6. Escape from Mirkwood
He found a big fat spider,
Who, binding him up, like a fly,
Would poison him; and he would die,
And see the world no wider.
And this, young Bilbo couldn’t take,
He wished to be alive;
So, finding himself wide awake,
Towards his sword his hand did make,
And went into a dive.
One, two! One, two! Sword sweeping fell,
And freed his hands and feet;
And then, he fought with skill as well,
And sounded bad spider’s death-knell,
With strokes very discreet.
And then, he swept his sword on grass,
And cleaned the elven-blade.
“I name you Sting!” he said, “You pass
The test of swords with master-class.”
To sheathe it he then made.
And as he stood over the dead,
He was profoundly shaken;
But now, no longer filled with dread,
He looked out at the road ahead,
And knew it must be taken.
And as he went along the road,
He heard a distant chatter,
And going on, with lightened load,
He found the bad spiders’ abode;
His feet made not a patter.
And as he went along, he heard
The chattering grow loud;
And, listening to every word,
He looked out with his eyes, like bird,
And found there quite a crowd!
For as the spiders sat about,
They spoke like one who starves;
“So juicy and so fat, so stout!”
And slowly this story came out,
That they had caught the dwarves!
And then to Bilbo came a plan,
He slipped his gold ring on;
And shouting “Attercop!”, he ran,
And spiders tried, as much as can,
But only found him gone.
And then “Tomnoddy!”, shouted he,
And angered spiders more,
But then, they came at him, down tree,
Determined not to let him free,
And to his voice they bore.
But Bilbo led them on a chase,
Into the woods he went;
And as they ran a losing race,
He suddenly slackened his pace,
And path backwards he bent.
And so he came upon his friends,
And spider-guard he slew;
And then he severed ropes from ends,
And rescued dwarves from tumbled bends,
Of thread sticky as glue.
But as they came down from the trees,
The spiders, they returned,
And when they saw, running like fleas,
The prey of whom they wished a piece,
Deep anger in them burned.
And dwarves and Bilbo, fighting hard,
Did drive away a few,
But dwarves, poisoned by spider-guard,
Were in a state of deep retard,
And spiders came anew.
So Bilbo said, in shaky voice,
“Now, I shall disappear.
And lead them all away with noise,
We do have very little choice,
But you must fight, not fear.”
And then he wore his golden ring,
And unseen was by all,
And then he wielded elven-Sting,
And Balin, now understanding,
Did lead them against wall.
And through the spider-wall they broke,
And ran along the grass;
But slow they were, as growth of oak,
And though, to each other none spoke,
They fought spiders, to pass.
And Bilbo came with them, and fought,
By swinging elven-Sting,
And cutting and stabbing, he wrought
The death of spiders, quite a lot,
And doom to them did bring.
And so the spiders left alone,
At last, the whole thirteen.
But as they rested near a stone,
They asked in grieved and ashen tone,
“Oh, where has Thorin been?!”
For twelve were dwarves, and hobbit: one,
And Thorin not present,
And as they sat in rising sun,
(And without food, it was no fun)
They started argument.
At last on final march they went,
And search for food they did;
And as their weary backs were bent,
There came upon the scene, pleasant
Wood-elves who had been hid.
And Bilbo simply wore his ring,
But all the dwarves gave up;
And then, to king did elves them bring
(And this was very good a thing:
At least they’d get to sup).
Now Bilbo, following elf-light,
Had tailed them for some while;
When suddenly, they came in sight
Of elven-castle, great in height,
And spreading many a mile.
There, dwarves were took to elven-king,
Who careful questions asked;
And he, no answer begetting,
Said, “Lock them up, until they sing;
And motives be unmasked.”
But Bilbo hiding in some nook,
Did find his way around;
And all over the place he look,
Until he felt he was a spook,
A spectre underground.
But, although that was how he felt,
He found the twelve dwarves out;
And, as in silent thought he knelt,
Some lucky news was to him dealt,
That Thorin was about!
Now, coming back to Thorin’s tale
For little bit of rhyme,
The third time they went to lights pale,
In grassy land and wooded dale,
The elves got him that time.
And Bilbo went to Thorin’s cell,
And Thorin - he was glad!
And to the hobbit, he said, “Well,
About the treasure none must tell:
That, for us, will be bad.”
And when they heard of Thorin’s plight,
The dwarves were overjoyed;
And now they wished to plan for flight,
And all of them thought Bilbo might
Be, in this, well-employed.
And little Bilbo thought it out,
And wandering he went,
And as he went, he spied it out –
And was so happy, he could shout,
For chance there was, god-sent.
For as the forest river ran,
It under castle passed.
And elven-king used every man,
To do all hard work that he can,
For wine to be amassed.
The elven-king was fond of wine,
And got it from the lake;
Where lived great men, all strong and fine,
Who lived by raising food and kine,
And liquor they did make.
And all this wine, to elves it came,
From under castle floor;
And Bilbo, one day, playing game,
Did one day come across the same –
A great oaken trap-door.
And then, in his mind, came a plan,
Which he kept to himself;
And then he told dwarves, pale and wan,
That he could free them, every man,
And outwit every elf.
When merry-making was at high
In elven-king’s great hall,
Bilbo, he planned to say goodbye,
Without raising a hue and cry,
And run away with all.
When drunken guard was sound asleep,
He pocketed the keys;
And he, with wary eye did peep
While freeing dwarves from dungeons deep,
And dwarves this act did please.
And then he said, “In barrels sit,
And I shall seal you in.”
And then said they, in angry fit,
“What use, this silly plan, damn it?!”,
And made a frightful din.
And now it was the hobbit’s turn
To anger on his part,
He said, “My planning, if you spurn,
Then may you in elf-dungeon burn,
And never have light heart!”
And then they saw that this was true,
That this may be for ever;
And only thing that they could do
Was sit in drums (and like it too!),
An idea not so clever.
And then the servant elves did come,
And throw the barrels down;
And as they worked and songs did hum,
They threw out each and every drum,
In river to lake-town.
And then did Bilbo see the flaw
In beautiful-made plan;
(No doubt, his fault you always saw,
And suppressed many a guffaw.)
He’s left with elven-clan!
But as the portcullis did shut,
He swam out under it,
And wet as some young halibut,
Towards the wine-barrels he cut,
And held on to some bit.
And as he rode on barrels round,
He caught a nasty cold;
And when the barrels ran aground,
He got ashore, with sneezing sound:
His presence did unfold.
The elves, they hunted as they might,
But found out nothing much;
For Bilbo spent the freezing night,
Away from far off elven-sight,
And slept in peace, as such.
And in the morning rafts were made,
By barrels tightly bound;
And then the leader raft-elf bade,
That, in order to quicken trade,
A fast time must be found.
So Bilbo went with golden ring,
And sat upon a raft;
And thus they floated out, running
On forest river, glistening;
With magic of elf-craft.
This is a work of fan fiction, written because the author has an abiding love for the works of J R R Tolkien. The characters, settings, places, and languages used in this work are the property of the Tolkien Estate, Tolkien Enterprises, and possibly New Line Cinema, except for certain original characters who belong to the author of the said work. The author will not receive any money or other remuneration for presenting the work on this archive site. The work is the intellectual property of the author, is available solely for the enjoyment of Henneth Annûn Story Archive readers, and may not be copied or redistributed by any means without the explicit written consent of the author.