Ever since being a young hobbit I have always wanted to be a wizard. I heard the tales of Frodo and Bilbo Baggins and the adventures they had in destroying The One Ring and it fascinated me.
What I found really interesting was not just what they went through, but how awesome and powerful Gandalf was. I wanted to be just like him.
Since he had left Middle Earth via the Gray Havens to go to Arda, a legacy was left behind by Gandalf in case a new Dark Lord should rise, or Morgoth, the original Dark Lord came back.
A library had been set up, with tomes containing all the spells he and Radagast the Brown had left behind. It was for exclusive use by great men and the few elves that decided to stay behind when most of them had left. However, being the cunning fellow I am and having talents that gave me the edge I needed, I managed to find a way into the library to study the magic.
The library was in the town of Bree, just east of The Shire. I’m not sure why, because I thought there were more appropriate places for it to be, such as Minas Tirith in Gondor, Edoras in Rohan or even Rivendell in Eriador (which had since been occupied by men). Regardless of that, it was more convenient for me, since I had my own hobbit dwelling in Buckland and anywhere else would be too far for my short hobbit legs, since I wanted to get back before sunset and not raise too much suspicion.
Every week, farmer Maggot would take a cart full of turnips and mushrooms to Bree to supply the Prancing Pony, but stopped close to where I lived in the same place each time, since our neighbours were a major supplier of Pipe-weed and farmer Maggot transported it (for a fee of course) to Bree and beyond.
I have built underground tunnels for as long as I can remember, in order to get away from the trouble makers and bullies (‘shovel hands’ they called me, due to my larger than normal appendages). I am also skilled with woodwork, building contraptions, furniture, doors and even carts. In fact, the cart farmer Maggot uses is built by me. He never made full payment for my work, blaming the recession for straining his ‘bottom line’ and saying he would pay me back in time. I knew that he was just stingy, so what I did was partly to get back at him.
The tunnel I was most proud of was a long one, that followed the road from Michel Delving, through Hobbiton and Buckland almost reaching Bree. I would have used the tunnel to get to the Prancing Pony and the library if not for the fact that the ground underneath Bree went from clay into limestone. I could not dig through this without making a racket and had no way of disposing of the mined stone (the clay was easy enough, since it was commonly used for pottery and pipes).
In the dead of night, while everyone was sleeping, I headed over to the spot where the cart would normally stop and dug down into my tunnel, big enough for me to get through comfortably and silently. A trap door was fitted over the hole and covered with earth so no one would know it was there. It was well travelled during the day, although only by carts since it snaked round hills, rather than over them. Walkers kept to the footpaths since it was far quicker and less dangerous.
The next day, before farmer Maggot came to pick up the Pipe-weed, dressed in my cloak, I crawled through the tunnel and headed to the trap I set up. On schedule, I heard the rattling of the cart above and it stopped exactly where I expected it to. Farmer Maggot was heavy footed for a hobbit, so I could hear when he got off his cart and headed off. Once all was quiet, I set my plan into motion, since there was not much time.
Sliding along the tunnel up towards the trapdoor, I opened it up a slither. It creaked, rather too loudly for comfort and I waited with baited breath for nearly a minute (must get that sorted, I thought to myself). Eventually I opened it all the way up and saw the cart above as expected. There were handholds on the bottom of the cart, for this very purpose, although at the time I told him that it was for ‘maintenance’ reasons when he questioned why they were there. He is mean, but an idiot, so he can be easily outwitted, except when it comes to money, unfortunately. Grabbing onto the cart, I shut the trapdoor below me, covering it with dirt again, so as not to blow my cover, preventing future excursions.
When we eventually set off, it was a rather bumpy ride, but I thought it would be worth it in the end. An hour later, after a very painful journey that I don’t think I could take any longer, we arrived at the gates of Bree. After much talking with the gatekeeper about payment for entry (a bushel of Pipe-weed), the cart finally went through, nearly knocking me off in the process, which would have made my journey for naught.
The final stage was upon me, I just needed to get off the cart without farmer Maggot seeing me and make my way to the library. Time was of the essence and perfect timing was key.
I had a man on the inside, or rather, hobbit. He had a secret that I found out about through eavesdropping, he knew I knew, so would do anything to prevent me telling anyone. Funny story really, but I will leave that for another time. What made this hobbit special was that he was the son of Samwise Gamgee (Mayor of the Shire) and was trusted by men of influence, working in the library as an assistant librarian.
My arms were burning from gripping for so long on the cart, but there was not long to go now. The aromas of Pipe-weed filled my nose and the cart slowed down to a stop, so I knew we had finally reached my destination. Wizards in training tended to be heavy smokers, it did imbue a sense of relaxation and serenity after all – the tomes of Gandalf were said to be a very difficult read.
We were under a tree, perfect for me to sneak away from the cart. Peering out from my vantage point I could see two men approaching, big and strong from the looks of it – I wouldn’t want to mess with them. Even with the two of them, it would take several trips back to the storage facilities within the library. Farmer Maggot would go with them I was sure, as from his expression, he showed an intense distrust of them.
Heaving off two baskets each (stronger than I thought), they made their way back to the library. This was my only chance, since there were only 6 baskets in total and another bushel of Pipe-weed (which farmer Maggot insisted on taking in). Once out of site, I dropped from the cart rubbing my sore arms, rolled out from under it, sprang up and ran for cover. Only just in time it happened, since only a second after I made it behind one of the trees I saw them again.
They stopped, looking like they had spotted me and my heart started beating like crazy, worried that I had come so close and would be foiled at the last hurdle. I needn’t have worried, since it was just a squirrel they saw in another tree nearby.
The last of the goods were taken off the cart and eventually I was left alone. I stayed for a few more minutes just be safe, then headed towards the side entrance where my insider was waiting for me. Much sneaking, crawling and scurrying later I eventually made it to him.
He looked agitated and actually asked my how my journey was, which was a surprise since I had coerced him into getting me in. Lying, I told him it was fine and he visibly relaxed. I felt bad for him, since he was a nice fellow, but I just had to be the first hobbit wizard of Middle Earth and would do anything to achieve my goal.
Once in, I was mesmerised, even a bit overwhelmed. There were books on shelves several metres high. They looked like they went on forever into the darkness of the library, which was lit only by candle light.
Since my studies were surreptitious and had to be hidden from others, I was then led towards a room at the other end of the library, taking several minutes to get there. This was to be where I was to study to allow my wizardry awesomeness to take root. It was a small room, used by my fellow hobbit, so I knew I would not be disturbed.
What came next was something I should have expected, but in my eagerness to learn magic, I neglected to consider it. One question, four words… ‘do you know Sindarin?’
SH** F*** BO******. This ancient elvish language took decades to learn, I could tell from the number of ‘Sindarin for Dummies’ books I saw in the library. This is going to take a long time, before I can even start practicing magic. What have I let myself in for, 20 years or more of riding under a cart isn’t going to be good for my back. I hope it is worth it.