A strange thing happened to me last week, and after much thought I decided
to share my story with you all, for though it might seem a fantastical tale,
I can assure you that it is entirely true, and not some fairy story like those
old Uncle Gamgee tells about Primula the hobbit child.
As many of you already know, I am of Tookish blood, but I also claim kinfolk
among the Brandybucks, and it is from them that I learned to love fishing and
boating. Well, last Highday I spent a relaxing afternoon fishing upon the
Brandywine. Though the air was chilly, the sun was high in the sky, and my
stout little fishing pole rewarded me with several trout and a big fat bass.
As evening approached, I decided to gather some wood, to build a campfire,
since I had a small pan in my backpack, and I knew that somehow the fish would
seem even tastier if cooked and eaten right there. Well, this was where I made
a foolish error. Spying a gap in the Hedge, I slipped through, thinking to
gather some fallen twigs and branches in the eaves of the woods. I am sure I
had only stepped a few paces into the trees, but I found myself feeling quite
turned about, and I could not figure the way back out no matter how hard I
As it was near to dusk, I thought perhaps I might figure which way to go by
looking for the setting sun. But, alas! The trees were so dense that I was
quite unable to see the sunset. And it seemed that the more I wandered, the
deeper I found myself within the forest. Then, just as it seemed like things
could get no worse, they did! Though I had lit a lantern, I somehow managed to
step into a thick tangle of roots, and indeed I almost sprained my ankle as I
did so. And, try as I might, I could not free my foot.
Then, just as I was beginning to despair, I heard a deep voice singing a jolly
little nonsensical song.
"Hey dol! merry dol! ring a dong dillo!"
Gradually the voice drew near to me, and then before me stood a most peculiar
fellow. He was not a hobbit - of that I was sure. But he did not look like one
of the Big People and he was certainly not an Elf. Big blue eyes peered out
from a smiling red face, and his long brown beard (almost long enough for a
dwarf!) reached down to the collar of his bright blue coat. A long blue
feather bobbed and dipped atop his hat, and on his feet he wore boots of the
brightest yellow shade I ever did see!
"Well now, my little fellow," said he (as I dressed in boyish clothes, I
suppose he did not realise me to be a girl), "what seems to be the trouble?"
And when I explained to him how I had become lost in the Old Forest, and
trapped by the tree roots, he let out a laugh and exclaimed, "well, is that
all?" Then he set about singing in a very low voice, and suddenly the roots
which had been so tightly bound about my ankle seemed to fall back, and I was
"Follow Tom," the stranger said, "he will guide you out of mazes." And with
that, he led me to the border the forest, by the East Road, not far from the
Brandywine Bridge. Bidding me farewell he said, "if ever you should happen by
this way again and find yourself quite lost, just tell old Bombadil and he
will come to guide you." Then he winked and he smiled, and saying, "Tom has
his house to mind, and lilies to gather!" he turned and vanished into the