Travellers encounter Bilbo's stone trolls in the Trollshaws
Event Type: General
Age: 3rd Age - Ring War
Date: October 18, 3018
An event in Frodo's Departure from the Shire and in the prelude to the Ambush at the Ford of Bruinen; see either entry for an overview.
[There] were clearly the beginnings of a path, that climbed with many windings out of the woods below.... In places it was now faint and overgrown...; but at one time it seemed to have been much used. It was a path made by strong arms and heavy feet. Here and there old trees had been cut or broken down, and large rocks cloven or heaved aside to make a way.
They followed the track for some while... but... cautiously.... Suddenly coming out of a belt of fir-trees it ran steeply down a slope, and turned sharply to the left round the corner of a rocky shoulder of the hill.... [They] looked round and saw that the path ran... under the face of a low cliff overhung with trees. In the stony wall there was a door hanging crookedly ajar upon one great hinge....
There was a cave or rock-chamber behind.... [They]... managed to open the door a little wider, and then Strider and Merry went in. They did not go far, for on the floor lay many old bones, and nothing else was to be seen near the entrance except some great empty jars and broken pots....
[Said] Strider,... 'It... seems to have been long forsaken.... But let us go on down warily....'
The path... plunged down a thick wooded slope.... [The] path was now broad enough for four or five hobbits to walk abreast. But they had not gone very far before Pippin came running back, followed by Merry. They both looked terrified.
'There are trolls!' Pippin panted. 'Down in a clearing in the woods not far below.... They are very large!'
'We will come and look at them,' said Strider, picking up a stick....
The sun was now high... and lit the clearing.... They halted suddenly on the edge, and peered through the tree-trunks, holding their breath. There stood the trolls: three large trolls. One was stooping, and the other two stood staring at him.
Strider walked forward unconcernedly. 'Get up, old stone!' he said, and broke his stick upon the stooping troll.
Frodo laughed. 'Well!' he said. 'We are forgetting our family history! These must be the very three that were caught by Gandalf, quarrelling over the right way to cook thirteen dwarves and one hobbit.'
'I had no idea we were anywhere near the place!' said Pippin.... Bilbo and Frodo had told [the story] often; but... he had never more than half believed it. Even now he looked at the stone trolls with suspicion, wondering if some magic might not suddenly bring them to life again.
'You are forgetting not only your family history, but all you ever knew about trolls,' said Strider. 'It is broad daylight with a bright sun, and yet you come back trying to scare me with a tale of live trolls...! In any case you might have noticed that one of them has an old bird's nest behind his ear. That would be a most unusual ornament for a live troll!'
They all laughed. Frodo felt his spirits reviving... They rested for some time in the glade, and took their mid-day meal right under the shadow of the trolls' large legs....
In the afternoon they went on down the woods. They were probably following the very track that Gandalf, Bilbo, and the dwarves had used many years before. After a few miles they came out on the top of a high bank above the Road.... Not far down the bank Strider pointed out a stone in the grass. On it roughly cut and now much weathered could still be seen dwarf-runes and secret marks.
'There!' said Merry. 'That must be the stone that marked the place where the trolls' gold was hidden. How much is left of Bilbo's share, I wonder, Frodo?'
Frodo looked at the stone, and wished that Bilbo had brought home no treasure more perilous, nor less easy to part with. 'None at all,' he said. 'Bilbo gave it all away. He told me he did not feel it was really his, as it came from robbers.'
The Fellowship of the Ring, LoTR Book 1, Ch 12, Flight to the Ford
The Trollshaws are never identified by name in a canon text, but the name and location are shown on the map of Eriador from The Lord of the Rings, available in the Trollshaws entry.
Elena TIriel 15Jul06, 1Oct11