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Hobbits: An Owner’s Guide and Maintenance Manual: 1. Hobbits: An Owner’s Guide and Maintenance Manual
*** CONGRATULATIONS! ***
You are now the proud owner of your very own HOBBIT collection! These delightful little chaps will give you years of faithful service. Follow the procedures detailed in this manual to ensure that your HOBBITS are used to their full potential.
*** NOTE *** Due to their gregarious nature, HOBBITS are always sold in bulk. You will notice stickers attached to your HOBBITS – “Part of a multi-pack. Not to be sold separately.”
FRODO (aka ‘Mister Underhill’)
SAMWISE (aka ‘Sam’)
MERIADOC (aka ‘Merry’)
PEREGRIN (aka ‘Pippin’, ‘Fool of a Took!’)
Manufacturers: Drogo, Hamfast, Saradoc, Paladin and Co.
Height: Varies according to quantity of Ent-draught consumed
* Before lunch – 60 lbs
* After lunch – 130 lbs
Length: Varies according to circumstances
The day before your HOBBITS are due to be delivered, install heavy duty padlocks on your larder/refrigerator/freezer/kitchen cupboards.
Your HOBBITS will be delivered to your house in a large, green crate. Remove the circular lid carefully.
*** NOTE *** Contents may have settled during transit.
Do not be alarmed if the crate is full of smoke or crumbs. The HOBBIT models have just been keeping themselves amused while they were in transit. The same reasoning can be applied if two or more of the HOBBITS appear to be wearing no trousers.
IDENTIFYING YOUR HOBBITS
Your FRODO’s first words will be, “Elen síla lúmenn’omentielvo!”
Your MERRY’S first words will be, (sotto voce) “What a smart arse!” and (loudly) “Is it dinner time yet?”
Your PIPPIN’s first words will be, “I’m hungry!” and “Where are we going?”
Your SAM’s first words will be, “I’m coming, Mister Frodo!” (Believe me, you will be hearing that quite a lot over the next few months, sometimes uttered at the top of his voice in the middle of the night.)
Your HOBBITS come equipped with an impressive list of accessories. When you unpack your HOBBITS from their crate, the SAM model will be carrying every single item. If you try to divest him of any of the accessories, he will protest vociferously and claim that in fact he could carry a lot more if someone could just balance the relevant object on the top of his head/tuck something under his chin/hook a small item onto the end of this finger. However when you eventually persuade your SAM unit that he has reached his destination and can let go of the baggage, you will be able to allocate the accessories as follows:
FRODO: Short sword that sings ‘Every Breath You Take’, necklace which looks as if it used to hold something, mithril underwear, glowing star-glass.
PIPPIN and MERRY: Pipes and pipeweed, knives; belts, brooches and cloaks from “Ye Olde Elven Gift Shoppe”, various bits of flotsam and jetsam, e.g. stones to throw down wells or into sinister lakes.
SAM: Pots, pans, first aid kit (borrowed from an ARAGORN model), box of earth filled with a strange seed, spare clothes, sewing kit, Swiss army knife, magic self-untying Elven rope, camping stove, canteen of cutlery, cuddly toy, phial of scented oil for games of ‘Servant and Master’ with Mister FRODO, water bottles, picnic hamper, thermos of hot chocolate with marshmallows floating in it, a cabbage, family sized packet of lembas, indigestion tablets, orc disguises, bridle with ‘Bill’ picked out across the headstall.
*** CAUTION *** Your PIPPIN model may also make a grab for an extra accessory; to whit, a smooth globe of crystal. It is imperative that you remove this from him at the first opportunity. It is an esoteric type of mobile phone that he uses to keep in touch with some of his less reputable friends. In order to remove it from his clammy little paws, try distracting him with comments such as, “Is that a cheese and pickle sandwich that I can see under the table over there?”
*** CAUTION *** If by accident your FRODO unit has been issued with an additional accessory – a plain gold ring – it is crucial that you remove this piece of jewellery from him as soon as possible. Use your teeth if necessary. Under no circumstances should you succumb to the temptation to claim ownership of the ring yourself, even if you only intend to keep it safe and secret. You may think that you can have some harmless fun with it, e.g. using your invisibility to find out just exactly what your next-door neighbour is doing with that ARAGORN model that provokes so much screaming at three o’clock in the morning. However in the course of time your actions will become more sinister and in a matter of months you will be bossing everyone around at work, establishing a power-base in the eastern stationery cupboard, stealing all the toner cartridges out of the photo-copiers and plotting to usurp the Managing Director. So be told! Put the ring in a tightly-sealed envelope and address it to:
Chief Disposals Supervisor
“Eldritch Weapons of Absolute Evil” Department
Mauna Loa Tourist Office
Your HOBBITS are remarkably hardly folk, but they do enjoy their creature comforts and you will find it in your interest to store them in an appropriate setting. If you are a British owner, go down to the end of your back garden and see if there is an old World War II air-raid shelter. With a bit of spit and polish this could be an ideal dwelling place for your HOBBIT collection. Those owners without air-raid shelters will have to improvise. The important thing is that the HOBBITS’ home should be subterranean, warm, snug and with beams in the ceiling at exactly the right height to concuss any visiting GANDALF models. The HOBBITS’ hole must be equipped with plenty of storage cupboards for food. Set up an ISDN line to the hole so that the HOBBITS can order their comestibles online. HOBBITS like their sleep so ensure that the bedrooms have soft, comfortable beds. If space is at a premium, build two bedrooms and install only one large bed in each. If the HOBBITS complain that they want a four bedrooms, email them the URL for www.libraryofmoria.com and the requests for separate beds will cease.
Your HOBBITS can be utilised around the home and garden in a variety of capacities:
As members of a race who regard six meat-meals as day as the bare minimum to keep body and soul together, your HOBBITS have become experts in the preparation of food, particularly those recipes involving potatoes, rabbit or mushrooms. Employing your HOBBITS as chefs in your home guarantees that you will gain a reputation as a gourmand (and twenty pounds in weight).
Your SAM model, though sometimes mistaken for a bodyguard, has actually received extensive training in horticulture and can be used successfully to breathe new life into your garden in the event that it is devastated by an irate ex-wizard. SAM is also skilled in the art of pretending to do the gardening while secretly listening to private conversations. If you want to know what your friends are up to on the sly, lend them the SAM model and he’ll be sure to come back with some juicy gossip.
The MERRY and PIPPIN models have a history of shacking up with any old army or city guard that they happen to come across. This kind of behaviour is to be encouraged as it provides them with the opportunity to develop new levels of functionality, widen their circle of friends and get hold of some really snazzy uniforms.
Your HOBBITS’ tremendous capacity to remain cheerful in the face of relentless suffering is one of their greatest assets. No matter how much torment is inflicted upon them by the forces of evil, your HOBBITS, particularly MERRY and PIPPIN, are always ready with a cheeky grin and a funny quip. Your house may be surrounded by orcs, uruk-hai, ring wraiths, trolls and balrogs, but your HOBBITS will remain chirpy. They can even laugh in the face of tax-inspectors and double-glazing salesmen.
To clean your HOBBIT collection you will need three tubs and a copper full of boiling hot water.
Once you have pointed them in the general direction of the bathroom, the HOBBITS will be quite capable of bathing themselves.
*** NOTE *** As you have four HOBBITS but only three tubs, put your SAM and FRODO models in the same bath – they are unlike to object and will keep each other quite happy playing ‘Hide The Wizard’s Staff’.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Q: I am having difficulty distinguishing between my HOBBITS. Are there any distinguishing features that I should look out for?
A: You are not alone in confusing different HOBBITS. The MERRY and PIPPIN models are particularly hard to identify. Cut out and keep the handy chart below:
(a) Huge blue eyes, flawless porcelain complexion, scar on left shoulder, tendency to get sums wrong if counting on fingers = FRODO.
(b) Scottish accent, expression of naïve idiocy, propensity for chucking stones down wells and gazing into mysterious crystal balls = PIPPIN.
(c) Complains of occasional numbness in right arm, marginally less dippy expression than PIPPIN, smells vaguely of horses = MERRY.
(d) Rural English accent, chubby features, slightly subservient demeanour, fondness for holding hands with the FRODO model = SAM.
Q: My HOBBITS want to go on a Youth Hostelling holiday around the Lake District this summer. Is it safe for them to go?
A: Just to be on the safe side, hire an ARAGORN model to accompany your HOBBITS. Even more security can be guaranteed if you also rent a GLORFINDEL or ARWEN model to join them for the last section of the holiday, when everyone is getting tired and those blisters are really chafing.
Q: Is it safe to take my HOBBITS to an ‘Eat as Much as you Want’ restaurant?
A: Please note that your HOBBITS will interpret this as ‘Eat as Much as you Can” and the ensuing competition will cause:
(a) Several new entries in the ‘Guinness Book of World Records’
(b) Projectile vomiting.
(c) The restaurant to be called into receivership.
Problem: You have used the handy ‘HOBBIT Identification Chart’ (see FAQs above) but one of your HOBBIT units remains unidentifiable. He is somewhat leaner that the other three and has an appalling speech impediment – any sentence containing sibilants causes him endless trouble. He constantly refers to himself in the third person and refuses to eat anything other than sushi. You cannot cope with his disgusting habits so you give him to a friend who owns a Mk I LEGOLAS model who is instructed to guard the alleged HOBBIT and keep him out of harm’s way. Within minutes the HOBBIT has escaped and returned to your living room. You can hear the LEGOLAS crying out “Alas! Alas!” in a tone of voice which suggests that in his fair elvish face there is great distress. You have tried every trick you know to get rid of this HOBBIT, but he steadfastly refuses to leave your FRODO unit whom he refers to as “Nice Master”.
Solution: You have accidentally been issued with a GOLLUM unit. The chances of you getting rid of this slippery customer are extremely slim. The best you can hope for is to call him SMEAGOL and hope that whatever vestige of goodness lies within that skinny frame will resurface with kind treatment. If that doesn’t work, try taking him on vacation with you to Mt. Etna and encouraging him to dance around frantically at the summit.
Problem: Your best friend’s BOROMIR model interacts very pleasantly with your HOBBITS – play-fighting, piggybacks and so on – but seems to be a little obsessed with your FRODO unit. The BOROMIR model insists on calling him “Little One” and reminding him that he “Carries the fate of us all!” This is beginning to tell on your FRODO’s nerves.
Solution: Before your friend and her BOROMIR model visit, give your FRODO a ring – curtain ring, metal washer, ring-pull from a cola can, anything small, metallic and vaguely ring-shaped will do. Teach him to say the following words and then wink:
“Whoops! I appear to have allowed this precious object to fall carelessly from my pocket into your sweaty, trembling palm, BOROMIR. Oh dear, oh dear, oh dear! Whatever shall I do?” The BOROMIR model will cackle gleefully, hold the ring aloft and then leave at a dead run to buy a fast horse to Minas Tirith.
*** NOTE *** You may have some difficulty in getting your FRODO model to behave in this way because:
(a) His essential nobility means that all forms of trickery are anathema to him.
(b) Once you’ve given him the ring, he may be somewhat unwilling to relinquish it.
The only solution is to threaten your FRODO that if he doesn’t co-operate, you will give the MERRY and PIPPIN models the key to the padlock on the door of the freezer. The prospect of those two eating all the double-choc-chip ice-cream will be more than he can bear.
The guarantee on your HOBBIT models varies according to each unit. The FRODO model is under warranty for only a few short years until, at last, he will be gone, leaving a hastily scribbled note on a page torn out the ‘Red Book of Westmarch’ saying, “Just popped out to see my Uncle.” Your SAM will stay for a few years longer, surprising everyone by developing a taste for heterosexuality and getting married to a ROSE model. MERRY and PIPPIN will remain in faithful service for many, many years until they eventually ask to be taken to the home of the nearest ARAGORN model so that they can go to their final rest. But worry not! The SAM and ROSE models have been busy over the years and will leave you with a delightful tribe of thirteen little HOBBITS, some with beautiful golden hair and all with those oh-so-cute furry feet.
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