The Adventure: A Tale of Two Small Hobbits
Author’s Note: This is my first try at fanfiction, so I’m not quite sure how it’s turned out—criticisms are welcome. I based it on both the book and the movie of “The Fellowship of the Ring”. For those of you who have seen the movies, Gracie is the little hobbit girl, who, in the very beginning of “The Fellowship”, is listening to Bilbo’s story of the trolls with HUGE eyes. I know that, between the movies and the books, the time between Bilbo’s birthday party and Frodo’s departure is debatable, so I’m assuming that several years have passed, long enough for slowly-aging Hobbit children to progress to a more mature age, but still remain youthful.
“Gracie, Gracie, do hurry up!”
“Coming, Daddy,” the little hobbit grumbled, tugging her warm cloak out of the way of her feet. It was starting to rain, but the gate of Bree was close at hand. Her brother Edmund, fondly called Eddie, slowed his steps to talk with his sister.
“Another fun night in the common room!” he giggled.
“Let’s hope Daddy makes a good buy and doesn’t pay attention to us again!” Gracie responded.
“I do like to watch all the funny dwarves when they’re drinking…heehee!”
Gracie pursed her lips “Well, you know Mamma would be absolutely SCANDALIZED if she knew that we weren’t sitting safe in our room. We better not let Dad notice us too much.”
Eddie shrugged. “He’s going to be busy, remember? He wants to have the nicest stock in the Shire, and you know he’ll spend ages haggling over the price. And if he gets what he wants then he’ll be happy no matter what we do while he’s gone.”
Gracie jumped up and down. “Ooooh, we’re almost here! You know, I’ve been thinking maybe this time we’ll see Gandalf!”
Eddie scoffed. “Huh, not likely. He hasn’t come around this way that I’ve known of since Old Bilbo’s birthday party.”
“Well, it’s about time, you know!” She shivered as the rain beat harder. “There’ll be a lot of men and dwarves there, I imagine. I wonder why Mamma doesn’t want us to talk to them.”
“She doesn’t trust them, she thinks they’re the sort that fight wars and kill people and all those dreadful things. I do believe she’d have a fit if she saw me talking to one of them…but of course, she isn’t here.”
Gracie gasped. “You mean you’d actually TALK to one?”
Eddie shrugged lamely. “Guess not, the big folk in Bree aren’t too interesting anyway.”
“You’re scared of them, aren’t you?” Gracie smirked.
“Oh really? Who’s talking?”
“Well, I wouldn’t be scared to talk to a dwarf, if he hadn’t drunk too much beer. They do drink a lot, and so fast! And maybe I’d talk to a man, if he wasn’t mean, and blustery, and loud, and…and big.”
“They’re all big to us, silly.”
“Well, we are Tooks, and you know they say that the Bullroarer Took was almost as big as a man…so I’d expect they shouldn’t be quite so big to us…although they always are.”
By now they had reached the gate of Bree. Their father hurried them inside toward the bright tavern, heralded by the dangling sign that read The Prancing Pony.
As the young Hobbits excitedly surveyed the crowded common room, the burly innkeeper, Barliman Butterbur, approached the family.
“Well, if it ain’t old Took and his two young’uns come! I had been wondering what was keeping you! I say, you are a bit late aren’t you? You’ve almost missed a wonderful flock of sheep that’s up for sale by someone who wants to start a cattle farm!”
The Hobbit father gladly greeted his old acquaintance, who pointed out the sheep owner in question at a table of ‘blustery’ men. As their father hurried off to discuss business, the servant Nob led the hobbit children to their dinner. Nob knew the twain well, from their regular visits with their father, and gladly chatted them up.
“So how’s all matters up in the Shire?” he asked
“Very well indeed,” Eddie replied. Glancing back to check that his father was occupied, he whispered: “Anything exciting going on at the Prancing Pony tonight?”
Nob contemplatively scrunched his face into a fantastic contortion. “Well, not that I know for sure, just the usual customers…although that nasty Strider fellow’s here again.”
Gracie shivered excitedly. “You mean that, what’s-it-called, Ranger? The one with the dark cloak and the pipe? Who doesn’t talk to anybody?”
Nob nodded sagaciously. “Yep, that’s him. Mister Butterbur is mighty worried that he’s up to no good, but then he also appears to be up to no evil, so we have nothin’ against him at present.”
After they finished their hearty dinner, Nob led the young hobbits to their room for the night. By this time, Eddie and Gracie felt ready for some adventure. Sure by now that their father had gone to look at the sheep, Eddie slyly whispered to the servant: “So, Nob, what do you think about finding us a cozy table in a corner of the common room?”
Grace eagerly added: “We do love to watch all the goings-on, you know.”
Nob smiled knowingly. “Easily done. You’ll have a good time, no doubt, there’s some foreigners from the south come wanderin’ up, and the Breelanders don’t want anything to do with them. Might be some jolly old arguments for you to see.”
Nob easily found a table that was not to near anybody, as it was in a corner a bit out of the light. Opposite to them, in another corner, sat the fearsome Ranger, ‘Strider.’
Gracie quietly observed every detail of the bustling room, her wide blue eyes darting frequent glances at Strider. Eddie, occupied in a similar manner, leaned close to her.
“What do you suppose he’s thinking of?”
Gracie, a possessor (or victim) of a wild imagination, had no doubt. “He’s thinking all sorts of dark and evil thoughts about monsters and death and killing everybody!”
Eddie scoffed. “No, no, he’s thinking of US!”
Gracie’s mind went off in fireworks of possibility, but she left it at: “Why?”
Eddie winked. “He’s thinking: ‘Why are those two little hobbits staring at me like that?’”
Gracie scowled. “Oh, he’s too mysterious to think anything like that.” She pensively remarked: “I’ll bet he knows all sorts of exciting things though.”
Eddie’s left eyebrow formed a parabola of exquisite dimensions. “I don’t know if you’d find them exciting. You didn’t like a simple drinking contest–the things running through this fellow’s mind are much worse.”
Gracie refused to back down. “What if he’s had all sorts of adventures like old Uncle Bilbo, but he doesn’t like to talk about them as much?”
Eddie grinned. “No one could talk about adventures as much as Uncle Bilbo. Boy, I do wish he hadn’t left when he did, I always wanted to find out exactly how big those spiders were. He always exaggerated when he told his stories.”
Gracie sighed. “And I always wanted to know what the pictures and letters on my necklace mean, you know, the necklace that he gave me after he told that exciting story about the three trolls. Oh, how I loved that story! That was the only time I met Uncle Bilbo, you know, at his wonderful birthday party so long ago. What were those Troll names again? Tom, Bert, and Bill something, I think.”
Eddie yawned. “How you do go on about Uncle Bilbo’s Trolls and his fancy Elvish locket. One would think you wanted to go on adventures like he did! Although you are too chicken, since you’re so afraid of ‘big’ men,” he added slyly.
Gracie fidgeted. “Oh, you be quiet.” Suddenly inspiration struck. “Do you know, I’m going to walk past him.”
“Why Strider, of course,” Gracie sniffed.
“You wouldn’t. You’re too scared.”
“Just to see what happens. It’ll be an adventure of sorts.”
“Good luck. But what are you going to do, just walk past him and then back again?”
“No, I’m going to go down the middle of the room and ask Mr. Butterbur for a glass of water, and walk back by Strider.”
Eddie laughed. “Go ahead. Let me know if he stabs you in the back as you walk by.”
Gracie’s Tookishness could not tolerate this. She marched down the middle of the room, braving the wilds of half-drunk dwarves and ‘blustery’ men to fetch her water.
Eddie was distracted by the entrance of several hobbits who seemed to him vaguely familiar. As they sat down quite close, he had a good chance to observe them. Two talkative younger hobbits, a good-natured one tending toward the chubby side, and a pale, sad-looking one. Eddie was sure he knew them from somewhere. As he watched them settle down to generous servings of beer, he suddenly remembered.
Just then, Gracie plopped into her seat. Eddie turned to her. “I say, Gracie, isn’t that…”
“HE TALKED TO ME!” Gracie panted.
“The Strider fellow, he TALKED to me! And he didn’t eat me or bite me or stab me or anything!”
Eddie glanced at the corner. The dark figure had hardly moved. “Well, out with it, what did he say?”
Gracie took a sip from her new water glass. “Well, as I was walking by, trying not to look at him, watching the ground, quite natural, that old necklace from Uncle Bilbo fell off its chain and rolled under HIS table! And I wasn’t exactly sure what to do then, but he took out his pipe and picked it up! And he held it for a minute, and said ‘That’s a very pretty necklace. Where did you get it?’ And I said ‘My Uncle Bilbo Baggins gave it to me,’ and you know, I couldn’t help it, so I asked ‘Do you know what all those Elvish things mean?’ and he told me!”
Eddie was impressed. “What do they mean?”
Gracie held out the silver pendant. “This lady over here, she’s an elf called Luthien. And the man with the sword, over here, his name is Beren. And they were in love a long time ago. And the Elvish writing says ‘Tinuviel,’ which means ‘Nightingale’, and is another name for Luthien. He must be very smart, that Strider! I was too scared to talk with him anymore after that, but I do believe he isn’t as bad as he seems.”
She allowed Eddie to take this all in while she gulped down her water.
Eddie recovered from the shock of this adventure. “Gracie, do look over there, don’t you know those Hobbits?”
Gracie, still agitated, took a minute to find the group in question. “Why, isn’t that noisy one our second-cousin-thrice-removed Peregrin Took?”
Eddie nodded. “And the other noisy one is Merry Brandybuck, and the dark haired one is Frodo Baggins, that distant relative of ours that Uncle Bilbo adopted, and the fat one is Samwise Gamgee, the gardener from Hobbiton.”
Gracie took this all in. “Wonder why they’re here. Maybe they’re on an adventure; they look like they’re up to something important.”
Eddie scoffed. “You and your adventures. Goodness, here’s Father!”
Their father came in, jovially conversing with the sheep owner.
“He must’ve made a good deal,” Eddie observed.
They saw their father having a word with the innkeeper, who pointed at their corner. Mr. Took cheerfully beckoned them over. Gracie and Eddie accordingly made their way through the noisy common room, Gracie still stealing a peek at the mysterious Strider in the other corner.
“Well, my dears, I’ve made a capital buy today! Let’s be off to bed, I do believe we’ll be able to leave early tomorrow! Won’t your mother be pleased, I’ve made such a deal!”
As they followed him through the door to their room, (a room, it must be mentioned, made specially for hobbits), the children took one last look at the common room.
“I say,” said Eddie, “What is that Mr. Frodo doing? He seems to be getting on the table to make a speech or something!”
“How odd,” Gracie commented. “That Strider fellow seems quite interested too, don’t you see? He’s staring at him like everyone stared when Uncle Bilbo disappeared. You know, I’m not scared of Strider anymore. Now I know who the pretty people on my necklace are. I do wish I could meet an elf sometime, don’t you?”
Eddie laughed. “Silly.”
In the middle of the night, Gracie suddenly woke up sweating. Soft hisses emanated from the adjoining room, another room especially for hobbits. Something was moving about there, something which sent icy fear to her heart. As the noises stopped, she told herself it was only a dream and turned over to sleep.
After she woke up, she was never sure, but as she fell asleep she thought she heard a hair-raising screech receding in the distance.