It’s been a nice quiet few days with an opportunity for some exploration and recreation.
There’s so much I haven’t seen yet so I took a couple of days off for some hiking and to enjoy the beautiful countryside. Even then, it’s surprising what you can find tucked away – how many of you recognise this spot?
A very strange graveyard with no indication on the tombstones of the “occupants” or who cares for the plots.
I gradually worked my way back towards the Shire, intending to enjoy the Fall Festival events again. This time I took the southern route as I had never seen the area before. I visited Woodhall and then followed the path through the Green Hill Country. I came upon some fantastic fishing spots like this one
Eventually, I passed through Bywater and Hobbiton to reach The Hill. I went to see Opal Goodbody, the Master of Ceremonies, and she gave me some exciting news:
“You’ll never believe this, Seolferwulf! I decided a new oven was needed to begin the preparations for the next festival. The labourers went to a dig a pit into the side of the Hill, and lo! We all heard a shovel scrape against some wood, and before I knew what happened, a door was dug out!
The door is locked now, but I’ll wager it is a forgotten cellar of Bag End, just above. Do you think that’s where Mad Baggins kept his treasure? I suppose we can only guess…for Lobelia owns Bag End now.
If you think she’ll be letting you go in, go right ahead and ask her; be my guest! I won’t be risking it…but it is terribly exciting, all the same!”
I spoke to Lobelia who, frankly, wasn’t much help. But I did recall Bilbo and Frodo, the last proprietors of Bag End, were good friends with the Gamgees on Bagshot Row so I went to see Gaffer Gamgee.
“Hello, young Seolferwulf. Well, I suppose if you are of an inquisitive nature like Mr. Bilbo himself, I’ll let you in on something he said to me before he disappeared forever.
Old Bilbo, he said (with a sparkle in his eye) that his adventure would continue on even after he was long gone. That was Mr. Baggins, for you.
Well, I’ll not get in your way. Help yourself to look over his last letter for us, which my son Sam read to me. It has some particular instructions regarding that Sackville-Baggins….”
Back to Lobelia then and, together, we perused Bilbo’s letter. Lobelia became quite excited, “Oh my, what wonderful news! Apparently my spoons fit as keys into the key-hole in that barrow door down there. That Old madman planned for me to have his treasure after all! Come, I’ll go open the door, and you will help me carry out the treasures I find. Let us meet down at the Party Tree. Just give me a moment, and I’ll be down!”
Spoons? I was confused at this point but still I went down to the door and Lobelia managed to unlock the door. Eagerly we entered.
Oh dear, oh dear, the entrance was completely covered with dust and cobwebs. Crates were piled up everywhere and strange piles of what I can only describe as goo covered the floor. Lobelia was not pleased with the cellar and gave permission to explore it at my leisure, no doubt assuming that I would clean it up. Ha!
I had a brief wander around but it was a bit scary for me. And, soon, I began to feel dizzy from all the twists and turns. I was convinced that the place was haunted and that there were ghosts watching, definitely magic in the air. Then I cheered up because I came across what seemed to be a chest and, I don’t know why, but it just screamed treasure at me. Treasure! I like treasure. Quickly I opened it and started rummaging.
My face fell and my hopes were dashed. It was full of old junk, masks, potions, rags and, strangely, an old lamp which I picked up to examine. Perhaps it was one of those fabled lamps that would grant a wish! I rubbed and wished but nothing happened. Eventually, I exclaimed “now you are getting my dander up” I thought I detected a small shimmer but nothing else happened.
Oh well, I decided to leave. As I came out onto the Hill, I could not believe what I was seeing – a brave Hobbit warrior in gleaming armour and impossibly tall on his steed. And he announced his name as Dandar! Surely, this could not be a coincidence – the lamp had listened to my mutterings and granted me the gift of a noble companion – ah the fun I could have polishing his armour for him! I closed my eyes and gave thanks…and opened them to find him vanished from sight. Oh no, the noxious gases in the cellar had clearly addled my brains and caused me to dream Dandar up. Will I ever see this great hero again?