May 30, 1:00pm
Today in Middle-earth
TIME - May 30
May 30, 2941 (S.R. 1341)
1. Gandalf keeps the trolls arguing until dawn.
(from Karen Wynn Fonstad, The Atlas of Middle-earth)
...""No sooner did Tom see Balin come into the light than he gave an awful howl. Trolls simply detest the very sight of dwarves (uncooked)... ...before Balin, who was wondering where in all this commotion Bilbo was, knew what was happening, a sack was over his head, and he was down.
..."There's more to come yet," said Tom, "or I'm mighty mistook. Lots and none at all, it is," said he. "No burra-hobbits, but lots of these here dwarves... ...As each dwarf came up and looked at the fire, and the spilled jugs, and the gnawed mutton, in surprise, pop! went a nasty smelly sack over his head, and he was down. Soon Dwalin lay by Balin, and Fili and Kili together, and Dori and Nori and Ori all in a heap, and Oin and Gloin and Bifur and Bofur and Bombur piled uncomfortably near the fire...
......Thorin came last—and he was not caught unawares. He came expecting mischief, and didn't need to see his friends' legs sticking out of sacks to tell him that things were not all well... ...he jumped forward to the fire, before they could leap on him. He caught up a big branch all on fire at one end; and Bert got that end in his eye before he could step aside... ...Bilbo did his best. He caught hold of Tom's leg—as well as he could, it was thick as a young tree-trunk—but he was sent spinning up into the top of some bushes, when Tom kicked the sparks up in Thorin's face.
...Tom got the branch in his teeth for that, and lost one of the front ones... ...But just at that moment William came up behind and popped a sack right over Thorin's head and down to his toes. And so the fight ended. A nice pickle they were all in now: all neatly tied up in sacks, with three angry trolls (and two with burns and bashes to remember) sitting by them, arguing whether they should roast them slowly, or mince them fine and boil them, or just sit on them one by one and squash them into jelly: and Bilbo up in a bush, with his clothes and his skin torn, not daring to move for fear they should hear him....
......It was just then that Gandalf came back. But no one saw him. The trolls had just decided to roast the dwarves now and eat them later---that was Bert's idea, and after a lot of argument they had all agreed to it.
..."No good roasting 'em now, it'd take all night," said a voice. Bert thought it was William's.
..."Don't start the argument all over again, Bill," he said, "or it will take all night."
..."Who's a-arguing?" said William, who thought it was Bert that had spoken.
..."You are," said Bert.
..."You're a liar," said William; and so the argument began all over again. In the end they decided to mince them fine and boil them...
..."...No good boiling 'em! We ain't got no water, and it's a long way to the well and all," said a voice. Bert and William thought it was Tom's....
......And so the argument began all over again, and went on hotter than ever, until at last they decided to sit on the sacks one by one and squash them, and boil them next time.
..."Who shall we sit on first?" said the voice....
..."...Now stop it!" said Tom and Bert together. "The night's getting' on, and dawn comes early. Let's get on with it!"
..."Dawn take you all, and be stone to you!" said a voice that sounded like William's. But it wasn't. For just at that moment the light came over the hill, and there was a mighty twitter in the branches. William never spoke for he stood turned to stone as he stooped; and Bert and Tom were stuck like rocks as they looked at him. And there they stand to this day all alone, unless the birds perch on them; for trolls... ...must be underground before dawn, or they go back to the stuff of the mountains they are made of, and never move again....
..."...Excellent!" said Gandalf, as he stepped from behind a tree, and helped Bilbo to climb down out of a thornbush. Then Bilbo understood. It was the wizard's voice that had kept the trolls bickering and quarrelling, until the light came and made an end of them....
......They searched about, and soon found the marks of trolls' stony boots going away through the trees. They followed the tracks up the hill, until hidden by bushes they came on a big door of stone leading to a cave.... ...among an untidy litter of plunder, of all sorts from brass buttons to pots full of gold coins standing in a corner. There were lots of clothes, too, hanging on the walls—too small for trolls, I am afraid they belonged to victims—and among them were several swords of various makes, shapes, and sizes. Two caught their eyes particularly, because of their beautiful scabbards and jewelled hilts.
...Gandalf and Thorin each took one of these; and Bilbo took a knife in a leather sheath. It would have made only a tiny pocket-knife for a troll, but it was as good as a short sword for the hobbit.
..."These look like good blades," said the wizard, half drawing them and looking at them curiously. "They were not made by any troll, nor by any smith among men in these parts and days; but when we can read the runes on them, we shall know more about them.""
“Courage is not having the strength to go on; it is going on when you don't have the strength." – Theodore Roosevelt
We have been there and back again.
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