Aug 22, 11:18am
Today in Middle-earth
TIME - August 22
August 22, 2941 (S.R. 1341)
1. Bilbo fights off spiders; Thorin captured by the Woodland Elves.
(from Karen Wynn Fonstad, The Atlas of Middle-earth)
..."[Bilbo] sat himself down with his back to a tree, and not for the last time fell to thinking of his far-distant hobbit-hole with its beautiful pantries. He was deep in thoughts of bacon and eggs and toast and butter when... ...he felt something touch him. Something like a strong sticky string was against his left hand, and when he tried to move he found that his legs were already wrapped in the same stuff, so that when he got up he fell over.
...Then the great spider, who had been busy tying him up while he dozed, came from behind him and came at him.... ...He beat the creature off with his hands—it was trying to poison him to keep him quiet... ...until he remembered his sword and drew it out. Then the spider jumped back, and he had time to cut his legs loose. After that it was his turn to attack. The spider evidently was not used to things that carried such stings at their sides... ...Bilbo came at it... ...and struck it with his sword right in the eyes. Then it went mad and leaped and danced and flung out its legs in horrible jerks, until he killed it with another stroke; and then he fell down and remembered nothing more for a long time.
...There was the usual dim grey light of the forest-day about him when he came to his senses. The spider lay dead beside him, and his sword-blade was stained black. Somehow the killing of the giant spider, all alone by himself in the dark without the help of the wizard or the dwarves or of anyone else, made a great difference to Mr. Baggins. He felt a different person, and much fiercer and bolder... ...he wiped his sword on the grass and put it back into its sheath.
..."I will give you a name," he said to it, "and I shall call you Sting."
......he made as good a guess as he could at the direction from which the cries for help had come in the night... ...He had picked his way stealthily for some distance, when he noticed a place of dense black shadow ahead of him black even for that forest, like a patch of midnight that had never been cleared away. As he drew nearer, he saw that it was made by spider-webs one behind and over and tangled with another... ...Bilbo was horrified, now that he noticed them for the first time dangling in the shadows, to see a dwarvish foot sticking out of the bottoms of some of the bundles, or here and there the tip of a nose, or a bit of beard or of a hood.
......The idea came to him to lead the furious spiders further and further away from the dwarves... ...to make them curious, excited and angry all at once. When about fifty had gone off to the place where he had stood before, he threw some more stones at these, and at others that had stopped behind; then dancing among the trees he began to sing a song to infuriate them and bring them all after him, and also to let the dwarves hear his voice. This is what he sang:
Old fat spider spinning in a tree!
Old fat spider can't see me!
Won't you stop,
Stop your spinning and look for me!
Old Tomnoddy, all big body,
Old Tomnoddy can't spy me!
Down you drop!
You'll never catch me up your tree!
......As he sang he threw some more stones and stamped. Practically all the spiders in the place came after him: some dropped to the ground, others raced along the branches... ...Out came his little sword. He slashed the threads to pieces and went off singing.... ...They followed him into the forest until Bilbo had gone as far as he dared. Then quieter than a mouse he stole back...
......He had precious little time, he knew, before the spiders were disgusted and came back to their trees where the dwarves were hung....
......the other dwarves were working at the rest of the captives, and cutting at the threads with their knives. Soon all would be free...
......Down the dwarves scrambled or jumped or dropped, eleven all in a heap, most of them very shaky and little use on their legs. There they were at last, twelve of them counting poor old Bombur, who was being propped up on either side by his cousin Bifur, and his brother Bofur; and Bilbo was dancing about and waving his Sting; and hundreds of angry spiders were goggling at them all round and about and above. It looked pretty hopeless...
......Then the battle began. Some of the dwarves had knives, and some had sticks, and all of them could get at stones; and Bilbo had his elvish dagger. Again and again the spiders were beaten off, and many of them were killed. But it could not go on for long.... ...In the end Bilbo could think of no plan except to let the dwarves into the secret of his ring... ...He suddenly slipped on his ring, and to the great astonishment of the dwarves he vanished."
August 22, 3019 (S.R. 1419)
1. They come to Isengard; they take leave of the King of the West at Sunset.
(from the appendices)
..."From Deeping Coomb they rode to Isengard, and saw how the Ents had busied themselves. All the stone-circle had been thrown down and removed, and the land within was made into a garden filled with orchards and trees, and a stream ran through it; but in the midst of all there was a lake of clear water, and out of it the Tower of Orthanc rose still, tall and impregnable...
......For a while the travellers sat where once the old gates of Isengard had stood... ...But presently they heard a voice calling hoom-hom, hoom-hom; and there came Treebeard striding down the path to greet them with Quickbeam at his side.
...'Welcome to the Treegarth of Orthanc!.... ...Will you stay here and rest a while? And maybe there are some that would be pleased to pass through Fangorn Forest and so shorten their road home?' He looked at Celeborn and Galadriel.
...But all save Legolas said that they must now take their leave and depart either south or west. 'Come, Gimli!' said Legolas. 'Now by Fangorn's leave I will visit the deep places of the Entwood and see such trees as are nowhere else to be found in Middle-earth. You shall come with me and keep your word; and thus we will journey on together to our own lands in Mirkwood and beyond.' To this Gimli agreed....
...'...Here then at last comes the ending of the Fellowship of the Ring,' said Aragorn. 'Yet I hope that ere long you will return to my land with the help that you promised.'
...'We will come, if our own lords allow it,' said Gimli. 'Well, farewell, my hobbits! You should come safe to your own homes now, and I shall not be kept awake for fear of your peril. We will send word when we may, and some of us may yet meet at times; but I fear that we shall not all be gathered together ever again.'
...Then Treebeard said farewell... ...and he bowed three times slowly and with great reverence to Celeborn and Galadriel. 'It is long, long since we met by stock or by stone, A vanimar, vanimálion nostari!' he said. 'It is sad that we should meet only thus at the ending. For the world is changing: I feel it in the water, I feel it in the earth, and I smell it in the air. I do not think we shall meet again.'
...And Celeborn said: 'I do not know, Eldest.' But Galadriel said: 'Not in Middle-earth, or until the lands that lie under the wave are lifted up again. Then in the willow-meads of Tasarinan we may meet in the Spring. Farewell!'
...Last of all Merry and Pippin said good-bye to the old Ent, and he grew gayer as he looked at them. 'Well, my merry folk... ...will you drink another draught with me before you go?'
...'Indeed we will,' they said, and he took them aside into the shade of one of the trees...
......The travellers now rode with more speed, and they made their way towards the Gap of Rohan; and Aragorn took leave of them at last close to that very place where Pippin had looked into the Stone of Orthanc. The Hobbits were grieved at this parting; for Aragorn had never failed them and he had been their guide through many perils.
...'I wish we could have a Stone that we could see all our friends in,' said Pippin, 'and that we could speak to them from far away!'
...'Only one now remains that you could use,' answered Aragorn... '...But the Palantír of Orthanc the King will keep, to see what is passing in his realm, and what his servants are doing. For do not forget, Peregrin Took, that you are a knight of Gondor, and I do not release you from your service.... ...And remember, dear friends of the Shire, that my realm lies also in the North, and I shall come there one day...'
......With that they parted, and it was then the time of sunset; and when after a while they turned and looked back, they saw the King of the West sitting upon his horse with his knights about him; and the falling Sun shone upon them and made all their harness to gleam like red gold, and the white mantle of Aragorn was turned to a flame. Then Aragorn took the green stone and held it up, and there came a green fire from his hand."
We have been there and back again.
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