Study Guide

The Fellowship of the Ring Book 1, Chapter 4

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Book 1, Chapter 4

A Short Cut to Mushrooms

  • The next morning, Pippin quizzes Frodo about his discussion with Gildor, but Frodo won't reveal anything.
  • He doesn't want to get Pippin involved in this dangerous business; he doesn't even want to take Sam.
  • Frodo warns Sam again: "Most likely neither of us come back" (1.4.21).
  • Sam absolutely refuses to desert Frodo, no matter what. Also, he's thrilled that he has seen Elves at last. He remarks that they are "so old and young, and so gay and sad, as it were" (1.4.26).
  • Frodo is surprised at how much Sam has changed even in this short time.
  • Now that Sam has seen the Elves, he understands a little bit more about what's to come.
  • Sam knows the road will be long and dark, but he also knows that his fate no longer lies in the Shire.
  • So Frodo and Sam call Pippin and set out once more.
  • They decide to cut across the forest to make more directly for Bucklebury Ferry, which will bring them across the Brandywine River.
  • They see a Black Rider nosing around behind them on a high ridge, so they know they have to keep going forward as quickly as possible. Being followed is creepy.
  • Eventually, they stop for lunch.
  • They have a nice sing-a-long (!), interrupted by "a long-drawn wail" and then "another cry, fainter and further off" (1.4.54).
  • They shoulder their packs and continue on quietly, finally reaching a plowed field. Pippin recognizes the field: this farm belongs to Farmer Maggot.
  • Frodo is a little nervous: when he was a little Hobbit, Farmer Maggot chased Frodo off his land with his dogs for trying to steal the farmer's mushrooms.
  • But Pippin encourages Frodo to go to Farmer Maggot's house. As they open the gate, three giant dogs come pelting out, but the farmer calls them back.
  • He recognizes Pippin, and when Frodo introduces himself, Farmer Maggot looks at him keenly.
  • In fact, he recognizes Frodo's name because he has had a visitor: "a funny customer asking funny questions" (1.4.74).
  • Farmer Maggot invites the three Hobbits inside.
  • It turns out that he does recognize Frodo, but he also remembers the name because he just had this big fellow come and ask about Bagginses.
  • The fellow had offered Farmer Maggot gold for information about Frodo.
  • Farmer Maggot refused, and sent the Black Rider off his land. He thinks that the man was after Bilbo's treasure, that there is something in Bilbo's inheritance that is drawing the Big Folk to Hobbiton.
  • Frodo thanks Farmer Maggot for the warning but says he has to be on his way.
  • Farmer Maggot offers to drive the three Hobbits to Bucklebury Ferry in his wagon.
  • A thick fog falls over this wagon ride, and a stranger appears out of the fog and shouts, "I want Mr. Baggins. Have you seen him?" (1.4.114).
  • Luckily, it's Merry Brandybuck. Frodo, Sam, and Pippin greet him gladly.
  • Farmer Maggot sends them off with a parting gift: a basket of mushrooms to Frodo, with the farmer's wife's compliments. Cute.

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