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The Hobbit, or, There and Back Again
by J.R.R. Tolkien
The Hobbit, or, There and Back Again Chapter 9 Summary How It All Goes Down
Barrels Out of Bond Bilbo and the dwarves find themselves lost in the forest with no food or water. So they immediately surrender when the Wood-elves surround them. Bilbo slips on his ring and follows the dwarves to see where they are being led. The elves bring the dwarves to the halls of the Elvenking. The Elvenking informs the dwarves that, "It is a crime to wander in my realm without leave." He throws the dwarves into his dungeon until they agree to tell the king why they have come to Mirkwood. Bilbo sneaks around, "miserably burgling the same house day after day" (9.12). Bilbo tracks down all of the dwarves' cells, and he manages to get word to Thorin that all of the other dwarves are alive and imprisoned by the elves. Bilbo also finds out that there's another way out of the Elvenking's palace besides the front door. There is also a water gate where the elves send their empty wine barrels down to Long Lake, to be filled up by the men of Lake-town (a.k.a. Esgaroth). Bilbo waits until the night when there's a great feast and most of the servants are busy. The chief of the guards gets drunk on party wine and Bilbo sneaks his keys. Bilbo quietly brings all of the dwarves to the pier and packs them into individual wine barrels. He then waits for the next morning, when the hung-over butler instructs his servants to toss the "empty" barrels into the river. The barrels (containing one dwarf apiece) bob down the river to Lake-town. Bilbo jumps onto the last barrel and bobs along with them. Some elves on a raft fish the barrels onto a raft and row them downstream.
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