Kourneyed all
alone. But + do not seek allies in war.
The )ight of !lrond is in
wisdo) not in weapons$ it is said. +
1o)e to ask for 1ounsel and the
unra"elling of hard words. For
on the e"e of the sudden assault a
drea) 1a)e to )y ,rother in a
trou,led sleepI and afterwards a
like drea) 1a)e oft to hi) again$ and
on1e to )e.
?+n that drea) + thought the eastern
sky grew dark and there was a
growing thunder$ ,ut in the
.est a pale light lingered$ and out of
it + heard a "oi1e$ re)ote ,ut 1lear$
1rying:
%eek for the %word that was ,roken:
+n +)ladris it dwellsI
There shall ,e 1ounsels taken
%tronger than (orgul#spells.
There shall ,e shown a token
That &oo) is near at hand$
For +sildur?s Bane shall waken$
4nd the 2alfling forth shall stand.
*f these words we 1ould understand
little$ and we spoke to our father$
&enethor$ Lord of (inas
Tirith$ wise in the lore of /ondor.
This only would he say$ that +)ladris
was of old the na)e a)ong
the !l"es of a far northern dale$ where
!lrond the 2alfel"en dwelt$ greatest
of lore#)asters.
Therefore )y ,rother$ seeing how
desperate was our need$ was eager to
heed the drea) and seek
for +)ladrisI ,ut sin1e the way was
full of dou,t and danger$ + took the
Kourney upon )yself. Loth
was )y father to gi"e )e lea"e$ and
long ha"e + wandered ,y roads
forgotten$ seeking the house of
!lrond$ of whi1h )any had heard$ ,ut
few knew where it lay.?
?4nd here in the house of !lrond )ore
shall ,e )ade 1lear to you? said
4ragorn$ standing up. 2e
1ast his sword upon the ta,le that
stood ,efore !lrond$ and the ,lade
was in two pie1es. S2ere is the
%word that was BrokenN? he said.
S4nd who are you$ and what ha"e you
to do with (inas TirithM? asked
Boro)ir$ looking in
wonder at the lean fa1e of the Ranger
and his weather#stained 1loak.
S2e is 4ragorn son of 4rathorn$? said
!lrondI Sand he is des1ended through
)any fathers fro)
+sildur !lendil?s son of (inas +thil. 2e
is the -hief of the &Cnedain in the
'orth$ and few are now
left of that folk.?
SThen it ,elongs to you$ and not to )e
at allN? 1ried Frodo in a)a<e)ent$
springing to his feet$ as
if he e5pe1ted the Ring to ,e
de)anded at on1e.
?+t does not ,elong to either of us$?
said 4ragornI S,ut it has ,een
ordained that you should hold it
for a while.?
?Bring out the Ring$ FrodoN? said
/andalf sole)nly. SThe ti)e has
1o)e. 2old it up$ and then
Boro)ir will understand the
re)ainder of his riddle.?
There was a hush$ and all turned their
eyes on Frodo. 2e was shaken ,y a
sudden sha)e and
fearI and he felt a great relu1tan1e to
re"eal the Ring$ and a loathing of its
tou1h. 2e wished he was
far away. The Ring glea)ed and
fli1kered as he held it up ,efore the)
in his tre),ling hand.
?Behold +sildur?s BaneN? said !lrond.
Boro)ir?s eyes glinted as he ga<ed at
the golden thing. SThe 2alflingN? he
)uttered. S+s then the
doo) of (inas Tirith 1o)e at lastM
But why then should we seek a
,roken swordM?
?The words were not Athe doo) of
(inas TirithA$? said 4ragorn. SBut
doo) and great deeds are
indeed at hand. For the %word that
was Broken is the %word of !lendil
that ,roke ,eneath hi)
when he fell. +t has ,een treasured ,y
his heirs when all other heirloo)s
were lostI for it was
spoken of old a)ong us that it should
,e )ade again when the Ring$
+sildur?s Bane$ was found.
'ow you ha"e seen the sword that
you ha"e sought$ what would you
askM &o you wish for the
2ouse of !lendil to return to the Land
of /ondorM?
S+ was not sent to ,eg any ,oon$ ,ut to
seek only the )eaning of a riddle$?
answered Boro)ir
proudly. SGet we are hard pressed$
and the %word of !lendil would ,e a
help ,eyond our hope#if
su1h a thing 1ould indeed return out
of the shadows of the past.? 2e looked
again at 4ragorn$ and
dou,t was in his eyes.
Frodo felt Bil,o stir i)patiently at his
side. !"idently he was annoyed on his
friend?s ,ehalf.
%tanding suddenly up he ,urst out:
4ll that is gold does not glitter$
'ot all those who wander are lostI
The old that is strong does not wither$
&eep roots are not rea1hed ,y the
frost.
Fro) the ashes a fire shall ,e woken$
4 light fro) the shadows shall springI
Renewed shall ,e ,lade that was
,roken:
The 1rownless again shall ,e king.A
S'ot "ery good perhaps$ ,ut to the
point O if you need )ore ,eyond the
word of !lrond. +f that
was worth a Kourney of a hundred and
ten days to hear$ you had ,est listen to
it.? 2e sat down with a
snort.
S+ )ade that up )yself$? he whispered
to Frodo$ Sfor the &Cnadan$ a long
ti)e ago when he first
told )e a,out hi)self. + al)ost wish
that )y ad"entures were not o"er$ and
that + 1ould go with
hi) when his day 1o)es.?
4ragorn s)iled at hi)I then he turned
to Boro)ir again. SFor )y part +
forgi"e your dou,t$? he
said. ?Little do + rese),le the figures
of !lendil and +sildur as they stand
1ar"en in their )aKesty in
the halls of &enethor. + a) ,ut the
heir of +sildur$ not +sildur hi)self. +
ha"e had a hard life and a
longI and the leagues that lie ,etween
here and /ondor are a s)all part in
the 1ount of )y Kourneys.
+ ha"e 1rossed )any )ountains and
)any ri"ers$ and trodden )any plains$
e"en into the far
1ountries of Rh=n and 2arad where
the stars are strange.
?But )y ho)e$ su1h as + ha"e$ is in the
'orth. For here the heirs of @alandil
ha"e e"er dwelt in
long line un,roken fro) father unto
son for )any generations. *ur days
ha"e darkened$ and we
ha"e dwindledI ,ut e"er the %word
has passed to a new keeper. 4nd this +
will say to you$ Boro)ir$
ere + end. Lonely )en are we$
Rangers of the wild$ hunters O ,ut
hunters e"er of the ser"ants of the
!ne)yI for they are found in )any
pla1es$ not in (ordor only.
S+f /ondor$ Boro)ir$ has ,een a
stalwart tower$ we ha"e played
another part. (any e"il things
there are that your strong walls and
,right swords do not stay. Gou know
little of the lands ,eyond
your ,ounds. Pea1e and freedo)$ do
you sayM The 'orth would ha"e
known the) little ,ut for us.
Fear would ha"e destroyed the). But
when dark things 1o)e fro) the
houseless hills$ or 1reep
fro) sunless woods$ they fly fro) us.
.hat roads would any dare to tread$
what safety would there
,e in Juiet lands$ or in the ho)es of
si)ple )en at night$ if the &Cnedain
were asleep$ or were all
gone into the gra"eM
S4nd yet less thanks ha"e we than
you. Tra"ellers s1owl at us$ and
1ountry)en gi"e us s1ornful
na)es. L%triderL + a) to one fat )an
who li"es within a day?s )ar1h of foes
that would free<e his
heart or lay his little town in ruin$ if
he were not guarded 1easelessly. Get
we would not ha"e it
otherwise. +f si)ple folk are free fro)
1are and fear$ si)ple they will ,e$ and
we )ust ,e se1ret to
keep the) so. That has ,een the task
of )y kindred$ while the years ha"e
lengthened and the grass
has grown.
SBut now the world is 1hanging on1e
again. 4 new hour 1o)es. +sildur?s
Bane is found. Battle is
at hand. The %word shall ,e reforged.
+ will 1o)e to (inas Tirith.?
S+sildur?s Bane is found$ you say$? said
Boro)ir. S+ ha"e seen a ,right ring in
the 2alfling?s handI
,ut +sildur perished ere this age of the
world ,egan$ they say. 2ow do the
.ise know that this ring
is hisM 4nd how has it passed down
the years$ until it is ,rought hither ,y
so strange a )essengerM?
SThat shall ,e told$? said !lrond.
SBut not yet$ + ,eg$ (asterN? said
Bil,o. S4lready the %un is 1li),ing to
noon$ and + feel the need
of so)ething to strengthen )e.?
S+ had not na)ed you$? said !lrond
s)iling. SBut + do so now. -o)eN Tell
us your tale. 4nd if
you ha"e not yet 1ast your story into
"erse$ you )ay tell it in plain words.
The ,riefer$ the sooner
shall you ,e refreshed.?
S@ery well$? said Bil,o. S+ will do as
you ,id. But + will now tell the true
story$ and if so)e here
ha"e heard )e tell it otherwise? O he
looked sidelong at /l>in O S+ ask the)
to forget it and forgi"e
)e. + only wished to 1lai) the
treasure as )y "ery own in those
days$ and to ,e rid of the na)e of
thief that was put on )e. But perhaps
+ understand things a little ,etter now.
4nyway$ this is what
happened.?
To so)e there Bil,o?s tale was wholly
new$ and they listened with
a)a<e)ent while the old
ho,,it$ a1tually not at all displeased$
re1ounted his ad"enture with /ollu)$
at full length. 2e did
not o)it a single riddle. 2e would
ha"e gi"en also an a11ount of his
party and disappearan1e fro)
the %hire$ if he had ,een allowedI ,ut
!lrond raised his hand.
?.ell told$ )y friend$? he said$ S,ut
that is enough at this ti)e. For the
)o)ent it suffi1es to
know that the Ring passed to Frodo$
your heir. Let hi) now speakN?
Then$ less willingly than Bil,o$ Frodo
told of all his dealings with the Ring
fro) the day that it
passed into his keeping. !"ery step of
his Kourney fro) 2o,,iton to the Ford
of Bruinen was
Juestioned and 1onsidered$ and
e"erything that he 1ould re1all
1on1erning the Bla1k Riders was
e5a)ined. 4t last he sat down again.
S'ot ,ad$? Bil,o said to hi). SGou
would ha"e )ade a good story of it$ if
they hadn?t kept on
interrupting. + tried to )ake a few
notes$ ,ut we shall ha"e to go o"er it
all again together so)e
ti)e$ if + a) to write it up. There are
whole 1hapters of stuff ,efore you
e"er got hereN?
SGes$ it )ade Juite a long tale$?
answered Frodo. ?But the story still
does not see) 1o)plete to
)e. + still want to know a good deal$
espe1ially a,out /andalf.?
/aldor of the 2a"ens$ who sat near
,y$ o"erheard hi). SGou speak for )e
also$? he 1ried$ and
turning to !lrond he said: SThe .ise
)ay ha"e good reason to ,elie"e that
the halfling?s tro"e is
indeed the /reat Ring of long de,ate$
unlikely though that )ay see) to
those who know less. But
)ay we not hear the proofsM 4nd +
would ask this also. .hat of
%aru)anM 2e is learned in the lore
of the Rings$ yet he is not a)ong us.
.hat is his 1ounsel#if he knows the
things that we ha"e
heardM?
SThe Juestions that you ask$ /aldor$
are ,ound together$? said !lrond. S+
had not o"erlooked
the)$ and they shall ,e answered. But
these things it is the part of /andalf to
)ake 1learI and + 1all
upon hi) last$ for it is the pla1e of
honour$ and in all this )atter he has
,een the 1hief.?
S%o)e$ /aldor$? said /andalf$ Swould
think the tidings of /l>in$ and the
pursuit of Frodo$ proof
enough that the halfling?s tro"e is a
thing of great worth to the !ne)y.
Get it is a ring. .hat thenM
The 'ine the 'a<g=l keep. The %e"en
are taken or destroyed.? 4t this /l>in
stirred$ ,ut did not
speak. SThe Three we know of. .hat
then is this one that he desires so
)u1hM
?There is indeed a wide waste of ti)e
,etween the Ri"er and the (ountain$
,etween the loss and
the finding. But the gap in the
knowledge of the .ise has ,een filled
at last. Get too slowly. For the
!ne)y has ,een 1lose ,ehind$ 1loser
e"en than + feared. 4nd well is it that
not until this year$ this
"ery su))er$ as it see)s$ did he learn
the full truth.
?%o)e here will re)e),er that )any
years ago + )yself dared to pass the
doors of the
'e1ro)an1er in &ol /uldur$ and
se1retly e5plored his ways$ and found
thus that our fears were
true: he was none other than %auron$
our !ne)y of old$ at length taking
shape and power again.
%o)e$ too$ will re)e),er also that
%aru)an dissuaded us fro) open
deeds against hi)$ and for
long we wat1hed hi) only. Get at last$
as his shadow grew$ %aru)an yielded$
and the -oun1il put
forth its strength and dro"e the e"il
out of (irkwood and that was in the
"ery year of the finding of
this Ring: a strange 1han1e$ if 1han1e
it was.
SBut we were too late$ as !lrond
foresaw. %auron also had wat1hed us$
and had long prepared
against our stroke$ go"erning (ordor
fro) afar through (inas (orgul$
where his 'ine ser"ants
dwelt$ until all was ready. Then he
ga"e way ,efore us$ ,ut only feigned
to flee$ and soon after
1a)e to the &ark Tower and openly
de1lared hi)self. Then for the last
ti)e the -oun1il )etI for
now we learned that he was seeking
e"er )ore eagerly for the *ne. .e
feared then that he had
so)e news of it that we knew nothing
of. But %aru)an said nay$ and
repeated what he had said to
us ,efore: that the *ne would ne"er
again ,e found in (iddle#earth.
S L4t the worst$L said he$ Lour !ne)y
knows that we ha"e it not and that it
still is lost. But what
was lost )ay yet ,e found$ he thinks.
Fear notN 2is hope will 1heat hi).
2a"e + not earnestly
studied this )atterM +nto 4nduin the
/reat it fellI and long ago$ while
%auron slept$ it was rolled
down the Ri"er to the %ea. There let it
lie until the !nd.L?
/andalf fell silent$ ga<ing eastward
fro) the por1h to the far peaks of the
(isty (ountains$ at
whose great roots the peril of the
world had so long lain hidden. 2e
sighed.
SThere + was at fault$? he said. S+ was
lulled ,y the words of %aru)an the
.iseI ,ut + should ha"e
sought for the truth sooner$ and our
peril would now ,e less.?
S.e were all at fault$? said !lrond$
Sand ,ut for your "igilan1e the
&arkness$ )ay,e$ would
already ,e upon us. But say onN?
SFro) the first )y heart )isga"e )e$
against all reason that + knew$? said
/andalf$ Sand + desired
to know how this thing 1a)e to
/ollu)$ and how long he had
possessed it. %o + set a wat1h for
hi)$ guessing that he would ere long
1o)e forth fro) his darkness to seek
for his treasure. 2e
1a)e$ ,ut he es1aped and was not
found. 4nd then alasN + let the )atter
rest$ wat1hing and waiting
only$ as we ha"e too often done.
STi)e passed with )any 1ares$ until
)y dou,ts were awakened again to
sudden fear. .hen1e
1a)e the ho,,it?s ringM .hat$ if )y
fear was true$ should ,e done with itM
Those things + )ust
de1ide. But + spoke yet of )y dread to
none$ knowing the peril of an
unti)ely whisper$ if it went
astray. +n all the long wars with the
&ark Tower treason has e"er ,een our
greatest foe.
?That was se"enteen years ago. %oon +
,e1a)e aware that spies of )any
sorts$ e"en ,easts and
,irds$ were gathered round the %hire$
and )y fear grew. + 1alled for the help
of the &Cnedain$ and
their wat1h was dou,ledI and +
opened )y heart to 4ragorn$ the heir
of +sildur.?
S4nd +$? said 4ragorn$ S1ounselled that
we should hunt for /ollu). too late
though it )ay see).
4nd sin1e it see)ed fit that +sildur?s
heir should la,our to repair +sildur?s
fault$ + went with /andalf
on the long and hopeless sear1h.?
Then /andalf told how they had
e5plored the whole length of
.ilderland$ down e"en to the
(ountains of %hadow and the fen1es
of (ordor. SThere we had ru)our of
hi)$ and we guess that
he dwelt there long in the dark hillsI
,ut we ne"er found hi)$ and at last +
despaired. 4nd then in
)y despair + thought again of a test
that )ight )ake the finding of
/ollu) unneeded. The ring
itself )ight tell if it were the *ne. The
)e)ory of words at the -oun1il 1a)e
,a1k to )e: words of
%aru)an$ half#heeded at the ti)e. +
heard the) now 1learly in )y heart.
S LThe 'ine$ the %e"en$ and the
Three$L he said$ Lhad ea1h their proper
ge). 'ot so the *ne. +t
was round and unadorned$ as it were
one of the lesser ringsI ,ut its )aker
set )arks upon it that the
skilled$ )ay,e$ 1ould still see and
read.L
S.hat those )arks were he had not
said. .ho now would knowM The
)aker. 4nd %aru)anM
But great though his lore )ay ,e$ it
)ust ha"e a sour1e. .hat hand sa"e
%auron?s e"er held this