Fellowship of the Ring
1-1-6. The Treachery of Saruman
Gandalf stayed in the Shire for over two months. Then, one evening, at the end of June, he made a sudden announcement.
I am leaving tomorrow, Frodo.
Only for a short while, I hope. But I'm going down beyond the southern borders to get some news, if I can. I've been idle longer than I should.
Has anything happened?
Well, no... but I've heard something that has made me anxious and needs looking into. I think you should leave as soon as possible, now.
I thought I'd go on September the 22nd. It will be my fiftieth birthday, and Bilbo's one hundred and twenty-eighth. That seems somehow a proper date on which to set out and follow the old fellow.
Very well, but it must not be any later. It's almost the end of June, already.
How long will you be, Gandalf?
I shall come back immediately or at least send word. At the very latest I'll be back by your birthday. I think, after all, you may need my company on the road.
Will it be that dangerous?
It may be. One thing you must remember: when you go, you must leave the name of Baggins behind you.
I'll give you a travelling name. When you go, go as Mr. Underhill. And in the meanwhile, do take care. Don't let out any hint of where you're going.
Underhill. But where am I to go? I've been so taken up with the thoughts of leaving Bag End and of saying farewell, that I've never even considered the direction.
If you want my advice, make for the house of Elrond Half-elven at Rivendell. That journey shouldn't prove too perilous. Though the road is less easy than it was, and it will grow worse as the year fails.
Rivendell. Very good, I will go east and I will make for Rivendell. I will take Sam to visit the Elves. He will be delighted.
Well, see that he doesn't talk. If he does, I really shall turn him into a toad.
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And so Gandalf rode away, journeying to the southern borders of the Shire where he heard news of the Black Shadow that disturbed him greatly. He turned then east and north, and so journeyed towards the village of Bree.
Gandalf! Gandalf! Gandalf the Grey!
[Gandalf brings his horse to a stop]
It is I, Radagast. Radagast the Brown.
Radagast! What are you doing here?
Seeking you. All I knew was that you might be found in a wild region with the uncouth name of Shire.
It is the Shire, and you are near its borders now, but why are you seeking me? It must be pressing, for you were never a traveller, Radagast, unless driven by great need.
I have an urgent errand, and my news is evil.
The Nazgûl... the Nine... they are abroad again.
They have crossed the River secretly and are moving westward. They have taken the guise of riders in black. The Enemy must have some great need or purpose, but what it is that makes him look to these distant and desolate paths, I cannot guess.
Who told you this, and who sent you?
The head of our order, Saruman the White. And he also told me to say that if you feel the need, he will help. But you must seek his aid at once, or it will be too late.
I will go to Saruman.
Then you must go now, Gandalf. For I have wasted time in looking for you, and the days are running short. I was told to find you before Midsummer, and that is now here. Even if you set out now, you will hardly reach Saruman before the Nine discover the land they seek. I myself shall turn back at once...
Radagast, stay a moment! We shall need your help, and the help of all things that will give it. You are wise in the lore of beasts and birds. Send out messages to all of them that are your friends. Tell them to bring news of anything that bears on this matter to Saruman and Gandalf at Isengard.
Yes, I will do that. Fare you well, Gandalf!
Leaving a message with the inn-keeper at Bree to be sent on to Frodo, Gandalf rode south to Isengard, a circle of sheer rocks that enclosed a valley, in the midst of which stood a tower of stone called Orthanc.
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While in the Shire, Frodo still watched and waited for him, and the news that Mr. Baggins was up to something began to get about.
[Hobbits talk in the background]
Well, Gaffer, is it true?
Ay, Daddy Twofoot, it is true. Mr. Frodo's selling Bag End. Sold it in fact to those cousins of his, the Sackville-Bagginses.
And for a nice bit, I'll be bound.
More likely for a bargain price if Mistress Lobelia's the buyer.
Poor old Otho. If only he'd lived a few more years, he'd have been master of Bag End after all.
Not that I wish to speak ill of the dead, Ted Sandyman, but I for one say the fewer Sackville-Bagginses at Bag End the better.
Mistress Lobelia and that there son of hers will be enough for me.
So, eh... where is Mr. Frodo off to, Gaffer?
He's going back to live among his folk in Buckland.
I can't think why. There are queer folk in Buckland.
He'll be well at home there, then! He's as cracked as old Bilbo Baggins was.
[Daddy Twofoot laughs]
There's not wrong with Mr. Frodo. Nor the friends of his in Buckland, Mr. Peregrin Took and Mr. Meriadoc Brandybuck.
My Sam says Mr. Merry has found Mr. Frodo a little house in Crickhollow.
But what will your Sam do now, Gaffer? Will Mistress Lobelia keep him on as gardener at Bag End?
No need. He's going with Mr. Frodo to look after his bit of garden there.
You know what, Gaffer? That son of yours is acting like he's as cracked as the Bagginses!
[He and Daddy Twofoot laugh]
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It was late one evening in July when Gandalf arrived at Isengard, and was met by Saruman who led him up to his chamber high in the tower Orthanc.
I have come for your aid, Saruman the White.
Have you indeed, Gandalf the Grey? For aid? It has seldom been heard of that Gandalf the Grey sought for aid, one so cunning and so wise, wandering about the lands, and concerning himself in every business, whether it belong to him or not.
If I am not deceived, things are now moving which will require the union of all our strength.
That may be so, but the thought is late in coming to you. What brings you now from your lurking place in the Shire?
The Nine have come forth again. They have crossed the River. So Radagast said to me.
Radagast the Brown! Radagast the Bird-tamer! Radagast the simple! Radagast the Fool! Yet he had just the wit to play the part that I set him. For you have come and that was all the purpose of my message. And here you will stay, Gandalf the Grey. For I am Saruman the Wise, Saruman of Many Colours!
[His cloak rustles]
I like white better.
White! It serves as a beginning. White cloth can by dyed. The white page can be overwritten; and the white light can be broken.
In which case it is no longer white. And he that breaks a thing to find out what it is has left the path of wisdom.
I have not brought you here to be instructed by you, but to give you a choice.
What choice do you speak of, Saruman?
The Elder days are gone. The Middle Days are passing. Younger Days are beginning. The time of the Elves is over, but our time is ahead: the world of Men, which we must rule. But we must have power, power to order all things as we will, for that good which only the Wise can see. Listen, Gandalf, my old friend and helper! I said we, for we it may be, if you join with me. A new Power is rising. Against it the old allies and policies will not avail us at all. This then is the choice before you, before us. We may join with that Power. It would be wise, Gandalf.
How could it ever be wise to join with Sauron, our Enemy?
There is hope that way. His victory is at hand; and there will be rich reward for those who aided it.
Saruman, I have heard speeches of this kind before, but only in the mouths of emissaries sent from Mordor to deceive the ignorant. I cannot think that you brought me so far only to weary my ears.
Well, I see that this wise course does not commend itself to you. Not yet? Not if some better way can be contrived?
What better way?
The Ruling Ring? And why not, Gandalf? Why not? The Power would pass to us if we could but command it.
Saruman, only one hand at a time can wield the One Ring and you know that well, so don't trouble to say we!
I have many eyes in my service, Gandalf, and I believe that you know where this precious thing now lies. Well? Is it not so?
Now that I learn your mind, I will not even give you news of it.
You are a fool.
Well, your choices are, it seems, to submit to Sauron, or to submit to you. I will take neither. Have you others to offer?
Yes. The third choice is to stay here. You shall contemplate your folly from the highest pinnacle of the tower of Orthanc, until the end.
Until what end?
Until you reveal to me where the One Ring may be found. Or until it is found in spite of you.
[A wind blows and the beating of an eagle's wings is heard]
Gwaihir, Windlord, swiftest of all Eagles. Why come you here?
I am sent to Orthanc with a message of import.
What message, Gwaihir?
Dark tidings, Gandalf. Wolves are gathering. Orcs are mustering. And the Nine Riders go hither and thither in the lands. The Eagles of the Mountains have seen these things and learnt also that the Gollum creature has escaped from the Elves' captivity.
How did you know where to seek me?
Radagast the Brown told us to bring whatever news we saw or heard to you at Isengard.
Ah! Then Radagast is not a traitor.
I was bid by Radagast to seek both Gandalf the Grey and Saruman the White at Orthanc. Why find I Gandalf alone upon this perilous height? And why speak you of traitors?
For two months I've been imprisoned as a fly in the web of a treacherous spider, Gwaihir.
Saruman is no longer Saruman the White. He is now Saruman of Many Colours. He seeks either to join forces with the Dark Lord of Mordor, or to find for himself sufficient power to rule in his stead.
This is indeed evil news, Gandalf.
So it is, Gwaihir. But even the most subtle spider may leave a weak thread. Radagast he called a simpleton and a fool. Radagast the Bird-tamer he named him. But because of Radagast, Gwaihir the Windlord has come to me in my darkest hour.
No mortal tames the Eagles of the Mountains. Not even Radagast or Gandalf. But I will carry you to freedom, since I do not wish to serve any Saruman of Many Colours. Take hold of my talons.
[Wolves begin to howl far below them. Gwaihir's wings beat the air]
We are seen, Gandalf! I must fly with great speed.
How far can you carry me?
Many leagues, but not to the ends of the earth. I was sent to bear tidings, not burdens.
Then I must have a steed on land, and a steed surpassingly swift for I have never had need of such haste before.
Then I will bear you to Edoras, where the Lord of Rohan sits in his halls; for that is not very far off. And there are no horses like those that are bred by the Rohirrim, the Horse-lords of Rohan.
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