HASA Resources

Things of Middle-earth

Beorn's Animals

Type: Animals

Description:[Said Gandalf to Thorin Oakenshield's company,] 'If you must know more, his name is Beorn. He is ... a skin-changer.'

'What! a furrier, a man that calls rabbits conies, when he doesn't turn their skins into squirrels?' asked Bilbo.

'Good gracious heavens ... NO!' said Gandalf. '... don't mention the word furrier again as long as you are within a hundred miles of his house, nor, rug, cape, tippet, muff, nor any other such unfortunate word!' ...

'He lives in an oak-wood and has a great wooden house; and as a man he keeps cattle and horses which are nearly as marvellous as himself. They work for him and talk to him. He does not eat them; neither does he hunt or eat wild animals. He keeps hives and hives of great fierce bees, and lives most on cream and honey.' ...

The Hobbit, Ch 7, Queer Lodgings

It was the middle of the afternoon before they noticed that great patches of flowers had begun to spring up, all the same kinds growing together as if they had been planted. Especially there was clover ... 'We are getting near,' said Gandalf. 'We are on the edge of his bee-pastures.' ...

The wizard and the hobbit pushed open the heavy creaking gate.... Some horses, very sleek and well-groomed, trotted up across the grass and looked at them intently with very intelligent faces; then off they galloped to the buildings.

'They have gone to tell him of the arrival of strangers,' said Gandalf. ...

Standing near was a huge man ... leaning on a large axe. The horses were standing by him with their noses at his shoulder.

'Ugh! here they are!' he said to the horses. 'They don't look dangerous. You can be off!' He ... put down his axe and came forward.

The Hobbit, Ch 7, Queer Lodgings

Inside the hall it was now quite dark. Beorn clapped his hands, and in trotted four beautiful white ponies and several large long-bodied grey dogs. Beorn said something to them in a queer language like animal noises turned into talk. They went out again and soon came back carrying torches in their mouths, which they lit at the fire and stuck in low brackets on the pillars of the hall about the central hearth.

The dogs could stand on their hind-legs when they wished, and carry things with their fore-feet. Quickly they got out boards and trestles from the side walls and set them up near the fire.

Then baa-baa-baa! was heard, and in came some snow-white sheep led by a large coal-black ram. One bore a white cloth embroidered at the edges with figures of animals; others bore on their broad backs trays with bowls and platters and knives and wooden spoons, which the dogs took and quickly laid on the trestle tables. ... Beside them a pony pushed two low-seated benches ... for Gandalf and Thorin, while at the far end he put Beorn's big black chair.... These were all the chairs he had in his hall, and he probably had them low like the tables for the convenience of the wonderful animals that waited on him. ... The other ponies came in rolling round drum-shaped sections of logs, smoothed and polished, and low enough even for Bilbo; so soon they were all seated at Beorn's table, and the hall had not seen such a gathering for many a year. ...

Just before sunset he [Gandalf] walked into the hall, where the hobbit and the dwarves were having supper, waited on by Beorn's wonderful animals, as they had been all day. ...

'I have been picking out bear-tracks,' he said at last. 'There must have been a regular bears' meeting outside here last night. I soon saw that Beorn could not have made them all: there were far too many of them, and they were of various sizes too. I should say there were little bears, large bears, ordinary bears, and gigantic big bears, all dancing outside from dark to nearly dawn.' ...

This is what he [Beorn] promised to do for them. He would provide ponies for each of them, and a horse for Gandalf, for their journey to the forest, and he would lade them with food to last them for weeks with care ... red earthenware pots of honey, and twice-baked cakes.... The making of these was one of his secrets; but honey was in them, as in most of his foods ...

'At the gate of the forest I must ask you to send back my horse and my ponies.' ...

The Hobbit, Ch 7, Queer Lodgings

'Well, here is Mirkwood!' said Gandalf. ... 'Now you must send back these excellent ponies you have borrowed.'

The dwarves were inclined to grumble at this, but the wizard told them they were fools. 'Beorn is not as far off as you seem to think, and you had better keep your promises anyway, for he is a bad enemy. Mr. Baggins' eyes are sharper than yours, if you have not seen each night after dark a great bear going along with us or sitting far off in the moon watching our camps. Not only to guard you and guide you, but to keep an eye on the ponies too. Beorn may be your friend, but he loves his animals as his children. You do not guess what kindness he has shown you in letting dwarves ride them so far and so fast, nor what would happen to you, if you tried to take them into the forest.'

The Hobbit, Ch 7, Queer Lodgings

Products
Standing near was a huge man ... clothed in a tunic of wool down to his knees ...

... on the table were two tall red beeswax candles. ...

For him there was a little mattress of straw and woollen blankets. ...

At last Gandalf pushed away his plate and jug -- he had eaten two whole loaves (with masses of butter and honey and clotted cream) and drunk at least a quart of mead [see Note] ...

... he would lade them with food to last them for weeks with care ... red earthenware pots of honey, and twice-baked cakes that would keep good a long time, and on a little of which they could march far. The making of these was one of his secrets; but honey was in them, as in most of his foods, and they were good to eat, though they made one thirsty.

The Hobbit, Ch 7, Queer Lodgings

Note
Mead is an alcoholic beverage made from fermented honey and water. The drink was very popular in Anglo-Saxon times.

The Annotated Hobbit, Annotated by Douglas A. Anderson, Ch 7, Queer Lodgings, Note 9

Contributors: Elena Tiriel 10Jul04; added Products: ET 12Jul04

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