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Flies and Spiders

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The Hobbit chapters
  1. An Unexpected Party
  2. Roast Mutton
  3. A Short Rest
  4. Over Hill and Under Hill
  5. Riddles in the Dark
  6. Out of the Frying-Pan into the Fire
  7. Queer Lodgings
  8. Flies and Spiders
  9. Barrels Out of Bond
  10. A Warm Welcome
  11. On the Doorstep
  12. Inside Information
  13. Not at Home
  14. Fire and Water
  15. The Gathering of the Clouds
  16. A Thief in the Night
  17. The Clouds Burst
  18. The Return Journey
  19. The Last Stage

Flies and Spiders is the 8th chapter of The Hobbit.


The route covered in the chapter. From the Forest Gate to the Enchanted River and Thranduil's halls.

Bilbo and Thorin and Company enter Mirkwood[1] following the Elf-path. The Forest Gate was like an arch leading into a gloomy tunnel made by two great old trees with a few blackened leaves leaning together, strangled with ivy and lichen.

The path was narrow and wound in and out among the trunks. Inside the forest the quiet was deep and all the trees leaned over the dwarves forming a sort of darkened green glimmer around them. Occasionally a thin sunbeam slipped in through some opening or tangled boughs and matted twigs. There were black squirrels and dark dense cobwebs with thick threads often stretched from tree to tree, or tangled in the lower branches on either side. For some unexplained reason, there were none stretched across the path. There was no movement of air under the roof, and it was still, dark and stuffy even for the dwarves.

In the nights it then became pitch-dark except for pairs of yellow, red or green eyes appearing and fading. The dwarves slept all closely huddled together with watchers in turn. They had tried lighting watch-fires, but it seemed to bring hundreds of eyes and thousands of big dark-grey and black moths or huge bats

Bilbo was hungry, as they were extremely careful with their provisions, but days after days, the food was beginning to get low. They wasted many arrows shooting at the squirrels, before they managed to bring one down only to find that it had horrible taste. They were thirsty too when one day they found their path blocked by a gloomy stream, the Enchanted River Beorn had warned them about; so they did not drink from it but only took with their emptied skins.

There had been a wooden bridge across, but it had rotted only the broken posts were left, but Bilbo, who had the best sight, noted a black little boat against the far bank. Fíli, who was the youngest and with the best sight, threw an iron hook (for catching the packs to the straps about their shoulders) according to Bilbo's instructions. It caught but Fíli pulled in vain since the boat was tied. Kíli, Óin and Glóin came to his help until suddenly they all fell over on their backs. Bilbo and Balin stopped and seized the boat before it floated off down the current.

Thorin, Bilbo, Fíli and Balin went across the river first by using another rope and hook to pull the boat back across. As they were crossing, Bombur fell in the river. The rest of the company made it safely across, but they were stuck carrying Bombur.

"...there is much else that may be told." — Glóin
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  1. The date is July 18 or 19 of T.A. 2941