Notes from the fourth field trip

Discussion in 'Stories & Tales' started by Lina, May 8, 2011.

  1. Lina Chief

    Lina scribbles a bit on a parchment of paper, sitting in her study in Bartunnel. Piles of old books surround her, and a small mouse has a field day eating all the biscuit crumbs that are strewn around the table.

    J.R.R. Tolkien: The Lord of the Rings (books)
    Wikipedia entry about hobbits
    Encyclopedia of Arda
    The Tolkien Gateway
    Plus a more or less healthy imagination!
  2. Lina Chief

    On why us hobbits will go to Bree

    It's been a while since the last historical field trip. Time fer another one. And this one will be special.

    On three earlier nights we have visited places of hobbit interest in the Shire: Greenfields, The Three-Farthing Stone and Girdley Island. This time, though, we will go to out of bounds. We will go to Bree.

    Why go there? First of all, there is a lot of history to be learned there. Bree is an old town, after all. Quite how old, I can't say, but I heard it has been there fer at least a couple of thousand years.

    The name Bree means "hill", referring to the fact that the town itself is built around that large hill there. It is also centered at a major crossroad. You have the Great East Road, running from the dwarven Blue Mountains and the man town of Dale, and the old north-south road, Greenway, running between the old kingdoms in the north and south.

    As many of you will know, Bree is primarily a town for manfolk. Even so, there is a thriving hobbit community in Breelands. Some hobbits live in the town itself, but most stay in the little village called Staddle, on the south-eastern slopes of the Bree hill.

    And this brings me to the second reason we go to Bree. To learn how hobbits ended up living in Bree. To learn how they went from Bree to the Shire. To learn more of the history of the lands nearby the Shire.
  3. Lina Chief

    How hobbits came to Bree

    As you will know, there are three kinds of us hobbits. Harfoots, brown of skin and most common of all, meaning "ones with hairy feet". Stoors, natural fishermen, meaning "large and strong", as they are often of a heavier build. And Fallohides, slightly taller and slimmer, meaning "pale skin".

    Two thousand years ago, these hobbits did not live in the Shire. They did not even live in Breelands. They did not even live together.

    As I heard it from the elders back home, the Harfoots, Stoors and Fallohides once lived in separate lands far to the east, between a tall and misty range of mountains and a grand, wide river. Near nineteen hundred years ago, though, all of them decided to move west across the mountains.

    Why so? No-one knows. Although legends tell of dark evils rising in the east, prompting our ancestors to move west for safety.

    Over the next centuries, our ancestors moved gradually westwards. Until they ended up in Breelands, near seventeen hundred years ago. The three kinds of hobbits met, settled and started new communities together. Until, near fourteen hundred years ago, some hobbits thought to move further west again. To the Shire.
  4. Lina Chief

    On the old northern kingdom of Arnor

    A long time ago, there was a kingdom up north. Some of you may have heard of this kingdom. In old times, both Breelands and The Shire was part of it. Arnor, they called it, and it was a mighty and powerful realm, covering the northern lands between the Blue Mountains and the range of misty mountains in the west.

    When hobbits first came to the Shire, history says that the king used our lands as his hunting grounds. He did not mind hobbits moving there, but he set three conditions for the settlers. They should acknowledge his Lordship, maintain the roads within the Shire and aid the king's messengers. And so, our ancestors saw themselves as the subjects of the king, once they had settled in the Shire.

    However, even at this time, the once mighty kingdom was faltering and in decline. Over the years, civil wars, plague, hunger and other tragedies had worn it down. And seventeen hundred years ago, another danger had risen.

    In the dark, twisted lands of Angmar to the north, an evil kingdom arose. It was led by a strong, powerful sorcerer, evil and cunning, tricksy and false.

    He had no name. But all knew him as the Witch-King. And he soon waged war on Arnor.

    Bloody battles raged over the centuries. The northern kingdom was forced ever backwards, their people slaughtered by the Witch-King's hordes. And near a thousand years ago, in the year 374 by Shire reckoning, the Witch-King took the last city of Arnor. His savage troops swarmed the Arnor capital of Fornost, and the kingdom fell.

    The year after, though, an alliance of elves and men, mighty elf-lords and northern rangers, marched towards Fornost. Legends say that the Witch-King saw the approaching army and decided to crush it. He emptied Fornost of his troops and led his army to attack the invaders head on.

    Confident the Witch-King was, but as he neared his enemy, he was in for a surprise. A thundering noise came from behind. A swarm of horse riders attacked his horde from the rear! And from a hill on the side, a company of hobbit archers, dispatched to aid the kingdom's allies, let their arrows loose on the Angmar forces!

    The Witch-King's army was soon defeated! But what became of the Witch-King himself?

    Despite being outnumbered, he managed to flee. So strong he was, they said no man could kill him. He disappeared from the north, and he has not been seen again after. Some say he still wanders the lands, waiting fer an opportunity to strike back at those who once opposed him.

    For the old northern kingdom of Arnor, though, it was too late. It crumbled and fell after the battle. And in the Shire, hobbits decided to choose a leader to represent the king of old. So in the year 379 by Shire reckoning, we chose Bucca of the Marish as our first Thain.

    As for the brave hobbit archers who took part in the battle, history says little more, because no records are kept of them. I like to think that they returned in the spring, on a sunny day with blue skies, where they were met with spring's first flowers, tankards of ale and loved ones wondering where they had been the last months.

    And so ends the tale of the old northern kingdom
  5. Lina Chief

    On the differences between Shire hobbits and Breeland hobbits, and the art of growing pipeweed

    This story starts in the Southfarthing in the Shire.

    As most Shire-hobbits know, there lived a gardener called Tobold Hornblower in Longbottom, over three hundred years ago. Around the year 1070 by Shire reckoning, he discovered a curious herb with sweet-smelling flowers. Tobold collected the herb and brought it home with him.

    Now, stories vary when it comes to what happened next. But the one I heard says that Tobold gave the herbs to his wife. The wife, having hoped for pretty flowers, kicked Tobold on the shin and threw the herbs into the fire.

    Tobold's eyes began to water because of his hurting shin, but as the two hobbits stood glaring at each other, something wonderful happened. Imagine their surprised looks as the room filled with a sweet smoke, pleasant on the nose!

    Tobold and his wife had discovered pipeweed!

    Tobold went to look fer more herbs, and soon he started growing them in earnest. And hobbits soon took up the practice of burning the herb, and later they made pipes to inhale the pleasant smoke directly. A whole industry of pipeweed-growing arose in Southfarthing. And Tobold himself was immortalized through the name of one brand of pipeweed, Old Toby.

    Why mention this when we go to Bree? Because the Breeland hobbits claim that it was they who discovered pipeweed. They just can't accept that their rustic cousins in the Shire could ever find something as wonderful as pipeweed themselves. According to them, they found it first, and then it spread to the Shire later, but I am sure that is all nonsense. Granted, old Toby was known to travel to Bree on occasion before discovering pipeweed, but..

    .. anyway, while Breeland hobbits are nice indeed, they might come across as a little strange fer a Shire hobbit. They dress a bit differently, have somewhat odd sayings, and some of their practices may seem curious to our eyes. Why, on their birthdays, I hear they don't give mathoms to their guests, but expect to receive presents themselves! And they do seem to think a bit highly of themselves when it comes to us Shire hobbits, who they regard as somewhat coarser and less refined.

    That's what a life living with longshanks does to you, I should think.

    Still, at the end of the day, Bree hobbits are quite like ourselves. They enjoy the pleasant things in life, like a pipe with weed, a hearty meal and a mug of ale. So I am sure we will be well received as we set course for Staddle and visit our cousins in the East.
  6. Anonymous Guest

    Additional Historical notes for the Field Trip at Adso's Camp

    Concerning Hobbits and the coming of The Shire

    And so it is told and recorded that there was a time when two hobbits brothers of the Fallohide lived in the town of Bree, they went by the names of Marcho and Blanco. Although hobbits had lived for many years among tall people, they often felt they did not belong, for hobbits are so unique and different from lankyshanks.

    So in the year 1601 Marcho and Blanco entered a plea with king Argeleb II of Fornost :..

    Let us take our people across the Brandywine River. Let us settle in that fair land we shall call 'The Shire' !"

    King Argeleb in all his kindness granted them permission ....

    " Go in peace, hobbits. Travel safe. My only request is that your kind acknowledge me as king, give free access to my messengers, and look after the roads and bridges of your new home-land."

    And so, on a beautiful sunny day in 1601, Marcho and Blanco led a large group of hobbits across the Brandywine Bridge and claimed The Sire as their land in the name of all the hobbits of Middle-earth.

    Forever we shall remember Marcho and Blanco of the Fallohide, hobbit heroes , for it is thanks to them we hobbits, are blessed with the most beautiful and fertile land.

    It was about this time hobbits became to keep records of their history with the reckoning of the years. In the most pleasant corner of the world we settled until we come to think that peace and plenty are the rule in Middle-earth and the right of all sensible folk.

    (( OOC: All credit for this tale to Professor J.R.R. Tolkien

    -The Fellowship of the Ring: "Prologue: Concerning Hobbits,"

    -The Lord of the Rings: A Reader's Companion by Wayne G. Hammond and Christina Scull: "Prologue," ))

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