Hobbits encounter Gildor and the Elves
Event Type: General
Age: 3rd Age - Ring War
Date: September 24, 3018
An event in Frodo's Departure from the Shire; see that entry for an overview:
'Listen! [The Elves] are coming this way,' said Frodo. 'We have only to wait.' The singing drew nearer. One clear voice rose now above the others. It was singing in the fair elven-tongue, of which Frodo knew only a little, and the others knew nothing. Yet the sound blending with the melody seemed to shape itself in their thought into words which they only partly understood. This was the song as Frodo heard it:
Snow-white! Snow-white! O Lady clear!
O Queen beyond the Western Seas!
O Light to us that wander here
Amid the world of woven trees!....
The song ended. 'These are High Elves! They spoke the name of Elbereth!' said Frodo in amazement. 'Few of that fairest folk are ever seen in the Shire. Not many now remain in Middle-earth, east of the Great Sea. This is indeed a strange chance!'
The hobbits sat in shadow by the wayside. Before long the Elves came down the lane towards the valley. They passed slowly, and the hobbits could see the starlight glimmering on their hair and in their eyes. They bore no lights, yet as they walked a shimmer, like the light of the moon above the rim of the hills before it rises, seemed to fall about their feet. They were now silent, and as the last Elf passed he turned and looked towards the hobbits and laughed.
'Hail, Frodo!' he cried. 'You are abroad late. Or are you perhaps lost?' Then he called aloud to the others, and all the company stopped and gathered round.
'This is indeed wonderful!' they said. 'Three hobbits in a wood at night! We have not seen such a thing since Bilbo went away. What is the meaning of it?'
'The meaning of it, fair people,' said Frodo, 'is simply that we seem to be going the same way as you are. I like walking under the stars. But I would welcome your company.'
'But we have no need of other company, and hobbits are so dull,' they laughed. 'And how do you know that we go the same way as you, for you do not know whither we are going?'
'And how do you know my name?' asked Frodo in return.
'We know many things,' they said. 'We have seen you often before with Bilbo, though you may not have seen us.'
'Who are you, and who is your lord?' asked Frodo.
'I am Gildor,' answered their leader, the Elf who had first hailed him. 'Gildor Inglorion of the House of Finrod. We are Exiles, and most of our kindred have long ago departed and we too are now only tarrying here a while, ere we return over the Great Sea. But some of our kinsfolk dwell still in peace in Rivendell. Come now, Frodo, tell us what you are doing? For we see that there is some shadow of fear upon you.'
'O Wise People!' interrupted Pippin eagerly. 'Tell us about the Black Riders!'
'Black Riders?' they said in low voices. 'Why do you ask about Black Riders?'
'Because two Black Riders have overtaken us today, or one has done so twice,' said Pippin; 'only a little while ago he slipped away as you drew near.' 1
The Elves did not answer at once, but spoke together softly in their own tongue. At length Gildor turned to the hobbits. 'We will not speak of this here,' he said. 'We think you had best come now with us. It is not our custom, but for this time we will lake you on our road, and you shall lodge with us tonight, if you will.'
The Fellowship of the Ring, LoTR Book 1, Ch 3, Three Is Company
1 According to an unpublished Tolkien manuscript (Marquette MSS 4/2/36), it was apparently Khamûl whom the Hobbits saw both times:
Drawn by the Ring [Khamûl] goes to Hobbiton which he reaches at evening on Fri. Sep. 23rd..... [Khamûl] just misses Frodo, and misled by the Gaffers [sic] starts out east again.
[On 24 September he] picks up the Stock Road, and overtakes Frodo at approaches to Woody End — probably by accident; he becomes uneasily aware of the Ring, but is hesitant and uncertain because of the bright sun. He turns into the woods and waits for night.
The Lord of the Rings: A Reader's Companion, by Wayne G Hammond and Christina Scull, Book 1, Ch 3, Three is Company
Elena Tiriel 12Jan12