Bilbo Baggins Kidnapped!

Bilbo Baggins of the Shire has gone missing. This respectable and decent hobbit has curly brown hair on his head and feet, a bit of a belly, and no hat; his still hangs in his hallway. Mr. Baggins has never before stirred from his house and the surrounding areas. His neighbor, a Mr. Hob Happly, stopped by Mr. Baggins' home in The Hill for second lunch and found the hobbit gone and the mantelpiece undusted.

One of our reporters tracked down Mr. Happly and asked him for his story, which the grumpy old codfish venerable hobbit shared.

"Well, I just was on my way home from foraging for mushrooms—where was I foraging? Never you mind. Why'd I share the location with you, young upstart? Harrumph! Now, as I was saying. I had smelled delicious food cooking the whole day before, and knew Baggins couldn't eat it all. He's just one chap, after all. So I decided to stop by and help him out with the leftovers. But when I went inside, he wasn't there. I opened up his tea pantries—just to set out the food for us, mind you, young man—and there was no food. Absolutely none."

At this point, Mr. Happly had to sit down, the shock still affecting him, and our journalist joined him: Mr. Baggins' pantries are legendary. While they both recovered over a bottle of Mr. Baggins' wine, and a snack from his snack pantries, Mr. Happly professed unawareness of anything else pertaining to the investigation.

Some have speculated that the Took side of Mr. Baggins has caught up with him at last—in short, he is deceased. Mrs. Winna Wheat, a neighbor, proclaimed she always knew this would happen. She also produced a will; it stated that Mr. Baggins had made her heiress. Our reporters examined the document, but could not determine its legitimacy. However, one of them mentioned seeing a shopping list in the kitchen written by the same hand that wrote the will. Mrs. Wheat plans to take her case to court.

New developments have rendered Mrs. Wheat's explanation unlikely. A young hobbit girl reported seeing an old man talk to Mr. Baggins two days ago, a man wearing the "oddest clothes." The girl's mother interrupted the interview before the reporter could discover more information about this fascinating comment. Other eyewitnesses have come forward as well. They say that a gang of dwarves invaded Mr. Baggins' home yesterday afternoon. When we investigated, we found a dent on the house's door. Mr. Baggins' neighbors claim that this door was in impeccable condition before.

The authorities plan on operating on the assumption that a gang of dwarves abducted Mr. Baggins. They advise citizens to exercise all due caution and request that anyone with dwarf-sightings stop by the police headquarters. Sergeant Brown, the officer in charge, assures us that more kidnappings "are rather unlikely." He says the dwarves obviously abducted Mr. Baggins for his cooking. Before he left to answer the phone, he did add that more abductions may occur once word gets out about hobbit cooking. We will update our readers as more information becomes available.

Update

Strange reports have come to us at the Shire Happenings. Visitors from Outside bear tidings of uncanny, uncomfortable adventures befalling poor Mr. Baggins. They say the dwarves dragged him through the Lone-lands, made him sleep outside in the mud, eat only four meals a day, and wear wet clothes. Others—obviously unreliable characters, we feel obliged to report—say the dwarves and Mr. Baggins met trolls and ate the food of those disgusting creatures. Even fainter tales mention elves and swords. According to those sources, Mr. Baggins now carries a sword. The most recent update comes from a lone traveler. He reports seeing a cave swallow them up.

Our readers should read these claims with skeptical minds, however; we all know that outsiders make up the most outlandish stories. Mr. Baggins carrying a sword? That story, at least, doesn't even bear consideration.

Despite a rash of dwarf-sightings, no more hobbits have gone missing. In an official news release, Sergeant Brown stated that the gang that kidnapped Mr. Baggins must not want any other dwarves to eat so well, and are therefore keeping quiet about the cooking.