The Famous Fellowship: Nine Go Off To Camp

Disclaimer: The characters within belong to the wonderful Mr. Tolkein, even the delectable Legolas, sigh. The style is mostly from dear old Enid Blyton, may her work live forever. Top hole, chaps! Ices for all!

Chapter 2: Riven Dale Farm

They cycled further along the road, seeing their way clearly in the bright moonlight. A little way along the road they met another person, who was crouched down over his bike.

"Good morning!" they greeted him, for it was indeed morning, as it was past midnight. As he looked up, they saw that he was a few years older than them, with some straggly stubble on his chin.

"Got a problem?" Pippin asked.

"Had a puncture, worst luck," the boy answered glumly, "I was just on my way to Riven Dale Farm when my tire blew. Blasted nuisance really."

"Oh, can we help?" offered Frodo, for he was a most kind-hearted boy.

"It's all fixed now, thanks," the boy said, standing, "but I'll ride along with you if you don't mind. There's some strange folks around tonight."

"Yes, we saw them earlier," said Merry, his eyes wide, "all dressed in black leather and stuff. They were scary."

"Well, I'll protect you," the boy promised, "I'm a Scout you know."

Indeed, the young hobbits could see he was, as he was dressed in a brown pair of shorts, with his socks pulled up to his knees. His shirt was green and its sleeves were covered with badges. Pippin and Merry stared at them in fascination.

"What's that one for?" they asked, pointing at one that depicted a figure with its head cut off.

"Orc-beheading," the boy replied, "my first badge. Oh, and by the way, my name's 'Arry."

They all introduced themselves, and were soon pedalling merrily along the road.

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Arriving the next evening at Weathertop Hill, they found a mark on the ground in the shape of a large cross.

"Gosh, that must be one of old Mr. Dalf's signs," Merry said, "I wonder what it means."

"I know," 'Arry exclaimed, "I did a badge on sign-recognition. It means 'good place to camp."

"Are you sure?" Frodo asked. "I thought that meant 'Stay away, under absolutely no circumstances camp here'."

"Don't be daft," 'Arry said, "it would mean that if it was forty-five degrees further round."

"Oh, that's all right then," Frodo agreed, and no more was said as they settled down to sleep. As it was a fine night, they decided to sleep in the open, under the stars.

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A noise awoke Sam later that night. He moved from his place on Frodo's feet and padded towards the edge of the campsite. Looking down, he saw nine dark shapes on the road below. All his doggy instincts were telling him that something was very wrong. Running back, he licked his master's face to wake him. Frodo stirred.

"What is it, boy?" he asked sleepily, "something wrong?"

Sam seized Frodo's sleeve in his teeth and pulled him over to see. Realising the danger they were in, Frodo immediately woke the others.

"We've got to get out of here," he whispered as they gathered around, "it's those motorcyclist fellows again."

"I say," said Merry, "it's dashed bad form of them to interrupt us while we're sleeping."

Silently, they all picked up their knapsacks and wheeled their bikes off the campsite.

"We'll have to make all speed to Riven Dale now, chaps," 'Arry said, "those men won't be happy that we've gone."

So they pedalled faster towards Riven Dale, travelling throught the woods to avoid being seen. They cycled through the rest of the night, arriving at Riven Dale Farm just before lunch. The farmer, Old El (short for Elvis) Rond, was at the door to greet them.

"'Ello boys. Good to see you 'ere." He smiled in a friendly way, gesturing them in. "I 'ear you 'ad a bit of trouble on th'way, like."

"Gosh, news does travel fast," Frodo said. "Yes, we saw a rather nasty- looking bunch on motorbikes."

"It was scary," Merry piped up, "I'm glad we had 'Arry with us."

"Arr, I wondered if you'd 'ave met up with my adopted son, Aragorn. Anyways, come in and 'ave a bit o' lunch, like."

They all followed him through to the dining room, after leaving their knapsacks neatly in the hall. Already seated round the table were five other people, including Frodo's old uncle Bilbo.

"Old Uncle Bilbo!" Frodo exclaimed. "It's topping to see you again!"

"Hallo Frodo!" his uncle replied. "Allow me to introduce you to everyone. This is Mr. Dalf, who you already know of course, next to him is Gimli, he's a circus midget, then Boromir, better known as Barry, and Legolas, who prefers to be called Lassie."

Frodo sat down next to Legolas, who smiled at him prettily. The young hobbit stared at the beauty, taking in the long blond hair and delicate features.

"Excuse me," he said uneasily, "aren't you a boy?"

Legolas pouted. "I'm as good as a girl anyday!" he declared, tossing his hair.

At the other end of the table, Mr. Dalf smiled indulgently. He was the hobbits' school teacher during term time, and he was an affable old man, one of their favourite teachers.

Soon there was a large amount of food on the table before them, including cold beef, pork pies and home-made fruitcake.

"I say, what a spread!" Pippin said, tucking in vigorously. The others all followed suit, and soon all were silent, save for the sounds of eating. After much of the food had been demolished, they sat back in their chairs.

"I say, Uncle Bilbo," Frodo said suddenly, "I quite forgot. You know that old box of yours, with the rather thrilling secret compartment? Well, we were poking around in it, and we found this old ring." He pulled it out. "It's got a riddle or something inside it. Listen,

"One ring to rule them all, one ring to find them.

"One ring to bring them all and in the darkness bind them."

There was silence, until Gimli spoke.

"Gosh, I wonder what it means," he said, from his perch atop a pile of cushions.

"I'm sure we could work it out," said 'Arry, as he handed his empty plate to Mrs. Rond, who had started to clear the table. Legolas jumped up.

"Oh, let me help," he said, "I like washing-up! We'll leave the boys to their riddles. I'm sure I couldn't work it out."

Lassie and Mrs. Rond left the room, carrying the plates. Mr. Dalf thought for a moment.

"I think it's part of an old poem," he said, "let me see if I can remember it now."

They all smiled and waited while the kindly old teacher muttered absently under his breath.

"Ah, got it!" he exclaimed. "It goes like this:

"Three points to the left, high in the sky,

"Seven to the right, on the wall of stone.

"Nine to the up, above the field of rye,

"One further down, 'neath he twirling cone,

"In the village of Door on th'Moor, whence the noon-day 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 village of Door on th'Moor, whence the noon-day shadows lie."

There was a further silence following his words.

"Well, what can that mean?" Merry asked. "I'm stumped."

"Door on th'Moor is a little village, arr," Mr. Rond said slowly, "'bout ten mile from 'ere."

"Gosh, we could go there and look around!" Pippin suggested, eyes shining with excitement. "We could camp there!"

"Yes, lets!" his twin agreed. Everyone else round the table looked just as enthusiastic.

"You'd have to be careful, though," old Uncle Bilbo said, "I couldn't let you boys go off on your own."

"I could go with them," Mr. Dalf said, "I'm sure they couldn't get up to much mischief with me there."

"Rather!" said Frodo, and Sam wagged his tail in agreement. "It would be top hole! Oh, Uncle Bilbo, do say yes!"

"Oh, I suppose so, young Frodo," his uncle said jovially, "but not on your own, of course."

"I'll go," 'Arry offered, "I love adventures!"

"And me," Barry cut in, "I haven't been on an adventure in ages."

"I will too!" Gimli said, bouncing up and down in his excitement. 'Arry caught him just before he toppled from his cushions.

"Don't leave me out," Lassie called from the doorway, where he stood holding a dishcloth, "I could cook for you all. I love cooking!"

"Well, that's settled then," Mr. Dalf said cheerily, "we'll leave tomorrow morning."

"Just think, Sam," Frodo said, turning to his dog, "we're going on an adventure!"

Sam had a big doggy grin on his face, very pleased at the idea.

To be continued.

Hope you like Legolas' nickname! I would just like to say that I'm not a poet, to explain the complete lack of aptitude in writing the riddle. And I did like the idea of Aragorn in a Ranger Guide uniform, but decided that having him as a Boy Scout would be better.