The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring

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The Lord of the Rings Part 1
The Fellowship of the Ring
By J. R. R. Tolkien
Part 1: The Fellowship of the Ring
Part 2: The Two Towers
Part 3: The Return of the King
Three Rings for the Elven-kings under the sky,
Seven for the Dwarf-lords in their halls of stone,
Nine for Mortal Men doomed to die,
One for the Dark Lord on his dark throne
In the Land of Mordor where the Shadows lie.
One Ring to rule them all, One Ring to find them,
One Ring to bring them all and in the darkness bind them
In the Land of Mordor where the Shadows lie.
1. Concerning Hobbits
2. Concerning Pipe-weed
3. Of the Ordering of the Shire
4. Of the Finding of the Ring

Note on the Shire records
Book I
Chapter 1 A Long-expected Party
Chapter 2 The Shadow of the Past
Chapter 3 Three is Company
Chapter 4 A Short Cut to Mushrooms
Chapter 5 A Conspiracy Unmasked
Chapter 6 The Old Forest
Chapter 7 In the House of Tom Bombadil
Chapter 8 Fog on the Barrow-Downs
Chapter 9 At the Sign of The Prancing Pony
Chapter 10 Strider
Chapter 11 A Knife in the Dark
Chapter 12 Flight to the Ford
Book II
Chapter 1 Many Meetings
Chapter 2 The Council of Elrond
Chapter 3 The Ring Goes South
Chapter 4 A Journey in the Dark
Chapter 5 The Bridge of Khazad-dûm
Chapter 6 Lothlórien
Chapter 7 The Mirror of Galadriel
Chapter 8 Farewell to Lórien
Chapter 9 The Great River
Chapter 10 The Breaking of the Fellowship
Book III
Chapter 1 The Departure of Boromir
Chapter 2 The Riders of Rohan
Chapter 3 The Uruk-Hai
Chapter 4 Treebeard
Chapter 5 The White Rider
Chapter 6 The King of the Golden Hall
Chapter 7 Helm's Deep
Chapter 8 The Road to Isengard
Chapter 9 Flotsam and Jetsam
Chapter 10 The Voice of Saruman
Chapter 11 The Palant_r

Book IV
Chapter 1 The Taming of Sméagol
Chapter 2 The Passage of the Marshes
Chapter 3 The Black Gate is Closed
Chapter 4 Of Herbs and Stewed Rabbit
Chapter 5 The Window on the West
Chapter 6 The Forbidden Pool
Chapter 7 Journey to the Cross-roads
Chapter 8 The Stairs of Cirith Ungol
Chapter 9 Shelob's Lair
Chapter 10 The Choices of Master Samwise
Book V
Chapter 1 Minas Tirith
Chapter 2 The Passing of the Grey Company
Chapter 3 The Muster of Rohan
Chapter 4 The Siege of Gondor
Chapter 5 The Ride of the Rohirrim
Chapter 6 The Battle of the Pelennor Fields
Chapter 7 The Pyre of Denethor
Chapter 8 The Houses of Healing
Chapter 9 The Last Debate
Chapter 10 The Black Gate Opens
Book VI
Chapter 1 The Tower of Cirith Ungol
Chapter 2 The Land of Shadow
Chapter 3 Mount Doom
Chapter 4 The Field of Cormallen
Chapter 5 The Steward and the King
Chapter 6 Many Partings
Chapter 7 Homeward Bound
Chapter 8 The Scouring of the Shire
Chapter 9 The Grey Havens
I The Númenorean Kings
(I) Númenor
(II) The Realms In Exile
(III) Eriador, Arnor, and The Heirs Of Isildur
(IV) Gondor and The Heirs Of Anñrion
(V) Here Follows a Part of The Tale of Aragorn and Arwen

Here follows one of the last notes in the Red Book
The Second Age
The Third Age

I Pronunciation of Words and Names

II Writing
I The Languages and Peoples of The Third Age
II On Translation
I Songs and Verses
II Persons, Beasts and Monsters
III Places
IV Things
This tale grew in the telling, until it became a history of the Great War of the Ring and included
many glimpses of the yet more ancient history that preceded it. It was begun soon after _The
Hobbit_ was written and before its publication in 1937; but I did not go on with this sequel, for I
wished first to complete and set in order the mythology and legends of the Elder Days, which had
then been taking shape for some years. I desired to do this for my own satisfaction, and I had little
hope that other people would be interested in this work, especially since it was primarily linguistic
in inspiration and was begun in order to provide the necessary background of 'history' for Elvish

When those whose advice and opinion I sought corrected _little hope_ to _no hope,_ I went
back to the sequel, encouraged by requests from readers for more information concerning hobbits
and their adventures. But the story was drawn irresistibly towards the older world, and became an
account, as it were, of its end and passing away before its beginning and middle had been told. The
process had begun in the writing of _The Hobbit,_ in which there were already some references to
the older matter: Elrond, Gondolin, the High-elves, and the orcs, as well as glimpses that had arisen
unbidden of things higher or deeper or darker than its surface: Durin, Moria, Gandalf, the
Necromancer, the Ring. The discovery of the significance of these glimpses and of their relation to
the ancient histories revealed the Third Age and its culmination in the War of the Ring.
Those who had asked for more information about hobbits eventually got it, but they had to wait
a long time; for the composition of _The Lord of the Rings_ went on at intervals during the years
1936 to 1949, a period in which I had many duties that I did not neglect, and many other interests
as a learner and teacher that often absorbed me. The delay was, of course, also increased by the
outbreak of war in 1939, by the end of which year the tale had not yet reached the end of Book
One. In spite of the darkness of the next five years I found that the story could not now be wholly
abandoned, and I plodded on, mostly by night, till I stood by Balin's tomb in Moria. There I halted
for a long while. It was almost a year later when I went on and so came to Lothlórien and the Great
River late in 1941. In the next year I wrote the first drafts of the matter that now stands as Book
Three, and the beginnings of chapters I and III of Book Five; and there as the beacons flared in
Anórien and Théoden came to Harrowdale I stopped. Foresight had failed and there was no time for
It was during 1944 that, leaving the loose ends and perplexities of a war which it was my task to
conduct, or at least to report, 1 forced myself to tackle the journey of Frodo to Mordor. These
chapters, eventually to become Book Four, were written and sent out as a serial to my son,
Christopher, then in South Africa with the RAF. Nonetheless it took another five years before the
tale was brought to its present end; in that time I changed my house, my chair, and my college, and
the days though less dark were no less laborious. Then when the 'end' had at last been reached the
whole story had to be revised, and indeed largely re-written backwards. And it had to be typed, and
re-typed: by me; the cost of professional typing by the ten-fingered was beyond my means.
_The Lord of the Rings_ has been read by many people since it finally appeared in print; and I
should like to say something here with reference to the many opinions or guesses that I have
received or have read concerning the motives and meaning of the tale. The prime motive was the
desire of a tale-teller to try his hand at a really long story that would hold the attention of readers,
amuse them, delight them, and at times maybe excite them or deeply move them. As a guide I had
only my own feelings for what is appealing or moving, and for many the guide was inevitably often
at fault. Some who have read the book, or at any rate have reviewed it, have found it boring,
absurd, or contemptible; and I have no cause to complain, since I have similar opinions of their
works, or of the kinds of writing that they evidently prefer. But even from the points of view of
many who have enjoyed my story there is much that fails to please. It is perhaps not possible in a
long tale to please everybody at all points, nor to displease everybody at the same points; for I find
from the letters that I have received that the passages or chapters that are to some a blemish are all
by others specially approved. The most critical reader of all, myself, now finds many defects, minor
and major, but being fortunately under no obligation either to review the book or to write it again,
he will pass over these in silence, except one that has been noted by others: the book is too short.
As for any inner meaning or 'message', it has in the intention of the author none. It is neither
allegorical nor topical. As the story grew it put down roots (into the past) and threw out unexpected
branches: but its main theme was settled from the outset by the inevitable choice of the Ring as the
link between it and _The Hobbit._ The crucial chapter, "The Shadow of the Past', is one of the
oldest parts of the tale. It was written long before the foreshadow of 1939 had yet become a threat
of inevitable disaster, and from that point the story would have developed along essentially the

same lines, if that disaster had been averted. Its sources are things long before in mind, or in some
cases already written, and little or nothing in it was modified by the war that began in 1939 or its
The real war does not resemble the legendary war in its process or its conclusion. If it had
inspired or directed the development of the legend, then certainly the Ring would have been seized
and used against Sauron; he would not have been annihilated but enslaved, and Barad-dûr would
not have been destroyed but occupied. Saruman, failing to get possession of the Ring, would m the
confusion and treacheries of the time have found in Mordor the missing links in his own researches
into Ring-lore, and before long he would have made a Great Ring of his own with which to
challenge the self-styled Ruler of Middle-earth. In that conflict both sides would have held hobbits
in hatred and contempt: they would not long have survived even as slaves.
Other arrangements could be devised according to the tastes or views of those who like allegory
or topical reference. But I cordially dislike allegory in all its manifestations, and always have done
so since I grew old and wary enough to detect its presence. I much prefer history, true or feigned,
with its varied applicability to the thought and experience of readers. I think that many confuse
'applicability' with 'allegory'; but the one resides in the freedom of the reader, and the other in the
purposed domination of the author.
An author cannot of course remain wholly unaffected by his experience, but the ways in which a
story-germ uses the soil of experience are extremely complex, and attempts to define the process
are at best guesses from evidence that is inadequate and ambiguous. It is also false, though
naturally attractive, when the lives of an author and critic have overlapped, to suppose that the
movements of thought or the events of times common to both were necessarily the most powerful
influences. One has indeed personally to come under the shadow of war to feel fully its oppression;
but as the years go by it seems now often forgotten that to be caught in youth by 1914 was no less
hideous an experience than to be involved in 1939 and the following years. By 1918 all but one of
my close friends were dead. Or to take a less grievous matter: it has been supposed by some that
'The Scouring of the Shire' reflects the situation in England at the time when I was finishing my
tale. It does not. It is an essential part of the plot, foreseen from the outset, though in the event
modified by the character of Saruman as developed in the story without, need I say, any allegorical
significance or contemporary political reference whatsoever. It has indeed some basis in
experience, though slender (for the economic situation was entirely different), and much further
back. The country in which I lived in childhood was being shabbily destroyed before I was ten, in
days when motor-cars were rare objects (I had never seen one) and men were still building
suburban railways. Recently I saw in a paper a picture of the last decrepitude of the once thriving
corn-mill beside its pool that long ago seemed to me so important. I never liked the looks of the
Young miller, but his father, the Old miller, had a black beard, and he was not named Sandyman.
_The Lord of the Rings_ is now issued in a new edition, and the opportunity has been taken of
revising it. A number of errors and inconsistencies that still remained in the text have been
corrected, and an attempt has been made to provide information on a few points which attentive
readers have raised. I have considered all their comments and enquiries, and if some seem to have
been passed over that may be because I have failed to keep my notes in order; but many enquiries
could only be answered by additional appendices, or indeed by the production of an accessory
volume containing much of the material that I did not include in the original edition, in particular
more detailed linguistic information. In the meantime this edition offers this Foreword, an addition
to the Prologue, some notes, and an index of the names of persons and places. This index is in
intention complete in items but not in references, since for the present purpose it has been
necessary to reduce its bulk. A complete index, making full use of the material prepared for me by
Mrs. N. Smith, belongs rather to the accessory volume.

This book is largely concerned with Hobbits, and from its pages a reader may discover much of
their character and a little of their history. Further information will also be found in the selection
from the Red Book of Westmarch that has already been published, under the title of _The Hobbit_.
That story was derived from the earlier chapters of the Red Book, composed by Bilbo himself, the
first Hobbit to become famous in the world at large, and called by him _There and Back Again,_
since they told of his journey into the East and his return: an adventure which later involved all the
Hobbits in the great events of that Age that are here related.
Many, however, may wish to know more about this remarkable people from the outset, while
some may not possess the earlier book. For such readers a few notes on the more important points
are here collected from Hobbit-lore, and the first adventure is briefly recalled.
Hobbits are an unobtrusive but very ancient people, more numerous formerly than they are
today; for they love peace and quiet and good tilled earth: a well-ordered and well-farmed
countryside was their favourite haunt. They do not and did not understand or like machines more
complicated than a forge-bellows, a water-mill, or a hand-loom, though they were skilful with
tools. Even in ancient days they were, as a rule, shy of 'the Big Folk', as they call us, and now they
avoid us with dismay and are becoming hard to find. They are quick of hearing and sharp-eyed, and
though they are inclined to be fat and do not hurry unnecessarily, they are nonetheless nimble and
deft in their movements. They possessed from the first the art of disappearing swiftly and silently,
when large folk whom they do not wish to meet come blundering by; and this an they have
developed until to Men it may seem magical. But Hobbits have never, in fact, studied magic of any
kind, and their elusiveness is due solely to a professional skill that heredity and practice, and a
close friendship with the earth, have rendered inimitable by bigger and clumsier races.
For they are a little people, smaller than Dwarves: less tout and stocky, that is, even when they
are not actually much shorter. Their height is variable, ranging between two and four feet of our
measure. They seldom now reach three feet; but they hive dwindled, they say, and in ancient days
they were taller. According to the Red Book, Bandobras Took (Bullroarer), son of Isengrim the
Second, was four foot five and able to ride a horse. He was surpassed in all Hobbit records only by
two famous characters of old; but that curious matter is dealt with in this book.
As for the Hobbits of the Shire, with whom these tales are concerned, in the days of their peace
and prosperity they were a merry folk. They dressed in bright colours, being notably fond of yellow
and green; but they seldom wore shoes, since their feet had tough leathery soles and were clad in a
thick curling hair, much like the hair of their heads, which was commonly brown. Thus, the only
craft little practised among them was shoe-making; but they had long and skilful fingers and could
make many other useful and comely things. Their faces were as a rule good-natured rather than
beautiful, broad, bright-eyed, red-cheeked, with mouths apt to laughter, and to eating and drinking.
And laugh they did, and eat, and drink, often and heartily, being fond of simple jests at all times,
and of six meals a day (when they could get them). They were hospitable and delighted in parties,
and in presents, which they gave away freely and eagerly accepted.
It is plain indeed that in spite of later estrangement Hobbits are relatives of ours: far nearer to us
than Elves, or even than Dwarves. Of old they spoke the languages of Men, after their own fashion,
and liked and disliked much the same things as Men did. But what exactly our relationship is can
no longer be discovered. The beginning of Hobbits lies far back in the Elder Days that are now lost
and forgotten. Only the Elves still preserve any records of that vanished time, and their traditions
are concerned almost entirely with their own history, in which Men appear seldom and Hobbits are
not mentioned at all. Yet it is clear that Hobbits had, in fact, lived quietly in Middle-earth for many

long years before other folk became even aware of them. And the world being after all full of
strange creatures beyond count, these little people seemed of very little importance. But in the days
of Bilbo, and of Frodo his heir, they suddenly became, by no wish of their own, both important and
renowned, and troubled the counsels of the Wise and the Great.
Those days, the Third Age of Middle-earth, are now long past, and the shape of all lands has
been changed; but the regions in which Hobbits then lived were doubtless the same as those in
which they still linger: the North-West of the Old World, east of the Sea. Of their original home the
Hobbits in Bilbo's time preserved no knowledge. A love of learning (other than genealogical lore)
was far from general among them, but there remained still a few in the older families who studied
their own books, and even gathered reports of old times and distant lands from Elves, Dwarves, and
Men. Their own records began only after the settlement of the Shire, and their most ancient legends
hardly looked further back than their Wandering Days. It is clear, nonetheless, from these legends,
and from the evidence of their peculiar words and customs, that like many other folk Hobbits had in
the distant past moved westward. Their earliest tales seem to glimpse a time when they dwelt in the
upper vales of Anduin, between the eaves of Greenwood the Great and the Misty Mountains. Why
they later undertook the hard and perilous crossing of the mountains into Eriador is no longer
certain. Their own accounts speak of the multiplying of Men in the land, and of a shadow that fell
on the forest, so that it became darkened and its new name was Mirkwood.
Before the crossing of the mountains the Hobbits had already become divided into three
somewhat different breeds: Harfoots, Stoors, and Fallohides. The Harfoots were browner of skin,
smaller, and shorter, and they were beardless and bootless; their hands and feet were neat and
nimble; and they preferred highlands and hillsides. The Stoors were broader, heavier in build; their
feet and hands were larger, and they preferred flat lands and riversides. The Fallohides were fairer
of skin and also of hair, and they were taller and slimmer than the others; they were lovers of trees
and of woodlands.
The Harfoots had much to do with Dwarves in ancient times, and long lived in the foothills of
the mountains. They moved westward early, and roamed over Eriador as far as Weathertop while
the others were still in the Wilderland. They were the most normal and representative variety of
Hobbit, and far the most numerous. They were the most inclined to settle in one place, and longest
preserved their ancestral habit of living in tunnels and holes.
The Stoors lingered long by the banks of the Great River Anduin, and were less shy of Men.
They came west after the Harfoots and followed the course of the Loudwater southwards; and there
many of them long dwelt between Tharbad and the borders of Dunland before they moved north
The Fallohides, the least numerous, were a northerly branch. They were more friendly with
Elves than the other Hobbits were, and had more skill in language and song than in handicrafts; and
of old they preferred hunting to tilling. They crossed the mountains north of Rivendell and came
down the River Hoarwell. In Eriador they soon mingled with the other kinds that had preceded
them, but being somewhat bolder and more adventurous, they were often found as leaders or
chieftains among clans of Harfoots or Stoors. Even in Bilbo's time the strong Fallohidish strain
could still be noted among the greater families, such as the Tooks and the Masters of Buckland.
In the westlands of Eriador, between the Misty Mountains and the Mountains of Lune, the
Hobbits found both Men and Elves. Indeed, a remnant still dwelt there of the Dúnedain, the kings
of Men that came over the Sea out of Westernesse; but they were dwindling fast and the lands of
their North Kingdom were falling far and wide into waste. There was room and to spare for
incomers, and ere long the Hobbits began to settle in ordered communities. Most of their earlier
settlements had long disappeared and been forgotten in Bilbo's time; but one of the first to become
important still endured, though reduced in size; this was at Bree and in the Chetwood that lay round
about, some forty miles east of the Shire.

It was in these early days, doubtless, that the Hobbits learned their letters and began to write
after the manner of the Dúnedain, who had in their turn long before learned the art from the Elves.
And in those days also they forgot whatever languages they had used before, and spoke ever after
the Common Speech, the Westron as it was named, that was current through all the lands of the
kings from Arnor to Gondor, and about all the coasts of the Sea from Belfalas to Lune. Yet they
kept a few words of their own, as well as their own names of months and days, and a great store of
personal names out of the past.
About this time legend among the Hobbits first becomes history with a reckoning of years. For it
was in the one thousand six hundred and first year of the Third Age that the Fallohide brothers,
Marcho and Blanco, set out from Bree; and having obtained permission from the high king at
Fornost, they crossed the brown river Baranduin with a great following of Hobbits. They passed
over the Bridge of Stonebows, that had been built in the days of the power of the North Kingdom,
and they took ail the land beyond to dwell in, between the river and the Far Downs. All that was
demanded of them was that they should keep the Great Bridge in repair, and all other bridges and
roads, speed the king's messengers, and acknowledge his lordship.
Thus began the _Shire-reckoning,_ for the year of the crossing of the Brandywine (as the
Hobbits turned the name) became Year One of the Shire, and all later dates were reckoned from it.
At once the western Hobbits fell in love with their new land, and they remained there, and soon
passed once more out of the history of Men and of Elves. While there was still a king they were in
name his subjects, but they were, in fact, ruled by their own chieftains and meddled not at all with
events in the world outside. To the last battle at Fornost with the Witch-lord of Angmar they sent
some bowmen to the aid of the king, or so they maintained, though no tales of Men record it. But in
that war the North Kingdom ended; and then the Hobbits took the land for their own, and they
chose from their own chiefs a Thain to hold the authority of the king that was gone. There for a
thousand years they were little troubled by wars, and they prospered and multiplied after the Dark
Plague (S.R. 37) until the disaster of the Long Winter and the famine that followed it. Many
thousands then perished, but the Days of Dearth (1158-60) were at the time of this tale long past
and the Hobbits had again become accustomed to plenty. The land was rich and kindly, and though
it had long been deserted when they entered it, it had before been well tilled, and there the king had
once had many farms, cornlands, vineyards, and woods.
Forty leagues it stretched from the Far Downs to the Brandywine Bridge, and fifty from the
northern moors to the marshes in the south. The Hobbits named it the Shire, as the region of the
authority of their Thain, and a district of well-ordered business; and there in that pleasant comer of
the world they plied their well-ordered business of living, and they heeded less and less the world
outside where dark things moved, until they came to think that peace and plenty were the rule in
Middle-earth and the right of all sensible folk. They forgot or ignored what little they had ever
known of the Guardians, and of the labours of those that made possible the long peace of the Shire.
They were, in fact, sheltered, but they had ceased to remember it.
At no time had Hobbits of any kind been warlike, and they had never fought among themselves.
In olden days they had, of course, been often obliged to fight to maintain themselves in a hard
world; but in Bilbo's time that was very ancient history. The last battle, before this story opens, and
indeed the only one that had ever been fought within the borders of the Shire, was beyond living
memory: the Battle of Greenfields, S.R. 1147, in which Bandobras Took routed an invasion of
Orcs. Even the weathers had grown milder, and the wolves that had once come ravening out of the
North in bitter white winters were now only a grandfather's tale. So, though there was still some
store of weapons in the Shire, these were used mostly as trophies, hanging above hearths or on
walls, or gathered into the museum at Michel Delving. The Mathom-house it was called; for
anything that Hobbits had no immediate use for, but were unwilling to throw away, they called a
_mathom_. Their dwellings were apt to become rather crowded with mathoms, and many of the
presents that passed from hand to hand were of that son.

Nonetheless, ease and peace had left this people still curiously tough. They were, if it came to it,
difficult to daunt or to kill; and they were, perhaps, so unwearyingly fond of good things not least
because they could, when put to it, do without them, and could survive rough handling by grief,
foe, or weather in a way that astonished those who did not know them well and looked no further
than their bellies and their well-fed faces. Though slow to quarrel, and for sport killing nothing that
lived, they were doughty at bay, and at need could still handle arms. They shot well with the bow,
for they were keen-eyed and sure at the mark. Not only with bows and arrows. If any Hobbit
stooped for a stone, it was well to get quickly under cover, as all trespassing beasts knew very well.
All Hobbits had originally lived in holes in the ground, or so they believed, and in such
dwellings they still felt most at home; but in the course of time they had been obliged to adopt other
forms of abode. Actually in the Shire in Bilbo's days it was, as a rule, only the richest and the
poorest Hobbits that maintained the old custom. The poorest went on living in burrows of the most
primitive kind, mere holes indeed, with only one window or none; while the well-to-do still
constructed more luxurious versions of the simple diggings of old. But suitable sites for these large
and ramifying tunnels (or _smials_ as they called them) were not everywhere to be found; and in
the flats and the low-lying districts the Hobbits, as they multiplied, began to build above ground.
Indeed, even in the hilly regions and the older villages, such as Hobbiton or Tuckborough, or in the
chief township of the Shire, Michel Delving on the White Downs, there were now many houses of
wood, brick, or stone. These were specially favoured by millers, smiths, ropers, and cartwrights,
and others of that sort; for even when they had holes to live in. Hobbits had long been accustomed
to build sheds and workshops.
The habit of building farmhouses and barns was said to have begun among the inhabitants of the
Marish down by the Brandywine. The Hobbits of that quarter, the Eastfarthing, were rather large
and heavy-legged, and they wore dwarf-boots in muddy weather. But they were well known to be
Stoors in a large part of their blood, as indeed was shown by the down that many grew on their
chins. No Harfoot or Fallohide had any trace of a beard. Indeed, the folk of the Marish, and of
Buckland, east of the River, which they afterwards occupied, came for the most part later into the
Shire up from south-away; and they still had many peculiar names and strange words not found
elsewhere in the Shire.
It is probable that the craft of building, as many other crafts beside, was derived from the
Dúnedain. But the Hobbits may have learned it direct from the Elves, the teachers of Men in their
youth. For the Elves of the High Kindred had not yet forsaken Middle-earth, and they dwelt still at
that time at the Grey Havens away to the west, and in other places within reach of the Shire. Three
Elf-towers of immemorial age were still to be seen on the Tower Hills beyond the western marches.
They shone far off in the moonlight. The tallest was furthest away, standing alone upon a green
mound. The Hobbits of the Westfarthing said that one could see the Sea from the lop of that tower;
but no Hobbit had ever been known to climb it. Indeed, few Hobbits had ever seen or sailed upon
the Sea, and fewer still had ever returned to report it. Most Hobbits regarded even rivers and small
boats with deep misgivings, and not many of them could swim. And as the days of the Shire
lengthened they spoke less and less with the Elves, and grew afraid of them, and distrustful of those
that had dealings with them; and the Sea became a word of fear among them, and a token of death,
and they turned their faces away from the hills in the west.
The craft of building may have come from Elves or Men, but the Hobbits used it in their own
fashion. They did not go in for towers. Their houses were usually long, low, and comfortable. The
oldest kind were, indeed, no more than built imitations of _smials,_ thatched with dry grass or
straw, or roofed with turves, and having walls somewhat bulged. That stage, however, belonged to
the early days of the Shire, and hobbit-building had long since been altered, improved by devices,
learned from Dwarves, or discovered by themselves. A preference for round windows, and even
round doors, was the chief remaining peculiarity of hobbit-architecture.