For those who have read my other tale, “A Young Hobbit’s Fancy”, you will recall that
Frodo spent much time writing a book while recovering from his illness. “The
Goblin Pit’ is the first of the tales from that book. Please remember that
this was written prior to the quest or any knowledge as to the true nature of
Bilbo’s ring. Frodo bases any knowledge of various creatures on the stories he
has learned from Bilbo. The Hobbits referred to the orcs as goblins and I have
therefore used this term in these tales.
Tales of a Wizard, Dwarves, Elves, Goblins, and other Assorted Creatures
By F. Baggins
For the Amusement and Delight
The Goblin Pit, I
The Goblin Master droned on and on. They had heard it all before: the fair elven folk, those of the race of men, those representing the Dwarrow people and last but not least, though perhaps in stature, were the Hobbits. These were the captives held in the dungeons of the region of Etelë Vanwa. The squat figure of the Goblin Master ruled with supreme authority and sought by every means possible to further his own evil plans to control Middle Earth. To his left but within the crowd stood the Second in Command who intimidated the captives with his chill gaze and the whip that hung by his side. There were other goblins scattered about in the crowd. They did as they were told and did it well amongst continual back-biting.
This was the third day of my captivity. I had been unconscious when they brought me here. This time they had crowded us into a hot pit from the look of it. I looked around to see if I recognized any others. The goblins made a habit of keeping their captives separated from those of their like kind. There over near the Second in Command, I see my cousins. They were trying to speak to each other and the lash was used on young Pippin. He did not cry out, but glared back defiantly. Merry looked as if he felt the lash every bit as much as Pippin. It had been his task to look after our younger cousin when we set out. I had promised to be responsible for them both. The light was not bright but I could see from where I stood that Pippin and Merry both bore other marks as did most of those around me, for the goblins delight in cruelty. My head still throbbed and as my hands were now free, I put my hand up cautiously to explore the painful area only to discover matted hair and a tender scalp. The movement earned me a flick of the whip and pitying glances from those around me.
The Goblin Master continued spouting his rules and regulations for the day as he had done the past two days and would do again the next day and the day after that. He had what can only be described as a cloudy tone to his voice making it difficult to listen to. He probably felt by repeating himself in such a monotonous, loud and long manner that his words would eventually sink in. They did to the extent that each of us felt the urge to survive. After what seemed like an eternity, he stopped speaking and stood quietly glaring at each of us in turn, defying any response other than mute acceptance. The Second in Command in turn glared at each of us and cracked the whip over our heads to symbolize his authority. We were then herded to our tasks which were assigned by race only for convenience sake in that each group was thought to be more adept at particular tasks. This was a blessing for in this way, I could at least make certain of Merry and Pippin’s whereabouts and know they were alive.
As we went to our tasks we were taken through long passageways. Each corridor held an armed guard. The passages converged in several centers; one housed the Second in Command with several of his minions, another held a cave troll. I later discovered that we were but one colony. A league closer to Etelë Vanwa, was another colony where the Goblin Master and his underlings as well as another cave troll were stationed.
I cannot rightfully say what each group was forced to do during the waking hours; one cannot say daylight as we were kept mainly underground. We all seem to have been involved either in some type of mining or weapon-making. The Hobbits, like the Dwarrow folk, being shorter in stature were consigned to the mines. When it came time to sleep for the night, if it was night, we were again separated: one of each race to a grouping hoping to emphasize our differences. This was one way in which the goblins sought to intimidate us and so to conquer our spirits. We quickly learned not to show any weakness for the weak were swiftly herded away from the rest. Goblins are not adverse to eating flesh other than animal.
We were forbidden to speak with one another, still camaraderie of sorts developed over time. We found a means of communicating with gestures and facial expressions. The living conditions were horrendous. We were housed in little alcoves off the passageway. There was little light, little space and nothing to stave off the chill of the dampness of the ground. The food that was rationed to us was very meager. The water we received was mercilessly little. There was absolutely no chance of maintaining cleanliness. Some of the captives were frightened, some were stoic, some were adversarial and some were complaisant. For myself, I am not certain to which category I fit probably a little of each. I only knew I did not want to die in that pit, nor did I want Merry and Pippin to suffer or linger there any longer than need be, and yet days passed. We needed to find a way out. Someone needed to find a way out. I needed to find a way out.