The Famous Fellowship: Nine Go Off to Camp

Disclaimer: Lord of the Rings and associated characters belong to Tolkien. Or whoever owns his estate these days. Enid Blyton wrote the delightful Famous Five books (and some other stuff that's even more sexist). This is, obviously, a tribute to these two late, great authors, and not me laughing at them.

Author's Notes: REVISED! Don't just skip past these chapters if you've read them before! I have, at painstaking length, re-read, re-written and generally re-jigged the first two chapters. I am deeply ashamed that I haven't updated this in about however long it's been. Especially since you've all been so lovely in your reviews. But now I promise (Scout's honour) that I will do my very best to get this completed. As well as writing at least two other fics and various other bits of work.

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Chapter 1. Summer Hols At Last!

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It was the first day of the summer holidays in Hobbiton. All the little folk of the Shire were extremely excited at the thought of no more school for six whole weeks. None, however, were excited as young Frodo Baggins and his chums, Merry and Pippin. They ran through the streets, laughing heartily at the sheer joy of freedom. They were surely the happiest hobbits in all of Hobbiton!

"I say, buck up, you two," Frodo called as he raced ahead of the others, "we'll never get to old Uncle Bilbo's place in time to pack at this rate."

"Last one there's a rotten egg!" Pippin yelled, running faster.

They all laughed and put on speed. Soon, they were entering Bag End, former home of Frodo's uncle, the venerable Bilbo Baggins. The old hobbit had been quite a wag in his younger days, going off on ripping adventures, many of which he had told his nephew long yarns about. The young Frodo had listened, wide-eyed, determined to go on such adventures himself someday. Now was his chance!

"It's awfully decent of your uncle to lets us come to Riven Dale Farm with you to see him, Frodo," Pippin said as they sorted through the things that they would be taking.

"He's a brick," Merry declared, pulling out a tent pole.

The others all agreed, and set to work with a will, sorting out all the necessary equipment for their adventure. They soon amassed a pile of items, including saucepans, torches, bottles of ginger beer, tents, sleeping bags and several vegetables. While searching among the fascinating items, Pippin found an old box.

"Gosh, Frodo, what's this?" he asked, holding it up.

"I think it's an old box," Frodo replied. "D'y'know, I seem to remember old Uncle Bilbo showing me a rather topping secret drawer in it. Just press that knob there."

"The knob on the figure carved into the side?" Pippin asked, fingering it.

"That's the one, old chap. Old Uncle Bilbo never found anything in it though."

"Well," Pippin said, pushing his fingers in, "your old uncle may not have, but I certainly have found something! I say, look at that!"

Pippin held up a gold ring. The others all gathered round, eager to see his exciting find.

"Your hand must be smaller than old Uncle Bilbo's, Pip," Merry said with a grin, patting his twin on the shoulder.

"I say, it's got writing on the inside!" Frodo had taken the ring to examine it, as it was his old uncle's box it had come out of after all.

"One ring to rule them all, one ring to find them. One ring to bring them all, and in the darkness bind them," Frodo read, translating freely as he went.

"Gosh, Frodo," Pippin said, "it's jolly lucky you took that course in Black Speech last term!"

"Rather!" Frodo agreed.

"But what on earth can it mean?" Merry asked. They all pondered for a moment.

"I know!" Pippin shouted suddenly, making the others jump. "It's a riddle! How absolutely spiffing!"

"I say, we could have some fun trying to solve that, couldn't we?" Merry grinned.

"What larks!" Pippin's grin was identical to his twin's.

With each mind filled with thoughts of rings and riddles and the harmless fun they could have working it all out, they set to packing enthusiastically. They were soon ready to depart on their shiny new bicycles, and depart they did.

"Farewell, Hobbiton!" Merry cried as they pedalled away. "We're off on an adventure!"

"I've always thought that this sort of adventure needed a dog," Pippin mused.

"We've got one," Frodo said. "Come on, boy!"

They all turned to look at Sam, who was lolloping devotedly behind his master's bicycle.

"You know, Frodo, sometimes I think he understands every word you say."

"Of course he does. Don't you, boy?"

"Woof!"

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They continued cycling along the Hobbiton road. The hobbits chatted, told jokes, sang songs and generally had a gay time.

"On a wonderful day like today," Merry warbled, waving his hand.

"I defy any cloud to appear in the sky," Pippin picked up the song, shaking a fist at the sky to emphasise the words.

"I say," Frodo said, interrupting their fifth rendition of that particular song, "I've just had the most wizard wheeze! Let's try cycling through the woods!"

Oh, topping!" Pippin cried, ringing his bicycle bell.

"Rather!" Merry rang his bell too.

They all turned their bicycles off the road to go through the trees. They were, of course, careful to avoid the giant spiders that everyone was warned against. Many a tale had spread around Hobbiton about foolish young hobbits who had been quite shaken up after encountering the creatures.

While they were in the woods, some strange men went roaring along the road on big black motorbikes. They were all dressed in leather, including their faces, which were covered in studded gimp masks.

"Gosh, Frodo," Pippin said solemnly, staring after them with wide eyes, "I'm jolly glad you suggested going through the woods."

His twin agreed. "Those awful men would have knocked us down, I'm sure. They didn't even stop to see if that squirrel they hit was alright, the beasts!"

"Let's put on speed," Frodo suggested, "I wouldn't like to meet them on a dark night, or any time at all."

They all agreed heartily and pedalled faster. Soon they had reached the Prancing Pony Farm on the outskirts of Bree. Frodo, being the eldest and most responsible, went to knock on the door. It was opened by a kindly old man with twinkling eyes.

"Arr, young Marster Frodo, es et?" he asked, in a rough farmer's voice with matching indistinguishable accent, "ol' Mezter Dalf zed you'd be coomin' boi, ooh arr."

"Yes," Frodo responded keenly, liking the jolly old farmer immediately, "where can we camp?"

"Arr, it be just t'rough 'ere," Mr Butterbur the old farmer said, showing them through to a field. "Zleep well, naow."

As it was a very warm night, they decided to sleep out in the open, and leave their tents packed in their bags. They buily a campfire and soon had a jolly blaze going. They sang many songs, with Sam joining in barking. Several bottles of ginger beer were also drunk, washing down the meal that Merry and Pippin had cooked. Feeling very full and content, they all crawled inside their sleeping bags, except Sam, who curled up at his master's feet.

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They were awoken abruptly a few hours later by Mr Butterbur, who shook them urgently and gabbled in his charming rustic dialect.

"Oi've juzt 'ad a corrll frem Mezter Zmith fram oop t'road. 'E zayz that t'ere'z noine moterzoiclests affter youze."

"Gosh! They must be the ones we saw earlier!" Frodo realised. "We'd better get out of here!"

"Ooh, arr, maybee." Mr Butterbur thought for a moment, forehead creased with the effort. "Oi know. You boyz pack oop queck loike, an' wie'll put borlsters doon on t'grass, an' mayhap t'ey'll thenk them's youz."

"Splendid idea, sir!" Merry exclaimed.

"Absolutely top notch!" Pippin echoed.

They set to work, and soon no one could tell in the darkness that the shapes on the ground weren't Frodo, Merry, Pippin and Sam.

"I say, thank awfully, Mr Butterbur," Frodo said as they wheeled their bicycles out onto the road. "It's awfully decent of you to go to so much trouble for us."

"Aye, s'alreet. Youz juzt be careful naow, y'ear?" Mr Butterbur said in his indecipherable accent as he waved them off, smiling.

The hobbits waved back, wondering what he had just said. They smiled too. They were having an adventure!

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Continued in Chapter 2! (Which will be up in the revised edition as soon as I've typed it).

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And now, the Mr Butterbur translations. As not everybody round here comes from a farming area, I decided it would be a good idea to let you know what Mr Butterbur was gabbling in that charming rustic accent of his. So, in correct BBC English:

"Arr (a general rustic phrase), young Master Frodo is it? Old Mr Dalf said you would be coming by, ooh arr (another charming rustic phrase)."

"Arr (as above),it be (correct grammar: it is) just through here. Sleep well now."

"I've just had a call from Mr Smith from up the road. He says that there are nine motorcyclists after you."

"Ooh arr, maybe. I know. You boys pack up quick like, and we will put bolsters down on the grass, and maybe they will think that they are you."

"Aye ( yet another charming phrase, meaning 'yes'), it is alright. You just be careful now, you hear?"

(Rabbit of Iron; translating the cow pat sniffers for the masses)