Mad Baggins - Part 2 - A Gaffer's Tale

'So should I stop there? Poor old Mad Baggins, he looks like he's about to be cooked up right and proper, don't he now? Are you sure you want to hear the rest o' the story?
All the children cried, 'Yes! Yes!'
The old gaffer put his hands in front of his face as if to ward off their cries, making to be shocked. 'Are you sure now? It's looking to be right gruesome! I don't know as your mothers'd like for you to hear summat what might turn your stomachs sour for your dinner.'
'Tell us the rest of the story!'
The gaffer laughed. 'Alright then, shh, shh. Quiet there now.
'So, there was Mad Baggins. Tied up, counting down the seconds until he was going to be mashed or fried or roasted into troll supper. Things looked awful bad. And just when he started to cry, thinking of his mum and his good old Bag End, the sun popped out from behind the world, and turned the trolls die-rectly into stone! At first Mad Baggins didn't know why they froze like that, so he just kept sitting there, stiff as a stone itself. But then when the Sun's light allowed for him to see, he saw they was grey, grey stone! Now, Mad Baggins, he thought it was his own magicing what had turned those trolls into stone, and he reached back and patted hisself on the back, and right then and there, even as he was tied up, he made up a little ryhme o' sorts, saying how good of a hobbit he was to do that great thing. I don't rightly remember it, but it went summat like this:

I Mad Baggins am the best of hobbits,
To-rolly a lolly tols!
O Great Baggins, the king of all hobbits!
To-rolly a lolly tols!
I can magic up trolls, then poof! they're dead!
To-rolly a lolly tols!
I do it myself, with my smart, smart head!
To-rolly a lolly tols!

'And he sat there singing that for a very long time, rocking back and forth and congratulating hisself. Then, the coward Dwarves, what had been sitting outside, shivegay from fear, heard the song, and they peeked in. They saw the trolls, and they saw Mad Baggins, and they saw what Mad Baggins had forgotten about: the wolves!
'You remember how the trolls had set wolves to guarding Mad Baggins? Well, now they were creeping in, ready to spring on him and gobble him up. But Mad Baggins didn't see them. He looked up though and saw the Dwarves, and their mouths were open, because they were scared o' the wolves, but Mad Baggins thought they was open because they were so admirin' of him. He puffed out his chest proud like, and called to them, "thank you, thank you, would you like to hear my song I made up of my great deed?" And wi'out waiting for them to say summat, he pitched into his song, throwed his head back and closed his eyes and wiggled around. When he finished, he opened his eyes and twenty wolves was all around him, licking their teeth and showing their fangs at him. Mad Baggins screamed in a high voice like a girl - beggin' your pardon, lassies - and he wiggled up his tied body into a little jump onto his stomack and buried his head in his hands. And them wolves laughed at him, and took another step closer. But that was the last step they took towards Mad Baggins, because, all of a sudden, they heard: the Dragon! Oooh, they howled fearsome like, and tucked their tails between their legs and ran out o' the door. They had to jump over the Dwarves, who were still there, not helping Mad Baggins one bit, but they was so afraid of the Dragon they didn't even stop to take a bite out o' the Dwarveses beards.
'Stomp, stomp, came the Dragon's footsteps. Closer and closer, and then a big puff of fire went up! I can tell you, it had poor old Mad Baggins a'shiverin' in his trousers. Then they heard the Dragon talk.
'"Who's there, comin' into my dominions, to take my treasure?" the Dragon roared.
'The Dwarves were right angry at that, seein' as how it had been their's in t'first place, and the Dragon had been the one what had took the treasure from them! They yelled all angry at the Dragon, and that let him know where they was. He laughed, "he, he, he" in a deep dragon voice, and started coming towards them. The Dwarves puffed out their beards and waggled their swords and yelled at him to come and get it! One o' them, a bit braver than t'others, ran up to Mad Baggins and cut him loose from his ropes. Then all of a sudden, Fire busted through the room, Poof! It burned the hair right off o' Mad Bagginses toes, no doubt. The Dwarf what had untied Mad Baggins jumped up in the air two feet and scuttled back to t'other Dwarves, with Mad Baggins scuttling right behind him. The Dwarves started pushing at Mad Baggins, saying that he had to get the Dragon.
'"What, me?" Mad Baggins said. "Me what don't know naught about killing, 'specially not killing Dragons!" But the Dwarves didn't listen to him, and they told him, "Well, magic up a sword then, iffen you don't have one!" They could'a lended Mad Baggins one o' their swords, but they was far too selfish to a'done that.
'Anyhow, them Dwarves pushed Mad Baggins back inside just as the Dragon came in at t'other end! Mad Baggins, bein' mad, suddenly turned around and winked, like this, at the Dwarves, and Bang Boom disappeared again! Then all of a sudden a sword appeared in the air, dancing around all of itself, and a song come out o' the sword, or so it looked like.

I Mad Baggins am the best of hobbits,
To-rolly a lolly tols!
O Great Baggins, the king of all hobbits!
To-rolly a lolly tols!

'It was singin' Mad Bagginses song, and that's how the Dwarves knowed who it was. The sword come close to the Dragon, and it was swirling around fast and shining, and it come closer and closer to the Dragon. Then the Dragon blew fire at t'sword, and it flew up in the air and down again, and started flying away from the Dragon. It looked horrible scared, iffen a sword can look scared. It ran right over to the Dwarves, and the Dwarves ran away from it, yelling, and the sword yelled too, and the Dragon started to follow arter the sword, and so they was all following each other, and it was a dreadly procession, I can tell you.
'When they got out o' the gates o' the Mountain, they came down a hill on t'right side o' the Mountain and down into a big plain, all dirt. The Dwarves started to run in circles, every which a way, seein' as how they didn't know where to go to escape from the Dragon. And the Dragon, he was sendin' his fire all over t'place, and burnin' up nigh about everything. And just then, when they was starting to give up hope of ever getting out of that predikamint alive, it happened!
'T'battle o' five armies happened! All on a sudden, them elves appeared, and they started shootin' their bows and arrows at the Dragon. Then up come a whole bunch o' the Big People, with swords and daggers, all yelling fearsome like at the Dragon. And then came the Eagles! Great big huge flying Eagles! And when Mad Baggins saw that, he started dancing the Springle-ring, all by hisself, in t'middle o' the field o' battle, and singing "The Eagles is coming! The Eagles is coming!" The Eagles were right good in t'battle, and went flyin' around the Dragon, worrying and distractin' him so's t'other folks could get at him with their axes and arrows and swords. But dragons have very hard, hard armour, and try as they might, the armies couldn't do naught to his hide, 'cept nick it a bit. Well, just as Mad Baggins came to the big leap in t'Springle-ring, you know, he saw as how t'armies weren't fighting to no avail, so they was. So what did he do but leap up into the air and right up next to the Dragon's belly, and he pulled off a scale o' the Dragon's hide and waved it in the air, with a grin on his face to big to leave room for aught else! It just about pushed his eyes clean off of his face, no doubt. Anyhow, when t'armies saw that big gaping hole in the Dragon's side, this one big giant of a Big People, Bard was his name, so it was, he stepped up and throwed a arrow in the Dragon's side. The Dragon roared! and lunged at t'armies, raaaa! and he knocked 'em down and blew fire at the air. But he was stumbling, acos t'arrow had hurt him, hurt him bad. But he weren't giving up. He heaved hisself up and flew into the air, flying away a way's so's to get up speed at t'armies. He started to circle round, but just as he flewed over t'Big People's village - which, I forgot to tell you. It was built on top o' the water, with a great hole in t'middle of it.
'Anyhow, just as the Dragon was flying over t'village, he started convulsing! Right there in t'air, he started convulsing, wringling his wings and flipping his tail all about. Then he gived a great, terrible, Dragon scream, it about broke everybody's ears, I can tell you. Then the Dragon fell, down, down, and splashed into the water, fush! A great big steam and hissing and bubbling came up, and there was smoke all around t'whole place for days and days arterwards. I misdoubt that a one of anyone could breathe too well.
'Well, it was a right gladsome moment, I can tell you. And it would'a most likely been a grand party, 'cept for summat happening. You see, t'goblins what lived in the mountains on t'other side o' the forest, they had heard tell o' the Dragon and the treasure too. And they heard tell o' some Dwarves what were comin' back to kill the Dragon and take the treasure. Well sir, they figured on out smartin' those Dwarves. So, they gathered up their armies and went arter them. And it just so happened that they picked that very moment, when the Dragon had just fallen and killed hisself, to attack. Over the mountain they came, pouring down on t'other armies like a waterfall. Well, the armies were right surprised, no doubt. They stared at those goblins with open mouths, open as big as full ripe watermelons. But then, seein' as there weren't nothin' else for to do, they picked up their swords and arrows and axes again, and went back to fighting, only this time, fighting against goblins.
'And what was Mad Baggins doing you ask? Bein' mad, he decided to give up one o' his Bang Booms again, and he did, and flash! he disappeared. He'd had adventures with goblins before, and he didn't look too kindly on having another. Goblins is mean, mean to the core of their black rotted hearts, if they have hearts, which they don't, no doubt. They'll kill you quick as look at you! And Mad Baggins was all too look-able, him bein' the onliest hobbit in all o' them Big People. So he disappeared, coward like, and sat up on a rock to watch the fighting.
'Well, the fighting went on mighty long, so long in fact that Mad Baggins fell asleep. It weren't 'til hours later that he woke up, woke up to find the whole plain a sorry waste o' dead bodies and blood and broken arrows. He was all alone, wi'out a body in sight - beggin' your pardon, not a Living body in sight. Mad Baggins got up, and walked around, searching for a living body, any living body, but there wasn't none to be seen. He halloed and whistled and yelled 'til he was all yelled out, and then he sat down on a rock by t'lake and began to cry. Now mind you, Mad Baggins was a growed-up hobbit, which shows you how mad he was, if nothing do.
'It was right lonesome on that rock. Not even a bird in sight. But just then, Mad Baggins heard a noise behind him, and he turned round quick as a wink to see what it was. It was a Big People! One o' t'ones what had fought in t' battle, by all signs. He had a sling round his arm, and a bandage wrapped around his head, and he was limping awfully. Mad Baggins was so glad to see a real true living body that he jumped up on t'rock and whooped. The Big People nigh jumped out o' his skin, because, if you remember, Mad Baggins had Bang Boomed hisself invisible, so to that Big People, who wasn't expecting to hear any one body, it was fearsome to hear whooping.
'Mad Baggins ran up to that Big People, grabbed his hand and shook it hard, sayin' how glad he was to see a living body. The Big People opened his eyes wide as a stepped on toad-frog, gave a little yelp and run for his life. And that was puzzling to Mad Baggins. Then he looked down at his hands, and he didn't see no hands. So he realized as how the Big People was scared acos he couldn't see naught, and yet summat was shaking his hand. Mad Baggins, bein' mad, thought as how that was hilairious. He laughed and laughed, and fell down on t'ground, giggling and snorting 'til he was fit to be stomped on. Then he gave one last "hee!" got up and Bang Boomed hisself. There he appeared. Only now, the Big People was gone.
'What to do? It seemed bewildersome, but Mad Baggins just smiled. Then he hitched up his sleeves and got down on his hands and knees, and began snuffling until he found the scent. Then, just like a dog, he crawled right over the ground, following where the Big People had gone. He had to crawl over the dead bodies, so's not to lose the scent, but he gave them all due respect though. He said, "Beggin' your pardon," to each and every one o' them he crossed over, even if he only crossed over one o' their feet. Anyhow, it took a long time, but he finally reached his destination. He came snuffling right up to a pair o' feet, with shoes on them. He looked up, and up, and up, 'til he reached the face o' the feet. And it was Bard. The Big People that threw the arrow into the Dragon. Mad Baggins got up and said, "Why, hullo, Bard, what are you doing in these parts?"
'Bard looked at him, kind of funny like, and said, "Master Mad Baggins, we have been lookin' for you for a right long time. Where have you been?" Mad Baggins said, "Why, I'm awful sorry you were looking for me, I was right with myself all the time, so if you had just found myself, you would have found me, don't you know." Now, if that sounds like nonsense, it's because it is.
'"But why were you looking for me?" asked Mad Baggins. "Oh! Is it dinnertime?"
'Bard smiled. "It surely is. We have prepared a great feast, to celebrate the Dragon's death."
'Mad Baggins whooped. "Then show me to the table!" he said, and ran off, looking this way and that inside the tents what was standing around abouts. And then he remembered something.
'"Say!" he said. "What happened with the goblins? Did we win?"
'"Yes," said Bard. "We won the battle."
'Mad Baggins whooped again. "Oh, and say!" he said. "Where is the feast?"
'So Bard took him to the feast, and Mad Baggins gave a speech, and he told some poetry - of his own making, of course - and he ate until he said he couln'd possibly eat any more. And then he ate some more.
'Well, Mad Baggins stayed with the Big People for I don't know how long. But finally, when he saw that the time had really come when he should go - seein as how he had eaten up 'most all o' the food - he asked for his treasure, and for his jools, them what the Dwarves had promised him. Some say as how the Dwarves gave him all that he asked for, but I'm not sayin' that. No, I think the other story is true, and the Dwarves said they wouldn't give him one measly little jool. But then that Gandaf said that Mad Baggins had helped them a lot, and that they should stick to their promise, and give him all their jools. The Dwarves were so scared o' Gandalf that they promised the would. But Dwarves is treacherous, and that night, they creeped into Mad Bagginses tent, and forced him to take only some of their jools. So he did. And the next day, Mad Baggins set out for home, and that Gandalf was with him. They waved good bye to the Big People, and Mad Baggins was happy as a body with lots of treasure, seein' as how he had lots o' treasure, right on the backs of his ponies. And he had a lot of ponies, what's more. Mad Baggins and that Gandalf rode back through the ways they had come, talking and laughing and counting Mad Bagginses treasure.
'And so it happened that one day, Mad Baggins rode into Hobbiton, through the lane and up towards his hole. But what a surprise he got when he was there!
'There were his things, his chairs and paintings and pots and pans and silver spoons, all laying out on t'ground for the dew to fall on, and there, inside His hole, were the Dwarves! They had snucked back afore Mad Baggins, and told everybody he was dead! And the Sackville-Bagginses believed them. They took over Bag End, and were just that day in t'middle of selling off Mad Bagginses things. Well, Mad Baggins, bein' mad, got right furious, and he got red in the face and purple in the ears. He charged his ponies right up at the Sackville-Bagginses and the Dwarves. He knocked them down, ha! Then he jumped off o' his pony and climbed up on top o' his good dining table what was standing in the garden, and he yelled, "This is my things, all youbodies! And I'm not dead, I'm very much alive, and I won't have these Sackville-Bagginses, or these un-faithful Dwarves tell you on different! So get, get all of you, or I'll knock you down with that Gandalf's staff!" Gandalf came over and handed Mad Baggins his staff, and Mad Baggins stepped off the table and prepared hisself to swing at anybody would gave him any tosh.
'But everybody knowed Mad Baggins was mad, and they see'd the fairness of not selling off his things when he was still alive for them, so they left. Mad Baggins walked over to the Sackville-Bagginses and lifted the staff over his head. The Sackville-Bagginses all screamed and and scuttled out o' there as fast as they could go. Some say as how that Lobelia didn't move, and how Mad Baggins cracked her one over the head, but I'm not sayin' that. I do say though, that she stopped and took some o' Mad Bagginses silver spoons before she ran out. Then Mad Baggins turned on them Dwarves, and he gave it to 'em right and proper. Wham, wham! He got at them with that Gandalf's staff until they run off screaming their poor bruised heads off.
'So it all worked out rather well. Mad Baggins settled down in his hole again. He pulled all of his things back in and invited that Gandalf in for tea, which shows how mad he really was. That Gandalf took his staff back, and he asked for one lump of sugar in his tea. Then he says to Mad Baggins, he says, "Mad Baggins, you're a very strong handed fellow, but you are very small after all."
'And Mad Baggins said, "Thank goodness for that!"'

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