Fellowship of the Ring
1-1-5. The Shadow of the Past
Long after Isildur lost the Ring, but still long ago, a hobbit-like folk lived beside the River. One day, two of them were fishing in the River. They were called Sméagol and Déagol, and Déagol it was who found the Ring...
[Flowing water is heard]
What a beautiful thing! How could anyone have lost such a treasure?
What is that, Déagol?
Oh yes, it is.
It's mine, I found it.
Give us it, Déagol, my love.
Because it's Sméagol's birthday, my love, and he wants it.
I don't care. I've given you a present already. I found this and I'm going to keep it.
Oh, are you indeed, my love?
[Déagol cries out]
Are you indeed?
[Loud splashing turns to silence]
And now, the pretty ring belongs to Sméagol.
Sméagol kept the Ring, and used it to thieve and find out secrets. He took to muttering to himself and gurgling in his throat. So they called him Gollum.
Do you mean that this is the very Gollum creature that Bilbo met?
Yes. He took to living in the dark passages beneath the Misty Mountains, where in time his torment became unbearable. He hated the dark, but he hated the light more. He hated everything, and the Ring most of all.
Well, then, why didn't he get rid of it? Or - or go away and leave it?
He had no will left in the matter. A Ring of Power looks after itself, Frodo. Its keeper never abandons it. And when Gollum lost the Ring, it was really the Ring that left him.
What, just in time to meet Bilbo?
Bilbo was meant to find the Ring, but not by its maker.
Hm... what about Gollum, what happened to him?
The Elves have him now, in prison. But not before he made great mischief. After he lost the Ring, Gollum left the mountains to seek his Precious and the hobbit who'd robbed him of it. But before Gollum could find Bilbo, Sauron found Gollum. And that is how he will have learned that the One has been found again. He has, at last, heard of hobbits and the Shire. And I fear that he may even think that the long unnoticed name of Baggins has become important.
But, but this is terrible! What a pity Bilbo did not kill Gollum when he had a chance!
Pity? It was pity that stayed his hand. One reason why Bilbo took so little hurt from the evil of the Ring was because he began his ownership with pity.
I'm sorry, but I am frightened, and I do not feel any pity for Gollum.
You must understand that Gollum is bound up with the fate of the Ring. And my heart tells me that he may yet have some part to play, for good or ill. And when that comes, the pity of Bilbo may rule the fate of many, yours not least.
But why did the Ring come to me? W - why was I chosen?
Not for power or wisdom. But you have been chosen, and must therefore use such strength and heart and wits as you have.
But I... but I have so little of those things! Gandalf.
You are wise and powerful. Will you not take the Ring?
No! No, no! No, do not tempt me. I dare not take it. With that power I should have power too great and terrible.
Then why don't I destroy it?
How would you do that?
Well, I suppose one could hammer it or melt it or something...
The heaviest hammer would make no dent in it nor would the hottest fire melt it. You saw how your own small fire failed to even heat it.
If you really wish to destroy it...
I do, Gandalf, I do!
Then there is only one way: cast it into the Cracks of Doom in the depths of Orodruin, the Fire-mountain in the Land of Mordor where the Ring was forged.
Gandalf, I am not made for perilous quests. But I see that I cannot keep the Ring and stay here. I ought to leave Bag End, leave the Shire, leave everything and go away. And I suppose I must go alone.
[Sam is heard in the distant background]
My dear Frodo! Hobbits really are amazing. And I'm afraid you're right. For your sake as well as for others. You will have to go. But I don't think you need go alone, not if you know of anyone you can trust. But...
[He clears his throat]
...be careful in choosing. The Enemy has many spies...
[Gandalf begins to move away from Frodo]
W-what's the matter, Gandalf?
Shhh... Got you!
[Sam yells out]
Well, bless my beard! Sam Gamgee. And what might you be doing under Mr. Frodo's window?
Lord bless you, Mr. Gandalf, sir, nothing! Leastways, I... I - I was just trimming the grass-borders if you follow me.
I don't. How long have you been eavesdropping?
Begging your pardon, sir, but there ain't no eaves at Bag End, and that's a fact.
Don't be a fool! What have you heard? Why did you listen?
Mr. Frodo, sir! Don't let him hurt me, sir! Don't let him turn me into anything unnatural! My old dad would take on so, I mean no harm, on my honor, sir!
He won't hurt you. But just you up and answer his questions straight away!
Well, sir... I heard a deal that I didn't understand, about an enemy, and rings, and a fiery mountain - and Elves, sir. I listened because I couldn't help myself, if you know what I mean. I do love tales of that sort. And believe them, too. I'd dearly love to see some Elves, sir.
What else did you hear?
That Mr. Frodo is going away, sir. And that's why I choked: which you heard seemingly. I tried not to, sir, but it burst out of me: I was so upset.
It can't be helped, Sam. I have to go. But if you really care about me, you will keep that a dead secret. See? If you don't, if you even breathe a word of what you've heard, then - then I hope Gandalf will turn you into a spotted toad...
W - what? Sir!
...and fill the garden full of grass snakes.
Oh no, sir!
I have thought of something better than that.
No, Mr. Gandalf, sir, please!
Something to shut your mouth and punish you properly for listening. You shall go away with Mr. Frodo.
Me, sir? Me go and see Elves and all? Hurray, sir!
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