A Short Cut to Mushrooms
|The Fellowship of the Ring chapters|
A Short Cut to Mushrooms is the fourth chapter in the first book of The Fellowship of the Ring.
When the adventurous Hobbits get up in the morning, they find that the elves have already left, leaving breakfast for them. Frodo decides to take a short cut through the woods, in order to avoid the Black Riders on the road. They hear strange and frightening noises, and hurry along till they come to the farm of Farmer Maggot.
As a youngster, Frodo was caught many a times stealing mushrooms from these fields and he is afraid of Farmer Maggot and his dogs. His fear is eased when Maggot and the dogs greet them and offer assistance. Farmer Maggot tells the travelers that a stranger resembling the Black Rider has been asking questions about Frodo. Old Maggot advises Frodo not to get mixed up in these adventures, but he realizes that Frodo will not change his mind. He offers to drive them to the ferry.
After supper, the travelers set off in the thick fog. Along the road they encounter what appears to be a cloaked man atop a large horse. Assuming it is the Black Rider, they attempt to hide in the back of the wagon. The mysterious rider is in fact only Meriadoc "Merry" Brandybuck who has been on the road in search of the group. Farmer Maggot gives Frodo a basketful of mushrooms and bids them farewell.