The Lord of the... whatever, Book VI, Chapter 6:
Make Way For Roglings
(An epickal tragoedy in Syx Partes)
'I was only ten feet away when the shot rang out. Whizz. Thwock.
The crowd began to scream, but I'd been on the business end of a dart
too often to be afraid. I didn't even bother looking into the wings; I
figured whoever fired the shot was too smart to hang around. So I
strolled over to Frodo, lying pinned to the stage by the arrow. He
looked unconscious, and I gave him a tap to help him stay that way. I
wasn't worried about that skeletal freak; I'd seen him survive too many
wounds to think he was in danger. So I turned him over on his side,
broke off the point protruding from his chest, and pulled the rest of
the arrow out of his back.
'This was a humdinger and no mistake. I'd just been admiring the
fine job pulled on Ariellë: there aren't too many folks who know how to
manufacture a Bywater Grin, and we'll keep it that way, just saying
that it involves a thumbtack, half a glass of Old Winyards, choklit, a
grain of Vala Dust, and the Secret Ingredient.
'But this was different. I only had to glance at the arrow to know
where it came from: long and straight in the shaft, tapering green
feathers. Leaving the ceremonial to Paragraph, the Priest, and Aragon,
I hoisted Frodo over a shoulder, slipped off the stage, and went to
look for Lego-lass.
'"I wasn't there!" she insisted. Her square face was shinier than
ever. "Giggly can testify that I was..."
'"Yeah, yeah," I interrupted. I'd dumped Frodo at the Houses of
Healing, with strict orders to keep him sedated. "Any gumshoe can tell
you were framed. The question is, by who? Who's had access to your
'"Nobody!" she answered. "I keep it with me at all times. I only
take it off when I go to bed."
'"Anybody with you then?" I asked, rhetorically.
'"Nein!" Giggly said. "I was nowhere around. You ask Lego-lass!"
'"Yeah," I said, "but the arrow..."
'"What is this? You want to blame everything on the Dwerrows? The
Dwerrows are responsible for wars, the stock market, assassinations,
nu? You think we have no feelings? Hath not a Dwarf eyes? Hath not a
Dwarf mustaches? Hath not a Dwarf ear wax, nostril hair, foot fungus?"
'"Waitaminnit. I didn't say you did it. I know you couldn't fire
an arrow without hitting your own foot. I just want to know if you took
'Giggly growled and was silent.
'"Things could get rather difficult for 'Lass..." I reminded him.
'"All right! I did borrow an arrow. Boromir said he wanted to
look at one, see how it was made."
'Boromir. How could I have forgotten about him? The web grew
'I found him in the Tower, watching the late-night newscasts of
PalanTirith. I laid it on the line for him without fear; I'd come
armed with a big bottle of limpë.
'"Thou hast the wrong man, friend!" he exclaimed. "Ariellë was my
sister. Wherefore should I harm her?"
'"Leave Ariellë out of it, chump. It was Frodo who got the hit.
And you and Frodo have a history, nespasu?"
'"True enough it is that I hate the bastard and would gladly see him
dead," Boromir said with a goofy smile. "But I did not shoot him.
Why should I? As I know from experience, it is not easy to kill such
a one. And living, he would endure a hell of self-loathing that is far
worse than death. How could I possibly better that?"
'"That's nothing to me. All I care about is the arrow."
'"I know nothing of arrows. Why don't you ask Lego-lass?"
'"You're lying," I said. "Lie again, and you get this bottle of
limpë in the face. Then you can see if Aragon will make you a new
'Boromir looked at the open bottle poised in his right hand, and
gulped. You could see the lump travel from his throat all the way down
to his right foot. I hate toons.
'"All right, I confess!" he said. "I asked Giggly to get me an
arrow from Lego-lass. But I didn't mean to kill Frodo! I swear!"
'"So what did you mean?"
'"She said she'd let me rub oil on her thighs if I got one from her!
I didn't know that she would do anything with it! I thought it was
just for her weapons collection! I promise!"
'There are times when a shamus has to decide how far he wants to get
into a case. Sometimes, when you follow the leads, you end up
someplace you don't wanna be. It doesn't matter how long it's taken or
how much work you've done; sometimes you just drop the matter if you
know what's good for you. As they say where I come from, you can't
fight Brandy Hall.'
So it was that on the day of Midsummer, Aragon the King El Lesser
married Arwen, Warrior Princess, in the City of Commerce, and the long
tale of their difficult and tortuous relationship was come to
There are eight thousand stories in the Magic Kingdom. This has
been one of them.
When the days of rejoicing were over at last the Companions
considered, but soon dismissed, the thought of returning to their own
homes. 'The Shire?' Morrie asked rhetorically as he lay back on his
lawn chair sipping a piña colada and having his feet massaged by two
buxom Mûmakteers. 'Where's that? Oh, yes, I remember. Depressed
area. People live in holes.'
Frodo had recovered from his wound, and with plenty of bedrest, new
clothes, and five meals a day was better than ever. But he seemed to
have no memory of the events of Coronation Day at all.
So Frodo went to Aragon as he was sitting with Arwen by the
fountain, and she sang a song of Valhalla, while the Tree grew and
blossomed. They welcomed Frodo and rose to greet him; and Aragon said:
'I know what you have come to say, Frodo: you wish to take up your
ownership of Moneybags Hall in Nurnenshire. Well, dearest friend, the
tree grows best in the land of its sires....' (Frodo frowned at this)
'but nonetheless you must do as you please. Behold! Here are the
parchments giving you the title to Nurnenshire; and here are the keys
of the manor. Just sign here... and here.... and again there.
Congratulations, Frodo! You are now the proud owner of Nurnenshire,
with a 51% share in Mordor Enterprises, and the courtesy title of "Duke
'Fifty... one... percent!' Frodo gasped. 'But that's a controlling
'Do you wonder at that, Ring-eater?' said Arwen. 'For you know that
three-quarters of the land area of Mordor is in Nurnenshire, and 99% of
the arable land. But do not forget that the headquarters of Mordor
Enterprises is ruined, its Board of Directors have been slain, and the
vast majority of its records are lost with the fall of the Dark Tower.'
'Whoo-hoo!' cried Frodo, heedless of Arwen's cautions. 'I'm in
charge of Mordor! Heh-heh... now those Orcs'll find out how a
corporation ought to be run! Hm... let's see....'
Frodo stalked up and down the courtyard, shouting to himself as he
milked the Kow. 'First, I'll rebuild the Dark Tower. No, two of them!
They must rise even higher then before, or the narcoterrorists have
won! Then, I'll stamp out the last remnants of Socialism. In five
years we'll be outperforming Gondor! Hah-hah! Nothing, nothing can
stop me now! 'Cos I--I'm the Duke of Nu-urn!'
'Dook, Dook, Dook
Dook of Nurn, Dook, Dook
Dook of Nurn, Dook, Dook,
Dook of Nurn, Dook, Dook, Dook...' came the echoing chorus from the
sides of Mount Minnie.
Aragon coughed. 'Since you are so (potentially) wealthy,' he said,
'then you surely won't mind redeeming this.' And with that he
produced a much-folded, dog-eared document. 'Your IOU,' he went on,
'for I believe fifty thousand gold pieces...'
'Fifty grand!' Frodo exclaimed. 'You kept that? You
bloodsucker! You can't be serious!'
'But I am,' Aragon said, nodding. 'You see, with the downturn in
revenue and unredeemed war expenses, Crown finances are somewhat
embarrassed. I must collect my debts where they are owed me, or go
'I'm not going to be supporting him,' Arwen finished.
'Well, I don't have 50 Gs on me. Maybe when I get to Moneybags
'Oh, don't worry about that,' Aragon said. 'Just sign this cheque,
and it'll be deducted from the assets of your Estate.'
Frodo snarled, but took the proffered quill and signed. 'That's the
last I see of you, you rascal. I knew as soon as I set eyes upon you
that you were a rogue! Well, be seein' ya, toots -- I'm off to
Aragon took the cheque, verified the signature, and tucked it away
inside the ample folds of his tunic. He smiled broadly and nodded at
'One moment, Ring-eater,' she said softly but menacingly.
Frodo stopped and turned back, warned by her voice. 'What is it?' he
growled, hand straying to the hilt of his sword.
'I understand that after all the trauma you have suffered your
memory may be weak. Therefore I wish to bring to your recollection
this document, which you signed before you left Rivendell.' She
produced an ornate parchment, covered in tiny elvish script and adorned
with many wax seals attached to ribbons.
'Yeah, okay,' said Frodo. 'I remember that. That's my deferment.
But it was good for 10 years, and I destroyed the Ring in much less
than that amount of time!'
'That is true indeed,' said Arwen. 'Howbeit, I draw your attention
to the last paragraph. No, the one under the seals.'
Frodo looked. Besides being half-hidden by the enormous seals, the
elvish script was composed of letters about a millimeter and a half
high, on average. He held the parchment close to his eyes, squinted
the right, and read out loud:
'I, Frodo Baggins of Bag End, being of doubtful sanity and unable to
care for myself, do remit to El Rond, Lord of Rivendell, the sole
custody and guardianship of any and all Estates that I may lawfully
inherit or otherwise come to possess within the boundaries of the Land
of Mordor. I grant to El Rond, Lord of Rivendell, sole power to act
upon my behalf, to buy, sell, grant, deed, enjoy, transmit, bestow,
bequeath, or otherwise dispose of said Estates in precisely such manner
as if I were a legally declared minor or lunatic. Signed, FRODO
The last words were uttered in a semi-incoherent rush as Frodo
foamed extravagantly at the mouth and then collapsed senseless on the
cobblestones of the Court of the Fountain. What a loser, came a
mocking voice inside his head as he lost consciousness. I always knew
you wouldn't amount to anything.
The next day, Frodo, Sam, Morrie and Pipsqueak were informed that
they were several months in arrears on their rents and would forthwith
be expelled from the City.
When the day of departure came, the four hobbits succeeded in
attaching themselves to the tail end of the orda of Rohirrim who had
come down from the Riddlemark to bear HeyHoDen back to his ancestral
kingdom. King Eonerd and Eowynn verified the dead King's identity in
the morgue, and then shut the zippered black bag as fast as they could.
It was a sultry southern summer, and HeyHoDen had been stored up for
over three months.
They placed the bag with HeyHoDen's body inside a plastic barrel,
which went inside a corrugated metal tube, which was sealed with
cement, which was locked inside a packing crate, which was put in the
trailer of a sixteen-wheeler headed north. The trucker drove slowly,
pausing at rest stops every quarter-day to allow the tümän of Riders
to catch up. The four hobbits hitched a ride in the back of the cab.
In that riding went also Aragon and Arwen and others of the wedding
guests: El Rond, Al Ladan and Al Rokar, Boromir and Imrahil and, in
fact,the entire invitation list, all of whom had noticed how much
slimmer their wallets became the longer they stayed in Minas Tirith.
At a leisurely pace they rode the highway north through Anórien, and
they came to injun territory. The injuni warriors, stoked to a
frenzy by the secret herbs they habitually took before entering battle,
fired many arrows among them, but hit no one. Aragon read aloud a
proclamation annexing six-sevenths of injun territory to Gondor
in return for the right to erect a casino and have exclusive hunting
and fishing rights on the remaining one-seventh. The procession then
rolled on, leaving a few score of anti-hunting and anti-gambling
protestors demonstrating behind them.
After many days of journey, the truck bearing HeyHoDen came at last
to Edoras City. The dandelions grew tall and stately about Medusald.
There a great feast was held for the visitors; and if the occasional
Dunlending slave fell into the immense fires and was accidentally
cooked together with the ceremonial horseflesh, no one commented upon
Then they buried HeyHoDen, still sealed with cement, fifty feet deep
beneath a mound planted thick with garlic, topped with ancient symbols
of power, and under the permanent guard of the Riddlemark's finest
warriors armed with silver-tipped spears. With him were buried all
those things and people which he had had close to him in life, lest he
return to claim them. The Edoras Choir slowly sang a song of exorcism,
which Gléoclubb the minstrel made, and immediately died after. Even
those who comprehended not the harsh gutturals of the Edorian tongue
could tell how horrible the song was, as it described the reddened
light of the moon shining through the blood-drenched fields of the
Lammas Ichor, the gorecrows slaking their thirst in the red pools, the
howling of the wolves as their brethren crunched upon bones, and how
King HeyHoDen arose and with dripping corpse-fingers sought to destroy
those who were close to him in life:
Out of dark, out of death, to the dead's rising
He clambered out of the clay still clinging
To his bloody fingers, with filth blackened
That sought the throats of thrall and servant,
Or of sister-son his throne usurping...
But Morrie wondered at the superstitions of the Riders, pondering
how they might be turned to his own advantage.
When the burial was over and the stone atop the mound was inscribed
with the words "HeyHoDen, and his worm Grimey", another minstrel (there
were many minstrels and to spare in the Riddlemark of those days, and
their lives were held cheap) named all the Lords of the Mark in their
ordure: Yorl the Kid, who had purchased Edoras in the days of
Gondor's indebtedness, and Prego mixer of the Sauce, and Polder
drainer of the Fens, brother of Molder the Dead; and Freewine the
Generous, and Goldwyn the Mogul, and Dior the Couturier, and Gram the
Weighty, and Helm the Hard-headed, and Deem the Jazzmaster, who had
held concerts in Deem's Help that had rivalled those of Caer Andrews.
So ended the nine mounds on the west, because there had been a violent
revolution in those days which installed a new dynasty, and after came
the mounds of the east-side: Freelove the Revolutionary; and Fluffy,
who due to lack of ceremonial propriety (the minstrels had been unable
to keep a straight face when speaking his name) had returned as a
draugr and had eaten half the warriors in Medusald before being
exorcised; and Walda, and Folca, and Folcwine, and Fengel, and Thengel,
and HeyHoDen the latest. And by the time HeyHoDen was named, Eonerd
and all the Riders were very drunk.
When the feast drew to an end (at about four in the morning, with
the sun due to rise soon), Eonerd tried to arise and said in a slurred
voice: 'HeyHoDen's dead. That means I'm the king. Cool, huh?'
A nervous titter arose from those of the guests who were not already
asleep or dead drunk.
'But I got good news for ya,' he continued. 'Eewww....inifred my
sis had the hots for Aragon. But he's already married, the bastard.
And 'sides he's her father. Life sucks, dunnit?'
More nervous laughter.
'So instead she's gonna marry the nummer two guy. Wossis name.
Farrie... Farrah... uh... Bore-oh-meer, Steuart of Gonnor©!'
Muted cheers. Eonerd propped himself up, knuckles on the table, and
looked around to see if anyone would respond. Aragon came awake with a
start after a swift kick from Arwen, and removed a paper from his tux.
'Thus,' he read slowly and with a wince, 'is the friendship of the
Mark and of Gondor bound with a new bond. No niggard are you,
Eonerd, to give...'
'What?' Eonerd interrupted. 'Whadjou say?'
Aragon coughed and began again. 'No niggard are you, Eonerd...'
'Thass what I thought you said. Well I don'know whuss like in
Gonnor. But here in Ed'ras we don' allow filthy lang-idge like that in
'All I said,' said Aragon, 'was "No niggard..."'
'Thass enough! Outta the hall, now! We'll settle this inna
courtchard!' Eonerd reached with one hand for his sword-belt, lost his
balance, and fell face forward onto the table. Aragon and Arwen left
swiftly, and departed without taking leave of King Eonerd.
The hobbits had remained hidden during this time, but before the
procession was ready to roll Morrie paid a last visit to Eonerd and
Eowynn. And Eonerd said, 'Kings of old would have laden you with gifts
that a tractor-trailer could not bear for your deeds upon the Cowboy's
Field; but those were the Kings of Old, and these are cheaper times.
Nonetheless, my sister wants you to have this, in memory of the horns
of the Mark at sunrise.' And Morrie wondered what Eonerd was talking
about, but he kept his mouth shut.
Then Eowynn gave to Morrie a small tin horn, wrought with a rubber
sphere at one end. 'This is an heirloom of our house,' said Eowynn.
'When you squeeze the globe, the horn will make a noise. Behold!' and
she pressed the rubber sphere with her white fingers. Honk went the
horn. Honk, honk.
Lego-lass and Giggly were to continue on to the Giggling Caves at
Deem's Help, to start their long-planned amusement park. Aragon and
Arwen, who had an interest in all new enterprises in the region, came
along, as did El Rond, Al Ladan and Al Rokar, as they were planning to
return to their homes by this route. When Lego-lass emerged from the
Giggling Caves she was laughing her rear end off, and immediately
fronted Giggly the money to begin the project, and the two at once
telegraphed Minas Tirith to round up investors.
Leaving Lego-lass and Giggly behind, the others rode from Deem's
Help to Isengard, expecting to meet the Ments there and behold Isengard
transformed into an electric paradise. But all the land around was dim
and quiet as they approached. Eagles circled ominously overhead.
Cardinals and waxwings in the nearby bushes eyed them disturbingly.
At Isengard they saw that the stone circle had been destroyed.
Where it had been was a wilderness of trees and bushes, full of deer,
bears, wolves, panthers, oliphaunts, sloths, tigers, langurs and
macaques, not to mention birds of all shapes and sizes. With
trepidation the travellers rode to the center of the old circle. The
hobbits, as usual, sneaked along behind. The hideous shape of Eyesore
still stood there, its shadow sadly reflected in the water of a pool
As they stood, aghast at the transformation of Isengard from
something that might have been economically productive into some kind
of biologically diverse eco-park, they heard a series of squawks and
whistles coming from nearby. They turned, and slowly became aware of a
figure sitting very still, cross-legged, in the shade of a pine tree.
It was clad in a simple robe of hempen brown, and its thin hair and
scanty beard were of brown streaked with grey. A yellow-breasted chat
stood on one thigh and ate berries from an upturned hand. The man
smiled, looking well-pleased and amused.
A sudden light broke on Frodo. 'Radagast!' he cried, forgetting
that he was supposed to be sneaking.
Radagast laughed. 'So you have heard the name, have you? All the
Woodmen used to call me that in Rhosgobel, I believe. A sign of
affection, possibly. But evidently you did not expect to see me here.'
'I did not,' Frodo said. 'But I might have guessed. The crows, the
'Exactly,' Radagast answered. 'You have been watched, all the way
from Rivendell. And now, with Aruman and Gandalf out of the way, with
Morenaughtie and Rumpustum in the distant East, with the Balrog
destroyed and Sauron reduced to impotence, I am the most powerful of
the Maiar left in the West. And I have... hm... plans.'
'You traitor!' cried Aragon. 'What have you done with my Ments?'
'I sent them home,' Radagast said happily. 'To rust, I hope. Their
work is done. Trees and orchards are coming back here, King of Gondor,
where birds may sit and sing and beasts may dig their holes. In time,
Rohan and Gondor both may become fit habitations for the animals that
shall inherit them. Even in Lothlórien, perhaps, the golf courses
shall grow over with crabgrass, to become the abode of moles and
Aragorn gritted his teeth. 'You can't do this,' he said slowly.
'You're eating into my profit margin. How many people do you think are
going to come out to see this...' -- he gestured around him -- 'this
'Middle-earth was a wilderness once, before Men got their hands on
it,' Radagast said. 'One day it shall be a wilderness again. What you
see is merely the first-fruits. Go back to your kingdom, King of
Gondor; keep it as you may. But know that the beasts and birds are
returning. They will reclaim their own.' He resumed his silent
sitting, and the chat began to whistle again.
Aragon turned on the hobbits, whom he now saw for the first time.
'This is your doing, isn't it! You fiends! You have come all this way
just to see me, the King of Gondor, humiliated!'
Frodo shook his head, confused. A voice inside his head seemed to
be saying squeeze him while you can, precious!, but he did not
understand it. Sam grinned. Pipsqueak stared at the spaces between
his toes while Morrie whistled nonchalantly.
Arwen came up behind Aragon. 'This is not the hobbits' doing,' she
said softly. 'They knew no more of Radagast than we, nor do his plans
fit with theirs. Yet I wonder what brings them so far, following on
our very heels?'
Frodo looked at Sam, helplessly. Sam looked at Paragraph.
Pipsqueak nudged Morrie, who looked back at Arwen defiantly.
'I was hoping to get a word with you privately,' he said. 'But
this'll have to do.'
'A word?' said Arwen. 'About what?' Her voice was soft but
menacing, as it not infrequently was.
'About your part in the murder of Ariellë Húriniel, and the
attempted murder of Frodo Baggins.'
Aragon, Sam and Pipsqueak gasped. The Elves chuckled sarcastically.
'Murder, Mr. Brandybuck? That's a hard charge to make against the
Queen of Gondor. What evidence do you have?'
'Enough. I know that you enticed Boromir into convincing Giggly
into stealing an arrow from Lego-lass's quiver, which you then could
use to shoot Frodo to keep him quiet, while putting the blame on
'Hah!' Arwen laughed. 'You are very clever, Mr. Brandybuck. Too
clever, some might say. Yes, you are right, Mr. Brandybuck. I did
shoot Frodo, not to kill him, but to keep him from blurting out the
name of Ariellë's murderer before the people of the City.'
'No, not my name, Mr. Brandybuck. The name of the killer. The one
person who had the most to gain from the murder. But no court can now
prosecute the murderer; for he now is the law, and the ultimate
judge: Aragon son of Arathon, King El Lesser.'
Everyone turned to look at Aragon. He stared back at them, mouth
gaping wide open. 'No,' he gasped after a long silence. 'Not me! I
didn't do it! I didn't really want to be king, not like that!'
Morrie looked in Aragon's face for a long time. Then he shook his
head and turned back to Arwen. 'Nope, lady,' he said, 'you've got the
wrong guy. It takes a smart cookie to cook up a Bywater Grin, and
frankly, your husband's just a few holes short of a smial, if you know
what I mean.'
'But it had to have been! I mean, who else...'
'Who indeed,' said Morrie, looking around him meaningfully. 'Who
Idiot, said the voice in Frodo's head.
Radagast had arisen during the conversation and stood just outside
the circle of recrimination, leaning on a smoothed pinewood staff. He
chuckled softly. 'Well, King of Gondor,' he said, 'perhaps you ought
to return to your own land now. If your own Queen thinks you guilty of
murdering your predecessor, there may be others with the same thought.
And while there is no legal way to punish a king, there are many
illegal ways to remove one. There are those who would not be unhappy
with a change. Some, I guess, who are unhappy with the recent peace
with Mordor, perhaps?'
Aragon and Arwen looked at each other in terror, rushed to their
horses, and galloped off southward without a word of farewell.
'Well now,' said Radagast, considering the elves and hobbits before
him. 'You were travelling on to Rivendell, were you not? Excellent.
I think I shall go with you. It will give me an opportunity to stretch
my legs, and give more attention to the northlands, where my efforts
are perhaps especially needed.'
'But... but... ' said Pipsqueak.
'What about the weed trade?' exclaimed Morrie.
'What about the Revolution?' expostulated Sam.
'Cassiopeia!' screamed Frodo, apropos of nothing.
'We're not gonna take this,' said Morrie.
'Oh, no, we ain't gonna take it,' rumbled Sam.
At that moment an immense black bear, six feet tall at the shoulder,
ambled out from behind a rhododendron and looked at them. Its six-inch
claws clacked upon the rocks, and its tongue licked brutally long
'Rest assured, my young friends,' said Radagast, stroking the bear's
fur, 'that all shall be well, and all shall be well, and all manner of
thing shall be well.' And they believed him. He was a Maia, after
They travelled westward, the Elves riding on their horses, the
hobbits on various species of wild deer that Radagast had summoned
(Frodo rode an especially majestic elk with an antler-span of ten
feet). Radagast himself rode bear-back.
They passed by the Gap in Rohan. Radagast had a word with the
manager, and within a week they were selling clothing made from hemp,
organically-grown cotton, and recycled fibres, while a detachment of
well-drilled mandrills provided security.
They rode through the Gap into the slums of Dunland. There they
found endless chain-link fences, hills of burning tires, vast pavements
of cracked asphalt, collapsing brick tenements, and shantytowns roofed
in corrugated iron. The Dunlendings who loitered on the street-corners
mocked them, calling them fairies--; but Radagast had only to
gesture, and waves of green kudzu covered the trash-heaps and
tenements, and the Dunlendings fled, racked by allergies.
Six days after leaving Isengard they journeyed through the
liquor-retailing zone of Dunland. At 6, as the lights began to come
on, they overtook a lady with a superfluity of legs, dashingly clad in
red and black. At her heels slouched a semi-naked man in black
leather, leashed to her by a spiked dog-collar and gazing morosely at
'Well Shelob!' said Radagast. 'Where are you going?'
'Vhot isz zet beink to you?' she answered. 'Vosz you lookink for a
vogah, or voot you rezser hef a date visz Sztinky?'
'You know the answers,' Radagast said. 'No and no. But in any case
your monopoly on wogah is over. The King controls the red-light
district in Disgiliath now. But if you had waited in Mordor, you would
have seen him, and he might have shown more interest in your offer.'
'Zen all ze more reason to hef left sooner,' said Shelob, 'for I am
not desirink him. Indeed, if you are vishink for en enswer to your
first qvestion, I vosz lookink for a ravine in ze mountainsz in vhich
to be spinnink my veps.'
'Then you are going the wrong way. I know a forest where you might
feel right at home, though. Would you like my help?'
'You helpink me?' said Shelob. 'Surely you isz jestink me. I
sink zosz vilt-lants isz not beink so goot for ze nightclups, yes? You
haf gecome to be laughink at Shelop in her vonderinks, visz no clup, no
staich, no Grisettes...' and she began to weep copious tears.
'There, there,' said Radagast, patting her kindly on the shoulder.
'Who is this wench?' said Paragraph.
'And why haven't we been introduced yet?' said Moribund.
'It's Shelob, the decadent and depraved whoremistress of
Disgiliath!' ranted Sam.
'Oh, indeed,' said Morrie. 'Perhaps you should have told us more
about your, er, adventures there. What's she do?'
'Vhot dosz Shelop doink?' hissed the madam. 'How isz my fame
gefallen! Alas, zet I kennot show you vhot I coot be doink in ze daysz
of my glory!' And she wept again. Then, suddenly tearless, she
clapped her forelegs. 'Sztinky!' she ordered. 'Be showink zeesz fine
gentlesz vhot it is ve isz doink. I em trop fatigué to indulch
myself.' She flicked him the man behind her with a whip she held in
her front claw. He shuddered, but did not move or turn his face from
'Poor Sztinky!' Shelob whispered confidentially to the travellers.
'Hisz tower isz gefallen down, end now he kennot to erect it again.
Get up!' she shouted at the slouching man, yanking on his leash. 'Do
zet number from South Tampalas.'
The man staggered up and faced his audience. There were dark
circles beneath his reddened eyes, white streaks of dry salt on his
face, and a brown encrustation at one corner of his mouth. His
codpiece was decorated with the Lidless Eye. He began to sing, more
than passably, but without emotion:
Bloodthirsty Shelob is the
lob I love
Bloodthirsty Shelob is the
lob I love
Bloodthirsty Shelob is the
lob I love
Now ain't that too damn bad!
Her kiss is like trinitro-
Her kiss is like trinitro-
Her kiss is like trinitro-
Now ain't that too damn bad!
Bloodthirsty Shelob's suckin'
She is always suckin'
Bloodthirsty Shelob's suckin'
An' she don't use Aqua-fresh!
Shelob laughed, clapped and blew kisses at the audience. They did
not applaud. The sight of Shelob's slave, wretched and degraded beyond
imagination, stirred even Morrie with, if not pity, then at least an
utter revulsion that afforded no amusement.
Shelob's face turned sour. 'Be goink!' she said. 'You hef doomt
yourselfs, end you isz knowink it. It vill be comfortink me in my
vonderinks to sink zet you hef geburnt down your own house vhen you hef
Shelob yanked on her slave's leash, and he crouched down on all
fours. She turned back the way they had come, and he followed. But as
he passed them, he whimpered 'Poor old Stinky! Poor old Stinky!
Always beaten, never a wogah. How I hate her! How I wish I could
'Then leave her!' said Radagast.
But "Stinky" only glanced with one red eye full of terror at
Radagast, and then shuffled quickly past behind Shelob. At length the
pair came to the hobbits, and Shelob stopped and stared at them; but
they looked at her with indifference.
'So you isz gloatink over Shelob too, my ducks?' she said. 'Not
even a little kiss for her?' and she turned a heavily rouged cheek
toward them. No one stepped forward. Shelob sighed. 'I hef only von
vord of advice for you, chickies. Bevare ze Roglinks! Zet isz all.
Au revoir, mes petits amis. Au revoir!' and she and Stinky
vanished down the path.
Lovely limbs, eh, sonny boy? said the voice in Frodo's mind.
Frodo slumped over and had the dry heaves.
The next day they rode through suburban Dunland, where no men now
dwelt, though it was a green and pleasant neighborhood, due to
skyrocketing property taxes. Radagast now rode some way ahead,
murmuring to himself, scattered phrases in which the word 'Rogling'
could often be heard.
'What's a Rogling, and why did Shelob warn us against them?'
Pipsqueak asked Frodo after a while.
'I don't know,' Frodo answered. 'I have trouble thinking these
days. Tell me, Pip, did you ever... I don't know... think you heard,
well, someone talking, like a voice, only there was no one there?'
'Oh, yes, quite a lot,' Pipsqueak responded brightly. He was having
a good day.
'And, um... did this voice ever, well, criticize you or tell you
what to do?'
'Oh, all the time.'
'And... did your voice have a name?'
'Sure! It was Aruman, chief of the wizards. He came back from the
dead to warn me against Gandalf.'
'Do you still hear him?'
'Nah. He went away after Gandalf died. I guess he was finished
'Well, Pip... you're not going to believe this... but I'm hearing a
'No!' Pipsqueak was visibly and sincerely flabbergasted with utter
amazement. Even on a good day, he had his limits.
'I think it's trying to tell me something... but I don't know what.
And I think... I think I know who it is, but I daren't believe it...'
'Who?' asked Pipsqueak excitedly.
'Bilbo. It sounds like Bilbo. But it can't be, can it? Bilbo's
'I dunno. Why don't you ask El Rond?'
So Frodo rode ahead after El Rond's party, who in typical elvish
fashion had ridden along with the hobbits while having absolutely
nothing to do with them. It took Frodo quite some time to get El Rond
to notice him. Had he still been only three feet tall, he never would
have managed it; but he finally succeeded in physically squeezing
between El Rond and Al Ladan, with whom El Rond was conversing.
'I hate mortals,' El Rond was saying. 'I can't stand them any
longer. It's the smell. I feel saturated by it. I can taste their
stink and every time I do, I fear that I've somehow been... infected
by it. I must get out of here. I must get free. Oh, it's you,
'El Rond,' Frodo said, 'do you know what happened to my fa... to
Bilbo? He's safe at Rivendell, isn't he?'
El Rond made a dismissive shrug. 'And this concerns me how...
'Well, I'm afraid... I think something terrible may have happened to
El Rond sighed and looked angry. 'What happens to Mr. Bilbo Baggins
is none of my concern. I am in no way... responsible for his welfare.'
'But... was he safe, was he all right the last you saw him.'
El Rond rolled his eyes backward in their sockets. 'Yes,' he said
at last. 'He was thinking of you, if you must know.' Frodo breathed a
sigh of relief. 'Actually I think he left you a note, though none of
us could read it. Do we have it, Al Rokar?' Al Rokar produced an
envelope from his saddle-bags and handed it to El Rond, who passed it
to Frodo, taking good care to avoid touching his fingers.
Frodo fell back and opened the envelope. It was indeed in Bilbo's
inimitably illegible script, and it took him several minutes before he
could puzzle part of it out; but intercepting Bilbo's letters to his
"nieces" and reading them had been one of his favorite childhood
"El Rond you bas...d", it read, "Why didn't you include me in the
Company? I'm going whether you like it or not. Frodo can't be trusted
with the Ring. He'll spoil Gandalf's plan for sure. So what if
they're days ahead. I'll just follow A...n's cute ..s. I'll get that
Ring back, sure as my name's Don Gi..anni! BB."
Frodo felt ill, but that was nothing new. Then all of a sudden the
voice came back into his mind, louder and clearer than ever before.
How dare you read my mail, boy! followed by It's ours, precious,
and we wants it! Frodo suddenly found that, without noticing it, he
had folded the letter and put in inside his waistcoat-pocket.
At last one evening they came over the high moors, suddenly to the
brink of the deep valley of Rivendell, and saw emanating from the cleft
a red light shining, lighting the whole valley like a dark flame.
Radagast caught his breath. At the descent into the valley there
had stood for many years a tall birch tree. But though it was only
September, it seemed to stand leafless, and yet glowed with a ruddy
light. As they drew nearer to the tree, they saw that from the end of
every twig there seemed to leap a tiny flickering flame, barely an inch
tall; and within each flame moved an almost microscopic black creature.
Radagast reached up into the branches, and scooped one off onto his
palm. It burned there for a few moments, then crawled to the tip of
his outstretched index finger, spread minute diaphanous wings like a
mayfly's, and flew back into the tree.
'It is as I feared,' said Radagast. 'The 'Rogs have hatched west of
'I remember who murdered Ariellë,' Frodo mumbled in return.
This chapter of this epic work is presented through the courtesy of
David Salo <dsalo-aaaaaaat-usa-dawt-net>.
Copyright © 2002 by the author. All rights reserved. Some variance between this
e-text and the original printed material by Professor Tolkien is inevitable. Using this
as an electronic resource for scholarly or research purposes may lead to a certain
degree of academic embarassment. All agree that the printed version of the text,
available from respectable publishers such as Houghton Mifflin and Ballantine Books,
is to be preferred.
Boromir, Minas Tirith and Gondor are trademarks of Saul Zaentz and Tolkien Enterprises, who hold all merchandising rights to Gondor and its subsidiaries.
Roglings kindly provided by Rogling Industries of Anfauglith. Single-quotes and double-quotes have been exchanged as part of the Quotation Mark Exchange Program, helping British and American quotation marks live and work together in peace and harmony. Morrie's dialogue provided by Raymond Chandler.