Once upon a time (later) in a hole in the ground there lived
a hobbit. Not a nasty, slimy goblin hole filled broken goblin clutter and
the bones of former elves, nor yet a dry, rocky hole with the stench of giant
spider blowing through giant dusty spider webs: it was a hobbit hole, and while not
as well kept as when his uncle had lived there it still meant comfort.
One evening, some years after Bilbo left his then well kept hobbit hole, the wizard Gandalf dropped in unannounced and in a quite disheveled and anxious mood and demanded of the astonished hobbit, "Is it secret? Is it safe?"
"Why, dear old Gandalf, whatever do you mean?" Asked Frodo as he shuffled back from the round front door the wizard had just burst through so unannouncedly.
"The ring you idiot! Bilbo's funny magic ring, DO YOU STILL HAVE IT?"
"Why yes," Frodo answered nervously. "It's
here somewhere." And he made a great show of digging through piles of dirty laundry and
stacks of books all the while muttering, "NOW where did I put that blasted
thing," and eventually produced from his sock drawer a yellowed envelope that was
not unlike the envelope his uncle had left him long ago. Frodo was much
relieved when Gandalf tossed the envelope into the fire, for he hoped
beyond hope that the old wizard would not discover he pawned his uncles ring to pay
off some debts at the pony track and later replaced it with a cheap imitation.
Now Gandalf knew that Frodo had pawned the ring to none other that Ted Sandyman, who had given it to a cheap lady of ill-repute, who in turn let the ring fall out of her pocket while bent over a fence her skirts flung up over her head; after which the ring rolled down a stony path and plopped unceremoniously into the Brandywine, but the wizard knew he still had to make a good show of things because one never knows who might be listening at the window.
"Thank goodness!" Exclaimed the wizard, who was so relieved he never brought up Frodo's gambling problem, and the Ring was never seen in Middle Earth again.