Today's Date in the Shire
24 Foreyule
T.A. 3018: The Company of the Ring stays in Rivendell preparing for the journey ahead.
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The Fellowship of the Ring
Book I
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12
Book II
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
Book I - Chapter 6
The Old Forest

Roger Garland
FotR
click artist or image
Frodo, Sam, Merry and Pippin rise before dawn and lead their ponies to the High Hay, the Hedge that separates Buckland from the Old Forest. They pass through a gate that dives beneath it, coming out on the other side. Fatty Bolger, still too frightened to enter the Forest, returns to Crickhollow.

The Old Forest is an ancient and mysterious place where the trees seem almost alive. They murmur at the passing hobbits, dropping twigs and leaves on them. The woods seems to close in on them, stifling their breath, but finally opens up onto a high, bare hill where the hobbits rest for lunch.

After their break, they ride back into the forest, but the trees soon close in again. The path constantly turns towards the east rather than the northward direction they want to take. It is almost as if they are being herded by the trees. Finally, they find themselves by the banks of the Withywindle River, deep within the forest. They decide another break is in order.

The day grows warmer, and the hobbits grow tired. Pippin and Merry rest against an enormous old willow tree while Frodo soaks his feet in the cool water of the river. Sam takes a walk along the river when suddenly he hears a shout. Frodo has fallen into the river! He rushes back and drags his master up onto the bank. Sam then notices a terrible thing. The great willow tree has opened up great cracks in its side and swallowed up poor Pippin and Merry. He beats on the tree and threatens to burn it down, but it refuses to let them go.

Frodo runs up the path shouting for help As he runs he hears the voice of someone singing a jolly tune. Through the high river reeds he sees a man approaching. And what a man! A comical fellow in a bright blue jacket and yellow boots. The stranger introduces himself as Tom Bombadil and walks to the willow to investigate.

Tom Bombadil seems quite angry with the old tree but not surprised at what it has done. He beats on it with a stick and sings songs of command to it until Old Man Willow, as he calls it, finally releases the two trapped hobbits, throwing them violently out.

The hobbits thanks Tom profusely, but the old man just laugh and contnues up the path.

"Come with me." he says. And they follow.

Tom soon leaves the hobbits behind though they can here his voice singing far ahead. The sun sinks and they plod on through the darkness. Finally, they leave the trees behind and reach the House of Tom Bombadil.

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