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Back-to-Middle-earth-month, prompt #12
How would you define innocence? Write down at least three words or phrases that represent innocence for you.
Here are three phrases that occured to me:
Lack of experience of the wider world; belief that life will remain the same; trusting to others to have the same values as your own.
Gandalf stood outside the tent, puffing on his pipe and listening to the conversation within.
He heard the voice of Thranduil: “Bilbo Baggins! You are more worthy to wear the armour of elf-princes than many that have looked more comely in it. But I wonder if Thorin Oakenshield will see it so. I have more knowledge of dwarves in general than you have perhaps. I advise you to remain with us, and here you shall be honoured and thrice welcomed.”
"Thank you very much",
"Thank you very much",was the courteous response. “But I don’t think I ought to leave my friends like this, after all we have gone through together. And I promised to wake old Bombur at midnight, too! Really I must be going, and quickly.”
Gandalf chuckled at the sound of hobbity politeness, and as the details of Bilbo’s escort were arranged, he moved from his listening post to a spot further out in the camp.
He had known, somehow, that Bilbo was the right hobbit for the job. Outwardly, the hobbit might appear all staid Baggins. But Gandalf had known from the start that Bilbo took far more after his grandfather Gerontius, the Old Took, than was apparent to the eye.
He was very pleased with this outcome. As Bilbo approached, he clapped him on the shoulder, and said “Well done, Mr. Baggins! There is always more about you than anyone expected!”
The look of amazed joy on Bilbo’s face at the sight of the wizard warmed Gandalf’s heart. But there was no time for a reunion now, and he stopped Bilbo’s spate of questions before it began. “All in good time! Things are drawing towards the end now, unless I am mistaken. There is an unpleasant time just in front of you, but keep your heart up! You may come through all right! There is news brewing that even the ravens have not heard! Good night!”
He suffered Bilbo’s brief grasp of his hand, and then watched him scurry off with a quick “Good-bye”.
He stood, leaning on his staff and watching the small figure move out of the lights of the campfires as he was taken to the ford at the edge of the encampment.
Bilbo had been such an innocent little creature when he left the Shire, inexperienced in the ways of the Wide World, never realizing how different things might be, or how his life had changed. He still had grief ahead of him, and Gandalf sorrowed that he could not spare his friend that much. But he was glad to see that Bilbo’s trust that people would do the right thing was still intact. That bit of innocence, he thought, would be rewarded if all went well.
And if Bilbo was no longer quite so innocent as he had been on leaving the Shire, he had exchanged it for wisdom, that would serve him well.
Gandalf turned and went to seek out Thranduil and Bard, his own heart that much lighter for his encounter with Bilbo.
A/N: Quotations in italics are from The Hobbit, Chapter XVI, "A Thief in the Night"
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