The following is a list of sections that I have documented; those updated on and after 2018/06/12 I will try and keep the last updated date on for easier viewing what's new but I will not promise to be 100% of it.

* Introduction

Skip to the first section here.

The histories are complex from decades of work on Tolkien's part. Many people would find it dry and difficult to read but some of these people would still be fascinated to learn a bit on the way his Legendarium developed along with bits of etymology etc. In this document I try focusing on the history of just The Lord of the Rings; in my other documents I try focusing on the relevant parts. There will be some overlap but I will try specifying this. Although I do not expect many to read this or maybe even encounter it I do hope that those who do enjoy reading it as much as I do working on it and studying more the Legendarium. It's possible that there are inconsistencies and this isn't only because Tolkien had varying drafts and thoughts at different times but also because I am human and far from perfect.

  • TS: The Silmarillion
  • TH: The Hobbit
  • LR: The Lord of the Rings
  • FR: The Fellowship of the Ring
  • TT: The Two Towers
  • RK: The Return of the King
  • RS: The Return of the Shadow [The History of Middle-earth VI]
  • TI: The Treason of Isengard [The History of Middle Earth Book VII]
  • : The universe created by Eru Ilúvatar
  • Arda: The world
  • Ainu (p.l. Ainur): The Holy Ones; beings that Eru Ilúvatar created
  • Vala (p.l. Valar): The Powers of the World (Arda)
  • Maia (p.l. Maiar): Spirits who helped the Valar in Arda
  • Dwarrows: The historically accurate plural of Dwarf. I discuss this a bit more in my commentary on the History of Middle-earth.
  • Balrog: Maiar corrupted by Melko -> Melkor -> Morgoth; they were his most formidable servants. Although there were at one point considered to be many or unspecified amount Tolkien would later specify that there were very few, perhaps no more than 7 (the number might be off but it was less than 10 for sure). In The War of the Wrath (First Age) at least one escaped and lie dormant for years (until he was accidentally 'released' by the Dwarves in the Third Age; this is the one who the Dwarves call Bane of Durin and is the one that Gandalf confronts at the Bridge of Khazad-dûm in the Mines of Moria. I write more about them in my commentary on the History of Middle-earth and as well as a bit more under the section about Glorfindel and the Balrogs.
  • Halfling, Halfhigh:: Other names for 'Hobbit'
* Of Gollum and the Ring (Last updated: 25 Oct 2019)

This section is in two parts due to the way the chapter of RS is laid out. First is two versions of how the Rings came about and thus the Ringwraiths; second is Gollum's origins.

Ringwraiths (New: 25 October 2019)

This is the first draft of how the Rings of Power and the One Ring came about; here it's not stated who is speaking with Bingo: it is either the (unnamed) Elf he was talking to in the previous segment of the chapter segment (of the chapter which I refer to in the next section here), or else it is probably Gandalf:

In the very ancient days the Ring-lord made many of these Rings: and sent them out through the world to snare people. He sent them to all sorts of folk - The Elves had many, and there are now many elfwraiths in the world, but the Ring-lord cannot rule them; the goblins got many, and the invisible goblins are very evil and wholly under the Lord; dwarves I don't believe had any; some say the rings don't work on them: they are too solid. Men had few, but they were most quickly overcome and . . . . . . The men-wraiths are also servants of the Lord. Other creatures got them. Do you remember Bilbo's story of Gollum?[7] We don't know where Gollum comes in - certainly not elf, nor goblin; he is probably not dwarf; we rather believe he really belongs to an ancient sort of hobbit. Because the ring seems to act just the same for him and you. [...]

Christopher writes in note 7 that after that sentence his father wrote: 'Gollum I think some sort of distant kinsman of the goblin sort.' But the next sentence as can be seen above contradicted this and so was immediately rejected.

Shortly after this Tolkien took the previous passage and wrote an untitled chapter; there Bingo Bolger-Baggins is talking with Gandalf and the history is changed a bit:

In the ancient days the dark master made many Rings, and he dealt them out lavishly, so that they might be spread abroad to ensnare folk. The elves had many, and there are now many elf-wraiths in the world; the goblins had some and their wraiths are very evil and wholly under the command of the Lord. The dwarves it is said had seven, but nothing could make them invisible. In them it only kindled to flames the fire of greed, and the foundation of each of the seven hoards of the Dwarves of old was a golden ring. In this way the master controlled them. But these hoards are destroyed, and the dragons have devoured them, and the rings are melted, or so some say. Men had three rings, and many others they found in secret places cast away by the elf-wraiths: the men-wraiths are servants of the Lord, and they brought all their rings back to him; till at last he had gathered all into his hands again that had not been destroyed by fire -- all save one.

It fell from the hand of an elf as he swam across a river; and it betrayed him, for he was flying from pursuit in the old wars, and he became visible to his enemies, and the goblins slew him. But a fish took the ring and was filled with madness, and swam upstream, leaping over rocks and up waterfalls until it cast itself on a bank and spat out the ring and died.

Some significant differences here:

  • The Elfwraiths are no longer said to not be under control of the Lord (it's not specified that they are either).
  • Dwarves now have seven (up from none) but they're too solid to turn invisible: only would it make them greedy.
  • Men now had three (instead of 'few') but they found many more that were cast away by the Elfwraiths: thus they had more than three. The original number of Nazgûl was 12.
  • Just like the final version they gave their rings back to their Lord (at this point not named).
  • The One Ring is only said to be the one unaccounted for but it's not suggested to 'rule them all' and neither was its potency.
  • We do not learn about how the rings confer invisibility nor the tormenting longevity and we do not learn about turning into wraiths: just that there are wraiths.
  • Finally we see the germ of Isildur and the Disaster at the Gladden Fields: only at first it was an elf who had the Ring and it was unnamed.
Gollum (New: 25 Oct 2019)

Who IS Gollum at this time? It's important to realise that when Tolkien was writing this first he was writing in the constraints of the then published (first edition) of The Hobbit: the Ring was only a literary device to make one invisible. Thus Gollum was willing to give up the Ring freely and would have done if it hadn't already been lost (though for different reasons of course).

At the time there was no Sméagol; there was only Dígol (so spelt)! The etymology is interesting:

Old English dígol, déagol, etc. 'secret, hidden'

Alternate Ring verses (New: 11 June 2019)

Several versions of the famous Ring verse are as follows:

Three Rings for the Elven-kings under the sky,
Seven for the Dwarf-lords in their halls of stone,
Nine for Mortal Men doomed to die,
One for the Dark Lord on his dark throne
In the Land of Mor-dor where the shadows lie.
One Ring to rule them all, One Ring to find them,
One Ring to bring them all, and in the darkness bind them,
In the land of Mor-dor where the shadows lie.

Originally it was 'One ring to bind them' but then it was changed to 'and in the darkness bind them' (as we all know). The first complete form however read as the below; he was not certain of the way the Rings were to be doled out; at one point it was 'Nine rings for the Elven-kings' and 'Three rings for Mortal Men'; I believe I documented why the different numbers but I don't know now for certain. The original:

Nine for the Elven-kings under moon and star,
Seven for the Dwarf-lords in their halls of stone,
Three for Mortal Men that wander far,
One for the Dark Lord on his dark throne
In the Land of Mor-dor where the shadows are.
One Ring to rule them all, One Ring to find them,
One Ring to bring them all and in the darkness bind them
In the Land of Mor-dor where the shadows are.

Another had:

Twelve for Mortal Men doomed to die,
Nine for the Dwarf-lords in their halls of stone,
Three for the Elven-kings of earth, sea, and sky,
One for the Dark Lord on his dark throne.

And at this point Twelve was changed to Nine and Nine changed to Seven. The Three Rings were at one point called the 'Rings of earth, air and sky'. On the subject of there being originally twelve Nazgûl see the section Of Gollum and the Ring (this is where Christopher documents the first draft of the source of the Rings including the men wraiths and even the idea that Gollum was possibly a distant goblin kind rather than a hobbit of old). On the subject of how the Nazgûl was originally envisioned - in particular the description of the black shape on the black horse - see the section The flight of the Hobbits and the Nazgûl snuffling origin.

* On Hobbits, Strider and Bree (Last updated: 25 Oct 2019)

Strider was first called Trotter and he was a hobbit. He also wore wooden shoes! He explains why this is later on at Bree: he had been captured by Mordor and his feet were injured; that any hobbit would wear shoes is an odd thing itself.

Trotter was not the hobbit in Bree: Timothy Titus became first Barnabas Butterbur and finally became Barliman Butterbur was also a hobbit! The name Timothy Titus came from a very different story by Tolkien.

Furthermore Bill Ferny was earlier called Bill Ferney (note the 'E' in the name) and he was also a hobbit! Nob was earlier called Lob (a curious name which I discuss in the etymology section further down) and he was also a hobbit.

The Prancing Pony was first known as The White Horse. The arrival at Bree and the encounter with Trotter also varies; furthermore Trotter actually encountered the Nazgûl in one of the drafts: they nearly ride over him when he was lying on the ground or hiding in a bush (I think that). The events of Bree vary in a number of ways in general.

But WHO is Trotter?

Tolkien asked this question several times. He suggests that Rangers are best not hobbits but either way Trotter must not be a hobbit OR he is someone very well known: he was once thought to be Bilbo! The following note in RS in chapter 'QUERIES AND ALTERATIONS' was one of several made by Tolkien:

Rangers are best not as hobbits, perhaps. But either Trotter (as a ranger) must be not a hobbit, or someone very well known: e.g. Bilbo. But the latter is awkward in view of 'happily ever after'. I thought of making Trotter into Fosco Took (Bilbo's first cousin) who vanished when a lad, owing to Gandalf. Who is Trotter? He must have had some bitter acquaintance with Ring-wraiths &c.

Christopher notes that this is to be taken with Bingo's feeling that he had met Trotter before and should be able to think of his true name. Bilbo's first cousin Fosco Took hadn't yet been mentioned; Christopher goes on to say this about Fosco vanishing:

The ascription of Fosco Took's vanishing to Gandalf looks back to the beginning of The Hobbit, where Bilbo says to him. 'Not the Gandalf who was responsible for so many quiet lads and lasses going off into the Blue for mad adventures?'

Of course at this stage it's still Bingo Bolger-Baggins who is the Ring-bearer. Instead though he brings his nephews Odo and Frodo Took, along. Which leads me to the next section regarding the flight of the Hobbits (leaving the Shire) and also the origin of the Nazgûl snuffling.

For more information on the history of Hobbits (the invention thereof) see my commentary on History of Middle-earth (and specifically On the invention of 'Hobbits').

* The flight of the Hobbits and the Nazgûl snuffling origin

In FR Frodo Baggins, Samwise Gamgee and Peregrin Took are in Hobbiton and Sam hears hoofs. Frodo does not want to be seen by anyone and he wants to pull a fast one on Gandalf (for being late if it is Gandalf). Of course it is the Nazgûl and Frodo does NOT put the Ring on. Originally however the hobbits are not the same: Bingo Bolger-Baggins, Frodo and Odo. Bilbo in one version is Bingo's father and in another version is Bingo's uncle; Frodo and Odo are Bingo's nephews, as noted in the previous section.

But whereas in FR Samwise Gamgee recounts hearing the Nazgûl in Hobbiton earlier (after Frodo tells about the snuffling as if trying to find an elusive scent when they get off the road after Sam hears hoofs), originally it is the here mentioned Frodo who heard it but much earlier (which is odd because why are they only seeking Bingo now allowing that he's fleeing just in time?). But where does this snuffling come from if not the Nazgûl? In the original draft there are slight variations.

Before this however, as above, the cloaked figure is white and it is Gandalf; Gandalf saw the hobbits and so knows Bingo is playing a prank. But he still sniffs and acts just as the Nazgûl later does with some additions. Tolkien later points out that Bingo Bolger-Baggins must think about using the Ring but must resist until the incident at Weathertop (where they will have Trotter -> Strider). The sequence went this way:

  1. Bingo Bolger-Baggins is with his nephews Frodo and Odo. This is not Frodo Baggins and none of the adventures with Bingo which include Frodo does it refer to Frodo Baggins.
  2. It is this Frodo who hears the hoofs and it is Bingo who doesn't want to be seen (not only because he was meant to have 'disappeared' but because he had a feeling that the Black Rider(s) meant no good). In a later revision Gandalf tells Bingo (when they finally meet up again in Rivendell) he should have waited until he [Gandalf] returned but of course he likely would have been caught in that case (and in the final Gandalf wanted Frodo Baggins to leave sooner but he never got the note because Butterbur forgot to send the letter!).
  3. Frodo and Odo move out of sight and Bingo puts on the One Ring.
  4. A small, white cloaked figure on horseback stops right in front of Bingo and begins to sniff.
  5. Gandalf calls out Bingo on his prank and Bingo reveals himself.
  6. Gandalf tells how he saw the hobbits not long before (when the hobbits could hear but not see the horse) and so knew Bingo was playing a prank. He first says it wasn't through magic.

This sequence changed slightly but was the beginning of the Nazgûl snuffling out for Frodo Baggins. But the first draft Bingo used the Ring to hide from the Nazgûl during his flight from The Shire!

He also hid from Farmer Maggot in a number of versions: he was terrified of Maggot because Maggot had threatened to kill him if he ever caught him on his land again. So Bingo hid from Maggot whilst his nephews Frodo and Odo were in the house. This is where Bingo played a prank on Farmer Maggot which I cite now.

* Bingo's pranks on Farmer Maggot (Last updated: 25 Oct 2019)

Here I document the different versions of the prank that Bingo plays. They get progressively funnier but Christopher asked a question of his father about logistics/continuity and Tolkien masterfully worked it out.

* Version 1: Bingo, invisibly in the house, takes the mug out of Maggot's reach and drinks from it

Just before Farmer Maggot can see the hobbits (N.B. this is before they reach Marmaduke which I will get to below) Bingo slips on the Ring; the others cannot hide. They go into the house but Bingo follows them.

In The LR the hobbits say they cannot have dinner as they must get going; however Maggot says he'll take them on the wagon to the Ferry. But there Frodo Baggins (in the original Frodo was a Took and I do not refer to him for this sentence) does have dinner for that reason. However in the earlier drafts they do not have access to Bingo so they do not accept the offer and Maggot does not offer to take them (let alone protect Bingo) to the Ferry. Anyway the following occurs:

'Not that I remember,' said Farmer Maggot, 'and I don't want to see any again. Now I hope you and your friend will stay and have a bite and sup with me and my wife.

'Thank you very much!' said Odo regretfully, 'but I am afraid we ought to go on.'

'Yes,' said Frodo, 'we have some way to go before night, and really we have already rested too long. But it is very kind of you all the same.'

'Well! Here's your health and good luck!' said the farmer, reaching for his mug. But at that moment the mug left the table, rose, tilted in the air, and then returned empty to its place.

'Help and save us!' cried the farmer jumping up. 'Did you see that? This is a queer day and no mistake. First the dog and then me seeing things that ain't.'

'Oh, I saw the mug too,' said Odo, unable to hide a grin.

'You did, did you!' said the farmer. 'I don't see no cause to laugh.' He looked quickly and queerly at Odo and Frodo, and now they seemed only too glad that they were going. They said good-bye politely but hurriedly, and ran down the steps and out of the gate. Farmer Maggot and his wife stood whispering at their door and watched them out of sight.

'What did you want to play that silly trick for?' said Odo when the farmhouse was well behind. 'The old man had done you a good turn with that Rider, or so it seemed to me.'

'I daresay,' said a voice behind him. 'But you did me a pretty poor turn, going inside and drinking and talking, and leaving me in the cold. As it was I only got half the mug. And now we are late. I shall make you trot after this.'

'Show us how to trot!' said Odo.

At this point Bingo reappears and does trot and the others hurry after him. They see deep hoofmarks but there was nothing they could do and they knew about it anyway. Of course at this point the Ring would be a way for Bingo to be not seen. But then as they get close to Bucklebury Marmaduke sings an amusing song to get their attention:

Their talk flagged. They were now getting really tired, and went along with their chins down and their eyes in front of their toes. They were quite startled when suddenly a voice behind them cried: 'Hi' It then burst into a loud song:

As I was sitting by the way,
I saw three hobbits walking:
One was dumb with naught to say,
The others were not talking.

'Good night!' I said. 'Good night to you!'
They heeded me not in my greeting:
One was deaf like the other two.
It was a merry meeting!

'Marmaduke!' cried Bingo turning round. 'Where did you spring from?'

'You passed me sitting at the road-side,' said Marmaduke. 'Perhaps I ought to have lain down in the road; but then you would have just trodden on me and passed gaily on.'

'We are tired,' said Bingo.

'So it seems. I told you you would be -- but you were so proud and stiff. "Ponies! Pooh!" you said. "Just a little leg-stretcher before the real business begins."'

'As it happens ponies would not have helped much,' said Bingo. 'We have been having adventures.' He stopped suddenly and looked up and down the road. 'We will tell you later.'

'Bless me!' said Marmaduke. 'But how mean of you! You shouldn't have adventures without me. And what are you peering about for? Are there some big bad rabbits loose?'

A few notes differences exist from later versions:

  • Maggot does not have children but his dogs are his children: in subsequent versions he had both.
  • There were no mushrooms. They appear in the next version. But this changes the reason that Bingo (or rather Frodo) was on Maggot's land.
  • Maggot suggests that Bingo disappeared a purpose because he got himself into trouble. This of course was true but it was at this time not so defined.
  • Because there was no wagon there was also no clip-clop hoofs as Marmaduke wasn't on a pony either.

* Version 2: Bingo taunts Maggot, pushes him over and steals his hat

Continuing the above: the hobbits in any case come to the gate and Frodo (Took) states that this is Farmer Maggot's (N.B. at this point for a moment Maggot was called Puddifoot) land. Bingo is alarmed and he explains that he hadn't been there in years; Frodo says he's all right but not to trespassers. Bingo explains that one time he was in Maggot's fields and he had killed one of Maggot's dogs with a heavy stone: he broke its head. He was terrified and it was a lucky shot (for his life). Maggot beat him and told him he would kill him next time. 'I'd kill you now,' he said, 'if you were not Mr Rory's nephew, more's the pity and shame to Brandybucks.' Frodo then says that's long ago and he might not even remember it; Bingo says he doesn't fancy he'd forget especially about his dogs (and note that Maggot does have a good memory) and it's even said that he loved his dogs more than his children (first reference to them). Bilbo told him a year or two before he left the Shire that one time he was down this way and called at the farm to get a bite and drink; Maggot said he'd have no Baggins over his doorstep and ordered him off. Called him Baggins thievish murderous rascals and then threatened him with a stick: he also shook a fist at Bingo every time he had passed the road.

They come across Maggot and he invites them into his house; he says that they have leave on his land but no Baggins would: that Bingo had killed one of his dogs once over 30 years ago and he'll even remind him of it if he dares to come round. He heard that Bingo would be coming to live in Buckland and couldn't think of why Brandybucks would allow it. The dialogue follows:

But Mr Bingo's half a Brandybuck too,' said Odo (trying to keep from smiling). 'He's quite a nice fellow when you get on the right side of him; though he will go walking across country and he is fond of mushrooms.'

There seemed to be a breath, the ghost of an exclamation, not far from Odo's ear, though he could not be sure.

'That's just it,' said the farmer. 'He used to take mine though I beat him for it. And I'll beat him again, if I catch him at it. But that reminds me: what do you think that funny customer asked me?'

At this point Maggot tells of the encounter with the customer and his report which is similar to the other versions and FR with a difference:

'...I had a short of shiver down my back. But the question was too much for me. "Be off," I said. "There are no Bagginses here, and won't be whilst I am on legs. If you are a friend of theirs you are not welcome. I give you one minute before I call my dogs."

Maggot then goes on with the telling the hobbits what to think about the customer and he advises them to avoid Bingo or they'll certainly be in more trouble than they would ever bargain for. It continues:

There was no mistaking the breath and the suppressed gasp by Frodo's ear this occasion.[0]

'I'll remember the advice,' said Frodo. 'But we now must be getting to Bucklebury. Mr Merry Brandybuck is expecting us this evening.'

'Now that's a pity,' said the farmer. 'I was going to ask you if you and your friends would stay and have a bite and sup with my wife.'

'It is very kind of you,' said Frodo; 'but I am afraid we must be off now -- we want to get to the Ferry before dark.'

'Well then, one more drink!' said the farmer, and his wife poured out some beer. 'Here's your health and good luck!' he said, reaching for the mug. But at that moment the mug left the table, rose, tilted in the air, and then returned empty to its place.

'Help us and save us!' cried the farmer jumping up and gaping. 'This day is bewitched. First the dog and then me: seeing things that ain't.'

'But I saw the mug get up too,' said Odo indiscreetly, and not fully hiding a grin.[1]

Odo and Frodo stared. Sam looked anxious and worried. 'You did not ask me to have a bite and sup,' said a voice coming apparently from the middle of the room. Farmer Maggot backed towards the fire-place; his wife screamed. 'And that's a pity,' went the voice, which Frodo to his bewilderment now recognized as Bingo's, 'because I like your beer. But don't boast again that no Baggins will ever come inside your house. There's one inside now. A thievish Baggins. A very angry Baggins.' There was a pause. 'In fact BINGO!' said the voice suddenly yelled just in the farmer's ear. At the same time something gave him a push in the waistcoat, and he fell over with a crash among the fire-irons. He sat up again just in time to see his own hat leave the settle where he had thrown it down, and sail out the door, which opened to let it pass.

'Hi! here!' yelled the farmer, leaping to his feet. 'Hey, Grip, Fang, Wolf!' At that the hat went off at great speed towards the gate; but as the farmer ran after it, it came sailing back through the air and fell at his feet. He picked it up gingerly, and looked at it in astonishment. The dogs released by Mrs Maggot came bounding up; but the farmer gave them no command. He stood scratching his head and turning his hat over, as if expected to find it had grown wings.

Odo and Frodo followed by Sam came out of the house.

'Well, if that ain't the queerest thing that ever happened in my house!' said the farmer. 'Talk about ghosts! I suppose you haven't been playing tricks on me, have you?' he said suddenly, looking hard at them in turn.

'We?' said Frodo. 'Why, we were startled just as you were. I can't make mugs drain themselves, or hats walk out of the house.'

'Well, it is mighty queer,' said the farmer, not seeming quite satisfied. 'First this rider asks for Mr Baggins. Then you folk come along; and while you are in the house Mr Baggins' voice starts playing tricks. And you are friends of his seemingly. "Quite a nice fellow," you said. If there ain't some connexion between all these bewitchments, I'll eat this very hat. You can tell him from me to keep his voice at home, or I'll come and gag him, if I have to swim the River and hunt him all through Bucklebury. And you'd best be going back to your friends, and leave me in peace. Good day to you.'

Odo asks at this point what do you make of that; and where is Bingo? Frodo says he thinks Uncle Bingo had taken leave of his senses and he reckons they'll run into him in this lane before long. Bingo says to them they won't because he's just behind. There is a slight variation of the above: the hat is instead the jug; Christopher asked why the hat wasn't invisible if Bingo's clothes were; he notes in RS that the story must have been that Bingo was actually wearing the hat: otherwise it would be easily answered: the hat was an external object to the wearer of the Ring just like the mug or hat. Tolkien got round this question by changing it to the jug as below:

* Version 3: Bingo steals the beer jug

He sat up again just in time to see the jug (still holding some beer) leave the table where he had lain it down, and sail out of the door ... At that the jug went off at a great speed towards the gate, spilling beer in the yard; but as the farmer ran after it, it suddenly stopped and came to rest on the gatepost ... He stood scratching his head and turning the jug round and round... (replacing 'jug' for 'hat' of course).

* Alternate version of the original encounter between Maggot and Bingo

There's actually another version where Bilbo and Bingo had the encounter with Maggot, and the farmer a real ogre (N.B. not literally). They got lost whilst in the Shirebourn (just like Deephallow it is not mentioned in The Lord of the Rings but it is on Tolkien's map of the Shire and the published FR) and they climbed through a hedge and found themselves in a garden; Maggot found them, set a big dog on them, more like a wolf even. Bingo fell down with the dog over him and Bilbo broke its head with a thick stick. Maggot is violent, Bingo says. Bilbo ws [sic: this was actually a typo in RS, presumably meant to be 'was'] trying to explain how they came there and Maggot picked him up and flung him over the hedge into a ditch. He then picked Bingo up and had a good look, recognised him as of the Brandybuck clan though it was years he had been to his farm. "I was going to break your neck," he said, "and I will yet, whether you be Mr Rory's nephew or not, if I catch you round here again. Get out before I do you an injury!" He drops Bingo over the hedge on top of Bilbo. Bilbo says to Maggot that next time he'll come round with something sharper than stick and that Maggot and his dogs would be of no loss. Maggot laughed, said he has his own weapons and 'next time you kill one of my dogs, I'll kill you. Be off now, or I'll kill you tonight." This was 20 years before, he won't have forgotten and the meeting would not be a good one.

* To Maggot's Farm and Buckland: Fun Hobbit talk about hobbit-holes and hobbit-houses

In The Lord of the Rings prologue there is discussion about hobbit-holes and hobbit-houses but earlier on this was in the actual story. We first see this in the chapter 'To Maggot's Farm and Buckland'. What is unique here is a fun conversation the three hobbits have about what they would do if they lived in a hobbit-house, what they wouldn't like etc. I give this conversation in full (the person they refer to of course is Maggot):

'He lives in a house,' answered Frodo. 'There are very few holes in these parts. They say houses were invented here. Of course the Brandybucks have that great burrow of theirs at Bucklebury in the high bank across the River; but most of their people live in houses. There are lots of those new-fashioned brick houses -- not too bad, I suppose, in their way; though they look very naked, if you know what I mean: no decent turf-covering, all bare and bony'.

'Fancy climbing upstairs to bed!' said Odo. 'That seems to me most inconvenient. Hobbits aren't birds'.

'I don't know,' said Bingo. 'It isn't as bad as it sounds; though personally I never like looking out of upstairs windows, it makes me a bit giddy. There are some houses that have three stages (see below on stages), bedrooms above bedrooms. I slept in one once long ago on a holiday; the wind kept me awake all night'.'

'What a nuisance, if you want a handkerchief or something when you are downstairs, and find it is upstairs,' said Odo.

'You could keep handkerchiefs downstairs, if you wished,' said Frodo.

'You could, but I don't believe anybody does'.

'That is not the houses' fault,' said Bingo; 'it is just the silliness of the hobbits that live in them. The old tales tell that the Wise Elves used to build tall towers; and only went up their long stairs when they wished to sing or look out of the windows at the sky, or even perhaps the sea. They kept everything downstairs, or in deep halls dug beneath the feet of the towers. I have always fancied that the idea of building came largely from the Elves, though we use it very differently. There used to be three elftowers [so spelt] standing in the land away west beyond the edge of the Shire. I saw them once. They shone white in the Moon. The tallest was furthest away, standing alone on a hill. It was told that you could see the sea from the top of that tower; but I don't believe any hobbit has ever climbed it (see below on towers). If I ever live in a house, I shall keep everything I want downstairs, and only go up when I don't want anything; or perhaps I shall have a cold supper upstairs in the dark on a starry night.'

'And have to carry plates and things downstairs, if you don't fall all the way down,' laughed Odo.

'No!' said Bingo. 'I shall have wooden plates and bowls, and throw them out of the window. There will be thick grass all round my house.'

'But you would still have to carry your supper upstairs,' said Odo.

'O well then, perhaps I should not have supper upstairs,' said Bingo. 'It was only just an idea. I don't suppose I shall ever live in a house. As far as I can see, I am going to be just a wandering beggar.'

Following this was some text that explained hobbits a bit and then the end of the conversation:

This very hobbit-like conversation went on for some time. It shows that the three were beginning to feel quite comfortable again, as they got back into tame and familiar country. But even invisible sniffs could not damp for long the spirits of these excellent and peculiarly adventurous hobbits, not in any kind of country.

While they talked they plodded steadily on. It was already late afternoon when they saw the roof of a house peeping out of a clump of trees ahead and to their left.

'There is Farmer Maggot's!' said Frodo.

'I think we will go round it', said Bingo, 'and strike the lane on the far side of the house. I am supposed to have vanished, and I would rather not be seen sneaking off in the direction of Buckland even good Farmer Maggot.

It's interesting here that here Maggot was thought to be good by Bingo but then he still plays a prank (below): he only doesn't want to be seen because he was supposed to have vanished; later on Maggot would get more violent and Bilbo's pranks are also more outlandish.

On stages: Middle English, denoting a floor of a building, platform or stopping place.

On towers: Towers built on the western coasts of Middle-earth by exiles of Númenor are mentioned in the second version of The Fall of Númenor [HoMe V] - The substance of this passage was also afterwards placed in the Prologue (this refers to the details on hobbit-holes and hobbit-houses), and there also the towers are called 'Elf-towers'. In Of the Rings of Power and the Third Age in The Silmarillion: 'It is said that the towers of Emyn Beraid were not built indeed by the exiles of Númenor, but were raised by Gil-galad for Elendil, his friend'.

* Glorfindel in The Lord of the Rings (Last updated: 24 Oct 2019)

Glorfindel, a very powerful Elf, is the one who rescues Frodo after the Witch-king of Angmar, Lord of the Nazgûl stabs him [Frodo] with the Morgul-knife at Weathertop. The Ring had actually betrayed Frodo at this point much like at The Prancing Pony during his ridiculous singing on the table. Anyway what might not be clear is what happened in The Flight to the Ford. More specifically he put Frodo on his horse, Asfaloth, but because Frodo was being silently commanded to stay put, the horse did also - until Glorfindel intervened:

'Ride on! Ride on!' cried Glorfindel, and then loud and clear he called to the horse in the elf-tongue: noro lim, noro lim, Asfaloth!

Had the fragment of the Morgul-knife reached Frodo's heart he would have become a lesser wraith under the command of the Nazgûl but fortunately Glorfindel, his horse Asfaloth, the Hobbits along with Aragorn got Frodo to Rivendell just in time.What does 'noro lim' mean? It means simply 'Ride on'.

Glorfindel was at The Council of Elrond; this was the last significant time we see him though he is seen parting Middle-earth forever at the end of LR.

For more information on Glorfindel and to understand why he was one of the ones to be sent out to find Frodo and company see my document on the History of Middle-earth.

* Treebeard (the 'Giant Treebeard') origin (Last updated: 08 Dec 2019)

At first the 'Giant Treebeard' (as he was called and at some point also 'Tree Beard') was in league with the Enemy and actually kept Gandalf prisoner for some time (that's where he was when he was trying to return to The Shire as he found out the Ringwraiths were once again abroad instead of being held at the tower Orthanc in Isengard by Saruman)! At this time Treebeard was a Giant, his forest Fangorn was a gigantic forest and he had with him giants. That would present a problem to Tolkien when he first discovers Ents. Before I go there I want to cite the first encounter with Treebeard: When Frodo walks in on his garden!

* Frodo meets Treebeard (original Hobbit encounter with Treebeard) (New: 08 Dec 2019)

In TT Merry Brandybuck and Pippin Took would encounter Treebeard and have quite an adventure. Frodo would meet Treebeard after the fall of Sauron, the marriage of Aragorn and Arwen and other great deeds. This is not how it started though: it was Frodo who would meet Treebeard! This became impossible as the plot changed so it was discarded to history:

When Frodo heard the voice he looked up, but he could see nothing through the thick entangled branches. Suddenly he felt a quiver in the gnarled tree-trunk against which he was leaning, and before he could spring away, he was pushed, or kicked, forward onto his knees. Picking himself up he looked at the tree, and even as he looked, it took a stride towards him. He scrambled out of the way, and a deep rumbling chuckle came down out of the tree-top.

'Where are you, little beetle?' said the voice. 'If you don't let me know where you are, you can't blame me for treading on you. And please, don't tickle my leg!'

'I can't see any leg,' said Frodo. 'And where are you?' 'You must be blind,' said the voice. 'I am here.' 'Who are you?' 'I am Treebeard,' the voice answered. 'If you haven't heard of me before, you ought to have done; and anyway you are in my garden.'

'I can't see a garden,' said Frodo. 'Do you know what a garden looks like?' 'I have one of my own: there are flowers and plants in it, and a fence round it; but there is nothing of the kind here.' 'O yes! there is. Only you have walked through the fence without noticing it; and you can't see the plants, because you are down underneath them by their roots.'

It was only then that when Frodo looked closer that he saw that what he had taken for smooth tree-stems were the stalks of gigantic flowers -- and what he had thought was the stem of a monstrous oaktree[sic] was really a thick gnarled leg with a rootlike[sic] foot and many branching toes.

* Ents (Tree-folk) and Trolls (Last updated: 08 Dec 2019)

Now what are Ents and Trolls? A troll is a stone inhabited by a Goblin spirit which is to say a Stone Troll. When Tolkien decided that Treebeard was not after all a Giant but instead an Ent (which derives from Old English 'ent' which comes from 'eoten' for 'giant') he had to change the name of (as I recall it) 'Entish Lands' to 'Ettenmoors'. The latter is of course on the final map of Middle-earth and of its residents three were infamous: Tom, Bert and William Huggins, the trolls who were tricked by Gandalf to remain out long enough to be hit by the Sun - and therefore turn to Stone (hence Stone Troll); whilst Melkor's Trolls (etc.) had this weakness later breeds of Sauron and in particular the Uruk-hai ('Orc-folk', 'Orc-people') and Olog-hai ('Troll-folk', 'Troll-people') did not (which might seem in some ways ironic if you consider Sauron was a Maia whereas Melkor was originally an Ainu; indeed Sauron was Melkor's most loyal lieutenant and was considered equally as evil as Melkor except that for a long time he did not serve himself).

* Other Etymology (Last updated: 03 Apr 2020)

Here are a few etymologies on names in LR:

  • Moria: In LR it meant Black Pit. Earlier it was Black Gulf.
  • Samwise: Half-wit.
  • Gamgee: Stayathome and Hamfast (as in Gaffer Gamgee being Sam's father).
  • Shelob: 'Lob' is an old word for spider so 'She spider'. This makes the fact the original name for Nob being Lob curious.

For more complete details on Samwise and Hamfast Gamgee (and others not here listed) please see the languages document.

* On the One Ring (near and in Mordor and the spiders)

On the One Ring: in a plot outline Gollum would betray Frodo to the spiders but instead of Shelob trying to eat Frodo (or anything and everything) the spider would magically put Frodo to sleep. Also, around this time (it's obviously not all complete) Gollum's cries would be heard by the Ringwraiths but somehow Frodo lost the ring (I want to say either Gollum stole it at that time or Sam obtained it - maybe wrestling it from Gollum - until he could rescue Frodo) yet had another ring - and he was then in a dungeon in Minas Morgul (though at that point spelt Minas Morgol). The Ringwraiths realising that the ring he had was not the One Ring threatened to send him to Barad-dûr (sometimes spelt Barraddur and Barrad dur). But that's when Sam rescues him. I know there was something about overpowering the Ringwraiths or something along those lines.

Here too Frodo initially saw him as an Orc (because Sam had the One Ring, much like when Sam rescues him in Cirith Ungol in the Lord of the Rings) and therefore hated him but Sam then handed it to him and they then dressed up as Orcs like in the book. Their escape route was of course quite different and there were some differences in how they went about it too. I want to say they both got around Orcs but differently: this including if I recall Frodo using the Ring (of course Sam would use the One Ring to hide from the Orcs in Cirith Ungol out of necessity also but I want to say here it was riskier than in the final, at least if you consider the final plot). Of course using the Ring near the Ringwraiths would never be wise (as Frodo finds out when the Ring influences him to put it on at Weathertop and there stabbed by a Morgul-knife by the Witch-king of Angmar, Lord of the Nazgûl).

On the other hand it could have also been that Sam rescued him from the spider(s) when this happened (I can't recall for certain but again these variants were brought up around the same time). I should say these were different plots rather than slight variations!

The spiders plot obviously was what would later become Shelob ('lob' being an old word for 'spider' and therefore 'She+spider') and instead of the spell of sleep it was venom meant to paralyse the victim so she could eat her prey at her convenience; she would of course have eaten Frodo but for Samwise Gamgee. Gollum's plan of course was to recover his Precious after Shelob eats Frodo but this never happens; he backs away until they are at close to Sammath Naur where he would shortly fall into the Cracks of Doom after biting the Ring off Frodo's finger and therefore finishing the quest for Frodo - and saving the world. Of course Gollum never would have been able to keep the Ring this time around; Sauron and his armies were too powerful - not to mention so close to home. Gollum would have been taken to Barad-dûr and would have been killed. This didn't come to pass, however, and in either case the spider plot would change along with the geography.

* The Nazgûl steeds (Last updated: 12 Jun 2018)

In an earlier version of this document I noted that C.T. wrote about what the Nazgûl winged mounts were; in an earlier draft it would be that the Ringwraiths were instead demonic vultures; then instead the mounts would be demonic vultures. And indeed in The Return of the King they are referred to amongst other things vultures (though this isn't the steed but the Nazgûl themselves). This to me makes it most canon that they were vultures: demonic vultures in particular. However in Letter #211 a Ms. Rhona Beare asked a number of questions (including the colour of the two unnamed wizards that I document next in this document). Question #4 had a number of parts and it ended with the following:

Did the Witch-king ride a pterodactyl at the siege of Gondor?

Tolkien had this to say in the matter:

Pterodactyl. Yes and no. I did not intend the steed of the Witch-king to be what is now called a 'pterodactyl', and often is drawn (with rather less shadowy evidence that than lies behind many monsters of the new and fascinating semi-scientific mythology of the 'Prehistoric'). But obviously it is pterodactylic and owes much to the mythology, and its description even provides a sort of way in which it could be a last survivor of older geological eras.

* On the colours of the two unnamed Istari (and their names) (Last updated: 08 Dec 2019)

On the colours of the Istari that weren't named in The L.R.: Tolkien was asked a number of questions including this and he answered it in Letter #211:

I have not named the colours, because I do not know them[3]. I doubt if they had distinctive colours. Distinction was only required in the case of the three who remained in the relatively small area of the North-west. (On the *names* see Q[uestion[5.). I really do not know anything clearly about the other two - since they do not consider the history of the N.W. I think they went as emissaries to distant regions, East and South, far out of Númenórean range: missionaries 'enemy-occupied' lands, as it were. What success they had I do not know; but I fear that they failed, as Saruman did, though doubtless in different ways; and I suspect they were founders or beginners of secret cults and 'magic' traditions that outlasted the fall of Sauron.

The footnote [3] in the letter above has the following to say:

Elsewhere Tolkien called the other two wizards Ithryn Luin, the Blue Wizards; see Unfinished Tales pp.389-90.

As for question #5 he had this to say about the names of the other two Istari and more generally about names full stop:

Since the Valar had no language of their own, not needing one, they had no 'true' names, only identities, and their names were conferred on them by the Elves, being in origin therefore all, as it were, 'nicknames', referring to some striking peculiarity, function or deed. (The same is true of the 'Istari' or Wizards who were emissaries of the Valar, and of their kind.) In consequence each identity had several 'nicknames'; and the names of the Valar were not necessarily related in different languages (or languages of Men deriving their knowledge from Elves).

He goes on to say something interesting here; he gives the example that Elbereth and Varda 'Star-lady' and 'Lofty' are not related words but in fact they do refer to the same person (he used the word person here too so one might argue that he uses the term generally).

However in the Unfinished Tales C.T. notes the following:

Whereas in the essay on the Istari it is said that the two who passed into the East had no names save Ithryn Luin 'the Blue Wizards' (meaning of course that they had no names in the West of Middle-earth), here they are named, as Alatar and Pallando, and are associated with Oromë, though no hint is given of the reason for this relationship. It might be (though this is the merest guess) that Oromë of all the Valar had the greatest knowledge of the further parts of Middle-earth and to remain there.

Beyond the fact that these notes on the choosing of the Istari certainly date from after the complete of The Lord of the Rings I can find no evidence of their relationship, in time of composition, to the essay on the Istari[7].

I know of no other writings about the Istari save some very rough and in part uninterpretable notes that certainly much later than any of the foregoing, and probably date from 1972:

He goes on to cite the actual writings but I won't include that here. As for the footnote [7] Christopher notes that in a letter Tolkien states that 'There is hardly any reference in The Lord of the Rings to things that do not actually exist on its own plane (of secondary or sub-creational reality)', and added a footnote: 'The cats of Queen Berúthiel and the names of the other two wizards (five minus Saruman, Gandalf, Radagast) are all that I recollect.' I am not sure which letter this is offhand but I don't think it matters much if at all so I won't try and find it. I seem to recall though the two names given above though whether I am mixing it up with those above or not I do not know.

* On the destruction of the One Ring (Sam and Gollum)

At one point there was a thought that Sam might wrestle the Ring from Gollum and they both fall in (referencing Sam saying that he thinks there is something he must do before the end); in LR of course Sam thinks it is that he would go to the very end and die in the process but of course he is rescued in the end. In the Letters Tolkien states also that if Sam was kinder to Gollum he might have tried to take the Ring from Frodo (as he does in the end) but upon realising he could not have both the Ring and survival he would cast himself into the fire and therefore be faithful to his Master in the end and also save the world (of course Gollum loved and hated himself as he loved and hated the Ring).

* Rohan, Gríma Wormtongue, Éowyn, Aragorn and Arwen (Last updated: 08 Dec 2019)

Original name of Gríma Wormtongue (who wasn't always in the plot outline): Frána Wormtongue. Initially, before the love between Arwen Undómiel arose, in fact before Arwen existed, Aragorn son of Arathorn would wed Eowyn (so spelt). This was then scratched out but still it was suggested Aragorn would never wed after her death. Of course this was very different in the end because of Arwen and instead Éowyn (now with the accent) would wed Faramir (brother of Boromir of the Fellowship). At one point Eowyn (early stages) was still related to King Theoden (so spelt at the time) - who was actually at the time not called 'King' but I believe Lord or some other title - but in a different way; I cannot recall specifically. Gandalf's horse was not originally called Shadowfax.

* Gandalf, Shadowfax and the other horses of Rohan (New: 08 Dec 2019)

Gandalf's horse wasn't originally called Shadowfax. In the histories there's thus:

Narothal ('Firefoot'), the first name given to Gandalf's white horse, was replaced later in pencil by the suggestions: 'Fairfax, Snowfax', and pencilled in the margin is 'Firefoot Arod? Aragorn', but these latter were struck out. Arod became in LR the name of a horse of Rohan.

At another point the name for Gandalf's horse was Greyfax. It so happens that Shadowfax was grey (one of the many other things Peter Jackson got wrong). But what about Firefoot? Arod it's noted became a horse of Rohan but did Firefoot become history? No indeed! The horse of Éomer is called Firefoot!

Complete History of Oliphaunts(Last updated: 31 Mar 2020)

Everyone loves the Oliphaunts (the verse, below, wasn't always there)! The wondrous fireside song that Samwise Gamgee sings at the Black Gate in TT. But what are earlier names and what is the history of such majestic creatures? There are a few things to consider here. Note that below when there's a note I have parenthesised it and in orange text.

First is the etymology; second is the other names for them. Then there are the other spellings/forms of those names. Also there is a reason for the spelling in the fireside song that Sam sings.

CT writes in note 13 in the chapter on 'The Black Gate Is Closed' in The War of the Ring the following:

It is hard to be sure, but it seems from the manuscript evidence that originally Sam's word was oliphant, and that oliphaunt was only in the rhyme. -- The form is mediaeval French and English olifa(u)nt.. There are no differences in the texts, except that in the draft version and in the form cited in my father's letter (note: CT seems to refer to Letter no. 64 written on 30 April 1944, where his father had copied the verse - found in abundant rough workings and a preliminary text - for CT) line 11 reads 'I've stumped' for 'I stump', and in line 15 'Biggest of all' is written 'Biggest of All'.

I'm unfortunately unable to ascertain what the olifa(u)nt might be but possibly it's just a different spelling. It's not OE but it could be ME and as for French I know even less. It appears though that oliphaunt was only used for the rhyme whereas the actual word is 'oliphant'. Interestingly though when the hobbits return to Rivendell after the fall of Sauron, crowning of Aragorn etc. Bilbo uses the word in the form of 'oliphaunt'. Of course it could be that that's just because that's what the rhyme has.

In any case an oliphant/oliphaunt is an elephant of the Southrons; however they're also known as Mûmak (plural Mûmakil). Earlier forms were Múmar, Múmund and Mâmuk. There's more!

In the original draft Mablung (note: Damrod in TT; their speech were swapped in the final) cried 'Andabund!', and this was the form first written in the manuscript also. This was then changed to Andrabonn (note: see below, note 16), then Múmmund. These were immediate changes, for a few lines later appears 'the Múmmund of Harad (note: Harad were the Southrons) was indeed a beast of vast bulk', where drafting has Múmar. Soon after the form Mâmuk was introduced in both passages: this was the form my father used in his letter to me 6 May 1944 (Letters no. 66).

Lastly, in the manuscript Damrod cries, 'May the gods turn him aside', where in TT he names the Valar; gods was preceded by a word I cannot interpret.

Note 16 on the name Andrabonn: Cf. the Etymologies, V.372 (note: volume V of HoMe page 372 depending on publisher), stem MBUD 'project': * andambundā 'long-snouted', Quenya andamunda 'elephant', Noldorin andabon, annabon.

CT goes on to say how in Letter no 64 his father sent him the course of the story he hadn't read. The part related to oliphaunts is such:

[...] A large elephant of prehistoric size, a war-elephant of the Swertings (note: the dark men of the South), is loose, and Sam has gratified a life-long wish to see an Oliphaunt.

The rhyme in The Lord of the Rings is:

Grey as a mouse,
Big as a house,
Nose like a snake,
I make the earth shake,
As I tramp through the grass;
Trees crack as I pass.
With horns in my mouth
I walk in the South,
Flapping big ears.
Beyond count years
I stump round and round,
Never lie on the ground,
Not even to die.
Oliphaunt am I,
Biggest of all,
Huge, old and tall.
If ever you'd met me
You wouldn't forget me.
If you never do,
You won't think I'm true;
But old Oliphaunt I am,
And I never lie.

More on Oliphaunts(New: 28 Jun 2020)

When I first wrote the complete history of Oliphaunts I did not know that in the book (that I did have but hadn't got round to reading yet) The Adventures of Tom Bombadil there is more on the Oliphaunt poetry. The commentary is rather interesting. This is not from CT but I believe nonetheless worth documenting.

It starts out by saying:

The 'facts' Sam presents are also in mediaeval bestiaries: the elephant's enormous size (like a mountain), the snake-like appearance of its trunk, its ivory tusks, its longevity, its capacity to smash and squash.

They go on to say that there was a much earlier text known as Physiologus ('Naturalist'). This lent its name, at least, as the 'source' of two poems that Tolkien published in the Stapeldon Magazine for June 1927 with the shared title 'Adventures in Unnatural History and Mediaeval Metres, Being the Freaks of Fisiologus': Iumbo, or ye Kinde of ye Oliphaunt, and Fastitocalon.

An aside: In the classical Latin alphabet Iumbo is for Jumbo (the commentary actually points this out later on). The commentary goes on to say that two more 'bestiary' poems by Tolkien like the above two, were written in probably the 1920s and remain unpublished: Reginhardus, the Fox and Monoceros the Unicorn. The book includes Iumbo but I will not transcribe it because I do not know the copyright status and it seems to me that reproducing something in its entirety would be wrong if it was indeed copyrighted.

Continuing it says the word oliphaunt is:

merely an archaic or 'rustic' form of elephant and a common mediaeval spelling.

That would explain why in The Lord of the Rings it's spelt oliphaunt: The Lord of the Rings is supposed to be many, many, many years ago, in the middle ages or so, so it makes sense that he would use that spelling (though as I noted earlier there was another spelling). They say that apparently the poem I just referred to has that the elephant there was Indic ('Indian') rather than an African elephant.

Finally the commentary talks about that poem and what Tolkien did:

For Oliphaunt in The Lord of the Rings Tolkien transformed Iumbo into a 'hobbit nursery-rhyme', as he wrote to his son Christopher in 1944 (Letters, p. 77). In the process, he made it much more simpler and cleansed it of anachronisms not to be found in Middle-earth, though it still retains the flavour of its bestiary ancestors.

However the next chapter commentary is about Fastitocalon and they refer to the Letters where Tolkien tells on 5 March 1964 to Eileen Elgar about his Bombadil poem Fastitocalon why, how, where, what of the poem and how it relates to Oliphaunt but for now I'm not including it (it's Letter #255).

Earlier names of Dernhelm (Éowyn disguised as a man) (New: 20 Feb 2020)

When Merry is picked up by Éowyn - after the former is told by the King of Rohan that no rider can bear him as a burden - Merry asks who it is; she gives the name Dernhelm. 'He' goes to battle without much hope, so it seems, but of course it's the shieldmaiden of Rohan (also called 'a young kinsman of the king'). Earlier names were: Cyneferth, Grímhelm and Derning.

Nazgûl calling cry first germ (New: 14 Dec 2020)

The way this came about is rather interesting. In RS chapter IV, 'To Maggot's Farm and Buckland' the three hobbits were sitting under an elm-tree whose leaves were still thick, though they were fast turning yellow. The Elves that they had met filled their water-bottles with a clear golden drink with the scent rather than the taste of honey made of many flowers (this seems to be some form of a cordial like they get from Rivendell but I do not know if it has a name). They were having a meal, laughing, snapping their fingers at the rain and black riders. Odo, with his back to the tree, started to sing:

Ho! ho! ho! To my bottle I go
To heal my heart and drown my woe.
Rain may fall and wind may blow,
And many miles be still to go,
But under the elm-tree I will lie
And let the clouds go sailing by!
Ho! ho! ho! ----

It will never be known whether the next verse was any better than the first; for just at that moment there was a noise like sneeze or a sniff. Odo never finished his song. The noise came again: sniff, sniff, sniff; it seemed to be quite close. They sprang to their feet, and looked quickly about; but there was nothing to be seen anywhere near the tree.

There's a footnote at the end that says: A pencilled note on the typescript here reads: 'Sound of hoofs going by not far off.' But it also refers to another page, chapter XVII of RS, 'A Short Cut To Mushrooms', which, going back to the song:

Ho! ho! ho! they began again louder. 'Hush!' said Sam. 'I think I can hear something.' They stopped short. Bingo sat up. Listening he caught or thought he caught the sound of hoofs, some way off, going at a trot. They sat silent for some while after the sound had died away; but at last Frodo [Took] spoke. 'That's very odd,' he said. 'There is not any road that I know of anywhere near, yet the hoofs were not going on turf or leaves -- if they were hoofs.' 'But if they were, it does not follow that it was the sound of a Black Rider,' said Odo. 'The land is not quite uninhabited round here: there are farms and villages.

Christopher then notes:

This was replaced by the terrible signal cries, exactly as in FR. From a rejected page a little later, when they came into the 'tame and well-ordered lands', it is clear that the hoof-beats they heard were not in fact so mysterious: 'They were just beginning to think that they had imagined the sound of hoofs, when they came to a gate: beyond it a rutted lane wound away towards a distant clump of trees' (i.e. Farmer Maggot's) The horsemen they heard was the Black Rider who came to Maggot's door.

Finally this is how it goes in FR:

Frodo propped his back against the tree-trunk, and closed his eyes. Sam and Pippin sat near, and they began to hum, and then to sing softly:

Ho! Ho! Ho! to the bottle I go
To heal my heart and drown my woe.
Rain may fall and wind may blow,
And many miles be still to go,
But under a tall tree I will lie,
And let the clouds go sailing by.

Ho! Ho! Ho! they began again louder. They stopped short suddenly. Frodo sprang to his feet. A long-drawn wail came down the wind, like the cry of some evil and lonely creature. It rose and fell, and ended on a high piercing note. Even as they sat and stood, as if suddenly frozen, it was answered by another cry, fainter and further off, but no less chilling to the blood. There was then a silence, broken only by a sound of the wind in the leaves.

'And what do you think that was?' Pippin asked at last, trying to speak lightly, but quavering a little. 'If it was a bird, it was one that I never heard in the Shire before.'

'It was not bird or beast,' said Frodo. 'It was a call, or a signal -- there were words in that cry, though I could not catch them. But no hobbit has such a voice.'

No more was said about it. They were all thinking of the Riders, but no one spoke of them. [...]