An attempt at a short and simple story about a Hobbit at home.
Bilbo Baggins woke with a start. He felt warm, comfortable and very soft in his small bed fit for a hobbit. For a moment he mellowed in his bed, blinking lazily at the ceiling, contemplating further sleep. It was then that he heard it. A rat-tat that made him leap from his bed ever so quickly, and focus his attention on the small round window embedded in the wall. For a moment he blinked stupidly, for the morning sun was producing through, blinding him.
A very small blue bird, much smaller than him, sat chirping on the window sill. Every now and then it pecked pointedly at the glass, almost seeking entry. Bilbo stood staring at it, both bewildered with the peculiar behaviour and quite annoyed that his peaceful sleep was interrupted by such rudeness. It was several moments before he regathered himself and brought himself up to full height.
‘Shoo!’ he spat, brandishing his arms.
But the small bird scarcely flinched; indeed, it seemed to bounce up and down, almost egging the hobbit to do it again for its own entertainment. But this merely made Bilbo angrier if that was at all possible. He looked around aimlessly for some type of device or weapon to use to scare the bird away, just now thinking that the scarecrow in his vegetable patch should have done the job for him already.
Though he reminded himself, a scarecrow usually dealt with birds attempting to eat his cabbages, not the birds destined to ruin his morning lie in.
He picked up an old walking stick he had broken on one of his journeys to the other side of The Hill and rat-tatted it against the glass in an attempt to scare the bird. But alas, this merely made things worse. The small bird repeated his tapping identically with his beak and this really bothered poor Bilbo.
“I’m getting too old for this,” he thought to himself hastily, as he attempt to thrash the stick wildly around.
The bird chirped even louder, forcing Bilbo to instinctively clamp his hands over his ears. Unfortunately, the hand carrying the old walking stick had not dropped it in order to perform this, and as a result he smacked himself in the forehead.
And did Bilbo ever make a racket.
He swore very loudly and very often. He struggled to his feet, rubbing the small round bump forming there. If ever Bilbo wanted to scare off unwanted company, all the commotion, and all the noise he had just made, would have sent even large giants fleeing. But I’m afraid to say, the small petite blue bird remained sat, perfectly still, staring, and in the same spot as before.
‘Why won’t you just go away?’ Bilbo questioned it.
He might as well have been talking to the wall for all the answer he got out of it. The bird merely chirped loudly as ever.
“I give up,” he thought to himself, finally dropping the walking stick and rubbing his forehead.
He figured, as he was already awake, and as it seemed like fate had it he would not be returning to sleep, he sought out something else to do. Gladly leaving the pesky blue bird sitting staring at him through his bedroom window, he made his way through to the kitchen to make breakfast. He thought bacon and eggs was just right for the occasion, and would surely go a long way in reasserting his composure.
So he bustled about, whistling happily to himself, prepared to leave the forgettable morning behind him. And poor Bilbo, ever trusting he was, his mind went into auto pilot when he was cooking, and at some stage in the process he absent-mindedly opened wide the kitchen window, allowing the morning sun to spread warmth throughout the room.
It was of course not until it was too late that he caught himself, hovered over the bench, his face fallen as his ears suddenly filled with the sound of loud whistling. He stood frozen in disbelief. He wondered, hoped, maybe, that it was merely the kettle. But he could see the stove in his peripheral vision, and it was definitely not the kettle. Which means it must be... it had to be.
Bilbo prayed that if he stood still, did nothing, that the problem would resolve itself, it would go away. But the thing about the troubles you want to disappear is that they have a habit of hanging around like a bad smell. The whistling grew much louder, and ever annoying.
And Bilbo had to resolve himself to the fact that what he was hearing was chirping, not whistling, and that the damned bird had taken upon itself the opportunity to flutter in through the opened window and sit comfortably on the sink – or at least as comfortably as a bird could sit on a sink.
Bilbo feared that if he did not react soon, his breakfast might burn. And for any hobbit, that would be far too much of a price to pay for any silly little quarrel he or she may have with a silly bird.
Therefore he was forced to play his cards first.
Bilbo turned and glanced across the kitchen, and sure enough the bird sat there, chirping at him, basking in his success of finally entering the hobbits seemingly forsaken house. If he had not had such a built up of rage for the bird, Bilbo might have thought of it as cute, but all he saw today was a pesky, nosy, annoying little bird that had every right in his mind to accidentally slip into the vegetable gurgler beneath where it sat.
‘Gerrof!’ Bilbo darted here and there, waving his arms, stepping up on his tiptoes, attempting to get as tall as possible (he managed about five feet with his arms outstretched at their fullest).
But there the bird continued to sit: undeterred, unafraid, unflinching, undiscouraged, undismayed and undeniably brave. Bilbo was unable to comprehend what this bird wanted, or what it gained from seeking out his company. He gave the bird and menacing glare that would scarcely fathom a baby, and returned to his breakfast. If he wasted any more precious time on the silly bird, he would almost miss second breakfast.
So he cooked, prepared, and sat down to eat breakfast, all under the ever watchful eye of the blue bird. It chirped and sang all through his eating, and neither made a grab for what Bilbo was eating nor made any movements at all.
It was at that point that Bilbo first felt somewhat foolish of his earlier actions. He had not stopped to think the bird had merely wanted company, and nothing else. Yet still it made little sense – undoubtedly The Valley was abundantly full of very similar, and most probably far less annoying little blue birds like this little fella. So then why wasn’t he out there making company with them? Did they, like Bilbo, find him incredibly annoying, and have therefore banished him to The Hill instead? Leaving poor Bilbo to deal with him.
It was probable. But then if it was true, Bilbo felt somewhat sorry for the little bird. Now he felt quite guilty at all the yelling and sudden movements he had done since he woke with a start, and he hadn’t given the little bird a chance, for maybe he had an adventure to tell.
But that, I’m afraid, is for another time. For just as Bilbo had proposed this question to himself, and was about to query this out loud, the small blue bird suddenly began to chirp very loudly. And then it stopped, as if it had a frog in its throat. The small bird chortled and spat and swallowed until finally it opened its beak wide, spread its wings and said – yes said – very loudly and clearly, ‘Bilbo?’
Well poor little Bilbo was very much shocked. The hobbit did a double take, and nearly fell over his own fat feet. He stared wildly at the blue bird in amazement: was he hallucinating, or had that bird just said his name?
There it was again. This time in a much more low dulcet tone. It was strange, and very silly to think, but Bilbo was sure he recognised that voice somewhere.
‘Bilbo Baggins will you wake?!’
Bilbo suddenly sat up.
Confused and blinking up at the new light, it took him several moments to realise he wasn’t in his kitchen anymore. In fact, he was very far from it – tall, strange mountains surrounded him, he was accompanied by a group who had most definitely not been with him in his hobbit hole. And what was more his stomach was grumbling, indicating he had not had breakfast despite recalling he had just done so.
It was all very strange.
Stranger still was that a tall man was standing over him, in a long white cloak and holding a long stick. Gandalf the Gray looked somewhat angry, as if he had been attempting to wake Bilbo for a very long time.
‘Just a dream,’ Bilbo muttered.
‘What was just a dream?’ Gandalf asked.
‘Oh,’ Bilbo blinked, ‘nothing.’
‘A nothing dream was it?’ Gandalf smirked but asked no more. ‘Come, we have many miles to walk today. It’s best if we get an early start. Breakfast might be skipped.’
Bilbo lay back down. His head was spinning.
He’d rather have breakfast accompanied by an annoying blue bird than have none at all.