Middle Earth ~ A Bilbo Story
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© 2010, Stephen Gilbert
It all started when little Tommy Longfurrow went missing!
Up until then only a few livestock had been nabbed; a baby lamb, a couple of free
grazing goats, a few chickens and a prize goose… the last snatched right out of the
mill pond below Crazy Acre Farm, if you please.
But this was serious.
There was no doubt in anybody's mind who… or rather, what… has taken the small
Hobbit child. The villagers of Old Windy Mile knew it was the Boogie Man. Tommy
Longfurrow had been grabbed from his bed and dragged kicking and screaming out of
his open window and into the cold and blustery night.
It was Lobelia Sackville Baggins of Bag End visiting her sister in Upper Windy Mile
who proposed mounting the search party. Bilbo Baggins no doubt, on one of his
regular excursions roaming some of the more wild and uncharted parts of the Shire,
his friend, Fatty Bolger… and three local Sheriffs, all agreed to join Lobelia in the
hunt for the missing child – in the morning, after the pale winter's sun came peeping
over the crest of Rangers Hill away off in the East. It was a well known fact that the
Boogie Man didn't come out once the sun has risen.
But Bilbo Baggins hadn't been idle during the night; and the second the commotion
had started, while the village folk were consoling the Longfurrows over little Tommy,
Bilbo had searched the fields immediately surrounding Crazy Acre Farm.
The farm was built to one side of the village, set back from the Mill House and village
pond. Quite visible to most the burrow dwellings of Old Windy Mile, but secluded
enough for anyone to whisk the child away before people could do anything about it.
Bilbo didn't believe in the Boogie Man. He was wise enough to know there were
enough strange and terrifying things in the world without having to invent more from
Then he discovered the footprints in the snow! Big , like a large dog's paw prints. A
wolf, driven down from the hills by hunger, no doubt? Strange, Bilbo hadn't heard of
wolves straying this far south in almost a life time of winters. But Bilbo reflected, this
cold February… although not particularly snowy… had been bitterly cold and cruel
none the less.
Yes, as he scouted around, he found a few more paw prints in the last remaining tufts
of snow. “That's lucky,” Bilbo thought, “in a few more days that snow would have
been gone altogether, and I`d never have noticed those prints leading up to… and
away from Tommy`s window.” He was right, of course, the new born sun was already
gathering strength and preparing to enthuse his waxing power upon the tired and
hungry land. In another day, or two, at the most, the snow prints would not have been
visible at all - even to a keen and searching eye.
“There`s more to this than meets the eye” Bilbo said to himself, “or I`m no Baggins.”