«And can you cook them?» said Tom.
«You can try,» said Bert.
«But he is so small!» said William.
«Perhaps there are more like him nearby, and we can make a pie,» said Bert. «Are there any more of your sort in these woods?» said he looking at Bilbo.
«Yes, lots,» said Bilbo, before he remembered not to give his friends away. «No, none at all, not one,» he said at once.
«What do you mean?» said Bert.
«Please don’t cook me, kind sirs! I am a good cook myself. I’ll cook beautifully for you, a perfectly beautiful breakfast for you, if only you won’t have me for supper.»
«Poor little thing! Let him go!» said William.
«But first let him explain ‘lots and none at all’,» said Tom. «I don’t want anyone cut my throat in my sleep. Hold his toes in the fire, till he talks!»
«No!» said William. «I caught him anyway.»
«You’re a fat fool, William,» said Bert, and the trolls started fighting.
Right in the middle of the fight Balin came up. The dwarves had heard noises from a distance, and after waiting for some time, they started to creep towards the light as quietly as they could. But as soon as Tom saw Balin, he gave an awful cry. Trolls simply hate dwarves (uncooked). Bert and Bill stopped fighting at once, and quickly put a sack over Balin’s head.
Soon other dwarves appeared and all of them got into sacks. Bilbo was lying under a bush, not moving.
Just then Gandalf came back. But no one saw him. The trolls had just decided to roast the dwarves now and eat them later.
«That’s not a good idea,» said a voice. Bert thought it was William’s.
«Don’t start the argument, Bill,» he said, «or it will take all night.»
«Who’s a-arguing?» said William, who thought it was Bert that had spoken.
«You are,» said Bert.
«You’re a liar,» said William; and so the argument started. Soon the trolls started fighting.
«Now stop it!» said Tom and Bert together. «The dawn comes early!»
«At dawn you will turn into stone!» said a voice that sounded like William’s. But it wasn’t. Just at that moment the light came over the hill. William never spoke because he stood turned to stone; and Bert and Tom also turned into stones as they looked at him. And there they stand to this day; for trolls, as you probably know, must be underground before dawn, or they turn into stone and never move again. That is what had happened to Bert and Tom and William.
«Excellent!» said Gandalf, as he stepped from behind a tree, and helped Bilbo up.
Then they untied the sacks and let out the dwarves.
«Don’t waste our time now. The trolls must have a cave or a hole somewhere nearby. We must look into it!»
They searched about, and soon found the marks of trolls’ stony boots going away through the trees. They followed the tracks up the hill, until they came on a big door of stone leading to a cave. But they could not open it, not though they all pushed while Gandalf tried various spells.
When they were getting tired and angry, Bilbo asked, «Will this key help? I found it on the ground where the trolls had their fight.» He showed a large key. Perhaps it had fallen out of William’s pocket, very luckily, before he turned into stone.
Gandalf grabbed the key and put it into the key-hole. Then the stone door opened, and they all went inside. There were bones on the floor and a horrible smell was in the air; but there was a lot of food on shelves and on the ground, and in the corner there were many pots full of gold coins. On the walls there were several swords of various shapes and sizes. Two of them were really beautiful. Gandalf and Thorin each took one of these; and Bilbo took a knife in a leather sheath.
«Let’s get out of this horrible smell!» said Fili. So they carried out the pots of coins and the food, also one barrel of ale which was still full. Now they had bread and cheese, and plenty of ale, and bacon to toast. After that they slept, and they did nothing more till the afternoon. Then they brought up their ponies, and carried away the pots of gold, and buried them very secretly not far from the track by the river, putting very many spells over them, just in case they had the chance to come back and pick them up. When that was done, they all went on towards the East.