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A Knife in the Dark

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A Knife in the Dark is the eleventh chapter of the first book in The Fellowship of the Ring.


Back at Frodo's new "home" in Crickhollow, Black Riders accost Fatty Bolger. Fatty escapes and the horn call of Buck is blown, announcing the invasion. The Black Riders flee, but now they know that Frodo and the ring are not there.

Meanwhile, at the Prancing Pony, Strider discovers that the Hobbit rooms have been broken into and the rooms have been ransacked. All the horses have been stolen from the stables and the Hobbits have no means by which to travel, except for one pony.

The Hobbits load the pony with supplies and set off, creating a stir in Breeland. Their journey begins on the road and continues along paths and woods through bogs and marshes. By the sixth day, they are almost near the place they have been hoping to meet Gandalf, who left a sign scratched on a stone signifying that he was there three days back.

Sam and Pippin find traces of a recent and hasty camping site on the mountaintop. It could have been left by rangers or perhaps by Gandalf. Strider is concerned that it was a mistake for the Hobbits to stay on the mountaintop, because Black Riders can smell the blood of living things. The crusaders make a fire, beside which they sit listening to stories of Elves and Gil-Galad the Elven King and other tales of Middle-earth.

The Hobbits notice strange shadows and they realize that the enemy is approaching. Frodo gives in to the desperation of wearing the Ring and as soon as he does he sees the riders clearly. There are five of them, one wearing a crown. Though Frodo is invisible, that Black Rider springs forward with his knife. Frodo manages to strike at the enemy's feet but is himself injured in the shoulder. He manages to slip the Ring off his finger before losing consciousness.