A story written for Harvest Tales - Songs and Stories of the Harvest (although I somehow forgot that it should have been about the harvest.....) The Mischievous Hobbit Once upon a time, over in Brockenborings, lived a little hobbit lad called Bonbo. Bonbo was the youngest of eleven hobbit children in the family Branberry. He was a few years younger than all his brothers and sisters. And because of this he found the way to get attention was through mischief. Bonbo was always playing practical jokes and tricks on his siblings. And his parents, and even other folk in the village. The more annoyed they would get, the more fun he would have. One favourite trick of his was to knock on people's doors and then run off. He would hide in the bushes and laugh at the confused hobbit at the door. Sometimes he would make funny noises to confuse them more! He also liked running by the farms on the Greenfield's shouting out "Wolves! Bears!" And then when the farmer came out to see what was amiss, Bonbo would run off laughing. Bonbo was also keen on making things. A skill he learned from his Pa, who was a carpenter. His Pa thought that teaching Bonbo some woodworking skills would keep him from mischief. But Bonbo used his new found talents to make traps and other tricksy devices! For example, he rigged up a trip wire attached to a series of levers on a tree. Whenever someone stepped on the wire, a bucket of water fell over the unfortunate victim's head. He also rigged up a catapult attached to a handle on a well. So that when they started winding the handle to get water, a rotten tomato was fired at them. Needless to say Bonbo's pranks did not go down well with the folk in the village. Everytime he was seen scampering about a look of deep suspiscion was cast his way. Along with some stern words along the lines of "Up to more mischief again today I see, you little rascal!" But Bonbo did not mind as he was having fun. And an old hobbit shaking a fist was a sign of success! Now, one day Bonbo was wandering about in the Greenfields having earlier teased a long-suffering shepherd. He walk a bit further North than usual, and soon came across a shaded valley. And in this valley he saw goblins! Bonbo hid quickly in some bushes and watched what they were doing. It seemed to him they were stockpiling some weapons. They were also gurgling a lot in goblin language. But from the fact they pointed over to Brockenborings alot, suggested they planned a raid on the village. Bonbo was alarmed at this, and knew he had to warn the folk in the village. He ran as fast as he could across the Greenfields and went to straight to the Shirriff's hole. The Shirriff was napping at the time, and did not appreciate being woken up by Bonbo. "Goblins", shouted Bonbo, "There the Goblins planning to attack the village." But the sleepy Shirriff scoffed at this. "Another one of your wind-ups, Bonbo! You are not fooling me." The Shirriff then went back to his business (and napped). Bonbo tried running down the main lane in the village. Shouting out "There are goblins coming! They are going to attack!" But he was just met with shaken fists and angry shouts of "Be quiet, you pesky miscreant!" Reluctantly, he knew the villages did not believe him. So Bonbo decided to would fend off the goblin attack by himself! He would use his wood-working skills to make traps to see off the goblins. And that is what he did. He ran back to his burrow and grabbed all his tools and unused devices. And then he went to various points in the village to set his traps up. He set up a trip wire between some trees, but attached it to a bucket of thick custard this time instead of water. He set up catapults loaded with lumps of coal that would be set off if a goblin brushed against a bush. He also dug some holes, filled with sharp stones, and covered them with old branches. Now, all Bonbo could do was wait... ... The attack came at dawn the next day! A shepherd who had been out on the Greenfields early in the morning came running into the village. "There are goblins coming! A whole gang of goblins! With spears!" Folk panicked! They tried to rouse the shirriff who was still doing some important sleeping in his bed. But he was confused, and thought it was just a dream. No-one knew what to do! And then the goblins appeared.... It was then that Bonbo's traps went into action. One goblin saw a hobbit lass hiding behind a tree, and charged her. But it was the tree with the bucket of custard! The goblin became a yellow goblin, and the custard was so thick it could hardly move. Some other goblins charged a bounder, who bravely hid behind a rock. But just a few feet away from him the goblins disappeared. They had fallen down a hole! The other goblins jumped out from some bushes. But these were the bushes which had the catapults on. And so they got pelted with coal! The goblins were all very confused. So confused in fact, that it gave enough time for the villagers to group together. And grabbing pith forks and scythes and axes, they were able to chase the befuddled goblins from the village. Once the goblins had gone, the folk returned the village. They realised it was Bonbo's traps that had saved them. They forgave his previous mischief, and treated him like a hero. Indeed, they were so nice to him, he felt bad for all the tricks he had previously played on them. So Bonbo decided he would no longer play tricks on them. In fact, he was given a job as a bounder. A bounder charged with the defense of the village. Not just from goblins, but wolves and bears too. His tricks and traps would be put to good use! Mind you, sometimes unwary hobbits would stumble into Bonbo's defenses by mistake. And there were some mutterings that Bonbo did this deliberately, as he still had a mischievous streak. Especially if he encountered a particularly grumpy hobbit, or if someone annoyed him. All that should be said is just be careful if you go walking through Bindbole wood at night. Or you might end up rather custardy in colour!