The Hobbit, or, There and Back Again
I suppose hobbits need some description nowadays, since they have become rare and shy of the Big People, as they call us. They are (or were) a little people, about half our height, and smaller than the bearded dwarves. Hobbits have no beards. There is little or no magic about them except the ordinary everyday sort which helps them to disappear quietly and quickly when large stupid folk like you and me come blundering along, making a noise like elephants which they can hear a mile off. (1.4)
Long ago in my grandfather Thror's time our family was driven out of the far North, and came back with all their wealth and their tools to this Mountain on the map. It had been discovered by my far ancestor, Thrain the Old, but now they mined and they tunneled and they made huger halls and greater workshops – and in addition I believe they found a good deal of gold and a great many jewels too [...] So my grandfather's hall became full of armour and jewels and carvings and cups, and the toy market of Dale was the wonder of the North.
Undoubtedly that was what brought the dragon. Dragons steal gold and jewels, you know, from men and elves and dwarves, wherever they can find them; and they guard their plunder as long as they live (which is practically for ever, unless they are killed), and never enjoy a brass ring of it. Indeed they hardly know a good bit of work from a bad, though they usually have a good notion of current market value. (1.122-3)
But at any rate hobbits can move quietly in woods, absolutely quietly. They take pride in it, and Bilbo had sniffed more than once at what he called "all this dwarvish racket" as they went along, though I don't suppose you or I would have noticed anything at all on a windy night, not if the whole cavalcade had passed two feet off. (2.37)