The Hobbit - Chapter VI
OUT OF THE FRYING-PAN INTO THE FIRE
Narrator 6, Bilbo, Gandalf, All 13 Dwarves, Warg Chief, Warg 1, Warg 2, Eagle lord, Eagle 2, Eagle 3, Goblins 1 to 6. Props: Trees, Perch up high, Big wings and eagle talons, beaks, Wolf masks, tails
NARRATOR 6: Bilbo had escaped the goblins, but he did not know where he was. He had lost hood, cloak, food, pony, his buttons and his friends. He wandered on and on, till the sun began to sink westwards
BILBO: Good heavens! I seem to have got right to the other side of the Misty Mountains, right to the edge of the Land Beyond! Where and O where can Gandalf and the dwarves have got to? I only hope to goodness they are not still back there in the power of the goblins!
NARRATOR 6: He still wandered on, all the while a very uncomfortable thought was growing inside him — when he heard voices. He stopped and listened.It was Balin!
BILBO: I will give them all a surprise.
GANDALF: After all he is my friend, and not a bad little chap. I feel responsible for him. I wish to goodness you had not lost him.
DWALIN: Why was he brought at all?
OIN: Yes and why can he not stick to his friends and come along with us?
ORI: Exactly, and why Gandalf did you not choose someone with more sense?
GLOIN: He has been more trouble than use so far!
NORI: If we have got to go back now into those abominable tunnels to look for him, then drat him, I say.
GANDALF: I brought him, and I don’t bring things that are of no use. Either you help me to look for him, or I go and leave you here to get out of the mess as best you can yourselves. If we can only find him again, you will thank me before all is over. Why did you lose him, Dori?
DORI: You would have lost him, if a goblin had suddenly grabbed your legs from behind in the dark, tripped up your feet, and kicked you in the back!
GANDALF: Then why didn’t you pick him up again?
DORI: Good heavens! How can you ask! Goblins fighting and biting in the dark, everybody falling over bodies and hitting one another! You nearly chopped off my head with Glamdring, and Thorin was stabbing here there and everywhere with Orcrist. You shouted ‘follow me everybody!’ and everybody ought to have followed.
BILBO: And here’s the burglar!
NARRATOR 6: Bless me, how they jumped! Then they shouted with surprise and delight. Gandalf was as astonished as any of them, but probably more pleased than all the others.
GANDALF: Balin – you are not much of a look-out man are you if you let people walk right in without warning.
BALIN: Well, it is the first time that even a mouse has crept along under my very nose and not been spotted, and I take off my hood to you. Balin at your service.
BILBO: Your servant, Mr. Baggins.
BIFUR: We want to know all about your adventures Bilbo!
NARRATOR 6: And he sat down and told them everything — except about the finding of the ring (“not just now” he thought). They were particularly interested in the riddle-competition,and shuddered most appreciatively at his description of Gollum.
BILBO: And then I couldn’t think of any other question with Gollum sitting beside me, so I said ‘what’s in my pocket?’ And it couldn’t guess in three goes. So I said: ‘what about your promise? Show me the way out! ’ But it came at me to kill me, and I ran, and fell over in the dark. Then I followed it to the gate.
BOMBUR: What about the guards? Weren’t there any?
BILBO: O yes! lots of them; but I dodged ’em — and here I am.
NARRATOR 6: The dwarves looked at him with quite a new respect.
GANDALF: What did I tell you? Mr. Baggins has more about him than you guess.
NARRATOR 6: He gave Bilbo a queer look from under his bushy eyebrows, as he said this, and the hobbit wondered if he guessed at the part of his tale that he had left out. Then Bilbo had questions of his own to ask.
GANDALF: A very ticklish business, it was. Touch and go! We must be getting on at once, now we are a little rested. They will be out after us in hundreds when night comes on; and already shadows are lengthening. You lose track of time inside goblin-tunnels. Today’s Thursday, and it was Monday night or Tuesday morning that we were captured. We have gone miles and miles, and come right down through the heart of the mountains. Let’s get on!
BILBO: I am dreadfully hungry!
GANDALF: Can’t help it, unless you like to go back and ask the goblins nicely to let you have your pony back and your luggage.
BILBO: No thank you!
GANDALF: Very well then, we must just tighten our belts and trudge on — or we shall be made into supper, and that will be much worse than having none ourselves.
NARRATOR 6: As they went on Bilbo looked from side to side for something to eat; The forest-gloom got heavier and the forest-silence deeper. There was no wind that evening to bring even a sea-sighing into the branches of the trees.
BILBO: Must we go any further? My toes are all bruised and bent, and my legs ache, and my stomach is wagging like an empty sack.
GANDALF: A bit further.
KILI: Ah an opening where no trees grow. The moon is up and shining into it!
FILI: Somehow this does not strike me as a nice place, although there is nothing wrong to see.
NARRATOR 6: All of a sudden they heard howls - It was wolves howling at the moon, wolves gathering together! To hear this out in the forest under the moon was too much for Bilbo. Even magic rings are not much use against wolves — especially against the evil packs that lived under the shadow of the goblin-infested mountains.
BILBO: What shall we do, what shall we do! Escaping goblins to be caught by wolves!
NARRATOR 6: And it became a proverb, though we now say “out of the frying-pan into the fire” in the same sort of uncomfortable situations.
GANDALF: Up the trees quick!
NARRATOR 6: Bilbo could not get into any tree, and was scuttling about from trunk to trunk, like a rabbit that has lost its hole and has a dog after it.
NORI: You’ve left the burglar behind again!
DORI: I can’t be always be responsible for burglars - down tunnels and up trees! What do you think I am? A porter?
THORIN: He’ll be eaten if we don’t do something. The howls are getting nearer and nearer. Dori be quick, and give Mr. Baggins a hand!
NARRATOR 6: Dori was really a decent fellow in spite of his grumbling. He actually climbed out of the tree and helped Bilbo scramble up. Just at that moment the wolves trotted howling into the clearing. Still Dori did not let Bilbo down. He waited till he had clambered into the branches, and then he jumped for the branches himself. Only just in time!
(A wolf snaps at his cloak as he swings up, and nearly gets him. In a minute there was a whole pack of them yelping around the tree.)
NARRATOR 6: But even the wild Wargs (for so the evil wolves over the Edge of the Wild were named) cannot climb trees. For a time they were safe. In middle was a great grey wolf. He spoke to them in the dreadful language of the Wargs. I will tell you what Gandalf heard, though Bilbo did not understand it.
Chief Warg: Welcome brothers and sister Wargs.
Wargs: Hail our mighty Chief!
Chief Warg: As you know, we Wargs and the goblins have often helped one another in certain deeds. In the days when they ventured to war, and used to go on raids to get food or slaves - it was we who assisted them.
Warg 1: Aye, I do remember and then we shared the plunder with them.
Warg 2: Yes yessss - sometimes they rode us wolves like men do horses.
Chief Warg: Well, we have an opportunity once again to work alongside the Goblins; A great goblin-raid had been planned for this very night. We have come here to meet the goblins but they seem to be late.
NARRATOR 6: The reason, no doubt, was the death of the Great Goblin, and all the excitement caused by the dwarves and Bilbo and the wizard, for whom they were probably still hunting.
CHIEF WARG: You see evil men have been building themselves places to live among the woods in the valleys and along the river-shores. We have planned with the goblins’ help to go by night upon some of the villages and kill them all, except a few that the goblins plan to carry back as prisoners to their caves.
NARRATOR 6: This was dreadful talk to listen to, because of the brave woodmen and their wives and children, and the danger which now threatened Gandalf and his friends.
WARG 1:Who are these strange folk in the trees?
CHIEF WARG: Friends of the woodmen, come to spy on us, we shan’t let the people up the trees escape, at any rate not until morning.
WARG 2: And long before that, goblin soldiers will be coming down from the mountains; and goblins can climb trees, or cut them down.
GANDALF: I shall have to set one wolf alight.
NARRATOR 6: Then he set one alight with bright blue fire, and threw it whizzing down among the circle of the wolves. It struck one on the back, and immediately his shaggy coat caught fire, and he was leaping to and fro yelping horribly. A specially large flame hit the chief wolf on the nose, and she leaped in the air ten feet, and then rushed round and round the circle biting and snapping.
(The dwarves and Bilbo shout and cheer as the wolves flee)
LORD OF THE EAGLES: What is all this uproar in the forest tonight? I hear wolves’ voices! Are the goblins at mischief in the woods?
(He swept up into the air, and immediately two of his guards from the rocks at either hand leaped up to follow him. They circled up in the sky and looked down.)
Eagle 2: There appears to be a commotion among the wolves down below!
Eagle 3: And see flashes of fire, I hear howling and yelping!
LORD OF THE EAGLES: I see the glint of the moon on goblin spears and helmets, yes the wicked folk have crept from their gate and wound into the wood. We eagles of the ancient race of the northern mountains are the greatest of all birds;
Eagle 2: Our race is proud and strong and noble-hearted.
Eagle 3: We neither love goblins, nor fear them.
LORD OF THE EAGLES: We must however swoop on them and drive them shrieking back to their caves, so as to stop whatever wickedness they are doing.
NARRATOR 6: The goblins hated the eagles and feared them, but could not reach their lofty seats, nor drive them from the mountains.
LORD OF THE EAGLES: I am filled with curiosity to know what is afoot;
NARRATOR 6: The Lord of the Eagles got closer to see that the goblins were leaping and howling round the tree trunks, and cursing dwarves - the wolves were at a respectful distance, watching and waiting.
GOBLINS 1 & 2: Fifteen birds in five fir-trees, their feathers were fanned in a fiery breeze! But,
funny little birds, they had no wings! O what shall we do with the funny little things?
GOBLINS (ALL):Roast ’em alive, or stew them in a pot; fry them, boil them and eat them hot?
GOBLINS 3 & 4: Fly away little birds! Fly away if you can! Come down little birds, or you will get roasted in your nests! Sing, sing little birds! Why don’t you sing?
GANDALF: Go away! little boys!It isn’t bird-nesting time. Also naughty little boys that play with fire get punished.
GOBLINS 5 & 6: Burn, burn tree and fern! Shrivel and scorch! A fizzling torch To light the night for our delight, Ya hey!
GOBLINS (ALL):Bake and toast ’em, fry and roast ’em! till beards blaze, and eyes glaze; till hair smells and skins crack, fat melts, and bones black in cinders lie beneath the sky!
GOBLINS 1 & 2: So dwarves shall die, and light the night for our delight, Ya hey! Ya-harri-hey! Ya hoy!
NARRATOR 6: And with that Ya hoyl the flames were under Gandalf’ s tree. In a moment it spread to the others. The bark caught fire, the lower branches cracked. Then Gandalf climbed to the top of his tree. The sudden splendour flashed from his wand like lightning, as he got ready to spring down from on high right among the spears of the goblins. That would have been the end of him, though he would probably have killed many of them as he came hurtling down like a thunderbolt. But he never leaped. Just at that moment the Lord of the Eagles swept down from above, seized him in his talons, and was gone.
(Howl of anger and surprise from the goblins.)
NARRATOR 6: Back swept the great birds that were with him, and down they came like huge black shadows. The wolves yammered and gnashed their teeth; the goblins yelled and stamped with rage, and flung their heavy spears in the air in vain. Over them swooped the eagles; their talons tore at goblins. There was a sudden flurry of sparks and smoke. Bilbo had escaped with the eagles just in time!
After a long journey Bilbo fell with a gasp onto the rough platform of an eagle’s eyrie.
EAGLE 2: The Lord of the Eagles bids you to bring your prisoners to the Great Shelf.
NARRATOR 6: Very soon Bilbo was laid down, trembling with fear, on a wide shelf of rock on the mountain-side. There he found all the others sitting with their backs to the mountain wall. The Lord of the Eagles also was there and was speaking to Gandalf.
BILBO: It seem that we are not going to be eaten after all. Gandalf and the eagle-lord appear to know one another
EAGLE 3: So you see ‘prisoners’ means ‘prisoners rescued from the goblins’ only, and not our captives.
LORD OF THE EAGLES: We will help you Gandalf by flying you away from these Mountains and to the plains, but we cannot go near man. They would shoot at us with their great bows of yew, for they would think we were after their sheep. And at other times they would be right. No! we are glad to cheat the goblins of their sport, and glad to repay our thanks to you, but we will not risk ourselves.
GANDALF: Very well. Take us where and as far as you will! We are already deeply obliged to you. But in the meantime we are famished with hunger.
BILBO: I am nearly dead of it.
LORD OF THE EAGLES: That can perhaps be mended.
NARRATOR 6: So ended the adventures of the Misty Mountains. Soon Bilbo’s stomach was feeling full and comfortable again, and he felt he could sleep contentedly. But all night he dreamed of his own house and wandered in his sleep into all his different rooms looking for something that he could not find nor remember what it looked like.