A Shortcut to Mushrooms #5: He beat me and set his dogs on me

       They passed along the edge of a huge turnip-field, and came to a stout gate. Beyond it a rutted lane ran between low well-laid hedges towards a distant clump of trees. Pippin stopped.

     'I know these fields and this gate!' he said. 'This is Bamfurlong, old Farmer Maggot's land. That's his farm away there in the trees.'

an seleichan: Bamfurlong Pippin stopped.

     'I know these fields and this gate!' he said. 'This is Bamfurlong, old Farmer Maggot's land. That's his farm away there in the trees.'

I know we had this conversation not too long ago in the RR, but in case others missed it: my edition has: "Pippin stopped. 'I know these fields and this gate!' he said. 'We are on old Farmer Maggot's land. That must be his farm away there in the trees.'"

Yet my index at the back of ROTK references one entry for Bamfurlong on, you guessed it, the page I just quoted. Which obviously does not mention Bamfurlong.

My point? I have none. It's just interesting.

N.E. Brigand: Here's the link... to that mini-discussion two months ago.

Link:  Bamfurlong and Whitfurrows

an seleichan: my turn to thank you!

dernwyn: Disappearing act I've the same problem, and only found out about these errors, such as the missing "Envinyatar", through the RR conversations like the one NEB linked to.

By the way, love your footer, the poem is perfect for these discussions.

an seleichan: footer idea shamelessly stolen from drogo's post below referring to "The Road Less Travelled".

Thanks! I only steal from the best.

Finding Frodo: So what does Bamfurlong mean? Well, I get the furlong part (though I don't know how long a furlong is -- anyone?)  But I missed that whole prior discussion because of ORC, and I just now re-read the chapter and saw Bamfurlong and thought, "There's another example of finding something new in every reading!"  Well, I never saw it before because it wasn't in my other edition! LOL

Owlyross: From dictionary.com fur·long    ( P )  Pronunciation Key  (fûrlông, -lng) n. Abbr. fur.

A unit for measuring distance, equal to 1/8 mile (201 meters)

Not sure about the Bam at all though...

Lotta Sackville: From the Encyclopedia of Arda The name Bamfurlong is an old English one. Tolkien suggests that it comes originally from words meaning very roughly 'bean-field', though definite knowledge of its meaning is now lost.

 Link:  http://www.glyphweb.com/arda/b/bamfurlong.html

NZ Strider: In his Guide for translators of the LotR, Tolkien wrote for "Bamfurlong" the following:

"Bamfurlong.  An English place-name, probably from 'bean' and furlong (in the sense of a division of a common field), the name being given to a strip of land usually reserved for beans.  The name is now, and so is supposed to have been at that time in the Shire, without clear meaning.  It is the name of Farmer Maggot's farm.  Translate as seems suitable, but some compound containing the word for 'bean' and that for 'field, cultivated ground' would seem desirable." 

This is what the "Encyclopedia of Arda" is referring to in its entry, it seems.  This Guide, by the way, was published in the first edition of A Tolkien Compass (ed. Jared Lobdell); but, unfortunately, by request of the Tolkien Estate, not in the second.

N.E. Brigand: Tolkien's 'Guide' will be re-published... in Hammond and Scull's upcoming volume of LotR annotations, IIRC.



Hobbits Ploughing (from FotR EE, New Line Pictures)

 squire: Although the Shire is an agricultural society, Maggot’s is the only farm we actually visit. I love this brief glimpse in the movie of the practical absurdity of Halflings farming with full-size livestock.

 squire: 1. Does Tolkien ever concern himself with any actual physical difficulties that might be encountered in a functioning adult-type culture by a people the size and weight of children?

Aunt Dora Baggins: The only reference I remember to hobbits and animals of a certain size is that they use ponies instead of horses.  I never gave the matter much thought, but if there are oversized elephants in Middle Earth, maybe there could be small cattle.

IBo: As for the size of animals; Maggots dogs are wolflike which means like a large German Shepherd and ca 40 kg. It's rather large for a hobbit.

Kerewyn: I remember, iirc, the cast commentary on the movie scene with Farmer Maggot's appearance about the curiously hobbit-sized "large dog".

Elostirion74: Hobbits vs Men Hobbit families appear to be rather big, so maybe they can handle the animals when joining their forces.

But I guess he didn't consider the physical difficulties, didn't he make them small to suggest the small reach of their imagination?

Entwife Wandlimb: I think he chooses to let us forget their smallness when emphasizing their human nature.

Nerdanel_50: I can't recall that he does. However, I spent part of my childhood in Amish country in Ohio where the same farming methods are still in use. It is not unusual to see young adolescents ploughing and doing other farm chores--they might be taller than hobbits but probably don't outweigh them. It seems to be doable.  

     'One trouble after another!' said Frodo, looking nearly as much alarmed as if Pippin had declared the lane was the slot leading to a dragon's den. The others looked at him in surprise.

     'What's wrong with old Maggot?' asked Pippin. 'He's a good friend to all the Brandybucks. Of course he's a terror to trespassers, and keeps ferocious dogs - but after all, folk down here are near the border and have to be more on their guard.'

     'I know,' said Frodo. 'But all the same,' he added with a shamefaced laugh, 'I am terrified of him and his dogs. I have avoided his farm for years and years. He caught me several times trespassing after mushrooms, when I was a youngster at Brandy Hall. On the last occasion he beat me, and then took me and showed me to his dogs. "See, lads," he said, "next time this young varmint sets foot on my land, you can eat him. Now see him off!" They chased me all the way to the Ferry. I have never got over the fright - though I daresay the beasts knew their business and would not really have touched me.'



by Leah Jakusovszky


      Pippin laughed. 'Well, it's time you made it up. Especially if you are coming back to live in Buckland. Old Maggot is really a stout fellow - if you leave his mushrooms alone. Let's get into the lane and then we shan't be trespassing. If we meet him, I'll do the talking. He is a friend of Merry's, and I used to come here with him a good deal at one time.'

 squire: 2. Can Frodo, a wealthy and mature hobbit in his 50s, really be scared of an old farmer?

Aunt Dora Baggins: I think a lot of the Maggot-Frodo history and fear has to do with Tolkien's love of silly hobbit nonsense.  He's still playing around with a children's story a la the Hobbit or Mr. Bliss.  He cut it way down since the first draft, but couldn't bear to take it all out. 

Elostirion74: Adolescent terrors and "enmities" stick if you've never had the opportunity to deal thoroughly with them, don't you think?

Penthe: Fear Yes. Irrational fear is just one of those things.

This is a useful incident, though, because it sets up the distinction between irrational fear and fear of the real. Frodo can easily deal with his fear. As an adult he can see that the dogs are under Maggot's control, and he can see very quickly what a stirling character Maggot actually is. Unlike, say, Black Riders, orcs, wraiths, Old Man Willow, watchers-in-the-water, Balrogs, insane lords and so on. It works strongly with the advice given about the Black Riders in Wood Hall - they are not to be dealt with, but avoided. Maggot can be dealt with (and benefits accrued).

There's also useful foreshadowing of such folk as Strider and Faramir, the 'friends unlooked-for' phenomena. If you see certain cycles being repeated throughout the story, this is one of the first 'adventures' in which things turn out well, on a domestic, manageable scale.

Much like the cows hobbits farm, which have clearly been bred over centuries for small stature, docile natures and high-yield milk.

Entwife Wandlimb: I never questioned that until you pointed it out.  I think it’s understandable considering the story.  It’s a little ironic, too, that Frodo can screw up the courage to leave the Shire forever but finds a hobbit with fierce dogs intimidating.  We aren’t dealing with Conan.

Plus, it doesn’t help that the dogs are called Grip, Fang and Wolf.  Tulip, Spot and Puddles wouldn’t have bothered poor Frodo, I’m sure.

Nerdanel_50: He could certainly be scared of the dogs! As Ibo remarks, Maggot's control over the dogs is quite remarkable and there is no reason for Frodo to have any confidence in it.

From another angle, Frodo is taking his first steps on a long journey during which he will have to confront his own demons and weaknesses. Maybe this is a start?

Grammaboodawg: This part always gets me It's when we visit Frodo as a youngster... and he's right back there again emotionally as he enters that field.  I still do that, too.  We may get older, but we don't outgrow ourselves in many ways.  Frodo's reaction here just fascinates me... the dogs, Farmer Maggot, and Pippin's reaction to the whole thing.  I love it!  And I also enjoy how nearly every character in the story is underestimated.  Maggot and Butterbur are held in esteem as having more going for them than meets the eye (same as Strider ;). 

This encounter also makes me think of Frodo and Sam's meeting with Faramir.  Something that begins as a threat and a danger that turns to great good.

Gad, I love this story.

Aerin: I fully sympathize with Frodo's fear of Maggot's dogs. I suspect he actually is afraid of all dogs, by association with this youthful trauma. When I was about 8, an old lady sicced her two little dogs on me and my two younger brothers when she thought we were going to cut across her property (which bordered on a town park). We were rescued by another neighbor, who saw out the window what was happening, ran out, chased the dogs away, and walked us home. I was already afraid of dogs, and that was the most terrifying experience of my life. One never really recovers from something like that.  

squire: Interestingly enough, in the early drafts of this scene, Frodo confesses that he accidentally killed one of Maggot’s dogs while mushroom-poaching, and that Maggot has hated both him and Bilbo ever since (HoME, Vol VI, p. 289). Consequently he uses the Ring to stay invisible to Maggot, while filching some refreshments, much to his friends’ amusement! 

squire: 3. Should Tolkien have stuck to that idea?

Aunt Dora Baggins: I think the first draft didn't fit the final story at all; having Frodo playing tricks on Maggot by making himself invisible would fit in The Hobbit, but not here, not since the Ring has assumed its scary character.  It probably isn't realistic for a mature Frodo to be scared of Maggot; I suspect that's a holdover from the first draft too.

IBo: On doggy-training. I'm a dog-owner so I say NO to your question.

            In my opinion, farmer Maggot is a remarkable man in many ways, many of which I'm certain will be discussed here. So I'll stick to the dogs. And there are many questions: where on earth will you find a dog-trainer of this caliber today? Not only is he a full-time farmer, he must be spending a fair amount of time on training his dogs, maybe even on dogbreeding? One of his dogs (which should not be alive when Frodo meets Maggot for the second time, if were not supposed to believe that dogs in the Shire lived for more than 20-30 years?) chased Frodo for quite a distance, and still did not hurt him.

What I'm getting at, is that any dog-owner would love to have this communication with her/his dog, but to control it in such a way as Maggot seems to be doing, it's bordering on mind reading. But in LotR it works fine for me.

So I'm envious as you can understand: the other day, despite my NO, my dog chased the mail-man...

Kerewyn: dogs I had wondered too about the longevity of these dogs, and thought Maggot might maintain three dogs, and their names, even if not the orignal three. (My aunt's dogs were Fred, replaced by Fred II and Fred III - all same breed!)

 IBo: I have thought about the names too; They are not nice, but they really tell what these dogs are trained to do.

It's not easy to know what kind of dog this is:  "Lochranza Hell For Leather", but it's actually a mediumsized poodle...

N.E. Brigand: I think Tolkien took care of the danger of Frodo appearing immature when he removed the childish prank with the Ring (which had to go for other reasons, though I suppose it reappeared at Bombadil's house).

Entwife Wandlimb: Hmm.  I don’t think so.  Interesting, though.  I agree with those who say that would be too light at this point in the story.

Nerdanel_50: Nope. Oddly, in a newspaper story about "Fellowship!", the very funny musical parody of FotR running in Los Angeles recently, the improvisational actors reported that originally Frodo had as many silly and stupid lines as any other character, but the more they worked on the play the less Frodo's jokes worked. When I saw the play Frodo came across as the endearing straight man. Same thing seems to have happened in the original.

Aerin: Thank goodness Tolkien thought better of having Frodo use the ring for a silly purpose at this point in the story! 


      They went along the lane, until they saw the thatched roofs of a large house and farm-buildings peeping out among the trees ahead. The Maggots, and the Puddifoots of Stock, and most of the inhabitants of the Marish, were house-dwellers; and this farm was stoutly built of brick and had a high wall all round it. There was a wide wooden gate opening out of the wall into the lane. 


English farmhouses.

(See also my footer for an illustration of Maggot’s Farm from an artist I know but cannot identify.

He did a marvelous Tolkien calendar in the 1970s. Aunt Dora?)


Aunt Dora Baggins: *Ears burning* I think that's Tim Kirk, and I think it was the 1974 calendar, but I'm at work and my calendars are at home, so I'm not completely sure.  While I'm here, I'll make a stab at some of your other questions.

drogo_drogo: *defers to Aunt Dora's excellent memory*

Aunt Dora Baggins: Well, I got the year wrong. You're right, it was 1975.  According to the rolozo gallery, May 1975. 

Here's a link to my all-time favorite Tim Kirk painting:  The Last Shore

drogo_drogo: That's an amazing picture I'm glad someone has given us an image of Frodo arriving at the Undying Lands.

Beren IV: Doesn't look tropical enough Sorry to burst in on this particular thing! :)

The central region of Aman where Tirion is is located on the Girdle of Arda, is it not? The coastal forest should be a tropical rain forest, not a conifer forest.

an seleichan: is that a sunrise or sunset? OK, this always confuses me about Tolkien's "under a swift sunrise" since we're traveling West, right? So if we travel TOWARD the West, the sun will rise behind us. Making that picture a picture of a sunSET.

Now, if there is a "straight road" that may change everything. It gives me a headache to try to figure out if "under a swift sunrise", in that case, means the sun rising before or behind us...

Owlyross: I suppose a figure of speech The country doesn't necessarily have to be literally under the sunrise, but lit by the sunrise itself. Everything will be under the sunrise really.... At least that's the way I take it to mean.

drogo_drogo: Aman is outside the Circles of the World So I would assume that normal categories of East and West don't apply, or Tolkien didn't worry about it.

drogo_drogo: Tim Kirk is the artist, 1975 Tolkien Calendar

Elostirion74: about the calendar Such a pity I was only born in 1974. No possibility to get hold of a copy of this calendar now, I suppose.

drogo_drogo: Those are hard to find I once saw a 1974 on for sale online at a Tolkien-themed bookstore in Berkeley, CA called The Other Change of Hobbit (I love that name!!) but it was expensive.  The Hildebrandt calendars are much easier to find online and on Ebay.


squire: Tolkien was quite interested in the concept of the Marish district – much the way he was about Buckland (but not Tookland). Some additional background originally written for this chapter started in the first drafts as an interminable walking conversation between Frodo and Pippin about why hobbits would build houses instead of holes! Most of it was cut, or sent to the Prologue:

 The habit of building farmhouses and barns was said to have begun among the inhabitants of the Marish down by the Brandywine. The Hobbits of the quarter, the Eastfarthing, were rather large and heavy-legged, and they wore dwarf-boots in muddy weather. But they were well known to be Stoors in a large part of their blood, as indeed was shown by the down that many grew on their chins. No Harfoot or Fallohide had any trace of a beard. Indeed, the folk of the Marish, and of Buckland, east of the River, which they afterwards occupied, came for the most part later into the Shire up from south-away; and they still had many peculiar names and strange words not found elsewhere in the Shire. (from FotR Prologue, p. 6.)

squire: 4. Why the concern with houses? Or rather, why does Tolkien introduce a flat lowland area into his Shire, which then leads to the whole houses v. holes issue, and then a lot of other holbytlology? How does this tie into his “three races of hobbits” concept – and where in the actual story does any of this actually come into play?

Aunt Dora Baggins: I think Tolkien is thoroughly enjoying creating hobbit culture, and that all this detail probalby doesn't move the story forward, but I love it anyway.

Elostirion74: Why all this trouble with houses? Some hobbits, like the Stoors, seem more related to Men than others.

With his distinction between the ancient habit of holes and the habit of living in houses, Tolkien probably wanted to make historical links between hobbits and humans as well as develop cultural variety among the hobbits.

It's not important for the story as plot, but it contributes to the credibility of the setting and Tolkien's concern for a solid background of detail to his peoples.

Entwife Wandlimb: I think this is a case where the mapmaker won over the author.  I think it’s a case of too much depth and is a bit confusing for the reader.

Nerdanel_50: Tolkien wrote LotR against the background of the whole Legendarium, even though he did not tell us much about it. The Hobbits, however, played no part in the larger history. Tolkien may have felt they lacked depth, and felt compelled to supply as much detail and background as he could so they didn't seem cartoonish (to him at least).

squire: 5. While reading this chapter, did you remember any of the Prologue material, as Tolkien intended? In the following sections, keep an eye out for: down on Maggot’s chin; dwarf-boots on Maggot’s legs; description of Maggot as large and heavy-legged; Maggot’s use of many peculiar names and strange words.

N.E. Brigand: Lots of people, as earlier noted, didn't read the Prologue first time through; I can't remember if I did, but I know I've thought about the Prologue on later readings of this chapter.

Is the Stoor material meant primarily to set up Smeagol?  Maggot as gateway to Gollum?  Did the concept of the Stoors as a large variety of Hobbit grow from Gollum's more monster-like character in The Hobbit?  Didn't Tolkien's later revisions to the earlier book include adjectives to emphasize Gollum's hobbit size?  In The Annotated Hobbit, there's a German artist's take on Bilbo's meeting with Gollum, done in the 1940s I think, with Gollum as big as a large bear.  Maggot is described as "broad" and "thick-set."

Entwife Wandlimb: No.  I think it’s a bit confusing.

I’m out of time.  Interesting discussion and questions!

Nerdanel_50: I'm not sure that is what Tolkien intended. Prologues are seldom written before the main work, even though that is where they appear. By the time he was done writing, Tolkien may have thought that the reader would desperately need to know the answers to these questions (even though they would be unlikely to occur to the ordinary reader). I don't recall thinking much about it, but it was a very long time ago.  


     Suddenly as they drew nearer a terrific baying and barking broke out, and a loud voice was heard shouting: 'Grip! Fang! Wolf! Come on, lads!'

     Frodo and Sam stopped dead, but Pippin walked on a few paces. The gate opened and three huge dogs came pelting out into the lane, and dashed towards the travellers, barking fiercely. They took no notice of Pippin; but Sam shrank against the wall, while two wolvish-looking dogs sniffed at him suspiciously, and snarled if he moved. The largest and most ferocious of the three halted in front of Frodo, bristling and growling.

     Through the gate there now appeared a broad thick-set hobbit with a round red face. 'Hallo! Hallo! And who may you be, and what may you be wanting?' he asked.

     'Good afternoon, Mr. Maggot!' said Pippin.

squire: Here we meet my favorite Hobbit (besides the big four movie stars)!  Maggot just plain gets more dialog, and character, than any other hobbit. He puts the Gaffer to shame (though we all love the Gaffer). But then he is, it turns out, not just a “typical” hobbit farmer, but a kind of wise old proto-Bombadil* figure; and of course, in the rhythm of the first book of LotR, he is the “savior” character for this chapter.

*All Maggot-Bombadil issues will be discussed this weekend.

Aunt Dora Baggins: Hmm, I never noticed the Maggot-Bombadil connection, though now that you mention it, it seems obvious.  Maggot does seem to be more than an ordinary hobbit. Hmmm....

IBo: In my opinion, farmer Maggot is a remarkable man in many ways, many of which I'm certain will be discussed here. So I'll stick to the dogs. And there are many questions: where on earth will you find a dog-trainer of this caliber today? Not only is he a full-time farmer, he must be spending a fair amount of time on training his dogs, maybe even on dogbreeding? One of his dogs (which should not be alive when Frodo meets Maggot for the second time, if were not supposed to believe that dogs in the Shire lived for more than 20-30 years?) chased Frodo for quite a distance, and still did not hurt him.

What I'm getting at, is that any dog-owner would love to have this communication with her/his dog, but to control it in such a way as Maggot seems to be doing, it's bordering on mind reading. But in LotR it works fine for me.

So I'm envious as you can understand: the other day, despite my NO, my dog chased the mail-man...

Kerewyn: dogs I had wondered too about the longevity of these dogs, and thought Maggot might maintain three dogs, and their names, even if not the orignal three. (My aunt's dogs were Fred, replaced by Fred II and Fred III - all same breed!)

Entwife Wandlimb: Maggot -- a whimsical name From the Dictionary of Phrase and Fable: Maggot, Maggoty. Whimsical, full of whims and fancies. Fancy tunes used to be called maggots, hence we have “Barker's maggots,” “Cary's maggots,” “Draper's maggots,” etc. (Dancing Master, 1721.)

When the maggot bites. When the fancy takes us. Swift tells us that it was the opinion of certain virtuosi that the brain is filled with little worms or maggots, and that thought is produced by these worms biting the nerves. “If the bite is hexagonal it produces poetry; if circular, eloquence; if conical, politics, etc. (Mechanical Operation of the Spirit.)

Instead of maggots the Scotch say, “His head is full of bees;” the French, “Il a des rats dans la tête;” and in Holland, “He has a mouse's nest in his head.”

Kerewyn: I also see in Farmer Maggot the same stout-heartedness of Farmer Giles. Any initial fear is quickly replaced by a more practical - even indignant - view, especially on serious matters such trespassing.

Like many people with a fierce reputation, Farmer Maggot is a decent hobbit and not without respect. I like how he hastily corrected his greeting to Pippin from Master Took to ‘Mr Peregrin Took’, paying recognition to both Pippin’s status in society, and the fact that’s he’s grown up since last seen tagging along with Merry. 

squire: 6. Do you like the idea that there is a “savior” character in every chapter of this book?

Aunt Dora Baggins: I've always liked the periods of rest and safety and "savior" characters, maybe because I first read LotR at a fairly young age.  If the book were all danger and suffering, I don't think I would have made it through a first reading.  As we say in my writers' group, "Why don't they all just sit down and have party now and then?" 

N.E. Brigand: I'd like to hear more about that theory:  do the first two chapters have "savior" characters, for example?

Nerdanel_50: Is there? Hmmm. Have to think about that one.

Estelwyn: LAte comments about "saviours" To be honest, I'd never heard this idea before.  I'm sure we can all think of plenty of saviour figures throughout LOTR, but as for there being one for every chapter -- well, you've got me very curious there.  Here's what I came up with as far as "who's the saviour" in the chapters of Book One.  Some are more obvious than others IMO.  There were a few chapters in which I couldn't really see anyone "saving" anyone.

Chapter 1 A Long-expected Party -- Gandalf (saves Bilbo from keeping the Ring)

Chapter 2 The Shadow of the Past -- ?

Chapter 3 Three is Company -- Gildor and company

Chapter 4 A Short Cut to Mushrooms -- Farmer Maggot

Chapter 5 A Conspiracy Unmasked -- Merry et al ("save" Frodo from having to go off alone -- a bit of a stretch, this one)

Chapter 6 The Old Forest -- Bombadil (from Old Man Willow)

Chapter 7 In the House of Tom Bombadil -- ?

Chapter 8 Fog on the Barrow-Downs -- Bombadil (from barrow-wight)

Chapter 9 At the Sign of The Prancing Pony -- ?

Chapter 10 Strider -- Nob (saves Merry from BRs, if you like); Strider (saves Frodo from wandering in wilderness with no guidance)

Chapter 11 A Knife in the Dark -- Strider (from BRs at Weathertop)

Chapter 12 Flight to the Ford - Glorfindel


 I'm interested where this idea came from and how it can be substantiated.  Who would the saviours be in Ch 2, 7, and 9, when no one really needs saving as far as I can see?

squire: Well, I was just shooting from the hip when I said that. I made it up. It just seemed like there was a savior at the end of every chapter as I was writing.

But although there is not one at the end of every chapter, as your list shows, there sure are a lot.

Restricting the list to someone who really saves the hero from impending harm, I get seven out of twelve. (Gildor, Maggot, Bombadil, Bombadil, Strider, Strider, Glorfindel). This has all the earmarks of a conspiracy.

Or at least a real pattern to writing adventure chapters. 

squire: 7. How old is Maggot?

Aunt Dora Baggins: Hmmm....

N.E. Brigand: Maggot is at least 80, probably.  By the way, did anyone else mistake Cotton for Maggot when they first reached the Scouring in the RotK?

Nerdanel_50: 80 or 90? Figuring he was at least Frodo's current age when Frodo encountered him 30 years earlier, but not old enough to have slowed down much?  

The farmer looked at him closely. 'Well, if it isn't Master Pippin - Mr. Peregrin Took, I should say!' he cried, changing from a scowl to a grin. 'It's a long time since I saw you round here. It's lucky for you that I know you. I was just going out to set my dogs on any strangers. There are some funny things going on today. Of course, we do get queer folk wandering in these parts at times. Too near the River,' he said, shaking his head. 'But this fellow was the most outlandish I have ever set eyes on. He won't cross my land without leave a second time, not if I can stop it.'

     'What fellow do you mean?' asked Pippin.

     'Then you haven't seen him?' said the farmer. 'He went up the lane towards the causeway not a long while back. He was a funny customer and asking funny questions. But perhaps you'll come along inside, and we'll pass the news more comfortable. I've a drop of good ale on tap, if you and your friends are willing, Mr. Took.'

     It seemed plain that the farmer would tell them more, if allowed to do it in his own time and fashion, so they all accepted the invitation. 'What about the dogs?' asked Frodo anxiously. 

squire: 8. What is going on here with Frodo’s fear. Is this just comic relief?

N.E. Brigand: Listen, Hound of Maggot! If the dogs are full-size, I can understand why even a grown Frodo is afraid of them--I'm six-feet tall and 220 lbs., and I get nervous when a large dog runs barking at me.

Is there any parallel between this encounter with dogs and the later fight with wolves?

Nerdanel_50: It was originally, I guess, but it is also a sign that the people we encounter along the way in LotR are always going to exceed expectations.

squire: 9. Why is Maggot so vague about his recent visitor? Don’t we all know who it is?

Aunt Dora Baggins: I suspect Maggot is vague because he's cautious, which makes sense since he's living out in the country and has to be responsible for his own protection.

N.E. Brigand: Maggot is vague on the Black Rider because he wants a give and take of information with his latest visitors.

Nerdanel_50: He's just being cautious. He doesn't yet know why the Black Rider and "Baggins" have arrived almost simultaneously and he's not jumping to any conclusions.

Kerewyn: on vagueness, Gilesness and politeness My theory on the last question ‘the vagueness of his recent visitor’ is down to the hobbity nature. Maggot may be an exceptional or unusual hobbit in many respects, but he likes a good gossip and chat as much as any. By being a bit vague, he gets to be centre of attention with the air of mystery that all storytellers love. He can also lure his guests in for a longer chat where all details can be fished out, and maybe answers and UUT’s can be mulled over. Especially when he realises these visitors are connected with the last.

“What do you think that funny customer asked me?”

They waited anxiously for him to go on. “Well”, the farmer continued, approaching his point with slow relish….

He’s loving it!


     The farmer laughed. 'They won't harm you - not unless I tell 'em to. Here, Grip! Fang! Heel!' he cried. 'Heel, Wolf!' To the relief of Frodo and Sam, the dogs walked away and let them go free.

     Pippin introduced the other two to the farmer. 'Mr. Frodo Baggins,' he said. 'You may not remember him, but he used to live at Brandy Hall.' At the name Baggins the farmer started, and gave Frodo a sharp glance. For a moment Frodo thought that the memory of stolen mushrooms had been aroused, and that the dogs would be told to see him off. But Farmer Maggot took him by the arm.

     'Well, if that isn't queerer than ever?' he exclaimed. 'Mr. Baggins is it? Come inside! We must have a talk.'