Once upon a Shire morning, while he napped, after lunching,
In a little charming and shabby hole of forgotten hills–,
While he snored, soundly dreaming, suddenly there came a prancing,
As if some tiny little feet were running, running towards the forgotten hills.
“`Tis some little tweeny hobbit, passing by my little hole,
Only this, and nothing more.”
And the light and merry frolicking, of the little feet approaching,
Ticked him, filled him with cunning plots to rid the hobbit at the door;
So while his eyes still shut and dreary, he lay repeating,
“There’s no one home but an old hobbit napping,
A poor, old hobbit sleeping,
From his daily lunch receding.”
Long the little hobbit waiting, deciding if he should keep entreating,
Entreating an old hobbit napping, an old and tempered hobbit napping,
When suddenly he started squeaking, and the old hobbits’ sleep disturbing,
And the only words he kept repeating, with a squeak and tiny voice,
“Cousin Took, the pies were stolen, stolen from the pantry’s floor!”
Merely this and nothing more.
Back inside the hole waking, all thoughts of sleep have fading,
The old hobbit stumbled to the doorway muttering,
“Surely, this cannot be true. Surely, there is a mistake at it,
Let me see, then, what thereat is, or surely I will deplore,
Let my stomach be rewarded, for surely I will deplore,
‘Tis a mix-up and nothing more.
Open then he flung the door, when, with many a scurry and haste,
There stepped a rosy-cheeked hobbit, from the Brandywine Bridge and North,
Not a little patience had he, for urgent matters were at hand it seemed,
But, with air of feigned importance, perched upon the feathered bed,
Perched nimbly on the forsaken bed, stared at the hobbit smugly,
Perched and stared, and nothing more.
The cheeky hobbit amusing his cousin’s curiosity into scowling,
By the grave and urgent matter, of so many pies disappearing,
Snapped, “Well, do make haste, the clock is ticking, and all those pies disappearing,
You little Took disturbing, although the news be mistaking. Fool of a Took, wondering from the Northern Shore, indeed, be hasty, and declare this news mistaken!”
Piped up the hobbit, “Nevermore.”
Much he wondered this unruly hobbit and bared a moment thinking,
Though it’s answer much appalling–little truth could be so bold,
For he could not help admitting, that truly no young hobbit
Ever yet was oh so bold, to perch upon his forgotten bed,
Bolger or Boffin perched upon his silly bed,
With such truth as “Nevermore.”
But the tweeny hobbit, sitting silently, smugly, spoke only
That one word, as if the farthing of the Shire he did reveal,
With much boldness and perhaps a hint of coldness–
Till the old hobbit more than panicked, “Other pies have been taken,
By supper we will be mistaken, and the pies then will be eaten.”
Squeaked the young one “Nevermore.”
Once more panicked and stomachs stirring, by
News that woke the old hobbit snoozing,
“No denying,” said he, “this new farthing is indeed great.
Tell me, Took, what dire creature, what unhappy and hungry creature,
Who surely will end in disaster, misfortune will follow fast and follow
Was it orc, goblin, dwarf or ent? Was it man, or king, or barrow-weight?”
Smiled the hobbit, “Nevermore.”
Finally, though no more scowling, curiosity indulging,
The older Took grabbed stick and cloak, and hobbled over to hole and door.
Then, behind the bushes, faint chittering he stood hearing,
Fancy unto fancy, linking all the hinting,
When to his grim and astonishing surprise,
Four young hobbits hiding, hiding between the berry boughs.
This the old Took stood disbelieving, but no syllable expressing,
To the tiny, wary, creatures, cowering behind the useless bushes,
Cowering underneath the fiery gaze, which burned into their pattering hearts,
Behind the shameful bushes with the Took with stick in hand,
But the bushes cowering with the stick in hand.
Then, they thought, his face grew softer, kinder and bit more sweeter,
Maybe, they thought, he felt some pity, surely from deep his heart he relented.
“Come,” He laughed, “Inside with you lot! For surely you are hungry,
Relieve, relieve yourself and come inside and do not repent it!
Nay, be merry, indeed, be merry on this event, and do not repent it!”
“We must away! We must away! Indeed, we must not delay.
For we all naught but innocents, and middle in this fray,
Innocent, yet blamable, in this matter quite red-handed!
Let us away, let us away, we have naught time for delay!”
And the Took, still is smiling, still with stick in hand deciding,
And his eyes have all the gleaming, of an orc’s that is dreaming
Picks up each hobbit screeching, with each furry-footed tweeny screeching,
Into his hole smiling,
And replying, “Nevermore.”