hobbit chapter 29


«Come!» called Gandalf. «There is yet time for council. Let Dain son of Nain come swiftly to us!»

So began a battle that none had expected; and it was called the Battle of Five Armies, and it was very terrible. Upon one side were the Goblins and the wild Wolves, and upon the other were Elves and Men and Dwarves.

Gandalf together with the Elvenking, Bard, and Dain realized that the Goblins were the foes of all, and at their coming all other quarrels were forgotten. Now it was necessary to lure the goblins into the valley between the arms of the Mountain.

Soon the bat-cloud came, flying lower, and whirled above them.

«To the Mountain!» called Bard. «To the Mountain! Let us take our places while there is yet time!»

On the Southern spur the Elves were set; on the Eastern spur were men and dwarves. But Bard and some of the nimblest of men and elves climbed to the height of the Eastern shoulder to get a view to the North. Soon they could see the lands before the Mountain’s feet black with a hurrying mass. Soon the goblin army rushed into Dale. Their banners were countless, black and red.

It was a terrible battle, and it was the most dreadful of all Bilbo’s experiences. Actually I must say he put on his ring and vanished from sight. But a magic ring is not a complete protection in a battle, it can’t stop flying arrows and wild spears; but it helps in getting out of the way.

The elves were the first to attack the goblin army. Their hatred for the goblins is cold and bitter. As soon as their enemies were in the valley, they sent against them a shower of arrows and spears. Then with cries of «Moria!» and «Dain, Dain!» the dwarves of the Iron Hills attacked the goblins; and beside them came the men of the Lake with long swords. Panic came upon the goblins. Already many of them were flying back down the river to escape from the trap. Just then another big group of goblins appeared from the other side of the Mountain and already many of them were on the slopes above the Gate. The goblins gathered again in the valley.

Soon actual darkness was coming into a stormy sky; while still the great bats whirled about the heads and ears of elves and men. Now Bard was fighting to defend the Eastern spur; and the elf-lords were at bay about their king upon the southern arm. Suddenly there was a great shout, and from the Gate came a trumpet call. They had forgotten Thorin! Part of the wall fell outward with a crash into the pool. The King under the Mountain leaped out, and his companions followed him. They were in shining armour. Then the goblins who were higher on the Mountain started dropping stones onto them.

Thorin brandished his axe with mighty strokes.

«To me! To me! Elves and Men! To me!» he cried.

Down rushed all the dwarves of Dain to his help. Down too came many of the Lake-men, for Bard could not restrain them; and out upon the other side came many of the spearmen of the elves. Once again the goblins were stricken in the valley. But soon the attackers were attacked again.

On all this Bilbo looked with sadness from Ravenhill. He was among the elves because he preferred to defend the Elvenking. Gandalf, too, was there, sitting on the ground, preparing, I suppose, some last blast of magic before the end. «It will be soon,» thought Bilbo. But suddenly he gave a great cry: he had seen a sight that made his heart leap.

«The Eagles! The Eagles!» he shouted. «The Eagles are coming!» Bilbo’s eyes were seldom wrong. The eagles were coming line after line, and there were a lot of them.

«The Eagles! The Eagles!» Bilbo cried, dancing and waving his arms. If the elves could not see him they could hear him.

«The Eagles!» cried Bilbo once more, but at that moment a stone hit him on the head and he fell with a crash.


next page