Today's Date in the Shire
Fun and Games
Walk to Rivendell
Malbeth the Seer
Fog on the Barrow-Downs
Frodo and his friends wake early the next morning and ride northwards, hoping to reach the East Road before evening. The day grows warm and bright, and the Barrows to the east, which are the burial mounds of ancient kings, do not seem as sinister as their dark reputation makes them to be. The hobbits ride slowly up and down the hilly country and finally rest for lunch in a hollow at the top of a high hill.
Suddenly they wake! The afternoon sun must have made them all weary for they had taken an unexpected nap atop the hill. While they slept the weather has changed and now the air is chill and mist-filled. They bring out extra clothing to ward off the cold and head in the general direction of the Road. But soon they are lost in the fog.
To his dismay, Frodo find himself separated from his friends. He hears them calling in the fog but cannot find them. He runs blindly through the darkness and is suddenly overcome by a dark figure that appears in the mist. He is gripped with an icy touch and he remembers no more.
Again he wakes! But this time he is in an even darker place. He realizes has been imprisoned inside a Barrow, and his friends lie beside him, deathly still. One long sword lies across their exposed necks.
From behind Frodo hears something moving in the darkness, and a cold chanting begins singing of death and dispair. A ghostly hand appears reaching towards Frodo's friends. The hobbit lashes out with the sword lying across them. and severs the hand. The broken withdraws with a snarl.
Then Frodo remembers the rhyme of Tom Bombadil.
Ho! Tom Bombadil! Tom Bombadillo!
By water, wood and hill, by the reed and willow,
By fire, sun and moon, harken now and hear us!
Come, Tom Bombadil, for our need is near us!
And outside the Barrow, as if from far away, he hears Toms voice in reply singing a jolly tune. There is a deep rumbling, and suddenly a light streamed in And there stands Tom Bombadil.
He sings a song commanding the Wight of the Barrow to leave and bother them no more. And it does, shrieking away into nothingness. Tom then wakes the three hobbits and brings them out into the light.
When the shock of the Barrow begins to lesson a bit, Tom gives each of the hobbits a long dagger from the Barrow. He explains that the blades were made in ancient times by the Men of Westernesse, and would serve well as swords for the halflings.
Tom has brought the hobbits' ponies and one of his own. He agrees to ride with them as far as the East Road. As they ride he advices them to make for the town of Bree where they can rest as the Prancing Pony, an inn of high regard. they finally reach the road, and they bid him farewell. With a toss of his hat, Tom rides away into the darkness.
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