Frodo meets Strider at the Prancing Pony
Event Type: General
Age: 3rd Age - Ring War
Date: September 29, 3018
An event in Frodo's Departure from the Shire; see that entry for an overview:
So refreshed and encouraged did they feel at the end of their supper... that Frodo, Pippin, and Sam decided to join the company. Merry said it would be too stuffy. 'I shall... perhaps go out later for a sniff of the air.'....
The company was in the big common-room of the inn.... On the benches were various folk..., and other vague figures difficult to make out away in the shadows....
As soon as the Shire-hobbits entered, there was a chorus of welcome from the Bree-landers.... The landlord introduced the newcomers to the Bree-folk.... There were several Underhills from Staddle, and as they could not imagine sharing a name without being related, they took Frodo to their hearts as a long-lost cousin.
The Bree-hobbits were, in fact, friendly and inquisitive, and Frodo soon found that some explanation of what he was doing would have to be given.... He said he was thinking of writing a book..., and that he and his friends wanted to collect information about hobbits living outside the Shire....
At this a chorus of voices broke out.... But after a time, as Frodo did not show any sign of writing a book on the spot, the hobbits returned to their questions about doings in the Shire. Frodo did not prove very communicative, and he soon found himself sitting alone in a corner....
The Men and Dwarves were mostly... telling news of a kind that was becoming only too familiar. There was trouble away in the South, and it seemed that the Men who had come up the Greenway were on the move, looking for lands where they could find some peace. The Bree-folk were sympathetic, but plainly not very ready to take a large number of strangers into their little land....
The hobbits did not pay much attention to all this.... They were more interested in Sam and Pippin, who were now feeling quite at home, and were chatting gaily about events in the Shire. Pippin roused a good deal of laughter with an account of the collapse of the roof of the Town Hole in Michel Delving: Will Whitfoot, the Mayor..., had been buried in chalk, and came out like a floured dumpling. But there were several questions asked that made Frodo a little uneasy. One of the Bree-landers, who seemed to have been in the Shire several times, wanted to know where the Underhills lived and who they were related to.
Suddenly Frodo noticed that a strange-looking weather-beaten man, sitting in the shadows near the wall, was also listening intently to the hobbit-talk. He had a tall tankard in front of him, and was smoking a long-stemmed pipe curiously carved. His legs were stretched out before him, showing high boots of supple leather that fitted him well, but had seen much wear and were now caked with mud. A travel-stained cloak of heavy dark-green cloth was drawn close about him, and in spite of the heat of the room he wore a hood that overshadowed his face; but the gleam of his eyes could be seen as he watched the hobbits.
'Who is that?' Frodo asked, when he got a chance to whisper to Mr. Butterbur....
'Him?.... I don't rightly know. He is one of the wandering folk — Rangers we call them.... He was in and out pretty often last spring; but I haven't seen him about lately. What his right name is I've never heard: but he's known round here as Strider. Goes about at a great pace on his long shanks; though he don't tell nobody what cause he has to hurry. But there's no accounting for East and West, as we say in Bree, meaning the Rangers and the Shire-folk, begging your pardon.'....
Frodo found that Strider was now looking at him, as if he had heard or guessed all that had been said. Presently, with a wave of his hand and a nod, he invited Frodo to come over and sit by him. As Frodo drew near be threw back his hood, showing a shaggy head of dark hair necked with grey, and in a pale stern face a pair of keen grey eyes.
'I am called Strider,' he said in a low voice. 'I am very pleased to meet you. Master — Underhill, if old Butterbur got your name right.'
'He did,' said Frodo stiffly. He felt far from comfortable under the stare of those keen eyes.
'Well, Master Underhill,' said Strider, 'if I were you, I should stop your young friends from talking too much. Drink, fire, and chance-meeting are pleasant enough, but, well — this isn't the Shire. There are queer folk about. Though I say it as shouldn't, you may think,' he added with a wry smile, seeing Frodo's glance. 'And there have been even stranger travellers through Bree lately,' he went on, watching Frodo's face.
Frodo returned his gaze but said nothing; and Strider made no further sign. His attention seemed suddenly to be fixed on Pippin. To his alarm Frodo became aware that the ridiculous young Took... was now actually giving a comic account of Bilbo's farewell party.
The Fellowship of the Ring, LoTR Book 1, Ch 9, At the Sign of the Prancing Pony
Elena Tiriel 5May08, 20Jun08