An Unexpected Meeting
The old wizard,wearing his tall blue hat and long gray robes all of which were neatly kept, came around the bend of the Hill. He could see the small smoke rings coming from a pipe. A young hobbit, in his fifties, leaned up against the tiny blue mailbox.
Gandalf was very fond of hobbits, especially the Tooks and Bagginses, of whom Bilbo was both. As he came walking slowly up the small stone path, his eyes covered by large bushy eyebrows and the brim of his hat, Gandalf thought to himself. “He’s the Old Tooks’ grandson alright.” He smiled at that thought before standing in front of Bilbo.
“Good Morning.” Bilbo said happily, still smoking great big rings of smoke. Gandalf looked at him from under his bushy eyebrows, thinking of how he used to greet the Old Took many, many, years ago when he visited Bag End more frequently.
“What do you mean?” He said. “Do you wish me a good morning, or mean it is a good morning whether I like it or not; or that you feel good this morning; or that it is a morning to be good on?” Gandalf said sternly though he chuckled to himself, looking at Bilbo who seemed to be slightly confused.
“All of them at once I suppose.” Bilbo said resting the pipe on his lip. Seeming to come out of a state of pondering he said “A very fine morning for a pipe of tobacco too. Would you like a bit of mine? There’s no hurry, we have all the day before us!” blowing a beautiful grey smoke ring that sailed into the air without breaking.
Gandalf could not help but smile at this, recalling past memories of how the Old Took could make just about anything with his smoke. But he soon remembered why he was there and tried to appear very serious.
“Very Pretty.” He said. “But I have no time to blow smoke-rings this morning. I am looking for someone to share an adventure that I am arranging, and it’s very difficult to find anyone.” Gandalf said while watching Bilbo’s mood gradually change. He knew it would be hard to convince the young hobbit, “He takes too much after his father’s side” he thought to himself.
“I shouldn’t think so—not in these parts anyway! We are plain quiet folk…” Bilbo’s voice trailed off as Gandalf tried to conjure a way he could have Bilbo join the adventure. “He would have the greatest part to play.” Gandalf thought to himself as Bilbo finished his rant, pretending to read letters, obviously wanting him to leave.
“Good Morning.” Bilbo said quickly returning to his yard, scurrying to the door. As he did so, looking back at Gandalf saying “ You might try over the Hill or across the Water.” the flustered hobbit said waving his letters in the direction of the road. Gandalf knew this meant the conversation was at its end. He leaned against his tall staff, his hat was tipped back a bit giving him a clearer view of Bilbo.
“To think I should have lived to be good-morninged by Belladonna Took’s son.” He squinted his grey eyes, making them vanish under his eyebrows. He could tell this had made Bilbo curious or slightly frightened, either way was fine for Gandalf as he had drawn Bilbo's attention.
“I’m sorry sir, I am not sure I know your name.” Bilbo said giving a queer look as Gandalf stood upright and smiled like an old friend would.
“You do know my name, though you don’t remember I belong to it. I am Gandalf and, Gandalf means me!” He said, laughing softly, thinking that it was very clever and that he should start his greetings with that more often. Bilbo seemed to recall him now. The hobbit began remising memories long ago when Gandalf had come to Hobbiton on Midsummer’s Eve, the wizard had brought many splendid fireworks as Bilbo put it. This went on for a while longer before Gandalf realized he was getting no where and losing time.
“All the same I am pleased to find you remember something about me. You seem to remember my fireworks kindly, at any rate, I will give what you asked for.” He said, wrapping his scarf around his neck again, his long white beard drooping down to his ridiculously tall black boots.
“I beg your pardon, I haven’t asked for anything!”
“Yes, you have! Twice now. My Pardon. I give it to you. In fact I will go so far as to send you on this adventure. Very amusing for me.” He chuckled, “Very good for you—and profitable too, if you ever get over it.” He smiled.
“Sorry! I don’t want any adventures, thank you. Not today. Good Morning!...”Bilbo said in a hurry, fidgeting with the small green door, his voice once again trailing as Gandalf thought to himself “He is a peculiar little fellow that’s for sure, but he is the right one. After all he is a Took and a Baggins. Many a fine adventure come from that bunch.”
He watched as the hobbit scurried into the hole and shut the door quickly. As he made his way to the door he saw Bilbo peeking out the window before moving out of sight. Gandalf almost felt bad as he etched a marking into the freshly painted green door.
“A shame really, but by the end of this he will have enough gold to repaint a million green doors.” He chuckled, turning slowly back to the small cobblestone road.