Bilbo Baggins’ bequest labels

Hebe Stanton (Secretary 2014-15) and your humble Editor here present to you a translation of some long-lost Middle-Earth manuscript fragments.

Researches in the Bodleian Library have recently unearthed previously undocumented examples of Bilbo Baggins’ famously passive-aggressive gift labels dating from the time of his Eleventy-First Birthday Party (1401 Shire-reckoning). Despite our imperfect command of the Westron tongue, we have here attempted to present English renderings of some of the more facetious examples.

To TARQUIN, in the hope that his life is improved. – on a hatstand

 To MELODY GOODENOUGH, for the amusement of her parents.  – on a mouth organ

 To ELPHANORA BRANDYBUCK, for the nourishment of her greatest friends. – on a marrowbone1

1 Elphanora was inordinately fond of her dogs

 For PRISCILLA BRACEGIRDLE, in the hopes that it is edifying. – on a copy of Toby Tobold the Third’s On Wooing

 To TERENCE SADDLEBOTTOM, in recognition of ten years of impeccable service. – on a leather satchel and three pouches of Old Toby2

2 Terence Saddlebottom was Hobbiton’s most diligent postal worker; the sound of his whistling at 7:15 am sharp had woken the tenants of Bagshot Row for well over a decade.

 To FARMER MAGGOT of THE MARISH, in recompense for many fine dinners. – on a bundle of dried mushrooms

 To MARIGOLD TOOK, for its instructive qualities. – on a small golden pocket-watch.

 For HANNA GREENHAND, to fill empty spaces. – on an assortment of small and usually worthless articles3

3 Hanna Greenhand was one of the primary collectors of mathoms in the Shire; her home was unusually cluttered even by hobbit standards, making visits perilous for the unsuspecting guest.

  To PENELOPE, for her comfort – on a pair of earmuffs and a assortment of embroidered shawls, gloves and scarves.

 To FOLCO OAKSEED, for his collection – on a pouch of old coins4

4 Folco was notoriously tight-fisted.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s