This is the story about how an old Sherriff by mistake got lost near
Tuckborough. Farmer Maggot told me this tale when I was no more than
a small Hobbit Child, merely a few inches shorter than I am now.
It was a sunny and funny afternoon when Hum the Sherriff got lost
around Tuckborough. He was strolling around, trying to spot places
where he could go hunting in his spare time. The weather was fine,
the sun shining and the birds were singing in the trees. Nothing was
lacking Hum on this excellent summer afternoon.
Suddenly! Out of nowhere, sprung a proud and beautiful stag, it
stopped for a second and eyed Hum cautiously before it leaped into
the brush just east of Tuckborough square. Hum wasn't slow to react,
he removed his stiff leather boots and started to cunningly sneak after
the proud stag. Hum was no apprentice huntsman, but had been hunting
for many years and he knew exactly how to run after a fleeing animal
without it noticing that you were on its trail.
Hum sneaked into the dense brush, quick and agile as he was. No sounds
of cracking branches or feet stomping the ground could be heard when he
leaped through the woods. It didn't take long before he was hiding behind
a maple brush, enjoying the sight of one of the largest stags he had ever
seen. And this I tell you, had Hum brought his famous shortbow on this
afternoon, he would have had the largest pair of antlers in the Shire.
It was not a normal animal he saw that afternoon, it was something very
special, seldom seen in the Forests of the Shire.
Hum watched the beautiful animal graze in a small glen and lost track
of time, sitting there enjoying the sight of such an uncommon animal.
Suddenly the sun went down on Hum and the stag. Hum felt a bit unsure,
should he stay for a while longer or begin his journey back home to his
wife and her delicious pies. He sat there for a short while longer,
took a last glimpse of the beautiful animal and turned around to walk
home... but which way was it? Hum had totally lost track of where
Tuckborough square was situated, he didn't know in which direction to
walk! He started walking westwards, for he was pretty sure that was from
where he came. He walked for an hour but realised that he was walking
in circles. The night was falling upon Hum quickly so he started to
look for a nice place to camp. That was when he found a small cave in
the hillside, he had never been there before, so he cautiously snuck
into the dark cave, laid down on his blanket and fell asleep. As dawn
came he woke up and looked around him. He yelled as he saw a bear no
less than two yards away from him, Hum was a very brave man, but the
thought of having spent a full night with a bear terrified him. The bear
woke up from his sleep, stared madly at Hum and charged. Hum, who didn't
know what to do, leaped to his feet and ran as fast as he could out of
the cave. He ran and ran, without noticing where he was running. He even
forgot his blanket! After a while he calmed down, exhausted as he was he
sat down beneath a tree and thought about his situation. He hadn't been
pondering for long before he saw some tracks in the soft soil. Finally!
He thought, some tracks I could follow, for they must lead somewhere
familiar! (He didn't think much about his wife at this time, but she was
worried sick and had already sent her youngest son to Farmer Maggot for
Anyway, back to Hum, he was following the tracks of some unknown men
in the forest just east of Tuckborough. Not knowing where he was walking,
but merely hoping that he'd find someone he knew. Suddenly the tracks
came to an end before a dense underbrush. The tracks continued into the
brush, but Hum couldn't find a way through! Suddenly he heard voices
from behind the brush, he yelled Hello, could anyone help me!. The
muffled voices got quiet, and a few seconds later a couple of men stepped
through the brush. When Hum saw who the men were horror came upon his
trustworthy face! The infamous smugglers! Hum turned and ran, he ran
and ran some more. Hum was really a brave man, it was just that at this
time he felt very lonely. After some time he got exhausted again and had
to rest. He sat there, alone, and tears were beginning to show in his
brown eyes. What should he do? Where should he walk?
He had probably been sitting there for an hour or two when Farmer
Maggot with his three dogs found him. Imagine the relief Hum felt at
this moment. Finally, someone to bring him home to his warm bed and
Hum never saw the stag again, nor did he manage to find the cave with
the bear nor the smugglers hideout. But he continued his duty as a
Sherriff, and as far as I know, he is still guarding the Shire as well
as any other Sherriff.
- One of Farmer Maggot's classics.